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        Comparing IELTS to other tests

        Understanding how other tests compare to IELTS

        IELTS sets the standard for high-stakes language testing. Comparing test scores is notoriously difficult, but the following tables which are all based on extensive research will help organisations to have confidence that they are treating all test takers fairly and setting their applicants up for success.

        If your organisation accepts IELTS and other language tests, our team is available to make sure you have the data and expert support to help you set the right score. Contact us.

        Alignment of IELTS bands and PTE-A scores

        The table below summarises the IELTS and PTE equivalencies, based on a lengthy study conducted by the IELTS Partners from 2018 to 2020. We encourage test users to review the full report to understand this equivalency study. The report is available here:

        Download the full report here

        IELTS PTE-A overall IELTS & PTE-A Listening IELTS & PTE-A Reading IELTS & PTE-A Speaking IELTS & PTE-A Writing
        5 40.8 40.2 43 40.2 43.1
        5.5 45.4 42.7 47.9 42.2 51
        6 51.6 48.1 53.5 46.2 62.2
        6.5 58.5 56.8 60.6 53.5 74.1
        7 66.3 66.2 67.8 65.3 82.3
        7.5 74.6 73.9 73.7 75.3 87.5
        8 82.3 79.4 78.4 80.9 89.4
        8.5 88.1 84.7 83.7 85.5 89.5

        How to read this table:

        The first two columns on the left present the alignment of the tests at the overall score level. 
        To interpret the other columns, identify the skill you are interested in, identify the IELTS level, then look across to the appropriate skill column – so for example the alignment of the tests of reading at IELTS 6.5 is 60.6 on the Pearson scale. 

        Please note: We are not sure of the specific ways in which the PTE-A overall score is calculated; we recommend referring to the four skills columns when making decisions and comparing test scoring systems. 

        Canadian Language Benchmarks

        Equivalencies between the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLBs) (for English) and the results of language tests from designated testing organisations have been established. To review the full equivalencies table, visit the Canadian Government website

        This table shows the relationship between CLB and IELTS:    

        CLB level Reading Writing Listening Speaking
        10 8 7.5 8.5 7.5
        9 7 7 8 7
        8 6.5 6.5 7.5 6.5
        7 6 6 6 6
        6 5 5.5 5.5 5.5
        5 4 5 5 5
        4 3.5 4 4.5 4
        Source: Government of Canada, cited 5 January 2020

        Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)

        Cambridge English’s B2 First and C1 Advanced both report on the Cambridge English Scale.

        The table below shows the relationship between Cambridge English Scale and IELTS:

        IELTS band score Cambridge English scale score
        7.5 191
        7 185
        6.5 176
        6 169
        5.5 162
        5 154
        Source: Comparing scores to IELTS B2 First and C1 Advanced, Cambridge English, cited 5 January. 

        Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

        The Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is a series of descriptions of abilities at different learning levels that can be applied to any language. It provides a globally recognised framework for comparing the results of different language tests. More information here.

        Graphic showing the CEFR Framework vs IELTS