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Choosing the right test for your Canadian dream – IELTS General Training or PTE Core?


Test Takers

Date Published

08 March 2024

We know so many of you plan to become a Canadian permanent resident, and why wouldn’t you, it’s an incredible place! With amazing scenery, great people, and endless opportunities, we understand why Canada is one of the top choices for our IELTS test takers.

Before you start your journey to becoming a Canadian permanent resident, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to choose the right English language test for you.

In January 2024, PTE Core joined IELTS General Training and CELPIP as the English language tests accepted by the Canadian immigration body, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The tests are accepted for work and migration visas, as well as permanent residency.

To help you make an easy decision, we’ve put together an overview of the key differences between IELTS General Training and PTE Core.

Canada scenery

A quick look at IELTS General Training and PTE Core

Ways to take your test

  • IELTS General Training: Your choice – on computer or on paper
  • PTE Core: On computer only

Tests all four skills

  • IELTS General Training: Yes
  • PTE Core: Yes

Test length

  • IELTS General Training: 165 minutes – a bit longer, but we promise, we’re worth it! – we test the skills you need to succeed so you can feel confident starting your new life in Canada
  • PTE Core: 110 minutes

Speaking test

  • IELTS General Training: In a private room, face-to-face with a real person who understands different accents and can put you at ease
  • PTE Core: Talking into a computer microphone in a room with other test takers


  • IELTS General Training: Overall score between 0 and 9, with 9 being the highest score
  • PTE Core: Overall score between 10 and 90, with 90 being the highest score

Accepted by the Canadian government for work

  • IELTS General Training: Yes, and accepted by all four immigration authorities globally who require proof of English skills (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK)
  • PTE Core: Yes

Now let’s go into some more detail.

IELTS General Training has been helping people since 1989

PTE Core is new on the scene, but IELTS General Training has been helping people achieve their dreams since 1989. It’s one of the reasons IELTS is the most popular test for global migration, with over 4 million IELTS tests taken in 2023.

IELTS General Training tests the skills you need to succeed

We have over 30 years of experience in English language testing, which is why we’ve helped millions of people to thrive in their new life in Canada.

IELTS General Training is designed to test the skills you need to succeed in Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Find out more about the test format.

Couple looking at panorama from the top

IELTS General Training is trusted in Canada and across the world

IELTS General Training has been trusted by the Canadian government and test takers as a reliable and fair English language test for over 30 years. It’s also trusted by all four immigration authorities who require proof of English around the world (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK).

IELTS General Training provides multiple test dates and locations

Find a test centre and a date and time that fits with your plans. We have over 4,000 test locations in over 140 countries around the world, with plenty of test dates and times available.

IELTS General Training lets you choose how you take the test

PTE Core only gives you the option to take your test on a computer. We know that people like to choose how they take their test – some people like to write their answers by hand and others prefer to type them. That’s why we give you the choice to take IELTS General Training on paper or on a computer. It’s completely up to you!

The IELTS General Training Speaking test puts you at ease

The PTE Core Speaking test involves talking into a computer microphone in a room full of other test takers. You might find this distracting.

The IELTS General Training Speaking test is in a private room, making it easy to concentrate. You’ll also speak with a real person so you can prove your real-life communication skills. We want you to succeed as much as you do, which is why our trained Examiners are there to put you at ease and make you feel comfortable.

Female teacher talking to student

IELTS General Training is marked fairly and accurately

PTE Core is marked using AI technology. IELTS General Training is human-marked and your test will be reviewed and scored by multiple Examiners so you can be confident your score accurately reflects your English language skills.

IELTS General Training has a wealth of preparation resources

PTE Core offers preparation resources, but as IELTS General Training has been around for a while, we’ve got loads of preparation materials to help you succeed!

We want you to get the score you deserve. From sample papers and practice tests to apps and webinars, we have everything you need to feel fully prepared for your IELTS test.

We suggest you look at the IELTS General Training test format first, and then our preparation materials. For quick tips and advice, follow us on Instagram or Facebook.

For life’s biggest opportunities, there’s only one test. Book your IELTS General Training test now.