TOEFL and PTE Academic Now Accepted As IELTS Alternative for English Test

TOEFL and PTE Academic Now Accepted As IELTS Alternative for English Test

The department has announced that it will accept test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT) and the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) as alternative English tests for visa applications lodged on or after 23 November 2014.

These tests will be applicable for Australian visa applications including Skilled Migration and Business Innovation & Investment Programs.

“This development affords applicants more choice in providers while also increasing competition within the English language testing market,” said Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Michaelia Cash.

In addition, it is expected that scores from the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test will also be accepted from a test taken on or after 1 January 2015 (to coincide with the launch of Cambridge English Language Assessment’s new reporting system).


The TOEFL iBT is taken via the internet. There are more than 50 test dates each year across different test locations around the world.

The test takes approximately 4 hours to complete has the following format:

  • Reading: 60-80 Minutes
  • Writing: 50 Minutes
  • Listening: 60-90 Minutes
  • Speaking: 20 Minutes

TOEFL scores are available online 10 days after the test date and a hard copy is sent approximately 13 days after the test date. You can select the institutions who will receive the score reports sent via an online facility but this cannot be changed after you have taken the test.

The current cost to undertake the TOEFL iBT in Singapore is US$235 – cheaper than the IELTS.

PTE Academic

Overall, the Pearson Test of English Academic takes 3 hours to complete.

  • Reading: 32-41 minutes
  • Listening: 45-57 minutes
  • Speaking and Writing: 77-93 minutes

Score results can be viewed online within 5 working days. It is also possible to forward results to institutions via the online account.

The cost to do the PTE Academic test is USD$250 – slightly more expensive than IELTS. Locations and test dates are less extensive than the TOEFL.

Some important points to note about these changes:

Test Validity

Test results are valid for 3 years – you must lodge your visa application within 3 years of undertaking the test.

Pearson and TOEFL are also now acceptable for establishing Functional English. Functional English is important for determining whether any included dependents need to pay the English Language fees. Tests are only valid for 12 months for the purposes of establishing Functional English.

Summary: IELTS compared to TOEFL iBT and PTE Academic




PTE Academic


30 minutes

60-90 minutes

45-57 minutes


60 minutes

60-80 minutes

32-41 minutes


60 minutes

50 minutes

77–93 minutes (combined with speaking)


11-14 minutes

20 minutes

Duration combined with writing

Total duration

2.7 hours

3.2 to 4 hours

2.6 to 3.2 hours


$310-$320 (Singapore Dollars)

$235 (Singapore Dollars)

$250 (US Dollars)

Click here to download the score equivalent chart of IELTS, TOEFL iBT, PTE Academic and OET.

For a consultation schedule, feel free to call us at +65 6299 0245 to discuss your visa options and to find out which test is appropriate for your application. Alternatively, you can attend our Australia immigration seminar for an overview of the process to migrate to Australia.