EMR-Education Indonesia Overseas Training Center

EMR-Education Indonesia Overseas Training Center

Proficient English, is required for Nursing & Accounting

– Superior English, if you want to be a teacher!

English Language Tests Compared

How do the tests compare and why choose one over the other?

The Department of Homeland Affairs, as Immigration is known today in Australia, follows the guidelines of the professional bodies assessing migrants. The Assessing bodies are actually the ones setting the standard, that new aspiring migrants need to reach. So often, we hear of the people blaming the Immigration Department, and in fact they are just the policy enforcers, like the police. Today, I would like to go a little behind the tests used to appraise people if they are Superior or Proficient and what it means to get this appraisal.

The tests are known by their acronyms IELTS, PTE, OET, TOEFL and CAE, what do these mean? And what’s the difference?


International English Language Test Score (IELTS, General and Academic)

Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic

Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT)

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test (also known as Certificate in Advanced English)

Occupational English Test (OET)

Let’s give you a quick summary of each: –

International English Language Test Score (IELTS, General and Academic)

The IELTS is jointly owned and operated by The British Council and IDP and is offered globally. This is the most well-known of the English test and comes in 2 variations: General and Academic.

For higher education the Academic one is necessary however for other types of visas, all you need is the General test. Note however, if you want to be a teacher, IELTS will be required by the registration board.

Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic

PTE Exam Simulation Package

Pearson Test of English is computer based assessment and is almost as universally accepted at the IELTS.

It’s accepted for UK and Australian visa purposes.

Occupational English Test

The lesser known Occupational English Test (OET) is specifically for the healthcare sector and has an emphasis on communication in medical and health professional settings.

Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT)

Based in the United States of America, the TOEFL iBT is an internet-based test that is administered at registered test centres. Availability is a little more limited than the wider known tests but overall still accessible.

It’s also the test that is accepted from countries where IELTS is not available.

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test (also known as Certificate in Advanced English)

Cambridge English is backed by research and teaching from Cambridge University and is aligned with The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) for an international standard for describing language ability.


The Department has issued guidelines to make it easier for everyone to understand what each score means and how it equates to standard of English language proficiency.

Let’s look at the general numbers together with the Immigration classification and points.

Immigration DHA Scales

English Language Test Result Scores for Immigration

Now we can put a number on the classification of Proficient & Superior with Proficient being IELTS 7, or PTE 65 and Superior being IELTS 8, or PTE 79. But wait, this is actually the low score! To be classed as Proficient or Superior; Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening must all, be above this score.

Entry to University

Entry, to most University Programs is IELTS 6.5, PTE 51, TOEFL 73, CAE 180-210. The Exam results all have a grade correlation to each other, so no real difference yet. The price, anyone would think they have seen, each other’s pricing? And agreed on $330 per exam, there is some difference, but not much really!

The results come out at different timings, and here there is a difference, IELTS is taking about 2 weeks, PTE up to 5 days, but typically overnight! TOEFL takes 10 days and CAE 4-6 weeks for paper and 2-3 weeks when computer based.

The IELTS, OET, CAE and TOEFL use human scorers, whereas the PTE uses automated scoring with no human markers. Some students may prefer a real person test and interpret their responses, while others feel comfortable with minimum subjective automatic scoring.

All the English language tests have Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking sections. PTE is different here, as the speaking section is analysed by computer. This is quite different, and a source of a little controversy, native English speakers have been known to fail and do poorly, even highly schooled and professional linguists have been caught by this test! Speak quietly, so your neighbour is not disturbed, drop your tone to be quieter, then you don’t stress the keywords, pronounce all the words separately to be clearer, the computer picks up on this and fails you, for poor pronunciation and fluency. Watch out, an assessor is more forgiving than the computer, but the computer more impartial.

Speaking Section

Medical data entry

Modern medic data entry

The speaking section of the IELTS includes an actual face-to-face conversation with a test proctor. Depending on your choice, that can either be a more stressful experience or a more natural one than a computer-based test.

Another factor is the location of the testing facilities, however having seen people from Pakistan flying to Dubai to do a PTE Exam, maybe we are a little spoilt for choice. So testing centres are where they are today, and if you want to do that test, just book it, arrange it and go!

OET or Occupational Language Test

Since communication plays a major role in the healthcare sector, OET is designed to assess the speaking, writing, reading and listening skills of the health professionals. It provides a reliable assessment of all four skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing) while emphasizing on communication in healthcare professional settings. Specialised training classes are often taken by students for whom this is applicable.


For the content, TOEFL tends more towards an American style standardized exam, IELTS a very similar format, while PTE is the newest of these 3 and has a lot of standardised questions, which is attractive to those want to just repeat the practice till they are proficient at those questions. Actually the skills and training these programs put the student through are exactly the skills they need to communicate in a Tertiary education system!  CAE is the less academic with broader topics and varieties of writing tasks, so not as boring as the others!

Exam skills apply

All of these are actually Exams, and the usual exam skills, are really needed, to do well. Good time and knowledge skills, of what is expected, are vitally important. Understanding what the question is wanting, may seem trivial, however not speaking in a describe image question, is a definite recipe for a zero score.  All said and done, the real skill and importance, is a good fundamental knowledge of English. An examinee needs to know, how English is actually spoken and written, especially when written English, is so different from spoken English; it’s really like 2 languages mashed together.

EMR Education

EMR trains people to do these English Langauage Tests, so the students can maximise their potential in these exams. We have a partnership with IEC English in Indonesia, who have been in the English Language business since 1968, more than 45 centres to teach fundamentals and get your English right. Our Tutors are qualified and Native English speaking tutors then check and ensure fluency is what comes out.

English language training for use overseas

IEC EMR Overseas Training Center

Check your English competency before you do an English language exam

With Fluent IQ you can do a Chat test or a Works test depending if you just want to check your verbal competency or the full Reeading, writing, speaking and listening capability. This is so much more affordable than the English exams and correlated to CEFR, as the other tests are. Take Fluent IQ test before your English Exam to find out if you are ready.

FluentIQ English Assessment
FluentIQ English Assessment