What is the Pearson English Test?

The Pearson English test is a popular English proficiency test accepted by many academic institutions worldwide and immigration authorities in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. 

The Pearson English test has recently been on the news as the IRCC’s latest approved English language test for Students and Immigration. According to their release, the change will be effective by late 2023. 

The move brings the list of approved language tests for Canadian immigration up to a total of five- three for English and two for French. 

Are Language tests mandatory for immigration? 

Yes, Canada’s most popular immigration routes for workers and students, including the Provincial Nominee Program and Express Entry, require candidates to display an acceptable level of proficiency with either of Canada’s two official languages- English or French. 

Tests ensure that candidates understand the official languages and can integrate into Canadian institutions and workplaces. 

What are the IRCC’s currently approved English language tests?

The IRCC has previously approved two language tests for English proficiency- The IELTS and CELPIP. Come late 2023, the Pearson English test will join them as a third approved English language test. 

What is the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)?

The Canadian Language Benchmark uses 12 levels to identify a candidate’s ability to Listen, Speak, Read, and Write in English or French. 

The scores obtained in the language tests will be converted into the CLB band scores for use in immigration and student-related paperwork. 

The marks in either of the approved English language tests and their corresponding score in the CLB are as follows: 


CLB Level  Reading  Writing  Listening  Speaking 
10  10  10  10  10 
9  9  9  9  9 
8  8  8  8  8 
7  7  7  7  7 
6  6  6  6  6 
5  5  5  5  5 
4  4  4  4  4 


CLB Level  Reading  Writing  Listening  Speaking 
10  8.0  7.5  8.5  7.5 
9  7.0  7.0  8.0  7.0 
8  6.5  6.5  7.5  6.5 
7  6.0  6.0  6.0  6.0 
6  5.0  5.5  5.5  5.5 
5  4.0  5.0  5.0  5.0 
4  3.5  4.0  4.5  4.0 

About the Pearson Test for English

The PTE is a computer-based test taken at verified test centers. The process takes two hours and includes a Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening component. 

Candidates will be asked to complete tasks like reading aloud, providing descriptions of images, retelling or summarizing lectures, reading or listening, and answering multiple-choice questions, among other things. 

The duration of each of these components is as follows:

Speaking and Writing  54-67 minutes 
Reading  29-30 minutes 
Listening  30-43 minutes 

Differences between the Pearson test and the IELTS 

On its face, the Pearson Test of English and IELTS differ in their scoring system.

PTE Academic  23  29  36  46  56  66  76  84  89  NA 
IELTS  4.5>  <5.0>  <5.5>  <6.0>  <6.5>  <7.0>  <7.5>  <8.0>  <8.5>  <9.0 

The IELTS allows candidates to opt between a paper-based or computer-delivered exam, while the PTE is strictly computer-based. 

The two tests also vary in the structure of their respective tests- with a few overlaps in the skills required. The PTE is known to have a shorter reading section where students answer fewer questions.  

The listening section of the IELTS tests can also be more challenging with its fewer recordings and more questions. 

Finally, the Pearson Test uses an automated scoring system based on complex algorithms for accuracy and to minimize human error. 

How much does a Pearson English Test cost?

The Pearson English test has eight test centers across Canada, and a single PTE Academic test costs $330 CAD. 

They also operate test centers across the world. In India, there are over 35 test centers, with the price for a single PTE Academic test at 15,900 INR. 

Canada’s need for the Pearson Test of English

Most applicants know the IRCC has long touted a new language test entry. The move comes at a time when Canada is looking to expand its immigration intake, with the most recent Immigration levels plan of 2023-25 targeting over 465,000 new overall permanent resident admissions. The approval of more language tests for immigration will broaden the scope for candidates taking their language proficiency tests in the future. 


Janggoulal Sitlhou

Janggoulal Sitlhou

Janggoulal Sitlhou is a content writer with SettleCanada. He is a Political Sciences graduate and a keen follower of international affairs and contemporary history. He has a background in publishing and regularly dabbles in writing and game development projects. Janggoulal currently writes on issues related to Canadian Immigration.