PTE Exam Pattern

4 minute read
PTE Exam Pattern

The Pearson Test of English Academic Exam (PTE) is widely taken by prospective students in order to prove their English Language proficiency for overseas education or professional training. It is a globally-acclaimed test which uses modern technology to evaluate and assess the test-taker’s grasp of the English language. Skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening are tested through a diverse set of tasks. This article aims to provide an overview as well as a detailed analysis of the PTE exam pattern. 

PTE Syllabus– Know It Inside Out

Some Important Pointers

Here are some relevant facts related to the PTE exam format:

  • The test is graded by a computer with the help of artificial intelligence which provides an impartial and objective assessment.
  • Like the IELTS  and TOEFL, the PTE exam offers as much acceptance at universities and organisations, if not more. 
  • PTE exam takers can receive their results in less than 5 business days.
  • An important advantage of taking the PTE exam is that scores can be sent to as many universities as you want. In comparison, the TOEFL charges extra if you choose to send your scores to more than four institutions.
  • The speaking and listening sections are tested simultaneously.

PTE Exam Pattern: Section-wise Breakdown

The PTE exam consists of four sections, namely Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. A candidate comes across a diverse mix of assessments and tasks which measure skills across these four sections. Following is a list of the section-wise breakdown:

Speaking and Writing (approx. 54-67 minutes)

In a uniquely designed PTE exam pattern of testing, the PTE exam examines skills of speaking and writing concurrently. The question tasks have been mentioned below:

  • Personal Introduction:

This is an ungraded section which begins with you being asked to introduce yourself in about 35 seconds. Prep time: 25 seconds.

  • Read Aloud:

In response to a 60-word prompt, you need to read aloud the content of the text. Prep time: 30-40 seconds; Time to answer: varies

  • Repeat a Sentence

After the test-taker hears a recording, you are asked to repeat it as accurately and clearly as possible. Time to answer: 15 seconds

  • Describe an Image

An image is displayed on the prompt. Test-takers need to describe the image in detail. Time to answer: 40 seconds

  • Retell a Lecture:

This is a retelling task. A lecture is either played or its transcript is shown. Based on the test-taker’s comprehension, you need to explain it in his own words. Time to answer: 40 seconds.

  • Answer Short Question:

In response to a short question, you are asked to answer it in one or a few words. Time to answer: 10 seconds

  • Summarize Written Text:

A text of 300 words gets displayed. Based on its understanding, you are asked to write a single sentence(max 75 words) summary. Time to answer: 10 minutes

  • Essay:

This is a topic-based writing task wherein you are required to write a 200-300 word essay. Time to answer: 20 minutes.

Also read: IELTS VS PTE – Learn about All the Differences

Listening (approx. 30-43 minutes)

The listening section of the PTE exam pattern comprises of different sub-sections. These have been summarized in the following paragraph:

  • Summarize Spoken Test:

Write a max 70 word summary based on a listening prompt. Prep time: 10 minutes

  • Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer: 

Choose all correct answers from the given choices based on a listening prompt. 

  • Fill in the Blanks: 

Fill the missing word based on your understanding of the listening prompt.

  • Highlight the Correct Summary:

Select the summary that closely resembles the information in the recording.

  • Multiple Choice, Single Answer:

Choose the correct answer among the displayed choices based on the information in the recording

  • Select the Missing Word: 

Pick the correct missing word from the displayed choices that completes the recording.

  • Highlight the Incorrect Words: 

Identify and select the words that differ from the content of the listening prompt. 

  • Write from Dictation:

Correctly type the sentence after listening to the audio recording.

Reading (approx. 29-30 minutes)

There are four sections within the reading section of the PTE exam pattern. These have been mentioned below:

  • Fill in the Blanks: 

A 300-word passage has gaps. Select the correct word from the list of options.

  • Multiple Choices, Multiple Answers: 

Based on a 300-word passage, a question gets displayed. Choose all correct answers from the given choices.

  • Re-order Paragraphs:

Based on the reading of a 150-word text, rearrange displayed text boxes in the correct order.

  • Fill in the blanks:

An 80-word text has many gaps. Fill them from a list of displayed choices.

  • Multiple Choices, Single Answer: 

A 300-word text is displayed. Based on the understanding of it, pick one correct answer from the list of options.

Overseas Education


Is PTE easier than IELTS?

Both PTE and IELTS have their own difficulty level, so none of the either of the two is easier than the other.

Does Canada accept PTE?

Yes, PTE is accepted in Canada.

Can I get PR with PTE in Canada?

No, you cannot get PR in Canada with PTE.

We hope this article was helpful in clearing any doubts that you had about the PTE exam pattern. A good score on any English language certification is absolutely vital for your application to be highlighted. The experts at Leverage Edu can guide you in developing a personalized plan so that you score high and study in the college of your dreams.

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