PTE Exam: Everything You Need To Know


Offered by Pearson, the test of English is a set of language exams taken by individuals for academic, general, business communication, and young learning purposes. It is accepted by a host of organizations all around the world, including Australia, the UK, the USA, and New Zealand. Apart from  IELTS and TOEFL, PTE is considered as the gold standard when it comes to examining the English communication skills of candidates in multiple environments. In this blog, we will introduce you to all the important aspects related to the Pearsons Test of English exam.


PTE Exam: Types

Before delving into the details pertaining to the PTE Academic, it is important to know about the other three tests offered by Pearson. 


Pearson Test of English Academic

Acknowledged by universities, governments, and corporations across the globe, the PTE Academic is one of the many tests conducted by Pearson. This PTE exam is an AI-based online test that assesses the candidate’s abilities in reading, listening, speaking and writing. Due to this algorithmic nature, there are fewer chances of errors. Further, the students can appear for the exam in any of the 250 centers spread across 50 countries. 

Pearson Test of English General

Specifically designed as an assessment test for those who have English as their second or foreign language, the Pearson Test of English General is a six-level proficiency exam. While the paper consists of the reading, writing, listening and speaking sections similar to that of PTE Academic, the topics are sectioned into written paper and speaking test. The test focuses on building effective English language communication in place of just ability-testing. 

Note: It should be noted that the General Test is not acknowledged for cases of immigration and only the PTE Academic Test is recognized.

Pearson Test of English Young Learners 

Another type of the PTE exam, the Young Learners test is aimed to examine students who fall in the 6-13 age bracket or students from pre-A1 up to A2 level as per the Common European Framework of Reference. This exam assesses the reading, writing, listening and speaking skills of students through written and spoken texts. The primary objective is to gauge through a candidate’s ability to structure the answers in simple language. 

Pearson Business English Tests

Offered in collaboration with LCCI International Qualifications, the Pearson Business English tests are a set of English language qualifications and diplomas suited for communication in a business setting. It is conducted at more than 4,000 centers worldwide spanning disciplines of Marketing, Customer Service, Business Administration, IT, Finance, Business English for International Managers, Spoken English for Industry and Commerce, English for Tourism amongst others. 

PTE Academic Exam: Structure

The PTE exam format consists of sections that assess the applicant’s reading and listening skills apart from speaking and writing ability. Further, unlike the GRE, there is no cap on the number of universities where scores can be sent and your results will be sent to you in as little as 5 days. For every correct answer, one mark is awarded but there is no negative marking in case of wrong answers. A section-wise breakdown has been mentioned below.

Also Read: Eligibility for GRE

Speaking & Writing (77-93 minutes)

Unlike the IELTS and TOEFL, The Academic Speaking and Writing section on the PTE exam evaluates the candidate’s speaking and writing skills simultaneously. While the speaking section consists of questions based on communication in an academic learning environment, the writing section examines the written text through different modes. Listed below are the 8 sections of testing: 

Personal Introduction (Prep Duration: 25 secs; Answer Duration: 35 secs)

At the start of the speaking section, the candidate is asked to introduce himself. Although the scores of this section are not included in the final tally, it serves as an opportunity to make a great impression on the institutions concerned. 

Read Aloud (Prompt Length: Max 60 words; Prep Duration: 35 secs; Answer Duration: Varies)

The prompt in front of the candidates display a short text which has to be repeated after the hearing the tone. You can use punctuation as cues for when to pause. The primary objective of this is to test your fluency, content, and pronunciation of words. After the recording, the status will change from ‘recording’ to ‘completed’.  

Repeat Sentence ( Prompt Length: 3-9 secs; Answer Time: 15 secs)

In this section, an audio recording is played. At the end of the recording, you will be immediately (no short tone is played) required to repeat the sentence in a clear and lucid manner. 

Describe an Image (Prep Time: 25 secs; Answer Time: 40 secs)

In this task, you will be required to describe the features of the image displayed on the prompt. you will hear a short tone, only after which you can speak. 


Also Read: PTE to IELTS

Re-tell Lecture (Prompt Length: Upto 90 secs; Prep Time: 10 secs; Answer Time: 40 secs

In this task of the PTE exam, a lecture is either displayed or its recording is played or both. After the short tone, you will be required to speak about it until the progress bar reaches its end. You are allowed to take notes of anything you require on the erasable note board.

Answer Short Question (Prompt Length: 3-9 secs; Answer Time: 10 secs

In this section, an audio question is either played or an image is displayed on the prompt. At the end of it, you will be asked to speak immediately and respond to the question in not more than a few words until the progress bar reaches the end. 

Note: The short tone will not be played during this task. 

Summarize Written Text (Prompt Length: 300 words; Answer Time: 10 mins;  Answer Length: Max 75 words) 

In this writing task of the PTE exam, a passage is displayed, the text of which has to be summarised in a single continuous sentence in not more than 75 words. Your word count will be displayed in the corner of your screen and you are free to use cut, copy and paste operations on your screen. The points of evaluation include content, grammar, form, and vocabulary.

Essay (Prompt Length: 2-3 sentences; Answer Time: 20 mins Answer Length: 200-300 words)

For the essay, a topic will be shown on the screen. Your task is to prepare a long argumentative essay of 200-300 words analyzing the topics from your perspective. Points of evaluation include Content, form, vocabulary range, spelling, development, structure and coherence, general linguistic range, grammar usage, and mechanics.

Reading (32-40 minutes)

From fill in the blanks to reordering sentences, the reading section of the PTE exam includes questions that help in evaluating the reading abilities of a candidate. The parts of these sections have been summarised below: 


Reading & Writing Fill in the Blanks (Prompt Length: 300 words)

A gap-filled sentence appears on the screen along with the possible choices in a drop-down list. Using suitable words from this list, your task is to construct meaningful and coherent sentences. 

Also Read: PTE Syllabus

Multiple Choice, Multiple Correct Answers (Prompt Length: 300 words)

In this task of the PTE exam, a passage is displayed on-screen. Based on your understanding of the passage, you have to pick all the correct answer choices from the given list of options. 

Reorder Paragraphs (Prompt Length: 150 words)

Here, randomly ordered blocks of sentences are displayed on the prompt. You will be required to rearrange these blocks in an appropriate manner so as to re-establish its meaning.  

Fill in the Blanks (Prompt Length: 80 words)

This is a shorter version of the earlier fill in the blanks section. A test passage with gaps as well as possible word choices is shown on screen. Your job is to select the most appropriate word from the choices offered and fill the gaps. 

Multiple Choice, Single Correct Answer (Prompt Length: 300 words)

On the basis of a text passage, you will be required to choose a single correct answer to a multiple-choice question.

Listening (45-57 minutes)

The third section of the PTE exam is listening. With questions on text summarization, missing word selection, and filling in the correct blanks, the listening section examines the overall listening and understanding proficiency of the candidates. A comprehensive summary of this section has been mentioned below: 


Summarize Spoken Test (Prompt Length: 60-90 secs; Word Limit: 50-70 words; Answer Time: 10 mins)

In this, an audio recording is played and as per your understanding, you will be required to write a short summary of it.

Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer (Prompt Length: 40-90 secs)

You will hear an audio recording which will be approximately 40-90 seconds long. Based on it, you will be asked a multiple-choice question that has multiple correct answers.

Fill in the Blanks (Prompt Length: 30-60 secs)

In this another important task of the PTE exam, you will hear an audio recording after which a gap-filled transcript will appear. Your task is to fill the gaps with the suitable words. Here, note-taking is permitted.

Highlight the Correct Summary (Prompt Length: 30-90 secs)

Based on your understanding of the audio recording, You will be required to select the most appropriate summary from the given list of options. 

Multiple Choice, Single Answer (Prompt Length: 30-60 secs)

Based on an audio recording, you will have to pick a single correct answer from the available multiple choices.

Select the Missing Word (Prompt Length: 20-70 secs)

In this part, there will be a missing part in the played audio clip. Your task will be to choose the best possible answer from the available options. 

Highlight the Incorrect Words (Prompt Length: 15-50 secs)

The primary objective of this section is to identify the errors in the transcript which will be displayed at the end of an audio recording. 

Write from Dictation (Prompt Length: 3-5 secs)

Being a dictation task, you will be required to write the exact sentence based on your listening skills. 

Now that you are familiar with the PTE exam pattern, you can register for the Academic test here

PTE exam: Indian Cities

In India, the PTE exam is not only conducted in top tier cities but also in tier-2 cities such as Ludhiana and Rajkot. The below-mentioned table shows the full list of cities: 

New Delhi/Noida Chennai Jaipur
Rajkot Patiala Pune 
Jalandhar Ludhiana Nagpur
Bangalore Ahmedabad Cochin
Kolkata Chandigarh Hyderabad
Mumbai Vadodara Vijayawada

Note: The fee for standard registration is INR 13,300 and for late registration it is INR 13,965.

To ace the PTE exam, one needs a comprehensive strategy along with consistent motivation and efforts. If you are looking to appear for it any time soon, the expert counselors at Leverage Edu can assist you in preparing a personalized study plan which will help you gear up for the exam effectively. 

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