PTE Exam Pattern Basics

PTE exam pattern

The Pearson Test of English or PTE Academic evaluates the English speaking and writing skills of applicants. The PTE exam pattern is designed to test whether candidates can study at international institutions that have English as the main language for instructions. Students demonstrate their capabilities of understanding, speaking, and writing in English suitably in a foreign land through their PTE scores. The PTE exam structure is similar to many other English testing examinations. It emphasizes three sections, namely, Reading, Listening, and Speaking & Writing. 

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PTE Exam Pattern, Format, and Vital Aspects 

The PTE exam format can be understood through the following table: 

PTE Exam Structure





Eligibility guidelines

Applicants should be aged at least 16 years


Testing availability Throughout the year
3. Format of examination

The exam format consists of 20 unique questions which test Speaking & writing skills (77 – 93 minutes), Reading skills (32 – 40 minutes), and Listening skills (45 – 57 minutes)


Registration formalities Registrations can be done online via the official Pearson PTE Academic website
5. Test charges

Standard charges/fees of Rs 13,300


Test Results & Score Scale

PTE results are announced within 5 business days. The score ranges between 10-90

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PTE Exam Structure: Section-wise details 

Here is the PTE exam pattern for the three sections – Speaking & Writing, Reading, and Listening. 

Speaking and Writing

This section tests examinees’ speaking and writing abilities. It requires 77 to 93 minutes and has 6 portions. Here is a closer look: 

Segment-Wise Pattern Duration/Time Required 
Personal Introduction Total 55 seconds: 25 seconds for prompt, 30 seconds to record answer
Read Aloud 30-40 seconds to prepare for reading out the text of 60 words
Repeat Sentence Total 15 seconds: 3-9 seconds for prompt, 15 seconds to record answer
Describe Image 25 seconds are granted to study the image as well as prepare your response on the same
Re-Tell Lecture 90 seconds for prompt length, 10 seconds to prepare, and 40 seconds to answer
Answer Short Question Total 20 seconds: 3-9 seconds for prompt, 10 seconds to answer
Summarize Written Text 10 minutes to answer to text prompt of 300 words
Essay 20 minutes to answer to text prompt of 2-3 sentences


This section tests examinees’ ability to understand instructions. It is divided into 5 segments that have to be covered in 32-40 minutes. Here is a look at the format for this section:

Section Pattern 

Time Varies Based on Length of Text Prompt 
Multiple Choice, Choose Single Answer Read 300 words of text
Multiple Choice, Choose Multiple Answers Read 300 words of text
Re-Order Paragraphs Read 150 words of text
Reading: Fill in the Blanks Read 80 words of text
Reading and Writing: Fill in the Blanks Read 300 words of text

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This section covers 45-57 minutes and tests the ability of candidates to understand spoken English. Students should carefully listen to the audio and retain whatever they hear. The portion has 8 sub-segments. Here is a closer look at the pattern and format: 

Pattern of Section 

Time Taken/Duration 
Summarize Spoken Text 60-90 seconds to retain 50-70 words, 10 minutes to write
Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer 40-90 seconds for prompt
Fill in the Blanks 30-60 seconds
Highlight Correct Summary 30-90 seconds
Multiple Choice, Single Answer 30-60 seconds
Select Missing Word 20-70 seconds
Highlight Incorrect Words 15-50 seconds
Write From Dictation 3-5 seconds for hearing

Now that you are aware of the PTE exam pattern and its key segments, you can stop worrying and quickly start preparing for the test.

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