PTE Exam Pattern & StructureUpdated on 23 September, 2022
Study Abroad Expert
Study Abroad Expert
The Pearson Test of English or PTE 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.
The PTE exam structure is such that it is used by organizations, colleges and governments alike to assess a candidate’s English language proficiency. It is this credibility of the exam that has made the two types of the test, PTE Academic and PTE General, popular.
PTE Academic: It is taken by candidates to study or work in English-speaking nations like the USA, the UK, Australia and New Zealand among others.
PTE General: It is not an English proficiency test and rewards brilliant achievements in English learning.
The pattern of the PTE exam is uniform across countries that accept the test scores. What may vary is the cut-off.
The PTE exam format can be understood through the following table:
Applicants should be aged at least 16 years
Throughout the year
Format of examination
The exam format consists of 20 unique questions which test Speaking & writing skills (54–67 minutes), Reading skills (29–30 minutes), and Listening skills (30–43 minutes
Registrations can be done online via the official Pearson PTE Academic website
Test Results & Score Scale
PTE results are announced within 5 business days. The score ranges between 10-90
Here is the PTE exam pattern for the three sections – Speaking & Writing, Reading, and Listening.
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|
|PTE Eligibility||Syllabus For PTE Exam||PTE Exam Dates|
|PTE Test Centers in India||PTE Scores & PTE Results||PTE Accepted Universities in USA|
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:
|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|
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
|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|
One may need around three hours to take the PTE Academic exam, which like other language proficiency tests assess candidates on their speaking, listening, writing and reading skills.
The table given below elaborates on the PTE Academic exam format:
|Listening||MCQs to pick single answers, MCQs to pick multiple answers, Writing from dictation, Summarizing spoken text, Fill in the blanks, Highlighting incorrect words.||45-57 minutes|
|Speaking & Writing||Essay writing, Reading loudly, Re-tell lecture, Introduction, Summarizing written text, Repetition of sentence, Answering short questions.||77-93 minutes|
|Reading||Rearrange paragraphs, Fill in the blanks, MCQs for single answer, MCQs for multiple answers.||34-40 minutes|
Now that you are aware of the PTE exam pattern and its key segments, you can stop worrying and start preparing for the test. Aspirants must also note that the validity of PTE exam scores is two years, much like TOEFL and IELTS. In addition, you can send your PTE scores to as many colleges/universities as you want, without any limit.
The PTE Academic examination assesses candidates on their reading, writing, speaking, and listening abilities. The test requires approximately 3 hours to complete. The Speaking & Writing section requires 54-67 minutes with 7 question types, including a 20-minute essay. The Reading section requires 29-30 minutes on average, with 5 question types. The Listening section takes 30-43 minutes with 8 question types. There are 20 question types in total for the PTE Academic.
The score for PTE Academic varies between 10 to 90 on the Global Scale of English, where 10 is the lowest and 90 is the highest score. The scores indicate a candidate’s proficiency at speaking, listening, writing and reading English. PTE exam lets you measure your command over the language with absolute accuracy.
It is hard to say whether PTE is easier than the IELTS exam. The IELTS and PTE examinations usually have the same levels of difficulty. Neither exam can be called comparatively easier since they both require extensive skill-sets in the English language. A 2020 report by Pearson had a comparison of PTE Academic and IELTS results.
This indicated how aspirants needed to get a comparatively higher score in PTE Academic to be equivalent to a band score of 7.0-9.0 in IELTS. Conversely, there are schools of thought stating how PTE-Academic may be easier since it does not have any face-to-face tests, is fully machine-scored and requires lesser time to be completed. Yet, overall, both tests are equivalent to each other in terms of their difficulties.
The PTE score for Australia may vary depending on the purpose you require it for. But generally, a score of 65 and above is required for Permanent Residency (PR).
As far as admission to an Australian university is concerned, a minimum score of 42 is needed. Aspirants must practise caution and check the universities’ requirements when applying for a PTE exam. Some universities may strictly consider the score of IELTS or TOEFL exams.
Several test-takers believe that the PTE exam is tougher to crack if the preparation is not as per the syllabus provided. However, it is believed that it is easier to score in the English language proficiency exam. The structure, format and types of questions in the PTE exam stay constant, thereby, ensuring a uniform level of difficulty year after year.
As per the official information, the PTE exam results are declared within five working days from the test date. For instance, if you had taken the test on a Monday, you can expect the result by Friday, officially. But it must be noted that several aspirants have received the scores within 48 hours after taking the test.
You can attempt the PTE Test any number of times you wish. There are no limits set as to the number of attempts by candidates. The only thing is that you can book your next test date after a gap of 5 days from your last examination. Only a single test day may be booked by a candidate at one time. Remember that while you are waiting to get your PTE results (which may require anything between a few hours to seven days), you cannot book your next PTE examination date.
PTE does not have any passing marks. There is a total score threshold of 10-90. The 50-63 score is considered to be optimal or competent. For admission into leading universities abroad, you should score between 65-75 or even higher. Some universities accept PTE scores of around 65 or even lower at 55-60. However, many reputed institutions accept scores only above 75 at times. 65-75 is a good score in PTE since it is usually enough to get admission into leading universities.
Yes, 79 is a very good score in PTE. The 79-82 score range in PTE is equivalent to a band 8 score in IELTS, indicating that the candidate has an excellent level of proficiency in English, making him or her eligible for admission into postgraduate or advanced courses along with undergraduate programs at reputed universities. This level signifies that aspirants can readily understand more extensive and complicated texts and derive their inner meanings.
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