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Understanding the PTE Listening Test

Updated on 13 April, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

pte listening test

The PTE (Pearson Test of English) Academic evaluates students on the basis of English writing, listening, speaking, and reading skills. The test is widely accepted as proof of language proficiency in many countries including the USA, the UK, New Zealand, Canada and Australia among others. PTE is a computer-based examination conducted at several test centers. It is of 2-hour duration with 20 types of questions.

Parts of PTE

The PTE has three components which are listed below: 

Speaking & WritingListeningReading 
54-67 minutes 30-43 minutes29-30 minutes 
7 types of questions8 types of questions 5 types of questions


This is the basic structure of the examination. Read on to know more about the PTE listening test. 

PTE Listening Section in Detail

The PTE listening structure is as follows: 

Summarize Spoken TextMultiple Choice, Multiple AnswersFill in the BlanksHighlight Correct SummaryMultiple Choice, Single AnswerSelect Missing WordHighlight Incorrect WordsWrite from Dictation 
Writing a summary of 50-70 words after hearing the recording. Answering a multiple choice question after listening to the recording by choosing multiple options. A recording transcript will show up with gaps. You have to type in the missing words after hearing the recording. You have to choose the paragraph that summarizes the recording in the best possible manner. Hear the recording and then choose the option that is the answer. Hear the recording and choose the missing word which will complete it. View the recording transcript on your screen while hearing to the audio. Identify the words which are different on the screen. Type the sentence after listening to the recording. 
You will have 10 minutes for answering this question. You will have to answer quickly after hearing the audio. You can only hear the audio recording once. You can only hear the recording once.  You can choose only a single option. You will get a list of options at hand. The last word is blanked out with a beep. You can only listen to the recording once. Type your answer into the response box given. You can only hear the audio once. 


Recommended Reads:

PTE EligibilitySyllabus For PTE ExamPTE Exam Dates
PTE Test Centers in IndiaPTE Scores & PTE ResultsPTE Accepted Universities in USA

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Guides for PTE Listening Section 

Here is a section-wise guide that you can use- 

Summarize Spoken Text

  1. One of the biggest PTE listening summary tips is to ensure that you include the main and supporting ideas in your response. 
  2. Note down all these points while listening to the recording. 
  3. Check your punctuation, spelling, and grammar carefully. 

Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers

  1. Take down the key points while hearing the recording. 
  2. Read the question carefully. 
  3. Use your notes to choose the correct option. 
  4. Note things like locations, timelines, events, etc. since you will have to answer with multiple choices. 
  5. Go by the meanings of options and not just because they are similar to some keywords. 

Fill in the Blanks

  1. Skim through the content before the recording. You will have 7 seconds for this purpose. 
  2. Try to then get the total idea about what you hear. 
  3. Look for proper nouns and those repeated in the text. 
  4. Write the words that you hear in your booklet for future reference. 

Highlight Correct Summary

  1. One of the biggest PTE listening highlight correct summary tips is to keep taking notes. Match them to the summary thereafter. 
  2. Avoid reading the options while listening. Write down the core ideas that you hear. 
  3. Read the options later and match them to your notes. 

Multiple Choice, Single Answer

  1. Focus on the information that you actually require. 
  2. The core component of the question will make it clear as to what you have to find. 
  3. You may have to find the core point, supporting details, the purpose of the speaker or sentence or an inference. 

Select Missing Word

  1. There are 3-5 options for responses in this section. Only one is correct. 
  2. Click on the correct option at the end of the recording. 
  3. The next one will only play upon clicking Next. You will have some time to plan your answer. 
  4. For changing your answer, click again for de-selecting the same. Then click the option which is correct. 

Highlight Incorrect Words

  1. Swiftly read the transcript before putting your focus on the core words. 
  2. You can skim through in the 10 seconds before the beginning of the audio. 
  3. Emphasize words that contain information and decide on the basic topic. 
  4. Follow the text while listening with your cursor. Click on words sounding different from the one you see on your screen. 

Write from Dictation 

  1. Type as many correct words as possible into the response box. 
  2. Maintain the proper order in this section. 
  3. You will get points for each correct word. 
  4. If you are not sure about the order, use your grammatical knowledge to decide the same. 

The PTE listening score calculation takes all these eight question types into account. Make sure that you prioritize PTE listening time management skills and keep a calm head overall.

Know More About PTE:

PTE Exam DurationPTE Exam Preparation
PTE Exam Accepted CountriesHow to prepare PTE exam at home


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Frequently Asked Questions

How to improve listening skills in PTE?

You should always try and focus on the core points of whatever you hear and the keywords. Make a habit of jotting down main points is possible while listening. You should close your eyes and focus on the audio, shutting out everything else. Focus on repeated words and themes mentioned in the audio clippings.

How many questions are there in PTE listening?

There are 8 types of questions asked in the PTE Listening section. The entire section will take you around 30-43 minutes on average. The questions revolve around audio or video clips which automatically play as you switch from one question to another.

How much time is given for PTE listening summary?

There will be 10 minutes given to you for the summary. This summary has to be in 50-70 words. The audio may play for roughly 60-90 seconds in total. Make sure that you maximize your 10 minutes in hand. There is a word counter at the bottom to help you stay on track. You can only hear the audio recording once.

How much time should I take for the listening task of PTE?

The average time taken is 30-43 minutes for the listening task. It has a total of eight question types. You should aim for 30-35 minutes at the most. It is better to keep some time in hand in order to avoid last-minute rushes. Keep a cool head and focus on optimizing the time you have in hand.

How to calculate the listening score in PTE?

The listening score in PTE is calculated on the basis of your performance in the eight tasks that you have to complete. These tasks are individually evaluated before being taken into account and providing the final score in this section. The total time given to candidates is 30-43 minutes.

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Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert


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