A Complete Overview of PTE Exam

A Complete Overview of PTE Exam

Updated on 21 January, 2022

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

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PTE or Pearson Test of English is a standardized English language test that assesses the level of English proficiency of non-native English speakers. The convenient PTE exam process makes work, study, or visa applications simpler and is accepted by governments and universities worldwide. 

The goal of the PTE results is to prove whether a student is proficient enough to attend college in or migrate to an English-speaking country.

There are no PTE exam eligibility criteria in terms of age or academic qualification. It can be taken by any non-native English speaker irrespective of age or educational qualification. Applicants aged below 16 years need to submit a parental consent form at the time of registration. The consent form can be downloaded from the official website of the PTE Academic. There is also no limit on the number of times an applicant can take the PTE. Candidates can take the exam with a gap of 5 days. 

PTE is accepted by countries like Australia, Canada, Germany, Russia, Ireland, New Zealand, the USA, and the UK. The governments of these countries rely on PTE scores as general eligibility for visa and immigration services to non-native English speakers. It is trusted by over 3,000 universities and colleges worldwide to grant admission to non-native English speakers from all over the world. 

The test is taken on a computer in a secure test center environment and there are 6 test levels. PTE Academic measures your English speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in a single test. It is the only computerized test where all the sections of writing, speaking, reading, and listening are tested within 3 hours. Unlike IELTS or TOEFL, PTE applicants don’t need to appear for the face-to-face interview for the speaking section. 

Applicants can check their results within 48 hours of taking the examination by visiting the official website. Applicants preparing for the test should know everything about the examination to prepare better. 


Importance of PTE examination

A good PTE score is required to be eligible for immigration, study, and work in an English-speaking country. Language skills are important to survive, communicate, learn, and mix in an English-speaking environment. 

  • PTE test scores are accepted globally: PTE examination scores are accepted globally. There are more than 600 organizations and 50 countries worldwide that allow immigration and study abroad programs with the help of PTE scores. This opens up various opportunities for non-native English speakers to enroll in overseas education, settle down, or work in English-speaking countries.
  • PTE test scores help in admission worldwide: A certified non-native English speaker is preferred by leading business schools, colleges, and universities worldwide. Meritorious students from a non-English speaking country can easily enroll in a reputed university in an English-speaking country with the help of a PTE examination score. The score and eligibility requirements vary with the rank and repute of the university. The PTE score requirements of the top 100 universities will be higher. Applicants without English as their first or native language find it difficult to communicate in an environment where the medium of communication and instruction is English. It is difficult for them to study in English. Hence, the PTE examination is very important for non-native English speakers.
  • PTE exam scores help in applying for Visa: English language proficiency is an important selection criterion for  visa and immigration agencies of countries like Australia, the UK, the USA, and Canada. The language test helps them screen and select applications easily. Visas for work, study, PR, and immigration are awarded only to those with a valid English language test.
  • Global employers accept PTE exam scores: Countries like Germany, the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and Ireland have a robust job market. However, PTE scores are an important prerequisite for international job seekers set by employers in these countries. Employees must be able to communicate in English to work in an English-speaking environment and to be understood by everyone else around.

Types of PTE exam

There are four test types in PTE – writing, reading, speaking, and listening. The goal is to check and measure an applicant’s expertise in the English language. 

PTE Writing and Speaking: The PTE Writing and Speaking section is the first part of the examination. It lasts 77-93 minutes and includes 6 tasks. It is an integrated as well as an independent section since the tasks test both speaking and writing skills. The writing section tests writing skills in terms of pronunciation, grammar, fluency, vocabulary, the flow of words, sentence construction, etc. Similarly, the speaking section tests how well you can listen, speak, and write in an academic environment. The tasks evaluate how well you repeat the sentence and summarize a passage after reading or listening to it. It starts with a personal introduction and is followed by questions like read aloud, repeat, describe, re-tell, and restructure.

PTE Reading: The reading section also tests writing skills and is around 31-40 minutes long. It has 5 different types of questions related to academic modules and real-life situations. A passage is displayed on the screen and applicants need to answer questions like MCQs and fill-in-the-blanks related to it. Apart from reading, writing, and comprehension, it also tests the ability to retain information from the passage. 

PTE Listening: The PTE Listening Section is a 45-57 minutes long examination and has 8 question types. Candidates are tested on how well they understand English and comprehend instructions. It tests the ability to retain information from hearing. The process includes recorded audio and questions like MCQs, summarizing, fill-in-the-blanks, missing words, and selecting the correct answer.

PTE exam eligibility criteria: The PTE has no official eligibility criteria and is intended for non-native English speakers planning to get admission to academic institutions in English-speaking countries. There is no minimum educational qualification required to take the examination. However, applicants for PTE need to have a valid national ID to register and appear for the examination. It can be a  passport, any national photo ID proof, or a military identification card. The documents for PTE exam registration should also be carried on the day of the examination and they should be valid till the day of the test. 

Applicants must have an international credit or debit card for payment via an online payment gateway. There is no maximum or minimum age limit.

How to register for the PTE examination? 

PTE examination registration can be done via the website, email, and phone. Indian students can register by phone by contacting the test center at 00080 0440 2020. However, online registration is the most popular and convenient way, here are the steps to register for the test online:

  • Visit the official website of the PTE examination.
  • Create your test taker account by providing personal details.
  • Once you complete the PTE registration process, you will receive your login details like username and password within 48 hours via email.
  • The next step is to locate your nearest PTE test center.
  • Select the right date and time slot to appear for the exam.
  • The page will be redirected to the payment gateway. Pay the registration fee and confirm your PTE exam booking.
  • A confirmation email will be sent to your email address.

What is the PTE examination fee? 

The standard PTE Academic exam fee is Rs 13,700, with additional rescheduling and score check fees. Applicants have to pay a late fee if they book the test within 48 hours before the test. The fee amount keeps changing, so it is recommended to check the PTE official website before paying. 

PTE important dates 2021

PTE exams are conducted around five times a year. November, December, February, May, and June are some of the prime months when PTE exam dates are scheduled. Here are the dates for 2021.

  • 8th February 2021
  • 28th March 2021
  • 23rd May 2021
  • 20th June 2021
  • 10th October 2021
  • 14th November 2021

PTE exam format and syllabus

The PTE examination has four test sections that measure the ability of non-native English speakers to write, speak, read, and listen. The examination has 20 unique questions which test the writing and speaking skills together. The reading and listening skills are tested separately. Below is the complete format and syllabus of each of the sections so that you can prepare well. 

Speaking and Writing section: Format and syllabus

The speaking and writing test is taken together in the PTE Academic examination. It requires 77-93 minutes and has 6 tasks. Here’s out the syllabus and format: 

  • Personal Introduction: A total of 55 seconds are allotted of which 25 seconds are for the prompt and 30 seconds to record the answers.
  • Read Aloud: 30-40 seconds are taken to read out a given passage of around 60 words.
  • Repeat Sentence: To read out and repeat the sentence, 3-9 seconds for prompt and 15 seconds to record the answer.
  • Describe Image: 25 seconds are offered to study and understand a given image and describe it.
  • Re-Tell Lecture: 90 seconds for prompt length, 10 seconds to prepare, and 40 seconds to answer.
  • Answer Short Question: Around 3-9 seconds are granted for prompt, 10 seconds to answer each question.
  • Summarize Written Text: 10 minutes to summarize a passage of around 300 words.
  • Essay: 20 minutes is given to write the answer to the text of 2-3 sentences.

PTE Reading section: format and syllabus

  • Reading & Writing: Fill in the Blanks and read 300 words of text
  • Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer: Read 300 words of text
  • Re-order Paragraphs: Read 150 words of text
  • Fill in the Blanks: Read 80 words of text
  • Multiple Choice, Single Answer: Read 300 words of text.

PTE Listening: syllabus and format

  • Summarize Spoken Text: 60-90 seconds to retain 50-70 words, 10 minutes to write
  • Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers: 40- 90 seconds
  • 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 from hearing the dictation.

PTE examination band score

The PTE exam score ranges between 10-90. All the sections of the examination have separate scores that are added together to get a final band or score in PTE. Since it is an English language proficiency test, factors like grammar, fluency, pronunciation, vocabulary, comprehension skills, retention skills are important to get a good score. 

PTE score rangePTE score statement
83-85Very good
74-84Very good

How to get the results of the PTE examination? 

To check your PTE results and scores you need to simply sign in to your myPTE account which was created for registration. You can see your digital score report and share it with your chosen institutions. You can do it straight away or later. Results are available online within 5 working days from the test. 

PTE important examination tips

The PTE examination is not very easy and it requires applicants to prepare for all the sections equally. Follow the tips below to get the ideal score in just one attempt.

  • Understand the format very well: The test patterns for each of the four sections are very different. Writing and speaking have different types of questions. It is important to have a concrete idea of the format, pattern, and types of questions you can expect on the day of the examination. You can practice well only when you know the pattern.
  • Practice all the tasks: Repeat sentence, describe image, re-tell lecture, answer short question, summarize written text, essay, fill in the blanks, multiple-choice questions, re-order paragraphs, multiple choice fill the blanks, highlight the correct summary, and select missing word – Practice all the types of tasks.
  • Ensure the correct grammar: You cannot make any grammatical errors while writing. Make sure you know your tenses very well. Submit grammatically correct tasks.
  • Have a good vocabulary: When you are eager to settle down in a country where the only language is English, you need to know a lot of English words. You should know many English words just like your native language. You need to have a pool of English words and not some limited number of terms just to get your work done.
  • Pronunciation is very important: Start speaking and listening to English every day. You usually pronounce the way you hear and write the way you pronounce. You might end up writing the wrong spelling.
  • Practice spellings: You cannot make spelling mistakes. Avoid long and complicated words if you are unsure of the correct spelling, but do not make mistakes.
  • Time yourself: Your time is divided into thinking, preparing answers, and writing. If you don’t manage your time, you will have to submit an incomplete test.
  • Listen actively: Learning to listen to English songs and focus on the lyrics with attention
  • Understand the main message of the passage and focus on keywords to find the correct answer.
  • Make use of the rule of elimination: Narrow down your options as much as possible
  • Follow all the instructions: This is a way of testing your skills too. It evaluates your ability to understand English instructions.


The expectations are usually high for non-native English speakers looking to study, settle, and work in an English-speaking country. PTE is a globally accepted English language proficiency test. It is a completely computer-based examination. Keep the tips and format of the examination in mind to score more than 80. For more information related to the PTE exam, consult the experts at upGrad Abroad.

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