PTE

About PTE

PTE Academic assesses real-life, academic English, so you will hear excerpts from lectures and view graphs and charts. You will hear a range of accents in the test, from British and American to non-native speakers and exposed to the type of accents you will encounter in everyday life. To complete a PTE Academic test, you will need to attend a secure Pearson test centre. You will be using a computer and headset to listen to, read and respond to questions.

There are three main parts to the test namely speaking and writing (collectively), listening and reading over a 3 hour session. There is an optional 10-minute break between the reading and listening parts. During the test, you will find twenty different question formats, ranging from multiple choices through to essay writing and interpreting information.

Test format

During the three-hour test session, there are three main parts to the test: Speaking and Writing (integrated), Listening and Reading. An optional 10-minute break between the reading and listening parts can be availed.

The time given to this section is 47-55 minutes.

  • Personal introduction

    The personal introduction is an opportunity for you to give your selected institutions some information about yourself. You will have 25 seconds to read the prompt and prepare your response, and then 30 seconds to record your response. This item is not scored, but will be sent together with your score report to the institutions selected by you. You are only able to record your answer once.

  • Read aloud

    You need to read a written text aloud. The recording status box displays a countdown until the microphone opens. You have 40 seconds to prepare. You get maximum 40 seconds to read and record the text. You hear a short tone. After the tone, start speaking immediately. Do not start speaking before the microphone opens because your voice will not be recorded. You are expected to speak clearly and naturally.
    Finish speaking before the progress bar reaches the end. The word “Recording“ changes to “Completed“. You are only able to record your response once.
    TIP: If you remain silent for longer than 3 seconds, the recording will stop, and your response will be submitted.

  • Repeat sentence

    You need to repeat the sentence you hear. The audio begins to plays automatically. When the audio finishes, the microphone opens and the recording status box shows “Recording“. Speak into the microphone immediately (there is no short tone) and repeat exactly what you heard. The sentence is generally 10-15 words long. You should speak complete sentence clearly. Finish speaking before the progress bar reaches the end. The word “Recording“ changes to “Completed“. You are not able to replay the audio. You are only able to record your response once.

  • Describe image

    You need to describe an image. You are shown 05-07 images of different types one after the other. You get 25 seconds to study the image and prepare your response. The images vary from maps, pie graphs, bar graphs, Venn diagrams, processes, flowcharts, random scenes. You hear a short tone. After the tone, start speaking immediately. You will be able to see the image also while recording your response. Do not start speaking before the microphone opens because your voice will not be recorded. You need to speak on the essential points of the image within 40 seconds. Finish speaking before the progress bar reaches the end. The word “Recording“ changes to “Completed“. You are only able to record your response once.

  • Re-tell lecture

    You need to re-tell what you heard. The audio begins to play automatically. You may also see an image related to the audio. The audio is about 60-90 seconds long. After the audio finishes, you have 10 seconds to prepare. The recording status box displays a countdown until the microphone opens. You hear a short tone. After the tone, start speaking immediately. Do not start speaking before the microphone opens because your voice will not be recorded. You get 40 seconds to record the lecture. Finish speaking before the progress bar reaches the end. The word “Recording“ changes to “Completed“. You are only able to record your response once. While the audio is playing, you can take notes on the pad/ note-board provided.

  • Answer short question

    You need to reply to the question in one or a few words. The audio begins to play automatically. You may also get an image to be answered. The questions generally refer to some vocabulary item of English language. And at times, one may get a question that seem to be of general knowledge but actually this will be language-related question only. When the audio finishes, the microphone opens and the recording status box shows Recording. Speak into the microphone immediately (there is no short tone) and answer the question with one or a few words. You should speak clearly. Finish speaking before the progress bar reaches the end. The word “Recording“ changes to “Completed“. You are not able to replay the audio. You are only able to record your response once.

  • Summarize written text

    You need to write a summary of the text in one sentence. You see a passage of around 200-250 words length. You get 10 minutes to write your summary. Make sure to include the main points of the reading passage in a full, single sentence of no more than 75 words. Therefore, it is very important to be very highly conscious of punctuation marks like Full Stop ( . ), Exclamation ( ! ) and Question Mark ( ? ) since these three are used to end a sentence. The Word Count at the bottom of the screen displays the number of words you write. There are also cut, copy and paste buttons which you may use while constructing your summary. But your response is judged on the quality of your paraphrasing/summarising the points not just cut-copy-paste response.

  • Essay

    You need to write a 200-300 word argumentative essay in response to a prompt. You have 20 minutes to write your essay. The Word Count at the bottom of the screen counts the number of words you write. Make sure to write a minimum of 200 words, but no more than 300 words. There are also cut, copy and paste buttons which you may choose to use while constructing your response.

Part 2 you includes testing your reading skills. This single- timed section contains 15-20 independent and integrated skills items, depending on the combination of items in a given test. Different response formats are designed to test your ability to read and write information as asked for in specific question-types provided. Being an integrated skill test, one item type in this part of the test assesses writing skills also.

  • Multiple choice, choose single answer

    You need to read the passage and answer the multiple-choice question. You need to read a passage around 150 words long. There will be one question on the passage with multiple options (generally four) but only one is correct. To select an option click on it using the left button on your mouse. If you wish to change your answer, click on the option again to deselect it or click on a different option. The option you select is highlighted in yellow.

  • Multiple choice, choose multiple answers

    You need to read the passage and answer the multiple-choice question. There is more than one correct response. You will need to read a passage around 200 words long. There will be a question on the passage with multiple options given. You need to select all the correct options which are more than one. You will have the option to change your options also. The options you select are highlighted in yellow.

  • Re-order paragraphs

    You need to restore the original order of the text by selecting text boxes and dragging them across the screen. You will see 05-06 short paragraphs (generally a sentence) placed in random order. You are expected to re-arrange those paragraphs in the correct order by dragging the boxes to the right. You will have the option to change the sequence as many times you want.

  • Reading: Fill in the blanks

    You need to drag and drop words across the screen to correctly fill in the gaps in the text. There is a passage of around 50-70 words with some words missing. You have a list of words in the blue box that you can use to fill the gaps in the text. There are more words than gaps, so you will not use all the words provided. Simply drag the word to the blank. You can change your words as many times you want.

  • Reading & writing: Fill in the blanks

    You need to select the most appropriate words from a drop-down list to restore the text. There is a passage of around 70-100 words with blanks. For each blank, there is a drop-down box with four options to choose from. Just click on the correct option. You can change your answer as many times as you want.

Part 3 consists of questions that are based on audio clips which begin to play automatically. You hear each audio clip only once, so listen carefully. You are allowed to take notes. This section has around 17-20 questions of various types.

  • Summarize spoken text

    You hear an audio recording and need to write a 50-70 words summary on what you heard. You have 10 minutes to write your summary. The audio begins to play automatically. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once. The audio plays for 60-90 seconds. You are expected to write the summary- in no more than 70 words - of the audio including the most essential components of the talk.

  • Multiple choice, choose multiple answer

    You need to listen to the recording and answer the multiple-choice question. There is more than one correct response. The audio of 60-90 seconds duration begins to play automatically. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once. You see a question with multiple options based on the talk even before the audio plays. Select the correct options which are more than one. You can change your options as many times you wish to. The options you select are highlighted in yellow.

  • Fill in the blanks

    You are presented with a transcript of the audio recording. However, some words are missing. Restore the transcript by typing in the missing words. You see a passage on the screen with some blanks in it. The audio plays automatically. You will hear the words to be filled in in the audio. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once. You need to type in the missing word. Ideally, you should first write the words on the notepad, then type the words in the blanks to avoid any error of judgement.

  • Highlight correct summary

    You need to select the summary that best matches the recording. On the screen, you see four options that are the summaries of the audio even before the audio begins to play automatically. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once. There are generally four options but only one is correct. The option you select is highlighted in yellow.

  • Multiple choice, choose single answer

    You need to listen to the recording and answer the multiple-choice question. You see a question with multiple options (generally four) even before the audio begins to play automatically. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once. You need to select the one correct option for the answer.The option you select is highlighted in yellow.

  • Select missing word

    Here, the last word or group of words in the recording has been replaced by a beep. Select the most appropriate option to complete the recording. You see 03-04 options − one word or a group of words - on the screen even before the audio of around 30-40 seconds duration begins to play automatically. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once. You need to select the correct option. The options are the concluding part of the spoken sentence. The option you select is highlighted in yellow.

  • Highlight incorrect words

    You are presented with a transcript of the audio recording. However, the transcript contains some errors. While listening and reading, you need to select the words in the text that differ from what the speaker says. The text appears on the screen even before the audio (30-50 seconds long) begins to plays automatically. You need to click on the words that are spoken incorrect. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once. The words you select are highlighted in yellow.

  • Write from dictation

    You hear a short sentence. Type the sentence into the response box at the bottom of the screen. You hear a sentence which you are expected to type in the given space immediately after you hear it. The sentence is generally of 10-15 words long. The audio begins to play automatically. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once.

Scores

PTE results are reported on a 9-band scale.

PTE results are designed to be simple and easy to understand. They are reported as band scores on a scale from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest).

The PTE scales are as follows :

Speaking and Writing (77–93 minutes)
Item type Time allowed Number of items Scoring Communicative skills, enabling skills and other traits scored
Read aloud 30-35 minutes 6-7 Partial credit Reading and speaking Oral fluency, pronunciation Content
Repeat sentence 30-35 minutes 10-12 Partial credit Listening and speaking Oral fluency, pronunciation Content
Describe image 30-35 minutes 6-7 Partial credit Speaking Oral fluency, pronunciation Content
Re-tell lecture 30-35 minutes 3-4 Partial credit Listening and speaking Oral fluency, pronunciation Content
Answer short question 30-35 minutes 10-12 Correct/incorrect Listening and speaking Vocabulary
Summarize written text 20-30 minutes 2-3 Partial credit Reading and writing Grammar, vocabulary Content, form
Write essay 20-40 minutes 1-2 Partial credit Writing Grammar, vocabulary, spelling, written discourse Content; development, structure and coherence form, general linguistic range
Reading (32–41 minutes)
Reading and writing: Fill in the blanks 32-41 minutes 5-6 Partial credit (for each correctly completed blank) Reading and writing
Multiple-choice, choose multiple answers 32-41 minutes 2-3 Partial credit (for each correct response. Points deducted for incorrect options chosen) Reading
Re-order paragraphs 32-41 minutes 2-3 Partial credit (for each correctly ordered, adjacent pair) Reading
Reading: Fill in the blanks 32-41 minutes 4-5 Partial credit (for each correctly completed blank) Reading
Multiple-choice, choose single answer 32-41 minutes 2-3 Correct/incorrect Reading
Listening (45–57 minutes)
Summarize spoken text 20-30 minutes 2-3 Partial credit Listening and writing Grammar, vocabulary, spelling Content, form
Multiple–choice, choose multiple answers 23-28 minutes 2-3 Partial credit (for each correct response. Points deducted for incorrect options chosen) Listening
Fill in the blanks 23-28 minutes 2-3 Partial credit (each correct word spelled correctly) Listening and writing
Highlight correct summary 23-28 minutes 2-3 Correct / incorrect Listening and reading
Multiple-choice, choose single answer 23-28 minutes 2-3 Correct / incorrect Listening
Select missing word 23-28 minutes 2-3 Correct / incorrect Listening
Highlight incorrect words 23-28 minutes 2-3 Partial credit (for each word. Points deducted for incorrect options chosen) Listening and reading
Write from dictation 23-28 minutes 3-4 Partial credit (for each word spelled correctly) Listening and writing