PTE Test Format

PTE Test Format

The Pearson Test of English is growing in popularity as a computer based English language test. This testing format’s popularity is due to its unbiased method that utilizes an artificial intelligence (AI) to grade the test based on an algorithm system. The PTE replaces all human involvement in the process. 

For those who wish to certify their English skills, PTE is highly recommended by many universities world-wide and approved by the Australian Department of Immigration. 

PTE’s computer based structure expands its availability with frequent testing times throughout the month.  No matter where you are in the world you can schedule a time that fits into your calendar.

The entire PTE test will take you over three hours and is broken down into three sections. The first section focuses on speaking and writing.  The second section is reading and the last section is listening.  

Let’s delve a little deeper into each section.

Section 1: Speaking and Writing Section (77-93 minutes)

Spoken and written English will be assessed during this portion of the test. It will include the following areas:

  • Personal Intro
  • Read Aloud 
  • Repeat Sentences
  • Describe Images 
  • Answer Short Questions
  • Summarize Written Text
  • Retell Lecture
  • Essay

For the written portions, pay close attention to grammar and spelling. The essay must be between 200-300 words. 

The Describe Images, Retell Lecture, and Essay portions take up most of this section’s testing, so plan your time accordingly.

Section 2: Reading (32-41 minutes) 

Section 2: Reading (32-41 minutes)

This section tests your reading skills. It is a single timed section that provides 15-20 questions.  Both your individual and integrated skills will be tested.

Reading and writing abilities are tested in this section. Assessing your writing skills is a vital part of determining your integrated skills.

The following are the five question categories given in this section. 

  • Multiple Choice Questions/Single Answer
  • Multiple Choice Questions/Multiple Answers 
  • Reorder Paragraphs
  • Reading – Fill in the Blanks
  • Reading and Writing – Fill in the Blanks 

These are a series of differently formatted questions to determine your reading comprehension.

The Reorder Paragraphs and Fill in the Blanks categories are the majority of the work, as well as the majority of your final score.  Plan your time wisely when you reach this section of the testing.

Section 3: Listening (45- 57minutes)

Section 3: Listening (45- 57minutes)

PTE Academic focuses on integrated skills, therefore, this section will assess your ability to listen, read and write. The multiple question categories here will test up to 2 skills each.

In this section, PTE offers a particularly unique feature.  Test takers are exposed to several English accents while navigating the listening tasks. This offers the test-takers control in choosing their preferred accent of the language. 

There are eight question categories in this section broken down as follows:

  • Summarize the Spoken Text 
  • Multiple Choice Questions/Multiple Answers
  • Fill in the Blanks 
  • Highlight Correct Summary
  • Multiple Choice Questions/Single Answer
  • Select the Missing Word
  • Highlight the Incorrect Word
  • Write from Dictation

Listening comprehension is assessed in this section. So focus on your responses while listening carefully. 

This section has a series of audio and video clips that are generally between 60-90 seconds in length. For this section each clip is played once.  So take notes to prepare for your answers for the 10 minutes you will have to write 50-60 words responses. 

Summarize the Spoken Text, Write from Dictation, and Fill in the Blanks take the most of your time in this section, so be smart with time management. 

How Long Before I Receive My Results?

You will be notified within three to five days that your results are available. There are times it is available the next day.  There is no other testing resource that is as fast as PTE. 

Your PTE Score

PTE scores are marked against the Global Scale of English. When you receive your score you will find it below your picture ID and personal details. First your all over score will be listed, followed by your skills profile.

Your successful all over score is your entry into the university of your choice, or the country that you plan to relocate. Your skills profile identifies your performance in each section. 

If you achieved your goal all over score then having clarity in each area of success shows you what a great job you did in preparation for the PTE. If your score did not meet your goal, now you can identify which areas you need to improve before you retake the test. 

How Can I Prepare?

There are many sites that offer practice mock exams.  Not all sites are created equal. We recommend Super PTE.   

Super PTE offers all test takers practice mock tests like other sites.  What stands out with PTE is their Real Exam Question Bank. They offer four packages to access this valuable tool. 

These packages range both in time accessibility, materials and support that will give you the best possible chance to score at least 79 or higher.  In addition to their Real Exam Question Bank, Super PTE offers a video course to ease the test taking process, mock tests and live support, too

Their focus is on practice as the most important ingredient for success in PTE Academic. Super PTE’s priority is for their students to achieve their goals in the best way possible.

Super PTE is not trying to sell gimmicks or shortcuts. Those will not give you the success you seek.  Honest work and practice (over and over again) and guidance throughout the exam is what will enable you to pass the PTE Academics.


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