PTE Test Format – All You Need To Know

pte test format - all you need to know

What is The PTE?

The Pearson Test of English is a computer-based English language test. It is recognized by many universities worldwide, and approved by the Australian Department of Immigration. 

The PTE caters to anyone looking to certify their English skills, whether it is for the purposes of studying abroad or even migration in some cases. It’s computer formatted structure means that it is easily accessible. 

It is offered many times throughout the month, making it ideal for anyone in need of flexible scheduling. You can even book a Pearson Test of English just 24 hours in advance. 

The Pearson Test of English is also unique in that as you navigate your listening tasks, you will be exposed to several accents. This prepares test-takers for any direction they choose to take their English. 

Related Article: PTE: Summarize Written Text; What it is, and How to Improve it

Breaking Down The PTE Format:

The Pearson Test of English is conducted for over three hours. Over these three hours, the test is broken up into three sections: speaking and writing, reading, and listening. The sections are divided with suggested time frames to help you to better pace yourself and use your three hours as best you can. 

The three sections, and their content, are as follows:

Speaking and writing

Time allocated: 77-93 minutes

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

What They’re Looking For:

This category assesses your speaking and writing skills. While all your answers are important, this category focuses on grammar and spelling. So pay close attention to both. 

You will be allocated between 77-93 minutes for this section, depending on how you choose to divide your time. 

The essays are expected to be between 200-300 words. It is recommended to focus your time on the describe images, retell lecture, and essay sections, as they tend to take up the most time.


Time allocated: 32-41minutes

    • Multiple choice/single answer
    • Multiple choice/multiple answers 
    • Reorder paragraphs
    • Reading/Fill in the blanks
    • Reading and writing/Fill in the blanks 

What They’re Looking For:

In the reading category, you will be assessed with a series of differently formatted questions. Different categories of multiple-choice questions allow the test to assess your reading comprehension, as well as reordering paragraphs and filling in the blanks. 

You will be allocated between 32-41 minutes for this section, depending on how you choose to divide your time.

The ‘reorder paragraphs’ and the ‘fill in the blanks’ hold the bulk of the work of this section, they also account for the bulk of the scores. 


Time allocated: 45- 57minutes

    • Summarize the spoken text 
    • Multiple choice questions/multiple answers
    • Fill in the blanks 
    • Highlight correct summary
    • Multiple choice questions/single answers
    • Select the missing word
    • Highlight the incorrect word
    • Write from dictation

What They’re Looking For:

The listening category is made up of a series of audio and video clips. The clips are generally between 60-90 seconds long. For this section, you will be played a clip, then given ten minutes to write between 50-60 words. 

They will be assessing your listening comprehension. With that in mind, this section is the time to focus on your answers and listen very carefully. You will need to take notes, as the clips are only played once. 

Summarize spoken text, write from dictation, and fill in the blanks take the most concentration in this section, so allocate your time accordingly. 

When Will I Get My Results?

The Pearson Test of English is one of the fastest test results you will ever receive. The results will be available to you within three to five days, it has been known to come, even the next day. This allows you to quickly move on to your next steps and utilise your PTE results to the fullest. 

How Can I Prepare?

Preparing for the Pearson Test of English is simple. Once you have broken down the sections, as we have above, you are able to assess your points of strength and weaknesses. 

There are many places that you can find mock exams. Mock exams will help you get specific with the places you need to improve upon. You can take as many mock exams as you need until you feel confident in your ability. 

You can also retake the PTE test as many times as you like. If you are unhappy with your results, you can schedule a test for the next convenient time for you. Tests are scheduled between 6-8 times per month, so you have many chances to achieve the results you are looking for. 

Your Results Break-Down

PTE scores are marked against the Global Scale of English. This is what makes it so versatile when it comes to being recognized by so many governments and institutions. 

When you receive your score the first thing you will notice is your picture ID and personal details. Scrolling down you will find your all over score, and then your skills profile.

Your all over score is what will get you entrance into the university, or country, you are looking to study in or locate to. This all over score is very important and is what you are ultimately looking for.

Below it you will find your skills profile. The skills profile is a break down of your performance. This is helpful for a number of reasons. In the event that you achieved your goal score (congratulations!), it can be very satisfying to see where your hard work paid off. 

If, however, you did not receive the score you were aiming for, the skills profile allows you to assess your areas that need improvement. Once you have assessed your ‘need for improvement’ areas, you can focus on them specifically, before retaking the test at your nearest convenience. 


Where Can I Take The Pearson Test of English?

The test can be sat all around the world. From Australia to the Middle East, Sri Lanka to Spain; the PTE is not only accepted by governments and institutions around the world, but also distributed, and sat, globally. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Let's begin!



Receive Expert video lectures and Mock Tests in a real PTE Academic software

Please check your email!

Don't miss the FREE PTE Score Boosters Book!
20 Lessons
  • Proven strategies and guidelines from PTE experts
  • Simple Tips and Tricks to quickly boost your score
  • How to answer difficult questions with ease and confidence
  • Most important things to take care of in different sections
  • Lots more...
Enter your email to download the FREE PTE Score Boosters Book right now!
Thank you!
Just a moment...

Enter your email to download the book!

Your email is safe. We will only use it to share PTE information with you.

Start your FREE PTE Course!

Receive Expert Lectures and Mock Tests

Take this FREE Course to discover how we help our students achieve their target score in PTE Academic. Most of our students achieve their goal in 30 days of study!

Your email is safe! We will only use it to share PTE study materials and course information.