PTE Test Format: Sections & Preparation Plan

PTE Test Format: Sections & Preparation Plan

We all are familiar with IELTS, TOEFL, or SAT. However, relatively recently, there appeared a new player in the game โ€“ PTE.

The picture contains key facts about PTE test of English.

PTE stands for Pearson Test of English. Pearson PLC Group introduced it in 2009 for quick and efficient examination of English language communication abilities.

This test evaluates the language skills required for applying to university, a job, or moving abroad.

In this article, you will:

  • get an idea of the PTE exam structure and how to go through it
  • find some tips on successful test passing.

โš ๏ธWarning: all the information refers to PTE Academic!

โ” What Is PTE Test? #English Academic Format & Goals

PTE Academic is created for non-native speakers who:

  1. Want to study at the university in an English-speaking country
  2. Want to get a visa for a job overseas
  3. Plan to migrate somewhere abroad

The test taker should be 16 or older to participate.

The online format makes this exam extremely convenient. You can take it at any moment throughout the year in the most suitable PTE centers.

No need to meet face-to-face with an examiner ๐Ÿ‘‰ no social anxiety. Just focus on the tasks!

After passing the test, you’ll get the assessment of:

  1. reading
  2. listening
  3. speaking
  4. writing

Besides, PTE Academic Test Format precisely evaluates these skills:

  • pronunciation
  • vocabulary
  • spelling
  • grammar and oral fluency
  • written discourse

Where Exactly Do They Accept the Scorecard of PTE Academic?

The range is vast: the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and China. There are top-notch universities on the list like Harvard, Yale, Oxford, London School of Business, etc.

We have got a handy website for you! Use this tool to check out all the information concerning the places of acceptance, basing on your own choices.

PTE Test Format

Now that we know who can take PTE Academic test format, its goals, and which institutions accept it, it’s time to learn more.

The PTE has not four sections, like other exams, but three. Let’s look at them closer!

PTE Exam sectionTimePTE Exam PatternSkills
Speaking & Writing77-93 min1. Personal introduction
2. Read aloud
3. Repeat sentence
4. Describe image
5. Re-tell lecture
6. Answer short question
7. Summarize written text
8. Essay (20 mins)

a) Ability to perform spoken English feature in an academic environment
b) Fluency, intonation, pronunciation
c) Use correct grammar and spelling when writing a response
d) Giving an opinion and supporting it with arguments and counterarguments
Reading32-41 min1. Reading & writing: Fill in the blanks
2. Multiple-choice, choose multiple answers
3. Re-order paragraphs
4. Reading: Fill in the blanks
5. Multiple-choice, choose single answer
a) Reading
b) Writing
c) Listening to information provided in English
d) Ability to use contextual and grammatical cues
e) Ability to analyze and interpret data
Listening45-57 min1. Summarize spoken text
2. Multiple-choice, choose multiple answers
3. Fill in the blanks
4. Highlight correct summary
5. Multiple-choice, choose single answer
6. Select missing word
7. Highlight incorrect words
8. Write from dictation
a) Ability to understand, analyze and mix information into the single unity
b) Reproduce the information you hear
c) Get and sum up the key points
d) Ability to listen for and spot the differences between an audio and a script

PTE Exam Format. Advantages & Disadvantages

Pearson Test of English Academic is a relatively new type of language possession testing. And it differs from the exams we are used to, like IELTS or TOEFL.


Look at a more detailed picture of PTE peculiarities, both positive and negative.

Why PTE Academic Is a Blessing

๐ŸŒ Format

The whole procedure is conducted online.

  • You don’t communicate with examiners.
  • The schedule is flexible โ€“ more than 100 centers worldwide.

๐ŸŒ Quickness

Youget your scorecard in less than a week.

  • Suitable for students to send the documents to universities fast.

๐ŸŒ Unbiased assessment

A completely automatic scoring system

  • No chance of getting an unfair result. No human factor!

๐ŸŒ Versatility

Governments and universities from all over the world accept the PTE certificate.

  • It enables numerous opportunities to open up in front of you!

๐ŸŒ Timing

Only 3 hours of showing all your language skills to the machine

  • It is the shortest exam of the most popular ones!

PTE Academic Test Format Dark Sides

๐ŸŒš Not so popular

PTE was launched 12 years ago, which means less trust.

  • Some universities all over the world don’t accept the PTE results.

๐ŸŒš Too true-to-life

Some recordings in the listening section are challenging.

  • Be ready for actual lectures and pieces of speech.

๐ŸŒš Accent issues

There’s a risk of getting a low score if your accent is too strong.

  • The machine assesses your speech, so you need to speak distinctly.

Eventually, there are more pros than cons. That’s why we suggest you moving forward!

PTE Scoring Guide

To pass through the exam successfully, you should be familiar with the PTE exam format scoring system.

We will help to be all armed and ready to fight!

Fasten your seat belts.

Advantages of PTE Scoring System

  • Impartiality. Unlike an assessment made by a human, the automated one performs the perfectness of objectivity. You’ll know for sure that you get your scores for the knowledge.
  • Speed. Technologies make our life easier. Thanks to them, the PTE scorecard can be obtained within 5-7 business days.
The picture contains four advantages of PTE test scoring system.
  • No “transfer of judgment.” Each of your language skills is being assessed separately. It means the scores for writing don’t affect those for speaking, for example.
  • Accuracy. Pearson uses advanced automatic assessment tools elaborated and “trained” only to give the most precise result.

Disadvantages of PTE Scoring System

  • Rigidness. It’s the other side of accuracy because the heartless machine won’t consider anything except your actual knowledge. You must be as precise and specific in your answers as you can.
  • Not a human ear. Before taking the exam, make sure you sound intelligible enough. Despite over 100 accents recognized by the machine, there’s a chance to get a low score for speaking. Pay attention to phonetics, intonation patterns, and speech pace.
The picture contains two disadvantages of PTE test scoring system.

The primary point: assessment of your English skills is wholly automated. The team developed a sophisticated and reliable system to make the process smooth, unbiased, and fast.

๐Ÿงฌ PTE Exam Structure

We got close to the most exciting point!

The exam parts analysis & tips for successful passing of PTE Academic Test. In this paragraph, we will consider every component PTE exam structure more meticulously.

After reading this, you will know all the ins and outs of the PTE Academic test format.

Let’s get it!

PTE Speaking + PTE Writing


Speaking and Writing are combined in this exam? – Yes, they are!

And this is one of PTE’s distinctive features

โณ Approximately 77-93 minutes.

๐Ÿ“ 8 tasks.

1. Personal Introduction. This is a one-minute opportunity to present yourself to those institutions you are applying to. There is just one chance to make a recording!


The recording isn’t used in the overall score. Give brief, precise, but meaningful information about yourself.

  1. Read Aloud. At this point, you’ll have to wait for a sound indicating the mic activation and start reading the text. The time given for this task is 30-40 seconds.


Read all the words given in the text without omissions or replacements.Mind your pronunciation: show your phonetic abilities, intonation patterns, aspiration, etc. No long pauses: the recording will stop if you keep silent for three or more seconds. Punctuation can help you arrange an appropriate intonation pattern.

#fluency #natural speech #pronunciation #the propriety of the content #stress on essential words

  1. Repeat Sentence. The 3-step procedure: you listen to the speaker, then spot the “Recording” caption on the screen and record your answer right away.


No second chance: you can listen to the recording and make your own just once.No haste needed: mind the time given and speak accordingly.Stick to the intonation pattern of the speaker.

#vocabulary #the question type #pronunciation #intonation

  1. Describe Image. First, you should focus your attention on the picture for 25 seconds. After the sound tells you the time is up, speak about what you see in the picture for 40 seconds.


Spot every object in the photo and mention them all.Speak smoothly and confidently.Name everything depicted, elaborate on the details, mix it all into the logical framework.

#smooth speech #details #specifications #logical structure

  1. Re-tell Lecture. Express what you heard in the audio in your own words. Keep track of a countdown on the screen and a signal indicating the start of the record.


The audio is played just once.An erasable board for making notes will be of great use while listening.Make your retelling complete and harmonious.

#fluency #rhythm #logical arrangement #implications

  1. Answer a Short Question. Seems easy: you just have to give a brief answer to the question. The point is that your response should be terse: only one or a few words.


No long pauses: the audio will stop after 3 seconds of silence.Speak to the point: no exceedingly long and sophisticated answer is needed.Respond to the question accurately and precisely.

#short answer #no pauses #accuracy

  1. Summarize Written Text. Witha single sentence!It can turn out a bit challenging to write a max 75-words-summary, but 10 minutes is enough to handle it!


Check out whether your answer comprises only one sentence!The structure of a complex or compound sentence will help you to organize your answer logically.Make sure you reflex the main idea accurately.

#one-sentence structure #correct interpretation #supporting points

  1. Essay. A 200-300-word argumentative essay on a particular topic. You should be focused and concentrated, for there are only 20 minutes to complete it.


First, make a little survey of the topic: spot the keywords and trace the main point.Try to imagine real people’s opinions and their feelings towards the issue.Think of proper arguments and counterarguments, and put them down.

#keywords #the central idea #different opinions #coherence #proper vocabulary #grammatical and spelling correctness

PTE Reading

โณ Approximately 32-40 minutes.

๐Ÿ“ 5 tasks.

  1. Reading & Writing Fill in the Blanks. You get a text with the gaps. Your task is to click the options field and choose the correct word for each sentence.


Go through the text to grasp the whole point.Pay attention to what goes before the gap and after it to make the right choice.

#surrounding context #general text review #grammatical correctness

  1. Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer. After reading a passage, you have to choose all the appropriate answers by clicking on the options field.


Check out all answer options to spot the repeated words โ€“ they hint at the general point.Mind there are not one but several correct answers, highlight all of them.

#repeated words #few suitable responses

  1. Re-order Paragraphs. At this point, you reconstruct the original text from the scatted pieces. There are several fields to drag with a mouse in the proper order.


Skim all of the passages to get a general idea.Trace the very first sentence: usually, it doesn’t start with a form word.

#cohesion #logical order #analysis

  1. Fill in the Blanks. A tricky task with gaps to fill. The point is that not all the words are to be used in the blanks.


Remember the collocations you know with the words given. It will help you to find the matches.Use grammar as a landmark: you can logically understand word compatibility.

#collocations #grammatical combinability

  1. Multiple Choice, Single Answer. Filling the blanks again, but with the only correct response.


Pay attention to the keywords in your task. They will navigate you in the right direction.Don’t leave the gaps empty: choose the option that fits more than others if you are confused.

#keywords #the most likely option #evaluation of the text

PTE Listening

โณ Approximately 45-57 minutes.

๐Ÿ“ 8 tasks.

  1. Summarize Spoken Text. First, listen to the audio that starts automatically. Then, give your 50-70 word gist of it.


Use the erasable digital board to make helpful notes while listening.Define the central idea and several supporting points to get a max score.Once you’ve finished, make a quick revision of your answer’s grammar and spelling.

#comprehensible information #cohesion #correct grammatical usage #proper vocabulary #spelling correctness

  1. Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer. Some information is presented to you in the recording. Your goal is to choose several correct options taking into account what you heard.


Take notes: you’ll have a few seconds to put down some details and nuances. Look for the matching meaning and sense of the given options. Don’t focus on the exact wording.Analyze the whole recording and try to get its point.

#take notes #focus on the meaning #several correct responses

  1. Fill in the Blanks. You will see a recording transcript, but with some words missing. After listening, fill the gaps.


Look through the whole text to get an idea of the message delivered.Use both your head and hands: take notes while the recording is on!

#general review #take notes #put down the missing words

  1. Highlight Correct Summary. This task aims to choose the gist of the passage you hear just once.


Don’t do everything at the same time! Listen to the recording first, then put down some valuable details, and then get to the summaries.Compare your notes with the content of the summaries and choose the most fitting one.

#comprehend and analyze info #take notes #find matches for the notes

  1. Multiple Choice, Single Answer. Only one correct answer to a multiple-choice question about a text you’ve heard on the recording.


Analyze the question wording and spot guiding keywords there. Make the benefit of the few seconds before the audio starts to play. Get acquainted with the question and answer options.

#leading cause #aspects #purpose #pre-reading

  1. Select Missing Word. You won’t hear the last word of the sentences on the audio. Your task is to choose the proper word from the option field.


Mind that only one choice is correct in this item type.Keep track of what you select: you can change your mind with the “De-select” button.

#surrounding context #one correct option #ability to predict

  1. Highlight Incorrect Words. There is one chance for you to compare the script to the audio and spot the discrepancies.


Make a quick pre-reading: run through the text before the recording begins to play.Define the general idea while making the previous step.Carefully trace the text while the audio is on to find out all the differences.

#pre-reading #focus on keywords #the central point

  1. Write From Dictation. It’s the last assignment where you are supposed to put down the sentence you hear in the audio.


Use your knowledge of grammar to set what you heard in the correct order.Revise your grammar and spelling to avoid misprints and mistakes. Train your memory before taking an exam. Looking at college essay examples may be useful to better remember some of the trickier rules.

#full content #take notes #background knowledge #logic

๐Ÿ“… PTE Academic Preparation Plan

If you start preparing for the exam from scratch, make sure you understand what is PTE test.


It is much easier to add the steps to your preparation consistently.

Below, you will find efficient techniques and mindsets for passing PTE Academic successfully.

Define Your English Level

The first and most essential step is to evaluate your English level.

This starting point will navigate you to get a precise picture of the whole situation.

The picture contains the questions you need to ask yourself before starting your preparation for PTE test.

There are several ways to define your English level:

  • Have you passed IELTS or TOEFL before? Check your English level here.
  • Don’t you hold any other exam certificates? Click here or here. More free tests on this site and this one.
  • There’s also an extended paid version by Pearson creators here.

Getting to Know PTE Test Format

Let’s now sum up everything we know about PTE Academic.

  1. It is a 3-hours lasting online procedure comprising three parts:
โœ”๏ธSpeaking and WritingโŒš77-93 min
โœ”๏ธReadingโŒš32-41 min
โœ”๏ธListeningโŒš45-57 min
  1. PTE Academic in figures:
๐Ÿ“‹360 days/yearAvailable for enrolling
๐Ÿ“‹200 centers globallyAccessible to choose
๐Ÿ“‹5 business daysTo get the result
๐Ÿ“‹14 daysTo reschedule or cancel
  1. Things to take care of:
โšก๏ธAll your documents, ID card or passport, test receipt.
โšก๏ธProper timing: don’t be late, be there 30 minutes before the start.
โšก๏ธWash your hands: they will scan both of your palms for biometric measurements.
โšก๏ธAppearance: if it matters to you, mind that they will take a photo of you.
โšก๏ธTechnical details: make sure your mic, computer, and other items work perfectly.

Oh yes, you will also need good typing skills to be able to put your answers quickly!

โ— In case you have any questions or issues, you can refer to a supervisor or raise your hand.

Useful Materials for PTE Academic Test Format

Just like it usually happens to exams, this one demands your focus and devotion, too. You’ll need to put enough work, effort, and attention into the process.

You should study each part of PTE Academic carefully and sharpen language skills separately first.

PTE Academic Preparation Resources

In this section, you’ll find all the great resources for PTE Academic Preparation.

๐ŸŒPreparing for PTE Academic by Future LearnFree consistent preparation course
๐ŸŒPearson English Language Test | PTE AcademicOfficial prep courses by Pearson
๐ŸŒPTE Academic – information about the exam and links to free practice testsFree test samples
๐ŸŒPTE Academic Exam โ€“ On Exam DayPTE Academic coaching & free preparation practice
๐ŸŒStudy Abroad ExamsAlot of helpful info about PTE
๐ŸŒPTE Academic Tips To Score High in PTE ExamA source where you conduct a PTE booking and find tutorials for the exam

PTE Academic Preparation Exercises

To pass the exam, you’ll have to work a little bit more than in the regular time. Look for the most appropriate and effective preparation exercises selected for you!


โœ๏ธPTE Academic WritingWrite an argumentative essay and summary for PTE
โœ๏ธPTE WritingA lot of texts to summarize


๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธPTE Academic SpeakingAll the speaking exercises except re-telling
๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธPTE SpeakingRe-tell lectures, repeat sentences, describe pictures, score max for speaking!


๐Ÿ‘๏ธPTE Academic ReadingThorough preparation for the reading part
๐Ÿ‘๏ธPTE ReadingLook for different item types of the reading section on this site


๐Ÿ‘‚PTE Academic ListeningA simple and approachable page for listening prep
๐Ÿ‘‚PTE ListeningMore exercises on listening
A couple of additional sources
๐Ÿคธ LDOCE | PTE Academic | Free English language exercisesReading and listening trainer
๐Ÿคธ PTE Test: PTE Academic Practice Tests & Sample PapersRegister to get free test samples
๐Ÿคธ PTE PracticePractice all the skills needed for PTE for free

That’s it!

It must have been quite a load of information, we know…

But trust us, knowing all these details and tips is halfway to success. Learn every detail of the PTE academic test format to feel like a ๐ŸŸ in the water.

Feel free to ask us any questions; we are always ready to help.

We wish you to rock the exam!

Good luck ๐Ÿคž