Pearson PTE Academic Exam: Important Things to Know

Posted on 04/04/2024 by Moni PTE Magic

If you’re looking for a world-renowned English language proficiency test, look no further than PTE Academic.

While PTE Academic is less popular than IELTS or TOEFL, it would be a more budget-friendly option.

This article by our PTE academy team will answer “What is PTE?” and key information about this test to help you stay informed before scheduling a test date.

(Read our Vietnamese version here)

Key takeaways

  • Pearson PLC Group introduced PTE Academic in 2009. Now, it has quickly become a well-known English test worldwide.
  • PTE Academic evaluates your speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills through 3 main parts.
  • Test-takers can prepare by practicing regularly, using helpful resources, and understanding the scoring system.

What is the Pearson PTE Academic exam?

Pearson PTE full form is the Pearson Test of English introduced by the Pearson PLC Group in 2009.

The PTE exam is a standardized computer-based test assessing the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers.

Since PTE Academic is wholly administered and scored by an AI system, the entire test process is unbiased and error-free.

The PTE scores have been approved by governments and universities globally for work, education, and immigration to English-speaking countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and the United Kingdom.


Types of PTE exams


There are three types:

PTE Academic

PTE Academic is a computerized exam evaluating a candidate’s competency in English reading, speaking, writing, and listening.

It is approved at more than 3,000 universities and colleges worldwide. It is also used for immigration-related purposes in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

PTE Academic takes place all year round and the results are available within five business days.


PTE Young Learners

PTE Young Learners is offered by Edexcel, the UK’s largest examining body.

This stress-free exam is open to children aged six to thirteen. It has two sections: spoken and written.

The PTE Young Learners test focuses on real-life scenarios instead of specific language knowledge and vocabulary skills.

Who can take the PTE test?

Anyone can take the PTE exam to study abroad or move to Australia, New Zealand, or the UK.

Pearson PLC Group does not state any official eligibility criteria for candidates wishing to take the PTE Academic test.

However, candidates should be at least 16 to sit for the PTE Academic test.

Candidates under 18 must provide a parental consent form signed to schedule the PTE Academic test. You can download the form at the PTE Academic official website.

How much does it cost?

In general, the average fee ranges from $167 to $315.

PTE fees typically vary depending on the test location. You can find out the exact fees for your closest PTE test center on the Pearson official website.

Note that a late booking fee will be charged if you schedule your PTE exam less than 48 hours before the test date.

There are also PTE vouchers you can buy and apply for a lower cost.


How can you book your PTE test? And with which test center?

You can register for the PTE exam by email, phone, or on the website.

Online registration is the most common and convenient way. Candidates must follow the steps listed below to book a seat for the PTE exam successfully.

  1. Register for a Pearson account and log in at Once you complete registration, you will receive an email with your username and password within 48 hours.
  2. Find the PTE testing center closest to you. You also have the option of taking the PTE at Home exam.
  3. Pick a suitable time and date to take the test.
  4. Pay the test fee. You will then receive a booking confirmation email.

Moreover, you can register for the PTE exam via phone. Find a local phone number here.


How long is the PTE exam?

PTE Academic lasts 2 hours and 15 minutes. There are three main parts of the test with the time duration as follows:

PTE Academic section Time
Part 1: Speaking & Writing 54-67 minutes
Part 2: Reading 29-30 minutes
Part 3: Listening 30-43 minutes

PTE General lasts between 1 hour 15 minutes to 2 hours 55 minutes.

PTE Young Learners consists of two parts: The writing test (60 – 75 minutes) and the speaking test (20 minutes/group).


What are the main parts of a PTE test?

The PTE Academic consists of three sections covering various aspects of the English language.

Section One: Speaking & Writing

You must demonstrate your verbal communication skills in this section.

Speaking & Writing starts with a personal introduction. This introduction gives academic institutions your general background and does not score.

Question type Prompt Length Time to Answer Task
Read Aloud Text up to 60 words 30–40 seconds to read the text and prepare Read the text on the screen aloud.
Repeat Sentence 3–9 seconds 15 seconds Repeat the sentence after listening to a recording.
Describe Image Not applicable 40 seconds Describe the image on the screen in detail.
Re-tell Lecture Up to 90 seconds 40 seconds Retell the lecture in your own words after listening to or watching it.
Answer Short Question 3–9 seconds 10 seconds Answer a question with one or a few words.
Summarize Written Text Text up to 300 words 10 minutes Write a one-sentence summary of the passage.


Section Two: Reading

This section assesses your reading comprehension skills. You will read some passages and answer questions about the content.

Question type Prompt Length Task
Reading & Writing: Fill in the Blanks Text up to 300 words Text appears on-screen with several gaps. Drag words from the box below to fill the gaps.
Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer Text up to 300 words Answer a multiple-choice question on the content or tone of the text by choosing more than one answer.
Re-order Paragraphs Text up to 150 words Put the text boxes in a random order in the correct order.
Fill in the Blanks Text up to 80 words The text appears on a screen with several gaps in it. Drag words from the box below to fill the gaps.
Multiple Choice, Single Answer Text up to 300 words Answer a multiple-choice question on the content or tone of the text by choosing one answer.


Section Three: Listening

The PTE listening section includes many audio recordings. You must listen to and answer questions about the content.

Question type Prompt Length Task
Summarize Spoken Text 60–90 seconds Write a 50–70 word summary of a recording.
Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers 40–90 seconds Answer a multiple-choice question on the content or tone of the recording by choosing more than one answer.
Fill in the Blanks 30–60 seconds A transcript of a recording appears on the screen, with several gaps. After listening to the recording, type the missing word in each gap.
Highlight Correct Summary 30–90 seconds After listening to a recording, choose the paragraph that best summarizes the recording.
Multiple Choice, Single Answer 30–90 seconds Answer a multiple-choice question on the content or tone of the recording by choosing one answer.
Select Missing Word 20–70 seconds After listening to a recording, choose the missing word that completes the recording from a list of options.


What’s often the hardest part of a PTE test?

PTE Reading.

The PTE Reading section is known as the hardest of the three sections. Many test-takers miss their points in their reading proficiency.

Most questions in Reading & Writing; Fill in the Blanks of the Reading section focus on collocations. 

Learning collocations takes time. For better understanding, you need to spend time in an English-speaking environment.

What should students do to prepare for a PTE test at home?

Preparing at home is very important if you’re planning on sitting for the PTE exam.

Follow our helpful tips below to maximize your success on the first attempt:

  • Practice makes perfect. Make the most of your free time to practice your English.
  • Choose reliable sources for your PTE preparation material. 
  • Join English-speaking communities to enhance your listening and speaking skills.
  • Write English wherever possible. For example, you can write a diary, or chat with friends in English every day.
  • Read regularly from sources such as books, newspapers, and more.
  • Watch or listen to media in the English language, such as radio or television (with English subtitles, if any).
  • Study native speakers and observe how the language is applied in various contexts.

Who accepts PTE exam scores?

PTE exam scores have been officially recognized in 74 countries globally, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Russia, Ireland, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Singapore.

PTE scores for visa applications: PTE scores are one of the basic requirements for visa and immigration applications for non-native English speakers. Only individuals with valid English language test results get visas for work, study, PR, and immigration. 

PTE scores for higher education: Over 3,000 universities and colleges worldwide, including prestigious educational institutions such as Harvard Business School, INSEAD, and Yale grant admission to students for study abroad programs based on their PTE scores.

Depending on the university’s ranking and reputation, different criteria for eligibility and score must be met.

PTE scores for global employment: The job market is flourishing in countries such as Germany, Canada,  Australia, the USA, the UK, and Ireland. PTE scores are essential for those looking for jobs abroad in these nations.

How does it score?

The PTE score goes from 10 to 90.

You can access your results online through your account on Pearson’s website.

The PTE results are based on the Global Scale of English (looks like a thermometer), reliably measuring an individual’s level of English proficiency.

Each exam section has a score range of 10 to 90 points. They are combined to provide an overall result.

Your score report presents your overall scores in both communicative skills (reading, listening, speaking & writing) and enabling skills (vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, oral fluency, spelling, and written discourse).

It will also include statistics that show the test-taker’s strengths and weaknesses.

However, there is no PTE passing score. If you still do not know your proficiency level, check out this scoring chart:

Proficiency level PTE scores
CEFR Equivalent: C2 85–90
CEFR Equivalent: C1 76-84
CEFR Equivalent: B2 59-75
CEFR Equivalent: B1 43-58
CEFR Equivalent: A2 30-42
CEFR Equivalent: A1 10-29

PTE and IELTS score comparison table:

PTE Academic 23 29 36 46 56 66 76 84 89 N/A
IELTS 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0 7.5 8.0 8.5 9.0

PTE and TOEFLscore comparison table:

PTE Academic 38 42 46 50 53 59 64 68 72 78 84
TOEFL iBT 40-44 54-56 65-66 74-75 79-80 87-88 94 99-100 105 113 120

How is it different from other popular tests?

PTE exam is a newer English proficiency test than IELTS and TOEFL. However, it has been widely recognized for the purpose of working, studying, and settling in English-speaking nations.

The PTE exam fee is more budget-friendly than IELTS and TOEFL. It varies by the country where you take the test.

Moreover, PTE results are available in five business days, much quicker than the other two exams.

The results are more comprehensive than the IELTS and TOEFL exam results. It precisely evaluates the test takers’ English skills in different areas, their strengths, and their weaknesses.

See more:

Can you retake the test?

Yes. You can retake the PTE exam as many times as you want.

Pearson sets no limits on how many times an individual can take the PTE exam.

However, you must retake the exam after a 5-day gap. You must wait until you get your test result before scheduling another.

How long will you have to wait for the results?

A maximum of five business days.

You will get your PTE results online within up to five business days after taking the test.

This is one of the PTE candidates’ advantages. If you urgently need an English proficiency certificate, PTE will be your right choice.


Are you ready for the PTE exam?

If you are taking the PTE Academic for the first time and unsure where to start, PTE Magic is the best solution for your PTE preparation. Contact us now!

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Moni PTE Magic

My name is Moni, and I am a seasoned PTE teacher with over 6 years of experience. I have helped thousands of students overcome their struggles and achieve their desired scores. My passion for teaching and dedication to my student’s success drives me to continually improve my teaching methods and provide the best possible support. Join me on this journey toward PTE success!

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