PTE Core Format & Scores For Canada PR – An Overview

Posted on 27/06/2024 by Moni PTE Magic

PTE Core is a must-take test if you want to work or migrate to Canada. This computer-based English test assesses your 4 skills in daily communication.

This article by PTE Magic will introduce its format with detailed explanations of each section and question type. Let’s scroll down for more details!

Key Takeaways:

  • PTE Core is a new computer-based English test for those who want to work or live in Canada. 
  • The exam consists of 3 main sections: Speaking & Writing, Reading and Listening.
  • Each section includes various question types with different scoring. Some items are different from the PTE Academic test.


What Is PTE Core?

PTE Core Format & Scores For Canada PR - An Overview

PTE Core is a new English language proficiency test founded by Pearson’s group. The PTE Core launch date was on February 12th, 2024 (source). The exam evaluates general English proficiency in non-academic contexts through four skills: reading, listening, speaking, and writing.

It’s a fully digital AI test that assesses and scores the examiners. The test complies with the Canadian Language Benchmark level and has been accepted by IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) for all government economic visa types.

Who Needs PTE Core?

PTE Core is suitable for those who want to apply for permanent residency or citizenship in Canada. If you’re going to migrate or work there, getting a high PTE Core score for Canada PR will open the gateway for you.

Why Should You Choose PTE Core? 

The test offers candidates many benefits, including:

  • Convenient booking: It’s easy for test takers to choose the locations and dates online.
  • Quick result: You don’t need to wait long for the result as you will receive it within 2 days.
  • Accuracy and fairness: The exam is scored by AI, not humans, and can guarantee its reliability.
  • Adaptability and flexibility: The PTE Core is valid for two years and can be used to apply for multiple visa categories.
  • Accessibility and affordability: The test can help you save time and money as the result will come out quickly and cost lower fees than other tests. 


PTE Core Format

Part 1: Speaking & Writing 

pte core Speaking & Writing 

Speaking & Writing is the longest section in PTE Core (about 50 minutes long). It consists of 7 question types, and you need to use your speaking and writing skills to give responses in everyday environments. 

Personal Introduction

The Personal Introduction does not affect your overall score. It’s just a chance to familiarize yourself with the test technology. 

You’ll be given 25 seconds to read and prepare. Then, you’ll need to provide your answer within 30 seconds. Try to perform it well, as you can only record once. 

Read Aloud

In this task, you’ll see a text of up to 60 words and have 30-40 seconds to prepare. Then, you’ll need to read it aloud.

There’s a recording status box on the screen counting down your preparation time so you can start speaking. You need to talk immediately after hearing a short tone.

Then, the microphone is open, so don’t keep silent for more than 3 seconds; otherwise, the recording will stop. Plus, you’ll not be recorded if you speak before the microphone opens.

Keep your voice clear and finish your answer before the status bar changes from “Recording” to “Completed.”

Repeat Sentence

This type of question in PTE Core requires candidates to listen to a sentence and repeat it. The prompt length is 3 to 9 seconds, and the time to answer is 40 seconds.

After the recording finishes playing, the microphone will be open. The test takers must immediately repeat what they hear (no short tone). 

Like the previous section, try to finish your response before the progress bar changes its status. You can only record once. 

Describe Image

In this section, candidates are asked to describe the image they see in detail. They will be given an image and have 25 seconds to observe it and prepare the response.

Test takers need to provide the answer immediately after a short tone. The same rules apply as in previous sections. Don’t speak before the microphone starts, finish before the “Completed” status, and there’s no second recording chance.

Respond To A Situation

This part is one of the new changes in PTE Core compared to PTE Academic. You’ll hear an audio and read a prompt about daily situations. Then, you need to answer what you would say in the situation.

You’ll have 20 seconds to prepare after the prompt finishes and 40 seconds to give a response. After a short tone, speak immediately.  

Only speak your answer when the microphone starts recording, and stop before the status bar ends.

You can use the provided erasable whiteboard to take notes while listening in this section. 

Answer Short Question

In this task, candidates need to listen to a question and give an answer in one or a few words within 10 seconds. There also may be an image in the question.

You will hear no short tone and need to speak into the microphone immediately, as you see “Recording” in the status box. You can’t play the audio again and can only record once.   

Summarize Written Text

You’ll be provided a text of up to 200 words. Your task is to read it and write a summary of 25 to 50 words within 10 minutes.

Your summary should include the main points of the passage. There’s a word count at the bottom of the screen so you can know how many words you have written. 

Use the cut, copy, and paste function to organize and complete your summary. 

Write Email

This question type is also a new change in the PTE Core format. The test takers must read the text and then write an email responding to a prompt.

The email should be 80 to 120 words, and you’ll have 9 minutes to write it. Similar to the Summarize Written Text section, there are functions such as word count, cut, copy, and paste to help you deliver your answer easily and properly. 

Part 2: Reading 

pte core reading

The Reading section consists of 5 different question types and lasts around 30 minutes. The first question type of this integrated skills test also evaluates candidates’ writing skills.

Reading & Writing: Fill In The Blanks

The screen will show a text of up to 200 words with missing words. In this section, you need to choose the correct words to fill these gaps.

You’ll do it by left-clicking on the drop-down list next to the space and selecting the most appropriate word. If you want to change your answer, left-click on the list again and choose another option.

Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers

In this section, you’ll be given a text of up to 275 words. After reading, there will be a multiple-choice question for you to answer. 

The question concerns the tone of the text. Remember that you need to select more than one response.  

Click on the options that you think they’re correct. Select them by clicking on them again. Your answers will be highlighted in yellow.

You will get scored for the correct option and lose points for the incorrect ones. You can’t choose all the options as you’ll lose points, too. 

Reorder Paragraph

This task will provide candidates with text boxes in random positions, and they need to arrange them in the correct order. The total text length is up to 110 words.

You can move the text boxes across the screen to form the correct answer by:

  • Clicking and dragging the options to the desired position;


  • Click on the boxes and use the arrow buttons to move them. The up and down arrows are for reordering as well.

If you want to deselect an option, click elsewhere on the screen. 

Fill In The Blanks

Up to 80 words of text with gaps and a blue box with different words under it will appear. Candidates must choose the correct words to fill in the blanks by dragging and dropping the options across the screen.

One word fills in one blank. To change your answer, drag the word back to the blue box or move it to another gap.

Note that you’ll not use all the options as there are more than gaps.

Multiple Choice, Single Answer

This task is similar to the Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer section above. However, instead of choosing many answers, you can only choose one.

You must read the passage carefully and select one correct answer from several options. 

You do it by clicking the option you think is the best response. You’ll see what you’ve selected in yellow.

If you want to change your answer,  click on it again or click on another option.

Part 3: Listening 

pte core listening

The listening part comes with 7 items based on auto-play audio or videos. You have 30 minutes to complete the section and can only hear each recording once. Taking notes is allowed while listening.

Summarize Spoken Text

In this question type, the audio will automatically play an audio of 45-75 seconds. Compared to PTE Academic, this PTE Core format gives you 8 minutes to listen (instead of 10 minutes) and write a summary consisting of 20-30 words (instead of 50-70 words).

Look at the word count section at the bottom of the screen to ensure you write within this word limit. Then, arrange your idea using the cut, copy, and paste option.

Note that you can only listen to the audio once.

Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers

You need to listen to a recording and answer a multi-choice question. The question can be about the audio’s content or tone. 

Keep in mind that there’s more than one correct response. Select the appropriate options by clicking on them and clicking on them again if you change your mind.

Taking notes while listening is a useful technique to avoid missing any answers.

Fill In The Blanks

Test takers will listen to a 30-to-60s audio recording with a transcript displayed on the screen. However, some words are missing, which they need to fill in.

Candidates need to click on the blank and type the missing words. The tab button on the keyboard is for moving to the next gap.

Taking notes on the erasable whiteboard is allowed while listening.

Multiple Choice, Single Answer

The task requires candidates to listen to a recording and answer a multi-choice question. The audio is about 30-60 seconds long, with only one correct answer.

You can select an option by clicking on it and then clicking on it again or another option if you want to change your answer. 

Select Missing Word

This part will have a one-time auto-play audio of 20-70 seconds. You must listen to it and select the most suitable word(s) to complete the content. 

You can select only one option from the given ones. Click on an option to choose it. Click on it again or use another option to deselect your choice. 

Highlight Incorrect Words

Test takers will listen to a 15-to-50s audio file with a transcript on the screen. Your task is to listen carefully and point out words that differ from the content.

Highlight the incorrect words by clicking on them. You can click on them again if you want to change your mind.  

Write From Dictation

In this last section, you’ll be asked to listen to a sentence and rewrite it in the response box on the screen’s bottom.

The sentence is short, 3-5 seconds long, and is played only once. You can take notes on your erasable whiteboard, and don’t forget to check your spelling after finishing your answer. 


PTE Core is easily accessible worldwide and is one of the keys to your Canadian immigration. This fully digital test format ensures accuracy, fairness, and quick results.

Read thoroughly about the format above to get used to it and practice more to achieve a high score. We hope you can nail it!

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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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