Test Preparation

Pearson Test of English (PTE): A Detailed Overview

Pearson Test of English (PTE): A Detailed Overview

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Applying to foreign universities and confused about PTE? The Pearson Test of English is just like IELTS or TOEFL. Read about it in detail here.

vishakha Bhagia
Updated on:  12 Sep 2023  | Reviewed By: 
| 15.1K | 9  min read

Are you thinking about applying to abroad universities? Or thinking of immigrating to a different country? A jump from a non-English country to an English speaking country is fraught with multiple steps and exams. One of them is clearing the English language proficiency test. 

As a student, you have a choice between taking the IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE. All three exams will evaluate your understanding of the language. But what exactly is PTE? Let’s find out -


What is the Pearson Test of English (PTE)? 

Pearson Test of English is the first entirely computer-based test of English language for abroad education and immigration. The test will assess four skills - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The test duration is 3 hours and provides the score based on the Global Scale of English (GSE). 

You can book a test conveniently 24 hours in advance all around the year.  


Where is the PTE score accepted? 

PTE is accepted worldwide by universities like Harvard, Yale, INSEAD. Students can check the full list of institutions accepting PTE on the website. They can browse the same by country/region. 

Like TOEFL and IELTS, PTE is also accepted by the UK, Australian, and New Zealand governments for visa purposes. Students applying for a Canadian Student Visa through the non-SDS route can also take the PTE for visa purposes. 

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When and Where is the PTE held? 

The PTE is conducted at assigned test centers in India. You can schedule a test in 24 hours advance 365 days a year. After registering for the test, students can select the nearest test center. The PTE is provided in the following cities - 

Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cochin, Coimbatore, Dehradun, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Jalandhar, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Nagpur, New Delhi, Noida, Patiala, Pune, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara, and Vijayawada. 

The cost of the test is around Rs. 11,000. This is an approximate cost. The final cost will depend on the center selected.  


How many types of PTE are there and which one should you choose? 

There are two types of PTE offered to test-takers - PTE Academic and PTE Home. 


What are the eligibility criteria for taking the PTE?

The conducting body of the test has not laid down any specific criteria for taking the test. However, in order to take the test, a student must be 16 years of age. Students below the age of 18 should get a parental consent form. 


What is the PTE Exam pattern? 

There are three main sections in the PTE - Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking (together). It is a three-hour session with an optional 10-minute break between the Reading and listening parts. The academic test will evaluate your language skills in a real-life setting with a range of questions. There are twenty different types of questions in the test, ranging from multiple choice answers to essay writing. 


PTE Exam Pattern 

   PTE Academic   section  Description

Speaking and Writing

  77 - 93 minutes

  • list items Part 1 will focus on your speaking and writing skills.
  • list items To assess both the skills, the ability to speak and write in an academic environment will be tested.
  • list items Types of questions asked - Personal information, Read aloud, Repeat sentence, Describe image, Re-tell lecture, Answer short questions, Summarize written text, and Essay.
  • list items Each question type will last for about 10 seconds to 40 seconds. Summarizing written text and Essay questions will get 10 minutes and 20 minutes respectively.


  32 - 40 minutes

  • list items Part 2 will focus on your reading skills.*
  • list items This section will contain 15-20 independent and integrated skill tests.
  • list items Types of questions asked - Reading and Writing Fill in the blanks, Multiple choice - Multiple Answers, Reorder paragraphs, Fill in the blanks, and Multiple choice - Single answer.


  45 - 57 minutes

  • list items Part 3 will focus on your listening skills.
  • list items The questions consist of audio or video clips, which start playing automatically.
  • list items These clips are played only once and will not be repeated. You are allowed to take notes while the clip plays. You have the opportunity to adjust the volume of the clip with each question.
  • list items Types of questions asked - Summarize spoken text, Multiple choice - Multiple Answers, Fill in the blanks, Highlight correct summary, Multiple choice - single answer, Select missing word, Highlight incorrect words, and Write from dictation.

*PTE Academic test is an integrated skill test. Each section of the test will assess multiple skills at a time. 


How will you be scored?

The test is scored against a Global Scale of English. The score can be related to any other English language test such as the IELTS and the TOEFL. Refer to the table below for an overview of the scoring scale - 



























The score report will include your overall score, communicative skill scores, and enabling skill scores. The score range for each skill is 10-90 points. 

  • list items Your overall score is based on all the items of the test and will reflect your overall English language ability. 
  • list items Your communicative skills are based on the skill items like reading, writing, listening, and speaking, either independently or together with other skills. 
  • list items Your scores for enabling skills are based on skills like grammar, oral fluency, pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary, and written discourse. 


The scoring is done based on the correctness, formal aspects, and quality of the answer. For every correct answer, you will receive 1 point. You may also receive partial credit for a partially correct answer. 

Your test scores will be available within 5 days of taking the test. The scores are only accessible online through your PTE account. You will be notified of the same through an email. Furthermore, you can send your scores to as many institutes as you would like and to the UK, Australia, or New Zealand visa offices for visa purposes



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How can you practice for your PTE Academic test? 

The conducting body of the test has provided free resource material to prepare for the test. You can refer to official practice test papers, online courses with video guidance provided free of cost, and make use of the PTE Academic official practice app. You can also download offline practice test sets, as well as refer to The Official Guide to PTE Academic. 


What can you expect on the exam day?

You can expect the following on your test day - 

  • list items The test is taken at a secure testing center. Before you leave your home, remember to take your ID or passport with you for identification. The name on your ID should match the one you mentioned on your test registration form. 
  • list items Reach at least 30 minutes before the scheduled time to complete the identification formalities. The exact address of the test center will be mentioned in your confirmation email. 
  • list items At the center, you need to fill in security and identity verification. You will also be asked to read the test takers’ rules and agreement. 
  • list items After finishing formalities like showing your ID, signing, getting your photograph taken, you can sit for the test. You will be provided with a small compartment to store your belongings. You will not be allowed to take personal belongings during the test such as watches, jewelry, outerwear, etc.
  • list items The computer screen will guide you through an equipment check following which you can start the exam. 
  • list items There is an optional 10-minute break between the reading and the listening section. To take the break, just raise your hand and the test administrator will show you out. 
  • list items After the test is finished, you will receive a Confirmation of Attendance notice. You can then collect your belongings. 
  • list items The result will be out within 5 business days. 

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What is the COVID-19 PTE Academic Exam alert?

The conducting body of the PTE Academic test has not yet initiated home testing. Therefore, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the testing centers were closed and the test was not being conducted. With gradual ease in restrictions, some test centers have begun usual work. Before you register for the test, you can check the availability of test centers and time slots. 


How can you cancel or reschedule the exam?

You can cancel or reschedule your exam any time you want through your PTE account. It is advised to cancel or reschedule the exam as soon as possible to reduce the cancellation charges. 
You can cancel or reschedule your exam for free if there are at least 14 days remaining before your exam date. You will be charged 50% of the registration fee if you wish to cancel or reschedule with 13 to 8 days remaining before the exam. Your entire registration fee will be charged if you wish to cancel or reschedule the test with 7 days remaining before the test. 

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