What is the PTE test format?
What is PTE?
PTE Academic (The Pearson Test of English) is a computer-based English language test designed to assess the readiness and ability of non-native English speakers to participate in a university-level program taught in English. The PTE exam focuses on real-life English used in academic surroundings. PTE Academic English test assesses the listening, reading, speaking and writing skills of the test taker. It is accepted by thousands of universities worldwide, including prestigious institutions such as Harvard Business School, INSEAD and Yale.
PTE Test Format and Scoring
PTE is a three-hour test session with three main sections: speaking and writing (together), listening and reading. There are twenty different question formats, ranging from multiple choice questions to essay writing and interpreting information.
PART 1: SPEAKING AND WRITING (75 – 90 minutes)
A student’s writing skills are tested in the Part 1 of the test. Speaking skills are also tested by asking the student to repeat sentences, respond to questions and summarize passages. Students should not start speaking before the microphone opens or else their voice will not be recorded. Students should speak clearly and remember that they will be able to record their answer only once. They must finish speaking before the progress bar reaches the end and then the word “Recording” changes to “Completed”.
• Personal introduction
This is an opportunity for the students to give the selected institutions some information about themselves. Students will be given 25 seconds to prepare and their response will be sent together with their score report to the institutions selected by them.
• Read aloud
Students are required to read a written text aloud. They will have 30 to 40 seconds to prepare, depending on the length of the passage. However, students will be able to record their response only once.
• Repeat sentence
Students are required to repeat the sentence that they hear. The audio will begin to play automatically. When the audio finishes, the students have to speak into the microphone immediately and repeat exactly what they heard. They will not be able to replay the audio.
• Describe image
Students are required to describe an image, and they are given 25 seconds to study the image and prepare for it. Students must keep in mind that they will be able to record their response only once.
• Re-tell lecture
In this test, students are required to repeat what they hear in the audio. The students may also see an image related to the audio. After the audio is over, students will be able to record their answer only once. However, students can take notes while the audio is playing.
• Answer short questions
Here students are required to reply to the question in a few words. The audio may be accompanied by an image. Once the audio is over, students have to answer the questions. Students will not able to replay the audio, and can record their response only once.
The Word Count will be given at the bottom of the screen. Cut, copy and paste buttons are also available which can be used by students during the writing test.
• Summarize written text
Students are required to write a summary of the text in one sentence within 10 minutes. Students must include the main points of the passage in a full, single sentence of no more than 75 words.
• Write Essay
Students are required to write a 200 to 300 word argumentative essay in response to a prompt in 20 minutes.
PART 2: READING (30 – 40 minutes)
In this section, students are mainly tested on their reading skills.
• Multiple-choice (choose single answer)
Students are required to read the passage and answer the multiple-choice questions. Several answer options will be given, but only one will be correct. The option selected by the student will be highlighted in yellow.
• Multiple-choice (choose multiple answers)
Students are required to read the passage and answer the multiple-choice question, but more than one correct response is possible. Students need to select all the response options that they think are correct from the list of possible options given.
• Re-order paragraphs
Students are required to restore the original order of the text by selecting text boxes and dragging them across the screen. To deselect a box, students have to left-click elsewhere on the screen.
• Fill in the blanks
Students are required to drag and drop words across the screen to correctly fill in the gaps in the text. They will be given a list of words in a blue box that they can use to fill the gaps in the text.
• Fill in the blanks
Students are required to select the most appropriate words from a drop-down list to restore the text. A passage is given with some missing words and beside each gap there is a button with a drop-down list. Students are required to left-click on this button and select the option that best fills the gap.
PART 3: LISTENING (45 – 60 minutes)
Students are tested on their listening skills. The section consists of questions that are based on audio or video clips which students can listen to only once; however, they are allowed to take notes.
• Summarize spoken text
Students are required to listen to an audio recording and write a 50 to 70 word summary within 10 minutes. The Word Count is given at the bottom of the screen which counts the number of words written.
• Multiple-choice (choose multiple answers)
Students are required to listen to the recording and answer the multiple-choice question wherein more than one correct response is possible. Students need to select all the response options that they think are correct from the list of possible options. The options selected are highlighted in yellow.
• Fill in the blanks
Students are given a transcript of the audio recording. However, some words will be missing. They have to restore the transcript by typing in the missing words.
• Highlight correct summary
Students are required to select the summary that best matches the recording. After listening to the audio, students have to select the answer from the given options.
• Multiple-choice, choose single answer
Students are required to listen to the recording and answer the multiple-choice questions. Several possible options will be provided but only one will be correct. The option selected will be highlighted in yellow.
• Select missing word
Here, the last word or group of words in the recording will be replaced by a beep and students are required to select the most appropriate option to complete the recording. Out of the various options, the students have to select one option.
• Highlight incorrect words
Students will be presented with a transcript of the audio recording, which contains some errors. While listening and reading, students are required to select the words in the text that differ from what the speaker says. The selected words will be highlighted in yellow.
• Write from dictation
Students have to hear a short sentence and type the sentence into the response box given at the bottom of the screen. Students can take notes while the video is being played but should remember to check their spellings.
Registration and payment:
Students can register for the test either online or by phone. Payment can be made through- MasterCard and Visa debit cards or American Express, JCB, MasterCard and Visa credit cards. PayPal is not accepted.
On the Test day:
The students have to provide to the test administrator copies of their ID. The administrator will ask for a digital photograph and signature and scan the student’s palm. Students will be assigned a locker to check-in their belongings. If a student fails to provide an ID, they will not be allowed to take the test and will lose their test fee. If a student is unable to appear for the test, they may receive a partial refund if they cancel their test before the appointment date.
Students will receive their results within 5 working days. The test scores are reported on the Global Scale of English, a standardized, numeric scale from 10 to 90. The scores can be accessed via an online account. Students will receive an email notifying them once the scores are available. Students can see their scores once they have signed into their Pearson Vue account at www.pearsonvue.com/pte. Students can also send their scores to unlimited number of institutions free of charge once they have signed into their account. It generally takes 48 hours for the scores to be sent to institutions.
If a student is disappointed with their score, they can take the test again. They can retake the PTE as many times as they want to but must wait until they have received their scores from the test before booking another. One can send his/her scores to unlimited number of institutions, but can select only seven recipients at any one time. However, the test scores are valid for two years from the date of the test.
Rescoring: PTE Test Format and Scoring
If a student is unhappy with his PTE score, they can request for a rescore. However, a student can request for a rescore only for their most recent PTE Academic test. They cannot request a rescore if they have already either scheduled another test or sent their score to an institution.
For rescoring, the student must contact Pearson Customer Service within 14 calendar days of their report being made available. If the scores change then the rescore fee will be fully refunded to the student.