What is PTE?

The Pearson Test of English Academic. PTE Academic exam is a computer-based English language test accepted by educational institutions around the world. Those students and aspirants who desire to go abroad for studying or immigrate to a major English-speaking country are required to take the PTE Academic exam to prove their English language competency.

The test allows aspirants to prove their English language proficiency on communicative skills and enabling skills. The main reasons why students choose PTE Academic over other ESL tests are: Fast results– scores within 24 hours to 5 business days.

PTE score scales

Comment Academic Score
Expert 89-90
Very good 88-74
Good 73-64
Competent 63-50
Modest 49-42
Limited 41-30
Limited 41-30
Extremely limited 30-0

PTE Test Tips?

Often students start the preparation with either joining a coaching center or simply signing up for free practice tests. What a student forgets is that, like any exam, even language presidency exams have to be dealt with a methodology. Here are a few study tips that would help you perform in the PTE Academic Exam. It is however important to note that no amount of tips, tricks or tools can outwit the dedication and efficiency of practice. So, improve these skills and practice them over and over again to succeed.

Here are few pointers that would help you.

Reading Section

1. Skimming

Skimming is a method of quickly reading a text and searching for important key points. Since, a large part of the success in the exam is the time limit, this is a great exercise. The ability to quickly read a paragraph and note the keywords would help you in many parts of the tests like multiple choice questions, re-arranging paragraphs, etc.

2. Go through the questions before you read the paragraph.

One of the oldest tricks of effective learning – read the question before.

TSkimming the paragraph is important but what do you know about the key words? The exercise of reading the questions before would help you understand which keyword you are looking for. Once you know that, skimming the paragraph once would help you figure out what you are looking for. This would then help you quickly ascertain the right answer.

3. Evaluate responses

Often you might get a paragraph which is rather generic in nature. It would help you to read through the various choices provided as well. Even if we don’t have a fair idea of the answer, we can always make key notes of answers that we are looking for.

Listening Section

1. Focus on the tone as much as the words

WWe are often able to recall the words better if we try to remember the tone as well. Let your brain imprint the tone and the volume, which would make it easier for you to recall the texts.

2. Try to listen to different English programs with various accents

PTE Academic tests are not limited to one accent and check a person’s ability to understand verbal instructions.

To prep your ears, try to listen (and not watch) your favorite sitcoms on TV. Listening to music might not be as effective as listening to recorded lectures. Music often helps us remember well but when a person is speaking, the pitch and the intonation varies (much like the musical notes). Practice with these hearing exercises to accustom your ears to making notes of pitches in normal speech.

Speaking & Writing

1. Do not worry about the accent

The one mistake students often repeat is trying to imitate a British or an American Accent. Remember that these are tests that are conducted globally and hence attuned to understanding your accent. What they are looking for is not how wonderfully you can intonate or how excellent your pitch is. What they are trying to assess is how fluent you are, what is your vocabulary like and more importantly, how well versed are you with the language’s grammar. So focus on these three areas rather than improving and imitating an accent.

2. Do not take forever to speak

PTE is a completely computerized exam. A student must remember that the mics switch off after 3 seconds of silence. Hence, take the prep time and the moment the mics comes on, start speaking. You may not have really re-arranged your thoughts at the time, but you can do so once you start speaking.

3. Relevancy is important

Yes the test checks whether or not you can write in English. What is also, however, wishes to understand is whether you can write about what has been asked. If you do write an essay for 300 words but miss out on the topic asked, it is not worth any marks. The motive is to test your understanding and that can be judged if you stick to the point.

4. Mind the word limit

This is extremely important. The text boxes would have a minimum and a maximum word limit. Mind both of them. Writing extra-long essay is not required and would not fetch you any extra marks. So keep it short, and simple and extremely relevant.

5. Don’t try to answer in long sentences

They are looking for small and crisp answers. Often a word surfaces. They wish to assess whether or not you understood the recording. This is not how complicated answers you can give, it is about how relevant your answers are.

The exam costs INR 9,350.

Please note that the costs is indicative of the exams conducted in 2015. Also, in case the exam booked is less than 48 hours away, then an additional late fee equal to 25% of the above cost is also applicable. Hence, it is always advisable to book the test well in advance.

The Exam is divided into three sections:

1. Speaking & Writing

2. Reading

3. Listening.

The exam is roughly about 3 hours long with an optional 10 minute break allowed to students after the first two sections.

1. Speaking & Writing

This section is designed to test the candidate’s ability to write and speak in the language. With the section further divided into 6 smaller sections, this is usually a 90 minute long session. The section consists of multiple choice questions, reading exercises, describing images, summarizing the given texts as well as an essay writing section. This is tabulated below for easy reference.

1. Personal Introduction:

Candidate is supposed to speak about himself/ herself into the microphone. It takes 1 minute.

2. Read Aloud:

A text appears on line and the student is sup- posed to read the text aloud in the microphone. The text is about 60 words.

It includes different steps which take about 30-35

-Repeat Sentence:

Candidate must repeat the sentence after listening to it once. The sentence is usually small and not longer than 9 seconds.

-Describe the image:

Candidate is supposed to describe the image shown on the screen.

-Re-tell lecture:

Candidates either watch or listen to a lecture. Once done, the candidate is supposed to record the lecture as per their understanding. The lecture is usually about 90 seconds.

-Answer Short Question:

Candidates listen to a sentence and answer a short question based on what they have heard.

3 & 4: Summarize the written text:

Sections 3 and 4 constitute of two small paragraphs. The students are supposed to read a 300 word long paragraph and summarize it in one line. It takes 20 minutes.

5. Summarize written text or Essay:

A student is asked to summarize the text or essay in given word limit. It takes about 10 or 20 minutes

6. Essay:

Candidates are asked to write a 200 - 300 word long essay on a given topic. It takes 20 minutes

2. Reading

The second section of the PTE Academic Test is the Reading Section and is usually 32 to 41 minutes long. Essentially designed to understand the candidate’s ability to understand written instructions and language, the section is further divided into 5 part or sub categories. These include the following

1: Multiple choice, choose single answer:

Students are asked to pick the correct answer from the given multiple choices after reading a text of about 110 words

2. Multiple Choice, multiple answers:

Students are asked to read a text of about 110 words and have to accordingly answer the questions. The answers can have more than one correct answer

3. Re-order Paragraphs:

Candidates are given a number of small paragraphs in random order. After reading them, they are required to place them in the correct sequence in order to make it coherent

4. Reading - Fill in the blanks:

Students are asked to fill in the blanks in a given paragraph from a list of given words

5. Reading and Writing - Fill in the blanks:

Students are supposed to fill the blanks by choosing the correct option from the drop down menu.


The final section of PTE is the Listening section. Stretched over 55 minutes or so, the section is designed to ascertain the ability of the candidate to understand verbal instruction in English Language. The students need not worry too much about the accents as the tests are moderated according to the country. The emphasis is on how much a student is able to retain what he/she has heard. The section is divided into 8 parts which also includes a dictation segment. They are tabulated below for better understanding.

1. Summarize spoken text:

A text is played for the student, after listening to which the student is asked to summarize the same in about 70 words.

2. Multiple choice:

A recording is played and students are asked to answer the questions on the basis of what they have heard

3: Fill in the blanks:

After listening to a recording, the students are asked to ll the gaps in the transcript of the re- cording

4: Highlight correct summary:

Candidates are asked to select the paragraph that best summarizes the recording played

5: Multiple choice, choose single answer:

Recording is played for the students. Students are then asked to answer a set of multiple choice questions basis their listening.

6: Select missing word:

Candidates listen to a recording and select the missing words that complete the paragraph

7: Highlight incorrect words:

The student is provided with a transcript of the recording. The recording is then played for the student. The student is asked to correct the paragraph

8: Dictation:

Student is supposed to write a sentence after listening to the recording.

The PTE Exam pattern and format

PTE Test comes in three versions.

The PTE- Academic- It’s for those scholars who wish to study abroad and immigration purposes.

PTE- General Training- It is for non-academic purposes.

PTE- Young Learners – This test the English proficiency of children

Exam duration: 3 hours

In those three hours duration, a candidate has to cover four modules.

1. Speaking and Writing:

These two modules are covered in a single test which usually lasts for 77-93 minutes. In this section, the candidate has to go through various test phases like reading aloud, personal introduction, repeat the sentence, and writing an essay. The module is basically designed to test your academic skills in the English language.

2. Reading:

 This module has been designed to test your reading skills in the English language. The test usually lasts for 32-41 minutes and contains MCQ, fill in the blanks, and re-order the paragraph.

3. Listening:

This module determines the level of expertise of the candidate in the ability to listen to the English language properly. To analysis it, the modules contains various questions in MCQ, fill in the blanks, select missing word, highlight an incorrect word and write from dictation format. The allotted time duration of this module is 47-57 minutes.






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    –Robert Collier (1885-1950)

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