PTE Scores: The Definitive Guide To Understanding Your PTE Scores

PTE Academic is an English language test developed by the Pearson PLC Group. The test is designed to evaluate the language capabilities of second language learners for both study and work purposes. The test is unique in that it is graded solely using a computer (AI-based) evaluation system and the time in which results are available is usually less than 5 business days).

I've noticed that many of my students from Singapore are very keen to understand exactly how the PTE Academic exams are scored. This article serves as a response to such queries.

In this article you will learn all about PTE Academic exam scores.

Here is a detailed list of what to expect:

The test has 3 parts and includes an optional 10-minute break:

  • Speaking and Writing (77-93 minutes)
  • Reading (32-40 minutes)
  • Part 3 (45-57 minutes)


How Is The Exam Scored?


The PTE exam is unique with regard to the fact that is not evaluated or graded in any way by human examiners. All tests are assessed by a state-of-the-art computer algorithm. This goes a long way to ensure fairness and standardization, wherever the test is offered. This artificial intelligence is used to check students written answers as well as objectively grade their speaking tests.


How Is Each Question Type Graded?


Different question types require different types of answers. Some of these answers can only have a fixed response, meaning that they are either correct or incorrect (like multiple choice or short answer questions).

Other questions might require a varied response, like essays or summary writing. In such cases, every candidate would have a different response, but their answers still have to meet some common and fixed criteria. These question types are called partial credit questions, and the correctness of their answers are weighed against certain formal aspects, like using the correct answer format as well as the quality of the candidate's response. These formal aspects also depend on the type of question, for example a speaking question type would depend on pronunciation and word stress, while a writing question's formal aspects would include something like the correct use of punctuation.

Let’s take a closer look at how the PTE Academic scores are calculated.


Correct Score

Some answers within the exam can only be either correct or incorrect with no leeway in between. In such cases, a correct answer is awarded one point, while an incorrect answer is given zero points.


Partial Score


As mentioned before some questions do not have a simple correct or incorrect answer and these questions require subjective responses. Their level of correctness depends on a variety of factors, such a quality, task response, use of grammar or vocabulary.  These answers require a different method of scoring called Partial Scoring.

Here is a detailed summary of the different PTE Academic question types and how they are scored:

Part Of Test

Item Type

Skills Assessed

Type Of Scoring

Part 1

 Speaking and Writing

Personal Introduction

Not assessed 

Unscored 


Read Aloud

Reading and Speaking

Partial Credit


Repeat Sentence

Listening and Speaking

Partial Credit


Describe Image 

Speaking

Partial Credit


Re-tell Lecture

Listening and Speaking

Partial Credit


Answer Short Question

Listening and Speaking

Correct/Incorrect


Summarize Written Text 

Listening and Speaking

Partial Credit


Write Essay 

Writing

Partial Credit

Part 2

Reading

Multiple Choice, Choose Single Answer

Reading 

Correct/Incorrect


Multiple Choice, Choose Multiple Answer

Reading 

Partial Credit


Re-order Paragraph

Reading 

Partial Credit


Reading Fill In The Blanks 

Reading 

Partial Credit

Reading And Writing Fill In The Blanks

Reading And Writing

Partial Credit

Part 3

Listening

Summarize Spoken Text 

Listening and Writing 

Partial Credit


Multiple Choice, Choose Multiple Answer

Listening 

Partial Credit


Fill In The Blanks 

Listening and Writing 

Partial Credit


Highlight The Correct Summary 

Listening and Reading

Correct/Incorrect


Multiple Choice, Choose Single Answer

Listening 

Correct/Incorrect


Select Missing Word 

Listening 

Correct/Incorrect


Highlight Incorrect Word 

Listening and Reading

Partial Credit


Write From Dictation

Listening and Writing 

Partial Credit


Score Reports


Your score report will include both your overall score and a detailed breakdown of your performance in terms of communicative skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking) as well as enabling skill scores which include:

  • Grammar – use of error free complex grammatical structures
  • Oral Fluency – can produce natural speech without hesitation
  • Pronunciation – can produce speech that is easily understood with correct intonation and stress
  • Vocabulary – demonstrates a flexible use of uncommon words and phrases
  • Spelling – error free spelling
  • Written Discourse –produces pieces of writing that are well structured and cohesive

The overall score is an accurate reflection of your overall English language capability. The score takes into account your performance based on all items in the in the exam. The overall score ranges from 10-90 points.

The scores for communicative skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing) are based on your performance on tasks that assess these particulars skills. The questions in the PTE exam often assess more than one skill at a time.

Scores for enabling skills (grammar, oral fluency, pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary and written discourse) are also are based on your performance on tasks that assess these particulars skills.


What Skills Do You Need For Each Module


1. Speaking 

The speaking section of the PTE exam assesses whether or not a candidate can produce natural sounding speech, with the correct pronunciation, intonation and stress. Similarly to the writing section, you will also be assessed on your use of grammar and whether or not you possess a wide enough range of vocabulary to effectively describe certain situations or topics.

2. Writing

The writing test is designed to test your ability to produce pieces of writing that are well organised, on topic and accurate in terms of grammar and spelling. To score well you also need to be able to comfortable use uncommon vocabulary and phrases that are related to the topic you are writing about.

3. Reading

The Reading module assesses basic reading comprehension skills and tests your ability to analyse, interpret and evaluate a short reading text on an academic subject.

4. Listening

The ability to comprehend spoken English in number of situations that occur in an Academic environment, such as lectures and presentations.


Candidates also need to be able to understand spoken English as spoken in a variety of accents.


PTE And CEFR Levels


What Is The Common European Framework (CEFR)?


The CEFR or The Common European Framework (CEFR) is an international framework for language ability descriptions. Any person’s language ability and skills can fall within the CEFR system, which has 3 tiers, basic, independent and proficient, which are further divided into a six-mark scale which ranges from A1 (beginners) to C2 (advanced). A candidate's levels depend on their abilities and skills within the four key areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

These are the CEFR Guidelines:

  • C2 level - mastery (the highest level)
  • C1 level - advanced
  • B2 level - upper-intermediate
  • B1 level - B1.1 pre-intermediate & B1.2 intermediate
  • A2 level - elementary
  • A1 level - starter or beginner (the lowest level)

These descriptors can apply to any of the languages spoken in Europe and do not only apply to the English Language.


How Does CEFR Relate To PTE Scores?


PTE scores can be compared against the Common European Framework to help gauge a student's language ability.

Here is how PTE scores relate to CEFR scales.

(insert pic)

This scale can be used to help determine a student’s current English language level. The scale helps PTE teachers, examiners and students to compare language skills and scores from different tests and qualifications.

A PTE score of ---is equivalent to a CEFR level of C1, and an PTE score of --- is equivalent to a CEFR level of B1.


How Can I Convert My PTE Score To An IELTS Exam Score


(Difference Between PTE And PTE Score)

These tests have different scoring scales. Scores for the PTE exams are based on bands that range between 1 – 9, with 1 being the lowest possible score (Non-English speaker) and 9 being the highest (an expert user of the English language). Scores are awarded for each of the four exam components, and then averaged to provide candidates with an overall band score.

The PTE exam has a grading system which ranges from 10 to 90. The score takes into account your performance based on all items in the in the exam.

There are also separate PTE scores for communicative skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing) and enabling skills (grammar, oral fluency, pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary and written discourse) which are based on your performance on tasks that assess these particulars skills.

If you are preparing for either of these tests and are wondering how you would fare if you decided to take a different test, you can use the following score comparison table. This will help you to convert your PTE score to PTE band scores and vice versa.

PTE Score range

IELTS Band

86 and above

9

83 - 85

8.5

79 - 82

8

73 -78

7.5

65 - 72

7

59 - 64

6.5

51- 58

6

43 - 50

5.5

35 - 42

5

30 - 34

4.5


Which PTE Score Do You Need?

Most academic institutions require a PTE Academic score of above 50 to be considered for admission into degree level courses. However, the requirements vary from institution to institution, and the ownness is upon candidates to confirm the PTE academic score requirements of any institution they are thinking about applying to.

Another factor to consider is the high levels of competition that your application might face. If you are applying to a top university, then just meeting the minimum requirements might still not be enough to secure a place. 

This is why it would be best to consider enrolling in a trusted PTE Course under the guided supervision of a PTE expert. This will ensure that you are sufficiently prepared to ace your PTE Academic Exam.