The Ultimate Guide To The PTE Academic Exam

The Pearson PTE Academic exam is an up-and-coming English language proficiency test. it is fast becoming one of the most popular English language exams in the world. The PTE exam gives and accurate description of your language capabilities in four key areas, namely: listening, reading, speaking and writing. These skills are assessed by requiring candidates to complete 21 different tasks. Each of these tasks tests at least one of the four main skills, often 2 skills are assessed together within a single task/question type. The exam is currently available in Singapore. In this article we will cover what everything you need to know about the PTE academic exam

Here is a detailed list of what you can expect to learn about in this article:

Table Of Contents

Who Hosts The PTE Academic Exam

All Pearson Language tests, including the Pearson Test Of English (Academic), fall under the management of the Pearson PLC group. This Pearson Language Test Department focuses primarily on preparing and conducting language proficiency tests that accurately reflect the capabilities and skills of second language learners, across the globe.

Other Types Of PTE Exams

Apart from PTE Academic, there are two other types of PTE language exams.

  • PTE General

1. PTE General

The General Pearson Test of English (formerly known as the London test of English) assesses second language learners’ basic communication skills. It can be used as a proof of your English language skills for both work or study purposes. However, this test is generally accepted by Non-English-speaking European countries like Latvia, Greece or Lithuania. Most often candidates use this test as a way to personally judge the levels of English language proficiency, so that they have a better understanding of where to start in order to improve their language skills.

This test is less popular than its counterparts and is only offered 3 times a year in the months of May, June, and December. It consists of two parts: a written paper and interview styled speaking test which integrates reading, writing, speaking and listening skills as well. There are different types of tests which ……The test contains six different proficiency levels.


The UKVI PTE exam is only for those test takers who are applying for United Kingdom visas and immigration purposes. 'PTE for UKVI' is a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT). This means that PTE can be used to prove your English language abilities in support of UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) applications.

The content, examiners, format, the level of difficulty, scoring, are exactly the same as the regular PTE Academic test.

Who Should Take The PTE Academic

You should consider taking either PTE Academic exam if you fall into any one of the categories below.

  • If you are planning to study in an English-speaking country like the UK/Australia/Canada/New Zealand/USA or any university where you have to demonstrate your English language capabilities via a language proficiency test
  • If you are planning to emigrate to Australia/New Zealand for work purposes.

Where Can PTE Academic Take You

The PTE academic test is a computer-based exam that is geared towards second language learners who wish to study in English speaking countries like the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.

PTE academic scores can be used to apply for study in English speaking countries like the UK, Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.  You can use your electronic PTE test results to apply for admission to any one of the 6000 higher learning institutes that accept PTE scores, which include the likes of Harvard, INSEAD and Yale If you are unsure about whether the university or organisation you are applying to accepts PTE, then you can easily check this, using the full list of institutions that accept PTE academic, which is available on the official Pearsons PTE website.

At the moment, it can also be used for visa and immigration purposes to Australia and New Zealand.

PTE Test Format

The exam consists of 3 modules – reading, listening and the speaking and writing combined module and lasts for a total of 3 hours in one complete session. You are also allowed to take an optional 10-minute break after the second module is complete.

The speaking part of the exam is done at the computer. test takers have to speak into a a microphone, their voices are recorded and sent for evaluation by a computer algorithm. The content of the exam is based on real life academic content that you might come across while studying in an English-speaking country. This includes things like across graphs, summaries, excerpts.

The test also contains both native and non-native accents in typical everyday real-life conversations.

The modules include questions types ranging from MCQs to essay writing, reading out sentences to choosing a proper word, there are twenty-one types of question formats.

Here is a summarized version of what to expect in terms of content and structure of the PTE academic test:

(77 – 93 minutes)

  • Personal Introduction
  • Read aloud.
  • Repeat sentence.
  • Describe image.
  • Re-tell lecture.
  • Answer short question.
  • Summarize written text.
  • Essay

(32 – 41 minutes)

  • Fill in the blanks.
  • Multiple choice questions (choose a single answer)
  • Re-order paragraphs
  • Fill in the blanks.
  • Multiple choice questions (choose multiple answers)

(45 – 57 minutes)

  • Summarize spoken text.
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Fill the blanks.
  • Highlight the correct summary.
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Select missing word.
  • Highlight incorrect words.
  • Write from dictation.
  • Summary of the different questions types + tips for each question
  • Time management – when to take notes, when to click next and how much time to spend on each question  (table)

Here is a short summary of what each question is about:

Writing Module

1. Summarize Written Text

For this question you will be asked to write a summary based on paragraphs about a particular topic. The text can be up to 300 words long and you will only be given 10 minutes to complete this task. The summary should only be one sentence long. The length of this sentence should be between 5 to 75 words and it should begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop. Sentences that are under or over the recommended word count will not be graded.

Common topics for this question type include science, technology, art, history and politics.

You will be assessed on the quality of your writing as well as how many keywords and main ideas you cover. You will not be assessed on your knowledge of the subject matter.

Your summary should only include the main points of text. This means you should be familiar with general paragraph structure and methods on how to locate the main ideas of a paragraph.

Your sentence should not include any supporting points of examples.

2. Essay

In this question type you will be asked to write an essay on a given topic. Your essay should be around 200 to 300 words and you will be given 20 minutes to finish this task.

Your score for this question will be determined on your use of grammar, coherence, vocabulary, and written discourse.

Your word count will be displayed at the bottom of the screen. Essays that are under or over the recommended word count will not be graded.

You will also be allowed to cut, copy, or paste the text, which makes checking and editing your essay much easier.

Reading Module

1. Multiple-Choice, Choose Single Answer.

Multiple-choice, choose single answer questions requires candidates to choose a single correct response out of multiple options.

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

The texts can be up to 300 words long but are usually much shorter than this. This means that you have more than enough time to read in detail and choose the correct option. You should take 2 to 3 minutes at most to solve this question.

2. Multiple-Choice, Choose Multiple Answers

This question is very similar to the single choice multiple question. The question is laid out in the exact same manner and the procedure for choosing an option is also the same. The only major difference is that candidates have to choose more than one option.

The number of options needed depends on the wording of the question, but it can be up to four options.

You should a maximum of 3 to 4 minutes on this question.

3. Reorder Paragraphs Question

In this question you will be asked to reorder a group of mismatched paragraphs. There is only one correct order of sequence for these paragraphs.

This type of question tests your ability to understand the how an academic text is organized.

To answer this question, one needs to understand the structure of typical academic text and how cohesive devices are used to link sentences between paragraphs. You will also be able to follow a chronological order of sequence.

4. Fill In The Blanks

There are two types of fill in the blank questions present in the PTE Academic exam.

The first type is question which has a single correct answer for each blank. You have to choose correct answers from a selection of words, present in a block. There are more options than there are spaces. You can select a word and then drag it to its correct spot.

The second type of fill in the blank question requires test takers to choose the correct word from a drop down menu where three to four other options are present. This type of question is called a fill in the blank, reading and writing question.

Both questions test your ability to use contextual and grammatical cues to determine which words should be filled in and each correct answer receives a credit.

The words/answers need to fit into the blanks in such a way that the sentences remain grammatically correct. To understand how to do this, candidates require some knowledge about how sentences connect to each other or follow from each other is needed.

Speaking Module

1. Personal introduction

The first segment of the speaking test begins with an initial 30 second personal introduction, This recording is not really a part of your assessment, but it will also be sent to any intuitions you choose to send your score reports to. Therefore, it’s important to prepare an engaging introduction that showcases your language skills and good personality traits.

2. Read Aloud

In this question types, candidates are required to read a text that is present on the screen. The text can be up to 60 words long.

This type of question tests your ability to read a short text aloud using correct pronunciation and intonation.

Make sure you read with a pleasant and expressive tone that rises and falls. This will you’re your sentences sound more authentic. You should also avoid reading with a monotone voice and do not stop if you happen to make a mistake.

3. Repeat Sentence

In this question candidates will have to repeat a sentence from an audio recording. You have to wait until the microphone turns red before you start speaking. You will have 15 seconds to produce a word for word rendition of the sentence you have just heard. There is no beep at the end, so just start speaking after the clip ends.

This question tests your ability to understand and remember a sentence, and then repeat the sentence exactly as you hear it using correct pronunciation.

Alternatively, you could note down the key words. This will help you remember the sentence better,

4. Describe Image

In this question type, candidates will have 40 seconds to describe an image on the screen. The images are usually a graph, picture, map, chart or table. You will be given 25 seconds to prepare your talk.

The describe image question tests your ability to describe an image from an academic source.

Use your planning time wisely – familiarise your self with any headings, reference points and units of measurement that are present, and determine the significant information conveyed by the image.

5. Retell Lecture

After listening to or watching a lecture of up to 90 seconds in length candidates will have to retell that lecture in their own words for 40 seconds. There might also be an image present about the topic you will hear. The topics of these lectures are usually about academic subjects such as humanities, natural sciences or social sciences.

This question assesses your ability to give a presentation on information from a lecture on an academic subject.

For this Question you should try to capture the best 3-5 sentences. They should be enough to retell the lecture.

Use the erasable note board to make quick notes. Just focus on keywords and do not make your notes too lengthy, as this will waste valuable time.

6. Answer Short Question

In the “Answer short question” task, you will see the audio recorder box on your screen. After 3 seconds, a recording will start to play, and you will hear somebody asking you a question.

Answer short question is a short answer speaking item type with a single correct response. It tests your ability to understand a question presented in a recording and provide a brief and accurate response.

Listening Module

1. Summarize Spoken Text

This question tests both your listening and writing skills. In this question candidates are required to write a short summary based on the contents of an audio recording. You will have 12 seconds to read the instructions before the recording automatically plays. The recording lasts for between 60 to 90 seconds. You will then be required to type out your summary into a small text box below the recording. Your summary should be between 50 to 70 words and should only include the important points of the lecture.

It helps to take notes while the recording is playing. Use these notes as a guide when deciding on the important features to include in your summary. You should spend about 3 to 4 minutes on this question.

2. Multiple Choice

There are two types of multiple-choice questions. Candidates will either be required to choose a single option or choose multiple answers from a list of options in order to answer a question that is based on an audio recording. The type of question depends on the wording of the question, so be careful and make sure that you read the instructions carefully before attempting to answer.

The recording will start after 7 seconds and last for between 40 to 90 seconds. Once the recording has stopped you will be able to select multiple options. You should a maximum of 1.5 minutes on each MCQ

It’s important to note that listening multiple choice, multiple answers are graded using negative scoring. This means that 1 mark will be deducted for incorrect answers. You can easily recognise whether a multiple-choice question has negative marking or not by taking a look at the way the options are displayed. Options that have squares next to them mean that the question is a multiple choice, multiple answers question, with negative scoring.

Options that have circles next to them mean that the question is a multiple choice, single answer question, with regular scoring and only one correct answer.

3. Fill in the Blanks

In this question candidates will be required to fill in the blanks of a short transcript, that has multiple key words removed. The transcript will be present below an audio box. The recording plays after 10 seconds and lasts for around 30 to 60 seconds. The recording is simply and audio version of the displayed transcript. You will have to type out the missing words as you hear them.

This question tests your ability to use contextual and grammatical cues to determine which words should be filled in and each correct answer receives a credit.

4. Highlight The Correct Summary

This question is similar to a multiple-choice question. The recording will play after 7 seconds. Candidates must listen to a 30-90 second recording and choose the correct summary of the recording from several passages. Candidates must choose the option that accurately summarizes the gist (overall meaning) of the recording.

It’s important to choose the summary that contains only the main features of the recording and avoid those that focus on supporting details and examples.

5. Select The Missing Word

This question type is very similar to the Fill in the blanks type of question. However, there is only one missing keyword.

Candidates will be required to listen to a 20-70 second audio recording of a sentence or paragraph that has a keyword missing. You will hear a beep instead of the missing word. You will then have to select the word that best completes the text from a list of possible options.

6. Write From Dictation

In this question type candidates will see an audio recording box on the top of the screen with a blank text box beneath it. The recording plays automatically after 7 seconds and you will then listen to it and then type out a word-for-word transcript of what was said. Each audio for this question type is 3-5 seconds long. You will receive one correct point for every correct word present in your answer.

7. Highlight Incorrect Words

In this question candidates will be required to point out alterations made to certain parts of a short transcript. The transcript will be present below an audio box. The recording plays after 10 seconds and lasts for around 15 to 50 seconds. The recording is simply and audio version of the displayed transcript. You will have to highlight the incorrect words as you hear them, using your mouse cursor.

This question type also includes negative marking, and one point will be deducted for incorrect answers.

How Is The Test 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, which 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 as well.

An additional plus point of using computers to check tests, is that they complete this task far faster than their human counterparts. As a result, test results are usually available in less than 5 days after you take the test.

How Is Each Question Type Graded?

Different question types also 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 essay 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 candidates 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 writing questions formal aspects would include something like the correct use of punctuation.

Let’s take a closer look at how these scores are calculated.

Different Types Of Scoring

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 


Read Aloud

Reading and Speaking

Partial Credit

Repeat Sentence

Listening and Speaking

Partial Credit

Describe Image 


Partial Credit

Re-tell Lecture

Listening and Speaking

Partial Credit

Answer Short Question

Listening and Speaking


Summarize Written Text 

Listening and Speaking

Partial Credit

Write Essay 


Partial Credit

Part 2


Multiple Choice, Choose Single Answer



Multiple Choice, Choose Multiple Answer


Partial Credit

Re-order Paragraph


Partial Credit

Reading Fill In The Blanks 


Partial Credit

Reading And Writing Fill In The Blanks

Reading And Writing

Partial Credit

Part 3


Summarize Spoken Text 

Listening and Writing 

Partial Credit

Multiple Choice, Choose Multiple Answer


Partial Credit

Fill In The Blanks 

Listening and Writing 

Partial Credit

Highlight The Correct Summary 

Listening and Reading


Multiple Choice, Choose Single Answer



Select Missing Word 



Highlight Incorrect Word 

Listening and Reading

Partial Credit

Write From Dictation

Listening and Writing 

Partial Credit

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 – natural speech without hesitation
  • Pronunciation – produce speech that is easily understood with correct intonation and stress.
  • Vocabulary – demonstrate 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. As mentioned before 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. 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.

2. 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.

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.

Which Scores 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.

How To Book A Test

You can easily book your exam at any official Pearson language test centre or online. You can even book your test just a day before you sit for the exam. This is a service which is not offered by any other language proficiency tests.

Let’s take a look at the online PTE academic booking procedure.


Step 1 - Create an Account

In order to book a test you first need to register with Pearsons first and create an account on the official PTE academic website. To do this you need to have a valid information and fill out your personal details. Your personal details must match the information that is present on your current passport and identity document. Additional information like your previous exam history (if applicable) is also required.


Step 2 - Choose Your Test

You also need to choose which test you want to register for. This depends on whether or not you wish to take the PTE Academic or General Test. Do note that only PT E Academic is accepted for study in an English speaking country and that the same PTE Academic test type can be used for immigration to Australia and New Zealand. 


Step 3 - Choose Your Test Center And Date

Once the above-mentioned details have been entered, candidates are required to select a test date and venue.


Step 4 - Recheck Your Details

Candidates are given the opportunity to recheck their registration details before payment. would be then required to revise their order one last time before going ahead with the payment. Changes to test date and venue can also be made without incurring any extra cost.


Step 5 - Make a Payment

Payment can be easily made online using the following credit or debit cards.

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • American Express
  • JCB

You can also use a valid Pearson PTE discount voucher to help reduce the cost of a standard PTE test. These vouchers are usually available through registered Pearson PTE partner institutions (institutions which offer paid PTE coaching).

To utilise these vouchers, you simply have to enter your voucher code when registering for the exam, in the box that states, ‘apply voucher code’.

No other forms of payment are currently accepted. Once your payment has been made.  Candidates will receive an acknowledgement receipt and a confirmation email. Your confirmation email will include confirmation of your booking and payment.

Which Documents Do You Need To Book Your Exam?

The most acceptable form of identification needed for booking the PTE academic exam is a valid passport.

  • Your passport must meet the following requirements.
  • You need a valid passport which has not yet expired.
  • The date of issuance must be no more than 10 years ago.
  • All of the details of the passport you used to book the test must match the passport you bring with you to the test centre on test day.
  • The name on the ID should exactly match the name used when booking the test.
  • You must bring your original passport, as copies will not be accepted.

If, for any reason, your passport or identification number does not match the number used during the registration process, you will not be able to sit for exam, and you will also not be reimbursed for any fees paid.

When Is The Best Time To Book Your Test?

There are many factors to consider when booking your test. Firstly, it's important to take into consideration your application dates and deadlines. keep in mind that it takes up to one week for universities and other organizations to receive your results. If you do not obtain the required scores on your first attempt of the PTE test, then you would also need sufficient time to prepare and take a second test.

Do not book your test before you start preparing for the test. Students often book their exam under false assumptions about the test's difficulty and their actual levels of English Language proficiency and realize, all too late, that they have made a great error in judgement about the time they need to prepare. It's much better to prepare first and then book your test. Use the time between your preparation and booked test date to continually improve your skills through practice with official PTE Tests.

How Much Does The PTE Academic Cost

The fee for the actual exam roughly ranges from between 150 USD to 210 USD. However, fees do vary according to country and even test centres. This is mainly because provincial government taxes may vary by location. The standard fee in Singapore is around 250 USD.

There are two types of booking fees. If you book your test before 48 hours of your scheduled test date, then you are only required to pay the standard PTE exam fee. However, if you leave your registration to the last minute, and book within a 48-hour window of your test date, then you would have to pay the PTE Late Booking price

For example in Singapore, the standard PTE Academic exam fee is around $250. If a candidate books their PTE exam within 48 hours of their actual test date, then they have to pay a price of    $312.50.

PTE Vouchers

Pearson has made the PTE Academic exam more cost effective, by introducing PTE vouchers. The vouchers are unique addition to language test payment procedures and are not offered by any other language exams at the moment.

They usually allow you to register for the PTE academic exam at a cost that is much lower than the standard price.

These vouchers are usually available through registered Pearson PTE partner institutions (institutions which offer paid PTE coaching). They also include a number of added bonuses such as free practice tests and resource materials.

To utilise these vouchers, you simply have to enter your voucher code when registering for the exam, in the box that states ‘apply voucher code’

PTE Academic Test Dates: When Is The PTE Exam Available?

The exams are held on once every day of the year, except public holidays. Additional test spots on a particular day can be added depending on demand. However, test dates and scheduling policies do vary by location. It has become increasingly difficult to find suitable test dates within 30 days of booking. This is mainly because the PTE academic exam is continually increasing in its popularity.

Dates are available on a first come first serve basis so it is important to confirm that a particular test date is available instead of assuming that it will be. You can check a dates availability online on the official Pearson PTE website.

How Can I Choose My PTE Test Date?

When you book your PTE academic exam, you will be given the option to choose a test centre as well as a suitable test date.

You can easily book your exam online on the official Pearson PTE website. You first need to create a registered PTE account using a valid email and certain personal information. Your account will be verified within 24 hours, after which you can begin the PTE booking procedure.

Once you have chosen a test venue, the available test dates for that particular location will be displayed on screen and you just need to click on your choice.

How will My Test Date be Confirmed?

Once you have paid for your PTE test, you will receive a confirmation email. The email will contain important registration information such as, your personal details, test location and date. Check your junk or spam folders if you do not automatically receive an email. If you have not received any sort of confirmation email from Pearson, you must contact Pearson customer care to confirm your booking. Without this confirmation, you will not be able to sit for the exam, even if you have already paid in full.

PTE Academic Test Day: What To Expect On Test Day

Many students are nervous about what to expect on their actual PTE test day. The best way to ensure that everything goes smoothly is to know what to expect. Pearson tries their level best to protect the integrity of the PTE  test by enforcing a number of rules and regulations about what is allowed on test day. A great deal of these rules are designed to deter test takers from cheating.

Test Day Procedures

Try to arrive at least half an hour before your scheduled time. Use this extra time to compose yourself.

When you arrive at your test center, you will need to provide the test administrator with your ID. You will be guided to a secure testing room. The test administrator will guide you through the check in process and explain all the rules and procedures related to taking  taking the test.

You will then be asked to provide copies of your ID. They will also ask you to take a digital photograph and perform a biometric scan of your palm for security reasons. You can ask the invigilator at any time for assistance by simply raising your hand.

There will usually be around 10 test takers in total and you will all be separated in partitioned booths. You will still be able to hear the other candidates speaking around you, especially during the speaking exam

Here is what it will look like:

Test Day Tips

1. Reduce Your Test Day Anxiety

Students often experience a high level of test-day anxiety and this has a great impact on their scores. It can be overwhelming to have to use a wide range of language skills under timed conditions. One of the best ways to overcome this is to know what to expect. There is no way to predict the exact questions that you will be asked but you can familiarise yourself with the test format, question types and common topics.

Secondly, you should make sure you are well rested before you sit for the exam. Get an early nights rest before your test and try to relax instead of studying frantically. You should also make sure that you have a good breakfast as you will have to sit for the entire test duration without any food items.

2. Manage Your Time Effectively

The majority of PTE questions are timed together. It is important to know exactly how much time you should spend on each question type. Many students fail to follow this advice and spend far too much time focusing on certain types of questions, which eats into their overall time for the other tasks. You can’t ‘borrow’ time from one part of the test and add it onto another.

3. Check Your Microphone

Although it is not common, there have been instances where students have not scored well due to a faulty microphone. It’s important to make sure you voice your concerns to an invigilator as early as possible to avoid any discrepancies in your final score. You could request a rescore in such instances, but it extremely unlikely that your score will be altered even if you think there was an issue with a faulty microphone. That is why it is better to bring these issues to the exam invigilator on test day, instead of getting your test rechecked at a later date.

What Are You Allowed To Bring With You

The rules for what you are allowed to bring into the test center on test day are very strict. You are basically not allowed to bring any personal items, these include things like,  mobile phones, hand-held computers/personal digital assistants (PDAs) or other electronic devices, pagers, watches, wallets, purses, firearms or other weapons, hats (and other non-religious head coverings), bags, coats, jackets, eyeglass cases, books, and/or notes, pens or pencils are allowed in the testing room.

You are also not allowed to bring any food or drink items (even water) into the test room. If you refuse to store your personal items, you will be unable to test, and you will lose your test fee.

The Erasable Note Book And Pen

An erasable note book and pen will be provided to us to use throughout your test. However, there are only certain items in which its use is actually necessary. You can use these during the lengthier question types like for essays, retell lectures, summarize spoken text and summarize written text. It is also really useful for most of the listening questions since the recordings are only played once.

For the listening section in particular, since time is scarce, you should avoid making lengthy notes, as you might miss important information. Simply focus on keywords and phrases. Your notes should only serve to reinforce what you are listening to, so make sure that you focus on listening and not on note taking. This will help to clarify your understanding of what you are listening to

Make sure that you request to have two markers just in case, and also make sure that you always replace the cap after you use it. They tend to dry out pretty quickly and it would take some time before an invigilator can provide you with a new one

PTE Results

When Are PTE Results Available

PTE Exam results are usually available after 5 working days of a candidates initial test date. When your results are ready, you will receive an email notification.

How Can I Access My Scores

To access your scores, you will need to login to the Pearson PTE website using the login credentials (your username and password) you set when you registered for the exam.

Once you have logged in, you need to click the link that says ‘view score reports’ in order to view your scores.

Pearson does not issue any paper PTE Academic certificate. You send your electronic score report to various institutions via your unique Pearson web account.

All PTE Test results all display the following information.

  • The Candidate’s personal details and photo
  • Test registration ID and score Report Code
  • Overall score
  • A detailed breakdown of the performance

Here is an example of what you will see on your score report:

How Can I Send My Scores To Institutions

The PTE Exam allows candidates to send their score reports to as many institutions as they want to, for no extra cost.

Once you have viewed your results, you can click on the ‘Send Scores’ link. This option allows you to search for and select the name of the institutions you wish to send your results to.

Make sure that all the details that appear on your score report

PTE Test Preparation

What Is Your Current Level Of Proficiency?

The first step to acing any test is to understand its format and content (syllabus). You to understand how the test is laid out and divided in terms of scoring and timings. You also need to know what kind of questions you can expect in each part of the test. This is all information that that can easily be found on the official PTE website.

Once you are familiar with the test, you need to gauge your current level, Before you begin preparing for the test, it is useful to get a good idea about what your current level of proficiency is. This will help you to pinpoint exactly which skills you need to work on, instead of wasting time re learning skills your already good at.

You can do this by taking an authentic practice test. Doing this will help you to identify your weak areas (the questions types in which you made the most mistakes or struggled to answer easily). Knowing what your actual current level is will help you to set a realistic timeline to prepare for the test.

To help with this issue, Pearsons have introduced a short PTE exam mini test, which is designed to give you an accurate idea about the level of difficulty of an actual PTE exam.

The test consists of five question types and lasts for about 10 minutes.

  • Fill in the blanks.
  • Reordering paragraphs
  • Multiple choice
  • Highlight incorrect words.
  • Select missing words.

The ‘taster test’ is a quick and easy way to help you understand what language level is required to score well in the exam.

How Long Does It Take To Prepare For The Exam

The amount of time it takes for you to prepare for the PTE exam depends greatly on your individual circumstances. Most of my PTE students are also full-time working professionals or students with busy daily routines. They often find it difficult to set aside sufficient study time to prepare for the PTE exam.

How Many Hours Should You Spend Studying?

This depends on your current level of proficiency, how much you need to learn and how quickly you learn new skills.

Some students try to study for the PTE exam on the weekends, when they have time to spare. I don’t recommend doing this. If you dedicate at least one or two hours a day to your PTE prep, it will guarantee that you don’t lose your focus or rhythm. I suggest that you spend at least 15 to 20 hours a week preparing for the exam. More than this might cause more exhaustion and stress than is necessary, which can have adverse effects on your preparation.

The Best Methods To Prepare For The Exam

1. Create A Study Plan.

The best way to manage your time effectively is to create a study timetable. Make a schedule that includes all four main components of the exam namely listening, writing, and speaking. Spread them out throughout the day and over a number of weeks. Arrange the subjects progressively so you can start things slow and also include specific times to assess the skills you have learned during your study.

2. Make Sure To Practice

Learning a new skill is quite different to applying it in real life. Make sure that your daily PTE prep schedule includes enough practice time to reinforce the lessons you have gone through. You should also schedule practice or mock tests at the end of the week to assess whether or not your scores have improved or not.

3. Use English Everyday

The PTE exam assesses whether or not you are comfortable enough with the English language to survive and thrive in an English-speaking work or study environment. Therefore it would be ridiculous to think of your prep time as the only time you should be applying your knowledge and skills learned for the test. Incorporate the language into your daily activities, by conversing in English whenever possible. Try watching more programs or movies in English. Make sure you note down any unfamiliar words. The same can be said for reading. Try to find reading material like books or articles on topics that interest you. Note down new vocabulary and try to determine their meanings from reading in context. Your PTE prep should not only include textbooks, practice tests and skills that you forget as soon as your daily study time is complete. Improving your fluency and understanding of the language is a continual process that requires a committed effort.

How To Use Authentic Preparation Resources Wisely

Make sure that you always use authentic resources from trusted sources. Using practice tests and learning materials from reliable sources is important because there are far too many fake free resources with badly written questions or wrong answers. Many of these resources are themselves riddled with grammatical errors and branded as high scoring materials.

Using such inauthentic materials can give the incorrect impression about the level of difficulty of the PTE exam or give you an over-inflated sense of your English Language capabilities.

Make sure that the practice questions you use have the same structure, the same difficulty, the same marking, and the same timing as the PTE test.

Another point to consider is that there are plenty of free PTE resources available online but no matter how well – connected they might be, their information about the PTE exam will always be from an outside perspective. This is why I recommend using the Official Guide to PTE Academic exam

The Official Guide to PTE Academic

The Official Guide to PTE Academic is a book that is published and endorsed by Pearsons themselves. It’s the best option for familiarising yourself with the basics of the exam. The guide also gives you an accurate idea about what the test entails and the true levels of difficulty.

Here’s what is included in the book:

  • A detailed overview of what to expect in the on-test day.
  • Information about test scores
  • A basic explanation of the test format
  • Authentic pearsons practice exercises

Pearson's Official PTE Academic Mock Tests

Unlike other language tests, Pearsons offers official mock PTE tests that are scored using the exact same algorithm that is used to score actual PTE academic tests. Taking one of these tests can give you a good idea of your estimated score. The tests are timed and scored exactly like the real exam. This is a useful tool to help learners understand what their official scores might look like without having to pay the full test fee multiple times.

Each test cost around 35 USD. However, there are also affordable bundle packages available in cases where students would like to purchase more than one practice test.

I recommend using these official practice test instead of many of the free versions that are available online. The reason being is it is highly unlikely that these free mock tests use the same software and AI to grade your answers. This is especially true for the unique online speech recognition software, which has quite a strict scoring criteria. This ultimately means that you probably get a score that is not an accurate representation of your PTE Academic score.

If you are just curious about the PTE test is like, then taking a free version of the test might be useful. You can get a good idea about the format, tasks and timings of the test and decide if this is something you are capable of doing. However, if you are serious about taking the exam then I recommend taking a paid for mock test.

Enrol In An Online PTE Course

Despite all of the useful information above, I still feel that enrolling in an PTE Preparation course is your best bet at acing the exam. The reasoning behind this is simple, any sort of free online PTE resource cannot provide feedback on your proficiency.

In my opinion, it would be better and more productive to invest in finding a good PTE teacher to guide you and then use the above-mentioned resources as supplementary materials. Only an PTE professional teacher can guide you and offer you valuable feedback on your weak areas, especially in terms of your writing and speaking practice answers.


1. How Many Times Can I Take The Exam? (And How Much Does It Cost)

It is also important to note that you can take the PTE academic test multiple times. The registration process is the same regardless of whether you have taken the exam before or not, which means that the test fees will be exactly the same as well.

The validity of your previous scores is not overridden. This is especially important if you happen to have a higher score in your previous result than your latest test score.

Unfortunately, candidates have to pay separately for each time they take the PTE Academic test.

Although you can take the test multiple times in order to get the score you need, paying separately each time can be quite costly. Instead of wasting your valuable and hard-earned money, it would be better to use this retest as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes. Try to improve your preparation for the next time you take the test, especially in the test section you scored most poorly in.

Take a good and honest look at your previous preparation methods and schedule to determine how you can improve upon these areas. Make sure that you give yourself sufficient time to really well prepare and improve your English language skills and abilities.

2. How Long Are PTE Academic Results Valid For?

PTE scores are only valid for 2 years. Although the PTE test provides an accurate record of a test taker’s English language proficiency, the Pearsons recommend a two-year validity period for PTE test results based upon the fact that a candidate’s language skills will naturally diminish over time if they are not used regularly. Our personal or professional environment can change our English proficiency level for the better or the worst. After a period two years, you will have either been using your and therefore enhancing English skills, or you might have been in an environment where English is barely used, meaning you English language skills might be a bit rusty, to say the least! You might still be good with the language, but you will definitely not be as fluent as you used to be.

The two-year validity also accounts for changes that might occur within the test format or content.

3. Which Part Of The PTE Exam Is The Toughest?

The speaking module of the PTE academic exam is notoriously difficult. This is because of the rigid criteria that the AI uses to assess your answers.

Many PTE candidates score poorly in the Oral Fluency criteria. This is because the computer AI that grades the speaking portion of the PTE exam is designed to compare a second language learner's accent to the accent of a native speaker.

4. How Can I Focus In A Noisy PTE Test Center? 

PTE test centers are usually busy and full of distractions. There will be so many people talking or typing the same time as you are. You might be surrounded by other more noisy test takers or your test center might be located in a busy urban space. this might make  it difficult to focus fully on the recordings

The best way to avoid this is to practice this type of question regularly. practicing in a noisy chaotic environment and this will help you get used to focusing on questions and audio, while there is noise around you. Try practicing in a busy café or park instead of the usual quiet places like at home or a library. Eventually, you will be able to tune out the background noise.

5. Can You Get Your Results Rechecked?

If you are not satisfied with the scores you have received, you can request a rescore or recheck of your test. The reading and listening module questions all have fixed and specific answers. It is highly unlikely that the computer algorithm used to check these components would have made an error when checking this part of the exam. For this reason only the speaking and writing module can be sent for rechecking. This can be done for no extra cost. You only need to make a request to the Pearson Customer service, within 14 days of obtaining your score.

6. What Happens If I Have Not Received My Desired Score?

Fortunately, test takers are allowed to take the PTE academic exam as many times as they wish in order to achieve their desired scores. In this case, you should use this retest as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes. Try to improve your preparation for the next time you take the test, especially in the test section you scored most poorly in.

Take a good and honest look at your previous preparation methods and schedule to determine how you can improve upon these areas. Make sure that you give yourself sufficient time to really well prepare and improve your English language skills and abilities. Continuously gauge your progress by taking authentic PTE practice tests.

The smart thing to do is to take the money you would use on taking the test multiple times and spend it on a course that will provide you with the strategies and skills that will guarantee you a better score next time. I believe the easiest and stress-free way to do this is to find an PTE teacher, who can help you identify your weaknesses and help you to improve in these areas. Often students have gaps in the understanding of particular types of questions and are completely unaware of it until these issues are pointed out by a professional.