What is PTE?
Pearson Test of English Academic is a computer-based academic English language test aimed at non-native English speakers wanting to study abroad. PTE was started by Pearson in 2009 and is one of the latest entrants into the field of testing English language proficiency of non-native speakers.
To complete a PTE Academic test, the applicant needs to attend a secure Pearson Test center. The test has three main parts: reading, writing and speaking. The test includes twenty different question formats, ranging from multiple choice to essay writing and interpreting information. The whole test is conducted in a single session, lasting three hours and is computer-based.
The three parts of a PTE exam are:
- Part 1: Speaking and Writing
Part 1 will assess your speaking and writing skills and the duration of this test is around 77-93 minutes. During the speaking test, your skills will be tested by your ability to produce spoken English in an academic environment. The writing test will require you to write answers in academic English using correct grammar and spelling. Speaking and Writing test includes:
- Personal Introduction
- Read Aloud
- Repeat Sentence
- Describe Image
- Re-tell lecture
- Answer short question
- Summarize written test
- Part 2: Reading
Part 2 is a single timed test which contains 15-20 integrated and skills items. Different response formats, including multiple choice, re-order paragraphs and fill in the blanks are used to test your ability to read, write and listen to data provided in English. The test duration is around 32-41 minutes. The reading test includes:
- Multiple choice questions, choose a single answer
- Multiple choice questions, choose multiple answers
- Re-order paragraphs
- Reading, Fill in the blanks
- Reading and Writing, Fill in the blanks
- Part 3: Listening
Part 3 includes questions that are based on audio or video clips. You will have to listen to each clip carefully, and you are allowed to take notes as well. The listening test includes:
- Summarize spoken test
- Multiple choice questions, choose multiple answers
- Fill in the blanks
- Highlight correct summary
- Multiple choice questions, choose singe answer
- Select missing word
- Highlight incorrect words
- Write from dictation
PTE Academic vs PTE General
There are two types of PTE exams: PTE Academic and PTE General. Let’s discuss some of the differences between these two exams.
The PTE Academic has four sections: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking, whereas the PTE General exam is mainly divided into two sections: a written paper and a spoken test. The written segment is further divided into listening, reading comprehension, and writing skills section.
While the PTE Academic exam score is only valid for two years from the date of issue, the PTE General exam score does not have any validity limitation.
The PTE General Exam is held in the months of May, December, and June whereas the PTE Academic Exam is held in more than 200 locations and over 360 days in a year.
The PTE Academic exam benefits applicants who are planning for admission into a university/institution, whereas the PTE General focuses more on realistic communication skills testing.
The PTE General score is accepted in the following countries: Albania, Columbia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Ecuador, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, UK, Estonia. The PTE Academic score is accepted by 6000 academic institutes across the globe.
To sit for a PTE exam you must provide acceptable identification documents, typically your passport. The same ID details provided during booking the test should be presented on the day of the exam. Another important point to note is that the original ID must be provided.
Here are some of the preparation tips for PTE:
- Write full sentences with proper punctuation.
- Paraphrasing is crucial as you can lose marks if you repeat many words.
- Arrive early to the exam center so that you have enough time before the test to settle yourself.
- Practice with sample question papers and focus on improving your time managing skills.
- The best way to prepare for a test is to join a class and receive tuition face-to-face or online.
Factors in the PTE test
There are some critical factors that you should keep in mind before attending a PTE test:
Time is one of the most crucial factors in a PTE test. Most of the questions have a set timer, and others collectively have a time limit wherein you must manage your time. You must answer the questions within the time limit, or else you’ll lose marks.
- Negative Marking
For some of the questions in a PTE exam, you will be marked negatively if you provide an incorrect answer.
- Scoring pattern
Another critical factor is the scoring pattern. It is essential for you to understand that you are being judged for your English language skills. You will be judged for your communicative and enabling skills.
- Average score required
The range for the overall score is 10-90 points. The average required for each person can be different, if you are applying for a student visa abroad, then you won’t be needing a perfect 69 or 75 in each section. However, if you are applying for a PR visa, you will need a perfect score.
PTE is valid for applying PR in Australia, and the applicant must score 65 points for their visa to be granted. You can apply for Australian PR with 50 points, but you will not get any points for 50 marks in PTE. Thus scoring more marks is the only way to increase your total immigration score.
PTE vs. IELTS
Even though IELTS and PTE are similar in many aspects, there are several distinct features unique to each of them. Some of the significant differences are:
- An IELTS exam evaluates the speaking abilities of the candidates by making live conversation whereas PTE is totally computer based and uses several innovative techniques to assess the writing skills of the candidate.
- PTE is based on computer-based scores and grades whereas the IELTS test report form is posted 13 days after the test.
- Every IELTS Academic is conducted at more than 900 centers spread over 130 countries. The IELTS General is available on 24 fixed days of a year. PTE test centers are located in over 50 countries worldwide and the biggest advantage is that it can be taken on any date of the year.
Sending Your Scores
Follow these instructions to send your PTE score to the University of your preference:
- Login to your PTE account.
- Click ‘View score reports’.
- Click ‘Send scores.’
- Type the name of the institution and click ‘Search.’
- Please tick the box next to the university name when it appears in the list.
- Review your details and click ‘Next’ and ‘Next’ again to confirm.
There is no limit on how many times you can appear for the PTE exam. You can take the exam every five days. If you change your mind at the end and wish to reschedule your exam, you can do it online up until three days before your scheduled appointment. If you reschedule your exam fewer than three days prior to your appointment may result in forfeiting your exam fee.
The results for the PTE exam are usually available within five business days from your test date.
Even though PTE is tougher than IELTS, scoring in PTE is much more reliable than IELTS. PTE is a computer-based test, which neglects the chances of human bias during evaluation.