What is the PTE Academic test?

For students applying to study abroad, taking an English proficiency exam is likely already a priority on their checklist. Nowadays, multiple companies and platforms are offering English proficiency exams, which means that students ought to do their research about the pros and cons of each one and, more importantly, which ones their preferred destinations and institutions accept. The Pearson Test of English, or PTE academic test, is one of the most prominent English proficiency exams in the market. Pearson, one of the largest and most well-known multinational publishing and education companies in the world, launched it in 2009. The test is recognised worldwide and is popular for its accuracy and efficiency in assessing English language skills.

In this article, we’ll go through everything about the test: its features, its test structure and how it can help aspiring international students in their study abroad journeys.


About the PTE Academic test

The PTE Academic test is a quick and convenient proficiency exam that measures English speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in a two to three-hour, fully computer-based test. In addition, it provides feedback on enabling skills in the form of oral fluency, grammar, vocabulary, written discourse, pronunciation and spelling.

The test caters to those looking to accomplish their requirements for study, work or migration. Recognised in more than 70 countries and accepted by over 3,000 universities, colleges and professional bodies globally, the exam continues to gain increasing recognition. It’s also approved for all UK, Australian and New Zealand visa and immigration categories.

There are options to take the PTE Academic test in person or online. Students can choose from hundreds of exam centres across widespread locations or take their test from the comfort of their home through the PTE Academic Online. The fee varies depending on the country. For example, the PTE Academic test Australia costs $445 for either testing option. It’s best to always refer to the PTE official website for updated prices.


PTE Academic test format

The PTE Academic test format comprises three main sections: (1) Speaking and Writing, (2) Reading and (3) Listening. Here’s a breakdown of each component:

Speaking and Writing (54-67 minutes)

This is the longest section of the test since it combines two skills in one. It contains seven different question themes including a personal introduction, reading aloud, describing images and essay writing. It examines test-takers’ speaking and writing skills using English one might hear in an academic environment.

Reading (29-30 minutes)

This section contains five different question types including multiple choice, fill-in-the-blanks and re-ordering paragraphs. Because PTE Academic is an integrated skills test, one item type (‘Reading and Writing: Fill in the blanks’) also assesses writing skills.

Listening (30-43 minutes)

This part contains eight different question types including summarising spoken text, multiple choice, fill in the blanks and dictation. The questions are based on audio or video clips which begin to play automatically. Test-takers will hear each audio or video clip only once but they may take notes as they listen.


What sets the PTE Academic test apart?

Among the different English proficiency exams being offered today, what makes the PTE Academic test different? Pearson boasts of these main attributes offered by their English test:

There are options to take the test in a centre or online

There are more than 400 test centers across 117 countries where students can take the PTE Academic test. Test centres are small and friendly, with typically no more than ten seats per centre. Pearson also offers an option for online testing with the PTE Academic Online.

It’s computer-based

The test is computer-based, so test-takers face no additional pressure of talking face-to-face with an examiner. Furthermore, responses are scored objectively through sophisticated algorithms.

It’s one of the fastest tests

The PTE Academic test time is arguably one of its most considered features. From start to finish, steps are quick and easy to breeze through. Just make a booking, take the test for two to three hours, and typically get test results after 48 hours.

It assesses real-life English

The test contains excerpts from lectures, graphs and charts. There’s also a wide range of accents in the test, from British and American to non-native English, so test-takers are exposed to the different types of accents they may encounter in everyday life.

A single-session test

The PTE Academic test is taken in a single two-hour session, so students can complete their tests in one go, rather than having to schedule a separate session for a different section of the test (like some exams, such as the IELTS, do).

Test-takers can review for free

Pearson offers various resources to help interested test takers prepare for the test. Their PTE practice app guides people on what to expect from the test, with detailed information on the test format and the 20 different question types, as they complete interactive practice questions, with answers on and offline.

To learn more about the PTE Academic test and how it can help students prepare for the exam, become more comfortable in the English language and achieve their study abroad goals, connect with our business development experts today!

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