PTE Exam Pattern

The Pearson Test of English (PTE Academic) assesses the written, spoken, skills of the candidates to ensure that they are capable of studying in the international environment, with a good grasp over the universal language of English. By scoring well in this test, students can assure the admission committee as well as the visa officers that they are capable of understanding the globally accepted official language while studying on the foreign land. A good score in the test also ensures that candidates would be able to represent their ideas, deliver presentations, work to gain international exposure, and basically function on the international front in front among the foreign audiences. This helps the applicants ensure that they are ready to study amidst students from all over the world and international faculty members in the universal official language.

As an English language test, PTE is no exception and has a similar kind of Exam Pattern like other English language tests. It focusses on the 3 major sections of the language proficiency:

  • Reading Section
  • Listening Section
  • Speaking and Writing Section

The test goes this way:

  1. Question: Time to Reading the Text Prompt: The time duration of each prompt you get varies depending upon the length of the text. The length is measurable in words or sentences. You need to be active in this part.
  2. Prepare for Answer: Time granted to Relax and Think: You do not have to immediately answer the question. On average, you get 10 to 15 seconds to prepare for each segment. You should relax and think for a while on how to answer.
  3. Answer: Time for Action: This is the total time duration where you have to perform. The answers are recorded when you speak, saved as text when you write, and selected in options multiple-choice questions.

Refer to the segment wise description boxes given along with each section explaining the PTE Exam Pattern 2019 in detail:

As the name implies, this section tests the candidate’s on the basis of their 2 major skills of communication, which are spoken and written skills. This section comprises of six small sections that test you on your promptness over speaking and writing the written test that you would get to read for the first time ever. The complete section is given time duration of 77 to 93 minutes and the time allotted to each segment is as follows:

 Segments PatternTime Duration
Personal Introduction          55 seconds: 25 seconds for prompt, 30 seconds to record
Read Aloud30-40 seconds to prepare for reading out the text of 60 words
Repeat Sentence15 seconds: 3-9 seconds for prompt, 15 seconds to record
Describe Image25 seconds are granted to study the image as well as prepare your response on the same
Re-Tell Lecture90 seconds for prompt length, 10 seconds to prepare and 40 seconds to answer
Answer Short Question20 seconds: 3-9 seconds for prompt, 10 seconds to answer
Summarize Written Text10 minutes to answer to text prompt of 300 words
Essay20 minutes to answer to text prompt of 2-3 sentences

This section tests the candidates on the basis of their ability to understand the written instructions in the language. The section further divided into 5 segments is 32 to 41 minutes long. Check out the segment-wise pattern for time distribution of this section:
 Segments PatternTime Duration varies on the Length of the Text Prompt
Multiple Choice, Choose Single AnswerRead 300 words of text
Multiple Choice, Choose Multiple AnswersRead 300 words of text
Re-Order ParagraphsRead 150 words of text
Reading: Fill in the BlanksRead 80 words of text
Reading and Writing: Fill in the BlanksRead 300 words of text
The listening section of the PTE Academic is stretched over 45 to 57 minutes of duration. This one is designed to determine the ability to understand spoken English by the candidate. Here, the student needs to ascertain that they carefully hear to the audio file played and retain what they heard. This section is divided into 8 segments and the time give to each segment is as follows.
 Segments PatternTime Duration
Summarize Spoken Text60-90 seconds to retain  50-70 words, 10 minutes to write
Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer40-90 seconds for prompt
Fill in the Blanks30-60 seconds
Highlight Correct Summary30-90 seconds
Multiple Choice, Single Answer30-60 seconds
Select Missing Word20-70 seconds
Highlight Incorrect Words15-50 seconds
Write From Dictation3-5 seconds

Designed to verify the applicant’s English language skills, the standardized English language tests follow almost the same pattern. Hence, preparing for any one of these, you automatically are prepared for taking up any of the remaining two. Now that you have understood the PTE Academic Exam Pattern, you must check out the preparation tips on each section separately:

  • Reading Section Prep Tips
  • Speaking Section Prep Tips
  • Listening Section Prep Tips
  • Writing Section Prep Tips

For those who get confused over which exam to take out of the 3 English language exams, check out the difference between them:

IELTS vs PTE

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