A Complete Guide to PTE Exam Pattern

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Pearson Test of English (PTE), of course one of the famous English proficiency assessment tests is generally chosen by many aspirants across the world. The PTE Exam Pattern defines that it is a multi-level test. Particularly, candidates planning to obtain admission in the universities of the English speaking countries like Canada, New Zealand, Australia, UK and USA take the PTE. However, the PTE Academic score is accepted in the renowned universities of Harvard, INSEAD and Yale etc.

Fortunately, there is an advantage of taking the PTE test, because you get the result in a short period of 5 days.

Based on the PTE exam format, the test is basically categorized into 2 types:

The PTE Test of English Academic:

This is a computer based English language proficiency test assesses the language abilities of non-native English speakers planning to study abroad.

The PTE Academic is similar to IELTS & TOEFL, is a multi-level test and it tests your listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in English language.

Often, in the PTE test, the questions test 2 skills at a time like reading & speaking or listening & reading. The test takes place in a recognized test centre in one single session for a duration of 3 hours (180 minutes).

Here, in the speaking assessment, your voice is recorded and forwarded for marking.

Now, let’s go a bit deep to know different sections involved in the PTE examination and the question types included in each section.

Firstly, the PTE exam consists of 3 main segments; speaking and writing, reading and listening.

There is a 10 minutes break between reading and listening sections excluding the test time of 180 minutes.

The PTE Exam Pattern:

The first section is speaking and writing. And, the time allotted is around 77 – 93 minutes. It includes the following parts of assessment.

In the writing part, you have to write an essay and allotted time is 20 minutes.

The second section is the reading part and the total duration for this part is from 32 – 41 minutes. And, third comes the listening section that ranges from 45 to 57 minutes.

Now, let’s have a look over the question types.

PTE Academic Speaking and Reading Question types:

Personal introduction – you have to speak about yourself and provide some details about your educational background and future plans.

Read aloud – You will find a text on the screen which is around 60 words. You have to read it aloud.

Repeat the Sentence – you should repeat the sentence that you hear from a recording

Describe a Chart – you will find a chart on the screen. You should interpret the details found in the chart.

Retell the Lecture – you might listen or might be allowed to watch a lecture. Here, you are supposed to retell the lecture in your words. Short Answer Questions – you will listen to questions here and you will have to answer them in one word or a few.

Check out the PTE Speaking Tips and PTE Reading Tips

PTE Academic Writing Question Types:

The PTE being a multi-level test, it has got a very interesting and challenging question set in its writing assessment section.

There are 2 types of PTE Academic Writing tasks.

1.   Essay Writing – For this, you have to write an argumentative essay of 200 to 300 words. The total time allotted for this question is 20 minutes. To write, you will have a prompt and you need to respond with a written essay.

2.   Summarize Text – this is an interesting and a challenging question. You need to write the summary of a text in a single sentence. You must include all the crucial elements that you see in the reading passage and your summary shouldn’t exceed 75 words. The total time given is 10 minutes.

PTE Academic Listening Question Types:

Listening section carries a variety of questions. The questions you encounter in the PTE listening section are based on the automatically played series of audio and video clips. Besides, you can take notes in this section. The question types involved here are;

Highlight the correct summary – you will hear a recording first, you will be given with a text and the task is to highlight the paragraph that summarizes the recording you heard.

Multiple Choice Questions (choose single option) – you need to answer the MCQs on the matter or tone of a recording that you listen to. You have to select a single response.

Select Missing Word – Listen to the presented recording and select the missing word which will complete the sentence from the given options

Highlighting Incorrect Words – You will see a transcript of an audio on the screen. Now you will listen to actual recording and identify the incorrect word or the words in the transcript that differ from that one in the audio.

Write from Dictation – You need to listen to a sentence and type it.

The PTE Exam of English General:

You should know, there are 6 levels of the PTE general test. Every level stands according to the Common European Framework and Reference for Languages (CEF or CEFR) levels.

It’s previous name is “The London Test of English” and aims to reward the prospective achievement in English language. It has 2 parts, a written part and an interview.

The PTE general test is classified into 6 different levels.

LevelStageWriting Time Allotted
Interview Time Allotted
A1Level A175 minutes5 minutes
A2Level 195 minutes5 minutes
B1Level 295 minutes7 minutes
B2Level 3120 minutes7 minutes
C1Level 4150 minutes8 minutes
C2Level 5175 minutes8 minutes

It is very important to know that the PTE writing assessment tests your reading comprehension, writing and listening skills too.

Additionally Levels 4 and Level 5 of the PTE General Test levels got the recognition of the UK universities and also by many international universities and companies.


Summarising the information above, the Pearson Test of English would assess the English language proficiency of the applicants. Out of 2 different categories of Academic and General PTE, at certain cases, Academic PTE is more valued than General. To crack this, you need to have a complete knowledge of the PTE Exam pattern and the test prep methods as well. Train with the best PTE coaching center in Hyderabad.

In the test, the candidates have to deal with the questions related to real life tasks (which needs a considerable standard in the English language). The tasks demand you to understand what the speakers are talking (in the recordings). Besides, the test would assess your abilities in the fields of grasping presentations, writing messages, understanding the core concepts of a news article and discussions.

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