Amongst many accessible English proficiency certificates for English-language learners in the market like IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC, … Pearson PTE exam stands out as the world’s fastest growing one with plentiful advantages outweighing others in terms of time, accuracy, flexibility as well as the economical cost to take part in. So, if you are seeking an English certificate to demonstrate your proficiency for study or work abroad, PTE totally fits into your plan and process. Throughout this article, Estudyme will provide everything you need to know about PTE to help you catch on with this test.

PTE exam is the world’s fastest growing
PTE exam is the world’s fastest growing

1. What is PTE? PTE Academic?

PTE stands for “Pearson Test of English” – an English test organized by Pearson PLC – the largest testing board in the United Kingdom, also known as the world’s leading educational organization in educational programs, testing, assessment solutions and teaching-learning services supported by technology and artificial intelligence.

PTE certification assesses academic-level of speaking, writing, reading and listening skills throughout a single 2-hour computer-based English test and is used as the base for approved English tests by over 3,500 universities and colleges globally for study, by various organizations and governments for work and migration visas, and for professional registration in English-speaking countries.

PTE exam is organized by Pearson PLC
PTE exam is organized by Pearson PLC

2. How many types of PTE exam are there? 

PTE offers a series of tests to assess learners’ English skills at different levels. Here are some common types of PTE exam for specific purposes:

  • PTE Academic: The most popular type of PTE exam considered as a “passport” for study and migration purposes in English-speaking countries. PTE Academic evaluates English proficiency through a set of 4 skills including listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • PTE General: This test consists of two parts: Writing (including Listening and Reading) and Speaking. PTE General not only evaluates language skills but also the ability to use English in everyday communication situations. Therefore, PTE General is often required for job and visa application.
  • PTE Young Learners: The test specifically is for students aged 6 to 13, aiming to encourage and assess students’ English skills through listening, reading and writing skills. PTE Young Learners is commonly used in the primary education system to measure student learning progress.

Apart from these above types, PTE exam can also be classified according to countries: 

  • PTE Academic UKVI: For visa application to work and study in the UK. 
  • PTE Home: For family and settlement visa in the UK. 
  • PTE Academic Online: Online version of PTE Academic but only for admission at universities and does not allow use for visa or settlement applications. 
  • PTE Core (PTE Essential): Is the basis for assessing English ability for most immigration to Canada.

3. Who should take the PTE exam?

PTE exam’s candidates include all individuals who want to prove their ability to use English for different purposes. In particular, thanks to the time-saving exam registration process, PTE is most suitable for those who are working against the clock to prepare for studying abroad or immigrating. Here are some main target groups should take in PTE test:

  • International students: Who want to study at universities, colleges or educational institutions around the world can use PTE Academic to demonstrate their language proficiency. 
  • Migrants and Immigrants: PTE Academic is also approved for individuals looking to emigrate or work in English-speaking countries, helping them meet visa or employment requirements.
  • English learners: PTE test can measure learning progress and help learners achieve personal goals like promotion or better career opportunities.
  • High school students: High school students can take the PTE Young Learners certificate to have their English skills assessed and make early preparation for the future study and work abroad.
Who should take the PTE exam?
Who should take the PTE exam?

4. What is the validation of the PTE exam?

Before taking the PTE exam, candidates need to consider choosing the appropriate type fitting into their plans to ensure maximum benefits and value that the certificate brings about. Here are the values of PTE certification for some specific purposes.

4.1. Studying Abroad Purposes

PTE certificates for study abroad purposes are usually valid for 2 years and are widely recognized in many organizations in English-countries such as: 

  • 100% of universities and colleges for international students from Australia and New Zealand 
  • 98% of Universities and Colleges in England, United Kingdom Admission System 
  • Over 1500 PTE-accepted universities in USA and Canada such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of California, Berkeley, Columbia University, and University of Michigan, etc.
  • University Admissions Committees in Finland 
  • International TESOL Association 
  • Some business training schools in France, Spain, Italy,
  • And so on.
PTE certificates for study abroad purposes are usually valid for 2 years
PTE certificates for study abroad purposes are usually valid for 2 years

4.2. Immigration purposes 

For those who take the PTE test for immigration purposes and to assess vocational skills, the certificate issued will be valid for 3 years. Accordingly, PTE is recognized by: 

  • Department of Immigration and Border Protection of Australia (DIBP)
  • The Department of Immigration and Citizenship of Australia (DIAC) 
  • The Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service of the Republic of Ireland
  • UK Border Agency
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
  • And so on.
PTE for immigration purposes will be valid for 3 years
PTE for immigration purposes will be valid for 3 years

5. What is the pattern of PTE exam?

The PTE Academic consists of four main sections, each assessing a specific language skill. The total time for this PTE exam is approximately 3 hours. Below is the detailed pattern of PTE exam.

3.1. PTE Speaking Section 

– Number of Questions: 5 or 6 tasks

– Content: Speaking into the computer to answer questions and perform dialogue tasks

– Time Allotted: Approximately 20 minutes

3.2. PTE Writing Section

– Number of Questions: 2 essays

– Content: Writing a personal essay and an essay based on agreeing or disagreeing with a specific viewpoint

– Time Allotted: Approximately 40-50 minutes

3.3. PTE Reading Section 

– Number of Questions: Varied, typically 15 to 20 questions

– Content: Reading short or long passages, then answering questions

– Time Allotted: Approximately 29-30 minutes

3.4. PTE Listening Section 

– Number of Questions: Varied, typically 17 to 20 questions

– Content: Listening to short audio recordings or dialogues, then answering questions

– Time Allotted: Approximately 30-43 minutes

6. How is the PTE exam scored?

PTE scores are determined using the Global Scale of English, a detailed scoring system ranging from 10 to 90 with 10-point increments. Each section (Speaking, Writing, Listening, and Reading) is scored separately, and the overall score is calculated by averaging the scores of all sections.

The automated scoring system of PTE ensures consistency and objectivity in scoring, eliminating potential biases that may arise in human-scored tests. Candidates will receive the results of their PTE test within at most 5 working days after the test date.

PTE's scoring system ranging from 10 to 90
PTE’s scoring system ranging from 10 to 90

Overall, PTE is a good choice for those wanting to prove their English proficiency and set up for future plans abroad. The best way to prepare for the PTE is to familiarize yourself with the pattern of PTE exam by practicing with sample questions and taking free PTE practice test, improving your skills in speaking, writing, reading, and listening, as these are the areas assessed in the test. Good luck with your PTE exam!