PTE Exam Pattern & Structure 2024: Sections, Marking Scheme

Updated on 29 January, 2024

Bulbul Sharma

Bulbul Sharma

Manager- Content @upGrad

When planning to study abroad, English language test scores are a must to prove your language proficiency. This score assures universities that you have the ability to undertake the course with English as the medium of instruction. The Pearson Test of English or PTE is one such test that evaluates applicants' English reading, speaking, listening, and writing skills. The PTE exam pattern is designed to test whether candidates can study at international institutions. Students demonstrate their capabilities of understanding, reading, listening, speaking, and writing in English suitably in a foreign land through their PTE scores. The PTE exam structure is similar to many other English testing examinations. It emphasizes three sections: Reading, Listening, and Speaking & Writing. 

 

Types of PTE Tests and Their Uses

The PTE exam, accepted worldwide by colleges, governments, and organizations, is categorized into two types: PTE Academic and UK Government Tests (formerly known as PTE General). 

PTE Academic: It is taken by candidates for study purposes and is globally accepted by English-speaking countries like Australia, the USA, the UK, New Zealand, and more. Candidates also take it for work and migration visas from the Australian and New Zealand governments.

UK Government Tests (formerly known as PTE General Test): It includes four different types of tests: PTE Academic UKVI, PTE Home A1, PTE Home A2, and PTE Home B1.

If you want to work or pursue a non-degree study program in the UK, then go with Academic UKVI. It is a Secure English Language Test (SELT) approved by the UK government.

The PTE Home A1 test is for those who want to apply for a work or family visa in the UK. For the extension of the family visa, you need to take the PTE Home A2 test. However, if you want to settle permanently in the UK, then take the PTE Home B1. 

PTE Exam Pattern, Format, and Vital Aspects 

The PTE exam pattern is uniform across countries that accept the PTE test scores. What may vary is the cut-off. 

The following table will provide a better understanding of the PTE exam format.

PTE Exam Format

Category

Information

PTE Eligibility Criteria 

Applicants should be aged at least 16 years

Testing availability

Throughout the year

Test duration 

2 hours

Exam format 

The PTE test format consists of 20 unique questions which test speaking & writing skills (54–67 minutes), reading skills (29–30 minutes), and listening skills (30–43 minutes

Registration formalities

PTE exam registrations can be done online via the official Pearson PTE Academic website

Test charges

₹14,700 

Test Results & Score Scale

PTE results get available within 48 hours and are sent to candidates within 5 business days. The score ranges between 10-90

PTE Exam Structure: Section-wise details 

Here is the PTE exam structure divided into sections – Speaking & Writing, Reading, and Listening. 

Speaking and Writing

This section tests the examinees’ speaking and writing abilities. It requires 77 to 93 minutes and has six portions. Here is a closer look:

Segment-Wise PatternDuration/Time Required 
Personal IntroductionTotal 55 seconds: 25 seconds for prompt, 30 seconds to record answer
Read Aloud30-40 seconds to prepare for reading out the text of 60 words
Repeat SentenceTotal 15 seconds: 3-9 seconds for prompt, 15 seconds to record answer
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 QuestionTotal 20 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

Read More about : PTE Speaking Test|PTE Writing Test

Recommended Reads:

PTE EligibilitySyllabus For PTE ExamPTE Exam Dates
PTE Test Centers in IndiaPTE Scores & PTE ResultsPTE Accepted Universities in USA

Expert's Guides for PTE Exam Preparation

PTE Exam Pattern Guide
PTE Syllabus

Reading

This section tests the examinees’ ability to understand instructions. It is divided into five segments that have to be covered in 32-40 minutes. Here is a look at the PTE format for this section:

Section Pattern 

Time Varies Based on Length of 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

Read more about: PTE Reading Test

Listening

This section covers 45-57 minutes and tests the ability of candidates to understand spoken English. Students should carefully listen to the audio and retain whatever they hear. The portion has 8 sub-segments. Here is a closer look at the PTE exam pattern and format:

Pattern of Section 

Time Taken/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 for hearing

Read More About: PTE Listening Test

PTE Academic Exam Pattern and Format

One may need around three hours to take the PTE Academic exam, which like other language proficiency tests assess candidates on their speaking, listening, writing and reading skills. 

The table given below elaborates on the PTE Academic exam format:

Sections AssignmentsTime allotted
Listening MCQs to pick single answers, MCQs to pick multiple answers, Writing from dictation, Summarizing spoken text, Fill in the blanks, and Highlighting incorrect words.45-57 minutes 
Speaking & Writing Essay writing, Reading loudly, Re-tell lectures, Introduction, Summarizing written text, Repetition of a sentence, and Answering short questions.77-93 minutes 
Reading Rearrange paragraphs, Fill in the blanks, MCQs for a single answer, MCQs for multiple answers.34-40 minutes 

The PTE Exam Result 

Now that you are aware of the PTE exam pattern and its key segments, you can stop worrying and start preparing for the test. Aspirants must also note that the validity of PTE exam scores is two years, much like TOEFL and IELTS. In addition, you can send your PTE exam marks to as many colleges/universities as you want, without any limit.

Conclusion


In conclusion, the PTE Exam Pattern and Structure for 2024 remains a well-organized and comprehensive framework, designed to accurately assess the English language proficiency of candidates. With its distinct sections focusing on speaking and writing, reading, and listening, the PTE exam offers a holistic evaluation of language skills. The computer-based format ensures consistent and unbiased scoring, while the detailed marking scheme provides clarity on how responses are evaluated. For test-takers in 2024, understanding this pattern and structure is crucial for effective preparation and achieving a high score. The PTE's design, emphasizing practical language usage and real-world communication skills, makes it a reliable and preferred choice for students and professionals aiming to demonstrate their English language proficiency for academic or immigration purposes.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is PTE exam pattern?

The PTE Academic examination assesses candidates on their reading, writing, speaking, and listening abilities. The test requires approximately 3 hours to complete. The Speaking & Writing section requires 54-67 minutes with 7 question types, including a 20-minute essay. The Reading section requires 29-30 minutes on average, with 5 question types. The Listening section takes 30-43 minutes with 8 question types. There are 20 question types in total for the PTE Academic.

What are the Total Marks for the PTE Exam?

The score for PTE Academic varies between 10 to 90 on the Global Scale of English, where 10 is the lowest and 90 is the highest score. The PTE marks indicate a candidate’s proficiency in speaking, listening, writing, and reading English. The PTE exam lets you measure your command of the language with absolute accuracy.

Is PTE easier than IELTS Exam?

It is hard to say whether PTE is easier than the IELTS exam. The IELTS and PTE examinations usually have the same levels of difficulty. Neither exam can be called comparatively easier since they both require extensive skill sets in English. A 2020 report by Pearson had a comparison of PTE Academic and IELTS results

This indicated how aspirants needed to get a comparatively higher score in PTE Academic to be equivalent to a band score of 7.0-9.0 in IELTS. Conversely, there are schools of thought stating that PTE-Academic may be easier since it does not have any face-to-face tests, is fully machine-scored and requires lesser time to be completed. Yet, overall, both tests are equivalent to each other in terms of their difficulties.

What is the PTE Score for Australia?

The PTE score for Australia may vary depending on the purpose you require it for. But generally, a score of 65 and above is required for Permanent Residency (PR).
As far as admission to an Australian university is concerned, a minimum score of 42 is needed. Aspirants must practice caution and check the universities’ requirements when applying for a PTE exam. Some universities may strictly consider the score of IELTS or TOEFL exams.

Is the PTE Exam Hard?

Several test-takers believe that the exam is tougher to crack if the preparation is not as per the PTE syllabus provided. However, it is believed that it is easier to score in the English language proficiency exam. The structure, format and types of questions in the PTE exam stay constant, thereby ensuring a uniform level of difficulty year after year.

When is the PTE Exam Result Declared?

As per the official information, the PTE exam results are declared within five working days from the test date. For instance, if took the test on a Monday, you can expect the result by Friday, officially. But it must be noted that several aspirants received the scores within 48 hours after taking the test.

How many attempts are there for PTE Test?

You can attempt the PTE Test any number of times you wish. There are no limits set as to the number of attempts by candidates. You can book your next test date after a gap of 5 days from your last examination. Only a single test day may be booked by a candidate at one time. Remember that while you are waiting to get your PTE results (which may require anything between a few hours to seven days), you cannot book your next PTE examination date.

What is the pass mark for PTE?

PTE does not have any passing marks. There is a total score threshold of 10-90. The 50-63 score is considered to be optimal or competent. For admission into leading universities abroad, you should score between 65-75 or even higher. Some universities accept PTE scores of around 65 or even lower at 55-60. However, many reputed institutions accept scores only above 75 at times. 65-75 is a good score in PTE since it is usually enough to get admission into leading universities.

Is 79 a good score in PTE?

Yes, 79 is a very good score in PTE. The 79-82 score range in PTE is equivalent to a band 8 score in IELTS, indicating that the candidate has an excellent level of proficiency in English, making him or her eligible for admission into postgraduate or advanced courses along with undergraduate programs at reputed universities. This level signifies that aspirants can readily understand more extensive and complicated texts and derive their inner meanings.

Are there any changes in the PTE exam pattern and syllabus in 2023?

The PTE exam pattern and syllabus remain the same in 2023 as in previous years. It measures a candidate’s English proficiency based on four skills: reading, listening, writing, and speaking.

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Bulbul Sharma

Manager- Content @upGrad

Bulbul is a self-driven professional and an expert writer & editor. She has been a part of the ed-tech industry for the past 2 years now and is motivated to provide study abroad aspirants with factually correct and relevant information. Her knack for impactful writing makes her blogs worth a read!

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