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PTE Academic assesses all four languages skills – listening, reading, speaking and writing. The test will last approximately three hours. This includes an untimed introduction to the test and one optional break of up to 10 minutes.

PTE Academic consists of three main parts. You will receive a general introduction to the test and specific instructions about that to expect in each part of the test. Each part may contain a number of sections. Each section is individually times. The table below shows the test structure.

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Part of TestSectionItem TypeTime Allowed
Introduction Not Timed
Part 1: Speaking and Writing Section 1 Personal Introduction 1 Minute
Section 2 Read Aloud 30 - 35 Minutes
Repeat Sentence
Describe Image
Re-tell lecture
Answer Short Question
Section 3-4 Summarize written text 20 minutes
Section 5 Summarize written text or Write essay 10 or 20 minutes
Section 6 Write essay 20 minutes
Part 2: Reading Multiple-choice, choose single answer 32 – 41 minutes
Multiple-choice, choose multiple answer
Re-order paragraphs
Reading: Fill in the blanks
Reading & writing: Fill in the blanks
Part 3: Listening Section 1 Summarize spoken test 20 or 30 minutes
Section 2 Multiple-choice, choose multiple answers 23 – 28 minutes
Fill in the blanks
Highlight correct summary
Multiple-choice, choose single answer
Select missing word
Highlight incorrect words
Write from dictation
Part 1: Speaking and writing
In part 1 you will be tested on your speaking and writing skills. You will have approximately 77-93 minutes to complete this part. The table below shows the speaking and writing part of the test.
SectionItem TypeTime Allowed
Section 1 Personal Introduction 1 Minute
Section 2 Read Aloud 30 - 35 Minutes
Repeat Sentence
Describe Image
Re-tell lecture
Answer Short Question
Section 3-4 Summarize written text 20 minutes
Section 5 Summarize written text or Write essay 10 or 20 minutes
Section 6 Write essay 20 minutes
The minimum and maximum timings indicated for the sections in the speaking and writing part of PTE Academic do not add up to the total minimum times stated for this part of the test (77-93 minutes). This is because different versions of the test are balanced for total length. No test taker will get the maximum or minimum times indicated on all sections.
PTE Academic is an integrated skills test. Some item types in this part of test also assess reading and listening skills.
Section 2
In Section 2, there is a single timed speaking section consisting of 35 – 42 independent and integrated skills items, depending on the combination of items in a given test. You will have approximately 30 – 35 minutes to complete this section. Deferent response formats are used in the speaking part of PTE Academic.
Section 3-6
In Section 3 – 6, there are three to four writing tasks, depending on the combination of items in a given test. Each task is in an individually timed section. Different response formats are used in the writing part of PTE Academic.
Part 2: Reading
In part 2 you will be tested on your reading skills. You will have approximately 32-41 minutes to complete this part. The table below shows the reading part of the test.
Item TypeTime Allowed
Multiple-choice, choose single answer 32 – 41 minutes
Multiple-choice, choose multiple answer
Re-order paragraphs
Reading: Fill in the blanks
Reading & writing: Fill in the blanks
This is single timed part containing 15 – 20 independent and integrated skills items, depending on the combination of items in a given test. Different response formats are used in the reading part of PTE Academic.

PTE Academic is an integrated skills test. One item type in this part of the test also assesses writing skills.
Part 3: Listening
In part 3 you will be tested on your listening skills. You will have approximately 45 – 57 minutes to complete this part. The table below shows the listening part of the test.
SectionItem TypeTime Allowed
Section 1 Summarize spoken test 20 or 30 minutes
Section 2 Multiple-choice, choose multiple answers 23 – 28 minutes
Fill in the blanks
Highlight correct summary
Multiple-choice, choose single answer
Select missing word
Highlight incorrect words
Write from dictation
The minimum and maximum timings indicated for the sections in the listening part of PTE Academic do not add up to the total minimum and maximum times stated for this part of the test (45-57 minutes) this is because different versions of the test are balanced for total length. No test taker will get the maximum or minimum times indicated on all sections.
PTE Academic is an integrated skills test. Some item types in this part of the test also assess writing and reading skills.
Section 1
The first section in the listening part, summarize spoken text, an integrated skills item type that tests listening and writing skills. Two or three items of this type appear, depending on the combination of items in a given test.
Section 2
In section 2, there is a single timed listening section consisting of 15 – 22 items, depending on the combination of items in given test. You will have approximately 23 – 28 minutes to complete this section. Different response formats are used in the listening part of PTE Academic.

Since listening takes place in real time. PTE Academic assesses your ability to process spoken language in real time. Each recording is played only once. You can take notes using the Erasable Note board Booklet provided when listening to the recording, and use these notes as a guide to complete the tasks.
  • Communicative skills scores: the communicative skills measured are listening, reading, speaking and writing. The scores for integrated skills items (that is, those assessing reading and speaking, listening and speaking, reading and writing, listening and writing or listening and reading) contribute to the score for each of the communicative skills that the items assess. The score range for each communicative skill is 10 – 90 points.
  • Enabling skills scores: the enabling skills measured are grammar, oral fluency, pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary and written discourse. The scores are enabling skills are based on your performance on only those items that assess these skills specifically. The score range for each enabling skills is 10 – 90 points.
  • Grammar: the correct use of language with respect to word form and word order at the sentence level.
  • Oral fluency: the smooth, effortless and natural-paced delivery of speech.
  • Pronunciation: the production of speech sounds in a way that is easily understandable to most regular speakers of the language. Regional or national varieties of English pronunciation are considered correct to the degree that they are easily understandable to most regular speakers of the language.
  • Vocabulary: the appropriate choice of words used to express meaning, as well as lexical range.
  • Written discourse: the cored and communicatively efficient production of written language at the textual level. Written discourse skills are represented in the structure of a written text, its internal coherence, logical development and the range of linguistic resources used to express meaning precisely.

The scores for enabling skills are not awarded when your responses are inappropriate for the items in either content or form. For example, if an essay task requires you to discuss global warming and you provide a response entirely devoted to the topic of fashion design, you will not receive any score points for writing or any of the enabling skills assessed by the item. In relation to form, if a task requires a one-sentence summary of a text and you give a list of words, you will not be awarded any score points for your response to that item.
Score report
The image on the next page shows an example PTE Academic score report that you will receive after you have completed the test. The report shows your overall score, communicative skills scores and enabling skills scores.
Sameple Score Report
Score Sale
The scores scale on the example score report indicates that the minimum number of points awarded in PTE Academic is 10 and the maximum is 90.
Scores required
A score of at least 36 is required for the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) Tier 4 visas for students wanting to study on a course below degree level.

A score of at least 51 is needed for the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) Tier 4 visas for students who want to study on a course at or above degree level at an institution that is not a UK higher education institution.

If you want to study at degree level or above a UK higher education institution, it is the university that decides on the score you will need. Our experience suggests that most universities in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia require for:

  • undergraduate studies a minimum score between 51 and 61
  • postgraduate studies a minimum score between 57 and 67
  • MBA studies a minimum score between 59 and 69
For the latest information on score requirements, visit www.pearsonpte.com
What PTE Academic scores mean
PTE Academic alignment with the CEF can only be fully understood if it is supported with information showing what it really means to be ‘at a level.’ In order words, are you likely to be successful with some or all the tasks, even the most difficult ones, at a particular level? The table below shows which PTE Academic scores predict the likelihood of you performing successfully on the easiest, average and most difficult tasks with CEF levels A2 to C2.
PTE Academic scores predicting the likelihood of successful performance on CEF level tasks
CEF LevelEasiestAverageMost Difficult
C28085NA
C1677684
B2515958
B1364358
A2243042
For example, if your PTE Academic score is 36, this predicts that you will perform successfully on the easiest tasks at B1. From 36 to 43, the likelihood of successfully performing the easiest tasks develops into doing will on the average tasks at B1. Finally, reading 58 predicts that you will perform well at the most difficult B1 level tasks.

You can use table below to find out what PTE Academic scores in the range 10 to 84 (A1 to C1) mean. it shows the score ranges that predict some degree of performance at the next level, and it explains what you are likely to be able to do within those score ranges.
PTE Academic score Common European Framework level Level Descriptor @ council of Europe What does this mean for a score user?
76-84 C1 Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts and recognize implicit meaning. Can express him/her fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devises C1 is a level at which a student can comfortably participate in all post-graduate activities, including teaching. It is not required for students entering university at undergraduate level. Most international students who enter university at a B2 close to or at C1 after living in the country for several years, and actively participating in all language activities encountered at university.

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