Pearson Test Of English (PTE Exam): Overview, Cost, Format, Results

Students who wish to study in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada need a firm grasp of the English language.

It is an important part of the admission process and as essential as having sufficient funds and a valid passport and visa.

Pearson Test of English is an automated test that is widely recognized across the world. The Graduate Management Admission Council (which administers GMAT), London Business School, Yale University, Harvard Business School, and many other sterling organizations have endorsed it. It is accepted at 3000 institutions worldwide.

Pearson PLC, a British multinational that specializes in textbook publication, launched the PTE exam in 2009. They also own Edexcel, a British education board that offers high school testing and degrees.


What is the Pearson Test of English?

There are several variants of the Pearson Test of English and it causes confusion among many.

PTE Academic—This is the one you are looking for. Because of Covid and to facilitate test-taking among those living outside the urban areas, Pearson has taken it online. The Pearson Test of English Academic Online is the same test that you can take from the comfort of your home.

 PTE General—This test that is almost eponymous with the one above does not allow you certification for migration. It is for testing your English skills and is usually meant for employers. Such as someone listed on Upwork as an SEO expert might add it to their resume.

PTE Academic UKVI—This version of the Pearson Test of English Academic is aimed solely at those migrating to the UK and North Ireland.
If you are a student looking to migrate, go with the first option unless the third one is specifically mentioned as a requirement.


How to take the test?

There are 35 test centers across India that administer PTE Academic. Anyone can avail of it at home also, through PTE Academic Online. There is no difference in their stature.
If you fail to score high enough, you can book again. Of course, the fees are the same. There is no limit to the number of attempts.
The test dates can be booked six months in advance and are available around the year. When should you appear for the test? It depends on the academic year of the nation you want to migrate to.

Cost of PTE Academic Exam

At present, the test costs ₹14700 for both in-center and at-home versions. The cost includes 18% GST.
The test results are valid for 2 years.


Pearson Test of English Format

The PTE Academic has 3 sections.
A. Speaking and Writing Skills
Purpose: To test if the student can speak fluently in English. It also tests the ability to cogently present thoughts through writing.
Duration: 54 – 67 minutes.
Detailed Look

I. Personal Introduction
This part is non-scoring. It is an introduction to the actual test and allows the student to become familiar with the technology.
The student has 25 seconds to read each question and 30 seconds to answer. The answer cannot be altered.

II. Read Aloud
A brief paragraph of about sixty words appears on the screen. The student has to read it out loud.

III. Repeat Exercise
A voice recording of a sentence is played back, and the student has to repeat it ad verbatim.

IV. Description

An image appears on the screen and the student has to provide a verbal description that matches it closely. The task has to be completed in 40 seconds or less.

V. Repeat Lecture
A lecture is played back. The student has to re-tell it as closely as possible. Use of your own words and sentences is encouraged. The time to answer is 40 seconds.

VI. Answer Short Question
The student has to listen to a question and reply within 10 seconds.
VII. Write Summary
Read a 300-word text that appears on the screen and write a gist in a single sentence.

VIII. Essay Writing
Write a short essay (no more than 300 words) on a given topic. The task has to be completed within 20 minutes.


B. Reading Skills
Purpose: To test if the student comprehends English text and can interpret and respond from what he/she has understood.
Duration: 30 minutes.


Detailed Look

I. Fill in the Blanks
A large block of text appears on the screen. Some words are missing. The student has to select words from a box and drag them to the requisite place.

II. Multiple-Choice Questions with Multiple Answers
The student has to read about 300 words and answer questions about what was presented. There is more than one correct answer. It tests comprehension.

III. Random Order Rearrange
Paragraphs appear out of order. The student has to rearrange by dragging them up and down.

IV. Fill in the Blanks
The student is shown several sentences with words missing. They have to select a word and drag it to the correct position. It is a variation of the one they solved before.

V. Multiple-Choice Questions with Single Answer
A variation of the one preceding. In this type of question, only one correct answer is possible.
No question in this section has an individual time limit.


C. Listening Skills
Purpose: To test if the student understands spoken English. Note that the Pearson Test of English Academic is an integrated test. Put simply, each test section also can test a component from the other part.
Duration: 30 – 43 minutes

Detailed Look

I. Create Summary
Listen to an audio clip and create a brief single paragraph summary.
Multiple-Choice Questions with Multiple Answers
Listen to a short recording and reply to multiple-choice questions with more than one correct answer.

II. Fill in the Blanks
A partial transcript would appear on the screen. After listening to the full recording, fill in the blanks from a given set of words.

III. Find the Right Summary
An audio recording would be played back. The student has to choose from several given summaries, the right one.

 IV. Multiple-Choice Questions with Single Answer
The student has to listen carefully to a recording and provide one correct answer to the multiple-choice questions.

V. Find Missing Word
Listen to a recording and find the appropriate word that completes the audio message.

VI. Find Incorrect Words
A transcript is provided, and an audio recording is played back. The student has to identify what does not fit and was not a part of the recording.

VII. Typing
Listen to dictation and type it in a text box.
No question in this section has an individual time limit.


PTE Exam Score and results

The results are usually available in a couple of days. The score has a range of 10-90.

The Pearson Test of English is based on the Global Scale of English, that results from cooperation by thousands of scholars to develop a common framework against which the English skills of anyone can be tested.


The score has two components:
       ● The first is an aggregate score between 10 and 90.
       ● The second is section scores that offer greater insight.

Pearson recommends that:

       ● For an undergraduate degree, you would require at least 51-60.
       ● For a postgraduate degree, you would require 57-67.


Each institution has a mandatory minimum available on its site.


How to prepare for the Pearson Test of English?

Pearson offers official test prep for the PTE Academic.
It provides 300 sample questions, test practice, a guide to developing skills, and extra materials to boost learning.
Bundle with 2 tests costs $59.99 and 4 tests $89.99.
You can also buy individual components of the tutorial between $20 and $39.

Otherwise, you could opt for preparing by yourself.

At SelectRight we welcome students with the chutzpah to carve out their own path. Call us and ask for advice to prepare for the PTE exam. We shall be glad to help you 24×7.

There are books available online that offer you valuable tips.

The most well known with excellent reviews are:

● “The Official Guide to Pearson Test of English,” is priced at ₹998
● “Practice Test Plus of Pearson Test of English Academic,” 2 Vols priced at ₹798


Advice for those taking the Pearson Test of English

No tutorial book or course can improve your fluency for a language test unless you try to understand how the language works. An innate Indian tendency is to learn by rote. That is something international tests (on anything) know to take apart at the seams.
Any language is complex and requires skill to master. Some find it easier than others. Not only English, but they can learn any language faster.


Within a short space, what advice do we have for you to ace this test?
1. For three months prior to the PTE exam, read a well-known publication such as India Today from cover to cover. You could add The Times of India or a similar esteemed newspaper.
2. Underline words you do not know and Google them. Do not delay, but do it instantly.
3. Read about homophones—words that sound similar but have a different meaning. Such as “I want to lose weight” not “I want to lose weight”.
4. Every day, listen for 15 minutes to English audio. Several channels on YouTube could enrich your mind while also providing you with serious content in not so hard to understand English. Examples include – ColdFusion, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (available between 8 AM and 11 AM IST daily), Be Smart (with Joe Hanson, Ph.D.), and hundreds more.


PTE Exam versus IELTS versus TOEFL—which is easier?

There are a lot of questions from students who want to know which is easier.

None is the correct answer.

Be real. All three are highly esteemed tests. They are priced quite closely (within a few thousand rupees of each other).

How can they be different or easier without hurting their reputation?

Anecdotally slide charts show that 100 in TOEFL is the same as Band 7 in IELTS and a score of 67 in the PTE exam.

Settle on which one you want to appear for and focus on it with single-minded dedication.

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