PTE Academic Exam Pattern 2020

Updated By Neha Kumari on 28 Aug, 2020 10:04

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PTE Academic Exam Pattern

As part of PTE Academic test, you will have to visit a secure Pearson test centre, where you will be provided a computer and headset to listen to, read and respond to questions.

During the three-hour examination, candidates will be evaluated based on three parts of the test, including speaking and writing (together), listening and reading. There will be twenty different question formats, which will include multiple-choice as well as essay writing and interpreting information.

During the test, you will hear excerpts from lectures and view graphs and charts. You will also be listening to a range of accents in the test, from British and American to non-native speakers, so you will be exposed to the type of accents you will encounter in everyday life.

COVID-19 Update:

The number of test-takers of PTE had been reduced by the Pearson VUE to ensure the safety of the test takers. The test dates have resumed with restrictions. Candidates can schedule the test dates as per their convenience and prepare for the test accordingly.

There are no changes in the pattern of the PTE Academic test. 

Table of Content 

 What to Expect in PTE Academic Test?

 PTE Academic 2020 Exam Pattern Highlights

 Section-wise PTE Academic Test Format


What to Expect in PTE Academic Test?

Part 1: Speaking & Writing

In order to assess you based on your speaking skills, the test conducting authority will take into account your ability to produce spoken English in an academic environment. On the other hand, the writing section will require you to write responses in academic English using correct grammar and spelling.

Part 2: Reading 

This single timed section contains 15-20 independent and integrated skills items, depending on the combination of items in a given test. Different response formats, including multiple-choice, re-order paragraphs, and fill in the blanks, are designed to test your ability to read, write and listen to information provided in English. Because PTE Academic is an integrated skill test, one item type in this part of the test also assesses writing skills.

Part 3: Listening 

Questions in this section will be based on audio or video clips that begin to play automatically. You will get to hear each audio or video clip only once so you must listen carefully. You can take notes while listening to the audio or watching the video. For each question, you will be allowed to adjust the volume. 

PTE Academic 2020 Exam Pattern Highlights

The PTE Academic 2020 exam pattern highlights will ensure that the candidates have a clear idea of the test:

PTE Academic Exam Duration3 hours 
Section-wise DurationSpeaking and Writing: 77-93 minutes
Reading: 32-40 minutes
Listening: 45-57 minutes
Total Number of Sections3- Speaking and Writing, Reading and Listening
Question Format20 different question formats ranging from multiple choice through to essay writing and interpreting information
Mode of PTE Academic ExamComputer-based Test; Online
Medium of InstructionEnglish

Colleges Accepting PTE Academic Scorecard


University of Illinois, Chicago
Auburn University
Adelphi University
American University
Colorado State University
George Mason University
Pace University

Aston University
Boston College  
Pearson College London
Oxford University
London School of Business
Mcmaster University
Dalhousie University
Georgian College
Centennial University

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Section-wise PTE Academic Test Format

For a better understanding of the test format or exam pattern of PTE Academic, one may go through the section-wise duration:

Speaking and Writing

Personal Introduction          25 seconds for prompt, 30 seconds to record
Repeat Sentence3-9 seconds for prompt, 15 seconds to answer
Read Aloud30-40 seconds depending upon the length of the passage
Re-Tell LectureUp to 90 seconds for prompt, 10 seconds to prepare and 40 seconds to answer
Describe Image25 seconds are given to study the image and prepare your response
Essay20 minutes to write an essay of 200-300 words. 
Answer Short Question3-9 seconds for prompt, 10 seconds to answer
Summarize Written Text10 minutes to answer a text of up to 300 words. A single sentence should be no more than 75 words.


Multiple Choice, Choose Single AnswerRead the text of up to 300 words
Re-Order ParagraphsRead the text of up to 150 words
Multiple Choice, Choose Multiple AnswersRead the text of up to 300 words
Reading and Writing: Fill in the BlanksRead the text of up to 300 words
Reading: Fill in the BlanksRead the text of up to 80 words


Summarize Spoken Text60-90 seconds to write a 50-70 word summary, 10 minutes to write
Fill in the Blanks30-60 seconds
Highlight Incorrect Words15-50 seconds
Multiple Choice, Single Answer30-60 seconds
Highlight Correct Summary30-90 seconds
Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer40-90 seconds for prompt
Select Missing Word20-70 seconds
Write From Dictation3-5 seconds

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