PTE Exam Pattern 2021

Updated by: Subhashri Roy on Oct. 13, 2021, 11:40 a.m.

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  • Exam Duration

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PTE Academic Exam Pattern

PTE is a computer-based test that comprises three main parts: Speaking & Writing, Listening and Reading. Pearson VUE releases the PTE Exam Pattern & Format. The exam pattern includes the number of questions, duration of the test, types of questions asked and marking scheme for each section. 

Knowing the correct PTE Exam Pattern and Format is a must if you want to make the PTE Preparation process easy and fruitful. 

The 3 hours PTE test is conducted in a safe and secure environment at the designated PTE Test Centres. The test comprises twenty different question formats, which include multiple-choice questions, 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.

PTE Academic is one of the popular English proficiency tests accepted at leading universities around the world. Some of the popular universities that accept PTE include University of South Florida, Hofstra University, University of Dayton, Arizona State University, Colorado State University, among others.

COVID-19 Update

Pearson has announced that the PTE Academic test has been shortened from three to two hours and candidates can now take the same test from the comfort of their homes.

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 have been no changes in the pattern of the PTE Academic test. 

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Sections in PTE Academic Test

Part 1: Speaking & Writing

The PTE test conducting authority 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 Exam Pattern Highlights

The PTE Academic 2021 exam pattern highlights is given below for candidates to have a clear idea of the test:

PTE Academic Exam Duration 3 hours (2 Hours from Nov 16, 2021)
Section-wise Duration Speaking and Writing: 77-93 minutes
Reading: 32-40 minutes
Listening: 45-57 minutes
Total Number of Sections 3- Speaking and Writing, Reading and Listening
Question Format

20 different question formats ranging from multiple choice questions to essay writing and interpreting information.

Mode of PTE Academic Exam Computer-Based Test; Online, Can be Attempted From Home (Starting Nov 16, 2021) or Test Centre
Medium of Instruction English

Also Read: USA Universities With the Highest Acceptance Rates for Int'l Students

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

Section Duration
Personal Introduction 25 seconds for prompt, 30 seconds to record
Repeat Sentence 3-9 seconds for prompt, 15 seconds to answer
Read Aloud 30-40 seconds depending upon the length of the passage
Re-Tell Lecture Up to 90 seconds for prompt,10 seconds to prepare and 40 seconds to answer
Describe Image 25 seconds are given to study the image and prepare your response
Essay 20 minutes to write an essay of 200-300 words
Answer Short Question 3-9 seconds for prompt,10 seconds to answer
Summarize Written Text 10 minutes to answer a text of up to 300 words. A single sentence should be no more than 75 words

Reading

Section Duration
Multiple Choice, Choose Single Answer Read the text of up to 300 words
Re-Order Paragraphs Read the text of up to 150 words
Multiple Choice, Choose Multiple Answers Read the text of up to 300 words
Reading and Writing: Fill in the Blanks Read the text of up to 300 words
Reading: Fill in the Blanks Read the text of up to 80 words

Listening

Section Duration
Summarize Spoken Text 60-90 seconds to write a 50-70 word summary, 10 minutes to write
Fill in the Blanks 30-60 seconds
Highlight Incorrect Words 15-50 seconds
Multiple Choice, Single Answer 30-60 seconds
Highlight Correct Summary 30-90 seconds
Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer 40-90 seconds for prompt
Select Missing Word 20-70 seconds
Write From Dictation 3-5 seconds

FAQs on PTE Exam Pattern

1. How much time will be allocated for the Speaking and Writing section under PTE Academic?  

 For the Speaking and Writing section under PTE Academic, around 77 to 93 minutes will be allocated and each question will be timed separately.

2. How much time will be allocated for the Reading section under PTE Academic?  

For the reading section under PTE Academic, around 32 to 40 minutes will be allocated.

3. How much time will be allocated for the Listening section under PTE Academic?

For the listening section under PTE Academic, around 45 to 57 minutes will be allocated.

4. What type of questions are asked in PTE Academic?  

There is no fixed format of questions for PTE Academic. In fact, there are more than 20 different formats in which questions are asked in PTE Academic.

5. Will I get a chance to re-record my responses in PTE Academic test?

No, you will not get the chance to record your answer again for the reading section under PTE Academic.

6. Will I be able to go back to previous questions asked in PTE Academic and make changes?  

PTE Academic does not give the provision to go back to the previous question and change the answer.

7. Can I leave the PTE Academic test before it finishes?  

No, you cannot leave the test until it finishes. If you do so, you will lose your test fee and your scores will not be provided.

8. Would each type of question under PTE Academic be timed separately?  

 Except for the reading section under PTE Academic, questions asked in both the other sections will be timed separately.

9. Does PTE Academic assess real-life English or academic English?    

PTE Academic is based on real-life English and not academic English divided into three parts - Listening, Reading and Speaking & Writing.

10. Will I be able to replay the video/audio clips during the PTE Academic test?    

PTE Academic does not give the provision to replay the video/audio clips during the PTE Academic test.

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