The Pearson Test of English exam pattern and syllabus are crafted by renowned scholars. Having a thorough idea about them is the key to acing the exam.
The Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic exam is one of the best computer-based English language proficiency tests known for its unbiased scoring thanks to high-end AI. The exam has earned global fame for its quick results and is widely accepted in thousands of academic institutions in the UK, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
A closer look at the PTE exam pattern reveals that the test comprises three crucial sections – Speaking & Writing, Reading and Listening. The questions for these sections are designed specifically to check whether candidates have enough mastery over the English language.
PTE Exam Syllabus
Total Questions & Duration
Speaking & Writing
A number of questions: approx. 28 to 36
Total duration: approx. 53-67 minutes
A number of questions: approx. 12 to 18
Total duration: approx. 30 minutes
Number of questions: approx. 13 to 20
Total duration: approx. 30-45 minutes
The PTE exam syllabus varies depending on the type of PTE exam you wish to appear for.
The PTE Academic is divided into three main categories - Speaking & Writing, Reading and Listening.
Speaking & Writing section:
The Listening section:
The General PTE exam syllabus is catered to those who wish to test their proficiency in the English language. Unlike the PTE Academic, the PTE General comprises two sections – Written and Spoken.
Based on previous tests, the PTE General syllabus includes the following:
The spoken section of the exam might include
The PTE Young Learners exam is organized by Edexcel and designed for students aged six to thirteen. Like the PTE General, it is divided into two sections – Written and Spoken.
The syllabus for this includes –
PTE Young Learners focuses more on testing children’s knowledge of the use of English in real-life scenarios.
The PTE Academic exam is conducted by the Pearson PLC Group which has laid down certain eligibility conditions for candidates.
A candidate must be at least 16 years of age to be eligible to appear for the PTE Academic. However, candidates who are below 18 years of age must provide a content form signed by their parents or guardian. The softcopy of the form is available on the PTE exam's official website.
There is no upper age limit to appear for the exam.
Pearson PLC Group has not specified any educational qualification restriction amongst the eligibility criteria. Students of all disciplines can appear for the exam and test their English skills.
The PTE Academic exam syllabus covers a wide variety of questions spread out to its three main sections - Speaking & Writing, Reading and Listening. Renowned English scholars worldwide have framed the syllabus and designed the questions to ensure that candidates appearing for the PTE Academic can receive the best assessment to check whether their English skills are up to global standards.
Based on previous PTE Academic examinations, each section consists of several categories of questions that test your speaking, listening, writing, and reading skills. These mostly cover the language you’re bound to encounter in an academic setting and in daily life.
A thorough understanding of the PTE Academic exam syllabus will provide you with a competitive edge over others and prepare you for what’s to come in the main exam. So, let’s dig deeper into the section-wise syllabus for the paper.
Total duration: approx. 53-67 minutes
Total number of questions: 28-36
The Writing and Speaking/Interview section of the test is designed to assess a candidate’s communication and comprehension skills. The questions asked will include vocabulary that the candidate is most likely to encounter in an academic environment.
The kinds of questions a candidate can receive from this section are divided into 8 categories:
Duration: 55 seconds
You get 25 seconds to listen to a prompt and 30 seconds to record your answer.
Duration: 15 seconds
The prompt takes 3-9 seconds to play and you have 15 seconds to repeat the sentence.
Written text summarization
Duration: approx. 10 minutes
You will receive a 300-word text prompt which you must read thoroughly and summarise within 10 minutes.
Duration: approx. 40 seconds
You will be provided a text of 60 words which you can read aloud after getting 30-40 seconds of prep time.
Duration: approx. 60 seconds
You get 25 seconds to observe the image and another 25 seconds to think up an answer before recording it.
Duration: approx. 2 minutes 20 seconds
You have 90 seconds to listen to the lecture, 10 seconds to think of your answer, and another 40 seconds to record.
Duration: approx. 20 seconds
You get 3-9 seconds to listen to the prompt and answer in 10 seconds.
Duration: 20 minutes
You’ll receive a prompt of 2-3 sentences and write an essay within 20 minutes.
Total duration – approx. 30 minutes
Total number of questions: 12-18
The PTE Academic reading exam syllabus consists of five segments where candidates must read a particular text and answer the questions related to it. The questions are framed to test the levels of your reading comprehension.
The five segments are –
You must read a 300-word text and answer the MCQs. There is only one correct answer among the options.
You must read a 300-word text and answer the MCQs. There can be multiple correct answers among the options.
You read a text of 80 words and fill in the blanks.
You must fill in the blanks after reading a text of 300 words.
After reading a text of 150 words, you must rearrange the paragraphs in the correct order.
Total duration – approx. 30-45 minutes
Total number of questions: 13-20
The Listening sections of the PTE Academic are carefully curated to assess the candidate's spoken English skills. It is divided into eight segments:
You have 40-90 seconds to listen to the prompt and choose the right answers.
For single-answer MCQs, the total time is 30-60 seconds.
You'll get approx. 90 seconds to remember the spoken text of 50-70 words and 10 minutes to summarise the main points.
You get 30-60 seconds to complete the fill-in-the-blank questions.
You can listen to the dictated prompt for 3-5 seconds and write it down.
You get 30-90 seconds to highlight the correct summary after listening to the prompt.
The total duration for this section is 15-50 seconds.
You get 20-70 seconds to identify and highlight the missing words in a prompt.
The PTE Academic is a completely computer-based exam that tests your English reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills. According to the PTE exam format, candidates must attempt 20 different types of questions throughout the three sections of Reading, Listening Speaking & Writing.
Here’s an overview of the exam pattern:
Number of questions
Speaking & Writing
Approx. 65 minutes
Approx. 30 minutes
Approx. 40 minutes
You’ll get time to listen or read through the prompt (time depends on the prompt length) and enough time to ponder on the answers and jot them down or record them.
Your answers are saved once you press record for spoken answers, click on 'Save' for written answers, and choose options for MCQs.
Here’s a simple highlight of the vital information to remember regarding the PTE exam.
· Speaking & Writing – approx. 65 mins
· Reading – approx. 30 mins
· Listening – approx. 40 mins
Total types of questions
Mode of exam
Computer-based at test centre/home
Medium of exam
Computer with headset
Academic English and English in daily conversation
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The PTE is a completely computer-based English language proficiency test that emphasises international English. The PTE exam 2023-24 syllabus comprises 3 sections in which four types of skills are evaluated. The mark from all these sections is compiled to get the final score. These sections are –
The PTE exam syllabus is structured into 4 sections-speaking, writing, reading, and listening. Every segment evaluates different aspects of your English language skills, and you will be given a score out of 90 for every section. Here’s how the PTE exam syllabus is structured –
There are two versions of the PTE exam syllabus – one for the PTE Academic Test and one for the PTE General Test. The two tests are incredibly similar, but there is a certain key difference in the syllabus. The PTE academic test incorporates more academic topics and tasks, while the PTE General Test incorporates more everyday topics and tasks.
The PTE academic exam evaluates the Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening skills if they can study in an international environment. Here's a brief overview of the PTE academic exam syllabus for 2023-24 –
The International Certification (PTE General Exam) evaluates the capability to communicate in English instead of test-taking skills. This exam comprises two parts –
Yes, the PTE exam syllabus is subject to change. Pearson, the test organiser, reserves the right to change the syllabus anytime. However, Pearson tends to give advance notice of any changes so test takers have enough time to prepare.
The most up-to-date exam syllabus of PTE can be found on the website of Pearson. To find the updated syllabus, login to the website of Pearson and click on the 'PTE Academic' tab. Then, scroll down to the 'Resources' segment and click on the link to 'Syllabus.' The PTE exam syllabus is a PDF document that can be downloaded and saved on your computer.
It is essential to understand the aspects involved in the speaking section of the PTE exam syllabus. This section takes 54-67 minutes on average and comprises seven types of questions. Here are certain tips and techniques to prepare for the speaking segment effectively –
The specific listening skills covered in the PTE exam syllabus are comprehension, inference, identification, discrimination, and note-taking. These skills are evaluated through the below-enlisted types of questions –
The PTE Academic Exam syllabus outlines two writing tasks –
The topics covered in the PTE exam syllabus reading segment can change occasionally. However, one can expect a mix of academic, current events, and general interest topics. These are –
There are certain ways to gauge your progress concerning the PTE exam syllabus while preparing –
In the PTE Academic Exam syllabus, the duration of every segment is –
Time management is significant in the PTE Academic test as the test is time-bound. Here are certain ways to improve time management skills during the PTE exam –
There are countless places where you can find sample questions and practice tests that align with the PTE exam syllabus. Here are some of them –
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