PTE Test Format Completely Explained[2022 updated]

pte test center

What is PTE test? In this article, we breakdown the PTE test format into its individual components.

Like all other English proficiency tests, PTE Academic also uses four aspects of English communication: Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening. It is a computer-based exam and has a unique test format.

Being a computer-based test, in the Speaking section of the PTE test, you have to speak into a microphone, which records your voice.

Similarly, in the Writing section, you have to type your answer into the computer.

Furthermore, in the Reading and the Listening sections, you either have to type your answer with a keyboard or click on the correct option with a mouse.

SectionQuestion type
Speaking (20 to 25 minutes)
Personal introduction
Read aloud
Repeat sentence
Describe image
Re-tell lecture
Answer short questions
Writing (30 to 40 minutes)
Summarize written text
Write essay
Reading (29 to 30 minutes)
Reading and writing: Fill in the blanks
Multiple choice, choose multiple answers
Re-order paragraphs
Reading: Fill in the blanks
Multiple choice, choose single answer
Listening (30 to 43 minutes)
Summarize spoken text
Multiple choice, choose multiple answers
Fill in the blanks
Highlight correct summary
Multiple choice, choose single answer
Select missing word
Highlight incorrect words
Write from dictation

Let us look into each and every aspect of the PTE exam format.

Test Day

The PTE Academic test center is a computer lab with several computers arranged in rows.

You go the test center on the day of your exam with an identification document – usually a passport – and the exam manager will verify your identity and store your biometric information.

Then, you are led into the computer lab and a computer will be assigned to you.

The exam manager will load the online software on the computer and make sure your screen, keyboard, mouse, microphone, and headphone are working.

The person will leave the room, and only exam candidates will be inside the lab on their individual computers taking the test. Invigilators will be monitoring the test with the help of CCTV cameras.

If you have any problem, you can raise your hand, and someone will come to assist you.

You are not allowed to take anything with you into the exam hall. Not even water.

They will provide you pens and sheets of paper if you want to take notes.

Each test taker gets a different set of questions. Therefore, the length of the overall test may vary. Tests usually last for two hours.

Although instructions to each type of question are given on the screen, it is better to understand the PTE test format before sitting for the test because of time constraints while taking the test.

Below each question on the screen, there will be a “Next” button which navigates to the next question. However, there is no “Previous” button. That means, once you press “Next”, there is no way you can come back to a question.

Speaking: 20 to 25 minutes – PTE test format

As per the latest PTE test format, there are six types of questions in the Speaking test.

After a question is displayed on the screen, a timer appears which tells you, at certain intervals of time, when to start and when to stop speaking.

When the screen says “Recording”, you have to begin talking. The audio is recorded and submitted automatically.

You can answer each question only once; there is no provision of retakes.

You can jump to the next question by pressing the “Next” button. Or, after the allocated time runs out, the software automatically moves to the next question.

Personal introduction

The first thing you need to do when your test begins is to record a short personal introduction.

You can talk about anything that you want to, or you can use the cues that are provided on the screen, such as “your hobby”, “your education”, etc. You get one minute.

This item is not scored, so no matter what you say, this question does not have any effect on your score.

But, it advisable to record a short bio about your name, age, hometown, and education.

Read aloud

read aloud pte test format

Number of questions: 6 to 7

As the name suggests, paragraphs will appear on the screen which you have to read loudly into the microphone.

A single question may be around 60 words long.

The microphone does not open immediately after a paragraph appears. You get 40 seconds to study the question. After 40 seconds, the screen displays a sign that says “Recording” and then you start talking.

You are given 40 more seconds to record your answer.

Repeat sentence

repeat sentence

Number of questions: 10 to 12

A sentence is played through your headphone. Immediately after listening to the sentence, you have to repeat it as exactly as possible.

Sentences could be between 3 and 9 seconds longs.

You will be given 15 seconds to answer each question.

Describe image

describe image

Number of questions: 3 to 4

You have to verbally describe images that appear on the screen.

You might get bar graphs, line graphs, pie charts, diagrams, photographs, and maps to describe.

Once an image comes on the screen, you are allocated 25 seconds to study it.

Then, after 25 seconds, the microphone opens for 40 seconds.

Re-tell lecture

retell lecture

Number of questions: 1 to 2

You will listen to a short lecture, which can be as long as 90 seconds.

You can take notes with pen and paper (which are provided to you beforehand) while listening.

After the lecture ends, you will get 40 seconds to tell the summary of what you just heard.

The audio is played only once.

Answer short questions

answer short questions

Number of questions: 5 to 6

These are short, quiz contest-type questions, where you need to give short answers: usually one or two words.

For example, when I took the PTE Academic test, one question I was asked was: “What is the name of the lab instrument which is used to examine very small things: a microscope or a stethoscope?”

The answer is: “a microscope”.

Although some general information about the world is required for answering such questions, these are not general knowledge questions. The questions test your awareness of English vocabulary.

You get 10 seconds to answer each question.

There is no break between the Speaking and the Writing test.

Writing: 20 to 40 minutes – PTE Academic test format

There are two types of questions in the Writing section of the PTE Academic test as per the existing PTE exam format.

You have to type your answer. Unlike computer applications like Microsoft Word, the PTE software does not highlight or autocorrect grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, or typos.

Each question has a time limit. If the limit is reached, the software automatically moves to the next question.

If you finish before the allocated time, you can jump to the next question but the residual time will not be added.

Summarize written text

summarize written text

Number of questions: 1 to 2

A passage, which can be up to 300 words in length, appears on the screen.

You will be given 10 minutes time to write a brief summary of the passage.

The summary should be a single sentence between 5 and 75 words.

Write essay

write essay pte academic test format

Number of questions: 1 to 2

You have to write an essay, based on a prompt, in 20 minutes.

The length of the essay has to be between 200 and 300 words.

There is no break between the Writing and the Reading test.

Reading: 29 to 30 minutes – PTE exam format

According to the PTE Academic Test format, in the Reading section, there are five types of questions.

One thing to note is that each individual question does not have a time limit, but you have to complete all the questions in the given time.

You yourself have to press the “Next” button once you complete a question or after a certain time even if you do not know the answer.

There is a clock on your screen telling you how much time is remaining.

Reading and writing: Fill in the blanks

reading and writing: fill in the blanks pte exam format

Number of questions: 5 to 6

A passage will appear on the screen with several blanks. When you click on a blank, a list of options appears. You have to select one of the options and click on the next blank.

These questions test you vocabulary, grammar, and knowledge of collocations.

Multiple choice, choose multiple answers

reading, mcq, multiple answers

Number of questions: 1 to 2

A passage up to 300 words long is displayed on the screen with one question beside it.

Usually, there will be between five and seven options given. And, you have to select more than one correct answer based on the passage.

In most questions, there are two correct answers and you have to select both of them. Nevertheless, some questions may have three correct answer as well.

Re-order paragraphs

reorder paragraphs

Number of questions: 2 to 3

You will be given four or five sentences. The task is to arrange the sentences into a logical paragraph.

You have to identify which of the sentences is the introduction sentence, which sentence comes after which sentence, and which sentence is the conclusion.

Reading: Fill in the blanks

reading, fill in the blanks

Number of questions: 4 to 5

Just like the earlier type of Fill in the blanks, here you will get a passage with several blanks.

A list of options for the blanks will be provided below the passage. You have to drag the correct word into the respective blank.

There will always be more options than the number of blanks, so some options will not be used.

The length of the passage may be up to 150 words.

Multiple choice, choose single answer

reading, mcq, single answer

Number of questions: 1 to 2

A passage which can be as long as 300 words and an accompanying question is provided on the screen.

You have to select the correct option. Only one answer is correct.

There is no break between the Reading and the Listening test.

Listening: 30 to 43 minutes – PTE test format

Different types of audio recordings will be played via your headphone in the Listening test.

There are eight types of questions in the PTE test format 2022.

Similar to the Reading test, except the first question type – Summarize spoken text – each question does not set a time limit for you. But, you have to complete all the questions in the total allocated time.

There is a clock on your screen, which tells you how much time is remaining.

You can listen to the audio only once.

Summarize spoken text

summarize spoken text

Number of questions: 1 to 2

Just like Re-tell lecture, you will listen to an audio recording and you can take notes.

Here, you have to write a summary of the lecture in 10 minutes. This is the only Listening question with time limitation.

The word limit for your summary is 50 to 70 words.

Multiple choice, choose multiple answers

listening, mcq, multiple answers

Number of questions: 1 to 2

An audio between 40 and 90 seconds will be played. Based on that, you have to select the correct options. More than one answer is correct, so you have to select all the correct ones to get the full score. Otherwise, you will only get partial score.

Fill in the blanks

listening fill in the blanks

Number of questions: 2 to 3

A passage with blanks appears on the screen. Then, you will hear an audio transcript of the same passage. As the speaker is talking, make note of the words that the speaker uses in the places of the blanks and type them in.

Highlight correct summary

highlight correct summary

Number of questions: 1 to 2

Based on audio recordings you hear, you have to select the best summary from a list of options provided on the screen.

Multiple choice, choose single answer

listening, mcq, single answer

Number of questions: 1 to 2

Each audio recording could be up to one minute long. Listen attentively, and select one correct answer to the given question.

Select missing word

select missing words

Number of questions: 1 to 2

An audio recording, between 20 and 70 seconds, is played. But, the audio ends abruptly without finishing the last sentence.

From the given options, you have to select the best ending to the audio recording.

Highlight incorrect words

highlight incorrect words

Number of questions: 2 to 3

A passage appears on the screen and an audio of somebody reading the same passage is played.

However, the speaker replaces certain words from the passage.

Your job is to identify the words which the speaker replaced by clicking on those words on the screen.

Write from dictation

write from dictation: what is pte test

Number of questions: 3 to 4

Similar to Repeat sentence questions, a sentence is played. But here, instead of repeating the sentence, your job is to write down whatever was said.

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Amit
Amit
3 months ago

What are you doing men

Zulqarnain Haider
Zulqarnain Haider
1 month ago

Yes

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