For completing a PTE Academic test, the candidate needs to attend a secure Pearson test center. The medium of the test is a computer and headset to listen to, read and respond to questions. The three-hour test session will comprise of three main parts to the test: speaking and writing (together), listening and reading. In totality, there are twenty different question formats, ranging from multiple choices through to essay writing and interpreting information.
PTE Academic is aimed to assess real-life, academic English, so the aspirant will hear excerpts from lectures and view graphs and charts. The candidate will also hear a range of accents in the test, from British and American to non-native speakers, so will be exposed to the type of accents encountered in everyday life.
PTE assesses both the writing and speaking abilities of candidates. Candidates are asked to repeat sentences, answer questions and summarise paragraphs. The speaking section contains a personal introduction part where the candidates give their introduction within 30 seconds. However, this item is not scored, but it gives the candidates a chance to introduce themselves to the institute. Likewise, there are many other items such as repeating a sentence or describing an image seen on the screen.
|Item||Task||Skills assessed||Prompt length||Time to answer|
|Read aloud||A text appears on screen. Read the text aloud.||reading and speaking||text up to 60 words||varies by item, depending on the length of text|
|Repeat sentence||After listening to a recording of a sentence, repeat the sentence||listening and speaking||3-9 seconds||15 seconds|
|15 seconds||An image appears on screen. Describe the image in detail.||speaking||N/A||40 seconds|
|Re-tell lecture||After listening to or watching a lecture, re-tell the lecture in your own words.||listening and speaking||up to 90 seconds||40 seconds|
|Answer short question||After listening to a question, answer with a single word or a few words.||listening and speaking||3-9 seconds||10 seconds|
|Summarize written text||After reading a text, write a one-sentence summary of the passage.||reading and writing||text up to 300 words||10 minutes|
|Write essay||Write a 200–300 word essay on a given topic.||writing||2-3 sentences||20 minutes|
Apart from the listening and speaking parts, the summary sections where candidates are allotted 10 minutes, in which they are expected to read paragraph and answer the questions. Aspirants type their answers, in case they think it are necessary to do so. Candidates also have to write an essay in this section.
PTE Exam pattern 2017 - Part 3: Listening
The listening part consists of questions based on audio clip. Candidates are made to hear an audio or video clip and answer accordingly.
|Item||Task||Skills assessed||Prompt length|
|Summarize spoken text||After listening to a recording, write a 50-70 word summary||listening and writing||60-90 seconds|
|Multiple choice, choose multiple answers||After listening to a recording, answer a multiple-choice question on the content or tone of the recording by selecting more than one response||listening||40-90 seconds|
|15 seconds||An image appears on screen. Describe the image in detail.||speaking||40 seconds|
|Fill in the blanks||A transcript of a recording appears on screen with several gaps. After listening to the recording, type the missing word in each gap||listening and writing||30-60 seconds|
|Highlight correct summary||After listening to a recording, select the paragraph that best summarizes the recording||listening and reading||30-90 seconds|
|Multiple choice, choose single answer||After listening to a recording, answer a multiple-choice question on the content or tone of the recording by selecting one response||listening||30-60 seconds|
|Select missing word||After listening to a recording, select the missing word that completes the recording from a list of options||listening||20-70 seconds|
|Highlight incorrect words||The transcript of a recording appears on screen. While listening to the recording, identify the words in the transcript that differ from what is said||listening and reading||15-50 seconds|
|Write from dictation||After listening to a recording of a sentence, type the sentence||listening and writing||3-5 seconds|
As Seen in the table above, candidates are given 10 minutes to summarise their answers. Students should carefully listen to the audio recording only once and then form their answer. They must make sure that the summary is not more than 70 words. After that candidates have to listen to a recording and answer multiple-choice questions. They can select the answers from various options available on screen; the selected response will be highlighted in yellow colour.
PTE Exam pattern 2017- Part 4: Reading
|Item||Task||Skills assessed||Prompt length|
|Multiple-choice, choose single answer||After reading a text, answer a multiple-choice question on the content or tone of the text by selecting one response||reading||text up to 110 words|
|Multiple-choice, choose multiple answers||After reading a text, answer a multiple-choice question on the content or tone of the text by selecting more than one response||reading||text up to 300 words|
|Re-order paragraphs||Several text boxes appear on screen in a random order. Put the text boxes in the correct order||reading||text up to 150 words|
|Reading: Fill in the blanks||A text appears on screen with several gaps. Drag words from the box below to fill the gaps||reading||text up to 80 words|
|Reading and Writing: Fill in the blanks||A text appears on screen with several gaps. Fill in each gap from a drop-down list of response options||reading and writing||text up to 300 words|
Part four is comprised of various items. Candidates are advised to completely read the instructions given on the screen before beginning and then start answering. Candidates must make sure not to go over the word limit specified on the screen.
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