PTE Exam: Types, Registration, Eligibility, Fees, Dates

PTE Exam Information

The PTE (Pearson Test of English) is one of the Pearson Language Tests. This test is aimed at evaluating and confirming the English language proficiency of non native speakers with special emphasis on utilization of language skills in standard situations.

It is a context based test. The test is administered jointly by the Pearson PLC group and Edexcel, which is the world’s largest examining body.

The test is accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA), UK.

PTE was designed to test English predominantly for academic purposes, that is, it measures the candidate’s proficiency in applying English language skills at the university level, and assesses how competently the candidate is able to combine skills such as reading, writing, speaking and listening to complete academic responsibilities.

A standout feature of this test in comparison to other similar tests like the TOEFL or IELTS is that this one is a one hundred percent computer administered test which drastically reduces the time candidates spend waiting for results.

PTE was originally created because governments, educational institutions and employers felt that a test of greater accuracy was required to assess how well a candidate can use his English language skills in day to day life, rather than simply appearing good at English on paper.

  • PTE academic is approved by the Graduate Management Admission council in the United States which is responsible for the GMAT.

As such, several of the most prestigious academic institutions worldwide such as the Harvard Business School, Yale University and London Business School in the UK, along with institutions in other countries like China, Spain and France accept PTE scores as part of standard admission procedures for undergraduate or graduate courses.

  • PTE General is used by the some employers of English speaking countries as a basis of evaluating the ease with which a prospective worker/immigrant will be able to work and integrate into local communities.

It is a theme based exam to test simplicity with which a candidate can communicate in real life situations, rather than an academic knowledge of English.

PTE Academic is the fastest growing test for non English speakers, with six thousand institutions and growing. It posted a record growth of 67% worldwide in the year 2017. This comes down to its availability 365 days of the year and the quick processing of results.  PTE candidates usually fall into the following categories:

  • Students who wish to apply for undergraduate or post graduate courses in universities of English speaking countries.
  • PTE Academic is also applicable for economic migrants who require visas to work in countries where English is the predominant language of the workplace. For example: The Australian Border Agency and the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship accept PTE scores for visa applications.
  • It tests English language skills across the board that is, speaking, writing, reading and listening skills.
  • It enables candidates to maximize opportunities as most academic institutions as well as employers give credence to this test across the English speaking world.
  • PTE is the only test which is accepted by institutions or employers in non English speaking countries such as Greece, Poland, France, Spain and Malaysia.

Candidates may appear for either PTE Academic or PTE General depending on their requirements:

  • For PTE Academic – candidates can appear for PTE Academic on computers located only at secure Pearson test centers. This test is intended for testing Academic English, that is, the English that the candidate will likely be exposed to in everyday life. It tests understanding of both British and American accents.
  • For PTE General – candidates can appear for PTE General to test progress in learning English as a foreign language. It focuses on communication skills. It must be noted that PTE general scores are not accepted for immigration purposes.

There are no official eligibility requirements to appear for the PTE. However, the candidate must be above 16 years of age on the test date, and for all candidates below 18 years of age parental consent is required. Candidates must verify the requirements of the institution of their choice.

  • For PTE Academic: it consists of three parts conducted on the same day:
  • Speaking and Writing (77-93 minutes) – the ability to communicate both verbally and through the written word using proper grammar in an academic environment is tested.
  • Reading (32-41 minutes) – an integrated test which uses multiple choice questions, re arranging of paragraphs, etc to test the ability to read, write and listen to English.
  • Listening (45-57 minutes) – the candidate has to listen carefully to audio or video clips which are played only once, and then answer questions based on them.
  1. ii) For PTE General: it consists of six levels of proficiency (A1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) with A1 being the foundation level and level 5 being the master level. Candidates are required to appear according to their preparation and self understood skills. The candidate can progressively moves up levels as his proficiency in English increases.

Exam scoring system

PTE academic scoring is completely automated. All items are evaluated by computers. The type of question indicates whether the scoring system will give only a correct/incorrect score, or whether a partial score is allowed.

PTE academic scores a candidate on a scale of 10 to 90, according to the Global Scale of English. The score card provides an accurate breakup of score composition of listening, reading, speaking, writing, grammar, oral fluency, pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary and written discourse.

Note: The test scores are valid for a period of two years from the test date.

The registration fees for appearing for the test varies from country to country therefore the candidate is advised to visit the official to find out fees in his region.

The amount will be exclusive of taxes and other charges for late registration, rescheduling or score reviews.

There are test centers in approximately 50 countries worldwide. The candidate may visit the official to locate the nearest centre.

The candidate must be able to produce a valid government ID, usually the passport, both on registration and on the exam day.

Register online at Before appearing, judging your level of preparation is crucial. The website offers a detailed breakup of each section of the PTE Academic test, along with how a question should be attempted.

Official study materials are available for purchase on Amazon. Offline practice tests can also be downloaded.