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Your Ultimate Guide to PTE Exam Preparation

Aug 27, 2023

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The Pearson Test of English, or PTE, assesses candidates' English reading, speaking, listening, and writing abilities. The PTE exam format aims to gauge a candidate's readiness to study abroad. Through their PTE score, students are able to prove that they can understand, read, listen, speak, and write in English appropriately in a way which will be acceptable in a foreign country, where the medium of learning would primarily be English. To score well in your first attempt, you can aim for PTE coaching


Types of PTE Exam

The PTE exam is divided into two categories: PTE Academic and UK Government Tests (formerly known as PTE General) and is recognised by colleges, governments, and organisations all around the world.

  • PTE Academic: Candidates take this test variation of PTE for academic purposes, and countries that speak English, like Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand, regard it as a valid exam once applicants clear the PTE score cut-off. Candidates also submit their PTE scores while applying for work and immigration visas from the Australian and New Zealand governments.
  • UK Government Tests: These include the PTE Academic UKVI, PTE Home A1, PTE Home A2, and PTE Home B1 examinations.

    • Academic UKVI: Choose the Academic UKVI test if you wish to work or enrol in a non-degree programme in the U.K. The UK government has authorised it as a Secure English Language Test (SELT).
    • PTE Home A1: If you are someone who wants to apply for a work or family visa in the U.K., then this PTE test is the best for you.  
    • PTE Home A2 test: If you are someone who has a family visa and wants to extend its term, then you need to take the PTE Home A2 test.
    • PTE Home B1: This PTE test type is for those individuals who aim to settle in the U.K. permanently. 

PTE format

All countries that recognise PTE test results use the same exam format. It's the cut-off that could change. Before enrolling for PTE coaching, you need to have a look at the exam details given below in the following table:

Eligibility criteria for the PTE examThe minimum age of applicants should be 16 years
Testing availabilityAll round the year
Test duration 2 hours
Exam formatThe PTE test format consists of 20 unique questions which  test speaking and writing skills (77-93 minutes), reading skills (32-41 minutes), and listening skills (45-57 minutes) based on which the PTE score is determined.
Registration formalitiesYou can enrol/register online via the Pearson PTE Academic website.
Cost of appearing each timeRs 14,700
Test results and score scalePTE score is readily available within 48 hours and is sent to candidates within 5 business days. The score ranges between 10 and 90.

PTE structure

As mentioned earlier in this article, the PTE structure is divided into sections, namely speaking and writing, reading, and listening. 

  • Speaking and writing

This section places a strong emphasis on the applicant's proficiency in speaking and writing English, which determines how well he/she will score. It takes 77-93 minutes to complete this section. The following table outlines the criteria used to allocate PTE score:

Segment-wise PatternDuration/Time Required 
Personal intro55 seconds in total: 25 seconds for prompt, 30 seconds to answer
Reading aloud30-40 seconds given to a candidate to prepare and read a text of 60 words
Repeat sentence15 seconds in total to record the answer
Describing given image25 seconds given to study a particular image as well as prepare a response on the same
Re-telling lecture90 seconds to prompt, 10 seconds to think and 40 seconds to answer
Summarise written text10 minutes to answer a 300-word written prompt
Answer short questionTotal 20 seconds: 3-9 seconds for prompt, 10 seconds to answer
Essay20 minutes to answer to text prompt of 2-3 sentences


  • Reading

This section assesses candidates' comprehension of the given instructions. There are five parts, each of which must be completed in 32 to 41 minutes. For this section, the PTE format is as follows:

Section pattern Length of a text prompt
MCQ, choosing a single answer300-word text
MCQ, choosing multiple answers300-word text
Re-arrange paragraphs150-word text
Reading: Fill in the blanks80-word text
Reading and writing: Fill in the blanks300-word text


  • Listening

This 45-57 minute section evaluates candidates' comprehension of spoken English. Students should pay close attention to the audio and remember what they hear. It is divided into 8 parts. Here's a closer look at the format and pattern of the PTE section:

Pattern of Section Time Taken/Duration 
Summarise spoken text60-90 seconds to retain 5-70 words and 10 minutes to write 
MCQ for multiple answers40-90 seconds to prompt
MCQ, single answer30-60 seconds
Fill in the blanks30-60 seconds
Selecting the missing word20-70 seconds
Writing for diction3-5 seconds for hearing
Highlighting the incorrect word15-50 seconds
Highlighting the correct summary30-90 seconds

Universities Accepting PTE Score for Admission

Here is a list of the top 10 universities and colleges that accept PTE scores as a part of their application and admission process for international students:

  • Harvard Business School (U.S.): It ranks second in global ranking. MBA, executive education, and doctoral programmes are offered at Harvard Business School. To be accepted at Harvard, candidates must score at least 75 in their PTE exam.
  • Yale University (U.S.): It is ranked #18 in QS World University Rankings, 2023. Yale offers majors in courses like humanities and arts, social, biological, and physical sciences, engineering, and interdisciplinary studies. Students must score 70 and above for their application to be considered for admission.
  • University of Oxford (U.K.): It is ranked #5 in Best Global Universities. Oxford offers several taught and research courses like MSc, D.Phil., MSt., and MBA. The PTE score of candidates must be between 66 and 76 to apply at Oxford. Notably, the cut-off depends on which course candidates are applying for.
  • University of Southampton (U.K.): It has bagged 37th position in Best Global Universities in Europe in 2023. It offers B.A., BSc., MSc, PGDip, and PGCert in several fields. For degree courses, international students should have a PTE score of at least 59.
  • University of British Columbia (Canada): The University of British Columbia is ranked #35 amongst the best global universities by the U.S. News & World Report in 2022. Masters, executive education, and diploma courses are offered by the university. Students need to have a PTE score of 65 in the academic test with a band score of 60.
  • York University (Canada): According to QS World University Ranking 2023, York ranked 456th. Several B.A., M.A., and MBA programmes are offered at York. To apply at York, students must have a minimum score of 60 in their PTE exam.
  • University of Queensland (Australia): It rests at the 50th position in the world in the QS World University Rankings in 2023. Programmes under architecture and information technology, humanities and social sciences, health and behavioural sciences, business, economics, and medicine science are offered at the university. To apply at this university, international students are required to have a PTE score of 58-64, depending on the course they are applying for.
  • Australian National University (Australia): AU National University is ranked first in Australia and 30th in the world (QS World University Rankings 2023). Undergraduate programmes, graduate certificate short courses, and postgraduate coursework are offered at the university. Students applying here should have scored at least 57 overall in their PTE exam, with a minimum of 50 marks in each of the communicative sections.
  • Auckland University of Technology (New Zealand): The Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2023 places AUT at rank #24 globally and #1 in New Zealand for its global orientation. Education, art and design, health sciences, hospitality, social sciences, and engineering are some of the courses offered. The PTE cut-off for students applying at Auckland University of Technology is 65. 
  • Lincoln University (New Zealand): It is ranked #362 in QS World University Rankings 2024. Undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programmes in many disciplines are offered at Lincoln University. PTE Academic score for students applying at Lincoln University should be at least 58 overall, with no communicative skill sections’ marks less than 50.


You may put your worries to rest and begin studying for the test now that you are familiar with the PTE exam pattern and its essential components. Notably, candidates should be aware that the validity of PTE results is two years. Also, there is no restriction on how many institutions or universities you can send your PTE results to. However, to ace your PTE exam, you can get in touch with KC Overseas, a popular edtech company that provides extensive help and guidance to students for PTE coaching. 

If you are someone looking to get PTE coaching in Nagpur, then contact KC Overseas and get guidance so that you get a good PTE score and get into your desired university abroad.

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