Understanding PTE Academic Test Format


The PTE Academic test is designed for students who plan to study overseas but hail from countries where English is not their first language. PTE Academic measures the students on four language skills, writing, reading, listening and speaking. According to the exam pattern of PTE, the speaking and writing modules are integrated into one. Reading and Listening modules are designed separately.

How does the PTE Academic Work?

The PTE Academic test is a computerized examination that is secure, fast and reliable. It tests the students skills in Speaking and Writing, Reading, and Listening. It is mandatory that when you create a PTE account, the name you register is EXACTLY the same as on your passport; all given names, in addition to any middle names are typed under given names, and all last names as well. This is vital because if your registered name does not match your passport on the day of the exam, you are not allowed to sit the PTE and lose all fees paid.
When you reach the exam centre, they will check your identity, and you will be assigned a computer and a headset. Ranging from various MCQ’s (multiple choice questions) to essay writing, reading sentences aloud, to choosing the correct answer, there will be a total of twenty modules (not questions!) in all four formats.

The PTE Academic exam is based on real-life academic question types A good part about PTE Listening test contains native and non-native accents, which can be very helpful for first time takers.

Let Us Take a Look at The PTE Exam Structure

Below is the PTE exam structure divided into various sections – Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.

Speaking and Writing

This section will test the students ‘speaking and writing abilities’. The time duration required is 54 to 67 minutes and has six portions. You must click next when you finish each question to advance to the next question/section and save time.

Segment Wise-PatternDuration
Personal Introduction 25 seconds for the prompt, 30 seconds to record an answer
1 Read Aloud – 6 to 725-35 seconds to prepare for reading out the text of 1.5 to 3 sentences in 40 seconds max
2 Repeat Sentences–10-123-9 seconds for prompt, 15 seconds to record the answer
Describe the Image–3 to 425 seconds to prepare and 40 seconds to identify the image and come up with a response
Retell Lecture–1-2Listen to a lecture of 1 to 1.5 minutes, and take notes; 10 seconds to think, and then talk for a maximum of 40 seconds.
Answer Short Questions -(5-6)3-9 seconds for prompt, 10 seconds to answer
Summarize Written Text (1-2)10 minutes to answer a text prompt of 300 words in on sentences
Write the Essay (1-2)20 minutes–at least 130+ words but goal is 200-300


This particular section will test the students ability to understand instructions. The reading section is divided into five segments that must be covered in 29-30 minutes. Let us look at the format. The total time is 29-30 minutes to finish this section.

Section PatternDuration
Reading and Writing: Fill in the Blanks
(5-6 screens–20-30 marks)
Read 300 words of text
Multiple Choice, Choose Multiple Answers (1-2 questions–4-6 marks)Read 300 words of text
Re-Order Paragraphs (2-3 questions-4 marks each)Read 150 words of text
Reading: Fill in the Blanks (4-5 screens–16-23 marks)Read 80 words of text
Multiple Choice, Single Answer (1-2 questions–1-2 marks)Read 300 words of text


The listening section covers about 30-43 minutes and tests the abilities of the students to understand spoken English. The candidates should carefully listen to the audio and retain whatever they hear. The listening section has 8 sub-segments. Let us take a deeper look. From Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers, students are given 21-23 minutes to complete all the questions.

Patterns of SectionDuration
Summarize spoken test (1-2 marks)10 minutes to write each
Multiple-choice, multiple-answer (1-2)40-90 seconds prompt each
Highlight Correct Summary (1-2)30-90 seconds each
Fill in the blanks (2-3)–1 mark each–10-15 marks total30-60 seconds each
Multiple choice, single answer (1-2)30-60 seconds each
Select the missing words (1-2)20-70 seconds each
Highlight Incorrect Words (2-3) 10-15 marks total15-50 seconds each
Write From Dictation (3-4) 30-36 marks3-5 seconds each sentence

PTE Academic Exam Format

Candidates need approximately two hours to complete the test. The table given below elaborates on the PTE Academic exam format

Speaking and Writing1. Introduction
2. Read Aloud
3. Repeat Sentences
4. Describe Image
5. Retell Lecture
6. Answer Short
7. Questions
8. Summarize Written Text
9. Write the Essay
54-67 minutes
(speaking and writing times are combined but time from speaking does not carry over into writing)
Reading1. Reading/Writing: Fill in the Blanks
2. Multiple Choice/Multiple Answer
3. Reorder Paragraphs
4. Fill in the blanks
5. Multiple Choice/Single Answer
29-30 minutes
ListeningSummarize spoken test (1-2 marks)
Multiple-choice, multiple-answer (1-2)
Highlight Correct Summary (1-2)
Fill in the blanks (2-3)–1 mark each–10-15 marks total
Multiple choice, single answer (1-2)
Select the missing words (1-2)
Highlight Incorrect Words (2-3) 10-15 marks total
Write From Dictation (3-4) 30-36 marks

The PTE Exam Result

Now that you know about the PTE Academic exam, format and patterns, you can stop worrying and start preparing for your tests. Candidates must also note that the validity of PTE exam scores is two years, and up to 3 years for certain requirements, much like TOEFL and IELTS. In addition, you can send your PTE exam marks to as many colleges/universities as you want without any limit.

If you want the best tutors to guide you to ace the PTE exams, Apeiro training Services is the best institute Australia offers. Visit our website, http://apeirotraining.com.au for more information about the various PTE courses and get your desired score in two weeks.