What is Pearson Test of English?

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The Pearson Test of English (PTE) is a popular test of English language to evaluate the readiness of non-native English speakers to study in universities that use English as the medium of instruction. It is equally used to check the readiness of these non-native English speakers to work in companies with an English-speaking environment.Simply put, it is a computer-based English test for studying and working abroad. The test has the endorsement of the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which is the organization solely responsible for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). This article, will explore all you need to know about the PTE Exam.

The three-hour test requires the use of a computer and headset to complete it. There are three main components with each component requiring students to answer twenty question formats. You will have the option of going for a ten-minute break between the reading and listening components of the test. Afterwards, you will listen to lecture excerpts and view charts and graphs. Students sitting for the test will be introduced to different accents while taking the test. These accents include American, British, and non-native speakers. This exposes examinees to different types of accents that they normally encounter in every day life.

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 PTE Overview

The Pearson Test of English was introduced by the Pearson Language Tests, a unit of the Pearson PLC group. This test was designed by Pearson in response to the demand of public and private institutions and organizations for a proper way of evaluating non-native English language students seeking to enter English speaking academic institutions.

When the test was released publicly, well over 6,000 organizations recognized and accepted it. It was equally approved by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship of Australia as well as the Australia Border Agency. While the test scores are reported based on the Global Scale of English, it is aligned to levels determined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Collated results are evaluated using artificial intelligence (AI), which employs algorithms mimicking the way tests are evaluated by humans. Since the test is evaluated through AI, it means the scoring is unbiased since students are typically graded based on their answers and not on their accents. The use of AI in scoring the exam also reduces the time students have to wait for the results to come out.

 PTE Structure

The Pearson Test of English is made of three main components: Speaking and Writing, Reading, and Listening. Each section evaluates specific areas in the English language.

  • Speaking and Writing

The Speaking and Writing component of the PTE evaluates the speaking and writing skill of examinees. Examinees have to complete this section within 93 minutes. Their speaking skills are evaluated based on their ability to speak English in an academic environment. For the writing component, examinees are required to write their responses in academic English while ensuring they follow grammar and spelling rules.

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The examinees will be asked for an introduction, read text aloud, repeat a sentence, describe images, re-tell a lecture in their own words, answer short questions, summarize written text, and answer an essay.


  • Reading


The second component will test the Reading skills of examinees. Examinees should complete this component of the test within 40 minutes. It contains 15 to 20 integrated and independent skill items. The exact number is determined by the combination of the items in the test.

This component of the test features different response formats, including filling in the blanks, multiple-choice, and re-ordering paragraphs. These tests are designed to check the ability of examinees in reading, writing, and listening to information provided in the English language. One item type in this component of the test will also evaluate writing skills since PTE is an integrated skill test.


  • Listening


The Listening component of the test requires examinees to listen to audio or video clips that will play automatically. Examinees should listen carefully since the audio or video clips will be played only once. But they are allowed to take down notes. Examinees will be given the chance to adjust the volume for each question. They can increase or decrease the volume by moving the control bar to the right or left, respectively.

The examinees will have to summarize spoken text, take a multiple-choice test with multiple or single answers, select missing words in a sentence, highlight incorrect words, fill in the blanks, highlight the correct summary, and write text from dictation.


Aside from the Graduate Management Admission Council, the PTE is also accepted by different universities around the world, including the Harvard Business School, Yale University, and Stanford Graduate School of Business in the United States. The test results are also accepted by Sheridan College and George Brown College in Canada along with the London Business School in the United Kingdom also accepts PTE scores. The test is also accepted by other leading business schools in Europe including SDA Bocconi of Italy, HEC Paris and INSEAD of France, and ESADE and IE Business School of Spain.

Several arts and music colleges also started to accept PTE exam results. Visa and immigration applications in New Zealand and Australia also accepts PTE results.

 PTE Test Process

The process of taking the PTE starts with the examinee creating an account on the Pearson website. A valid and acceptable ID, such as a passport, is required to create an account. Examinees should bring ID they used on the day of the test or they will not be allowed to enter the test room

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