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PTE Academic Exam Pattern

PTE Academic is a computer-based exam that tests your ability as a non-native English speaker. Like every exam, PTE Academic follows an exam pattern. PTE Academic is divided into three sections which test students on English speaking, listening, writing and reading ability.


Section 1: Speaking & Writing

PTE Academic Exam Pattern


Question Type

What's It's About Tip

Personal Introduction

30 seconds are provided for your personal introduction. Although the introduction is not scored, it is sent to universities with the scorecard, therefore a good opportunity to make an impression. A template: Hi, my name’s ___ I’m ___ years old and I’m from ___. I am/have studying/ studied or working ___. I plan to study ___ in ___ or migrate to ___. 

Read Aloud

Read the given text from your screen into the microphone. The text could be upto 60 words and the time limit to record answers varies according to texts length. Contractions should be read exactly as they are. “Don’t” should not be read as “do not” and “I’m” should not be read as “I am”.

Repeat Sentence

Listen to the recording through your headphone and repeat the same into your microphone. The time limit is 15 seconds. Don’t stop midway or hesitate while repeating sentences. You may end up using fillers like umm, err, uh out of sheer nervousness which can lead to low marks.

Describe Image

An image will appear on the screen and you have to describe it by speaking into a microphone under 40 seconds. Adopt the 3 step method: Introduction, description, and conclusion.

Re-Tell Lecture

A recording of the lecture which can be upto 90 seconds can be heard. Students need to use headphone to hear the same and then keyboard in order to write the lecture in their own words under 40 seconds. Ideally your response should last for 35 seconds and you should be able to wrap up your response 5 seconds before the recording stops.

Answer Short Questions

You are supposed to listen to the question and answer with one or a few words by speaking. The question could be 3-9 seconds long and time to record answer is 10 seconds. If you don’t speak for 3 or more seconds, the current status shows “completed” and your voice does not record after that so speak give your answer instantly.

Summarize Written Text

Read a passage and then summarize it's content in one sentence. Students will get 10 minutes for this question. Do not include your own ideas about the passage, stick to the content and summarize accordingly.


A topic will be given on which you are asked to write an essay with a word limit of 200-300 words in 20 minutes. An ideal essay should include: Introduction, Support-Oppose Context, and conclusion.


PS: Since you are reading the exam pattern, you might want to prepare yourself with our PTE Mock Tests and evaluations.


Section 2: Reading

pte academic exam pattern


Question Type What It's About TIP

Multiple Choice, Choose Single Answer

A text upto 110 words and a question along with choices based on on the same appears, students need to choose a single answer from the choices.  If you are confused between two option, select the one which is more likely to be correct.

Multiple Choice, Choose Multiple Answers

A text upto 300 words and a question along with choices based on same appears, students need to choose more than one answer from the choices.  Negative Marking alert, marks will be deducted for every incorrect answer. Minimum marks for the question is still zero.

Re-Order Paragraphs

Several text boxes containing sentences appear on the screen in a random order. Put the text boxes in the correct order to make a comprehensive paragraph. Read the paragraph one by one, if it has a sequence of events then it will be easier to re-order them.

Reading: Fill In The Blanks

A paragraph/text with several blanks and text boxes below the paragraph appears. Drag and drop the text boxes to fill in the blanks.

Skim the paragraph before reading every line individually to get an idea of what the paragraph is about..

Reading and Writing: Fill In The Blanks

Question is a paragraph/text with several blanks, when the blanks are left clicked drop-down list appears from which answer can be selected.

If you are confused about the answer, then eliminate the obviously wrong once from the drop-down list and choose the one most likely to be correct.


Section 3: Listening

PTE Academic Exam Pattern


Question Type What's It About TIP

Summarize Spoken Test

A recording of 60-70 seconds and a question related to it appears, answer this question by summarizing the recording in 50-70 words. Do not include all the information from the lecture in your summary. Identify the main points, and pay attention to the words and phrases that have been stressed or repeated frequently.

Multiple choices, choose multiple answers

Listen to the recording and based on this recording, you will be asked a question. The question should be answered by selecting multiple choices from the options. Make sure to note down key points such as dates, events, places, things mentioned in the audio.

Fill in the blanks

Test takers need to listen to an audio and a transcript of that recording will appear on your screen with several gaps. To answer this question, you need to type the missing word of the transcript by listening to the recording. Write down notes on the notepad provided. Avoid using full spellings when you are taking notes while listening to the audio. You can fix the spellings once the recording is over.

Highlight correct summary

Test takers listen to a recording and select the paragraph from given options that best summarizes the recording. Skip options that focus on minor ideas or unnecessary details in the recording.

Multiple Choice, choose a single answer

Listen to the recording and select a single answer for the question based on the recording from the given options. Select an answer closest to what you think is right.

 Select missing word

After listening to an incomplete recording, select the missing word that completes the recording from the given list of options.

Don’t worry if you miss a few words in the recording. If you focus on the overall idea of the audio, you will still be able to answer the question. 

Highlight incorrect words

You can hear a recording and a transcript of the same will appear on the screen, you need to select words from the transcript that differ from the recording.

Skip note-taking for this task and highlight incorrect words on the go.

Write from dictation

Listen to the audio, it will contain a recording of a sentence and write the same sentence in the given space. Even if you manage to get all the words right, you might lose out on marks if the correct sequence is not followed in Write from Dictation tasks.  


That's what a PTE Academic Exam Pattern looks like, do you have any questions on the same? Contact PTE Practice Tests, we would love to answer.


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