The Pearson test of English is an English language test designed to assess the readiness of non-native English speakers to participate in a university-level English language instruction programme. Pearson created PTE Academic in response to demand from institutions, government and other organisations for a more accurate way of testing non-native English language students who enter the English speakers’ academia world.

It is a computer based standardised test developed by Pearson and endorsed by Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). Skills tested are Speaking, Writing, Reading and Listening, with a duration of three hours. Test scores are reported on the global scale of English, standardised numeric English language proficiency more precisely with reference to the widely known set of levels distinguished in CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). The scores are valid for two years.

The test is approved for use by UK border agency and the Australian department of immigration and citizenship for visa application. The test is read by a computer rather than a human grader.

The test is divided into three parts:

Part-1: Speaking and Writing (77-93 minutes)

Type of questions:

  • Personal introduction (1 minute) (not scored)
  • Read aloud
  • Repeat sentence
  • Describe image
  • Retell lecture
  • Answer short questions


  • Summarise written text (10 minutes)

Essay (20 minutes)

Part-2: Reading (32-41 minutes)

Type of questions:

  • Fill in the blanks (drag and drop from box)
  • Multiple choice questions (choose single option)
  • Re-order paragraph
  • Fill in the blanks (drop down list)
  • Multiple choice questions (choose multiple options)

Part-3: Listening (45-57 minutes)

Type of questions:

  • Summarise spoken text
  • Multiple choice questions (choose multiple options)
  • Fill in the blanks (fill missing words while listening)
  • Highlight correct summary
  • Multiple choice questions (choose single option)
  • Select missing word (completing the recording)
  • Highlight incorrect words (listening to the recording)
  • Write from dictation

In the next post we’ll be discussing the tips to tackle the different types of questions in all the modules of the test.