PTE Exam Pattern 2023: Section-wise PTE (Academic & General) Test Pattern, Structure, Duration

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Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Mar 07, 2023 10:33 AM IST

Now that you have decided that you will be taking the test this year, it is now important to understand the exam pattern for PTE Academic. As suggested by countless study abroad counsellors and experts, understanding the exam pattern for PTE Academic will help you prepare for the test, subsequently acing the tests this year.

Like almost all other English proficiency tests conducted across the globe, the PTE Academic exam has been divided into three sections, i.e. Speaking and Writing, Listening, and Reading. Candidates will be asked to answer the different questions within this section in under 2 hours. Check out this page to know the actual exam pattern for PTE Academic.

PTE Academic Exam Pattern 2023

The PTE is conducted in an online mode in a single sitting and there are three important sections in it. They are Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. The Pearson VUE decides the PTE exam pattern and format which contains the number of questions asked, test duration, types of questions and marking scheme of each question and section. Knowing the correct exam pattern of PTE is imperative to make the preparation process easy. 

PTE is two hours long computer-based test and is conducted at PTE test centres in a safe and secure environment. The test contains 20 different question types of which pre-dominant ones are multiple-choice questions, interpreting information and writing essays. 

By scoring well in the PTE exam, students can get admitted to a reputed institute abroad or convince visa officers of their eligibility. The test helps identify students who have the potential to interact in an English-speaking environment though they are themselves non-native speakers of English. The PTE test is widely acknowledged in leading universities of the world for admissions to undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral courses.

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Sections in PTE Academic Test

As already mentioned there are three sections in the PTE test. The speaking and writing skills are clubbed into one while reading and listening skills are separate sections. Here let us briefly check out each section of the PTE Academic.

Part 1: Speaking and Writing

The PTE speaking and writing section lasts for 54 to 67 minutes which your spoken and written communication skills to mingle in an English-speaking environment are tested. Correct grammar, spellings and usage are essential for the successful completion of the test.

Part 2: Reading

The reading section of PTE consists of 15-20 items that combine and integrate different skills to test. The questions are based on different response formats such as fill in the blanks, multiple-choice questions and re-order paragraphs to test your ability to read, listen and write English information. As the skills of the exam overlap, one of the items also assesses writing skills.

Part 3: Listening

There will be audio and video clips that will be played automatically and questions will be based on them. As it will be played only once, it is crucial to listen carefully. However, to make things easy, you are allowed to take notes while the audio and video are playing. You can also adjust the volume of the recordings at your convenience. 

PTE Academic Exam Pattern Highlights

The PTE Academic 2023 exam pattern highlights are given below for candidates to have a clear idea of the test:

PTE Academic Exam Duration 2 Hours 
Section-wise Duration Speaking and Writing: 77-93 minutes
Reading: 32-40 minutes
Listening: 45-57 minutes
Total Number of Sections 3- Speaking and Writing, Reading and Listening
Question Format

20 different question formats ranging from multiple-choice questions to essay writing and interpreting information.

Mode of PTE Academic Exam Computer-Based Test; Online, Can be Attempted From Home or Test Centre
Medium of Instruction English

Section-wise PTE Academic Test Format

For a better understanding of the test format or exam pattern of PTE Academic, one may go through the section-wise duration:

Speaking and Writing

The speaking and writing section consists of ten minutes and is subdivided into the following parts:

Section Duration
Personal Introduction 25 seconds for prompt, 30 seconds to record
Repeat Sentence 3-9 seconds for prompt, 15 seconds to answer
Read Aloud 30-40 seconds depending upon the length of the passage
Re-Tell Lecture Up to 90 seconds for prompt,10 seconds to prepare, and 40 seconds to answer
Describe Image 25 seconds are given to study the image and prepare your response
Essay 20 minutes to write an essay of 200-300 words
Answer Short Question 3-9 seconds for prompt,10 seconds to answer
Summarize Written Text 10 minutes to answer a text of up to 300 words. A single sentence should be no more than 75 words


The reading section consists of passages that have to be read in order to answer them.

Section Duration
Multiple Choice, Choose Single Answer Read the text of up to 300 words
Re-Order Paragraphs Read the text of up to 150 words
Multiple Choice, Choose Multiple Answers Read the text of up to 300 words
Reading and Writing: Fill in the Blanks Read the text of up to 300 words
Reading: Fill in the Blanks Read the text of up to 80 words


The listening section contains following parts: 

Section Duration
Summarize Spoken Text 60-90 seconds to write a 50-70 word summary, 10 minutes to write
Fill in the Blanks 30-60 seconds
Highlight Incorrect Words 15-50 seconds
Multiple Choice, Single Answer 30-60 seconds
Highlight Correct Summary 30-90 seconds
Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer 40-90 seconds for prompt
Select Missing Word 20-70 seconds
Write From Dictation 3-5 seconds

FAQs on PTE Academic Exam Pattern

Will I be able to replay the video/audio clips during the PTE Academic test?

PTE Academic does not give the provision to replay the video/audio clips during the PTE Academic test.

Does PTE Academic assess real-life English or academic English?

PTE Academic is based on real-life English and not academic English divided into three parts - Listening, Reading and Speaking & Writing.

Can I leave the PTE Academic test before it finishes?  

No, you cannot leave the test until it finishes. If you do so, you will lose your test fee and your scores will not be provided.

Would each type of question under PTE Academic be timed separately?

Except for the reading section under PTE Academic, questions asked in both the other sections will be timed separately.

Will I be able to go back to previous questions asked in PTE Academic and make changes?

PTE Academic does not give the provision to go back to the previous question and change the answer.

Will I get a chance to re-record my responses in PTE Academic test?

No, you will not get the chance to record your answer again for the reading section under PTE Academic.

What type of questions are asked in PTE Academic?

There is no fixed format of questions for PTE Academic. In fact, there are more than 20 different formats in which questions are asked in PTE Academic.

How much time will be allocated for the Listening section under PTE Academic?

For the listening section under PTE Academic, around 45 to 57 minutes will be allocated.

How much time will be allocated for the Reading section under PTE Academic?

For the reading section under PTE Academic, around 32 to 40 minutes will be allocated.

How much time will be allocated for the Speaking and Writing section under PTE Academic?

For the Speaking and Writing section under PTE Academic, around 77 to 93 minutes will be allocated and each question will be timed separately.

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