All You Need to Know About This Important English Language Proficiency Test

Every student, who desires to study abroad in any country of their choice is always, in most cases asked to provide a language proficiency test result,this, as much as it may seem like  a growing challenge for most students especially the ones that are not from the country can be handled with the right information at one’s disposal,therefore, below is a detailed  write up on all you need to know for an English proficiency test from Pearson.

The Pearson Language Tests is recognized worldwide as a language test used to validate the proficiency of non-native speakers of English language. There are several categories of the test. But for non-native speakers of English wishing to study abroad in English, Pearson Test of English Academic is the required Pearson Test to take.

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)

The test is primarily designed to test the readiness of potential study abroad students to read, communicate, and comprehend tertiary-level English language.

The PTE Academic test is recognized as proof of proficiency in English by major schools and institutions around the world. Some of the prestigious institutions include Harvard Business School, London School of Business, Yale University and many institutes and Universities in France, Spain, Germany and China.

The Australian Immigration department also recognize the test for citizenship visa application to Australia

Nature of the test

The test is a computer-based test focusing on the use of English generally found in higher institutions. Students are expected to be tested in a variety of English accents which they are likely to come across during their years as students.

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In that respect, playback of audio recordings are used as tests for the candidates. Also included as part of the exam are audio recordings of the candidate speaking in English. This can be used as a form of biometric identification of the candidate by the University.

Duration, schedule and Test Result

Each test is not expected to last more than 3 hours

The tests are scheduled every day throughout the year. So students can come into the test center at any time and write the exam. This is one of the unique features of PTE Academic. There is no fixed timetable. You write the exam when you are ready. Just go to the test center, register and take the test at your own convenience.

The results are normally released 5 days after the test is taken. Again, this stands out as another unique selling point of the test as you don’t have to wait for a long time before you get the result. Candidates can easily check the score online.

Test Format

At the PTE test center, candidates would be assigned a computer and a headset. Through the headset, the candidates would listen to questions, respond to questions and read texts displayed on the computer monitor.

There are three main sections

  • Speaking and writing expected to last not more than 93 minutes
  • Reading to last not more than 41 minutes and
  • Listening to last not more than 57 minutes

How the tests are graded

Because PTE Academic tests are graded by computers, the scores are very reliable as errors from the human element aspect have been eliminated.

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The scores are graded according to the Global Scale of English, an internationally accepted grading system. This grades your proficiency very accurately.

The final score is a reflection of your performance in the overall test and is graded on a 10 – 90 sliding scale.

Each of the skills tested in the three sections are also graded the same way. This grading method has the advantage of quickly showing you your areas of strengths or weaknesses. This way, you know where to improve on if you need to repeat the test.

To understand the PTE Academic grading and score in details, you can download the Academic Score guide here.

Test Centers and Fees

There are several test centers in cities in over 50 countries around the world. The nearest test center to your location can be found here.

The fees cover both registration and test fees. The fees vary from region to Gregson and it also depends on the accredited test centers. Information about fees to be paid can be obtained from test center closest to your location.


Registration for the test is done online only. Or you can call the call centers to help you register. The best option though is to register online at your test center. The staff there can then guide you if you encounter any problem.

Candidates must be at least 16 years old before they are allowed to take the test. 16 or 17-year-olds must obtain a letter of consent from their parents or guardians. They must download, fill and return this form before they are allowed to take the test.

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While filling out the registration form, make sure the name on the application form is the same on your ID. This is the ID to be used as identification on the test day. You won’t be allowed to take the test if the two names are different.

The accepted means of identification is your passport.

Sending your scores to institutions

To send your scores to your chosen institution, follow these steps:

  • Sign into your online account on the PTE Academic website
  • Click on ‘Send Scores’ next to the test
  • Search for the school you want to send the score to and select it
  • Click ‘Next’ for a preview
  • Click ‘Next’ again, then click ‘Confirm Order’ to send the score.

Note that you can send up to 7 scores at once to an unlimited number of institutions. An email would be sent to you to confirm that the scores have been sent.

Typically, it takes up to 48 hours for the institutions to receive your scores.

Preparing for the PTE Academic test

Most test centers have preparatory classes for registered. Sometimes, the fee for the preparatory classes would be included as part of the registration fee.

Study materials and other aids would be provided by the test center.

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