PTE Exam Pattern 2023 – Detailed overview

PTE Exam Pattern

PTE Academic format has been consistent since its inception, with only one revision in early 2022. This revision was aimed at making the exam shorter. As a result, the number of questions appearing in some types were cut down. The total number of question types though have remained the same.

Hereโ€™s an overview of the structure of PTE for 2023:

Number of sections and time for test

As before the number of sections will be 4, each addressing one area of English language. The total duration of test is now only 2 hours, down from earlier 3 hours. There was also an optional break earlier, which has now been eliminated.

Part one of the test consists of Speaking and Writing section. This will be of 54 to 67 minutes duration. Part two of the test is about Reading and is now of 29 minutes. Part three is about Listening and is of 30 to 43 minutes.

In total a test taker can expect to spend just around 2 hours on the whole test.

Personal introduction

This is not a scored part of the exam and there wonโ€™t be any change to it in the near future. Total time for this is just 1 minute, out of which you have to speak for only 30 seconds.

Speaking section

The speaking section has 5 question types in total. Read aloud, Repeat sentence, Describe image, Re-tell lecture, and Answer short question. In your exam you will find 6~7 Read aloud questions, 10~12 Repeat sentence questions, 3~4 Describe image questions, 1~2 Re-tell lecture questions, and 5~6 questions of Answer short question type.

From speaking you will go on to the Writing section.

This has only two types โ€“ Write essay and Summarize written text. You will have 1~2 questions of each type.  If you get 2 questions of 1 type, you are likely to get only 1 question of the other type.

Reading section

The reading section of PTE also has 5 question types like the speaking section. These are fill in the blanks, reading and writing: fill in the blanks, Re-order paragraphs, multiple choice single answer and multiple choice multiple answers. In the exam you will have 5~6 Reading & writing fill in the blanks, also called the drag and drop fill in the blanks, 1~2 multiple choice multiple answers, 2~3 Re-order paragraphs, 4~5 simple fill in the blanks and 1~2 multiple choice, chose single answer questions.

Please note that there is no individual question time limit in this section. So, it is upto you to determine how much time to spend on one question of each type.

Listening section

This section in PTE has the largest number of question types. In total you will find questions of 8 types in this section. The first is the summarize spoken text, which is a summary writing exercise, and you will have 1~2 questions of this type. There will be 1~2 multiple choice, multiple answers, 2~3 fill in the blanks, 1~2 highlight correct summary, 1~2 multiple choice single answer, 1~2 select missing word, 2~3 highlight incorrect words, and 3~4 write from dictation questions. Some test takers try to strategize and focus on a few specific question types. A lot of so-called experts claim to know the exact weightage and importance of each question type. However, this is not true! Pearson has not published any such information. Therefore, pay equal attention to each section and each question type. Take care of the fundamentals and you will score well in every question!

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