PTE Academic unveiled: All you need to know about the test for success abroad

Expat life
18 Dec 2023
14 mins read
Written by Riona lye

Hey there, ready to dive into the Pearson PTE academic world? It’s like a thrilling adventure that can swing open doors to studying abroad or snagging some awesome career opportunities overseas. If you’ve got dreams of jetting off for studies or working in another country, PTE Academic is here to shine a spotlight on your English skills.

In a nutshell, this is all about testing how well you handle the English language. If you’re planning to give this test a shot for your overseas studies or visa applications, stick around. We’re going to walk you through the test structure, the costs, the scores you’ll aim for, and how to prep like a pro. So, let’s dive right into it!

What is the meaning of PTE Academic?

It is no surprise if you find yourself googling for “PTE academic meaning”.

So, what’s the deal with PTE Academic, you ask? Alright, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of “PTE.” It’s short for Pearson Test of English (PTE). This test basically checks how good you are at English. It’s used when you’re applying to study somewhere or applying for a visa.

So how do you take PTE academic test and what are you tested on?

So, let us break down how PTE Academic actually works. You’ll be taking the test on a computer, and don’t worry, it’s all set up in a safe and welcoming test centre. This test checks how well you can speak and write, read, and listen.

And get this, there are about 20 different ways they ask you questions in the test. They cover everything, from multiple choice questions to even making you write essays.

Here’s the table for a rough guide:

Testing area

Time needed

Number of questions

Question example

Speaking and writing

54 – 67 minutes


Watch or listen to a lecture for like a minute and a half, and then you’ve got 40 seconds to wrap it up in your own words.


29 – 30 minutes


Once you’re done reading, just pick one answer to a multiple-choice question about what the text is about or how it feels.


30 – 43 minutes


After you hear a recording, jot down a short summary of 50 to 70 words.

On average, the PTE academic exam takes about two hours to complete.
But hey, what if you’re having trouble reaching the test centre? Here’s where we talk about PTE academic online.

PTE academic online

Curious about PTE Academic online, huh? Wondering how it’s different from the regular test at those centres? Well, think of it as another computer test, but you can take it right from home, your office, or any cozy, quiet spot. No need to physically show up anywhere. This setup works great if you’re out in a rural area, need some specific accommodations due to disabilities, or you’re dealing with lockdowns.

How is PTE academic online conducted?

PTE Academic online is a test that is taken using a secure web browser. All you need is a desktop or laptop with solid internet, a headset with a mic, and a webcam. But keep in mind, you’ll need a quiet spot because a human proctor will be keeping tabs on your whole session. During the test, no other windows will be allowed, and you can’t wander out of the webcam’s view.

Difference between PTE Academic and PTE Academic online

The cool part is that PTE Academic online still checks the same four skills. The only changes are listed below.

PTE Academic

PTE Academic online

Note taking

Handwritten note taking allowed.

Use notes tools on screen for note taking.

Visual design

Restricted from adjusting zoom levels. Uniformity in colour and arrangement.

Permitted to adjust zoom levels. Variations in colour and arrangement.

Test results

Score available in 48 hours.

You can expect your score to be accessible within 48 hours, and the online report will indicate that the test was conducted remotely.

Is PTE Academic online accepted everywhere?

You might be thinking, “Why do they even need to mention that the PTE academic test was done remotely?” Well, the thing is, not all places are totally on board with recognising PTE Academic online scores.

So, before you dive in, it’s smart to make sure the school or visa spot you’re interested in accepts these online results. And just a heads up, as of now, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK aren’t waving the green flag for PTE Academic online when it comes to visas. Just something to keep in mind!

PTE academic validity

Just like with IELTS, the results of your PTE Academic exam stay valid for a maximum of two years from the exam date.

PTE academic result

Alright, let’s talk game plan. To make the most of your PTE Academic test, it’s smart to have a target score in mind. This test usually dishes out scores from 10 to 90.

Now, what is a good PTE Academic score? Well, if you’re eyeing undergrad studies, crossing the 43 mark might give you a shot at using those test results for admission.

But hey, if you really want to unlock more opportunities, you’re looking at needing a score higher than 59. We’ve got a handy table that lays out the minimum scores needed based on what you’re aiming for.


Required by

85 – 90

Universities and governments don’t usually ask for scores this high.

76 – 84

This demands a really high English skill level. Typically, you don’t need this kind of English level for undergrad programs.

Needed for: Australian Skilled Migration Visas


This is usually the level you need to understand and engage in academic activities like coursework and student life, whether it’s for undergrad or post-grad studies.

It’s also the bar for pro registration, jobs, and Australian skilled migration visas.


The baseline needed for undergrad studies.

42 and below

To consider retaking the test.

At the end of the day, a good PTE Academic score is the one that propels you towards your ultimate goal – whether it’s studying abroad or nailing that visa application.

PTE academic fees

We’ve got the fees all laid out for both PTE Academic and PTE Academic online, and these prices already include taxes. Check out the table below – it’s got the scoop on the most popular countries where folks have taken the test.


PTE Academic

PTE Academic Online

Number of test centres


$410 AUD

$410 AUD



$330 CAD

$330 CAD



$310 USD

Not applicable



₹15,900 INR

$15,900 INR



$190 USD

$190 USD


New Zealand

$410 NZD

$410 NZD



$215 USD

$215 USD



$220 USD

$220 USD


South Africa

R4300 ZAR

R4300 ZAR


United Arab Emirates

1200 AED

1200 AED


And hey, if you don’t see your country in this list, don’t sweat it. Just hop over to the official website – they’ve got a whopping 239 countries listed there for you to explore.

PTE academic exam registration

Ready to get that PTE Academic exam sorted? Let us walk you through the steps to snag your exam date:

  1. First things first, set up a myPTE account. Got one already? Just log in. If you don’t know what is pte academic login, just Google for it.
  2. Once you’ve got your profile all filled out, check out the “check availability” button on the homepage banner or hit up the website’s navigation to book your test.
  3. Click on “Check test availability and book” under the PTE Academic section.
  4. Pick a test centre that’s close to you and hit next.
  5. Choose a date and time that works for your exam.
  6. Double-check your booking info, then go ahead and submit your order and pay up.
  7. Don’t forget to settle your booking payment.

Once you’re all set, a confirmation email will be on its way, and you’ll find all the details about your appointment right on your myPTE dashboard. Easy as pie!

How to prepare for PTE Academic test?

Alright, let’s dive into this section where we’ll cover a couple of things – getting ready for the PTE Academic test and what you can expect on the big test day itself.

PTE academic practice test – Free version

Pearson PTE Academic’s got your back with a cool free prep course. It’s like a golden ticket to check out various question types, test formats, and you can even get some practice in on your phone.

They’ve also got a “Taster Test” – just five questions to give you a taste of reading, listening, and writing. The best part? You’ll get your score right away.

And that’s not all! There are other free options too, like online tools from E2Language (1 hour) and a 6-hour course from Macquarie University, both backed by Pearson.

Oh, and don’t forget their Official Practice app. It’s a nifty download that hooks you up with a personalised study plan and practice activities right on your phone.

PTE Academic official practice – Paid Version

So, let’s say you’ve taken those free tests and figured out where you might need some extra work. It could be worth investing a little to get more practice materials online via Pearson PTE academic.

You can choose the package for PTE academic official practice.






Not applicable

$59.99 USD

$89.99 USD

$129.99 USD

Scored Practice Tests




PTE Academic Question Bank

300 practice questions with example answers, and even samples for speaking and writing.




PTE Academic Official Guide

Get expert tips and tons of extra digital practice stuff, all in one handy eBook.

Now, if you’re into checking out stuff on your own, you might want to take a look at these options:


Scored Practice Tests

$35.99 USD

PTE Academic Question Bank

$19.99 USD

PTE Academic Official Guide

$39.99 USD

And while we’re on the topic of PTE Academic book, if you’re looking for more practice materials, you can check out these options:

PTE Academic book

E book availability

Australia Price

New Zealand Price

U.K Price

The Official Guide to PTE Academic





Practice Tests Plus: with CD-ROM


Not applicable



Expert PTE Academic book B1



Not applicable


Expert PTE Academic book B2


$74.95 AUD

Not applicable


What to expect on the actual day of your PTE Academic Test?

You’ll be all set up at a test centre, sitting at a computer. Usually, there are about 10 to 15 folks taking the same test alongside you. Here’s what you can expect in a nutshell:

  1. Start off by reaching the test centre at least 30 minutes early. They’ll want you to check in. Get your ID ready – they’ll use it to double-check your booking and make sure you’re really you. They’ll also snap a digital photo, take your digital signature, and scan your palm for security.
  2. Once that’s all wrapped up, they’ll show you where to stow your stuff safely.
  3. Time to grab a seat! You’ll head over to a little partitioned booth. Inside, you’ll find a computer, a keyboard (it’s a QWERTY one, just so you know), a headset, a chair, and even a notepad and pencil. If you’re not used to a QWERTY keyboard, it might be smart to practice on one before your big day.

And there you have it – you’re all set up and ready to tackle the PTE Academic test!

What to expect on the actual day for PTE Academic online?

Alright, so when it comes to PTE Academic online, there are a few extra things to get ready for:

  1. Start by downloading the OnVUE remote proctoring software.
  2. Check that your headset is good to go – it needs to be wired and connected via USB or a 3.5mm jack. And make sure it’s got an over-the-head band with a separate adjustable boom microphone.
  3. Do a system check. PTE Academic gives you a link to test out your system for the exam.
  4. When you’re all set, it’s time to check in. Remember, do this at least 30 minutes before your actual PTE test kicks off. They’ll want you to snap a few pics – one of yourself, one of your ID, and even a shot of your surroundings. Once that’s done, you’ll hang tight while they verify your info.
  5. After you’re through with this process – which usually takes around 15 minutes – you’ll be all set to jump into the test.

Which countries accept PTE academic?

So, you’ve gone through the Pearson PTE Academic test, and now you’re curious about the doors it can open for you. Here are some common questions that pop up:

  • Does PTE Academic work for immigration to Australia?
  • Is PTE Academic valid for getting an Australia PR?
  • Which countries accept PTE academic for immigration?

If you’re nodding along to those questions, you’ll be glad to hear that PTE Academic is recognised by over 3,300 institutions globally, including big names like Oxford University, Harvard Business School, and Yale. Not just that, it’s also given the thumbs up by the Australian, UK, and New Zealand governments for those visa plans.

What is the difference between PTE academic and PTE general?

So what is the difference between PTE academic and general?
In the past, the main difference was that PTE Academic was for those aiming to study abroad, while PTE General was more tailored for work visas.

But nowadays, things have gotten a bit more flexible. You can actually use your PTE Academic results for immigration purposes too. Although, if your sights are set on the UK, there’s a slight twist. You’d need to take the tests for UK visas and immigration, which include PTE Academic UKVI and PTE Home A1, A2 & B1 – these are used for various visa, work, or settling plans in the UK.

IELTS general vs PTE academic – which is easier?

Well, considering both exams are accepted worldwide, you’d expect a certain level of difficulty to meet the test’s requirements.

Now, here’s a little birdie’s secret: many folks tend to find PTE tests a bit smoother compared to IELTS. Part of the reason is that you don’t have to deal with essays in PTE.

The rumour mill has it that PTE exams are a bit more challenging in terms of content, but the grading is a tad more lenient. On the flip side, IELTS exams might seem less intense, but the grading can be tougher, making it trickier to get a higher score.

For example, in IELTS, the writing part might ask you to handwrite a long essay about a topic like traditional families. This task evaluates both your writing skills and your ability to make a solid argument. Quite the balancing act!

But overall, PTE goes all digital, so there’s no need for humans to listen to your speech or check your writing style. This is great for folks who get nervous talking to people because with PTE, it’s all about chatting with a computer. Plus, there’s no human around, so no need to worry about body language stuff.

And hey, if your handwriting’s not the clearest, you might want to think about IELTS computer test or PTE.

Oh, and if you’re all about getting your scores fast, PTE is the answer – you’ll have them in just 5 days.

Before you go…

Alright, before you dive into this exciting journey, remember this: doing great in this test can unlock a whole world of chances for studying abroad or starting fresh in another country.

But hold up, as you get ready for this adventure, let’s not forget about the practical stuff – like sorting out your funds when you’re going overseas.

And guess what? Instarem’s got your back on that front! They’re like your trusty sidekick, making sure your money zips from here to your destination without a hitch. 

Send money overseas with Instarem for your next transfer.

Download the app or sign up here. 

**Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with products or vendors mentioned. 

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