The Pearson Test of English Academic, also known as the PTE academic, is a well-recognised English assessment providing a qualification demonstrating proficiency in academic English. The 4 key areas of language: reading, listening, writing and speaking, are assessed. Skills tested are broken down further into grammar, written discourse, vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation and oral fluency. The PTE English is all taken on the computer and you are given 3 hours to complete the test.

How long has the PTE Academic been established?
The PTE Academic has now been used for academic English assessment for 10 years. It was established in 2009. It is the product of extensive research and testing in the English language learning field.


What type of institutions accept the PTE Academic?
Numerous institutions worldwide recognise and accept the PTE Academic and the number is still growing as it gains in validity and popularity as a measure of English proficiency. The types of institutions that will recognise the test are universities and other academic institutes, professional organizations, companies and government bodies. PTE Academic is not accepted for immigration to Australia and New Zealand.

What is the Scoring system for the PTE Academic?
One of the key differences between the PTE Academic test and other well-known English proficiency tests such as the IELTS is that fact that your answers are scored automatically by a computer scoring system. The scores that you can reach range from 10-90. Each set of skills is scored from 10-90 and then your overall score is scored form 10-90. The scoring system was devised using the Global Scale of English.

How does the computerized scoring system work?
A massive amount of research and testing went into the creation of the computerised scoring system. Hundreds of thousands of people from huge samples of students speaking 120 different languages took the various sections of the pilot form of the test. Their responses were assessed by highly trained assessors and marks were correlated. Algorithms were then created based on this large data sample whereby the computer responses and scores were correlated and tested until the accuracy rate was as high as human-based scoring, if not higher.

PTE Practice

What is the PTE scoring accuracy rate compared to other English Tests?
English proficiency tests are required to be assessed by various teams from governmental and educational bodies before they become authorised, verified and recognised. They use a standardised form of assessment called the “Standard Error of Measurement” (SEM). The SEM looks primarily at the accuracy of the scoring and grading. According the SEM, the PTE Academic has the most accurate results of the major English language proficiency tests available.

Why is the computerised scoring in the PTE so accurate?
Some doubt that a computer can assess a test as accurately as a human assessor, but the statistics would suggest otherwise! However well-qualified, experienced and scrupulous an assessor of an English proficiency test may be, they are only human. So many factors affect an individual’s opinion and performance at any given time so that complete objectivity is impossible.

One must take into account the fact that people feel different at different times, they get tired, they have different emotions, their minds can be led to factors other than the primary skill being tested. There is also always room for human error although this would be very low in an assessment situation. With the PTE, students know that they are being graded in exactly the same way as any other student taking the same test. There would be no difference in how a student in a different country or test centre is assessed and no judgement for each specific skill and response that is not completely relevant.

Now that you have an overview of the Pearson Test of English Academic, hopefully you will feel more knowledgeable about the origins of the test and in particular, the computerised aspect of the PTE. We have numerous articles on our websites looking at more specific aspects of the PTE regarding the different sections and tasks as well as some excellent inside tips and strategies to help you to prepare for the test. Have a browse and find out more. The PTE could be the English proficiency test that you have been looking for.

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