Updates in PTE Academic Test Format and Score Report

“PTE Academic test to shorten from three hours to two hours. Enabling skills to be removed from the score report."

The Pearson Test of English (PTE) academic is an English Assessment test that validates the English language usage by non-native English speakers. This PTE test is accepted by Australia, New Zealand, and the UK for visa and immigration purposes. Over 3,000 universities and colleges trust it, and the results are released in 48 hours.

And most importantly, PTE is considered an easier exam compared to IELTS, OET, or CELPIP.

This English proficiency test is a unique academic English test, an entirely computer-based online examination that the AI assesses and scores.

Recently, the PTE academic released the notification of a few changes introduced in the test and how the format of this PTE exam has changed.

PTE Academic is getting shorter! Yes, you heard it right! The PTE academic is getting shorter. Earlier it was a 3-hour long exam; now, it will be only a 2-hour exam. The guidelines and information of such changes were released by Pearson, one of the leading learning and English proficiency company on 7th September 2021. They have also mentioned the date on which new guidelines will go into effect for the PTE Academic exam and the date from which exam registration will start.

The date from which the new PTE exam format will be applicable is 16th November 2021.

Registration for test bookings for the shorter two-hour format PTE Academic exam will be available from 25th October.

What has changed?

Let's looks at what changes have been introduced:

  • The test has become shorter; the PTE Academic is now a 2-hours test, not a 3-hours test.
  • There will be fewer questions
  • The optional break of 10 minutes between the Reading and Listening section has been removed
  • The appearance of the scorecard for PTE Academic will be changed
  • No more Enabling Skills

What has not changed?

  • The difficulty of the test will not change
  • The PTE exam pattern that is tasks and question types have not changed
  • The PTE academic score requirements for the universities or institutions will not change
  • The reliability and validity of scores

These changes mean that candidates will have an improved experience and lesser time spent on taking the exam, as the accuracy of the exam remains the same.

There are no other changes to the overall exam format, question types, or scoring scale. However, there will be fewer questions allowing candidates to prepare in the same way.

Details of PTE Academic changes

Talking a little bit more in detail about the format and the outlook of how the test has changed, we have:


The introduction at the beginning is not changed test-takers will still start by introducing themselves, which is still not graded.

Part one (PTE Speaking and Writing section)

Part one (PTE Speaking and Writing section) Previously, the test takers were allowed 77 to 93 minutes. This will be reduced to a duration of 54 to 67 minutes.

Part two (PTE Reading section)

Part two (PTE Reading section) Earlier, 32 to 41 minutes were given, and now it has come down to 29 to 30.

The Optional Break

In addition, the optional 10-minute break has been removed, so there will be no break within the tests.

However, if a test taker has a medical condition or some other problem, they can put a request before booking to ask for an additional break. But, again, this must be done before booking a test.

Part three (PTE Listening section)

This section has been moved down from 45 to 57 minutes to 30 to 43.

So now, the overall testing time is approximately two hours, and no test taker will receive the minimum or the maximum time, but they will get something within that range. So, therefore, on average, a test taker will get approximately 120 minutes. You can also look at the detailed distribution of the test time along with the changes.

What are the exact changes?


Comparison of time limit for each section

Selecting a language from a list of languages

As you can see, not all sections are equally affected by the new changes. For example, the speaking and writing section will be quite shorter than before.

Speaking and Writing section

The following tables show the changes in the number of various questions for the combined speaking and writing module.

Selecting a language from a list of languages

In speaking, the biggest hit has been made on the question types with templates. These days almost everyone was using templates for Describe Image and Retell Lecture.

However, according to the new format, there will be fewer Describe Image and Retell Lecture questions, thus reducing the impact of templates on the speaking score.

Reading section

The following tables show the changes in the number of various questions for the Reading module.

Selecting a language from a list of languages

The main reasons behind reducing the multiple-choice questions are:

  • Paragraphs for choose multiple answer type questions were too long. If someone is going to attempt these genuinely, it will take up too much time.
  • We have always stated that these questions do not contribute too much to the Reading score. Thus, nobody was genuinely attempting multiple answer questions, and almost everyone was using a few quirky tricks on them.

Listening section

The following tables show the changes in the number of various questions for the Listening module.

Selecting a language from a list of languages

If Pearson genuinely wanted to reduce the total time for the test, they would have to do something for the listening module. Because here, most of the time is consumed by the audio playback of each question.

Students can answer these questions almost instantaneously, but they would still have to wait for 1 to 2 minutes for the audio to finish. And for this reason, Pearson has now reduced the number of questions for almost each Listening item type.

Only questions that contribute to Writing, like Listening: Fill in the blanks and Write from Dictation were spared. Summarize Spoken Text is again something that could use templates, and their numbers were also trimmed down.


As far as preparation for the exam is concerned, there are not very big changes, and the test takers can continue to prepare for the exam like they were doing before; only the frequency of the questions has changed.

Important Dates

Booking commencement 25th October 2021

The PTE academic test with revised format starts from 16th November 2021

The PTE Academic Score Report

The design of the PTE Academic Score Report has gone through several changes. It has looked like these at different times in the past.

Selecting a language from a list of languages

In any case, it has always focused on three key areas:

  • Communicative Skills
  • Enabling Skills
  • Test Centre and Candidate Information

The new score report, which has the PTE academic result, looks very similar to what test takers have received until now, but the information is updated to make it clearer. The test takers and recognizing institutions will still use the overall and communicative skill scores mentioned in the report. They're also listed on the side of the score report.

It's not expected that the institutions will change the scores they accept, as the scoring method has not changed. AI technology is still used for automated scoring, and the scores are still very reliable and valid.

So, what's the change in PTE Academic Score Report?

Enabling skills have been removed, which were at the bottom of the score report. This is because enabling skills were never intended for admissions. Pearson says that this is particularly done to make it clearer to the institutions that use this test as proof of English proficiency when they accept test takers' scores.

The score report will be rather accompanied by a new little report like a feedback report available for test-takers. It'll give them some idea of their performance, and it'll help them grow their skills.

This will also change from 16th November and will look something like this picture.

Selecting a language from a list of languages

Before this date, the same score reports will be continued to be accepted. So previous reports will not change; both reports will be acceptable at recognized institutions.

Changes in preparation for test-takers

How should test takers prepare for PTE academics now? Do they have to change anything?

The test takers don't have to change anything and can continue to prepare in the same way. The questions haven't changed, so they will still have to familiarize themselves with the questions.

You can do so by going through Marvel PTE's online AI-assisted app, which has practice material and step-by-step videos to learn about the sections, questions, tricks, templates and everything else that you need to do.

Test takers can also go through our introduction to PTE Academic online course, the Marvel PTE official guidebook, and some valuable tips on Youtube from our learned professionals, trainers, and teachers.

There are also question banks and revised format practice tests, mock tests that are two-hour-long, available on MarvelPTE.com. So, these are great ways to prepare, simulate an enriching test-taking experience at home. We also provide offline assistance and coaching for the same at our institute in Zirakpur.


Q1. What are the instructions for the PTE test day?
On the PTE test day, arrive 30 minutes before the commencement of the exam to verify the ID and other formalities. Then, of course, you would be able to leave the test centre earlier than before.
Q2. Will the removal of the 10-minute break, offered before, pose as an inconvenience for students?
No, that would not be an inconvenience for the students as they will be mentally prepared for the two-hour exam, and they will not be distracted by anything or anyone else coming in and out of the room. So this will work in favor of the test takers.
Q3. What if a student finishes a module before time? Will they be able to move to the next section?
Yes, the students will easily be able to move to the next section, and that's the right thing to do.
Q4. In how many days will we receive the test score report? So is there any change in the timing in which the test score report will be received?
You will recieve yer test score report in 1 - 3 days. Yes, there will be a difference. So, the test center score report with the headline that said PTE Academic has a blue banner, while in the PTE Academic online, the report will say PTE Academic Online, and it will have a purple banner. So there will be slight differences and an institution, we'll be able to see the little section that says this test was taken online.

Also, enabling skills will not be mentioned in both score reports but, test takers will receive an additional report on myPTE that gives them some idea of their performance, some areas to improve, and some areas they excelled in.
Q5. What are the instructions for the PTE test day?
On the PTE test day, arrive 30 minutes before the commencement of the exam to verify the ID and other formalities. Then, of course, you would be able to leave the test centre earlier than before.
Q6. So if the exam is prescheduled for 16th November, that is, those who have already booked the test, will the format change for them as well?
Yes, anyone that has a test book, on 16th November and onwards, will be informed about the revised schedule through some mode of communication like email and will receive a two-hour test. And if you have any other questions, you can contact our customer support team.
Q7. What will happen if the online test date is filled after 25th October, but the test is scheduled before 16th November?
The test bookings that will open on 25th October will only be available from 16th November and onwards. So if someone goes into their account, they'll go to schedule, and they won't see any tests available before that.
Q8. What changes are done and in which questions?
The changes are done in the number of questions to decrease the timing, whereas the question types remain the same.
  • In Writing and Speaking tests, Describe Images, Retell Lecture, Answer Short Question, Summarize Written Text have been subsequently reduced in number.
  • In the Reading test, the multiple-choice choose multiple answers and multiple-choice choose single answer questions have been reduced to 1-2.
  • In the Listening section, Summarize Spoken Text, MCQ multiple answers, MCQ single answer, Highlight Correct Summary, Select Missing Word have been reduced in number.

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