PTE Academic frequently asked questions

Who can take PTE Academic?

Do I need to know about a specific subject to take the test?
No. PTE Academic is a test of your English ability. The test covers a range of subjects, but you are not being tested on these subjects.

Do I need computer skills to take the test?
You do not need any special computer skills. To familiarize yourself with the test we suggest you:
– Review the test preparation resources.
– We recommend taking one of our Scored Practice Tests to get used to the timing and moving through each type of question.

PTE Academic is taken using a QWERTY keyboard, where the letters on the top line spell out ‘QWERTY’. IF you are not used to this type of keyboard, it may help to practice with one before you take the test.

How old do I need to be to take PTE Academic?
You must be at least 16 years old. If you are 16 or 17 years old, you must provide a signed parental consent form before taking the test.

Complete the form, then follow the instructions printed on it to send it to us. Download the form here.

Will I be penalised in speaking tasks for not having an accent from a native English speaking country?
No. PTE Academic has been designed to recognise speech from non-native speakers of English representing over 100 different native languages.

Are all communicative skills scores (e.g. reading, writing) weighted equally?
Yes.

How many times can I take the test?
You can take PTE Academic as many times as you like.

You must wait to receive your scores before you can book your next test.

Do I have to take PTE Academic in my home country?
No. You can take it at any of our test centers around the world. Make sure you check what type of ID you have to use. Refer to the Acceptable ID policy.

If you are outside your home country, you will probably be asked to show your passport at the test center.

Registration

We accept these payment methods:

  • MasterCard and Visa debit cards
  • MasterCard, Visa, American Express and JCB credit cards
  • Vouchers and promotion codes (you must pay the balance if your voucher does not cover the full test cost)
    We do not accept PayPal

Do I have to pay for the test with my own credit card?
No. You can use a card that is registered in a different name (e.g. a parent’s credit card.)

Can I register directly with the test center?
No. You can register for the test online or by phone through our call centers. Contact the customer service team in your region.

My given and family names are the same. What should I enter into the registration form?
Enter your given name into the family name field. Enter a period/full stop (.) in the given name field.

My name is too long to fit the space on the form. What should I enter into the registration form?
Enter as much of your name as you can. Then contact us so we know there will be a difference between the name you register with and the name on your ID.

What happens if my ID shows a different name to the one I registered with?
You will not be allowed to take the test and you will lose your test fee.
If you made a mistake when registering, please contact us before your test day. We will do what we can to help.

Do I have to take PTE Academic in my home country?
No. You can take it at any of our test centers around the world. Make sure you check what type of ID you have to use. Pg. 10 of the Test Taker Handbook provides advice on acceptable form of ID.

If you are outside your home country, you will probably be asked to show your passport at the test center.

Booking

How do I book a PTE Academic test?
Important: Please ensure your name on your ID matches your PTE-A registration name, otherwise you may not be permitted to enter the exam.

If you don’t have a Pearson account:
Go to http://pearsonpte.com/book-now/ read all the information on the page. In order to book your PTE Academic test, you will need to complete the following:

  1. Click ‘Sign in Now’ & enter your details. Once you have successfully logged in, click ‘PTE-A: Pearson Test of English Academic’ under Exam Catalogue.
  2. Select ‘Schedule Exams’ on the right hand side.
  3. Provide answers to all the required questions then click ‘Next’
  4. Select your desired location and click ‘Next’. Search for available dates and times.
  5. Once you have confirmed your location, date & time you will be asked to review your booking information and proceed to checkout.
  6. Confirm all the details and make full payment to secure your booking.
  7. Once you have completed your booking you will receive an email confirmation. The email will contain details on test center location, directions of how to get there and a few points to remember on the test day.

For both cases ensure you have read the ID policy on the following page www.pearsonpte.com/acceptable-id/ and that your ID is valid at the time of registration and on the day of the test.

Payment options

We accept these payment methods:

  • MasterCard and Visa debit cards
  • MasterCard, Visa, American Express and JCB credit cards
  • Vouchers and promotion codes (you must pay the balance if your voucher does not cover the full test cost)
  • We do not accept PayPal

Do I have to pay for the test with my own credit card?

No. You can use a card that is registered in a different name (e.g. a parent’s credit card.)

Test takers with disabilities

All test takers requesting accommodations are required to schedule their appointment via the Pearson Customer Service call center (contact details and hours of operation can be found in the Contact us section of the test taker Handbook). This enables us to ensure that the correct assistance is provided.

Test takers may request certain minor alterations at the test center where they intend to take the test. Available accommodations may include: access for wheelchairs, and adjustable chairs or desks. These accommodations do not require approval prior to booking, but test takers must schedule through the Pearson Customer Service call center to ensure that the request can be met. The Customer Service team will schedule your appointment over the telephone and send you a confirmation email.

In addition to these accommodations, the use of comfort aids is allowed without prior approval from Pearson. Examples of comfort aids that do not require approval include eyeglasses, hearing aids, a pillow for supporting a broken limb, neck braces or collars. If you are unsure whether you require approval for your comfort aid, please contact Pearson Customer Service.

How do I request testing accommodations?
To request an accommodation please contact customer service in your region to discuss your requirements.
In some cases you may be asked to complete and return an accommodations request form:
Accommodations Request Form

You should complete the form and return a scanned copy via email to the email address listed on the last page.

Depending on the nature of your request, it may take up to 4 weeks to process your application. Therefore, please ensure that you leave sufficient time before the date on which you would like to take the test. Please refer to the test taker handbook.

On test day

When should I arrive at the test center?
At least 30 minutes before the start of your test. This gives you plenty of time to check in and pass security.

How do you check my identity at the test center?
We will check the ID you bring with you. We also take your photo, a palm vein scan and a digital signature.

What documents can I use as ID at the test center?
You should show your passport when arriving at the test center.

If you do not have a passport you should check the ID requirements.

What is palm vein recognition and is it safe?
Palm vein recognition scans the veins inside your hand to create a digital template that represents your palm vein pattern. Everyone’s veins are different, just like a fingerprint, this allows us to check your identity. To use the palm vein scanner, you simply hold your hand in place above the scanner for a few seconds. The scanner uses a near-infrared light source, similar to a remote control – and you never touch the sensor.

What happens if there is a problem with my computer during the test?
Raise your hand and tell the test administrator. They will do whatever they can to help and will ensure the problem is recorded and reported.

Make sure you tell the test administrator about any problems you feel affect your ability to complete the test. Without their record of the problem, it is very hard for us to trace these issues later on.

What should I do if I spot a problem with a question?
Raise your hand and tell the test administrator. They will ask you to complete a form. This will then be sent to us so we can investigate.

Alternatively, contact your local customer service team within 14 days of the test.

What happens if I have to leave for an emergency?
Raise your hand and explain your situation to the test administrator. They will advise further.

Can I leave early if I finish the test?
Yes. Raise your hand and ask the test administrator for permission to leave.

How do I know how much time I have left?
Each section of the test is individually time. You will see a timer in the top right corner of the screen counting down the remaining time.

Can I take notes during the test?
Yes. We will give you an erasable noteboard booklet (about 5 sheets of A4 paper). If you run out of space, you can ask for another booklet.

You are not allowed to make notes until the test has started.

Can I correct my answers during the test?
You can correct multiple-choice responses (click again to deselect your answer) and typed responses (use the cut, copy and paste options).

However, you must correct mistakes before moving on to the next item. You cannot re-record any spoken responses.

The microphone will switch off automatically if you are silent for more than 3 seconds during an answer.

Get and send your scores

How do I view my scores online?
You can see your scores once you have signed in to your Pearson Vue account at www.pearsonvue.com/pte
Click ‘View Score Report’ to see your scores for each test.

How do I send my scores to institutions?
You can do this once you have signed in to your account.

  1. Click Send Scores next to the relevant test.
  2. Search for the institution you want to send your score to. You can send up to seven at once.
  3. Click Next to see a summary
  4. Click Next, then hit Confirm Order to send your scores.

You can send your scores to unlimited number of institutitions free of charge.

We will send you an email to confirm your scores have been sent.

When will institutions be able to see my score?
After you have assigned a score to an institution through your account, it takes up to 48 hours before the institution can view your score.

Can I send my previous scores to institutions?
Yes. Just choose the score you want to send once you have signed in to your account. Scores remain available for two years.

Why have you sent me a message saying my chosen institution does not recognize the test?
The institution you selected does not yet recognize PTE Academic formally.

You will not be able to use your score to this institution until it accepts PTE Academic.

Score not recieved

I took the test more than five days ago, but have not received my scores. What should I do?
Check your junk or spam email folder. We will email you when your results are available, so the email may be there already.

If your score is on hold we will contact you.

If you have not received any messages from us at all, contact us.

My score is ‘on hold’. What does that mean?
We will put your score on hold if we detect any possible irregularities in your test.

We investigate even minor issues, so having your test put on hold does not mean there is necessarily a problem.

If you fail to adhere to the terms of the test, as listed in the Test Taker Handbook, your test result could be canceled.

My score report is blank

I was notified that my score report was available but I can not see it, or it says “Technical problems are preventing us from displaying candidate photographs at this time. Please try running your report again later.”

Your score will soon be available. Please wait up to 24 hours and if it is still not available please contact us.

 

Common score questions

How do you know PTE Academic’s computer marking works?
PTE Academic’s automated scoring has been constructed by expert human test designers that have created and checked the content of the test questions.

The scoring criteria was also designed by human experts that tested and refined more than 10 thousand sample answers that were put together and scaled in the corresponding level. Watch

I got a good enabling skill score the first time I took the test and now I have a very low score. What went wrong?
Mastering the English language and achieving a high score on PTE Academic is a challenging task for many test takers. We appreciate test takers feel frustrated when they don’t achieve the score they need or hoped to achieve. We would like to reassure you and your students/clients that we make every effort to ensure that the scores we give are accurate to the degree we describe in the Score Guide. PTE Academic scoring is being constantly monitored and refined. We are confident that the scoring system is providing accurate scores.

Each time you take the test you may get a different score. The differences in the overall score should be quite small but for skill scores and enabling skill scores, these might be larger. Enabling skill scores are used only for guidance so don’t worry if you see a bigger difference there. It just reflects how you answered some of the questions at that particular sitting.

How is it possible to get a score of 10?
PTE Academic reports scores between 10 and 90. Some scores are below 10 and some are above 90 but we don’t report these. Some enabling skills scores are based on only a few questions so if you did badly on those questions you might get 10 on that enabling skill. You can still get a high score by answering the other questions correctly.

What are enabling skill scores anyway?
Enabling skills are part of the skills that make up language proficiency. So pronunciation, fluency, grammar and vocabulary. The scores are given to provide additional insight to the test taker on their areas of strength or weakness. Low enabling scores do not impact your overall score, however, they are a useful indicator if there are any areas a test taker should work on before they take the test again.

Why did I get a good Speaking score but a Pronunciation or Fluency score of 10?
The scores for Speaking and Fluency are calculated separately. The speaking score comes from all speaking items and included pronunciation, fluency and the content of the answers. Fluency is measured only on some items and is only a small part of the speaking score. That’s why sometimes people score well on Speaking but have a lower score on fluency.

Does PTE Academic discriminate against some accents?
No. The marking engine is trained to recognize speech from over 120 different language groups. One of the benefits of the test being computer scored is that has no bias against any particular accent. All test takers are treated the same. So the score you get represents a true measure of your ability on the day of the test. Watch

Requesting a rescore

If you are disappointed with the score you have achieved, you can take the test again. You may retake PTE Academic as many times as you want, although you must wait until you have received your scores from one test before booking another. Institutions will not see your scores unless you allow them to by sending your scores to them via the website. This means that institutions will not be able to see if your scores are better or worse than previous attempts. You can send them to an unlimited number of institutions, but you may only select seven recipients at any one time (per score order).

Test scores are valid for up to two years from the date of the test. After that, you will no longer be able to view those scores on the website.

Requesting a rescore
If you are unhappy with your PTE Academic score, you may request a rescore. Before doing this, test takers should take the following into consideration:

  • PTE Academic is automatically rescored; therefore, it is unlikely that your overall scores will change.
  • Only spoken responses and open-ended written responses are rescored.
  • In the unlikely event that your score changes, it may go up or down.
  • If your score changes, it will replace your previous score.

You may only request a rescore of your most recent PTE Academic test. You can not request a rescore if you have already scheduled another test.

To order a rescore, you must contact Pearson Customer Service within 14 calendar days of your score report being made available to you.

The fee for rescores is available from the Customer Service team. In the unlikely event that either your
Overall, Communicative Skills or Enabling Skills scores change, the rescore fee will be fully refunded.

Reschedule or cancel a test

You can reschedule or cancel your test

If you decide not to take the PTE Academic test after confirming your booking online, you can request a full
refund by contacting the Customer Service team in your region.

  • You must do this within 14 days of confirming your booking.
  • However, if you schedule the test, or otherwise agreed for the service to commence within 14 days of purchase, you will lose your right to a refund or cancelation.
  • If you fail to turn up to your appointment you will not generally receive a refund.

Contact PTE Academic to reschedule or cancel your test:

Refunds

The amount you will be refunded depends upon when you cancel your test:

  • More than 7 days before your test
    • Reschedule: Pay a reduced fee for new test date (25% of test fee)
    • Cancel: Receive partial refund (50% of test fee paid)
  • 7 days or less until your test
    • Reschedule: Pay the full registration fee
    • Cancel: No refund

Please refer to the Test Taker Handbook for further details.

Rebookings or refunds due to illness

If you are physically unable to attend the test center on the day of your test because of illness we may agree to reschedule the test free-of-charge or at a reduced fee. You will need to contact customer service within 14 days of the scheduled date of the test and we will ask to see medical evidence.  Please note:

  • There is no automatic right to rebook or obtain a refund if you cannot sit a test for medical reasons.
  • Reschedule exceptions for medical reasons are at our discretion.
  • No test may be rescheduled more than once for medical reasons.

Contact the Customer Service team in your region.

Visa information

PTE Academic is accepted for all Australian and New Zealand visa applications.

You can find further information for:

Feedback and complaints

If you wish to provide feedback or register a complaint about your experience with PTE Academic, please complete the form below describing your experience.

If you are contacting us to complain about a specific exam you will need your Test Registration ID to be able to submit the form which will be found on your booking confirmation or Score Report.

Please note: If you are contacting Pearson to complain about any delay to your PTE Academic score or about the results you have received, please first contact the Customer Service team in your region who can advise on the next steps.

What happens next?
Your feedback or complaint will be passed to the team that’s best placed to investigate and resolve it. You will likely receive a response by the email supplied but may be contacted by phone. We aim to respond to complaints within 10 working days.

Sometimes, to investigate your concerns fully and provide a detailed response, we’ll need longer than 10 days. If this is the case, we’ll contact you after 10 working days to update you on our progress.

Download the Official PTE Academic App today