What to expect on the day of your PTE test

Pearson Languages
Teenager studying with open books on his bed

Reading time: 6.5 minutes

Embarking on the journey of taking the Pearson Test of English (PTE) can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if it's a pivotal moment in your study abroad journey or a step towards a career and even permanent residency in an English-speaking country. This comprehensive post is designed to guide you through the entire process, from the moment you decide to take the PTE test to the day you actually sit for it, ensuring a worry-free and breezy experience from start to finish.

With our detailed walkthrough, you can approach the test with confidence, a sense of preparedness and a calm mind. We'll cover everything you need to know, from what to bring, where to leave your belongings and what to expect. So that when the test day arrives, you can focus on passing your English test and not worry about the small things.

What to expect on the day of your PTE test
Play
Privacy and cookies
By viewing this third-party content from www.youtube.com you agree to their terms and conditions, privacy notice and acknowledge they may use cookies and pixels for information and analytics gathering.

Preparation begins at home

Before leaving the comfort of your home, it's essential to ensure that you have everything in order. This includes checking that the name on your application matches exactly with the one on your valid passport – no nicknames or abbreviations.

Double-check the date, time and location of the test. To avoid any last-minute rush, plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled test time. Remember, all you need is a valid passport, your confirmation email, and a positive mindset to tackle the test ahead.

Arriving at the test center

Arriving early is not just about punctuality; it sets the tone for a calm and focused test-taking experience. It allows you time to take a few deep breaths, gather your thoughts, and mentally prepare for the challenge ahead.

The PTE is meticulously designed to consider every detail, allowing your own English language proficiency skills to shine through effortlessly, without the distractions of logistical concerns.

Security measures

The first step at the test center involves confirming your identity with a valid passport. A quick and secure palm scan follows, ensuring the integrity of the testing process and that only you can take the test for yourself.

If you have a hand injury or condition that prevents the palm vein scan, it's advisable to contact customer care in advance for alternative arrangements, so there are no surprises on test day.

Securing personal items

Watches, wallets, phones and other smart devices should be securely stored in lockers outside the testing room. This precaution ensures a distraction-free and secure testing environment, allowing you to focus solely on the test questions without worrying about the safety of your belongings.

Pre-test checks

Before you enter the test room, there is a check to make sure you aren’t carrying any prohibited items. The administrators will ask to see you aren’t concealing anything; they might ask to see the inside of your pockets or up your sleeves, for example, asking you to pat yourself down to show you aren’t hiding anything. 

Our security checks are no contact, so rest assured the administrators will treat you with respect and dignity. If you wear glasses they will also be checked (also with no physical contact).

Inside the test room

Once inside the test room, you'll find a comfortable booth equipped with everything you need — a computer, keyboard, audio headset and an erasable booklet with two pens. The layout of the room is designed to minimize distractions.

Don't worry about others around you speaking; the microphones are intelligent and only pick up your voice during the speaking section, ensuring your responses are clear and undisturbed.

Taking the test

The PTE exam covers four sections: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Each section is carefully designed to assess your command of the English language in diverse contexts.

The Reading section evaluates your ability to understand written information, while the Writing section tests your skills in composing coherent and structured text.

The Listening section measures your capacity to interpret and analyze spoken messages, and the Speaking section gauges your proficiency in verbal communication. Together, these sections provide a comprehensive evaluation of your English language abilities in both academic and real-world settings.

A friendly invigilator's presence

You're not alone in this journey. A friendly invigilator is there to assist you if needed. Feel free to raise your hand if you find yourself stuck or require assistance. The invigilator ensures that everything runs smoothly, maintaining a stress-free testing environment, and is there to answer any procedural questions you might have.

They are the unsung heroes of the testing process, vigilantly overseeing the room with a keen eye to ensure fairness and order, all while providing a reassuring presence that can ease the nerves of even the most anxious test-takers.

Exiting the test room

Upon completing the test, a simple hand raise signals the end of your testing session. The test invigilator will assist you in exiting the test room. You can leave the test center with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that you've done your best.

What happens next?

After the test is complete, you'll be guided by the invigilator to exit the test room. You will then proceed to the locker area to retrieve your personal belongings. It's important to ensure you have all your items before leaving the test center. Once everything is collected, you can leave the premises.

Post-test reflections

Stepping out of the test center, you might experience a mix of relief and anticipation. The weight of the PTE exam is now a memory, and the immediate sense of freedom can be both exhilarating and nerve-racking. It's natural to reflect on the questions and your performance. You may find yourself replaying certain moments or wondering if you could have articulated your thoughts more clearly in the speaking section or if you caught all the nuances in the listening section.

Try to relax and avoid post-exam analysis, as it won't change the outcome. Instead, focus on the effort you've put in and give yourself credit for completing the test. It's a good moment to take a deep breath and appreciate that you've taken a significant step forward in your academic or professional journey. Now, the wait for the results begins, but remember, this period of anticipation is also a time to unwind and treat yourself after the hard work and preparation you've dedicated to this challenge.

Waiting for the results

The PTE test results are typically available within 48 hours, allowing you to get back to your routine with minimal delay. You will receive an email notification once the scores are ready to be viewed. Log in to your PTE account to access your test score report. The report will detail your scores for each section, along with an overall score.

What to do if you have concerns

If you have any concerns about the test process or your results, reach out to the PTE customer support team. They can provide guidance and address any issues you may have.

Planning your next steps

With your results in hand, you can proceed with your study abroad applications for educational institutions, visa processes, or job applications that require proof of English language proficiency. If your score doesn't meet the requirements, you can always prepare and retake the test.

Remember to celebrate the completion of your PTE test, regardless of the outcome. It's a significant milestone in your English language learning journey.

Frequently asked questions

Q: How early should I arrive at the test center? A: It is recommended to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled test time to complete the necessary pre-test procedures.

Q: What kind of identification is accepted? A: A valid passport is the only accepted form of identification accepted at the PTE test centers.

Q: Can I bring my own stationery? A: No, the test center will provide you with an erasable booklet and pens for note-taking and writing on during the test.

Q: What happens if I arrive late to the test center? A: Late arrival may result in not being allowed to take the test, and you may need to reschedule your tests for another time.

Q: What should I do if I need assistance during the test? A: If you require assistance at any point during the test, raise your hand, and an invigilator will help you.

Q: Can I take a break during the test? A: There are no scheduled breaks during the PTE test. If an unscheduled break is needed, you must raise your hand and ask the invigilator. However, the test clock will not stop.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of times I can attempt the PTE test? A: You may take the PTE test as many times as you feel necessary to achieve your desired score. However, you must wait to receive your scores from one attempt before scheduling the next one.

Q: What happens if I cancel before my test? A: If you have chosen NOT to attend your PTE exam after booking the test online, you will receive a refund within 14 days of your scheduled test time. Applicants who have not yet taken the exam within 15 calendar days will receive a 50% refund on the payment of the exam fee. However, a cancellation of a scheduled test will not result in a refund.

Why choose PTE?

PTE is regarded as an essential visa-processing tool for governments around the globe. With its rigorous and precise testing methodology, it is recognized for its high standards and trusted results. Countries such as New Zealand and the UK are all accepting PTE scores for work visas, acknowledging the exam's credibility in assessing English language proficiency.

Furthermore, PTE's acceptance has recently expanded to include all study permits in Canada, making it a versatile and invaluable asset for prospective students and professionals aiming to advance their careers or education in English-speaking environments.

If you have any other questions or want to learn more, make sure to check out the link below. You can also watch the video of 'What happens on PTE test day'. 

More blogs from Pearson

  • Image of a woman with a headset looking at her laptop

    Picking the right PTE test: PTE Core vs PTE Academic

    By Pearson Languages

    Reading time: 3 minutes

    When preparing to prove your English proficiency—be it for studying abroad, immigration, or professional goals—selecting the right test is extremely important. PTE, renowned worldwide for its English language assessments, offers various tests catering to different needs, including PTE Core and PTE Academic.

    This blog post aims to clarify the differences between these two tests, helping you pick the test that aligns more with your aspirations.

    Understanding PTE Core and PTE Academic

    PTE is a world-leading provider of English language tests, trusted by universities, colleges, governments and professional bodies across the globe. Test scores are accepted in many countries, but which test you choose depends on where you want to go and your reasons why.

    What is PTE Core?

    PTE Core is the test you need to achieve your Canadian dream, approved for economic visa categories. But if you are looking to study in Canada, that is where PTE Academic comes in, approved for both SDS and non-SDS routes.

    PTE Core invites you to experience a test structure designed to assess your general English skills, as opposed to your Academic English, in a short, computer-based format. PTE Core evaluates all language skills—reading, writing, listening and speaking—in one seamless test.

    What is PTE Academic?

    PTE Academic is often the pathway to enrolment for students wanting to study at top universities. Specifically tailored for the academic environment, PTE Academic scores are widely recognized by institutions and are also accepted for visa purposes by the Australian, New Zealand, and UK Visas and Immigration Service. If your destination is higher education or a professional license abroad, PTE Academic is your way in.

    It's also praised for its ability to accurately reflect the speaking abilities of introverts, making it a considerate option for different personality types.

    Test features and acceptance

    When choosing the PTE test you need, consider the following features:

    Test format

    Both PTE Core and PTE Academic offer a computer-based test, which is excellent news for those who prefer not to have the extra stress of speaking to an examiner. Both tests are split up into three parts: Part 1: Speaking & Writing, Part 2: Reading, and Part 3: Listening.

    Speed of results

    With both tests, the results arrive rapidly—typically in just two business days—due to PTE's unique combination of AI scoring and human expertise that also strives to reduce bias.

    Global Recognition

    An impressive list of institutions worldwide recognizes PTE Academic. Its scores are specifically sought after in the academic arena and by Australian, New Zealand, and UK visa authorities. Accepted by over 300 universities across the world, PTE Academic is the English test you need if you are looking to study overseas.

    It is also accepted by the Australian and New Zealand governments for migration visas, so it is the test of choice if that is your dream destination.

    PTE core is recognized by the Canadian government (IRCC) for all economic visas and permanent residency applications.

    Preparation and support

    For those looking to prepare ahead of the test, be it PTE Academic or PTE Core, Pearson offers a range of supporting resources so you can put your best foot forward on test day.

    For PTE Academic, this includes five unique scored practice tests to give you a feel for the full test experience, what to expect, the type of questions that will be asked, and other unique resources.

    For PTE Core, there is a taster test you can try out your skills on, an online course, a handbook, and much more.

    Finding your best fit

    The choice between PTE Core and PTE Academic ultimately hinges on your future plans and destination country.

    To make an informed decision, check out PTE's useful links, which clarify destinations and requirements.

    How do I start studying for PTE?

    Embarking on the journey to master PTE begins with understanding your current level and building a solid study plan tailored to your needs. Arm yourself with our extensive resources, including practice tests and preparation books, to familiarize yourself with the question types and formats you'll encounter.

  • Two coworkers stood in a office looking at a tablet together.

    Evaluating the ROI of Language Learning for DEI Initiatives

    By Pearson Languages

    Reading time: 5 minutes

    Businesses are increasingly prioritizing workforce development and implementing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategies to promote social responsibility and enhance organizational success. Language learning has emerged as a crucial aspect of these initiatives, providing companies with a clear pathway to achieving transformative results.

    For HR professionals and trainers, understanding the return on investment (ROI) of integrating language learning into DEI programs is essential for a forward-thinking business strategy and to ensure language training is always on your organization's mind.

  • A teacher sat with students at a table, the students are using tablets.

    Benefits of using tablets in the primary classroom

    By Jacqueline Martin

    Reading time: 5 minutes

    Interactive whiteboards, PCs and laptops are common in many schools worldwide, but have you ever considered using tablets in your young learners' classes? 

    Tablets can be used for many things. Online research, watching and creating videos, playing games, and digital storytelling are just a few examples. Of course, there's also the added environmental benefit of going paper-free.

    In this post, we're going to explore some of the reasons why using tablets can be beneficial in the young learner's classroom and what to consider before you do so.

    What are the benefits of using tablets in class?

    1. Facilitating engagement

    With good direction from the teacher, tablets can emulate natural social interaction and interactivity. They can also offer problem-solving activities, set achievable goals and provide instant feedback.

    Moreover, when young learners are truly engaged in an activity, it may be perceived as effortless - and they learn and use their second language (L2) without even realizing it. 

    2. Introducing authenticity and autonomy

    In terms of content, tablets allow us to bring the real world into the classroom at the tap of a screen. We can provide learners with authentic materials via level-and-age-appropriate videos and real-life communication. As well as interaction with other teachers and learners through teams or by using a secure app such as Stars private messaging

    Tablets also promote learner autonomy. They are easy to use, allowing us to take a step back and let our students work at their own pace, being on stand-by as a facilitator when students require help or a little push in the right direction.

    3. Promoting creativity, communication and inclusion

    Nearly all tablets have a webcam and voice recorder, which means that learner-generated content can be created easily - even without dedicated software. 

    You can have your students make their own vlogs (video diaries), ebooks, comics, cartoons and movie trailers. All you need to do is to install apps such as Book Creator or this series of apps specifically designed for very young learners from Duck Duck Moose. While these apps have been created for 'fluent-speaker' classrooms, they can easily be adapted to an ELT context.

    Tablets also promote communication. This can help improve students' L2 oral skills at any level, when the teacher is there to support and guide them.

    One of the greatest advantages of a tablet as opposed to a computer is that anyone can use one and they are much more portable. 

    For students with special educational needs, tablets can be an essential learning tool and they can also be used by students with low-level motor skills, such as very young learners. Similarly, tablets can work really well with multi-level classes, as they allow you to offer differentiated materials, activities and support where necessary.

    4. Enabling online assessment 

    Tablets can also facilitate interactive online exams or help measure progress. Tests such as 'English Benchmark - Young Learners' are designed with primary learners in mind, to be taken anytime, anywhere. Its game-like format engages students and takes the fear out of being assessed. It also provides instant feedback to the teacher with informative reports and advice for future study. 

    5. Building relationships with caregivers

    Finally, as with any online content, tablets allow you to connect with our learners outside the classroom. You can quickly send links to classwork and feedback to the children's caregivers, fostering a positive relationship and a greater interest in their child's progress and learning. 

    Tips for using tablets in class

    Before implementing the use of tablets in your classroom, there are some things you should consider. Here are some useful tips that will help you gain the maximum benefit from tablets.

    Usability:

    • Decide what you are going to use the tablets for and when. Are you going to allow students to use the tablets for all parts of the lesson or only for specific activities? This may depend on the number of tablets you have available.
    • Use technology to improve an activity or design new activities that would not be possible without the tech, rather than using it to carry on as normal. Think about when a tablet will help learners do something they wouldn't be able to do without one, e.g., make a video or create and share a piece of writing with the whole class.
    • Think about using tablets for creation rather than consumption. Your students can (and probably do) spend a fair amount of time consuming videos in their free time. Whether they do this in English or not is another story, but in the classroom, students should use the language as much as possible (see the next point).
    • Use the tablets for collaborative tasks that require social interaction and communication. It's unlikely that you will have one tablet per student. Make the most of this limitation by having students work in pairs or small groups. Students can use their own devices individually outside the classroom.
    • Try to incorporate tablets into regular classroom activities and interactions. Avoid making them a "reward" or just for "games". Even if games are part of your planned tablet usage, make it clear that students are playing them in order to learn English. Encourage students to think of the tablet as a tool to help them on their learning journey.

    General tips

    • Try out any apps or widgets before asking students to use them. If necessary, make or find a step-by-step tutorial to help students use an app. There's nothing worse than having a class of twenty-five students all raising their hands at the same time because they don't know where to start.
    • Have clear rules and guidelines for tablet use. Educate students about using the equipment responsibly. Do this before you hand out tablets the first time.
    • Provide students and parents with a list of recommended apps to continue their home learning. Whether you have a class set of tablets or are using BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), many students will have access to a tablet or mobile phone at home, which they can use for further practice. Students will likely be motivated to continue playing games at home and may wish to show their parents and friends any content they've created in class.

    Practicalities

    • Consider the hardware and technical requirements. Do you need a Wi-Fi connection? How many devices will you have? Which apps and programs do you want to use? 
    • Ensure the features and apps you plan to use suit the age group you're teaching. Do some research, and if possible, choose apps designed for educators, avoiding freebie apps that may contain advertising. Block any websites you think unsuitable and install a search engine with child-friendly filters.
    • Set the language of the devices to English. Even if your students are very young, they'll pick up useful language and will be more inclined to use English as they are using the tablet.
    • Decide where you will keep the tablets and how they will be maintained. How often and where will they be charged? 
    • Think about how you can flexibly set up your classroom to incorporate collaborative tablet use. Move tables together to make group work easier. Create workstations or even have cushions or bean bags in a corner of the classroom.

    Using tablets to assess student progress with Benchmark

    With the right software, tablets can allow us to conduct formative assessments through immediate feedback and learning analytics. 

    We have developed our own English-language test for children aged 6 to 13 in an app designed specifically for tablet use. This fun, game-like test is highly motivating and assesses all four skills in a relaxed environment, removing the stress of traditional exams. It also allows you to see where each learner needs more improvement, providing recommendations on what to teach next and suggested activities in selected Pearson courseware.

    Find out more information about the English Benchmark test.