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
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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'. 

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    5. Building relationships with caregivers

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    • 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.


    • 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

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