Picking the right PTE test: PTE Core vs PTE Academic

Pearson Languages
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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.

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