PTE General: an English exam that measures real-world skills

PTE General English language qualification

Every teacher wants the best for their students. When it comes to choosing an English language qualification, that means an effective preparation process, a positive exam experience and a reliable, widely accepted certificate. 

However, selecting the right English language qualification for your students’ is not an easy task. 

As the world’s leading learning services company, we deliver over 130 million tests each year – and we want to help you choose an assessment tool that works for your students. In this blog post, we’re going to outline the benefits of PTE General, an internationally recognized English language qualification, so you can decide whether it’s the right exam for your students.  

1. An internationally recognized English language qualification

PTE General is a popular English language exam among students around the world. Learners in over 50 countries hold the certificate and more sign up to take it every year.

Learners choose PTE General because it tests real-world English skills. It also lets them show off all the practical skills they worked so hard on – and be rewarded for it with an English language qualification that’s accepted by hundreds of employers and universities all over the world. 

It’s important to note, however, that PTE General is not recognized for immigration purposes. In this case, PTE Academic is the right solution for your learners. 

2. A broad range of benefits

The PTE General English language qualification is comparable to the Cambridge Assessment English and Oxford University Press exams, but it has additional benefits. 

Firstly, PTE General is regulated by Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation for England – an independent body reporting directly to Parliament. The exams are also marked exclusively in the UK which means learners are judged objectively and with the same standards used worldwide.

The test is delivered at Pearson Edexcel test centers (schools and universities) that have gone through a rigorous approval process and been inspected by our staff. All test centers must prove that they can deliver the exams correctly and securely. This is crucial to guarantee the reliability of the test.

Test centers can provide accessibility for candidates with learning or physical disabilities, on a case-by-case basis. While no unfair advantage can be given, easier access can be provided in the form of max. 25% extra time, vision aids, supervised breaks, large print papers, and more. 

PTE General is widely available globally. Currently, students can take the test in more than 40 countries worldwide, and the number of test centers is constantly growing. 

3. Test structure and assessment methodology

PTE General has six different levels (Foundation to Level 5), each corresponding to a level of the Common European Framework of Reference (A1 to C2). It assesses all four skills – Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing – and includes multiple-choice, short answer and extended writing items. 

The test is divided into two sessions. Session one is a Test of Speaking in the form of an oral interview. The second session involves a Test of Listening, Reading and Writing. 

Session one takes between 5 to 8 minutes depending on the level. Session two takes between 1 hour and 15 minutes (A1 level) and 2 hours and 55 minutes (C2 level).

The exam includes multiple-choice activities, note completions, dictations, and open-ended questions. Students are also asked to complete Writing tasks of varying lengths (like writing a short email or blog post, and a longer story, article, essay or diary entry). At levels A1 and A2, there are three Speaking tasks: a short monologue, a picture description and a roleplay. This is complemented by a discussion task at levels B1-C2. 

The aim of both sessions is to provide an opportunity for learners to express themselves and perform at their best. The exam format empowers students to prove their real-world communication skills through activities such as writing messages, reading and understanding newspaper articles, or engaging in a natural conversation. The test is based on themes which carry through the different skills. 

A scenario-based test such as PTE General, with familiar and realistic tasks, is more likely to provide students with a positive exam experience.

4. Centralized and anonymous marking

One of the characteristics that make PTE General a highly reliable exam is the marking system.

Marking is rigorously regulated up to the highest standards and is completely anonymous to eliminate bias. Completed tests are sent to the UK to be scanned, digitized and marked on-screen. Recordings of the speaking interviews are sent here for marking, too. 

All markers are overseen by Senior Examiners to ensure that their work always meets the highest standards. Centralizing marking means that all candidates are treated equally, fairly and judged against the same criteria. 

The exam of the future

Technology is empowering us to be more precise and work more efficiently than ever before. From late 2020, PTE General will be available in two formats.

  1. The traditional paper-based test with a face-to-face speaking interview
  2. A new, entirely computer-based version using Pearson’s cutting-edge artificial intelligence scoring technology

The digital version of PTE General will offer a number of advantages. 

  • Lightening-speed scoring (in just one week)
  • Flexible, on-demand delivery
  • Sophisticated data analytics
  • AI-marked speaking to eliminate human bias

… and more. 

Stay tuned for a revolutionary digital exam that will take this already widely recognized English language qualification to a whole new level of convenience and trust.

Help your students secure their futures with PTE General

PTE General English language qualification

We hope that we have succeeded in giving you some insight into why PTE General is a great choice for teachers who want to see their students succeed.

By taking PTE General, students can show how well they’ve mastered written and oral communication in English. They can also prove that they’re ready for global education and employment opportunities in English-speaking environments. 

Discover more benefits of PTE General in our university recognition brochure:

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