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The PTE Academic exam is changing.

Don’t worry, it’s not getting harder and the question types are not changing. But you need to know what’s going on, so stick and around and find out.

So, on the 16th of November this year there will be 4 important changes to PTE Academic exam. But before we talk about what’s changing, let’s talk about what’s NOT changing.

What’s not changing in the PTE exam

1. The test will NOT get harder

2. The question types will NOT change

3. Your score requirements will NOT change

This last point is really important. There is no indication from universities or government bodies that the scores you need for university entrance or migration are changing. Everything is staying the same – so if you need a 65, you still need a 65. If you need a 79, you still need a 79. It’s really important to keep in mind what’s NOT changing. Again, just to be clear:

1. The difficulty level will stay the same.

2. The tasks will stay the same.

3. Your score requirements will stay the same.

What is changing in the PTE exam

What IS changing on November 16th

1. The test length will reduce to 2 hours

2. The number of questions will reduce

3. The optional break will be removed

4. Your Score Report will change in appearance

The test will become shorter

This is the major change that you need to keep in mind, and it’s not a bad one at all for you. In brief, the test length will reduce from around 3 hours to around 2 hours. Again…

From November the 16th, the overall test length will decrease from around 3 hours to around 2 hours. This is a significant shortening of the overall test.

So, if you’re taking PTE exam before November 16th, you’ll take the 3 hour exam, and if you’re taking PTE on or after November 16th you’ll take the 2 hour exam.

Now even though the current test is 3 hours long many of you who have taken PTE test before would know you can actually complete it in less time, probably on average 2.5 hours, so if the new test is 2hrs long I am sure many of you will actually be able to complete it in less than 2 hours.

Here’s how it will change in terms of time.

PTE Exam Section Time Changes for November 16th 2021.
Intro, current test time 1 minute, new test time 1 minute.
Part 1, current test time 77 to 93 minute, new test time 54 to 67 minutes.
Part 2, current test time 32 to 41 minute, new test time 29 to 30 minutes.
Then you normally have a 10 minute break, which has been removed in the new test.
Part 3, current test time 45 to 57 minute, new test time 30 to 43 minutes.

The personal introduction will not change. The speaking and writing section will reduce to 54-67 minutes. The reading section will reduce to 29-30 minutes. The optional break will be removed and the listening section will reduce to 30-43 minutes.

So, all up, there will be a one hour decrease in the time provided to complete PTE Academic from November the 16th. And considering the question types aren’t changing and it’s not getting harder, this a win for test-takers. The test will still measure your language skills just as reliably, validly and fairly as before.

So, to decrease the overall time of the test Pearson needed to reduce the number of questions. This is change 2.

There will be fewer test questions

Let’s go through each section of the test and look at the changes in the number of questions. We’ll start with…


So you’ll still do the 1 minute personal introduction – no change there. The biggest number of question reductions happens in speaking. You can see that you get the same number of Read Aloud and Repeat Sentences – that’s not changing – but the number of Describe Images will reduce to 3 or 4, the number of Retell lectures will reduce to 1 or 2, and the number of Answer Short Questions will reduce to 5 or 6.

Cool. That makes it a bit faster… not necessarily easier though and not harder either. Let’s look at…


So instead of doing 2 or 3 summarize written texts you’ll do only 1 or 2, and the number of essays you write will stay the same at 1 or 2.

All up, the number of speaking and writing questions will decrease from 39-48 questions to 28-36 questions in total.

So not much of a change to writing but fewer questions in speaking. Let’s take a look at…


There will be no change to reading and writing fill in the blanks. Multiple choice multiple answers will decrease from 3-4 questions to only 1-2 questions. Reorder paragraph and fill in the blanks won’t change. But you will do 1 or 2 fewer questions in multiple choice, single answer. Overall, the number of reading questions you will do in the 2 hour test will be 13-18 questions.

I just want to stress one more time that…

  • The difficulty level is NOT changing
  • The tasks are NOT changing
  • Your score requirements are NOT changing

I also want to remind you that these changes will come into effect on…

November 16th, 2021

If you’re thinking of taking PTE in November you might want to think about taking the shorter version of the test. And if you’ve already got a test booked prior to the 16th of November, you can change the date if you want. It’s up to you.

Let’s look at the final section of the test…


Summarize Spoken Text, Multiple Choice Multiple Answers, Highlight Correct Summary, Multiple Choice Single Answer and Select Missing word all reduce by 1 or 2 questions. Fill in the Blanks, Highlight Incorrect Word and Write from Dictation all stay the same. Overall, the number of questions will drop from 15 to 22 to 12 to 20.

So, a shorter test overall in terms of time and question numbers. Cool! Now before we talk about two more minor changes we need to talk about preparation. Remember, the difficulty and question types aren’t changing so you will still need to prepare properly whether you’re taking the longer or the shorter version of the test.

Okay, let’s talk about some other minor changes…

  1. The optional break between the reading and listening section will be removed

So, in the 3 hour test you can take a 10 minute break before the listening section begins. This break will be removed from November the 16th. Not a biggie, just make sure you go to the bathroom before the test begins ☺

  1. The Appearance of your Score Report will change

We don’t have much information on this but according to Pearson the score report you receive after you have taken the test will change slightly in appearance. You will still see your overall score and your listening, reading , writing and speaking skills scores, but you will no longer receive enabling skill scores for grammar and vocabulary etc. Instead you will receive a report on how you can improve in these skill areas. I can’t actually show you what the new score report will look like, but make sure you subscribe to this YouTube channel and you’ll be first to see it.

Summary of changes for PTE exam

So, let me recap what is changing on November the 16th and what’s not changing one last time.

What IS changing on November 16th 

1. The test length will reduce to 2 hours

2. The number of questions will reduce

3. The optional break will be removed

4. Your Score Report will change in appearance

What’s NOT changing

1. The difficulty of the test will NOT change

2. The task types will NOT change

3. Your score requirements will NOT change

Cool. I hope that’s nice and clear. Remember to stick with E2 because we’ll make sure you get all the facts and we’ll prepare you properly for your test. Keep practising. My name’s Jay and I’ll see you soon.

Watch our video on the changes

Check out Pearson’s Article

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