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Difference between PTE General and PTE Academic Exam

Difference between PTE General and PTE Academic Exam

Difference between PTE General and PTE Academic Exam: PTE General and PTE Academic are two different exams offered by Pearson, but they serve different purposes and target different audiences. In this article, we will explain the key differences between PTE General and PTE Academic exams.


  1. Purpose:
    • PTE General: This exam is designed to assess the general English language proficiency of non-native English speakers. It evaluates their ability to use English in real-life situations and measures their overall language skills, including speaking, writing, reading, and listening.
    • PTE Academic: On the other hand, PTE Academic is primarily used for academic purposes. It is widely accepted by universities, colleges, and other educational institutions as proof of English language proficiency for admission into academic programs. It focuses on academic language skills such as academic writing, listening to lectures, and reading academic texts.
  2. Test Format:
    • PTE General: This exam consists of two main sections: a written paper and a spoken test. The written paper assesses reading, writing, and listening skills, while the spoken test evaluates speaking and listening skills. It is available at six different levels, from A1 (Beginner) to C2 (Proficient).
    • PTE Academic: The PTE Academic exam is entirely computer-based and consists of four sections: speaking and writing, reading, listening, and an optional 10-minute break. The entire test is conducted in a single three-hour session, and it provides an instant, computer-generated score report. The exam measures the test taker’s ability to communicate effectively in an academic setting.
  3. Scoring and Results:
    • PTE General: The scoring for PTE General is based on a scale of six levels, aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Each level corresponds to a specific band, and test takers are awarded an overall level based on their performance across the different sections. The results are reported on a certificate that indicates the test taker’s overall level and individual scores in each section.
    • PTE Academic: PTE Academic uses a scoring system based on a scale of 10 to 90. The score report includes an overall score, communicative skills scores (listening, reading, speaking, writing), and enabling skills scores (grammar, oral fluency, pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary, and written discourse). The results are available online within five business days and can be sent directly to institutions chosen by the test taker.
  4. Recognition:
    • PTE General: The recognition of PTE General varies depending on the institution or organization that requires proof of English proficiency. It is widely recognized for general purposes, such as employment, promotions, and immigration purposes.
    • PTE Academic: PTE Academic is recognized and accepted by thousands of academic programs worldwide, including universities and colleges in English-speaking countries. It is accepted by governments and various professional organizations as well.
  5. Test Preparation:
    • PTE General: As PTE General assesses general English language proficiency, test takers can prepare by improving their overall language skills through self-study materials, language courses, and practice tests.
    • PTE Academic: Preparing for PTE Academic requires a focus on academic language skills and familiarization with the test format. Test takers can use official practice materials, take preparation courses, and access online resources to enhance their academic English skills.

In summary, while both PTE General and PTE Academic are English proficiency exams offered by Pearson, they serve different purposes and target different audiences. PTE General is a general English language exam used for employment, promotions, and immigration purposes, while PTE Academic is an academic English proficiency exam primarily used for admission into academic programs. Understanding the purpose, format, scoring, recognition, and preparation methods for each exam will help test takers choose their decision wisely with the most suitable option based on their specific needs.

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