Detailed Scoring Criteria of PTE Exam

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If you are someone who has taken any English language proficiency exam ever, you must be aware of the format of the test, waiting period, booking, resultant scores, etc. All the English language proficiency exams gauge the candidates’ proficiency in speaking, reading, writing and listening. Albeit everything shows clearly on the result card, the true criteria of scoring are unknown to the most. What we see are just the numbers on the result card, but we do not know how one gets these numbers, especially when it comes to judging skills like speaking, reading, writing and listening. For anyone who has had their IELTS or PTE results out, there must be questions in their mind regarding the scoring criteria.

Seeing the PTE Academic Score Report closely, you will find that the Skills Profile comprises Communicative Skills and Enabling Skills. So, many questions pop up – what is the difference between the two? How does the score of Enabling Skills affect the overall score? Is it possible to score high in Enabling Skills and get a low overall score or vice versa? What does the overall score mean? How are these scores awarded?

PTE uses an automated scoring methodology, which might make the test-taker a little inquisitive as to how is it done, which can prove to be helpful in thorough preparation. After all, every point leads the test-taker closer to their target score, and losing even a single point can lead to missing the desired score. For example, imagine scoring 78 and missing the 8-point equivalent score (IELTS) by just one point!

The value of every point counts, especially when applying for PR in Australia. Furthermore, a lot of students also depend upon PTE/IELTS scores to get their desired scholarship.

Therefore, here we bring to you a peek-in as to how the PTE scores are counted!

Introduction to the PTE Scorecard

In case you have already appeared for the PTE exam and have failed to achieve your desired score, here is your chance to analyze the scorecard and understand the stronger and weaker areas, which can help you improve when you appear for the test again.

All the scores of PTE are on a scale of 10 to 90. The test-taker is judged for reading, writing, listening and speaking, which make up for the Communicative Skills. On the other hand, the Enabling Skills gauge the candidate’s grammar, oral fluency, pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary and written disclosure.

The candidate’s performance in every question of the test affects their Overall Score, which is calculated on the basis of performance and the number of questions attempted.

Communicative Skills Scoring

The Communicative Skills score is made up of points scored in Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing. As there are a number of questions asked in the PTE exam, there are questions that test more than one of the 4 skills of the candidate, e.g., the task of ‘repeat sentence’ tests the listening and speaking abilities of the candidate, ‘read aloud’ tests the reading and speaking abilities. Likewise, there are questions that assess listening and reading, listening and writing, and even reading and writing; therefore, the points scored in these sections affect the score of two skills.

Enabling Skills Scoring

These test the candidate’s performance in Writing and Speaking. The scores in grammar, oral fluency, pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary, and written disclosure determine the enabling skills.

Enabling Skills

Criteria of Assessment


Proper use of language and syntax

Oral Fluency

Clear, natural, and smooth speech


How words are spoken and whether spoken words are understood by most regular English speakers?


Spellings for everything are checked


Depending on the lexical level and choice of words to convey the messages matter

Written Discourse

Structure of the sentence, how well the message is conveyed, logical development, coherence, and linguistic resources’ level

Grammar is assessed essay writing and summarizes written text tasks. Likewise, oral fluency, pronunciation, and spelling are tested during speaking. Reading tasks assess the spelling too.

An essay in PTE Writing is scored in the following ways. First of all, the algorithm checks for any ‘Content’. In case the ‘content’ is not found, a zero score is assigned on that question. On the other hand, if there is ‘content’, the algorithm moves ahead to check the ‘form’, and then to the ‘traits’ of enabling skills. The cumulative score of ‘content’, ‘form’, and the ‘enabling traits’ make up the total score of the essay.

To assess the writing part, Pearson uses technologies and tools called the “Intelligent Essay Assessor” (IEA) and the “Knowledge Analysis Tool” (KAT) engine. An algorithm called Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) is used to analyze the written text. Surprisingly, the software tool is smart enough to identify the text, which may be out of context or off-topic.

To assess the speaking part, PTE has technology that recognizes different types of speeches, both native and non-native. Furthermore, it also evaluates everything about the speech including the rhythm, speed, timing, etc.

Therefore, it can be deduced that PTE Tests are scored accurately using systems that are carefully and logically built. Over a period, students from many countries have shown their interest and trust in PTE for coming to Australia. In fact, PTE has become one of the most preferred English language proficiency tests by international students choosing to come to Australia for higher education. As a result, there has been a spike in the number of PTE coaching institutes across Australia.

If you are looking for quality and affordable PTE coaching online, Connect PTE is the name you can trust.

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