PTE Core and Academic

The Pearson Test of English (PTE) is a computer-based language proficiency test that assesses a test takers speaking, reading, writing and listening skills in English. There are several versions of the test available, with each versions slightly differing to meet different requirements. 

PTE Core

PTE Core is the newest PTE test announced by Pearson which will be available to test takers in early 2024. It was recently approved by  Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as a valid test of English Proficiency for migration. Until this recent announcement the only test accepted for immigration was the IELTS General Training test, and it is expected the new PTE Core test will need to meet similar requirements.

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PTE Academic (for Study)

PTE Academic is accepted by several universities, colleges, and governments around the world as a valid test of english proficiency for academic admissions and visa applications, having the second largest acceptance behind IELTS. It assesses the candidate’s English language proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking within typical academic settings such as such as taking notes, summarising lectures, and writing academic essays. A key feature of PTE Academic is that all test components are taken on a computer, meaning there is no human examination for the speaking, writing, listening or reading component. 

PTE General

On the other hand, PTE General is designed for general purposes, such as employment, immigration, or personal development. It assesses a test taker’s ability to use English in real-life situations and includes both written and oral components. The test is divided into six levels, each of which assesses a different level of language proficiency. Similar to IELTS and TOEFL, PTE General uses human examiners to assess a test taker’s performance based on a set of standardised criteria and aims to evaluate a test taker’s ability to use English in real-life situations.

PTE Home

PTE Home was launched by Pearson in 2020 and is designed specifically for test takers who need to demonstrate their English language proficiency for UK visa applications. It is accepted by the UK government for all visa categories requiring proof of English language proficiency. PTE Home has only one level and consists of four components: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. It is similar to the IELTS Life Skills test but is only available online. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of PTE



PTE Test Format

PTE evaluates candidates’ English language proficiency in Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The Listening section assesses understanding of spoken English, the Reading section evaluates comprehension of written English, the Writing section measures expression in written English, and the Speaking section assesses oral communication skills. PTE uses AI technology to provide speaking scores.

PTE Listening


PTE’s Listening section evaluates a candidate’s ability to comprehend spoken English. It includes audio recordings of lectures, conversations, and other spoken passages. Candidates answer multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions, assessing their ability to understand main ideas, recognize details, and infer meaning from context. PTE’s use of AI technology ensures accurate and unbiased assessment.


PTE’s Reading section evaluates a candidate’s comprehension of written English. It includes passages from academic and real-life contexts, with questions assessing skills such as identifying main ideas, recognizing details, and understanding vocabulary in context. The test uses multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and re-order paragraphs questions. PTE’s AI technology ensures accurate and unbiased assessment.

PTE Speaking


PTE’s Speaking section evaluates a candidate’s spoken English ability through tasks such as reading aloud, describing images, and summarizing spoken texts. Candidates must express their thoughts clearly and use correct pronunciation and intonation. The section is evaluated by AI technology for a fair and unbiased assessment.

PTE Writing


PTE’s Writing section assesses a candidate’s ability to express ideas in written English through tasks such as summarizing texts, writing essays, and responding to questions based on visual information. PTE uses AI technology for fair and accurate evaluation of a candidate’s writing ability.

Alternatives to PTE Core and PTE Academic

While there are many benefits to taking PTE,  if you’re looking for an alternative IELTS is a great option for several reasons. First and foremost both IELTS Academic and General Training are already accepted by the Canadian Government for immigration, unlike PTE Core which won’t be until early in 2024.

IELTS is also recognised by more than 11,500 organisations worldwide, including universities, immigration departments, and professional bodies. This means that by taking IELTS, you’ll have access to a wider range of opportunities, both domestically and internationally. 

Overall, while both PTE and IELTS are valid options, we often find IELTS is a better fit for the students we help prepare.

Frequently Asked Questions About PTE Core and PTE

The Pearson Test of English (PTE) Core will be a new English language proficiency test created by Pearson Canada Inc. to meet the language proficiency requirements for Canadian immigration applications. It will assess the proficiency of candidates in four areas: listening, reading, writing, and speaking using AI technology to provide speaking scores. Pearson was approved to develop PTE Core by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on February 1, 2023, and it will be the fifth designated language test available for economic-class immigration candidates.

Currently, several formats of PTE accepted in Canada by many universities and colleges for study and student visas, but not immigration purposes. However, Pearson was approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on February 1, 2023, and it will be one of the designated language tests available for economic-class immigration candidates in the future. IRCC is expected to start accepting scores from PTE Core in early 2024. 

PTE (Pearson Test of English) is accepted by various institutions and organisations in Canada for study, including universities and colleges. Some of the institutions that accept PTE scores include the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, the University of Alberta, and the University of Waterloo, among others. PTE is not currently accepted by the Canadian government as proof of English language proficiency for immigration and citizenship purposes, but a new test called PTE Core will be accepted in early 2024. If you are planning to apply to study, work, or immigrate to Canada, you should check the specific requirements of the visa you are applying for and with the relevant institution or organisation to confirm their English language proficiency requirements and whether they accept PTE scores. 

Currently Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) accepts only IELTS General Training and the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) as proof of the required English language proficiency for people applying to immigrate as a skilled worker through express entry. However, the IRCC has approved Pearson to develop a new language test called PTE Core which will be accepted by IRCC in early 2024. For the latest updates on language proficiency requirements for Canadian migration check the official IRCC website (, as requirements can change over time.   

PTE Test Preparation Resources and Articles

PTE For Canada Immigration

PTE For Canada Immigration

In February 2023 Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that they had approved Pearson to administer a new English language proficiency test for individuals

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