Overview of the PTE Academic Reading Section

Instructor: Bill Sands
The Reading section of the PTE Academic exam provides a stiff test of a candidate's reading comprehension skills. Keep reading for more information on the structure and types of questions you'll encounter on this part of the assessment.

PTE Academic Reading Section

The final section of the PTE Academic exam measures a candidate's ability to identify a passage's main ideas and supporting details and understand key vocabulary. Of the three sections on the test, this one is the shortest. Candidates will only spend 32-41 minutes total on the Reading section.

Reading Section Task Types

The Reading section consists of five different tasks that are based on passages ranging from 80 to 300 words in length.

Multiple Choice

Multiple-choice questions appear in two of the reading comprehension tasks. After reading the first text, which consists of up to 110 words, candidates will be presented with a question and several potential responses. They must then choose the one answer that most accurately responds to the question.

The passage that follows can include as many as 300 words. For this task, candidates are presented with another question and must select multiple correct responses from the list of options.

Fill in the Blanks

For the first fill-in-the-blank task, candidates will encounter a short text (up to 80 words) that has multiple words removed. They will also be provided with a word bank of potential options for filling in the blanks. Using context clues and general reasoning skills, candidates must drag and drop the correct words into their rightful place.

The second fill-in-the-blank task also requires candidates to select the right words to complete sentences with missing text. However, the passage for this task consists of up to 300 words. To fill in the blanks, candidates will be asked to select from among a list of four options included in a drop-down menu, rather than a word bank.

Re-Order Paragraphs

This task presents candidates with several paragraphs placed in an incorrect order. After reading and interpreting the paragraphs, candidates will need to re-arrange them so the passage follows a logical order. Altogether, this passage can be up to 150 words long.


Scoring for the Reading part of the PTE Academic test is fairly straightforward. For the multiple-choice question requiring candidates to select multiple responses, one point is awarded for each correct response, while incorrect responses will result in a one point deduction. All other test items award one point for a correct response and zero points for an incorrect response.

These points are used to calculate a final score that corresponds with the Global Scale of English. This system resembles a thermometer and, as the name would suggest, allows for easy comparisons with other popular English language tests, such as the TOEFL and IELTS. The system awards scores ranging from 10 to 90.

You can access your scores through your online account with Pearson. Scores are typically available five business days after your test date. Score reports contain an overall score as well as a more detailed breakdown of your performance on test items evaluating your communicative and enabling skills.

Studying for the PTE Academic Test has several resources and study guides to help you prepare if you plan on taking the PTE Academic test.

You should absolutely start with this PTE Academic Test: Practice & Study Guide. This comprehensive review guide covers all aspects of the exam and is an excellent way to prepare for the Reading section and all other components of the test.

You can also use these Grammar and Vocabulary Flashcards to test your skills and improve your knowledge in these areas before taking the test.