The length of the PTE Academic test will be reduced from three to two hours from November 16, which Pearson says will offer candidates an improved experience but will not affect the accuracy of the English language proficiency exam.
“Many of our PTE Academic test-takers want to move abroad to study at university or progress their careers,” Freya Thomas Monk, senior vice president, English Language Learning at Pearson, said.
“To help them in their journey we have rolled-out a shorter PTE Academic test to be taken in test centres and a new online PTE Academic test which can be taken at home.”
The online exam will be available in every country apart from China, Iran and Cuba – Pearson anticipates rolling out the new online test in China in 2022.
While the shorter in-person test will be accepted by the same 3,000 universities worldwide, in addition to professional bodies and government, Pearson has requested candidates to check that the universities they are applying to accept the online version before booking.
“There’s a lot of customer demand out there as young people want to move forward in their lives”
Unlike the in-person test, the online PTE Academic test – proctored via Pearson’s secure OnVUE solution – is not currently valid for visa or migration purposes to the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
The overall format, question types or scoring scale remain unchanged.
In 2020, testing provider ETS announced an TOEFL iBT® Special Home Edition while IELTS announced online option IELTS Indicator.
Pearson also launched its remotely proctored Versant English Language, which has been popular with universities and helped the provider “understand what universities want”, Thomas Monk told The PIE.
“We know we’ve got the best technology in the business. We believe it’s here for the long run. It isn’t just a flash in the pan with the pandemic. So now’s the time to really strategically roll it out,” she explained.
Stakeholders have previously said that Covid-19 has been a catalyst that has “catapulted” the e-assessment sector into the future.
“I’m really excited about where we stand at the moment,” Thomas Monk said.
“We’ve had a really tough year and a half. I know there’s a lot of customer demand out there as young people want to move forward in their lives.
“Young adults around the world, still have the same dreams and aspirations of travelling abroad to work and study. But they’re thwarted. They’re held back in their tracks. So they are looking for opportunities.”
With news around study destinations’ borders reopening, Pearson sees an immediate response from customers wanting to take tests “to get going”, she continued.
“And I also know that English is a building block for learning, as it always has been. And I know that many of the English tests we have, whether that be Versant or the other capabilities we have, can do a great job in how we support peoples’ careers, workforce learning and young learners.”