Is PTE getting harder?

No, the PTE has to maintain its quality and quantity to be a valid international proficiency test and here are some reasons as to why it is not getting harder:

1. The validity of the PTE test

A test would be deemed difficult when you have no idea what factors you are going to be tested on. The PTE test has maintained its types of questions and its overall structure ever since it has started. If a test introduces a new section or a new type of question without prior notice to its test takers, that test would lose its validity. So from a validity point of view the PTE test has not changed, therefore it is not a hard test.

2. The reliability of the PTE test

A test would be considered reliable when it produces more or less the same result for the same test taker. Therefore, in order to maintain its reliability, the PTE test centers recycle their questions. This would ensure a homogenous result across the population of the same test takers. On the other hand, PTE test centers replace some of their questions in their banks that are thought to have leaked with some new parallel questions. This introduction of new questions is interpreted by most PTE test takers as the test getting harder.      

3. PTE is a standard test

In order for a test to become standard, it needs to be able to grade its test takers according to their knowledge of the subject it is testing. This grading is not possible unless the test items are graded. This means that a test taker, in Repeat Sentence, for example, will get 3 types of questions in terms of its level of difficulty. And they are; easy, medium and hard ones. This pattern will be the same for all items and all candidates. That is why some international tests like IELTS administer their test for all candidates at the same time all over a country.

4. Parallel questions

To avoid repeating the same questions and minimizing the risk of leaking their questions, PTE content writers come up with new but parallel questions. These questions maintain the validity of the test while keep the number of repeated items at its lowest. Some test-takers find these parallel questions more difficult than the one that they are used to seeing.  

All in all, the PTE test basically remains the same in terms of structure and types of questions. However, sometimes some or all of the questions in a section may change over time, but not its level of difficulty.

Need more information?

For learning the tricks of how to ace the PTE academic test, and for doing a free scored PTE mock test and practicing real PTE materials on our PTE practice platform, visit our website at, where you can also book a free online PTE coaching with one of our Melbourne-based expert PTE trainers via the zoom app.

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