PTE scores are used by a vast number of institutions and organizations to figure out whether or not your English is “good enough” for eligibility in immigration, admissions, citizenship etc. So what is the passing score for PTE?

If you are taking the PTE for immigration, what constitutes a passing PTE score will depend on the kind of visa you need (e.g. work, business, investors, students etc). If you’re taking PTE for enrolment into a university or a college, what is the minimum requirement?

What’s a Good PTE Score in Australia?

To the Australian government, a good PTE score can fall into various categories. Your score will tell the governing authority whether your skills are good enough to be determined functional, vocational, competent, proficient, or superior. Each visa type has a different minimal requirement. Here is how the overall PTE scores measure up:

Limited: An overall average PTE score of 4.5

Modest: A minimum of 36 in each category (Listening, Reading, Writing, & Speaking)

Competent: A minimum of 50 in each category

Good: A minimum of 65 in each category

Very Good: A minimum of 79 in each category (By any measure, this is a good PTE score!)

BONUS! Eligibility for migration into Australia is determined on a point system. If your English is good or very good, you will earn extra points (10 and 20, respectively) that will boost your application.

Some examples of international requirements at Australian universities:

According to the university’s official website, undergraduate and graduate applicants at the University of Sydney face different requirements, depending on the degree path that they apply for. Less demanding undergraduate degrees at Sydney require a PTE score of at least 58 - 65, with at least a 58 in each section. However, certain undergraduate and graduate programs require much higher PTE results.

For visas, the PTE score requirements vary. Here are some examples of the PTE scores you will need:

Investors: 50 overall score or higher

Entrepreneurs: 58 overall score or higher

Parents Category: 36 in at least two categories (listening, reading, writing, and/or speaking)

Skilled Migrants: an overall average of at least 65

So, what does this all mean for you? Well, first it means you should find reliable, high-quality PTE preparation course to help you along the way. If you’re planning to apply to top-ranked universities, you should likely strive to achieve at least a 65. But if you’re not applying to the world’s top schools, a “good” score will likely be lower for you. Be sure to check those requirements on each university’s website.

What to Do If Your PTE Score Isn’t Good Enough

So what happens if you don’t meet the standards of your dream university or college? Or what if your PTE scores aren’t good enough for the job you want? What if the country you’re trying to immigrate to wants a higher score? When your PTE score is unacceptable, what do you do next?

You have a number of options. We’ll explore them below.

Bad PTE Score? Resit the test.

A PTE retake is an obvious choice. And the PTE makes it very easy to retake the exam. Unlike many other standardized tests, PTE does not place any limits on how frequently you can take the test. Nor are there rules on how long you need to wait before you resit. As the official PTE website states, if you decide to resit the test, “you can register for another PTE test as soon as you feel ready to do so.”

However, this most obvious option may not be your only option for improving your PTE results. In fact, it may not even be your best option. Let’s look at a few more possible courses of action.

Options if You Have a Bad PTE Score for School

Talk to the university or college you applied to.

If your PTE score falls short of your university’s requirements, there’s a chance that the university you applied to may still accept you. School admissions offices are sometimes willing to be flexible about your PTE scores. This is especially true if you have a strong professional or academic background.

Sometimes your school may also be willing to extend you conditional acceptance with an English course remediate your English proficiency shortcomings. This allows you to study with them on the condition that you take some additional English classes.

Apply to a Different University with Easier PTE Requirements

Even if your target school isn’t flexible on their PTE requirement, there are many other schools out there. And PTE requirements can actually vary a good deal at different schools. If your PTE score gets rejected at one campus, it can’t hurt to look for other universities that find your score perfectly acceptable. A “bad” PTE score may not be bad in the eyes of every admissions office.

Once more, these are just a few scenarios. If your PTE score is a little low, always see if you can take a different test or find courses which will help you sort out the problem. Be firm in your ambition, you can do what you set out to achieve!

Really Bad PTE Score?

Keep working on your English.

As I mentioned above, sometimes the best way to improve your PTE score is to work on your general English skills first. But there are many other things you can do to get yourself into a higher PTE band.

Below, I’ve made a list of the top things you should do if you want to improve your PTE score.

1. Practice English as Much as Possible

Don’t just confine English study to an PTE preparation regimen. Even when you’re not in a PTE practice session, you should look for ways to expose yourself to English. Read English websites, magazines, newspapers, and books. Watch English TV shows. Listen to English radio and podcasts. Talk to others in English, such as foreigners in your home country, or local people if you already live in an an English speaking community.

2. Learn All About the Test

Make sure you know everything about the test: timing, format, types of passages and audio tracks, the interview questions you’ll get in PTE Speaking, the different PTE Writing tasks, and so on. Our YouTube channel is a good place to start.

3. Get Feedback on Your PTE Writing and Speaking

With our online PTE course, you get feedbacks on your Writing and Speaking sections.

4. Find Good Vocabulary Word Lists

You can’t memorize every vocabulary word that might appear on the PTE, but there are certain words you’re pretty likely to see. Those words are ones you should commit to memory. Perhaps the best official list of PTE vocabulary is the one created by us within our online PTE course.

The Takeaway

There are several ways to know if you have a good PTE score (versus an average PTE or a low one). Understanding the PTE scoring and how they are calculated is key. Make sure you also know what PTE scores are required of you. And above all, be ready to improve your PTE score – and your general English skills – if need be.