There is the TOEFL, the IELTS, and now the Pearson Test of Academic English

Everyone is familiar with the longstanding TOEFL and IELTS english exams.  These are the de facto standard english exams, but there is a new exam that is becoming more popular: the Pearson Test of English – Academic (PTE).

The PTE is a completely new exam, designed from scratch, that focuses on english in an academic setting.  I became familiar with the exam in 2009 and quickly approved its use at the Keck Graduate Institute.  The exam is well suited to english assessment that matters for graduate study and is now accepted at over 2100 institutions worldwide.

For test takers, the PTE format will come as a surprise.  One example question type listening to a lecture snippet before writing a summary of it.  This is obviously very typical activity in graduate school, but is not part of typical english language exams.  There are several other innovative question formats that are very appropriate reflections of the academic environment.

If you are considering what test to take, do look at the PTE.  In my opinion it is the best exam to measure your english capabilities in an academic setting.  The official PTE guide is available online and practice tests are available.