Pearson Test of English (PTE Core) became officially the third English Language Test for Canadian economic migration visa applications approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), besides IELTS and CELPIP. This test now can be taken as proof of English language proficiency for the purposes of Permanent Residency applications or Canadian citizenship as well.

PTE Core is the newest version of the Pearson Test of English which has a vocational, real-life and non-academic focus that meets IRCC’s language proficiency requirements. It is anticipated that applicants seeking to use PTE Core to provide proof of English language proficiency, for the purpose of Canadian permanent residency or citizenship, will be able to do so as of February 2024 onwards.


PTE Core’s Immigration purposes

Each and every year, hundreds of thousands of temporary foreign workers, students, permanent residents and visitors are welcomed to Canada. The Canadian government supports the protection of persons at risk and refugees and the reunification of families, therefore, the IRCC plans to address the growing demand for the coming years.

The approval of PTE Core comes at the perfect moment and opens new opportunities for test takers since there is a high demand in Canada for professionals and skilled workers. Last year, IRCC announced a plan to welcome a record number of permanent residents in the years ahead, approximately 1.45 million in total for the next three years.


PTE Core test format

PTE Core is a computer-based English test that assesses your general reading, listening speaking and writing skills in a single test. The fully digital test is being done through Person VUE, the computer-based testing software of Pearson. The latest AI technology, set and reviewed by human examiners is used for scoring and biometric data collection provides advanced security measures. This state-of-the-art technology ensures providing unbiased and precise tests for test taker’s English language proficiency.

PTE Core is suited for persons who are applying for migration or work visas to Canada, as well as the ones who are applying for Canadian citizenship. Test takers can book PTE Core online up to 24 hours in advance and receive their results within two days. Pearson’s comprehensive network of test centers, with more than 400 centers in 118 countries and 25 test centers in Canada, provides a comfortable and unique testing experience.

There are three individual parts of the test: Speaking & Writing, Reading and Listening.

Part 1: Speaking & Writing – this part of the test is approximately 50 minutes long and contains seven different sections. It is the longest part of the test. The test takers will be tested on their speaking and writing skills, using English they might hear in everyday conversations.

Part 2: Reading – this part of the test is approximately 30 minutes long and consists of five different sections. PTE Core is an integrated skills test, one question type (Fill in the blanks) that also assesses writing skills.

Part 3: Listening – this part of the test is approximately 30 minutes long and consists of seven different sections. The sections are based on audio or video clips, which begin to play automatically. The test takers will hear each audio or video clip once and they are allowed to take notes.


PTE Core scoring

PTE Core tests are reviewed and scored by the latest AI technology, by using sophisticated algorithms, based on hundreds of real test responses, machine scoring software can mark every single test correctly, justly and quicker than any test examiner.

Each test is fully computer-based and taken in one of Pearson’s global test centers. That means there is no need to face a human examiner, which reduces the risk of human mistakes, allowing test takers to feel more confident. The test takers need to attend a single two-hour test, instead of two separate sessions and will receive the results quicker and more accurately.

PTE Core has 19 question types, some question types are scored based on whether the test takers’ answers are right or wrong, such as multiple-choice questions. Other question types are scored on additional features such as the quality of the response and whether or not the test takers have completed the required work count.


Canada Language Benchmark for PTE Core

For every person who is applying for migration or work visas to Canada, the Canada Language Benchmark (CLB) is the most important thing when it comes to scoring.

The official IRCC CLBE levers for the new PTE Core English Language test:

CLB level













































The table above shows how PTE scores align to CLB levels, so that test takes know what score they need to achieve their Canadian migration goals.


English Language Test Comparison

When it comes to comparing different English Language tests, that task is not easy at all since at the same time there are so many similarities and differences between them.



Key differences between PTE Core and IELTS tests:

  • The IELTS test has the option of a pen-and-paper test, as well as a computer-based test. However, the PTE Core offers only the computer-based test.
  • Both of these exams test the same language skills: reading, listening, speaking and writing.
  • The IELTS takes a little longer to finish – 3 hours, consisting of four sections with longer tasks, while the PTE Core takes 2 hours to complete and comprises short tasks across three sections.

Neither of the tests is easier than the other, except for the differences in the mode of examination and pattern.



Key differences between PTE Core and CELPIP tests:

  • Both of the tests are computer-based only exams, PTE Core has three sections rather than CELPIP which consists of four individual parts (reading, listening speaking and writing).
  • The CELPIP tests are reviewed and marked by human examiners and PTE Core tests are examined and score by the latest AI technology.

In this case, “Easier” varies for individuals. PTE might be more convenient for those comfortable with computerized exams and CELPIP focuses on practical English language use.


In summary, there’s no universally “better” option. Test takers should research the requirements of their target institutions and consider their strengths and preferences when selecting a test method. Preparing adequately for any of these exams is crucial for success!

Premier Immigration Newsletter

Signup for our Newsletter

Latest in Canadian immigration: Subscribe for latest resources, news, and tips for employers, aspiring immigrants, and job seekers worldwide. 

*We value your privacy. Rest assured, your email remains secure with us, and our inbox is a no-spam zone.