Picture Vocabulary Size Test (PVST) Homepage

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Picture Vocabulary Size Test (PVST)

Picture Vocabulary Size Test (PVST)

A receptive vocabulary size test designed primarily for young pre-literate native speakers up to eight years old and young non-native speakers of English. The test was created in collaboration with Paul Nation of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Remember to download BOTH the main program and one or more test sets.

[PVST Homepage] [Screenshots] [Help]

Downloads (main program):

Downloads (test sets):

Older Versions

All previous releases of the Picture Vocabulary Size Test (PVST) can be found at the following link, where <_win.zip> files are for Windows, <_mac.zip> files are for Macintosh OS X, and <_linux.tar.gz> files are for Linux.

User Support

Troubleshooting on Mac OS (General)

  • With each new release of Mac OS X, new security measures have been added that make it more and more difficult to run non App Store programs. To run PVST on OS X systems prior to Sierra, do the following:
    • On launching the PVST app, if you see an error relating to security permissions, go to the security preferences page in the OS settings and set the security to allow PVST to run.
  • Troubleshooting on Mac OS 10.12 (Sierra)

    • Mac OS 10.12 (Sierra) has introduced additional security measures that make it even more difficult to run non App Store programs. To run PVST on Sierra, do the following:
      • First, after unzipping the PVST folder, move the contents (the PVST app and the tests folder) into the Sierra Applications folder.
      • Second, double click on the PVST app and make sure the program runs as normal. You may need to adjust your security preferences to allow Sierra to launch the program.
      • (Optional) Move the PVST app and the tests folder back to its original location if you don't want to leave it in the Applications folder.

    Latest Help file

    Related Research

    • Nation, P. & Anthony, L. (2016). Measuring vocabulary size. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning, Volume III (pp. 355-368). New York: Routledge.

    Development Roadmap

    Our current tentative plans.

    Status Description
    Plans for 2017
    and beyond
    • Developing Macintosh and Linux versions of the software.
    • Developing web-based versions of the software.
    • Your suggestions come here...

    Citing/Referencing the Picture Vocabulary Size Test (PVST)

    Use the following method to cite/reference the Picture Vocabulary Size Test (PVST) according to the APA style guide:

    • Anthony, L. and Nation, I.S.P. (YEAR OF RELEASE). Picture Vocabulary Size Test (Version VERSION NUMBER) [Computer Software]. Tokyo, Japan: Waseda University. Available from http://www.laurenceanthony.net/software/pvst
      • For example if you download the Picture Vocabulary Size Test version 1.2.0, which was released in 2017, you would cite/reference it as follows:

        • Anthony, L. and Nation, I.S.P. (2017). Picture Vocabulary Size Test (Version 1.2.0) [Computer Software]. Tokyo, Japan: Waseda University. Available from http://www.laurenceanthony.net/software/pvst
          • Note that the APA instructions are not entirely clear about citing software, and it is debatable whether or not the "Available from ..." statement is needed. See here for more details.