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30 Tips to dominate your PTE test

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Student practising the PTE test

If you want to study in an English speaking country, then we assure you that you will need an English proficiency certification. Academically, you have many exam options like the IELTS test, TOEFL, PTE among others, but this will depend on the institution you are going to study.

Make sure to enter its official website and read carefully all the requirements. In this case, the PTE test is recognized by international educational institutions, still, you need to make sure your specific institution accepts it.

Once you know for sure that the PTE test is the exam you may be taking, get prepared for this exciting experience. For many international students obtaining an English certificate can be challenging, especially if this implies an opportunity to enter the university of your dreams, but don’t worry, we are here to help you.

All the following information will be very helpful for you.

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5 What is the PTE exam format?

What is PTE?

Also known as PTE Academic, the Pearson Test of Academic English is a computerized English assessment for those who want to study in English-speaking countries or an English context.

The PTE is recognized by international educational institutions, designed for non-native students to demonstrate knowledge of the English language based on elements that can determine the required level. 

Mainly, this exam is for students who wish to study in schools where classes are in English.

What are the types of PTE?

There are three types of PTE exams: The PTE Academic Exam, PTE general Exam, PTE young learners.

Which one to choose?

The exam that you choose depends on your needs and what exactly you need for the PTE exam.

PTE Academic 

On this test, the candidate’s reading, writing, speaking and listening skills will be tested. This exam is taken by students that wish to enter an English-speaking university or for the ones that need to prove their English knowledge for the company they work for. 

Furthermore, this test can be taken during the whole year on available dates depending on your convenience and availability. Also, you will take this test in digital format at an exam centre.

As a tip, if you wish to study in Australia this test works perfectly for you. Also, if you want to apply for an international student scholarship a PTE academic certificate works.

PTE General

The PTE general is for people that want to migrate to an English-speaking country or who want to have a foreigner experience that does not involve formal studies.

The test consists of a written part and a spoken test in an interview format. In these 2 parts your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills will be evaluated. 

The test format involves six different proficiency levels designed to test and approve your general English language abilities.

You can take this test 3 times a year, in May, June and December and will be valid for a lifetime.

PTE young learners

This test aims at children from 6 to 13 years old. It involves real-life scenarios to evaluate children English skills. The score is valid for a lifetime and it is necessary if the child wants to enter an English-speaking institution.

How long is PTE valid for?

The PTE academic test score is valid for 2 years. For this reason, if you plan to apply for a visa extension while studying in Australia keep in mind that the PTE test may be one of the requirements, but if your certificate has already expired you will need to retake it. 

On the other hand, the PTE general score is valid for a lifetime.

International student at the university in Australia

What is the PTE exam fee?

The PTE exam fee varies from country to country. Keep in mind that if you book a PTE exam within 48 hours of the test date then will have to pay extra fees. 

To know exactly how much the exam fee in your country we recommend you to enter the Pearson official website. For you to have an idea, in Australia the cost is AUD 375 and with late fees is AUD 395.

What is the PTE exam format?

The PTE exam consists of 3 parts: The speaking and writing part, the reading part and the listening part.

PTE speaking and writing

In this part, you will be tested on your speaking and writing skills. You will have 77 to 93 minutes to complete all the tasks. 

In the speaking section, you will be required to speak English in an academic environment while in the writing part you will be required to write responses in academic English using correct spelling and grammar.

Speaking and writing sections

Personal introduction

The personal introduction is an opportunity for you to give your selected institutions some information about yourself. 

You will have 25 seconds to read the prompt and prepare your response, and then 30 seconds to record your response. This item is not scored but it will be sent together with your score report to the institutions selected by you.

Read aloud

For this item, you need to read a written text aloud. The recording status box shows a countdown, you have 30 to 40 second to prepare depending on the length of the passage and you will have to start when you hear a short tone.

Do not start speaking before the tone because your voice will not be recorded. Also, finish speaking before the progress bar reaches the end and the word recording on the screen changes to complete.

Tip 1: Use punctuation to help you decide when to pause

You have 30-40 seconds to look at the text before the microphone opens, so use this time to break the text up into meaningful chunks, using the punctuation as a guide. 

This will show you the places where you can make a tiny pause and alter your intonation accordingly. Remember that using appropriate pausing helps you to read more fluently and give the full meaning of the text.

Tip 2: Stress the words that carry important information

When you read the text, stress the words that carry important information, by reading them in a slightly louder voice and adding emphasis to key syllables.

Also, use rising and falling intonation patterns to show how the ideas are linked or are coming to an end.

Repeat sentence

For this item, you will hear a short sentence. What you have to do is to speak when the audio finishes as the microphone immediately open. This means that there won’t be a tone so speak immediately after the sentence you have heard. 

Student practising repeat sentence task for PTE test
Tip 3: Listen to the phrasing of the sentence as it is read aloud 

You will be scored on the correct word sequences that you produce for this item type, so the more phrases you understand, the better your reproduction of the sentence will be. 

For example, there are three phrases in this sentence, separated by /, and each one carries a separate message that has its meaning. Remember that if you listen for meaningful phrases in the sentence, you will have a better chance of repeating what you hear accurately.

Tip 4: Copy the stress and intonation pattern

Make a mental note of the way the speaker uses stress and intonation on the recording. These patterns help to convey meaning. Speak calmly and clearly but copy this stress and intonation.

Describe image

The recording status box displays a countdown until the microphone opens, you will hear a short tone that will indicate you when to start. You have 25 seconds to study the image and prepare your response. Do not start speaking before the microphone opens because your voice will not be recorded.

Also, you should speak clearly. There is no need to rush and remember that you are only able to record your response once.

Describe image template
  • Templates for bar chart

The bar chart provides all the factors clearly and logically. You can start by using the following sentences:

  1. The bar chart represents / shows / reveals the information about (insert here the topic or the title) and (insert here the categories in the bar chart)…
  2. It can be seen from the chart that the highest figure is (insert the figure) which is (insert the name of the category), followed by (insert the name of the category) …
  3. However / On the contrary, the lowest figure is (insert the figure) which is (insert name)…
  4. In conclusion, it can be seen that (insert trend/highest/lowest/similarity/difference)…
  • Templates for pie chart

You can mention the highest and lowest figures and any other important features.

  1. The Pie chart reveals (insert title) and (insert categories)…
  2. The lowest (insert the lowest category)…
  3. It can be observed that (insert the name of the category) is the highest, followed by (insert the name of the next highest category)…
  4. Overall, it can be observed that (insert trend/highest/lowest/similarity/difference)…
  • Templates for line chart

Line charts are developed on XY Axis and are easy to understand, you can start by using the following sentences:

  1. The line chart describes information about (insert the topic or title).
  2. The highest figure in (insert the name) is at (insert the figure), and it gradually declined/increased to reach a low/high of (insert the figure).
  3. On the contrary, the lowest figure in (insert the name) is at (insert the figure), and it gradually rises/dropped to (insert the figure).
  4. In conclusion, it can be seen that (insert trend/highest/lowest/similarity/difference).
  • Templates for tables

If the table is small, explain everything, if it is a large table, then just explain specific information. 

  1. The table provides important information about (insert the topic or title).
  2. As we can see from the table, there are several figures in terms of (insert element A), (insert element  B), (insert element C)……
  3. The highest figure is (insert the figure) which is (insert the name), while the lowest figure is (insert the figure) which is (insert the name).
  4. Moreover, from (insert the time) to (insert the time), the figure of (insert the name) was increased/decreased significantly / gradually.
  5. In conclusion, it can be said that (insert the trend).
  • Templates for flow charts, map, mixed chart and picture 

This task requires describing a process, map, image and sometimes can be tricky because there are too many or few processes to describe for 40 seconds.

  1. The flowchart / diagram / image gives the picture / process / life cycle of (insert the topic or title).
  2. There are various steps/stages in the flow chart…
  3. Initially / in the first step/stage, (insert the first process) …
  4. Moreover, it is transformed/converted into (insert the second process)…
  5. In the next step/stage, it is further developed/turns into (insert the third process)…
  6. Finally, (insert the final process) …
  7. The map provides information about (insert the topic or title).
  8. There are various places described on the map such as (place names).
  9. Initially, in the north, (insert facts or elements).
  10. Moreover, in the middle part of the map, (insert facts or elements).
  11. Lastly, in the south, (insert facts or elements).
  12. In conclusion, (insert facts or trends).
Tip 5: Focus on the main information in the image

When you look at the image ask yourself what is the main idea being shown by the image and what are the details relating to the main ideas. Then book down key ideas and phrases that relate to the main information and the explanatory details. In the end, these can be put into sentences when you start to speak.

Tip 6: Organize your description of the image

If you organize what you say, you will get a better score. This is because a well-organized answer is more likely to cover the main information as well as the additional details.

Re-tell lecture

For this item type, you need to re-tell what you heard. The audio begins to play automatically and sometimes you may see an image related to the audio. After the audio finishes, you have 10 seconds to prepare.

The recording status box displays a countdown until the microphone opens, you will hear a tone after this tone starts speaking immediately. Do not start speaking before the microphone opens because your voice will not be recorded.

You should speak clearly. There is no need to rush and remember to finish speaking before the progress bar reaches the end.

International student practising Re-tell lecture part for PTE test
Tip 7: Make good use of the image to predict the topic of the lecture

You have 3 seconds before you listen to the recording. In this period, you can quickly look at the image on the screen and think about the vocabulary you might hear. 

This will give you an idea of the topic of the lecture and help you predict what you will hear when the recording begins.

Tip 8: Make good use of the speaking time

You only have 40 seconds to speak and make sure that you include all the main points of the lecture. If you repeat ideas, correct yourself or hesitate, you will use up valuable time and lose score points. So keep talking and ignore any mistakes that you make.

Answer short questions 

For this item type, you need to reply to the question in one or a few words. The audio will begin to play automatically and you may also see an image.

When the audio finishes, the microphone opens and you should start to speak into the microphone immediately and answer the question with one or a few words.

Remember that you will not be able to replay the audio. You are only able to record your response once.

Tip 9: Do not pause for too long when you answer the question

You hear a short question and then the recording status box will change to recording. Start your answer as soon as this happens. If you wait for more than 3 seconds, the recording will stop and the item status will change to ‘completed’, which means that you have lost your chance to give your answer.

When you have started talking, don’t stop for more than a second or two until you have finished.

Tip 10: Do not try to give a long answer

There is no point in saying more than you need to say. Marks are awarded for a short, accurate answer and there are no extra marks for additional words.

Summarize written text

For this item type, you need to write a summary of the text in one sentence. You have 10 minutes to write your summary and you need to male sure to include the main points of the reading passage in a full, single sentence of no more than 75 words.

The Word Count at the bottom of the screen counts the number of words you write. There are also cut, copy and paste buttons which you may use while constructing your summary.

Tip 11: Make sure you response is in the correct form

When you have written your response, check to make sure that it is only one sentence, with a capital letter at the beginning and only one full stop at the end.

Your response must be between 5 and 75 words so check the word count using the ‘Total Word Count’ counter below the response box. Remember that if you write fewer than five words or more than 75 words, your response will not be scored.

Tip 12: Practice using compound and complex sentences

Your response must be expressed within one sentence, so you will need to use a complex or compound sentence to be able to summarize the main point of the passage and also briefly mention the supporting detail.

Essay

For this item type, you need to write a 200-300 word argumentative essay in response to a prompt. You have 20 minutes to write your essay. Just make sure to write a minimum of 200 words, but no more than 300 words.

There are also cut, copy and paste buttons which you may choose to use while constructing your response.

PTE Essay Template

Below we will leave you with an example of a PTE essay. It is best suited for essays which ask for your opinion on a topic and for essays that ask you to choose between two viewpoints.

The topic that we will use in this example is “Should employees be allowed to use Facebook and other social media at work?”

(Introduction) Nowadays, social media is an important part of communication. Several sites allow people to share information and communicate instantly with others. The popularity of social media sites has increased considerably and has become a necessity for many users. Discussing if social media is beneficial or detrimental when employees use it at work is very controversial, but most companies think it is better to create policies providing using Facebook and other social media at work.

(2nd paragraph) Some employers think that social media is a distraction and makes employees decrease their work rate. However, keeping them focused on their work does not depend on forbidding social media; the truth is distracted workers are the result of hiring improper personal. If you select staff that focuses on their responsibilities, they will use social media as a tool to improve and facilitate their work.

(Third paragraph) Opponents believe that social media deteriorates someone’s relationship with its coworkers. Nevertheless, social media helps workers to make decisions as a team and consequently strengthen bonds between them. Young employees know how to take advantage of social media, since you can use it to create working teams, organize meetings, corporate lunches at the company, this helps improve work relationships.

(Conclusion) While there is a strong argument on both sides of the case, my personal opinion is that employees should be allowed to use social media at work, as they will help the company in several important ways. I would strongly recommend that in case there are problems with an employee using Facebook or other social networks as a distraction, employers should fire the person and keep social media.

PTE Writing Tips PTE Essay
Tip 13: Start by analyzing the task

Before you write anything, note keywords in the prompt. Find out the topic, what key points you should focus on to answer the question and any points of view to present and discuss.

Tip 14: Analyze the essay prompt so you know how to answer

Essay prompts can be written in several ways. For example, you may need to discuss whether you agree or disagree with a statement or you may have to consider how different groups of people might feel about a particular situation.

International student writing an essay

PTE Reading

In this part, you will be tested on your reading skills and you will have 32 to 40 minutes to complete all the tasks. This single timed section contains 15-20 independent and integrated skills items, depending on the combination of items in a given test. 

Different response formats, including multiple-choice, re-order paragraphs, and fill in the blanks, are designed to test your ability to read, write and listen to information provided in English. 

Keep in mind that because PTE Academic is an integrated skill test, one item type in this part of the test also assesses writing skills.

Reading sections

Reading and writing fill in the blanks

For this item type, you need to select the most appropriate words from a drop-down list to restore the text.

There is a passage with some missing words. Beside each gap, there is a button with a drop-down list. 

Tip 15: Skim to choose the correct word

Understanding the meaning of the whole text helps you choose the correct word for each blank. For example, if you skim the passage, you will find key ideas and words which point to the main topic.

Tip 16: Read before and after the blank

The choices in the drop-down menus may look quite similar but will have different meanings and usage. Looking at the surrounding context will help you choose the appropriate word. As a quick tip scan the text for the repeated words, then read around them to find the answer more quickly.

Multiple choice, multiple answer

For this item type, you need to read the passage and answer the multiple-choice question. There is more than one correct response. You need to select all the response options that you think are correct from the list of possible options.

The options you select will be highlighted in yellow.

Tip 17: Learn how this task is scored

Read the instructions carefully and remember that more than one option is correct in this type of multiple-choice item. You will score marks for any correct options but you will lose score points for any incorrect options. 

These include options that you have clicked on as correct but which are wrong. If you click on all the options, because you do not know the answer, you will lose score points. This applies to Multiple choice, choose multiple answers item types for reading and listening.

Tip 18: Note any repeated words

Quickly read through the response options and note any words that are repeated, particularly adjectives or nouns. If the same noun phrase occurs in a lot of the options, the answer is probably related to this phrase.

As a quick tip scan the text for the repeated words. Then read around them to find the answer more quickly.

Re-order paragraphs

For this item type, you need to restore the original order of the text by selecting text boxes and dragging them across the screen.

Tip 19: Read all the text boxes quickly before re-ordering

Read the text boxes to understand the main idea of each one. You can do this by noting the keywords. Then, use the keywords to form an overall idea of what the original text is about. This will help you find the logical order for the ideas in the text boxes.

Tip 20: Find the topic sentence

Every well-written paragraph has a topic sentence. It is usually a clear statement about the topic, and all the other sentences are related in some way to this sentence.

The topic sentence can stand alone; it does not begin with a linker or a pronoun that refers back to something or someone, nor does it does refer back to information or actions previously mentioned through the use of things.

Fill in the blanks

For this item type, you need to drag and drop words across the screen to correctly fill in the gaps in the text.

There is a passage with some missing words. You have a list of words in a blue box that you can use to fill the gaps in the text. There are more words than gaps so you will not use all the words provided.

Tip 21: Think about words that you often see often

Remember that some words often go together to form a familiar phrase. This will help you recognize the correct word for each blank.

Tip 22: Use your knowledge of grammar

Read around the blank in the text and decide what part of speech the missing word is. Also, rule out any verbs that are not in the infinitive form.

Multiple choice, singular answer

For this item type, you need to read the passage and answer the multiple-choice question. Keep in mind that there are several possible response options but only one is correct.

The option you select will be highlighted in yellow.

Tip 23: Pay attention to the keywords before reading the text

The prompt for this item type may be a question or a sentence that you have to complete. Whatever type of prompt you get, read it carefully because it will tell you what information you need to find in the text. If you focus on the keywords in the prompt, you will find the answer more quickly and spend less time reading the text.

Tip 24: Evaluate all the response options

The response options may be words, phrases or sentences. Use your knowledge to decide whether any of them are unlikely to be correct, or likely to be correct. You can do this before you read the text. 

If you read the text but cannot answer the question, choose the option that you think is most likely to be correct. This strategy also applies to multiple-choice questions with more than one answer.

PTE test general tips

Tip 25. Familiarity with the computer-based test.

As it is computer-based, time is important as you should complete the tasks when indicated on the screen. For this reason, having a better typing speed will help you, and to achieve this you have to be familiar with how the exam is structured and the questions in it.

Student getting familiar with computer-based exam

Tip 26. Get to know each question type in all sections.

You can get information on what to expect in each question type by reading this give or in other sources like the official Pearson English Language Test Website. You can also learn what the best way to solve each question type is. This is a must for a good score. 

Tip 27. Try to give a sample exam on web

There are a lot of websites where you can find PTE sample exams to practice, try to do at least one to know exactly what to expect. 

Tip 28. Make notes on each type of questions 

Make a list of all question types and mark them with easy / medium / hard during my preparation. In this way, you will know exactly what kind of questions you have to give it more time and practice. 

Tip 29. Make note of flow of exam.

Try to learn which question follows which one to fill the exam more smoothly. For example, “Describe image” is followed by “Retell lecture”. This will keep you well prepared. 

Tip 30. How the questions are scored

You need to know how each question is scored to respond exactly how you are supposed to. 

What is the PTE score guide?

The PTE Academic Score Report includes your overall score, communicative skills scores and enabling skills scores.

The overall score reflects your overall English language ability. The score is based on performance on all items in the test and it ranges from 10 to 90 points.

PTE Marking Criteria

Scores for communicative skills, listening, reading, speaking and writing, are based on all test items that assess these skills, either as a single skill or together with other skills. The range for each communicative skill score goes from 10 to 90 points.

Scores for enabling skills like grammar, oral fluency, pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary and written discourse, are based on all test items assessing one or more of these skills. The range for each enabling skill score goes from 10 to 90 points.

The display of the scores in a graph allows you to quickly see your strengths and weaknesses, and how each skill relates to your overall performance. This means the PTE academic score report you will receive will be very easy to understand.

PTE score vs IELTS

In the following table, you will find the score comparison between PTE score chart compared with the IELTS.

IELTS English LevelIELTS (1.0 – 9.0)PTE Academic (0 – 90)
Expert986 – 90
Very Good8.583 – 86
Very Good8.079 – 83
Good7.573 – 79
Good7.065 – 73
Competent6.558 – 65
Competent6.050 – 58
Modest5.543 – 50
Modest5.036 – 43
Limited4.530 – 36

Keep in mind that there are some requirements of the score depending on your final goals. For example, if you want to enter an English speaking university then every single institution may have a different score requirement depending on the major you want to study.

On the other hand, if for example you have already finished your studies in an English-speaking country and you wish to apply for a graduate visa, you must remember that not only you should take the PTE exam again as it has only 2 years of validity, you should also have a specific score. 

PTE Result Time

PTE Academic results are typically available within 5 business days and candidates can schedule tests up to 24 hours in advance.

On the other hand, students are able to schedule, take and send their PTE Academic scores to institutions, all within 1 week.

PTE test in Australia

It is possible to take the PTE if you are already in Australia and doing all the paperwork for study in this country. 

Remember that specifically in Australia depending on where you are going to study, you can apply for a regional student visa which has a lot of benefits regarding migration to Australia if this is your final goal.

On the other hand, if at some point as an international student you have to renovate your visa, an English sufficiency certificate is also a requirement. 

In this list, you will find all the test centres in the main cities of Australia.

International students taking the PTE exam at an English test centre

PTE Sydney

It is located at Level 2, 10 Bridge Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia and their phone number is (02)9247 6072.

It is located at Level 7, 400 Kent Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia and their phone number is (02) 9324 5000.

It is located at Level 3, 255 Elizabeth St, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia and their phone number is (02) 8246 6800.

You can find them on Level 3, 8 Australia Avenue, Sydney Olympic Park, NSW 2000, Australia and their phone number is (02) 8246 6800.

They are located at Shop 1 Unilodge Building, 159-171 Anzac Parade Kensington, NSW 2033, Australia.

PTE Melbourne

Their address is Level 1, 440 Collins Street and their phone number is (03) 9993 9999.

They are located at Level 14, 300 La Trobe St and their phone number is (03) 9670 4899.

You can find them at 376/378 Bourke St and their phone number is (03) 9602 4800.

It is located at Level 10, RMIT Building 108, 235-251 Bourke Street and their phone number is (03) 9657 5800.

PTE Perth

You can find them at 211 Newcastle St and their phone number is 8 6330 1600.

Their address is Locked Bag 6, Northbridge and their phone number is 1300 300 822.

It is located at Building 10, 2 Bradford Street and their phone number is 618 6279 1100.

You can find them at 1 William St.

PTE Brisbane

It is located on 3/288 Edward Street and their phone number is 7 3231 0999.

It is located on Ground level, 88 Leichhardt Street, Spring Hill.

PTE Adelaide

It is located at 16-20 Coglin St and their phone number is 8 8216 9000.

It is located on 91 South Rd, Thebarton and their phone number is 8 8443 4737.

You can find them on 76 Waymouth St and their phone number is8 8410 2093.

PTE Canberra

It is located on 37 Constitution Ave, Reid and their phone number is 2 6207 3188

Their address is Ground Floor, 4 Marcus Clarke St and their phone number is 2 6230 4608.

To finish this guide, we wish you the best of luck taking your PTE test, we hope you found this article helpful and if you have any questions please leave it in the comment section. We will be more than happy to help you.

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