A brief on Speaking and Writing section of PTE Academic

PTE Academic is an online English Language test, aimed primarily at not so proficient and non-native English Language speakers, who want to study or work abroad. It assesses the four primary language skills-namely Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. It is trusted by most universities, colleges and even government organisations around the world and since it is completely computer based with no human intervention, it is regarded as an authentic, impartial judgement of a candidate’s English language skill.

PTE Academic consists of three main parts. The student will receive a general introduction to the test and  specific instructions about what to expect in each part of the test. Each section is separately timed.

Part 1 : Speaking and Writing – This comprises of primarily six sections which starts with a personal introduction and continues with reading the text aloud, repetition of sentences, description of images, short question/answers session, summarizing of written text, and finally learning to write an essay. The total time allotted for this module is 77-93 minutes.

Part 2 : Reading – This primarily focuses on developing the reading skills and  the student is tested mainly on Multiple Choice, Single Answer, Multiple Choice Multiple Answer, Re-ordering of paragraphs, Fill in the Blanks etc. The time allowed for this is 32-41 minutes.

Part 3 : Listening – This again encompasses two sections where there is a summarization of Spoken Tests, Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers, Fill in the Blanks, Highlight Correct Summary, Incorrect Words, Writing from Dictation is stressed upon. The duration for this test is 43-58 minutes.

Score Patterns

  • Communicative Skills Scores : The communicative skills measured are listening, reading, speaking and writing. The score range for each communicative skill is 10-90 points.
  • Enabling Skills Scores : The enabling skills measured are grammar, oral fluency, pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary and written discourse. The score range for each enabling skill is 10-90 points.

The Speaking and Writing section of PTE Academic will assess you on the following topics.

  • Personal introduction
  • Read aloud
  • Repeat sentence
  • Describe image
  • Re-tell lecture
  • Answer short question
  • Summarize written text
  • Essay (20 mins)

The Speaking Section will test your ability to communicate and correspond in proper English in an academic environment, while the Writing Section will require you to write responses in academic English using correct grammar and spelling.

Personal IntroductionYou will be asked to introduce yourself first by giving some information about yourself . You will be given 25 seconds to read the prompt and prepare your response. You will only have 30 seconds to record a response and can only record this once. Your personal introduction is not scored, but it will be sent together with your score report to the institutions that you have shortlisted for higher studies.

Read AloudThe first question type to test your reading and speaking skills will be the Read Aloud assessment. In this test there are 6-7 questions. You will be shown a text prompt that will be up to 60 words. You will have 30-40 seconds to prepare by reading the passage. You will also have a set time to read aloud, which will vary by item, depending on the length of the text.

Repeat SentenceThe second question type will test listening and speaking skills. You will listen to a recording between 3-9 seconds and are given 15 seconds to answer. Once the microphone shows as recording, you will need to speak straight away and say all the words that the speaker uses, in the same order.

Describe ImageThe third question type will test speaking skills by describing an image. There are 6-7 questions. You will be shown an image and have 25 seconds to study the image and prepare your response. For this task, use the Erasable Noteboard Booklet to take short notes.

Re-tell LectureThe fourth question type will test your listening and speaking skills. There are 3-4 questions in this test. You will be given a prompt of up to 90 seconds and will have 40 seconds to answer. Audio will be played straight away and you may also see an image related to the audio. While you are listening, use the Erasable Noteboard Booklet to take short notes.

Answer Short QuestionThe fifth question type will assess listening and speaking skills. There are 10-12 questions in this test. Here, you will be given a prompt of 3-9 seconds and will have 10 seconds to answer the question. You will be required to answer a short question with a clear, simple, single word or a few words. This will not test general knowledge, it will simply test your vocabulary.

Summarize Written TextIn the first question type in the writing section, you will be required to Summarize Written Text, which will test reading and writing skills. You will read a text of up to 300 words and have 10 minutes to write your summary. You will do 2-3 of these questions depending on the combination of tasks in the given test.

EssayThis is the final section which will test writing skills. In this question type, you will be provided with 2-3 sentences of text prompt and have 20 minutes to answer, by writing a 200-300 word argumentative essay on a given topic. Time management is important for this task as you will need to plan, write and proofread your essay.

At TI, we give a lot of stress on the development of the following which are integral for clearing  PTE Academic . The following are most stressed upon so that you can clear this Speaking and Writing section with your target score.

  • Grammar : The correct usage with respect to word form and word order at the sentence level
  • Oral Fluency : The seamless, smooth and natural-paced delivery of speech
  • Pronunciation : Regional, national or international varieties of English pronunciation are considered correct to the degree that they are easily understandable to most regular speakers of the language.
  • Vocabulary : The appropriate selection of words used to express meanings as well as their lexical range.
  • Written Discourse : The improvement in the structure of written text, its internal coherence, logical development and the range of linguistic resources used to express the meaning more precisely.

All the best!!

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