PTE Academic – Everything you need to know for a 79 plus score!
A good PTE score is within your reach! In fact, we believe almost anyone can achieve their target score in PTE Academic. It is only a matter of putting in some effort in a planned manner.
That is why we have written this guide! To help you put your PTE preparation on the right track.
So, let’s get started! In this article you will learn everything about the PTE Academic exam.
PTE Academic is the Pearson’s Test of English Language, Academic version. This part you already know. You probably also know that PTE has become one of the most popular English proficiency tests in the world. It’s a good alternative to IELTS for most people.
Should you go for PTE or IELTS ? We wrote an article to help you with the decision. Read it here!
In PTE you will receive an overall score on a scale of 10 to 90. A score of 79 plus is considered very good and usually meets most visa requirements – for work, study, immigration, etc.
Your overall score depends upon your performance in four sections – Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening. In each of these sections also you will get a score between 10 and 90. You can read more about the PTE scoring and exam pattern in our guides.
Now let’s have an overview of the PTE exam – what all it tests in what ways!
There are 4 sections – you probably already know this – Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening. Together in these 4 sections you will face questions of 20 different types.
Let’s quickly look at each one by one.
(Note: Our expert tutors have put together a full series of PTE Tutorials and PTE Tips and Tricks articles.Make sure to read all!)
PTE Speaking section
The PTE Speaking section contains five type of questions:
In PTE Read Aloud you will see a text on screen and you have to read it out loudly. You get about 30-40 seconds to read and then same amount of time to speak. This question type adds to both your reading and speaking scores.
You will listen to a short audio and have to repeat it as it is. The PTE Repeat Sentence questions contribute to your speaking as well as listening scores.
This tests how well you can comprehend visual information and then convey it back. So in PTE Describe Image questions you will see an image on your screen and then you have to describe it by speaking about it.
In PTE Retell Lecture, will listen to a lecture, an interview or a seminar recording – from an actual academic setting. You have to retell it in your own words, as if you are telling a friend who missed a class, what happened in that class.
Answer Short Question
You will hear a question – you have to answer it quickly in a word or a couple of words. In PTE Answer Short Question, the questions come one after another quickly. So be ready to answer a number of questions in a row.
PTE Writing section
The second section in your PTE exam is the PTE writing section. It has only two types of questions. Let’s look at them.
In PTE Write Essay will be given an essay topic on which you have to write an essay of up to 300 words. You will get 20 minutes for this task.
Summarize Written Text
You will be given a text – a paragraph or a few paragraphs and then you have to summarize it in one single sentence. For each PTE Summarize writen text task you will get 10 minutes.
PTE Reading section
The next section is the PTE Reading – how well you read and comprehend – that is tested in this section. There are questions of 5 types in this section:
Multiple choice single answer
This is a common question type that you might have seen in other exams as well – might remember from school or college. In each PTE Reading Multiple choice single answer You will be given a text – you have to read and then answer a question based on it. You have to pick one answer from the given options.
Multiple choice multiple answer
Similar to the previous but in PTE Reading Multiple choice multiple answers you will have more than one correct option. So make sure you pick all correct options. Remember there is negative marking here for picking wrong option.
This is what is also called jumbled text questions in other exams. In PTE Reorder Paragraphs you will see some paragraphs or lines of text on screen – they have been put in a jumbled manner. Your goal is to arrange them in correct order.
Fill in the blanks
In PTE Reading Fill in the blanks will see a text on screen that will have a number of blanks in between. At the bottom you will a pool of words – more than the number of blanks. You have to drag correct words into the blanks.
Reading and Writing fill in the blanks
This is similar to the previous but in PTE Reading and Writing Fill in the blanks, for each blank you will see a dropdown with a few options. In each question you will have to select the correct option.
PTE Listening section
The last section is the PTE Listening section. This has the most number of question types, but don’t worry many are quite simple and straightforward.
Multiple choice single answer
This is the listening counterpart of the multiple choice in reading section. In PTE Listening Multiple choice single answer questions, you will hear an audio and then answer a question based on that. The question and options are on the screen.
Multiple choice multiple answers
Same as previous but in PTE Listening Multiple choice multiple answers you have to select all correct options. Be careful – this has negative marking for selecting the wrong answers.
Fill in the blanks
This is a nice fun task. In PTE Listening Fill in the blanks you will see a text on the screen with some blanks in it. At the same time you will hear an audio corresponding to the text. From the audio you have to pick the missing words for the blanks.
Highlight incorrect words
In PTE Highlight incorrect words you will hear and audio and see a corresponding text on the screen. But what they have done here – some words in the text differ from the audio. You have to click on those. This also has negative marking – so be careful!
Highlight correct summary
In PTE Highlight correct summary questions you will hear an audio and then you have to click on one of the given options on the screen. Which option? The one that most appropriately summarizes the text that you have heard.
Summarize spoken text
This is like the summarize written task in the writing section. But in PTE Summarize spoken text you won’t see the text on the screen. Instead you will listen to an audio. You will get 10 minutes for each question of this type.
Select missing word
In the PTE Select missing word questions you will listen to an audio whose last word has been beeped out. You have to pick the option that correctly completes the audio.
Write from dictation
In the PTE Write from dictation questions will hear a short sentence, you have to write it as it is!
So, as you would have noticed PTE contains a nice fun mix of questions that put us in the type of situations we might come across in daily life – specifically in an academic environment.
Now that we understand what PTE involves, let’s see how to about getting a 79 plus score.
Steps to get a 79 plus score in PTE Academic
- Understand your current score level
- Make a plan to reach your desired score level
- Practice every day
- Get right guidance and feedback
- Work on the feedback
Let’s look into each of these one by one.
Understand your current score level
On our PTE Mock Tests Platform, every week hundreds of students prepare themselves for PTE. We have noticed that many people start studying even without knowing how much they need to study.
See, unless you know your goal, how will you know how much effort to put? There is only way to know your current level for sure. That is to take reliable scored mock test. Do not depend upon what friends or people say or subjective opinion of others. Once you know your score you will know where you stand. This is the only fool proof method.
Make a plan to reach your desired level
Now that you know your score level you should make a plan of study.
Your score card will tell you a few things clearly:
Which sections need most work – For e.g. do you need to focus on speaking or just writing.
Which sections are your strong points – so you can spend lesser effort on these sections.
If possible, try to get a scored mock test which also gives you feedback by each question type. For e.g. one that tells how much scored in Read Aloud, how much you scored in Write Essay, instead of just giving you one overall score for the section and the test.
Roughly speaking, you must at least spend sufficient time for 2 rounds of study.
That is, take a mock test, study all sections, take a mock test and evaluate yourself. Then study again using the feedback.
If you spend 2 hours every day with 4 hours on weekends, you can complete one cycle of study in about 2 weeks. We will cover this planning exercise in more detail in another tutorial.
For now, you can take this as a rough guideline to get started.
Practice every day
This one is very important!
By now you know – what is your goal, and you have a plan to reach that goal.
To do that you need to put in some work every day. Just like a sport athlete tries to get in form or in rhythm before a big competition, you should also try to get in form before your exam.
That is why studying every day is important. Don’t just spend 18 hours on one day and nothing on others. Little bits add up!
Use the right materials at the right stage of practice.
For e.g. if you are studying a specific area like Describe Image or Summarize Text, then you should practice with a test specific to that question type. Don’t take a full Speaking test or full PTE Academic test at that stage.
Once you complete a section your goal should be to see how you stand in that section – then take a section test.
When you complete all sections, take a full scored mock test.
This is why our PTE Mock Tests packages include tests suitable for all these situations. Use the right one for the right purpose!
Get right guidance and feedback
Do not underestimate the difference that some pointed feedback can make to your overall score!
We have seen students give the exam multiple times, trying to overcome the problems on their own – but failing! It only took them one message to our expert tutor to precisely understand the problem and get to know the solution.
In fact we consider that expert feedback is an integral part of your PTE Academic preparation and that is why include it in some PTE mock test packages.
Work on the feedback
You did the right thing. You took help from an expert. You sent them your writing or speaking responses. Or you sent them your question about some specific problem you are having in a section.
The expert sent you the feedback!
Now, take an action on it. It might not be easy or simple, but it is definitely needed. We all know people who get the best help and resources but don’t use them properly.
Understand the feedback properly and then work on that problem again. Did it make any difference? If no you can talk to the expert again.
Try and try again till you ace it!
Once you feel you are ready take a test again!
We can assure you, if you follow these suggestions you will be able to get your target score in PTE Academic. It might take a little or lot of effort but it will definitely be worth it!