PTE (short for Pearson Test of English) is regarded as one of the most reflective tests in evaluating English competencies among those studying and working in English-speaking countries.
How to get good scores in PTE is a different story, though – as some candidates struggle to understand the test’s approach and required skills.
Hopefully, our guides can shed some light on this critical issue and analyze excellent learning tips from some of the best PTE scorers.
How to Get Good Scores in PTE: Top 10 Tips for Learners
Tip #1. Research The Standard Format Of A PTE Exam
Like any test, it is hard to score high on your PTE exam if you have no idea of its requirements and assessment frameworks in the first place.
Hence, while spending time polishing your PTE skills, do not forget to address the most basic questions about the standard format, such as:
- The number of sections for each exam
- Minutes/time allotted to every section
- The number of questions
- How the answers are recorded
That way, you will find it much easier to identify your weak points and find solutions to progress towards your goals.
Tip #2. Active Listening
Listening is one of the four tested skills in PTE, in which you will be asked to respond to non-native English accents/spot the right information within a given audio speech.
Most people find it very difficult to stay attentive/focused throughout the entire audio speech. No worries; you can take smaller steps by:
- Watching films and movies with/without subtitles (the latter is highly recommended, as it ensures your attention to the movie is always spot-on)
- Listening to podcasts about topics you are interested in
- Watching videos on Youtube
- Listening to educational audio lessons; as the goal here is to be informed/educated, you usually have more motivation to will yourself into 100% focus.
Also, do not forget to take notes while listening; this habit will prove practical during the actual exam.
Tip #3. Taking Digital Notes
Regarding note-taking options, we strongly suggest you use a computer instead of paper or notebooks.
The PTE tests are often integrated with computer usage, requiring you to type down your answer or choose a given option from the computer screen.
Why not take this opportunity to start practicing your patterns – and familiarize yourself with the listening-taking notes habits before the exam?
Tip #4. Sparing Some Seconds After Your Answer
None of the listening tips will work if you fail to weave them into smart time management.
Always spare some seconds after your answer to double-check and make changes when needed. Also, remember to allot your time properly to:
- Listening to each question
- Decoding each question
- Answering the question
- Revising each answer
All of this actually sounds more complicated in theory than in actual practice.
You can sign up for beginner mock tests (available using the official practice applications by PTE) to master your time allocations via mock tests, live classes, trial exams, and more. Practice makes perfect: you will get sharper and more confident over time.
Tip #5. Never Skimming Over The Details
Always pay close attention to every detail during your listening sessions. Each minute nuance (such as tenses, pronouns, etc.) is just as critical as the keywords themselves, ensuring your answer is 100% accurate.
Tip #6. Tongue Twisters During Practicing
Tongue twisters refer to phrases of multiple words with similar starting sounds. Cases in point include:
- “Sally swiftly sewed seven striped sweaters.”
- “Giggling ghosts gather by the graveyard gate.”
- “Wally the walrus wore wacky wooly warmers.”
They are meant to trip you over your own words and definitely much harder than any common phrase.
But there is a perk to all these twisters: as you try to practice speaking them perfectly, your PTE pronunciations will naturally improve as a result.
Tip #7. Improving Your Speaking Speed
Pacing – referring to how fast your words are uttered within a sentence – is also crucial to your overall pronunciation/fluency score.
We do not suggest starting fast, then slowing down/pausing, and going fast again. Slow starts before rushing toward the end are also not recommended, either.
Try to find some balance between these two extremes to maintain steady pacing throughout, and always keep that goal in mind while speaking with your partners/friends during the practice.
Also, always pay attention and correct your bad speaking habits. For instance, how do you stop to think during particular parts? Do you continue or just go back to start the entire sentence all over again?
Quirks like these tend to lower the total score, so fix them properly before entering the PTE exam.
Tip #8. Listening to Spoken English
Do you still feel unsure about what is considered “good pacing?” One recommended strategy is to listen to natural, native English people conversing with each other:
- Watching English movies with subtitles
- Listening to radio stations to figure out how the dialogue flows among radio hosts
Remember these critical details, then apply them to your practice. Speak every day like that with a partner or a friend, and you will get more comfortable with both your pronunciation and pacing in no time.
Tip #9. Refining Your Writing Skill
A written PTE test consists of two main question types: Summarization and Essay. Keep the tips for each question type in mind to guarantee your answers match the exam’s requirements and scoring framework:
Summarizing Written Text
These prompts will assess your writing skills based on vocabulary, grammar, formal requirements, and content.
Before writing your answer, scan the text prompts to ensure there is no misunderstanding on your part (make guesses when necessary) and jot down the notes on the computer screen or Erasable Notebook Booklets.
Several ways to secure your points:
- Stick to the text’s general purpose and topic. Its key points are usually highlighted, developed, and repeated, so include all of them in your answers.
- Never include supporting evidence or examples; it is a summary.
- Pick up words in the texts, but try to switch to synonyms to avoid monotony.
- Include noun phrases (if appropriate) to show the examiners you can apply academic vocabulary well in written contexts.
The “Writing Essay” questions aim to evaluate your vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and general written discourse. Aside from logical approaches and critical thinking, time management plays a key role. You must practice how to plan the outline, write down the essay, and proofread everything in only 20 minutes.
Other tips to implement in your essays:
Include complex sentences where necessary; they usually earn you much more points.
- Vary your writing language through academic vocabulary, synonyms, and antonyms.
- Balance your usage of colloquialisms and idiomatic expressions; they help improve the writing quality but might be counterproductive when overused.
- Spell every word correctly; more than one spelling mistake means you will get zero for that question!
Tip #10. Master Your Reading Skill
Reading skills require less creativity and thinking complexities (compared to speaking or writing) but must be practiced with good strategies nonetheless.
Note that the following tricks should not be performed separately; you must integrate all of them at the same time in your reading session:
- Skim and scan. Scanning/speed reading helps you save time to focus on more important aspects presented in the text.
- Highlight all the keywords. With the keywords clearly marked, you will find it easier to locate the main ideas or sport the right response to each question.
- Use the elimination technique. Unsure which is the right answer in a multiple-choice question? Elimination techniques (ruling out the clearly illogical/wrong options) are usually the safest solution.
- Read each question more than once. Though PTE tests are usually time-bound, using the above mentioned tricks well will give you enough time to double-check each question at least twice. Sometimes, this strategy might help you pick up critical information that was previously missed/overlooked.
These small but powerful tips are the best shortcuts to help you master how to get good scores in PTE.
Practice frequently and smartly, and do not forget to seek professional help when necessary.
Group practices with close friends or study partners will also give you a lot of motivation boosts.