PTE Academic Ultimate Guide | Get all information here

Whether you are just beginning your PTE preparation or have been preparing for a while, you have found the most comprehensive learning resource for PTE Academic on the Internet.

This study guide is your central point of reference for your PTE Academic exam. Whether you are self-studying or taking a PTE course or have joined a PTE coaching program, this guide will still be very useful for you.

Download the complete FREE PTE Academic Study Guide and read anywhere!

The guide includes several sub guides and reading lists which we will point to you in the specific sections.

This guide is divided into the following sections:


Planning your study

Speaking in PTE
Read Aloud
Repeat Sentence
Describe Image
Re-Tell Lecture
Answer Short Question

Writing in PTE
Write Essay
Summarize Text

Reading in PTE
Multiple choice, choose Single Answer
Multiple choice, choose Multiple Answers
Re-order Paragraphs
Fill in the blanks
Reading and Writing Fill in the blanks

Listening in PTE
Summarise Spoken Text
Multiple choice, choose Multiple Answers
Fill in the blanks
Highlight correct summary
Multiple choice, choose Single Answer
Select missing word
Highlight incorrect words
Write from dictation

Introduction to PTE

PTE (Pearson’s Test of English) Academic is an English proficiency test just like the more famous IELTS and TOEFL. The exam is a much-preferred option for candidates wanting to meet their visa requirements for Australia.

The major reason for the wide popularity of PTE Academic is the fully computerized nature of the exam. Writing and Speaking responses which are marked by a human examiner in IELTS, are scored by a computer algorithm in PTE. This removes the human bias and makes the exam fair and equal for all.

Pearson is a leader in automated scoring technology that has been developed after extensive research of several years. The use of computers not only makes the scoring equal for everyone, it also leads to faster turnaround. Most students receive their score card in just a couple of days.

For more information on the test, go right to the source:

The test provider’s website is the most authentic source for any information on the exam. Beware of the random YouTube videos and websites. They can often harm you more than you think!

Planning your study

Your time and resources are limited. Therefore, it is important to use them for maximum benefit. Most of the candidates studying for PTE, are doing it along with a full-time job, university and family responsibilities. It becomes difficult to maintain the focus and use time effectively.

In such as situation, planning your study becomes even more necessary.

If this is the first time you are taking the PTE and have at least a month to spare, then you can start with the basics and gradually build up to the exam day. If however, you have taken PTE before but failed to achieve the target in one or more sections, you will need to put in more time into preparing for that section.

All of us are not equally good or bad at Speaking, Writing, Reading and Listening. It is not uncommon to find someone who speaks very good English, but struggles to write a paragraph and vice versa.

Therefore, please spend some time understanding your strong and weak points and then develop a study plan that best suits your particular situation.

Speaking in PTE Academic

Speaking is the biggest reason behind the popularity of the PTE exam. A majority of candidates who are unable to get their desired band in IELTS, blame it on the Speaking section. It is commonly felt that the human examiner in IELTS fails to judge all students equally.

However, this is not a problem in PTE! A computer program is going to record your responses and then give them a score. Unfortunately, a lot of people are under the misconception that just because it is a software they can fool it or trick it easily. On the other hand, the computer will minutely assess you on each and every level. If you prepare according to the parameters on which your responses will be scored, you have nothing to worry about.

PTE Speaking has five question types in it, not counting the Personal Introduction, which is not scored in the exam. It helps you to warm up for the exam and can optionally be seen by immigration officers or admission officers who receive your PTE score report from Pearson.

The question types in the speaking section are:

Read Aloud

The Read Aloud question type in PTE is the very first scored item that you will face in the exam. You will see a text on the screen and will have to read it out loudly. There will be 30~40 seconds to prepare and then an equal amount of time to record your response. As in all speaking tasks, if you stop for more than 3 seconds, the microphone will shut down. Please make sure that doesn’t happen!

What are the key factors that determine your score? They are – whether you can read what is written in the given time, is your pronunciation correct, how fluent you are and at whether or not you speak at a natural pace.

A lot of people struggle with how fast or slow they should speak, how they can make themselves sound natural and what they should do to improve their pronunciation.

Learn everything about Read Aloud in the PTE Read Aloud Tutorial.

Repeat Sentence

The Repeat Sentence question type in PTE Academic is just what the name indicates. You will hear a short sentence and you have to repeat after it. The challenge is to listen and understand correctly what is said, remember it and then reproduce it in a way that sounds natural and correct.

The challenge here for most students is to understand and remember what is said. It is easier to remember short sentences, but a lot of people struggle with sentences of medium and long duration.

We ask our students to first and foremost understand what is being said. Understanding the audio, makes it easier to remember the words. Note taking is also useful, but only if done properly.

Learn everything about Repeat Sentence in the PTE Repeat Sentence Tutorial.

Describe Image

An interesting question type, Describe Image in PTE Academic tests your ability to look at a visual and explain it by speaking for 40 seconds. The images are from a variety of categories such as bar graphs, line graphs, pie charts, photos, diagrams and maps of various types and complex infographics combining one or more of these types.

At the first instance, this question type appears to be very challenging – not only do you have to process all the information in the visual, but also frame a proper structured response covering all the key points! Moreover, your spoken response should also satisfy the parameters of fluency and pronunciation.

But if you prepare systematically – understand a high scoring method and then follow it each time you practice, you will be able to handle most of these questions quite easily in the exam. Having some ready to use templates for each kind of image, also comes in very handy.

All this and more is covered in the Sure Way English PTE Course. Have a look, if you haven’t checked it out yet!

Learn everything about Describe Image in the PTE Describe Image Tutorial.

Re-tell Lecture

PTE Academic tests whether your English language skills are at a level that will let you participate in academic environments with ease. And what is more academic then sitting in a lecture room and trying to understand the lecturer.

In the Re-tell lecture question type, you will listen to an audio of up to 90 seconds. This is taken usually from an academic scenario – such as a lecture, seminar or an interview on an academic topic. Once you have heard the audio, you will have a few seconds to organize your response. In the end you will have 40 seconds to record your response. Your response is basically what you will tell a friend what the lecture was about.

Key to scoring well here is first and foremost your ability to listen and understand what the important information in an audio is. You should be able to structure it properly and then deliver it in a way that sounds natural and fluent.

A few templates and standard ready to use sentences in the beginning and end of the response are useful here. Note taking also plays an important role, because most people struggle with a large lecture.

Learn everything about Re tell Lecture in the PTE Retell Lecture Tutorial.

Answer Short Question

Answer Short Question type in PTE Academic is simple in theory. You will listen to a short question and then have to give a short response to it – usually just a word or couple of words. What’s challenging here is that you will find a large number of these questions – 10~12 one after the other in your PTE test. This is what makes people panic and lose control.

If, however you stay calm and treat each question as if it’s the first question of the exam, there is no reason why you can’t get all questions right.

You don’t really need to worry about where the questions will come from. None of the questions require any specialized knowledge. Yes, there might be some questions which test your presence of mind or general awareness, but that’s about it.

Go to the PTE Answer Short Question Tutorial for Expert Method, Tips, Tricks and practice materials.

Writing in PTE Academic

The writing section in PTE is also scored by a computer program. What does this mean for you? It means that essay structure and using the right vocabulary at the right places is critical if you want to get a high score.

There are two question types in the writing section.

Write Essay

This is the standard essay writing task in PTE Academic. You will have 20 minutes to write between 200 and 300 words on the given essay topic. You might find 1 Essay or 2 Essays in your exam depending upon how many questions you get of the other type.

If you want a high score, you of course have to make sure that your response is on the topic! It is surprising how many people write more than 200 words without realizing that they have missed the key points entirely. So, make sure you analyze the Essay topic properly and form your ideas and structure before starting writing the Essay. A few minutes spent planning in the beginning will result in a much more organized and refined Essay.

Coming up with ideas, growing the ideas, structuring them properly, organizing the paragraphs, giving examples, linking the sentences and paragraphs properly are the key to getting a high score in Write Essay question type.

Learn how to write essays for a high score in the PTE Write Essay Tutorial.

Summarize Text

While in the Write Essay type, you have to write a long Essay text in response to a given topic, in Summarize text, you have to read a long text and summarize it in one single sentence.

A summary is intended to convey the essence of a text. Someone who doesn’t have the time to read the whole text should be able to understand the key ideas in the text by reading just the summary.

What’s the challenge in Summarize Text in PTE Academic?

It is first to identify the key points and then to convey them in just one single sentence! This is where a lot of people mistakes. They are unable to link the key ideas properly into a single grammatically correct sentence or they just get lost in the details and are unable to identify the key ideas at all!

Simple advice – Make simple sentences, don’t try to write a very complex sentence, that will only increase the chances of making mistakes.

If you already have a good command over English language, identifying the essence of a text, should be a simple thing for you. Then it is just a question of writing that essence in one sentence.

But if you are not very confident of your skills, you should follow a step by step method to identify the key points and then link them into a single solid sentence.

Check out the PTE Summarize Text Tutorial to learn how to crack this question type.

Reading in PTE

The reading section in PTE Academic comprises of the standard reading comprehension and fill in the blanks questions that you find in most English reading tests. You will be tested on your ability to read and understand an academic text, identify relationships between different parts of a text, make conclusions and understand the explicit as well as the implicit meaning behind the text.

The section includes a question type for which there is negative marking. It is the Multiple choice, choose multiple answers question type.

Most people struggle in Reading because most of us are not in a habit of reading English academic texts. Several of these questions depend upon a good grammar and vocabulary base. In our PTE courses, we provide free grammar and vocabulary courses and insist our students spend some time on them.

Tips and tricks are definitely useful, but when it comes to the Reading section, nothing takes the place of understanding the methods, working on the fundamentals and getting a lot of practice.

Let’s look at the question types in this section.

Multiple choice, choose Single Answer

The most common reading question type! The format is the same in PTE Academic – you will read a text and answer a question based on the text. You will have a number of options to select from, only one option is correct.

The key skills in this question type are your ability to find specific information in the text, your ability to understand relationships between parts of text and your ability to understand the overall theme or tone of the text.

You can find questions such as – Which of the following options is correct? OR Which of the following statements is the author most likely to agree with?

In the first question, you will have to match each of the options against information in the text and in the second question, you will have to understand the overall motive of the author to answer the question.

It is possible to score well in this question type easily if one pays attention to a few specific things and avoid some common pitfalls.

Learn everything about this question type in the PTE Multiple choice Single Answer Tutorial.

Multiple choice, choose Multiple Answers

Somewhat similar to the previous question type, in this question also you will read a text and then answer a question based on that. However, this time you have to select more than one from the given options.

Please note there is a negative marking in this question type! Don’t think you can randomly guess options and get away with it. For each wrong option that you select, you will lose a point, for an overall minimum question score of zero.

Time management is critical in the Reading section of PTE Academic, because there is only an overall timer for the whole section. So, even if you spend 40 minutes on a single question, no one will stop you from doing that. Therefore, you must have your own time management strategy.

Usually, people will take more time in this question type compared to a simple single correct answer question.

Check out the PTE Multiple choice Multiple Answers Tutorial for Expert Method, Tips, Tricks and a big list of practice materials.

Re-order Paragraphs

A very interesting question type, which is equally easy to get wrong!

The Re-order Paragraphs question type in PTE Academic requires you to arrange a number of paragraphs, usually four or five, in the correct order. They are presented in a jumbled order on the screen and you have to arrange them in correct order, so that they make proper sense.

Most people confuse how scoring works for this question type. You don’t get a point for each paragraph in the right place. You get a point for each correct pair in the right order. So you must get at least two paragraphs in the right order to get any score in this question type!

The first and most critical step in this question type is identifying the first paragraph or the opening paragraph. It is also the easiest one to pick because it can stand on its own and is usually an introduction to a topic or a definition of some sort.

The more challenging questions of this type are ones in which more than one paragraph seem to be the right one for a place. Then you have to try out putting each in the order and observe how it impacts the whole text.

Go to the PTE Reorder Paragraphs Tutorial to learn everything about this question type.

Fill in the blanks

The Fill in the blanks question type in PTE Academic requires you to read a text and fill in the blanks in the text by selecting words from an option pool given to you. Usually you will find a few words extra in the pool – that means not every word in the pool will fit in a blank.

You should be able to understand how words fit in the context of a sentence and the overall text, to score well in this question type. Moreover, an understanding of grammar rules and familiarity with common collocations helps do well in this question.

If you are confident of your English skills, you will be able to easily pick up the right words, however, if you are not so confident, you can follow the simpler method of picking one word at a time and trying it in a blank. See if it makes sense, see if it satisfies the grammar rules, if yes, it can be a right option.

The more you read and the more practice you get, better your chances of doing well in the Fill in the blanks questions in PTE Academic.

Must check out the PTE Reading Fill in the blanks Tutorial to learn how to score a 100% in this.

Reading and Writing Fill in the blanks

Quite similar to the previous fill in the blanks, in this question type in PTE, you have a separate list of options for each blank. Moreover, this question type also contributes to your writing score in addition to the reading score.

Make sure you have a sound time management strategy. Determine before the exam how much time you will spend on each question type.

Go to the PTE Reading Writing Fill in the blanks Tutorial for a deep dive into this!

Listening in PTE

The Listening section in PTE Academic consists of the largest number of question types compared to other sections. Some of these are fairly simple, while others can be quite challenging.

Like the Reading section, you will have an overall timer for this section, except for one question type, for which you will get dedicated time.

After listening to the audio, how much time you spend on the answering the question is entirely up to you. Therefore, always keep an eye on the timer.

If you have been exposed to an English speaking environment in your work or study, you will find most questions quite simple and with specific strategies and methods, it should be possible to score well. However, if your ear is not tuned to listening to English speech, you can find these questions challenging initially. We always ask our students to get into the habit of daily practice. Taking a PTE course and studying for the particular exam is definitely needed, but it is equally important to build up the core skills side by side. Even if you spend 15 minutes listening to English audio everyday for a month, by the 30th day you will find that you can understand what is said much easier.

Let’s look into each of the question types in the Listening section of PTE.

Summarize Spoken Text

Summarize spoken text is a cousin of the Summarize Text question type in the Writing section of your PTE exam. In the writing section you read a long text and then write a summary based on it, in the Listening section you will listen to a long audio and then write a summary based on it. In both types of this question you will get 10 minutes to complete your response.

There is one important different though! In the Summarize Spoken Text question type you can write more than one sentence. In that aspect, the writing requirements for this question type are less stringent.

You should be ready to listen attentively and take notes as soon as the audio begins. The better you understand the key theme and ideas and capture them in your notes, easier it will be for you to write a good summary in the end.

The PTE Summarize Spoken Text Tutorial covers everything – Expert Method, Tips, Tricks and a huge list of Practice Materials.

Multiple choice, choose Multiple Answers

Listening section of the PTE follows the Reading section in a number of ways. Several question types are similar but instead of checking your reading comprehension test your listening comprehension.

The Multiple choice, choose multiple answers in Listening is just like the counterpart in the reading section. You have to answer a question by selecting more than one from the given list of options. The question is based on what you will hear. It might be based on a specific detail in the audio or on the general tone or theme of the audio.

Just like in reading, there is negative marking here. So, don’t make random guesses. However, you must select at least one option because the overall score in a question type can never go below zero.

Learn everything about this question type in the PTE Listening Multiple choice Multiple Answers Tutorial.

Fill in the blanks

In the Fill in the Blanks question type in PTE Academic, you will see a transcript on your computer screen with some blanks in it. At the same time you will hear an audio. Your task is to follow the audio and pick the words missing in the transcript and type them in.

Please note, there is always a few seconds time before the audio starts in the listening questions. You can use that time to quickly glance through the text on the screen.

You can either type in the words at the same time as you hear them or you can first note them down in your scratch pad and transfer them to the screen in the end. Which approach will you take? Depends on how comfortable you are with listening and typing at the same time.

Score a 100% with the PTE Listening Fill in the blanks Tutorial.

Highlight correct summary

The Highlight correct summary question type in the PTE Academic is sort of a combination of summarize text and a multiple choice question. You will listen to an audio and see a number of choices on the screen, from which you have to pick one correct option. Each option represents a potential summary of what you have heard.

The key to getting a good score here is – Your ability to understand an audio and quickly identify the theme and main points in it. Then you should be able to read the various options and differentiate between the ones which are right and almost right or completely wrong.

There is no negative marking, so always select one option. You will have a few seconds before the audio begins. Use those few seconds to quickly glance through the options. this way you will be familiar with what you are about to hear in advance.

PTE Highlight correct summary Tutorial – Learn everything in one place!

Multiple choice, choose Single Answer

Very similar to the multiple choice, choose single answer in the reading section of PTE. In this case, you listen instead of reading and then answer a question based on what you have heard.

Note taking does help in this question type but your primary focus should be on listening to and understanding what the speaker says.

Check out the in-depth PTE Listening Multiple choice Single Answer Tutorial to learn everything about this question type.

Select missing word

You know those friends who often tend to complete your sentence? Select missing word question type in PTE Academic is something similar to that. You will hear an audio, the last word or few words of which have been beeped out. That means you will not hear the last few words, only a beep sound in the end. Then based on what you understood of the audio so far you will have to select the missing word from the options given to you.

You have to pay attention to the audio and try to understand as much of it as you can. The better you understand, more context you will have. You should also be able to remember the last few words so that you can match them against the given options and select the right one. It helps to use the few seconds before the audio starts to quickly glance through the options.

Check out the PTE Select Missing Word Tutorial – your single source for everything!

Highlight incorrect words

Highlight incorrect words in the PTE is a test of how well you can listen to an audio and follow along with its written transcript. In this case the transcript has a few words different from the ones you will hear in the audio. Your task is to identify these incorrect words by clicking on them.

Please note there is a negative marking for this question type. If you select some words which are not really incorrect, you will lose marks, the minimum score in a question though cannot go below zero.

Must read the PTE Highlight Incorrect words Tutorial to learn Expert Method, Tips, Tricks and lots more.

Write from dictation

The final task you will attempt in your PTE Academic exam is Write from dictation. You will listen to a short audio and you have to type what you heard and understood.

Some people prefer to type at the same time as they listen, while others just try to listen and understand first and type only in the end. Another option is to take some notes, either try to write the whole sentence or a few words on the scratch pad and then type it in the computer.

The right option varies from person to person. Those who are comfortable typing directly into the computer do just that, while those who think they will miss out on some words, type in the end.

Check out the PTE Write from dictation Tutorial for everything you need for a High Score in this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Let's begin!



Receive Expert video lectures and Mock Tests in a real PTE Academic software

Please check your email!

Don't miss the FREE PTE Score Boosters Book!
20 Lessons
  • Proven strategies and guidelines from PTE experts
  • Simple Tips and Tricks to quickly boost your score
  • How to answer difficult questions with ease and confidence
  • Most important things to take care of in different sections
  • Lots more...
Enter your email to download the FREE PTE Score Boosters Book right now!
Thank you!
Just a moment...

Enter your email address to receive the study guide!

Your email is safe with us!

Enter your email to download the book!

Your email is safe. We will only use it to share PTE information with you.

Start your FREE PTE Course!

Receive Expert Lectures and Mock Tests

Take this FREE Course to discover how we help our students achieve their target score in PTE Academic. Most of our students achieve their goal in 30 days of study!

Your email is safe! We will only use it to share PTE study materials and course information.