The very first question type that you will face in your PTE exam is the Read Aloud question type in the PTE Speaking section. This is a simple enough question type.
You will see some text on the screen. You will have 30~40 seconds to read the text, understand it and prepare your response. After that time the microphone will open up. You will then have 30~40 seconds to record your response.
The question type contributes to your reading score also in addition to the speaking score. How well you score depends on how natural and comfortable you come across in your spoken response. If you are able to read the sentence properly without mistakes and your response demonstrates fluency, correct pronunciation, appropriate emphasis and flow of speech, you will get a high score.
Let’s first see the basics:
|Number of questions||6 to 7|
|Scoring||Contributes to Speaking score|
|Time to answer|| 35~40 seconds to read the sentence and prepare a response|
35~40 seconds to record your response
If you study and work in an environment which uses English language, you will find this question type simple enough. Most of us have to read reports, give presentations, read passages from text at work or study. This question type is just like that!
However, if you are not in a habit of reading out English texts, especially reading them out for others, you will need sufficient practice.
Please note that reading a text is very different from reading it aloud! When you read it aloud your focus is on how to make others understand the text and get it’s meaning across. If you can do this well, you can score high marks in this question type.
Your score depends upon first of all, how well you read all the words in the text. Reading the content accurately is very important. If you miss a lot of words or read a lot of words incorrectly, you will lose marks.
Rest of your score depends upon your oral fluency and your pronunciation. Try to sound as natural and fluent as you can.
This question type also contributes to your Reading score. After all you can only record correctly if you have read the text and understood it well.
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You will have 30~40 seconds to prepare your response. This is like your rehearsal time. Identify any words that you might find difficult and try to speak them out. In your mind plan how you will handle the long text – for example, you must figure out where you will pause in the sentence.
As a rule of thumb, you can pause on punctuations – commas, full stops, etc.
Make an effort to not come across as monotonous. In your experience, you might have come across people who speak like a robot. As a result, other lose interest in what they are saying or just simply fail to understand which parts of the sentence are more important than others. You need to vary your tone when speaking. Raise your tone and lower your tone at appropriate places. Give indication to your listener. Tell him when you are starting a new sentence, when you are coming to the end of a sentence. Your tone variations serve as these guiding points.
Not all words in a text are equally important. Some words carry more weightage because they influence the overall meaning of the text. These words should be spoken with some emphasis. Identify a few words in the text – usually adjectives or adverbs and put some stress on them when you speak.
If there are any words that seem new to you or seem long and complicated, try speaking them before the microphone opens up. Often you can break a complex word into smaller parts and figure out how to pronounce it. If after all attempts the word still seems difficult, just pronounce it the best you can, even replace it with a similar simpler word if needed.
You can use the 30~40 seconds you have to figure out all of these things. This is part of your preparation.
Once the microphone opens up, keep your eyes on the text in the screen and start speaking. In your mind you have already decided where to pause, where to raise your voice, where to lower your voice, which words to emphasize and how to handle the difficult words. Use this information while delivering your response. When speaking, there is no time for second guessing. Don’t hesitate, don’t override what you decided earlier during preparation. If you do your fluency, your pace, your pronunciation can all suffer and adversely impact your overall score.
With some practice it is possible to easily get a high score in these questions. Here are some tips and tricks that you should follow:
Pause at these places
Usually you need to pause at punctuation marks – commas, full stops and conjunctions such as and, but, etc. If a sentence is very long you can also break it at a logical point. Don’t overthink about where to pause or not. Just follow these indicators.
Emphasize just the right amount
Some people take emphasizing and stress to an extreme. You don’t need to stress at every second seemingly important word. If you do, you will sound very unnatural. Just pick 3~4 words, maybe one in each sentence and simply emphasize those.
Vary your tone properly
Usually when you begin your sentence, you raise your tone and when you come to the end of a sentence, you lower your tone. This is an easy guideline to follow. Don’t raise and lower your voice so much that it sounds like someone is singing.
Break through difficult words
Don’t hesitate and stop to think about difficult words. Just keep speaking. Rush through them, replace them with a simpler similar word. Hesitation is your number one enemy in this question type.
Speak in larger chunks
Someone who is good in a particular language, usually can read and speak a bigger part of a sentence in that language. To convey the same impression in English, you should try to speak a bigger part of the sentence in one go. When you practice, start by speaking 3 words at a time, then gradually increase the number of words you can speak in one go. But don’t set a fixed pattern when speaking. If you always speak 3 words, 3 words, 3 words, you will sound like a robot. Mix it and make it sound natural.
Practice reading daily
Simple daily practice – even reading a couple of pages from a newspaper will help you a lot in your preparation. Not only will you improve your speaking skills but also increase your vocabulary. We strongly recommend resources like Ted Talks! It’s also important to try out some high quality PTE Mock tests before your exam.
Be confident at all costs
Even if you doubt your English speaking skills, when you are speaking, you should try to sound as confident as possible. Do not doubt yourself. You are just recording in a computer program. Think of it as a dumb machine.
Speak loudly and with full force
It is important that your response is captured properly by the microphone. Only then can the software assess it in the right way. Ignore the others sitting around you in the exam room and just focus on your own speaking. Don’t mumble words, they should come out of your mouth completely. Don’t be lazy!
Now you know all the basic concepts needed to answer Read Aloud questions. So why not take a practice test in a real PTE software?