Write from dictation is a simple question type in the Listening section of PTE Academic. You will hear a short sentence and you have to write what you have heard. As long as you are able to understand the sentence properly and write it down correctly without spelling mistakes you should be able to score well in this question type.
Let’s first look at the basics:
|Number of questions||3~4 questions|
|Scoring||Contributes to both Writing and Listening scores.|
|Time to answer||7 seconds before audio starts. No time limit for a single question.|
This question type tests a very fundamental skill which you need in your day to day student or professional life. That is to listen to a short sentence and be able to write it down. You must have done this is a number of times while attending a lecture or a meeting. If you are comfortable with this basic skill, you can score well in this question type.
You will have 7 seconds before the audio starts playing. Use this time to focus yourself on the question. Once the audio starts playing you can either try to type it directly in the answer space, or first understand and then type after the audio has stopped playing.
It can be challenging to type the whole sentence correctly while listening to the audio. Some of these sentences can also be a bit longer. Typing directly will become especially difficult in that case.
One alternative is to just listen and try to understand and remember the sentence and then reproduce it in the end.
The other alternative is to write it down in your rough scratchpad and use that to write the final answer in the end.
The approach we recommend is usually a combination of all these methods. If you are typing in directly, instead of typing the whole words, you can just note down the first few letters or just the first letter of each word. If you are writing in your rough scratchpad you can do the same there.
Along with this, try to understand what the sentence is about. This makes it easier in the end to look at what you have written and expand it into complete words.
Whether you type directly or first write on the paper depends upon how confident you are of your typing speed. We recommend that you do some practice using both approaches and see which gives you better result. Follow that method in the exam.
With some practice you can score well in these questions. Follow these tips and tricks:
Be ready to type or write
If the approach you are using is to type or write, be ready to do that before the audio begins. That means either place the cursor in the response box or be ready to write in the rough scratchpad. As soon as the audio starts you should be ready to type or write.
Don’t fall behind the audio
If the speaker has gone ahead to the next word, you should stop typing or writing immediately and go to the next word. If you get stuck on just one word you can completely miss the remaining sentence.
Capture the meaning
Focus on understanding the meaning of the sentence. This will make it easier to remember the words and write them later.
Review in the end
In the end read what you have written and make sure it makes sense. There is never going to be an illogical sentence in the exam. Also check for grammar and spellings.
If for some reason you are just not able to understand the sentence or take notes, then you have to give your best shot based on whatever you remember. For example, if you only remember 2 or 3 words from the sentence, then instead of just typing those 2 or 3 words, combine them into a logical sentence and then type them into the response box.
Practice core skills
Do not underestimate the importance of a little daily practice. Listen to some English audio, such as daily news or podcasts and try to write down after what you are listening. NPR is a good source of audios to listen to.
Time for practice! Take this FREE Practice Test and find out how well you do in the Write from Dictation questions!