In today’s globalised academic landscape, clear communication in English is indispensable. Universities worldwide require proficiency not just in understanding spoken and written English but also in effectively expressing ideas.

The Speaking section measures oral fluency, pronunciation, and the ability to convey ideas coherently, reflecting real-world conversations and presentations.

On the other hand, the Writing section evaluates the writer’s style, vocabulary, grammatical correctness, and spelling accuracy, assessing the ability to construct well-structured and grammatically sound written responses.

The Speaking and Writing sections in the PTE exam are intertwined for a specific reason—they both gauge essential language skills crucial for non-native English speakers.

These sections assess a test-taker’s ability to articulate thoughts fluently, demonstrate clear writing, and use correct grammar and vocabulary.

In the Speaking section, tasks include reading aloud, repeating sentences, describing images, summarising, and writing essays. The Writing section evaluates the ability to summarise written text and write essays, focusing on writing style, vocabulary, grammar, and spelling accuracy.

PTE Speaking and Writing Sections Exam Format

The PTE Speaking and Writing section puts your English communication skills under the microscope. Each task within this 54-67 minute section assesses a specific aspect of your ability to use English in an academic environment.

Let’s delve deeper into each task and understand what it tests, along with its time duration:

PTE Speaking Exam Tasks

1. Personal Introduction (Practise Only, No Time Limit)

This initial task serves as a warm-up, allowing you to familiarise yourself with the PTE testing environment and microphone. It doesn’t contribute to your final score but helps you feel comfortable before the actual speaking tasks begin.

2. Read Aloud (Time Varies Depending on Text Length)

This task (30-40 seconds to prepare, variable recording time) evaluates your reading fluency and pronunciation. It assesses how clearly and naturally you can articulate a short text displayed on the screen.

3. Repeat Sentence (15 seconds)

This quick task (15 seconds to answer) tests your listening and speaking skills by assessing your ability to accurately repeat a spoken sentence.

4. Describe Image (40 seconds)

This task (25 seconds to prepare, 40 seconds to record) assesses your speaking skills and ability to describe visual information. You’ll be given an image and have 25 seconds to analyse it before describing it in detail during the recording.

5. Re-tell Lecture (40 seconds)

This task (up to 90 seconds to listen, 10 seconds to prepare, 40 seconds to record) evaluates your listening comprehension, note-taking skills (if you choose to use the erasable noteboard), and ability to summarise information effectively.

You’ll listen to a lecture (up to 90 seconds) and then have 40 seconds to summarise the key points in your own words.

6. Answer Short Question (10 seconds)

This quick task (10 seconds to answer) tests your listening comprehension and ability to respond concisely. You’ll listen to a question (3-9 seconds) and need to answer it with one or a few words.

PTE Writing Exam Tasks

1. Summarise Written Text (10 minutes)

This task (10 minutes) assesses your ability to identify and condense the main points of a written passage effectively. You’ll be given a text (up to 300 words) and need to write a single sentence summary capturing the essence of the passage within a 75-word limit.

2. Essay (20 minutes)

This task (20 minutes) evaluates your writing skills, ability to develop an argument, and knowledge of academic writing structure. You’ll be presented with a topic (2-3 sentence prompt) and need to write a 200-300 word essay that argues a specific point related to that topic.

Remember:

  • You only get one shot at recording your speaking responses. Make them count!
  • Utilise the erasable noteboard for jotting down key points during the Re-tell Lecture task (optional).
  • Effective time management is crucial for completing all tasks within the allotted time frame.

Other PTE Exam Guides

Common Challenges in Preparation of PTE Speaking and Writing

PTE Speaking Section

  • Fluency and coherence are major challenges for many test-takers. They often struggle to speak smoothly without long pauses, which makes their speech sound unnatural. Maintaining a clear and logical flow of ideas is especially difficult under time pressure, leading to disjointed responses.
  • Pronunciation issues are another common problem. Many candidates find it difficult to pronounce words clearly, resulting in misunderstandings. These pronunciation problems can also affect the listener’s ability to follow the speaker’s ideas, reducing overall communication effectiveness.
  • Time management during speaking tasks can be problematic. Some test takers fail to complete their responses within the given time, which affects their overall performance. Rushing to finish can lead to incomplete answers and a lack of clarity in speech, making it difficult to convey thoughts effectively.
  • A lack of confidence often troubles candidates during the speaking section. Nervousness and anxiety can undermine confidence, affecting the clarity and quality of speech. This lack of confidence can result in hesitations and frequent pauses, further detracting from fluency.
  • Limited vocabulary is a significant hurdle for many. A restricted vocabulary makes it challenging to express ideas effectively and fluently. Repetitive use of words and phrases lowers the quality of responses, making it harder to communicate complex ideas.

PTE Writing Section

  • Writing summaries presents a major challenge. Summarising texts accurately and concisely within the word limit is difficult for many test-takers. They often struggle to identify the main points and express them clearly, leading to summaries that are either too vague or too detailed.
  • Time constraints are a common issue in the writing section. Many test takers struggle to plan, write, and review their essays within the allotted time. The pressure of the clock often results in rushed and poorly organised responses, which can significantly impact scores.
  • Grammar and spelling mistakes frequently undermine writing quality. Errors in grammar and spelling can significantly lower scores by making essays difficult to read and understand. These mistakes distract from the content and reduce the overall effectiveness of the writing.
  • Organising ideas logically and in continuity is another challenge. Test-takers often find it difficult to structure their essays in a way that is easy to follow. Poor organisation can lead to essays that lack clear arguments and are hard to follow, negatively affecting clarity.
  • Developing arguments effectively is a common struggle. Writing persuasive essays with well-developed arguments and examples is challenging for many candidates. They often have difficulty providing sufficient evidence and explanations to support their points, leading to weak and unconvincing arguments.

PTE Speaking and Writing Exam Effective Strategies

PTE Speaking Section

1. Practice Regularly

Engage in daily speaking practice sessions to improve fluency and confidence. Choose topics of interest and speak aloud for at least 10–15 minutes daily.

2. Focus on Pronunciation

Pay attention to pronouncing words clearly and accurately. Use pronunciation guides and practice speaking difficult words until they sound natural.

3. Use Natural Pauses

Incorporate natural pauses while speaking to organise your thoughts and enhance clarity. Avoid speaking too fast or too slowly, aiming for a moderate pace.

4. Listen and Repeat

Listen to native speakers or audio recordings and try to mimic their pronunciation, intonation, and rhythm. This helps improve your overall speaking skills.

5. Seek Feedback

Record your speaking sessions and ask for feedback from teachers, peers, or online communities. Focus on areas such as pronunciation and fluency to refine your speaking skills.

PTE Writing Section

1. Plan Your Writing

Before starting, spend a few minutes planning your essay or summary. Outline key points, main arguments, and the overall structure to ensure a well-organised response.

2. Focus on Clarity

Write clear and concise sentences to convey your ideas effectively. Avoid unnecessary jargon or complex sentences that may confuse the reader.

3. Use Transition Words

Use transition words and phrases like “however,” “furthermore,” and “in conclusion” to connect ideas and create a coherent flow in your writing.

4. Proofread and edit

Always proofread your writing for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and clarity of expression. Edit your work to improve the sentence structure and ensure a polished final draft.

5. Time Management

Practise writing within the time limits to improve your time management skills. Allocate specific time slots for planning, writing, and revising your essays or summaries.

6. Practice with Samples

Familiarise yourself with PTE speaking and writing tasks by practising with sample questions and tasks. Analyse the model answers to understand the expected format and content.

PTE Speaking and Writing Exam Practice Resources

To excel in the PTE Speaking and Writing sections, here are some recommended resources and tips:

1. PTE Academic Official Practice App

Download this app to access official practice materials and improve your skills on the go.

2. Official PTE Academic Scored Practice Test

Take this test to get a realistic assessment of your speaking and writing abilities.

3. MOOC and Free Introduction to PTE Academic

Enroll in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for comprehensive video guides and online practice, developed with E2Language.

4. E2Language Access

Get one month of free access to E2Language for tailored preparation, including live classes, tutorials, and writing and speaking assessments.

5. Free PTE Academic Speaking Course

Take advantage of a free 6-hour course offered in partnership with Macquarie University in Australia to practice and improve your speaking skills.

6. PTE Academic Handbook and Score Guide

Refer to the free handbook and score guide for detailed information on the test format and scoring criteria.

Top Tips for PTE Speaking and Writing Exam Preparation Practice

  • Use recommended books, apps, and online resources to supplement your preparation.
  • Take regular practice tests to track your progress and identify areas for improvement.
  • Focus on speaking fluency, clear writing, grammar correctness, and vocabulary usage during practice sessions.
  • Utilise feedback from assessments and tutorials to refine your speaking and writing skills.
  • Stay consistent and dedicated in your practice to achieve your desired score in the PTE Speaking and Writing sections.

How La Forêt’s PTE Course Help

Struggling with fluency, clarity, or time pressure in PTE Speaking and Writing?

Our course gives you the tools and strategies to succeed. 

You will learn to speak smoothly and confidently, organise your thoughts, and give clear, concise responses. 

We will help you use transition words effectively and practice under timed conditions to manage exam pressure.

For writing, we provide clear instructions on summaries and essays, teach you to focus on key information, and show you how to outline your work effectively. You’ll also improve your grammar and vocabulary. 

With our PTE-specific practice materials and personalised feedback from experienced instructors, you’ll see where you need to improve and track your progress. 

Take control of your PTE journey and enrol now at PTE Course

Wrap Up

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