Maximize your PTE scores by following these PTE listening practice tips. Learn what skills are tested for, and get advice on the timing and number of questions, the marks or points per question and the strategies for approaching each question type.
How does my PTE listening score get calculated?
An important thing to know about your PTE listening score is that some of the speaking section questions contribute to your listening score. Also, some questions in the listening section affect your reading and writing scores. You can see the skills tested for each question in the table below:
Improving Your Listening Score
Let’s look at how you can improve and maximize your listening test scores for each question type, including information and advice on:
1. Timing and the number of questions
2. Marks or points per question
3. Strategies and how to approach them
PTE Listening Practice: Summarise Spoken Text
1. Timing & number: 10 minutes per summary and you cannot go to the next question until the 10 minutes up so use it all! 2-3 tasks.
2. Marks: 10 marks per summary, divided into the 5 skills as above in the table.
3. Strategy: This task is the same as re-tell the lecture where you have to summarise the main points/ideas only of the lecture but you must also produce a well-written piece of writing as per the criteria in the table. You must write between 50-70 words.
As with retell lecture, you can use the following sentence structures + main ideas/ points to create your summary: The lecturer was discussing…. He/she mentioned that… He/she said that…..He she talked about…. He/she suggested that…. Use linking words between sentences for clarity, such as: also, in addition, however, finally, etc.
PTE Listening Practice: Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer
1. Timing & number: Answer in approximately 1 minute after the recording stops. 2-3 tasks.
2. Marks: 1 mark per correct answer; -1 for each incorrect response, so choose carefully and don’t choose an answer if you are unsure.
3. Strategy: Read the question and skim the possible answers before the recording starts so you know the topic and what information you are listening for. Take notes and be aware that the first answer will be revealed after the keywords are first spoken. Then closely listen for the second answer after this. There are usually 2 answers. After the recording, eliminate answers options that are incorrect or not mentioned.
PTE Listening Practice: Fill in the Blanks
1. Timing & number: 7 seconds until the recording starts and fill in the missing words as the speaker says them. 2-3 tasks.
2. Marks: 1 mark per correctly spelled word
3. Strategy: Quickly skim the passage in the 7 seconds before the recording starts to predict the missing words. Fill in the missing words as the speaker says them- don’t get left behind! After the audio finishes, go back and check at the end for spelling and correct grammar, e.g. singular/ plural forms, or noun/ adjective forms of the word.
PTE Listening Practice: Highlight the Correct Summary
1. Timing & number: 10 seconds to scan the answer options, 30-90 seconds for the audio and take approximately 1 minute to answer. 2-3 tasks.
2. Marks: 1 mark per correct answer
3. Strategy: Use the 10 seconds to skim the answers to pick up keywords for the main ideas being discussed. Take good notes. After the recording, eliminate answers options that are incorrect or not mentioned. If you don’t know, choose one anyway!
PTE Listening Practice: Multiple Choice, Single answer
1. Timing & number: Try to answer in 30 seconds-1 minute after the recording stops. 2-3 of this task
2. Marks: 1 mark per correct answer.
3. Strategy: Read the question and skim the possible answers before the recording starts so you know the topic and what information you are listening for. Take notes and note down keywords. After the recording, eliminate answers options that are incorrect or not mentioned. Choose 1 option.
PTE Listening Test Practice: Select Missing Word
1. Timing & number: 7 seconds before the recording starts. 2-3 tasks.
2. Marks: 1 mark per correct answer
3. Strategy: Read the instructions before the audio starts to find out what the listening is about and start to guess the vocabulary that might be used and skim the answer options. If any seem out of place, they might be incorrect. Keep your focus on the gist of the text even if you don’t understand every word. Keep your eye on the time bar. Important information will be spoken towards the end of the text.
For a comprehensive look at this task visit PTE Select Missing Word Task and use the practice questions and sample audio provided.
PTE Listening Practice: Highlight Incorrect Words
1. Timing & number: 10 seconds before the recording starts. Move and click as the passage is spoken. 2-3 tasks.
2. Marks: 1 mark per correct answer; -1 for incorrect word choices
3. Strategy: Click when you think a word is spoken differently to the text. Sometimes the difference will be very subtle but thinking about it will cost answers as the speaking continues so keep moving your cursor in time with the speaking!
PTE Listening Practice: Write from Dictation
1. Timing & number: 7 seconds before the recording starts and each recording is 3-5 seconds. 3-4 tasks.
2. Marks: 1 mark per word
3. Strategy: Try and catch every word in the sentence and ‘record’ it in your head so you can ‘play it back’ later. Write down main content words: nouns, verbs, and adjectives and add minor and grammar words later and/or use abbreviations for words if needed to save time and retype later when the speaking stops. Check for spelling and grammar: plural forms of nouns, correct articles, verb endings, etc.
Final Tips for Your PTE Listening Practice
- Do lots of practice with time management: when you are practicing the listening section questions, time yourself and stick to the times suggested above
- Make sure you leave enough time to complete Write from Dictation, which is the last question in the test as it’s worth between 30- 40 points in total and will impact both your listening and reading scores!
- Build up your PTE vocabulary on a range of academic topics by reading and listening widely
- Practice and build up your ‘active listening skills’ = 100% focused listening for detailed and specific information
- As well as E2language and PTE practice material, try listening to some great talks and lectures on TED and informative videos at National Geographic.
For more PTE listening practice tips visit the article on PTE Listening Test: Tips for a PTE 90.
Check out Jay’s PTE Listening: Write from Dictation video from our E2 PTE Channel on YouTube.
Also, watch the entire PTE Listening Every Task Explained on YouTube for explanations of every PTE task!
Do you have any PTE listening practice tips you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments below.
Written by Danielle