Try FREE now

PTE Reading has a number of question types. This article focuses on how you can get a high score on the PTE Re-order Paragraphs task you will see in the Reading part of your PTE exam. Don’t forget to check out our other blogs on PTE Reading questions, such as this great one on PTE Reading Multiple Choice.

In addition to the PTE Re-order Paragraphs practice questions you will see below, this article contains links to other resources you can use to master this question type, as well as other PTE practice questions and activities. So, be sure to:

  1. Read this article and try the PTE Re-order Paragraphs practice questions yourself.
  2. Watch the PTE Re-order Paragraphs Super Method video lesson below.
  1. Sign up to E2 Test Prep for our FREE trial and try the PTE practice activities.
  2. Read E2 Guide for Nervous Readers to help improve your reading skills.

PTE Re-order Paragraphs Basics

On PTE test day, you will find two or three Re-order Paragraphs tasks in your PTE Reading exam. This type of question tests your ability to understand coherence and cohesion – in other words, how ideas in a text are connected. In this task, you will see a number of sentences which are out of order, and you will need to rearrange them into a cohesive paragraph. We recommend spending about two minutes on each of these tasks.

The task looks like this:

A PTE Reorder Paragraph question. On the left are five sentences about Halloween in a random order. On the right are five empty text boxes.

Identify the Topic Sentence – PTE Tip 1

First of all, you will need to read all the sentences to get a general idea of what the paragraph is about. Then, you need to find the topic sentence. A paragraph usually starts with a topic sentence (you might remember this from writing an essay), so finding it means you will find the first sentence you need for your answer. 

A topic sentence is an introduction to the main idea of the paragraph, and it is not connected to any previous sentence, so we can also call it an ‘independent’ sentence. A topic sentence will not start with words such as ‘they / this / for example / but / another’, as all of these refer to previously mentioned information. Keeping this in mind should make it easy to find the first sentence for your rearranged paragraph. Let’s have a look at this example.

PTE Re-order Paragraphs Practice Question 1

Read sentences A to E that are out of the correct order. Before looking at the explanation below, try identifying the topic sentence. Think about why the other sentences cannot be at the start of a paragraph:

A. The two traditions eventually merged.

B. Another historical connection to Halloween comes from the 8th Century when Pope Gregory proclaimed November 1st to be All Saints day.

C. Halloween is a holiday celebrated each year on October 31.

D. Thus Halloween evolved into an event incorporating the saints as well as ghosts and involving dressing up in scary costumes.

PTE Practice Answer 1

Sentence A is not a topic sentence because of the words ‘The two traditions’ and ‘eventually’. Use of ‘The’ shows the writer is referring to some traditions that have already been mentioned, and ‘eventually’ refers to time sequence. It tells us that something happened at the end, which would not make sense at the start of a paragraph.

The second sentence, B, is not a topic sentence because of the word ‘Another’. Writing ‘another connection’ is only logical after we have discussed the first connection.

Sentence D is not a topic sentence because of the word ‘Thus’ which has the function of showing the result of something that has just been mentioned.

The last sentence begins with ‘It’. Of course, sometimes ‘it’ is part of a special structure that can appear in a topic sentence; for example: ‘It is often believed that …’. But usually ‘it’ has a specific meaning: an object or an event. In this case ‘it’ has a specific meaning, referring to something which is ‘related to an ancient Celtic festival’. We don’t know what this ‘something’ is because it is explained in another sentence.

As we have eliminated four of the sentences, you can see that the only independent sentence – and the topic sentence in our paragraph – is Sentence C. It is not connected to any previous sentence; its only job is to introduce what this paragraph is about (Halloween).Now you know the first sentence of your rearranged paragraph, which will make finding the correct order for the other sentences much easier. So when you are doing PTE Reading practice with Reorder Paragraph questions, always start with the topic sentence!

Analyse Keywords – PTE Tip 2

The next of our PTE strategies for Re-order Paragraphs is to analyse vocabulary and grammar keywords to find links between ideas in sentences. This includes looking at linking words (e.g. ‘another / additionally / therefore’), articles (‘a / an / the’), reference words (e.g. ‘this / such / they’) and words that signal time sequence (e.g. ‘initially / after that / eventually’).

PTE Re-order Paragraphs Practice Question 2

Let’s consider the same group of sentences. We have identified the topic sentence to put at the start of the rearranged paragraph. Now we need to decide on the order of the rest of the sentences. Do this yourself first, and practise using the linking words and other grammar and vocabulary features to help you. Then check if you are correct by reading PTE Practice Answer 2. 

A.   The two traditions eventually merged.

B.   Another historical connection to Halloween comes from the 8th Century when Pope Gregory proclaimed November 1st to be All Saints day.

D.   Thus Halloween evolved into an event incorporating the saints as well as ghosts and involving dressing up in scary costumes.

E.   It is related to an ancient Celtic festival where people lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off ghosts.

PTE Practice Answer 2

In Sentence A, you can see the definite article (‘The’) which is used to refer to something specific that has already been mentioned – ‘two traditions’. As these traditions have not been mentioned in the topic sentence, Sentence A cannot be the second sentence. There is also the time sequence signal (‘eventually’) which tells us this sentence comes a little later in the paragraph.

Sentence B contains the word ‘Another’, which refers to the fact that the first historical connection to Halloween has already been mentioned, and now the writer is talking about another connection. This means we need to find a sentence with that first connection between an older tradition and Halloween.

The first word of Sentence D is ‘Thus’, which is a linking word that is used to show a result of something. This will probably be our last sentence.

And finally, Sentence E begins with ‘It’, and we need to work out what ‘it’ refers to. Of all our sentences, ‘it’ (something specific) can only refer to ‘Halloween’ in the topic sentence, so we have found our second sentence. This sentence also talks about the first connection between Halloween and an old tradition (‘Celtic festival’), which means the third sentence will start with ‘Another historical connection’ (Sentence B).

Sentence four in the paragraph, therefore, will be Sentence A, which talks about the two traditions we have identified in the second and third sentences. And this makes sense to come before our last sentence, D, which shows the result of the two traditions merging. The correct sequence of sentences is: C, E, B, A, D.Hopefully you can see that using the vocabulary and grammar clues in the sentences is a really useful strategy. If you practise this when you do your PTE study, you will be an expert at Reorder Paragraph questions when your PTE exam day arrives.

Bonus PTE Tips

Here are two short tips you will find helpful for your PTE Reading test.

Tip 3: Use Trial and Error

Understanding how ideas are linked is, really, the key method for success in PTE Re-order Paragraphs. However, if you get stuck, you can simply try putting the sentences in some kind of order to see if the text makes sense. After all, you only have a few sentences to arrange into a logical paragraph, so there are not too many possible combinations.

Tip 4: Re-read Your Paragraph

Never underestimate the importance of re-reading your rearranged paragraph – ideally, a few times. This will help you check whether your paragraph flows logically. Also, it is easy to make a silly mistake in a test, which can affect your PTE score. You can avoid that problem if you remember to check your work and fix the errors. 

Next Steps in PTE Re-order Paragraphs

We hope this helps you on your journey to becoming a Re-order Paragraphs expert! Remember, E2 Test Prep has an effective method for this task which will help you get the PTE score you need. To learn the method, sign up to E2 Test Prep for free, watch the video lesson and do the practice questions. You can also join one of the Live Classes with our expert teachers to get even more PTE strategies. So sign up today!

What do you struggle with the most when it comes to Re-order Paragraphs? Let us know in the comments!

Author Bio: 

E2 is the world’s leading test preparation provider. Our expert teachers are fully accredited English teachers, with TESOL, British Council or other relevant certification, and years of PTE teaching experience. 

All Comments 6
  • Syed Murtuza Shareef says:

    Mr. Jay you are just amazing, i am following you on youtube and on E2 for PTE Academic Exam for which i need a preparation by looking all your videos, however, I need to get 79+ at any cost.
    Besides i need your advise, shall i follow the online videos or will you be my mentor for 1 to 1 session classes until i well prepared for my exam.

    • Hi there!

      Thank you for reaching out to us! We would love to help you prepare for your PTE further than just what is on our YouTube and Blog!

      If you are interested in signing up with us and having 1-on-1 sessions with expert E2Language PTE exam teachers please check out our FAQ student help desk for more information: https://help.e2language.com/support/home

      If you want more assistance go ahead and message our team HERE: https://help.e2language.com/support/tickets/new

      Outlining:
      -Your Test
      -Previous Scores in detail
      -Goal Score
      -And when/If your next exam is booked

      Just ask for a package suggestion and tell my colleagues that you are interested in our packages so we can help you further!

      Olivia, & The E2 Team

      • Hi Team,

        I have given exam on 6th of April and my scores are below mentioned.

        Reading:53
        Writing :57
        Listening:63
        Speaking:66

        I required score at least 79. I have not booked my exam yet but planing to give next exam by May first week. Please suggest me what can I do to improve my score.

        Regards,
        Pooja Saini
        9911258814

  • Hello team,
    I need your guidance for reading and speaking section .I have attempted one mock test and my score are as under:
    Listening:49
    reading:58
    writing:60
    speaking:53
    I require 75+ for my PTE Academic so kindly help me to achieve so. THANKYOU.
    Daxa Karena

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.