Managing your time is critical for achieving the PTE test result you need! Jay will explain how to increase your PTE time management for the PTE Speaking, Writing, Reading and Listening sections.
In this blog article, I will tell you the basics of PTE time management. Indeed, it is one of the main skills that you need.
In short, you need to move ‘efficiently’ yet ‘accurately’ through the tasks. Some of the tasks are individually timed, in which case you don’t need to worry.
For example, in Describe Image, you have 40 seconds and that’s that. No time management needed. But while doing the Listening section and the Reading section you will need to know how long to spend on each task before clicking NEXT, because it is up to you to click NEXT.
PTE Time Management
5 tasks in 27 – 43 minutes
There are 77 – 93 minutes to complete the Speaking and Writing sections. Since the writing PTE section is either 50 or 60 minutes long and the speaking section is between 27 and 43 minutes long, the PTE time management for these sections will vary as they are dependent on the number of tasks offered on each test.
Answer Short Question
Answer Short Question is quite straight forward. You have 10 seconds to respond to the question asked – just try to understand the question and answer before the timer runs out – usually you will have a one- or two-word response.
Repeat Sentence PTE section is quite easy for many test-takers if the sentence is up to about 10 words. After this everyone (even native speakers) have difficulty repeating a sentence perfectly, even ones that are 12 to 15 words – especially when several words have multiple syllables. Again, you have ten seconds to respond/repeat. If you can’t repeat the entire sentence as it is spoken, the trick here is to speak with an even tempo and respond with any words or phrases you remember. Generally, always say something from what you heard because if you don’t respond, this will lower your overall score.
Describe Image and Retell Lecture
For Describe Image and Retell Lecture you must speak with an even tempo and with fluency and try to finish before 40 seconds to score a 90. For Describe Image PTE section you have 25 seconds to prepare, which is loads of time to sort out and prepare to speak 5 sentences if you ‘know’ the E2Language method. The method, when practised often enough, will become easy to remember and increase your fluency.
Likewise, E2Language’s 6-sentence Retell Lecture method will help you add fluency and accuracy to your speech, especially if you use noun clauses to complete your sentences. Since you only have time to write 5 or 6 keywords during the recording, and you have to begin speaking in only 10 seconds after the recording, memorizing the method and how to use it properly makes a 90 in this task obtainable for all.
Finally, Read Aloud asks the test-taker to finish reading a paragraph in 40 seconds, then speak while being recorded.
Again, speak clearly with an even tempo. In the 40 seconds given before you read, test-takers should skim the entire task, reading every word in their mind, and stopping only to speak out loud the words that they may have difficulty with. Then be ready for the recording to start.
** Remember that the next task in the speaking PTE section will start immediately after the clock records 40 seconds. If you choose to wait the remaining few seconds after completing the task, don’t speak or breath heavily into the microphone as the microphone is active and recording until the 40 second mark.
|Task||Time to prepare||Time given||Notes||Possible # of tasks|
|Repeat Sentence||10 seconds||10 seconds||10 – 12|
|Describe Image||25 seconds||40 seconds||6 or 7|
|Retell Lecture||10 seconds (after lecture)||40 seconds||3 or 4|
|Read Aloud||40 seconds||40 seconds||6 or 7|
|Answer Short Question||10 seconds||10 seconds||10 – 12|
In PTE Speaking each of the tasks is individually timed, meaning that you do not need to worry. You just need to follow the instructions and watch the clock. Below are the times are given for each of the tasks including preparation time and speaking time.
Again, make sure you start answering within 3 seconds or you the task will move on.
2 tasks in 50 – 60 minutes
In PTE Writing each of the tasks is individually timed, meaning that you do not need to worry. You just need to follow the instructions and watch the clock. Below are the times are given for each of the tasks.
Keep in mind that time DOES NOT carry over meaning that if you finish two minutes before the clock that two minutes DOES NOT carry over the next task.
Summarise Written Text
Summarize Written Text: You have ten minutes to summarize a text of approximately 300 words. Scan over the text to gain a superficial understanding. Then take notes of the topic sentences and support ideas. You need 3 -4 main ideas to use in your summary sentence. This should take approximately 5 minutes. From this point, you will have 5 minutes to write a single sentence of 30 to 40 words. Ensure there are no spelling or typing errors!
Write Essay: Write Essay PTE section has to be done in 20 minutes, so the 13 sentence E2 language outline has to be memorized. The introduction of 3 sentences should take the longest because it is the most important organizational feature – 5 to 7 minutes. The 2 X 4-line body paragraphs should take no more that 4 minutes each, and the conclusion should be no more than 3 minutes to write. The final 2 or 3 minutes should allow you to read through your essay and check for any spelling, sentence structure, word choice, grammar, or punctuation errors.
|Task||Possible number of tasks||Total time either 50 or 60 minutes|
|Summarize Written Text||1 or 2 or 3||10 minutes each|
|Write Essay||1 or 2||20 minutes each|
In both the Reading and Listening sections you can ‘push the time’ or click to go on to the next task of the section immediately upon completion of the task you have just completed. This will save you critical time!
We have done some mathematics and timed 100s of students taking these questions to live and have formulated ‘recommended time management’ for PTE Reading.
Test-takers tend to waste time in Multiple Choice Multiple Answer while looking for the second or possible third answer – just choose one answer if that is the best you can do and follow the E2 time guidelines and methods. The Reading Section is 32 – 40 minutes in length while the Listening Section is 45 – 57 minutes.
5 tasks in 32 – 40 minutes
|Task||Suggested time for each task||Possible # of tasks||Total time 40 mins|
|Multiple Choice Multiple Answer||2 mins. 20 sec.||2 or 3||7 minutes|
|Multiple Choice Single Answer||1 min. 30 sec.||2 or 3||4 minutes 30 sec.|
|Reading Writing Fill in the Blanks||2 mins. 20 secs.||5 or 6||14 minutes|
|Fill in the Blanks||1 min. 50 sec.||4 or 5||9 minutes|
|Reorder Paragraph||1 min. 50 sec.||2 or 3||5 minutes. 30 sec.|
For the other 7 tasks, you must manage your own time making sure that you move efficiently yet accurately through them. Don’t waste time in PTE Listening because it is vitally important that you make it to the final task which is called Write from Dictation.
I have seen many candidates get low writing and listening scores because they did not move quickly enough through PTE Listening and as such missed some of the Write from Dictation questions.
Don’t spend times looking for the answers
In PTE Listening you will get the answers during the audio or immediately after the audio. Therefore, you really should not spend time ‘looking’ at the answers. If you listened carefully and took notes then you can match your notes (and your memory) to the correct answer option in just a few seconds.
Take Select Missing Word, for example. In this task, you will hear short audio of about 30 seconds. The final word or words is missing and you must select from a list of around 5 options which word is missing.
You should select ‘immediately’. If you missed it, you missed it; don’t waste time looking at those five answer options because the audio can only be played once and is not coming back.
The same goes for the other tasks. For MCSA and Highlight Correct Summary, for example, you should match your notes to the correct answer.
This means that you should only spend about 30 seconds after the audio has finished before you move on to the next question because all you do is match your notes to the correct answer option. Reading through the answer options should only take you about 30 seconds.
Remember, the audio is not coming back; you can’t replay it. If you don’t know the answer guess and move on; don’t waste precious time.
8 tasks in 45 – 57 minutes
|Task||PTE Timed Event||Suggested time to complete the task after the recording||Possible # of tasks||Total time 50 minutes|
|Summarize Spoken Text||10 minutes||Click forward if you finish early||2 or 3||30 minutes|
|Multiple Choice Multiple Answer||–||60 seconds||2 or 3||3 minutes|
|Fill in the Blanks||–||60 seconds||2 or 3||3 minutes|
|Highlight Correct Summary||–||60 seconds||2 or 3||3 minutes.|
|Multiple Choice Single Answer||–||60 seconds||2 or 3||3 minutes|
|Select Missing Word||–||60 seconds||2 or 3||3 minutes|
|Highlight Incorrect words||–||30 seconds||2 or 3||1 minute 30 sec.|
|Write from Dictation||–||45 seconds||3 or 4||3 minutes|
Remember that time management is essential in achieving your goal score. Learn the timings, and once you have mastered the methods, practise under timed conditions. The Live Classes and recorded Live Classes are excellent ways to do this. You could also book yourself into a PTE Mini Mock Test!
Watch our E2 PTE YouTube Channel for effective methods that work!
Check out the PTE Speaking Describe Image Super Method below!
In a couple of words, it’s about efficiency and accuracy for PTE time management. Find the balance, score 90!
Check out our E2 Blog article on PTE preparation materials HERE!
Written by Jay