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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. 

PTE time management
Counting down to the date of your PTE exam? Start effectively preparing your time wisely! Read on. 

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

PTE Speaking

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.

  1. Read Aloud
  • Prepare for between 30-40 seconds
  • Read aloud for between 30-40 seconds

The length of the paragraph determines the length of time you get.

  1. Repeat Sentence
  • Listen to the sentence
  • Repeat the sentence

The sentence will be between 3-5 seconds in length and you should repeat it back in the same length of time. Keep in mind that if you pause for longer than 3 seconds your answer will be void.

  1. Describe Image
  • Prepare for 25 seconds
  • Describe the image for 40 seconds

We recommend speaking up to about 35 seconds. Keep in mind that you do not want to keep speaking at the 40-second mark or the timer will chop your final sentence in half (which may decrease your grammar score!)

  1. Retell Lecture
  • Listen to the lecture ~90 seconds
  • Prepare for 10 seconds
  • Retell the lecture for 40 seconds
  1. Answer Short Question
  • Listen to the question for 3-5 seconds
  • Answer the question in 1-2 seconds

Again, make sure you start answering within 3 seconds or you the task will move on.

PTE Time Management

PTE Writing

PTE Writing Practice
Follow the instructions on-screen. No need to take notes.

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.

  1. Summarize Written Text
  • 10 minutes to read, prepare, write and edit

Use all of the time because saved time DOES NOT carry over to the other tasks.

  1. Write Essay
  • 20 minutes to prepare, write and edit

Use all of the time because saved time DOES NOT carry over to the other tasks.

PTE Time Management

PTE Reading

In PTE Reading you are set a ‘total’ time of between 32-41 minutes. During this time you will receive 15-20 questions. I have done some mathematics and also timed 100s of students taking these questions to live and have formulated ‘recommended time management’ for PTE Reading.

PTE time management

Put simply, to get through all of the reading questions you should spend the following amount of time:

  1. Multiple choice, single answer: ~ 2 minutes.
  2. Multiple choice, multiple answers: ~3 minutes
  3. Reorder paragraphs: ~ 1 min 30 seconds
  4. Fill in the Blanks: ~ 1 minute
  5. Reading and Writing, fill in the blanks: ~ 3 minutes

PTE Time Management

PTE Listening

In PTE Listening the first task — Summarize Spoken Text — is individually timed for ten minutes. You can consider this task ‘separate’ to the other six listening tasks.

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.

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.

  1. Summarize Spoken Text
  • 10 minutes to listen to the lecture, take notes, write and edit your summary

Use all of the time because saved time DOES NOT carry over to the other tasks.

PTE time management
So, what’s next?

For the rest of the Listening tasks you must:

  • Listen
  • (Take notes)
  • Select the answer(s)
  • Click NEXT

Ultimately, it comes down to methods and practice. Once you learn the E2 methods you then need to practice them. You’ll find that you will get quicker and quicker once you learn HOW to complete each task.

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

All Comments 27
  • Hello jay if in pte practice if we run out of total time, does it will affect the result? Because even I did run out of time the exam was still working and continuing the exam


    • amudala jeevanteja says:

      Hello ifan, it will affect the score , in my previous attempt i ran out of time because of that out of 15 questions i answered only 10 questions in listening section, i got 39 in listening ,over all 52 .

  • Thanks a lot for this I missed write from dictation completely, although I do not think I took much time in listening tasks. And my scores were highly impacted by that, will try to apply the tips suggested in second attempt.

  • I took test today, and missed last 2 Write from Dictionary questions because of time out. How much will that impact my score ? I really should have referred the blog before 🙁

    • Oh no!

      I’m not sure how much these missing tasks will impact your score! But don’t stress about it too much now! You will see.

      & if you have to revisit the exam- now you know!

      GOOD LUCK,
      The E2 Team

    • Friend sorry to say but dictation has great impact on our score because I missed all 3 dictations as a result of which I got Listening 68, Writing 66, Speaking 89, Reading 80. So you can easily analyse the impact of dictation.

      • Dear can u share some tips and techniques for Reading & speaking tasks.How to score 79 at these tasks( Reading and speaking)

  • In part 1 of the PTA Academic for speaking, I ran out of time and was not able to answer the short questions! When the section started the clock was on approx 45 seconds. I felt truly swindled, especially after paying for and completing three practice tests smoothly.

    The advice that: “In PTE Speaking each of the tasks are individually timed, meaning that you do not need to worry” is surely not correct?

    • Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that!

      I truly feel for your situation 🙁 I guess ‘technically, each task IS individually timed! Making it in theory “easier”…

      But it’s true, for a lot of students, this may just make it EVEN more difficult! We wish you a better test experience next time! Now you know!

      GOOD LUCK,
      The E2 Team

  • Hi Jay
    Thanks for the great video. The chart you asked, which was a bar chart including many colors in each bar called “stacked bar chart”.

  • Hi everyone,

    I got 8+ in Reading and Speaking, but I missed 3 Write from dictation. Writing is my strong point, however, I got the lowest (7) in writing. Got 7.5 in listening. I realised that that last part of Write from Dictation and Spelling ( Realise != Realize) really impacted my score.

    Please ensure you use ‘s’ instead of ‘z’.

  • Hello, I need a guidance for crossing 79 mark, I am currently at 75 (appeared on 7-Dec-2018) (Speaking 90, Writing 76, Listening and Reading 73 each). I have sent a separate email to your team as well with my score report. I would highly appreciate if you could help me to achieve my desired score.

  • Really wish they had a separate timer for each question along with the overall timer. Then you can easily see how much time you are spending on a question and where to move on. I find I don’t have time to waste doing maths to figure out how much time I have spent on a question when I should rather be focusing on the question at hand.

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