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PTE Written Discourse training gets packaged and re-packaged all the time. It requires a lot of written and comprehension skills and it’s no wonder so many students trip-up on PTE Writing.

Let’s reveal why and present a useful test-preparation checklist and build a sample answer for PTE Written Discourse.  

What is PTE Written Discourse?

A common question that students ask is: “Why is my PTE Written Discourse mark so low?” Then following this, “What is Written Discourse?!

If you check the meaning of ‘discourse,’ it means a formal conversation where one expresses one’s ideas in a logical flow and progression.

In the PTE score guide, in regard to PTE Written Discourse they say:

‘Written discourse skills are represented in the structure of a written text: entailing its internal coherence, logical development and the range of linguistic resources used to express meaning precisely. Scores for enabling skills are not awarded when responses are inappropriate for the items in either content or form.’

Which question types does PTE Written Discourse relate to?

So, what on earth does all that mean for you in the test and which questions does it affect?

Basically, it’s referring to a few things: firstly, the meaning and logical sequence of your content, also, your sentence, paragraph overall essay or summary structures, in addition to usage of linking words, correct punctuation, and accuracy in how your express your ideas.

Importantly, as noted above, if you go off-topic in your essay or do not get all the main points in your summary, and/or do not follow the requirements of the word count you, will miss out on marks in the PTE Written Discourse enabling skills.

Therefore, your PTE Written Discourse score will be determined by your essay. 

How can I improve my PTE Written Discourse score in my essay?

PTE Written Discourse
Read the PTE written discourse advice and learn how the response is constructed below!
#1 Check that you understand the topic 100% and follow the instructions

Take time to deeply understand the essay topic: check what is the general/ broader topic, and then in your own words interpret the specific topic and question being asked.

So if you had the essay question:‘ In the past 100 years, there have been many inventions, such as antibiotics, airplanes, and computers. Which do you think is the most important invention and why?’

The broader topic is about great inventions in the modern era, and the question or specific topic is about which you believe to be the most significant one; then the instruction is to choose one and explain why you believe that to be the case.

#2 Refine your essay and paragraph structure and academic tone

Follow a structure, for your whole essay, including an introduction, 2 main body paragraphs, and a conclusion, as well as a structure for each paragraph. Also, make sure that you use an appropriate formal tone, academic words, as well as linking words.

For example, for the above topic, you could introduce your first main body paragraph as such: Firstly, computers have had an enormous positive impact on communication in the workplace.

This is a simple but clear topic sentence to introduce the main idea of the whole paragraph: the linking word, Firstly, is used to indicate it’s the start of your main argument and academic words and collocations such as, have an enormous positive impact on… and the workplace is an effective, natural-sounding word choices to make your initial point in a powerful way.

Compare the above to Computers are very good to use at work for your job. While this second version is correct, it sounds much less formal/academic and has less impact. However, at the same, be sure not to go to the other extreme, meaning, you don’t have to go crazy with difficult vocabulary that you aren’t at all familiar with!

This can lead to a lack of clarity and sounds ‘flowery’ (overly wordy) and unnatural, which is not what you are aiming for.

For example, don’t write: Computerised systems in venues of employment have prolifically infiltrated the world of work to exponentially enhance the work experience and add significant value to our workplace practices!

This sounds ridiculous as it’s so convoluted and the reader is left thinking: what exactly does that mean and what is wrong with the person who wrote it as it sounds so strange!

For PTE preparation materials you can’t live without, have a read and follow the links on the article: PTE Review Materials You Can’t-Miss!

#3 Improve your sentence structure and punctuation skills

As well as addressing essay and paragraph structure, it is important to use a range of sentence structures, such as compound (sentences which contain 2 independent clauses) and complex sentences (ones which contain an independent clause and a dependent clause).

Also, it’s important to check you know English punctuation rules, including comma usage, colons, semi-colons, and apostrophes.

For example, following on from our topic sentence above, we could use a complex sentence structure with appropriate punctuation to explain our topic sentence and give evidence:

Firstly, computers have had an enormous positive impact on communication in the workplace. In general, they have increased the speed and ease of communication at work, which consequently improves efficiency and thus leads to business growth.

For some quick written discourse advice, watch this video with Kaia from E2 PTE: Increase Your Written Discourse Score!

#4 Finally, we need to have a logical flow in ideas and development in structure.

To illustrate, we could conclude our paragraph by adding an example to support our main idea and a concluding sentence for our paragraph relating back to the topic sentence and overall essay topic.

So our complete paragraph will look like this:

Click Here to See our PTE Written Discourse Sample Answer!

PTE Written Discourse Answer

Firstly, computers have had an enormous positive impact on communication in the workplace. In general, they have increased the speed and ease of communication at work, which consequently improves efficiency and thus leads to business growth. For example, a national business could easily become global these days as both advertising and customer- communication can be solely conducted online regardless of time zones, cost constraints and location. In this way, computers have revolutionized opportunities for businesses and have made the world a lot ‘smaller. 

In summary, this is how you can address and improve on your PTE Written Discourse enabling skills:

  1. Use relevant content
  2. Adopt a good structure
  3. Use linking words
  4. Mix it up with a range of sentence types
  5. Correct punctuation
  6. Adopt appropriate tone and accurate vocabulary
  7. Present a logical sequence of ideas.

And of course: FEEDBACK! When it comes to PTE Writing practice, teacher feedback is almost always necessary for getting a clear sense of how to improve. Take a look at the article: Yes, You Definitely Need Feedback On Your PTE Writing Practice!’

For further advice on PTE Written Discourse please take a look at this PTE video: ‘Ask Jay Anything: High PTE Written Discourse Score but Low Overall Writing Score?’

For PTE scoring advice regarding PTE Written Discourse enabling skills, click on the article: ‘PTE Scoring for Newbies: Key Questions Answered!’

For some great PTE writing tips, head over to: PTE Writing Tips: How to Improve Your Essay

Happy PTE Written Discourse writing!

Written By Danielle

All Comments 12

    Many are telling that not to go for rescore, but I move to know about my score, because I have been followed Jay videos and also I went for PTE site, after that I attended the test for the first time I scored less and by seeing that I felt bad, I realized that it was my mistake or my fault.
    I move for second time test and I scored less and additionally there is no improvement in score, for the second time also I thought it was my blunder.
    After that I decided to achieve good score and I went for coaching, where the PTE ACADEMIC™ given a “Certificate of Appreciation”. I learned everything there and I congregate information a-lot, I prepared with attention and finally I went to exam to achieve better score compare to my previous scores. Here when score report was out, I went to depression, by seeing that score card, but I still have a confident that if I went for rescore there is chance of getting improvement of my score, So I proceed to rescore and I’m waiting for the result and I’m hoping, it will be out with good score.
    Thanks to Kaia for helping me, how to process a rescore.

    • Hi Rathnakar
      can you please let me know the result of your re-score?. I am also thinking of going for re-scoring but not sure if it is worth trying?.
      Thanks in advance.

  • Hi
    I have to improve in all areas of PTEA, however in Writing section i have to improve a lot. I have take PTE on 5th Nov. 2016 and scored this L:75, R:74,S:77,W:68. I am going through all the videos of E2 Language and still am not feeling confident that i can score 79+ in all sections. Could you please guide me.


  • maryam dolatkhah says:

    Dear Kaya,

    I attempted first trial exam last week my written discourse was 90, But in second attempt my score was 10. Can you please provide me with your hint.

    Kind regards,

    • Oh no!
      I’m sorry to hear that! I’m not so sure what that could be about!

      If you’d like to see what kind of assistance E2Language can give you in order to improve your Written Discourse score go ahead and raise you inquiries at the Student Help Desk. LINK:

      Remember, trial exams are not always telling of your actual ability! So do not get entirely discouraged!

      Hang in there & stay hopeful!
      The E2 Team

  • Rishi Khanduri says:

    Hi Team,
    Recently, i gave PTE & got the below scores L:71 R:77 S:89 W:70.My scores in Spelling were 39,Written discourse 58,Pronunciation 49,Grammar 74,Oral Fluency 90 and vocabulary 72.
    I’m targeting 79+ in all 4 sections & planning to give exam next month.

    Can you please help me here?

  • Hi,

    I took a mock exam and my writing score was 58 but my written discourse is 90. What does that mean? Does that mean that the essay I wrote was full scored? I followed e2 structure.

  • I’m really fed up with PTE. Twice I took the test, thinking I could score good marks. But I scored 70 and 73. Last time I went for coaching class and then appeared for the test. This time again I couldn’t score 79+ in all the communicative skills.
    Listening : 70
    Reading : 77
    Speaking : 90
    Writing : 66
    I scored 90 in all the enabling skills, except Written Discourse, in which I scored just 49. I should mention that I couldn’t grasp all of the write from dictation sentences. I messed up the first 2 sentences, and I ran out of time and missed the last sentence. Just want to know if this is only mistake or I missed it elsewhere too…! Please help…!

  • Hi Team,

    I have attempted PTE-A mock exam and can see below error in results.
    Any suggestion on this please?

    Your writing and overall score may be lower than you had expected as there was a problem scoring one or more of your answers to the writing questions in the test. This can happen if your answers do not conform to the instructions or you write in non-standard English.

    Communicative Skills

    Enabling Skills
    Oral Fluency90
    Written Discourse90

    Thank You,

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