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 and summary content, for both the written text and spoken text summary questions in terms of content and structure quality as above.
How can I improve my PTE Written Discourse score in my essay?
#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 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 workplace are 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 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 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:
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 revolutionised 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:
- Use relevant content
- Adopt a good structure
- Use linking words
- Mix it up with a range of sentence types
- Correct punctuation
- Adopt appropriate tone and accurate vocabulary
- 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!
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Written By Danielle.