Q: How is this section structured?
A. This section is tricky because it’s really two very separate sections: One for speaking tasks, the other for writing tasks. The reason this is only regarded as one section (Speaking & Writing) is because the “Writing” section is quite small, containing only two tasks.
The “Speaking” section of “Speaking & Writing” has 5 different tasks in it: “Read aloud”, “Repeat sentence”, “Describe image”, “Re-tell lecture” and “Answer short question”. You can find information about each of these tasks by clicking on the “overview” tabs under “PTE –> ‘Speaking & Writing’ “. You’ll have about 30-35 minutes to complete this section.
The “Writing” section of “Speaking & Writing” has only two different tasks in it: “Summarize written text”, and “Write essay”. However, you will have to do one of these tasks more than once. That is- you will have either summarize two written texts OR write two essays. This is something that is randomly decided; you do not get to choose which task you want to do again. You can find information about each of these tasks by clicking on the “overview” tabs under “PTE –> ‘Speaking & Writing’ “. You’ll have between 40-60 minutes to complete this section, depending on the combination of tasks that you get (e.g. one “Summarize written text” + two “Write essay” = 60 minutes).
Q. What skills are being tested in this section?
A. When it comes to the speaking tasks in this section, the test makers are trying to determine your level of fluency and accuracy.
Fluency is your ability to speak clearly, without stopping (even if you make a few mistakes). If you constantly stop to correct yourself or pause for long periods of time to think of a word, you will not be considered fluent in English.
Accuracy is your ability to speak without errors, and it is incredibly important. It means that you are not making grammatical mistakes, that you are using the appropriate intonation in your sentences, that you are pronouncing your words correctly. The more accurate your speech is, the higher your speaking score will be.
When it comes to the writing tasks in this section, you need to demonstrate an understanding of writing structure and cohesion.
Good writing structure means that you are writing clearly, producing correct grammar and spelling, and using words and phrases that are appropriate to the context. For example, if you wrote something like: “The average person is fertile in their everyday work” because you thought “fertile” could be considered an appropriate synonym of “productive“, you would have used the wrong word for your context, making your point difficult to understand. If you feel you need help improving your writing structure, sign up to our PTE preparation course here.
Cohesion is your ability to lay out your ideas in a logical way that supports your purpose. When you write your essay, for example, you will need to develop convincing arguments or provide rational information to support your statements. You will need to demonstrate that you can express your thoughts in a complex way in English, which takes practice.
Q. How many times will I have to do each task?
A. You will have to do each task more than once, and in the speaking section you will repeat “Read aloud” 6 times, “Repeat sentence” 10 times, “Describe image” 6 times, “Re-tell lecture” 3 times and “Answer short question” 10 times.
As mentioned above, for the writing section you will write either the “Summarize written text” task OR the “Write Essay” task twice.