The PTE Academic syllabus can be broken down into three sections; speaking and writing, reading, and listening. Each section has a number of components that test candidates on their English communicative skill levels. Let’s take a thorough look at the components for each and every section of the examination.
Speaking and Writing
Students are given around 77 – 93 minutes to finish this section, which consists of the following components:
- Personal Introduction
- Read Aloud
- Repeat Sentences
- Retell Lecture
- Answer short questions
- Summarize written text
- Essay writing
For the spoken part, it is necessary for candidates to start practicing in advance, as the responses have to be quick and failure to respond quickly may result in a loss of marks. Candidates are also advised to write regularly to prepare for the written section. Summarizing big texts into smaller versions is a really good practice for the ‘Summarize written text’ section while elaborating on topics is good practice for the ‘Essay writing section’.
Candidates would get 32 – 41 minutes to complete this section, which consists of the following components:
- Multiple-choice, Multiple answers
- Multiple-choice, single answer
- Re-order paragraphs
- Fill in the blanks
As the ‘multiple-choice multiple answers’ section features negative marking, candidates should choose answers only if they are absolutely sure. In case candidates have doubts regarding the answers, they are advised not to attempt the question, because every wrong answer will lead to marks deductions. However, candidates don’t have to worry about negative marking when it comes to the ‘Multiple-choice, single answer’ section.
Candidates are given 45 – 57 minutes to complete this particular section, which consists of the following components:
- Summarize spoken text
- Multiple-choice, multiple answers
- Highlight Correct Summary
- Fill in the blanks
- Editing & Omission
To fare well in the listening section, candidates should pay a lot of attention to training their ears beforehand. As the listening section does not feature the use of screens and mostly relies on audio clips, candidates need to stay alert throughout the course of this section. Any lapses in concentration will be costly as the audio clips are played only once.
The ‘multiple-choice multiple answers’ section deducts marks if candidates submit wrong answers. That’s why candidates should not submit answers for questions if they are unsure about the answers. The ‘summarize spoken text’ section can also be quite challenging as candidates have to focus on the spoken text from start to finish. More often than not, the spoken text can be easily summarized based on the introductory and concluding paragraphs.
Overall, the PTE Academic examination consists of twenty different types of questions, which all offer a variety of challenges to candidates to examine their core communicative skills in English. If needed, students can choose a 10-minute break during the examination, which lasts for three hours. The conducting body of the examination provides every candidate a computer, a microphone and a notebook for the examination.
Candidates should use the notebook often as they can to jot down notes from audio clips. However, this can also work as a double-edged sword occasionally, as certain questions require candidates to respond fast, and jotting notes down in the notebook during those questions can use up a lot of valuable time.
All in all, the syllabus covers all the basic aspects of communicative English skills, which students can develop during the practice period. Candidates should give themselves at least a few months to gear up for the PTE Academic examination. Weaker candidates should spare at least six months for the examination, during which they can attend coaching classes, view YouTube videos and practice as much as they can to be thoroughly prepared for the examination.