In PTE Academic Part 2: Reading, you will be required to read a text in each question to understand what it means in order to answer the question.

To identify and develop your reading skills we’ve put together some information to help you.

Grammar

Grammar skills are important as they help you understand what you are reading. In Part 2: Reading you need to understand the meaning of the tense system, how articles work and how to use pronouns.

Tense

The tense system refers to the way in which you write about situations in the past, present or future. It’s important to be able to understand how time is expressed in reading texts in order to understand the meaning of the text.

To learn more about the tense system view the Anglo-Link’s video on tenses.

Articles

In the reading section, you will also need to understand how articles work in English. Articles are words such as ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘an’.

Knowing how articles work will help you to understand the topic sentence in a paragraph and that will help locate an answer in a reading passage. This will help you with the Re-order Paragraphs question types in the test.

Indefinite articles (a or an) usually come before the definite article (the) before the same noun.

For example, An eminent scientist worked for years trying to find a new species of exotic bird. She led a team of three field researchers. One of the team members found the bird in a tropical forest. Two years later the same team found another new species in the forest.

You can learn how to use the correctly in this Oxford Online English video.

Pronouns

It’s important to also know what pronouns are to better understand the text you are reading. Pronouns are used to replace nouns so we do not have to keep repeating the same noun.

Knowing how to use pronouns will help in the test, particularly in the Re-order Paragraph questions, as they help you identify the correct position of sentences within a paragraph.

For example, Dr Gomez felt he needed to spend more time with his students when they were new to his faculty. There was so much information that he wanted to give them that he needed to spend more than a whole day with them, which surprised even himself.

To learn more and practice using pronouns, visit Ginger Software’s pronoun page.

Vocabulary

Having a wide vocabulary will help you succeed in the PTE Academic test as you will not need to slow down for as many words that you do not understand.

To widen your vocabulary you should:

  • Choose reading texts across a wide range of topics. Tip: Do not choose difficult texts.
  • Try to read the text and find words you do not understand, then try to work out the meaning from the context first. If you are still not sure, look the words up in a good dictionary.

Word families

When it comes to learning vocabulary, make sure to learn the word family of a word.

For example, progress (noun/verb), progressive (adjective), progression (noun). To learn the words, use it ten times, in different ways, such as writing, speaking and reading within a short time.

In PTE Academic you will need to know and demonstrate how to read a word, pronounce it correctly and how to spell it. You will also need to know if it is an academic or informal word and how to use it in a sentence.

Learn more about three aspects of academic vocabulary in the Griffith University’s Learn English- Academic Vocabulary video.

Context

Another important skill to improve vocabulary is inferring unknown vocabulary from context. You should be able to guess the meaning of new words or phrases based on the words around it (the context).

For example, you can guess the meaning of profligate from this sentence: The young man who spent all his money on expensive cars and holidays was so profligate that he wasted his whole fortune.

Sometimes you will be unable to work out the meaning of a word from the context and will need to look it up in a dictionary.

Collocations

Lastly, you will need to understand collocations. Collocations are words that often go together. You will need to have a good understanding of collocations in order to answer the Reading: Fill in the Blanks and Reading & Writing: Fill in the Blanks questions.

The more you read and listen to English, the more collocations you will learn. The PTE Academic Collocation List will also help you to learn these.

You’ll also need to learn reading methods and styles of writing in order to do well in this part of the test. We’ve put together some helpful tips on how to improve these skills here.

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