PTE ACADEMIC
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What to expect on the test day

What to expect

Part 3 consists of questions that are based on audio or video clips which begin to play automatically. You hear each audio or video clip only once so listen carefully. You are allowed to take notes. The time given to this section is 45-57 minutes.

For each question you have the opportunity to adjust the volume. While the audio clip is playing, move the control bar to the right to increase the volume or to the left to decrease the volume.

Understand each section and question in-depth

For this item type you hear an audio recording and need to write a 50-70 word summary on what you heard.

You have 10 minutes to write your summary.

The audio begins to play automatically. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once.

The Word Count at the bottom of the screen counts the number of words you write. Make sure to write a minimum of 50 words, but no more than 70 words.

There are also cut, copy and paste buttons which you may choose to use while constructing your summary.

Cut: Select text from your answer that you wish to remove and left-click “Cut”.

Copy: Select text from your answer that you wish to copy and left-click “Copy”.

Paste: Place the cursor where you wish to paste the cut/copied text and left-click “Paste”.

Test tips

Make sure you summarize the main point and include the supporting points
When you take notes using an erasable noteboard booklet, whilst you listen to the recording, make sure you note down the supporting points as well as the main idea. From your notes, you can then summarize the main point and refer briefly to the essential supporting points, which will gain you good marks for content.

Remember to check grammar, spelling and punctuation
In your 50-70 word summary, you will be scored on the enabling skills of grammar, spelling and vocabulary. So leave yourself 1-2 minutes after you have written your summary to check your sentences for things like subject/verb agreement, tenses and word order.

Use grammatical structures that you can use confidently, and words that you are sure you have spelled correctly. Finally, check your punctuation: check full stops and commas, and make sure you have begun each sentence with a capital letter:

How this question is scored
Your response for Summarize Spoken Text is judged on your ability to comprehend, analyze and combine information from a lecture, and then summarize the key points in writing and on the quality of your writing and on how well your response presents the key points in the lecture. Your score is based on five factors:

Content: Does your response summarize the main points in the lecture?

Content is scored by determining if all the key points of the lecture have been addressed without misrepresenting the purpose or topic. If your summary misinterprets the topic or the purpose of the lecture, you will not receive any score points for your summary on any of the five factors. Your summary will be scored zero. The best responses clearly summarize the main points and condense essential supporting points. They focus on the topic, including only key information and essential supporting points.

Form: Does your response meet the length requirement of between 50 and 70 words?

Form is scored by counting the number of words in your response. You will receive full credit if your response is between 50 and 70 words. Writing less than 50 words or more than 70 words will decrease your score. If your summary contains less than 40 words or more than 100 words, you will not receive any score points for your summary on any of the five factors. Your summary will be scored zero.

Grammar: Does your response demonstrate correct grammatical usage?

Grammar is scored by determining if the basic structure of the sentences is correct. The best responses use concise sentences that clearly communicate the intended meaning.

Vocabulary: Does your response demonstrate correct and appropriate word choice and Usage?

Vocabulary is scored according to its relevance to the lecture and its appropriateness in an academic environment. The appropriate use of synonyms is also scored. The best responses use words from the lecture appropriately, demonstrate an understanding of the context and use synonyms effectively to show variety in language use.

Spelling: Does your response demonstrate correct and consistent use of a single spelling convention?

PTE Academic recognizes English spelling conventions from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. However, one spelling convention should be used consistently in a given response.

Note

  • Partial credit scoring applies to Summarize spoken text. No credit is given for no response or an irrelevant response. This question type affects the scoring of the following: listening; writing; grammar; spelling and vocabulary.
  • Your speaking skills are not tested by this question type, and your reading skills are only used to read the instructions.
  • For more information download the Score Guide.

For this item type you need to listen to the recording and answer the multiple-choice question. There is more than one correct response.

The audio begins to play automatically. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once.

You need to select all the response options that you think are correct from the list of possible options.

To select an option click on it using the left button on your mouse. If you change your mind, left-click on the option again to deselect it.

The options you select are highlighted in yellow.

Test tips

Take notes of the main points and supporting details
In the 7 seconds before the recording begins, read the question and get ready to take notes to help you answer. Taking notes is likely to be more helpful than trying to select options while you listen because you may not hear the information in exactly the same order as the options.

Note down details (e.g., times, places, things that happened) as well as the main points, because you will need to select more than one option:

Select for meaning, not just to match the words you hear
Select the options that best match the meaning of what you have heard. Don’t just choose an option because it has the same words or phrases as the recording. Several options may use words from the recording but may not match the meaning of what you have heard.

How this question is scored
Your response for Multiple-choice, Choose Multiple Answers is judged on your ability to analyze, interpret and evaluate a brief audio or video recording on an academic subject. If all response options are correct, you receive the maximum score points for this question type. If one or more response options are incorrect, partial credit scoring applies.

Note

  • This question type affects the scoring of only listening.
  • Your speaking and writing skills are not tested by this question type, and your reading skills are only used to read the instructions, prompt and response options.
  • For more information download the Score Guide.

For this item type you are presented with a transcript of the audio recording, however, some words are missing. Restore the transcript by typing in the missing words.

The audio plays automatically. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once.

Left-click on each gap and type in the missing word. You can also use the Tab button on the keyboard to move between gaps.

Note: While the audio is playing, you can take notes on the erasable noteboard provided and then fill in the gaps.

Test tips

Skim the text before the recording begins
In the 7 seconds before the recording begins, you only have time to skim the text. As you do this, ignore the gaps and try to get an overall idea of what the text is about. This will help you recognize the words that fit the gaps, as you hear them.

Some of the things you can look for:

  • Proper nouns (that begin with a capital letter). They can give you information about people and what they do (e.g., ‘Mike Griffiths … conservationist’), places (e.g., ‘Indonesian island of Sumatra’) and organizations (e.g., ‘conservation group The Leuser International Foundation’). (Don’t worry if you don’t know where or who they are).
  • Nouns that are repeated in the text. They may help you decide on the topic.
As you listen, write the words you hear for the blanks on your ‘erasable noteboard booklet’
The recording is at normal speed and is only played once. When you are listening, you do not have time to think about how to spell the missing words. Use your erasable noteboard booklet to write down what you think you hear:

After the recording has finished, you can read through the text, and use your notes to decide on the words that are missing and how they are spelled. Then type them into the gaps:

Remember, the next item does not start until you click Next (N) at the bottom of the screen, so you have a little time to think about your answers.

How this question is scored
Your response for Fill in the Blanks is judged on your ability to listen for missing words in a recording and type the missing words into a transcription. Your score on Fill in the blanks is based on the following factor:

Content: Does your response include all the missing words?

Content is scored by counting the number of right words with correct spelling in your
response. Each correct word spelled correctly scores 1 point.

Note

  • If all blanks are filled with the right word spelled correctly, you receive the maximum score points for this question type. If one or more blanks are filled incorrectly, partial credit scoring applies. This question type affects the scoring of listening and writing.
  • Your speaking skills are not tested by this question type, and your reading skills are only used to read the instructions and the transcription.
  • For more information download the Score Guide.

For this item type you need to select the summary that best matches the recording.

The audio begins to play automatically. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once.

There are several possible response options but only one is correct.

To select an option click on it using the left button on your mouse. If you change your mind, left-click on the option again to deselect it, or left-click on a different option.

The option you select is highlighted in yellow.

Note: It may be difficult to read and listen at the same time. It is recommended that you listen first, make notes on the erasable noteboard and then read the summaries.

Test tips

Take notes and match them to the correct summary
Don’t read the options before or while you are listening to the recording as there is too much to read, and this will distract you. Instead, note down the key ideas on your erasable noteboard booklet as you listen (e.g., key words and phrases, numbers, names and dates and any information that is highlighted by the speaker through stress and intonation). Then read the options and match the option that is closest in detail to your notes:

How this question is scored
Your response for Highlight Correct Summary is judged on your ability to comprehend, analyze and combine information from a recording and identify the most accurate summary of the recording. Your response is scored as either correct or incorrect. No credit is given for no response or an incorrect response.

Note

  • This question type affects the scoring of listening and reading.
  • Your speaking and writing skills are not tested by this question type.
  • For more information download the Score Guide.

For this item type you need to listen to the recording and answer the multiple-choice question.

The audio begins to play automatically. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once.

There are several possible response options but only one is correct.

To select an option click on it using the left button on your mouse. If you change your mind, left-click on the option again to deselect it, or left-click on a different option.

The option you select is highlighted in yellow.

Test tips

Focus on the kind of information you need
For listening multiple-choice questions, the main part of the question tells you what to listen for. Being aware of the focus of the question will help guide your listening.

For example, it will tell you whether you are listening for the main idea: What was the main cause of the company’s collapse?

Or listening for some supporting information or details: What aspect of past transport policy does the speaker mention?

Or listening for an inference drawn by the speaker: What does the speaker suggest that the factory may have to do?

Or listening for the speaker’s purpose: Why does the speaker talk about the fall in car ownership?

Skim the question and answer options before you listen to understand the topic
In the 5 seconds before the recording begins, quickly read the question and answer options to make sure you understand the topic.

For example, in the sample, the question shows that the speaker will talk about the future, and the options show you they all include the word ‘media’. So you are listening to hear what the speaker thinks will happen to the media in the future.

How this question is scored
Your response for Multiple-choice, Choose Single Answer is judged on your ability to Your response is scored as either correct or incorrect. No credit is given for no response or an incorrect response.

Note

  • This question type affects the scoring of only listening.
  • Your speaking and writing skills are not tested with this question type, and your reading skills are only used to read the instructions, prompt, and response options.
  • For more information download the Score Guide.

For this item type the last word or group of words in the recording has been replaced by a beep. Select the most appropriate option to complete the recording.

The audio begins to play automatically. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once.

There are several possible response options but only one is correct.

To select an option click on it using the left button on your mouse. If you change your mind, left-click on the option again to deselect it, or left-click on a different option.

The option you select is highlighted in yellow.

Test tips

Know what to do if you change your mind about the answer
For each item in this task, there are three to five response options but only ONE option is correct. At the end of the recording, click on the option you think is correct.

The next recording does not begin playing until you click ‘Next’. So you have a little time to think about your answer. If you want to change your answer, click on it again to ‘de-select’ it. Then click on the option you think is correct.

How this question is scored
Your response for Select Missing Word is judged on your ability to predict what a speaker will say based on contextual clues in a recording. Your response is scored as either correct or incorrect. No credit is given for no response or an incorrect response.

Note

  • This question type affects the scoring of only listening.
  • Your speaking and writing skills are not tested by this question type, and your reading skills are only used to read the instructions and the response options.
  • For more information download the Score Guide.

For this item type you are presented with a transcript of the audio recording, however, the transcript contains some errors. While listening and reading, you need to select the words in the text that differ from what the speaker says.

The audio begins to plays automatically. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once.

To select a word click on it using the left button on your mouse. If you change your mind, left-click on the word again to deselect it.

The words you select are highlighted in yellow.

Test tips

Quickly read the transcription before you listen to focus on key words
In the 10 seconds before the recording begins, you cannot read word-for-word, but you can skim the transcription.

Focus on the words that give you information: e.g., nouns (‘economy’), adjectives (‘industrial’) and verbs (‘manufactured’). Decide what the general topic is. This will help you pick out words that do not fit this topic area, as you read and listen:

Follow the text with the cursor as you listen
In this item type, you have to select the wrong words as the text is read. Don’t try to make notes as you listen.

Move the cursor along the screen as the words are spoken, and click on any words that sound different from the words on the screen:

How this question is scored
Your response for Highlight Incorrect Words is judged on your ability to listen for and point out the differences between a recording and a transcription. Each selected word is scored as either correct or incorrect. If all the selected words are correct, you receive the maximum score points for this question type. If one or more selected words are incorrect, partial credit scoring applies. This is the third of three question types where you can lose points if you choose any incorrect options. For any wrong options chosen 1 point is deducted, whilst correct options are given 1 point. Make sure you are confident in your choices.

Note

  • This question type affects the scoring of listening and reading.
  • Your speaking and writing skills are not tested by this question type.
  • For more information download the Score Guide.

For this item type you hear a short sentence. Type the sentence into the response box at the bottom of the screen.

The audio begins to play automatically. You are only able to listen to the audio recording once.

Note: While the audio is playing, you can take notes on the erasable noteboard provided.

Remember to check your spelling.

Test tips

Type as many correct words as you can remember into the response box in the correct order
You will score points for every correct word that you write in the response box. If you can remember a word but you are not sure where it goes in the sentence, use your knowledge of English grammar to help you decide:

How this question is scored
Your response for Write from Dictation is your ability to understand and remember a sentence you hear, and then write it exactly as you hear it using correct spelling Your score on Write from dictation is based on the following factor:

Content: Does your response include all the words in the sentence and only these words? Content is scored by counting the number of correct words in your response.

If all the words are right and spelled correctly, you receive the maximum score points for this question type. If one or more words are incorrect, partial credit scoring applies.

Note

  • This question type affects the scoring of listening and writing.
    Your speaking skills are not tested by this question type, and your reading skills are only used to read the instructions.
  • For more information download the Score Guide.

Learn more about how each part works or start your test journey

Part 1

Speaking and Writing

77 – 93 minutes
Part 2

Reading

32 – 40 minutes
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