PTE ACADEMIC
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What to expect on the test day

What to expect

In Part 2 you will be tested on your reading skills. The time given to this section is 32-40 minutes.

This single timed section contains 15-20 independent and integrated skills items, depending on the combination of items in a given test. Different response formats, including multiple-choice, re-order paragraphs, and fill in the blanks, are designed to test your ability to read, write and listen to information provided in English. Because PTE Academic is an integrated skill test, one item type in this part of the test also assesses writing skills.

Understand each section and question in-depth

For this item type, you need to select the most appropriate words from a drop-down list to restore the text.

There is a passage with some missing words. Beside each gap, there is a button with a drop-down list. Left-click on this button to reveal the drop-down list of options for that gap. Select the option you think best fills the gap.

To change your mind, left-click on a different option.

Test tips

Skim for overall meaning to help you choose the correct word
Understanding the meaning of the whole text helps you choose the correct word for each blank. For example, if you skim the passage below, you will find key ideas and words which point to a main topic of ‘change’.

When you click on the drop down arrows, you may find options that are also related to the main topic. You can then check grammar and overall meaning to see whether the words fit the blanks:

Read before and after the blank to help you identify the correct word
The choices in the drop-down menus may look quite similar but will have different meanings and usage. Looking at the surrounding context will help you choose the appropriate word. In the example below, only ‘access’ fits in the phrase ‘gained …………. to technologies’; pick words that match the meaning (gain access) and grammar (‘access to’). Reading either side of the blank will help you narrow down the choices you have to make:

Scan the text for the repeated words. Then read around them to find the answer more quickly:

How this question is scored
Your response for Reading & Writing: Fill in the Blanks is judged on your ability to use contextual and grammatical cues to identify words that complete a reading text. If all blanks are filled correctly, you receive the maximum score points for this question type. If one or more blanks are filled incorrectly, partial credit scoring applies.

Note

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

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

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

Make sure you know how the task is scored
Read the instructions carefully. Remember that more than one option is correct in this type of multiple choice item. You will score marks for any correct options but you will lose score points for any incorrect options. These include: options that you have clicked on as correct but which are wrong. If you click on all the options, because you do not know the answer, you will lose score points. This applies to Multiple choice, choose multiple answers item types for reading and listening.

Note any repeated words in the options
Quickly read through the response options and note any words that are repeated, particularly adjectives (e.g., ‘multigrade’) or nouns (e.g., ‘classes’). If the same noun phrase occurs in a lot of the options, the answer is probably related to this phrase.

Scan the text for the repeated words. Then read around them to find the answer more quickly:

How this question is scored
Your response for Multiple-choice, Choose Multiple Answers is judged on your ability to analyze, interpret and evaluate a short reading text on an academic subject. If all response are correct, you receive the maximum score points for this question type. If one or more response options are incorrect, partial credit scoring applies. This is the first 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 reading.
  • Your listening, 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 restore the original order of the text by selecting text boxes and dragging them across the screen.

There are two ways you can move the text:

  1. Left-click on a box to select it (it will be outlined in blue), hold the left mouse button down and drag it to the desired location.
  2. Left-click on a box to select it, and then left-click on the left and right arrow buttons to move it across. On the right panel, you can also use the up and down arrow buttons to re-order the boxes.

To deselect a box, left-click elsewhere on the screen.

Test tips

Read all the text boxes quickly before you start re-ordering them
Read the text boxes in order to understand the main idea of each one. You can do this by noting the key words.

Next, use the key words to form an overall idea of what the original text is about. This will help you find the logical order for the ideas in the text boxes:

Find the topic sentence first
Every well-written paragraph has a topic sentence. It is usually a clear statement about the topic, and all the other sentences are related in some way to this sentence.

The topic sentence can stand alone; it does not begin with a linker or a pronoun that refers back to something or someone (e.g., ‘he’ or ‘this’), nor does it does refer back to information or actions previously mentioned through the use of things like passive verb tenses (‘No link was found’):

How this question is scored
Your response for Re-order Paragraphs is judged on your ability to understand the organization and cohesion of an academic text. If all text boxes are in the correct order, you receive the maximum score points for this question type. If one or more text boxes are in the wrong order, partial credit scoring applies.

Note

  • This question type affects the scoring of only reading.
  • Your listening, 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 drag and drop words across the screen to correctly fill in the gaps in the text.

There is a passage with some missing words. You have a list of words in the blue box that you can use to fill the gaps in the text. There are more words than gaps so you will not use all the words provided.

Left-click on a word to select it; keep the left mouse button held down and drag the word to the gap where you want to place it. You can also drag words between gaps. To remove a word from a gap, drag it back to the blue box.

Test tips

Think about words that you often see or hear together
Remember that some words often go together to form a familiar phrase. This is called ‘collocation’. Using collocation can help you recognize the correct word for each blank. For example, the phrase ‘the general public’ is a common collocation, so you can quickly see that ‘public’ might be a good choice for the first blank in the sentence below:

Use your knowledge of grammar to help you select the correct word
Read around the blank in the text and decide what part of speech the missing word is. In the example below, ‘beginning to’ tells you that an infinitive verb form is missing ‘to + verb’. Next look at the answer options provided and rule out any words that are not the right part of speech, e.g., ‘world’ is a noun and ‘formal’ is an adjective. Also, rule out any verbs that are not in the infinitive form.

Finally, choose from the words that are left, the one that has the correct meaning: ‘view’ and ‘look’ mean ‘see’, but we ‘quote’ or ‘cite’ references, so only ‘cite’ fits the blank:

How this question is scored
Your response for Reading: Fill in the Blanks is judged on your ability to use context and grammatical cues to identify words that complete a reading text. If all blanks are filled correctly, you receive the maximum score points for this question type. If one or more blanks are filled incorrectly, partial credit scoring applies.

Note

  • This question type affects the scoring of only reading.
  • Your listening, 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 read the passage and answer the multiple-choice question.

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

Note the key words in the prompt before you read the text
The prompt for this item type may be a question or a sentence that you have to complete. Whatever type of prompt you get, read it carefully because it will tell you what information you need to find in the text. If you focus on the key words in the prompt, you will find the answer more quickly and spend less time reading the text.

Evaluate the response options
The response options may be words, phrases or sentences. Use your own knowledge to decide whether any of them are unlikely to be correct, or likely to be correct. You can do this before you read the text. If you read the text but cannot answer the question, choose the option that you think is most likely to be correct. This strategy also applies to multiple-choice questions with more than one answer.

How this question is scored
Your response to Multiple-choice, Choose Single Answer is judged on your ability to analyze, interpret and evaluate a short reading text on an academic subject. Your response is scored as either correct or incorrect. No credit is given for no response or an incorrect response. This question type affects the scoring of reading.

Note

  • This question type affects the scoring of only reading.
  • Your listening, speaking and writing skills are not tested by this question type.
  • 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 3

Listening

45 – 57 minutes
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