An overview of PTE Academic speaking

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Speaking: Over view and Task introduction
The PTE academic exam consists of 4 sections which test your four different communicative skills. Speaking is the first task you face in the PTE academic exam, and it has five different tasks.

It is important to note that unlike other English proficiency tests, PTE academic is an integrated test. For example, “Read aloud” assesses both speaking and reading abilities whereas, repeat sentence, retell lecture and Answer short question assess your speaking and listening skills. Describe Image is the only section, which evaluates your speaking skills only.

Candidates must keep in mind that this is an academic test, and only the use of academic vocabularies and appropriate word choice will lead to higher scores. You should also be aware that Oral fluency and pronunciation are the two primary factors that contribute to your score. Verbal fluency is speaking without hesitations and interruptions with a constant speed, and pronunciation is about being able to pronounce the words using standard pronunciation. One of the most important things to remember for this section is that, if you stay silent for more than 3 seconds, the recorder stops and you are not given any marks for that question even if you speak afterwards.

1) Personal introduction
This task is not marked and doesn’t affect your score in any manner. It is intended to provide the educational institution you are applying, an opportunity to assess you. You will get 25 seconds to prepare and have about 30 seconds to speak. You can talk about your details and your reason for appearing in the PTE academic exam in this section. Your response will be sent together with your score report to the institutions you select. Please note that you can record only once.

1) Read aloud.
This is the first task of the speaking section of the PTE, and here you should read a paragraph or few sentences with the correct pronunciation and good fluency. This is not a difficult task but it carries score for the reading section as well. It is important that you don’t hesitate while speaking and pay attention to commas and full stops. You will also notice that there are few words which are considered difficult for non-native speakers of English. Try to read and identify those words in the 30-40 seconds of preparation time.

It is important that you don’t hesitate while speaking and pay attention to commas and full stops.

2) Repeat sentence.
Repeat sentence is not a task you would do in daily life, so you may struggle a bit initially. You must repeat a sentence after 3 seconds of the audio and note that there is no beep sound here so pay attention to the computer screen and repeat the sentence without omitting or replacing the words. Pay attention to the phrases and repeat sentences with grammatical continuity. Since there is mark allotted to the listening section from this task, stay focused and try to get as many words correct.

If you get 100% words correct in the sentence you get three marks, more than 50% in the correct order is two marks, and less than 50% is one marks. You do not get any points only if you keep quiet.

3) Describe Image
This task might be a bit intimidating for many in the beginning. Here, you are supposed to describe an image after scrutinising it for 25 seconds. You are allowed 40 seconds to complete the task. Since you get very less time to think and plan during the test, it is advisable to have the template we provide to maintain fluency. Certain types of questions such as line graphs, bar diagrams, photographs, process or flow charts, or maps keep recurring in the exam. Make sure you have enough vocabularies to describe all these questions. Always pay attention to the key features of the diagram and try to make a conclusion at the end, for an effective description.

Since you get very less time to think and plan during the test, it is advisable to have the template we provide to maintain fluency.

4) Retell lecture.
Besides being a speaking test, retell lecture is also a test of your note taking skills and listening. You must listen to a recording and speak for 40 seconds in this task. The recordings could be 80-120 seconds long. You must ensure you note down the key words which might include, important nouns, numbers and verbs from the recording. Our template may help you in effective note taking, maintaining fluency and pronouncing words correctly.

Our template may help you in effective note taking, maintaining fluency and pronouncing words correctly.

5) Answer short questions
This is the last task in the PTE speaking. There are about ten short questions, and you are supposed to answer them in one or a few words. This task assesses your speaking and listening abilities. Questions are simple, but the most tricky part is understanding them and giving the right response promptly.

This task assesses your speaking and listening abilities.

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