What is Written Discourse in PTE and How can you improve your score in it

Written Discourse in PTE

Written discourse in PTE is one of the enabling skills which often confuses and scares PTE Academic candidates. But what is an enabling skill? Why written discourse is called an enabling skill and where or how is it tested? These are some of the questions which often haunt us. This article will cover all the important ideas and tips about PTE Written Discourse.

What is written discourse?

In the PTE score guide, regarding Written Discourse, Pearson says:

‘Written discourse skills are represented in the structure of a written text: entailing its internal coherence, logical development, and the range of linguistic resources used to express meaning precisely. Scores for enabling skills are not awarded when responses are inappropriate for the items in either content or form.’

Written discourse relates to how you maintain the logical flow in your paragraphs with each other without going off-topic so that the reader keeps the interest and doesn’t lose track of what he read in the last paragraph. This is an enabling skill in PTE Academic exam. In order to understand the importance of written discourse in exams, we will have to look at a few other concepts related to PTE writing first.

Written discourse is an enabling skill in PTE Academic exam. It refers to the ability to answer certain types of questions but is not directly related to your exam score. Or in other words, written discourse is an enabling skill that is required to answer a certain type of question in your exam, and by improving your written discourse skill, you might be able to improve your communicative skill, which is the skill that is actually important for education or migration purposes.

What are enabling skills in PTE?

The effectiveness of speaking and writing is evaluated by the enabling skills. Language enabling skills are measured through grammar, oral fluency, pronunciation, spelling, and vocabulary, as well as writing. A score for an enabling skill is calculated based only on performance on items that assess the skill specifically. Each skill is worth 10 to 90 points.

In your exam, your communicative skills are dependent on the following enabling skills:

  1. Grammar: This is an assessment of the correct use of language with respect to word format and word order at the sentence level as well as sentence formation.
  2. Oral fluency: Speech delivery is smooth, effortless, and natural.
  3. Pronunciation: Producing speech that can be understood by a majority of people speaking the language normally. Regional or national accents of English are considered correct to the extent that they are easily understood by most regular speakers of the English language.
  4. Spelling: The writing of words in accordance with the spelling rules of the language. National variations are acceptable, but one spelling convention should be used consistently.
  5. Vocabulary: Appropriate choice of words used to express meaning, as well as lexical range.
  6. Written discourse. Correct and communicatively efficient production of written language at the textual level. Written discourse skills are represented in the structure of a written text, its internal coherence, logical development, and the range of linguistic resources used to express meaning precisely.

The content and format of the answer must be sufficient in order to earn points in the enabling skills group. If you are asked to write about television and never mention it in your article, you will receive a zero for your enabling abilities. Enabling skills are assessed only when you can get a score for your content and form. Otherwise, the task is not assessed for any enabling skills. The enabling skills scores earned from each task compose the total enabling skills scores reflected in the score report.

What is the difference between communicative skills and enabling skills?

So for those of you who do not know much about communicative skill or enabling a skill, when you look at the scorecard on the top of the scorecard, you’ll see something called communicative skills scores, and it consists of the score for reading, writing, speaking and listening. And these are the only scores that you actually need to show to universities or to migration.

And the skills which enable you to communicate are called enabling skills. According to Pearson, you will be able to write a great essay if your written discourse is good. Thus, if you are skilled in written discourse, you will be able to write a good essay, and so it is considered an enabling skill that enhances your writing skill.

Where is Written Discourse evaluated in PTE Academic exam?

Essay writing is the only question type used for assessing written discourse. In your exam, this is the only question that evaluates written discourse or places emphasis on written discourse. It follows, then, that weak written discourse will result in the poor essay writing grades.

Now, if you are not familiar with the scoring of PTE, then I suggest that you watch our video about video scoring below.

How important is Written Discourse in PTE Academic test?

In case you are familiar with the scoring in PTE, you may recall that essay writing only affects the writing section and does not affect any other question types. Consequently, boosting your writing score will increase your score for essay writing, thereby improving your score in writing only. As a result, the importance of this skill does not compare to other enabling skills, such as pronunciation, fluency, grammar, vocabulary, and spelling, all of which can have an impact on many questions and sections.

So, how can you improve your written discourse score then?

Upon reflection, what does this all mean for you on your test, and how will it affect your quest? You are essentially evaluating: first and foremost, the content, next, the sentence structure with correct grammar, paragraph structure, and overall essay, in addition to the use of linking words, correct punctuation, and the way you express your ideas. 

If you don’t pay attention to the criteria of the essay assessment, you could score low in your written discourse as well as in writing. The stronger your written discourse, the higher your writing score. This means that if you are better at written discourse, you can also score better on essays, and once you do that, you can score better in writing as a whole.

How can you increase your score in Written Discourse?

The written score depends on four factors namely: structure, coherence, logical development, and linguistic range. let’s look into these criteria one by one.

What is the structure of an essay?

An essay is usually structured in three parts: introduction, body, and conclusion.

The introduction should be used to get your reader interested in the topic so that they will read the article with interest. The introduction needs to introduce the topic of the essay. It should also mention what you are going to talk about in this essay. The intro shouldn’t be longer than a paragraph.

The body paragraphs should be used to present your points and make your arguments. Usually, we write two paragraphs in the body. In one paragraph of the essay, we have to make sure that we are talking about one important point only. Generally speaking, each paragraph should start with a topic sentence. A topic sentence is a concise statement of what you are going to write in your specific paragraph. It should not be too broad or too narrow, and it should introduce the main idea for whatever point you are trying to make.

The conclusion should be a short and succinct summary of the essay. It should remind the reader of some of the key points, and make a final statement about how the topic relates to what has been previously discussed.

What is coherence in essay writing?

Coherence in essay writing is the idea of linking sentences together coherently. This means that they should flow from sentence to sentence, and from paragraph to paragraph. Your essay should have a well-defined topic and every sentence should support this topic.

Some techniques for achieving coherence are: using transitions, repeating key phrases, and creating a consistent structure of paragraphs. One way to do this is to create a structure of subsections, each with its own purpose which answers one specific question. For example, one might have a subsection that discusses “what is information technology?” and another that discusses “why information technology is useful?” If you feel like one paragraph of your essay is answering too many different questions, then break that paragraph into multiple to answer one question at a time.

What is a logical development in essay writing?

Logical development is the use of a sequence of sentences that follows the natural progression of an argument. The purpose is to build up to a conclusion or answer the question posed in the introductory sentence. The logical development should not be interrupted by digressions, irrelevant details, or unrelated thoughts. A good paragraph will have an introductory statement and around two to three sentences that follow in a logical sequence, with one sentence following logically from the previous sentence.

What is the linguistic range in essay writing?

While linguistic range refers to the breadth of vocabulary, it also includes sentence structures that are varied. This is one important aspect of a good essay as it shows mastery over the language. A good essay is one that only uses words and sentence structures that are appropriate for the topic.

This is one of the hardest criteria to fulfill because it in some way reflects how comfortable you are with the language and how comfortable you are in writing a range of sentences. Not only does it show how you use different words in different contexts, but it also shows how you can easily switch between topic vocabularies as well as uncommon words. This skill also shows whether you are able to write simple sentences or more complex sentences and whether your writing is easy to understand and written at the appropriate level of complexity.

So how can you fulfill all these criteria while writing?

You have two options. The first one is to learn about the structure, coherence, logical development, and linguistic of a good paper. Once you feel more confident, try writing an essay on your own. Otherwise, you can take the easy way out and follow a template to create content. If you’re trying to get your high schooler to engage in conversations, learning the basics of a coherent, cohesive argument is key.

Find out how to help them craft arguments by completing the template on this page. But anyway, those of you who are interested in learning about in discourse, let me explain what these four elements mention here actually represent. So we are going to start with the structure. It’s very simple. Your essay should have a structure that is consistent with traditional essay writing.

Make sure you know what the essay topic is

Before you start writing in your PTE exam, make sure that you know what is the topic of discussion and what are questions you are supposed to answer

Every question you get in the exam will have a topic and a focus. The focus of the question is the part that tells you about the different tasks that you are expected to complete while writing the essay.

Let’s look into one question here: “Some people think that governments should spend as much money as possible on development, innovation, science, and technology. Other people disagree and think that this money should be spent on more basic needs. Which one of these opinions do you agree with?”

In this question, the topic is the investment by the government whereas the task is to pick a sector that you consider important for the investment and convince your reader about your opinion. Once you have decided how to do that you will have to a 200-300 words essay on the topic.

Practice writing an essay in paragraphs and be familiar with structuring the paragraph logically and coherently

I have already discussed the importance of this part in the paragraphs above. To make sure you can write a structured, logical, and coherent essay naturally, you will have to write a few essays and get feedback from your tutors. Ask them if your essay followed all the criteria or not and if not which criteria it did not follow and what you can do about it. Then write the same essay again keeping in mind the suggestions given by your tutor and ask them to reevaluate your essay. You will slowly start seeing the gaps in your skill and you will be able to fill those gaps more easily.

Spend some time learning basic grammar, syntax, and punctuation skills

Grammar and syntax are the keys to good writing. If we don’t take the time to study them, they can really hinder our ability to communicate effectively. This is why it’s important to spend some time learning basic grammar and syntax. If you want to improve your skills in these areas, you can follow the following advice:

1. Find a good tutor: Tutoring is the best way to learn and practice the basics of grammar. A qualified tutor can help you make sense of complex grammatical rules and teach you how to avoid mistakes in your writing.

2. Read! Reading a lot will help you improve your own grammar and sentence structures, as well as understanding other people’s writing better. It also expands your vocabulary, which is essential for clear communication and sounding like a native speaker.

3) Keep a journal (or blog or whatever you like). This will not only help you practice your writing skills, but it will also give you an outlet to express yourself as well as an opportunity to reflect on your thoughts and feelings over time.

Make yourself familiar with the frequently asked topics in the exam

It is always a good idea to make yourself familiar with the most frequently asked topics in the exam. This will give you a better sense of what questions you are likely to be asked in the exam, and allow you to plan your revision accordingly. The best way to do this is by reviewing past year’s exams – it might be time-consuming but it will save you from being caught out in an awkward situation. Once you have read all the questions, create a note with a few important ideas to answer each question. This way you will not have to think a lot to answer questions in the exam.


All in all, written discourse, although not an extremely enabling skill, can be quite valuable for you to learn if you are also planning to enhance your written communication skill. If you can use relevant information, write a structured, coherent, logically developed, and grammatically correct essay with a range of sentence types and vocabulary you will score 90 in the written discourse in your next test. If it is too hard for you to accomplish, you can simply use our format and get your desired score on your next test. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know in the comments.

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