PTE Academic Writing Section Elaborative Strategies



Writing part of the PTE Academic tests the ability of a candidate to produce written English in an academic environment. It requires you to do two tasks. One is summarising written text and the other one is writing an essay. Total time allotted for this part depends on the combination of tasks given. Each summarising written task is to be completed within 10 minutes and 20 minutes are given for writing an essay. A candidate is required to attempt both tasks in standard academic English using correct grammar and spelling. One spelling convention should be used consistently throughout.

Summarising written text: In this task type a candidate is supposed to write the summary of the given text in just one sentence. The content of the text will be about academic subjects. You may not be familiar with the topics presented but all information you need to complete the task is contained in the passage. The text length would be up to 300 words and you have to give the response within 10 minutes.

Read the question carefully and follow the instructions given. Analyse the question and jot down key points mentioned in the whole text on the erasable note board booklet provided. You can use these points as guide to prepare your summary. Remember you have to write only one sentence between 5-75 words only. One sentence means the sentence should start with a capital letter and end with a full stop. In between you can use different punctuations like commas, hyphens, semi-colons etc. to mention important points. There will be a word count box under the text and also the timer indicating remaining time for this task, so you can have a glance at these while writing and adjust accordingly. Make sure you have at least 1-2 minutes to check for any grammatical errors or spelling errors.

Your response for this task will be judged on how well the key points are presented and on the content, form, grammar and vocabulary used. Your summary should not misinterpret the topic or purpose of the passage. Using the correct sentence structure including main clause and subordinate clause and focussing on the usage of appropriate vocabulary and effective use of synonyms are quite essential to fetch good score.

Read the passage carefully identifying the writer’s purpose, style, tone or attitude to comprehend explicit, implicit, concrete and abstract information. While writing keep the track of time and synthesise the information communicating main points using correct grammar and spelling. Do not use background knowledge of your own ideas. Check the length, grammar, punctuation, spelling before clicking “Next” button and make corrections where necessary.

Write essay:

The next task in writing part of the PTE Academic test is write an essay. It is a long-answer writing item type which tests a candidate’s ability to write persuasive or argumentative essay on a given topic. You are expected to have an average typing speed as you need to type your responses on the computer screen in the box given. Understanding the prompt is quite essential to give a suitable response with adequate evidence to support your opinion.

A prompt will be displayed on the screen with instructions. You’ll have 20 minutes to finish the task. The word limit for this task type is 200-300 words which can be monitored in the “total word count” box. You must be able to address the topic, develop ideas based on the prompt using imagination and relevant examples to state your point of view. This task is scored based on several factors like the content, development, structure, coherence, form, language, grammar, vocabulary and spelling. Coherence is nothing but linking ideas together with the main theme. Ideas should be interrelated. Using cohesive words, conditional statements, idioms and collocations also make the essay impressive and interactive. An essay should always be generalised, that is to say no personalised essay. Whatever you mention should be on a general level with appropriate examples, if asked.

Candidates’ key skills tested in this task type are writing for a purpose, supporting an opinion with details, examples or explanations, organising sentences and paragraphs in a logical way, developing complex ideas using words and phrases appropriate to the context, using correct grammar and spelling. For this you need to understand what exactly the requirements of the essay are. You may be asked either to agree/disagree, argue for or against an opinion, describe situation, answer a question, discuss advantages/disadvantages etc.

Before starting to write it is advisable for a candidate to plan the content of your essay by noting any helpful ideas, phrases or words on the erasable note board booklet provided. Organise your ideas into groups, sequence them using cohesive words and check the plan against the essay prompt. Keep track of the time and leave 2-3 minutes in the end for revising and proofreading. This plan can be referred to write the essay within the stipulated time.

Check whether the content is relevant to the topic given, whether the ideas presented are clearly conveying the message, whether the format of the essay is correct with an introduction, a body of 2 paragraphs and a conclusion. Focus on the language and vocabulary you are using to present your ideas. Try using appropriate words, synonyms, prepositions, articles, collocations, idioms, conditionals as per the context to make your essay impressive. Check for the grammar, spelling and punctuation errors, if any.

Extensive practice in writing essays daily on various topics before the test day will prove to be advantageous for a candidate to score better. With practice you’ll be able generate quite a lot ideas and framing proper sentences will come naturally. You’ll have whole bank of words, synonyms to choose appropriate vocabulary from, assisting you in presentation of varied thoughts on the given topic. Practice with patience, positivity and persistence in order to achieve your target score. Good luck!


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