PTE Listening- Format
The Pearson Test of English, or the PTE exam, is a language proficiency test that assesses the ability of an individual to communicate and understand English at various levels. The three primary segments of the test where the core language skills are tested are the Speaking and Writing section, the Reading section and the Listening section, in which the PTE Listening is the final segment of the overall exam. This section is chiefly intended to evaluate the listening skills of a candidate. However, as PTE is an integrated skills test, more than one language skill may be tested in a particular task.
One of the most important characteristics of the PTE test is that it enables the candidate to use and develop their language skills in a way that is similar to how an individual would communicate in real life.
For example, listening skills are an essential part of an individual’s language capabilities and vital to carry out day-to-day functions. As a result, the PTE Listening section recognizes this aspect of language proficiency and aims to assess a candidate’s listening skills in multiple contexts and situations.
The PTE exam is one of the most sophisticated tests designed to assess an individual’s capabilities in the English language according to the Global Scale of English so that they meet the international standards of English and not just the British or the American standards.
The Exam pattern of this exam aims to comprehensively evaluate a test taker’s abilities in the English language’s core communicative skills. The exam is divided into three parts, namely the Speaking and Writing section, Reading section and Listening section. The Listening section is the final section of the PTE exam and since November 16, 2021, the total duration for this part has been reduced to 30-43 minutes.
PTE Listening Question Types
Each of the eight different question types in the Listening section assesses listening skills along with other communicative skills like reading and writing for certain questions. One of the primary goals of the PTE Listening section and the PTE exam overall is to evaluate how well an individual uses their language skills in real-life situations. Therefore, every question takes a different approach to assessing listening skills providing a comprehensive language proficiency evaluation. Given below is a detailed overview of the different types of questions in the PTE Listening section.
|PTE Listening Question Types||Number of Questions||Duration Per Question|
|Summarize Spoken Text||1 – 2||Prompt Length: 60-90 seconds, Time to Answer: NA|
|Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers||1 – 2||Prompt Length: 40-90 seconds, Time to Answer: NA|
|Fill in the Blanks||2 – 3||Prompt Length: 30-60 seconds, Time to Answer: NA|
|Highlight Correct Summary||1 – 2||Prompt Length: 30-90 seconds, Time to Answer: NA|
|Multiple Choice, Single Answer||1 – 2||Prompt Length: 30-90 seconds, Time to Answer: NA|
|Select Missing Word||1 – 2||Prompt Length: 20-70 seconds, Time to Answer: NA|
|Highlight Incorrect Words||2 – 3||Prompt Length: 15-50 seconds, Time to Answer: NA|
|Write from Dictation||3 – 4||Prompt Length: 3-5 seconds, Time to Answer: NA|
|Total Questions||12 – 20||Total Time: 30 – 43 minutes|
Summarize Spoken Text
In this section, an audio recording is played, and the candidate has to write a 50-70 word summary of what they have heard. It is important to summarize the core point and include the supporting points. The time allotted for this question type is approx. 10 minutes. There are typically 1-2 questions in this category.
Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers
This section includes multiple-choice questions, but there is more than one correct answer for each question included in this category. Candidates must note the main points from the audio recording to help them in answering. Like the previous section, the number of questions in this section is typically 1-2. Candidates are required to listen to the audio recording and choose the correct responses.
Fill in the Blanks
In this section, a transcript is presented to the test-takers, which belongs to the audio recording that the students will hear for this question type. There are typically 2-3 questions included in this category. Partial credit scoring is applied when a candidate fills a blank with a wrong answer.
Highlight Correct Summary
In this section, candidates are required to listen to an audio recording and, based on that recording, select the text extract out of the given options, which best describes the content of the audio recording in a summarized manner. Candidates are advised to note down the key ideas to help them identify the correct summary. There are typically 1-2 questions in this category.
Multiple Choice, Single Answer
Another multiple-choice question type, in this section, an audio recording will be played for the candidates based on which they have to answer multiple-choice questions within the range of 1-2. In this question type, candidates should only focus on the information needed to answer the question. There is only one correct answer for each question in this category.
Select Missing Word
In this particular section, an audio recording is played in which the last word or group of words have been purposefully muted or replaced by a beep. Students have to select the most appropriate option. There are 1-2 questions in this category.
Highlight Incorrect Words
This section requires candidates to highlight some incorrect words intentionally used in place of the actual words in the transcript of the audio recording that is played to the candidates. There are typically 2-3 questions in this category. It is important to read the transcript and questions quickly before the audio is played. Partial credit scoring applies and one point is deducted for every incorrect answer.
Write from Dictation
Candidates are required to write down the short sentence that is played in the audio recording for this question type. There are typically 3-4 questions in this section. This question type also includes partial credit scoring whenever one or more words are incorrect in each sentence.
A mandatory part of the preparation for any exam is the knowledge of the exam pattern and the type of questions asked in the test. Thus, it is very important for PTE candidates to be well-informed about the various parts of the PTE test. Hopefully, this article will help candidates research for the PTE exam.
PTE Listening Tips
The PTE Listening section is often considered the toughest section of the entire exam by several candidates. One of the primary reasons for this segment of the PTE test being so challenging is the amount of focus and presence of mind required to answer the questions. The audio recordings for each question are only played once, making the questions even more difficult to answer. Some useful tips listed below will help you improve your performance in the PTE Listening section.
- Candidates can use several techniques to retain as much information as possible, like closing their eyes and repeating what is being said in their minds. Concentrating on the audio is vital in the PTE Listening section.
- It is very easy to miss out on information in the audio recording. However, candidates should not skip an answer and try to make an educated guess if possible. That being said, for Multiple-Choice question types, candidates should avoid making guesses as negative marking applies to these questions.
- Before the audio begins for each question, read the question carefully to have an idea of what will be said in the audio recording. This helps in identifying the answers much easier.
- Sometimes it can be hard to retain information after listening to the audio recording. In such cases, it is always best to take notes and note down key information.
- Always check for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, especially for questions like ‘Write from Dictation’, as candidates are penalized for such mistakes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the duration of the PTE Listening section?
How many times can we hear the recordings in the PTE Listening section?
How is PTE Listening scored?
What are the tasks included in the PTE Listening section?
Does the PTE Listening section have negative marking?