Low Score in PTE Listening? Improve With Expert Tips

6 minute read

The PTE listening section can be extremely daunting for some students. Even students who know the language and have spent years studying it sometimes face difficulties in understanding what is being conveyed by the recordings. However, if prepared for and done correctly, the PTE listening section is a goldmine of opportunities for students to improve their scores on the PTE exam. So, here are some amazing ways to improve PTE Listening Scores with expert tips to prepare for the exam.

Full Exam NamePearson Test of English Academic
Short Exam NamePTE Academic
Conducting BodyPearson PLC Group
Language of the ExamEnglish
Mode of ApplicationOnline
Mode of ExamOnline
Exam Duration2 Hours

Improve PTE Listening Section With Segment-Wise Tips to Boost Score

The listening section of the PTE exam is further fragmented into various types of questions. To ace this section, candidates must make a plan and be well-prepared in advance. For the benefit of the candidates, we have prepared specific tips for each type of question given below:

Question TypeGrading criteriaTips
Summarize Spoken Text – Listen to the recording provided and prepare a summary.Content of summary,
Word count,
Prepare pointers for the recording while it is playing.
Cross-check for spelling, punctuation and grammar. 
Refer to your pointers to ensure all aspects are covered.
Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers – Listen to the recording and answer the MCQ questions that follow which have more than one correct answer.Ability to analyze and interpret the recording.Make notes with details from the recording such as date, time, place, the events happening, etc. 
Remember that there can be more than one correct answer.
Fill in the blanks – Listen to the recording and fill in the blanks accordingly.Analysis of the recording and ability to interpret.Before the recording, go to the provided transcript.
Make notes of the pronouns you hear in the recording.
The nouns appearing during the recording may provide hints to the answers.
There is a partial grade awarded if some fields are correct while others are incorrect. 
Highlight the correct summary – As the name suggests, hear the recording and then select the correct summary for the heard audio. Listening
ability to interpret and comprehend. 
Go through all the options provided.
While listening to the recording, prepare pointers as to the main idea being conveyed by the recording.
Do not read the options while listening to the recording. 
Multiple questions, single answer –  Listen to the recording and answer the MCQ questions that follow. However, this time there is only one correct answer. Ability to analyze and interpret the recording.Before playing the recording, familiarise yourself with the question and answers. 
Subsequently, focus on the information you require while listening to the recording. 
Select missing word – A recording will play and you have to fill in the missing word using the given options. Ability to understand the recording and attention to detail.Before playing the recording, familiarise yourself with the question.
Subsequently, focus on the information you require while listening to the recording. 
Listen to the audio carefully.
Highlight incorrect words – A transcript is displayed after which a recording is played. Candidates have to mark the incorrect words according to the recording. Ability to understand the recording and transcript.
Attention to detail.
Read the transcript first and then listen to the recording. 
While listening to the recording, move the cursor over the transcript and select the word that sounds different or wrong.
Be attentive while listening and do not be in a hurry.
Write from dictation – As the name implies, candidates will hear a recording and he/she then needs to write down what he/she heard.Attention to detail and
attentive listening. 
The maximum score shall be awarded for getting all words right. A few mistakes may lead to the awarding of a partial score.
Take notes while listening and keep an eye out for spelling errors.
Use your grammar skills to ensure sentences are correctly framed. 

Also Read: Last-Minute PTE Test Tips

General Tips for Improving Your PTE Listening Score

The above section talked about specific tips for specific topics which can be implemented by candidates to improve their performance and scores in the listening section of the exam. However, some tips are useful for every fragment of the section. These are as follows:

  • It is recommended to read the question first and then listen to the recording.
  • Listen to the recording carefully, as you can hear it only once.
  • Practice questions of the PTE listening section every day.
  • When answering the questions, try not to make wild guesses.
  • Review your answers before submitting them.
  • Improve your vocabulary by reading newspapers and recommended books.
  • Avoid using the same words over and over again.
  • Listening to English audiobooks, songs, etc. is also a good way to improve your listening skills. 

PTE Listening Section Pattern

Since the listening section of the PTE exam is subdivided into further smaller fragmentations, there is a specific time awarded for each question type. Candidates can use this time duration to plan while preparing for how to approach every section. The details are as follows:

Question TypeTime DurationTotal questions
Summarize Spoken Test60-90 seconds to retain, 10 minutes to write        1-2
Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers40-90 seconds to prompt        1-2
Fill in the Blanks30-60 seconds        2-3
Highlight Correct Summary30-90 seconds        1-2
Multiple Choice, Single Answer30-60 seconds        1-2
Select Missing Word20-70 seconds        1-2
Highlight Incorrect Words15-50 seconds        2-3
Write From Dictation3-5 seconds        3-4
Total time allotted30-43 minutesTotal: 12-20


How many questions are there in PTE listening?

PTE listening contains 8 types of exercises which would take around 45 to 57 minutes to complete. There will be a total of 15-20 questions for the listening module. 

Which is the hardest section in the PTE exam?

Among all sections, the reading section is considered to be the most difficult section of the exam.

How much time is allotted for each section of the PTE exam?

The reading section is for 29-30 minutes while the listening section is for 30-43 minutes. Further, the speaking and writing section is for approximately 54-67 minutes. The total time of the PTE exam is 2 hours.

How can I improve my PTE listening skills?

To improve your PTE listening skills, practice listening carefully through daily activities and improve your retention abilities. During the exam, the student must first calm their thoughts, listen to the audio with undivided attention, and make quick notes of names, important information and statistics. read their notes and recall the audio through it once and then attempt the questions.

Why my listening score is low in PTE?

Some sections in the PTE listening tasks have negative markings. These sections are Multiple Choice, Choose Multiple Answers and Highlight Incorrect Words. Besides scoring well on other questions, a student might lose extra marks in these sections through negative marking.

Is PTE listening section difficult?

The PTE listening section uses audio recordings from day-to-day aspects of life and does not use very high-end vocabulary. But the section seeks attention and retention to a very high level which might make the PTE listening section seem difficult. However, with the right tips and practices PTE listening scores can be easily improved.

In this blog, we have discussed tips for candidates to improve their scores in the PTE listening section. Candidates can use the tips provided herein with their ideas and look to improve their scores further. 

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