PTE-A: Tips For Write-From-Dictation Task

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PTE-A: 8 Effective And Proven Tips For Write-From-Dictation Task

The PTE Academic Listening section tests the listening skills of the examinee in the PTE Academic examination. Listening is the final section of the PTE Academic examination that finishes in around 45 to 60 minutes. The write-from-dictation is the last task in the Listening section that contributes some marks towards the score of the writing skill as well.

ExaminationPTE Academic Examination
Test SectionListening
Total Time45 to 60 minutes
Subjects for this taskHumanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences
Skill Tested and ScoredListening

Challenges: PTE Listening Exam Section

The PTE Academic Examination has three sections with 4 areas of testing English communication proficiency: Speaking and Writing, Reading, and Listening. The most challenging activity is the Listening section where the examinee has to listen to sentences spoken in foreign accents. So, the prime challenges of the PTE Listening section broken down are:

  • Remembering the long sentences
  • Getting the spelling correct
  • Understanding the foreign accents

While these challenges are graded, the most difficult is remembering the long sentences accurately. The next difficulty is the pain to understand long sentences while being spoken in foreign accents. The least difficult one is to get the spelling of the words correct. We have come up with the top 8 tips to help you prepare for the write-from-dictation task in the Listening section of the PTE Academic examination.

What is the Write-From-Dictation task?

The Write-From-Dictation task is the activity in the listening section where the examinee has to listen to spoken sentences and record the same in writing. The more exact the written sentence, the higher score in the Write-From-Dictation task. There is a response box located at the bottom of the screen where the examinee has to enter the written sentence. The dictated sentence in the audio is limited to a single play which requires the examinee to be very attentive. 

8 Tips for Effective Write-From-Dictation Task

Even if you are preparing from home, you can easily follow these 8 golden tips to crack the Listening section of the PTE Academic examination. Take a short tour below before getting into the details of how to follow these tips:

  1. Develop your own abbreviations
  2. Listen intently
  3. Avoid complex note-taking methods
  4. Try phonetic spelling of words
  5. Maintain the order of words
  6. Check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling
  7. Avoid skipping questions
  8. Check for the meaning of every sentence

Having established a general idea of the 8 golden tips to ace the Write-from-Dictation task of PTE Listening, we would now tell you exactly how you can follow these tips for better scores in the exam.

1. Develop your own abbreviations

The exam has a boundary of time. So you have to adapt to be able to match pace with the voice giving the dictation. The current generation of smartphones has already allowed us to develop smart texting where we tend to use a lot of abbreviations. The same idea can be used here. The plan is not to take excessive reading time while decrypting your own abbreviations. This way you can effectively form your sentence from the dictation and also keep pace with the audio.

2. Listen intently

Many students who do not have a daily habit of reading, tend to develop a habit of skipping words which is more evident in the Listening section. These students skip hearing some words and this cause the sentences to be incorrect. Thus, it is advised to keep up a habit of listening to everything with more intent so that the daily habit can bear the result in the Listening section of PTE.

3. Avoid complex note-taking methods

Many tutors and institutions would talk about learning shorthand to make the note-taking task easier. If you already know the process from previous experiences in life then it is good to be used because you would already have practice. However, learning it just for PTE might get you into trouble. Two reasons why you should avoid shorthand are:

  • Complex enough to learn on short notice
  • Takes time, and might reduce the time needed to prepare for other sections

4. Try phonetic spelling of words

Certain words have more stress than others while the dictation is provided. Also, there might be foreign accents speaking the sentence in the dictation. The best way to overcome these difficulties while understanding the sentence spoken is to note down the phonetic transcription so that you can decipher exactly what was spoken in the write-from-dictation task.

5. Maintain the order of words

It is a very common practice among students to write down some words and then fill in the connecting words later. This practice might make the sentence lose its meaning sometimes because the order of words might be wrong. Thus, it is strongly recommended that you write the abbreviated words in the correct order rather than writing the stressed or main terms first and then filling in the connecting words later. This will not only save you time but will also allow you to retain the exact sentence as was given to you by the audio.

6. Check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling

To impart meaning to the sentences, in case you jumbled up the dictation while taking notes, it is recommended that you pay attention to your grammar and punctuation. Spellings also need to be checked before submitting the page. The entire grammar, punctuation, and spelling check will allow you to have an idea of the correctness of the task. 

7. Avoid skipping questions

Do keep in mind that rushing on getting easier questions done first in this section would not help you. This is because you can play the voice just once. It is hence advised that you take your time patiently with each question instead of skipping questions.

8. Check for the meaning of every sentence

Lastly, before submitting, remember to check that all your sentences in the write-from-dictation task have a meaning and match the abbreviated notes that you have taken. This would help you to crosscheck and gain better marks in the section.

Also Read: Everything about PTE Exam

Bonus Tips

While these are the basic tips that have been suggested for the preparation of the PTE Academic Listening section, here are some additional tips that will help you with the preparation. 

Bonus Tip 1: A well-rested mind is a better listener. So have enough sleep before you head for your exam.

Bonus Tip 2: Listen to international radio while preparing. You will have an idea of various accents and you can practice listening to and understanding phonetic pronunciation.

Bonus Tip 3: Do not skip Mock Tests. This is the most important tip, especially for students preparing at home.


Is there a need to produce the same accent as the Write-From-Dictation task in the speaking section?

No. It is advised that you keep your accent as original as you can where the examiner is able to comprehend what you are speaking. However, the examiner will also have a slightly different accent which also should not be copied while speaking to him/her.

Is there any part marking in the Write-From-Dictation task?

There is 1 mark for each correct sentence. However, there are part marks for each correct word even if you can not reproduce the entire sentence. However, it is advised that you use the tips given to write the entire sentence and claim the whole mark.

Thus, the most important thing about the listening section, especially in the write-from-dictation task is that you should not rush. It is all about keeping calm so that you do not miss terms and contextual vocabulary. Also, general knowledge about several subjects will help you to ace the section without much difficulty in identifying the context.

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