PTE Academic Exam: 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid

6 minute read
PTE Exam

Are you preparing for your PTE Academic exam? Well, the good news is that preparation leads to success. However, there are certain aspects of the examination that you should know and follow so that your marks do not plummet because of the negligence of these minute details. 


PTE Academic Exam does not expect you to be a native English speaker. In reality, examiners do not look at grammar alone to assess proficiency, but rather at the cognition of the language. A person can go beyond the basics of grammar and word usage in English in a number of other ways. Understanding the language and being able to draft your thoughts simultaneously is something that the examiners look for in a student appearing for the PTE Academic Examination. 

ExaminationPTE Academic exam 
Full FormPearson Test of English
Test SectionsSpeaking, Listening, Writing, Reading
Test Duration2 Hours & 15 Minutes
Exam TypeEnglish Proficiency Test
Good PTE score65-75 out of 90

About the PTE Academic Exam

The Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic Examination is a test for 2 hours and 15 minutes where you are expected to contest in four areas of showcasing your cognition. These are Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. The examiner will assess these four areas of communication to get you accommodated in your dream University abroad. A good PTE Academic exam score would be between 65 to 75 out of a total of 90 marks. These minuscule traits are observed to provide the final marking of the examinee.

Must Read: Tips for preparation from home

10 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Listed below are the 10 most common mistakes an examinee should avoid in order to secure top marks in the English proficiency test. Below are the 10 most common mistakes students make in this exam:

1. Don’t Speak too Fast

It’s a commonly noticed trait in students to speak at a more than normal speed of conversation in the exam. The usually understood stance is that speed reflects fluency which is immensely overrated. An examinee should remember that the examiner is looking for the examinee’s comfort in speaking the language. So, we recommend that you stick to a speed that is easily comprehensible and can be understood by the examiner. Clear content brings out the essence of the context.

2. Keep Sentences Short & Crisp

Complexity in sentences tends to misguide a reader or listener. The context of the content loses value because of the complex formation of sentences. Simple sentences that connect to each other and build the entire idea that the examiner can understand is an indication that the examinee will have the capability to converse very well in her academic period at the University abroad. The better one follows this rule, the better the marks in the PTE Academic exam.

3. Avoid using Informal Language

The PTE Academic exam demands the use of formal language. The use of formal language demonstrates the professionalism of the person which is an important factor to get accepted into a University abroad. Students who tend to use more common and daily language while conversating with the examiner in the examination are hence marked lower than the requisite.

4. Fluency and Long Pauses

The examiner judges the fluency of the examinee through the small/long pauses and gaps that he or she takes while responding to the questions or in between sentences. Here, the students might be looking for a word or trying to reframe the sentence in their minds. However, one who is a fluent speaker will be able to speak in a flow without looking for words in his or her own vocabulary.

5. Avoid using False Accents

Many examinees tend to think that putting up an accent that hides their nationality would be an added advantage when getting into a foreign University. This might seem to be very exciting for first-time learners. However, it only makes an impression of falsity on the person who is already a native speaker. An examiner, hence, takes this area very seriously and might mark down the examinee if the individual tries to speak with a false accent.

6. Proper Usage of Tenses

While most English grammar rules are grasped pretty easily, tense is an area that most non-native speakers confuse a lot. It is advised to write and speak with the correct usage of tenses. Incorrect tense usage might make the examiner get a wrong idea of the content as incorrect tense usage prevents the intended meaning from being understood.

7. Filler Sounds Should be Avoided

Fluency in English would offer a lot fewer filler sounds used by the examinee. Filler words are those that are being used by the student either to kill time or as an influence of the celebrities and their speaking styles in the various interviews. These are sounds such as “aah”, “umm”, “ahm” and so on. These filler sounds have a similar impression on the examiner as the long pauses and make the examinee attain lesser marks.

8. Keep the Word Limit in Mind

Keeping within the word limit does not mean that one would write unnecessary repetitive sentences to attain a higher word count or write absolutely negligible compared to the required word limit. Writing much above the word limit is as negative in the examination as writing much below the word limit. Both would attract lower marks which hence should be avoided by the examinee.

9. Practice Time Management

Every section in the PTE Academic exam needs to be given the requisite time so that the requisites of the examination area are properly fulfilled. However, the main issue is that many students take more time in one section which makes the other sections have less time to be completed. Less time devoted to the pending sections would lead to lesser marks which are hence advised to be avoided.

10. Avoid Answering Unknown MCQs

MCQs often have questions that are a little too tricky or sometimes the student fails to recognize the scenario or context. In such cases, it is better to leave the question as this section has a negative marking. This is a very general area where the examinee tends to lose out on marks and hence should be avoided.

Must Read: PTE Exam Pattern

Tips to Score Well in PTE Exam

Mistakes or discrepancies can hamper one’s chances of securing good scores in PTE. Therefore, one must keep certain points in mind whilst attempting the PTE sections to mitigate those errors and gaps. Have a look at the following tips to avoid making some rookie mistakes and acquiring higher PTE scores.  

PTE Speaking Section

  1. It is crucial for one to not stop if they come across challenging questions. This will only hamper one’s chances of completing the questionnaire. 
  2. One must be fluent and confident whilst speaking. It should be kept in mind that fluency, intonation, and pronunciation carry a significant weightage in PTE Speaking Tests. 
  3. One should not rush while speaking. Rushing the conversation will only confuse the interviewers. 
  4. One must avoid confusing vocabulary whilst attempting short answer questions. 

PTE Writing Section

  1. It is critical for one to go through their spelling, punctuation and grammar whilst attempting the PTE writing section.
  2. One must keep their written answers concise and to the point. 
  3. One must avoid redundancy of words.
  4. It is crucial for one to manage their time while writing their answers. 

PTE Reading Section

  1. One must always go through the passages thoroughly and understand their subtext and meaning prior to attempting the questions. 
  2. One must be cautious whilst answering MCQ-based questions as they carry negative markings. 
  3. Candidates should eliminate the option that may seem illogical or grammatically incorrect while answering the ‘Fill in the blank’ tasks. 

PTE Listening Section

  1. Individuals should listen to the recordings carefully prior to attempting the listening section of PTE. 
  2. One must always stick to the word limit and ensure to manage their time properly. 


What is the PTE Academic Exam?

PTE Academic Examination is an English proficiency test required to be taken by students whose first language is not English. The examination is similar to IELTS in the four aspects that are being tested in the examination.

What is the Test Format of the PTE Academic Exam?

Section 1: Speaking and Writing (54 minutes to 67 minutes)
Section 2: Reading (29 minutes to 39 minutes)
Section 3: Listening (30 minutes to 43 minutes)

Is the PTE Academic Exam considering academic subjects while evaluating examinees?

The PTE Academic Examination is strictly an English proficiency test where basic knowledge of other academic subjects might be building the context of discussions. However, an examinee is NOT marked on the basis of the knowledge of academic subjects.

 Leverage Edu is a perfect partner for all your PTE Academic exam-related queries where you can also find mentors to help you prepare for the examination and apply for your dream University to study abroad. Call 1800572000 and sign up for a free session today! 

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