Understanding Your PTE Essay Topic: Basics of a Good Essay

6 minute read
Understanding Your PTE Essay Topic: Basics of a Good Essay

The PTE Test consists of four main sections: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The task of speaking and writing are combined and done in part one of the test. Your writing skills will be assessed in the PTE Test essay writing task. The essay writing skill test is aimed to evaluate your grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and written discourse skills. Thus, it is crucial that you understand this section of the writing section, and what is expected from your essay before going into the exam. Read on to find out in detail what the essay writing task is about, how to approach the given prompt, and what are the basics of a good essay.


Basics of a Good Essay

The PTE essay writing task assesses your ability to write an argumentative essay, think critically and logically link different ideas.

Understand the Prompt (Topic)

Before beginning with the essay writing task, we always recommend that everyone analyse the prompt/topic to get the important information. Always make sure to check what the prompt is asking you to do or write about. Dissecting the prompt is extremely important to understand whether you want to agree or disagree with the given statement. It is the deciding factor whether you will write for the motion or against the motion. Moreover, checking the topic is important to find out the key points you need to cover, and the arguments to present. 


For the essay writing task in the PTE Test, you will receive a 2 to 3-line prompt/topic stating an opinion or a statement. The given prompts can be written in different manners. You have to discuss your opinion, whether you agree or disagree with the given prompt. You must write the essay in 200-300 words answering the prompt appropriately without diverging from the topic. The essay should be written in a definite structure if you want to leave a good impression and score well. 

You can structure your essay in the following way:  

  1. Introduction- Introduce the topic briefly and add related information.
  2. Paragraph 1- Present one idea in support of your argument.
  3. Paragraph 2- Add another supporting idea to your argument/or offer a counterargument to strengthen your idea.
  4. Conclusion- End the essay with a gist of your ideas that have led to your conclusion and why.  

Plan it Well

Now you need to create a rough plan and decide which side of the argument you will write about. Then, you can create a rough plan of the content and structure you’d like your essay to follow. You may want to write a couple of ideas down about the opinion or thoughts you’d like to include. Planning is as important as writing part of the exam task- it will make writing the essay much quicker as you already know what to do. Then, create a rough plan of the content and structure you’d like to add to your essay. Jot down a couple of ideas about your opinion or thoughts you’d like to include in the essay. Keep in mind, you don’t have much time so keep it short and to the point. 

Execute the Plan-Writing the Essay

Once you get your plan ready and now that you know what you’re going to write, it’s time to execute the plan. Showcase the PTE examiners your ability to write an academic essay and summary in English. While writing, give clear descriptions, avoid any ambiguities, express your thoughts and ideas in favour of your argument in essay writing, be meaningful and use stylistic features to communicate ideas coherently.  

Bring your A-game by displaying your range of vocabulary and grammar in essay writing. You are more likely to score higher if you use complex sentence structures and vocabulary correctly.  Additionally, using idiomatic expressions or colloquialisms will be the cherry on the cake, but don’t exaggerate. Keep in mind that the best answers have academic terms and avoid repetition of words by using synonyms wherever applicable.  

You may want to consider these expressions when writing your essay

  1. Useful phrases to introduce a point- Given; in light of; considering
  2. Introducing the views of an author- According to X; X stated that; referring to the views of X 
  3. Adding a point- Moreover; furthermore; in addition 
  4. Offering an opinion- In my opinion; From my point of view; My conviction is that  
  5. Concluding- In summary; To sum up; In conclusion


The crucial trait of a good essay is its content. The PTE essay writing task, has the highest maximum score of 3. If your content is irrelevant to the given prompt, you will receive a score of 0 out of 3. As a result, the whole essay will receive a 0. This is because the examiners will see that no attempt has been made to do the task as required. There are other factors for which a test-taker will be awarded 0 which include the following

  1. The response is not in English used in an academic environment
  2. You either wrote a very short or very long essay 
  3. You don’t use correct punctuation  
  4. You use bullet points or very short sentences
  5. The response is written in capitals where it is unrequired
  6. There is no written response at all

Proofreading and Necessary Changes

Before you submit the essay, make sure that you have cross-checked your essay. In this final hour, give yourself a couple of extra minutes to check for spelling errors, typos, the right use of punctuation, and correct grammar. When proofreading, also cross-check if you’ve written the essay set out in the prompt. Make sure you have argued your opinion well, constructed your content accurately and come to a relevant conclusion in the essay.  

  • Practice using compound and complex sentences

Do not forget, to write an essay on a particular prompt text, your response must be expressed within the word limit, so you will need to use a complex or compound sentence and have a good vocabulary to be able to summarise the main message of the essay and also briefly mention the additional detail.

  • Write in the correct form

When you write the essay, make sure that it is in one sentence only, with a capital letter at the beginning and only one full stop at the end. Use punctuation wherever applicable. Your answer must be between 5-75 words so check the word count using the ‘Total Word Count’ counter below the response box in the PTE Test. However, if you write less than 5 words or more than 75 words, your essay will not be scored and you will end up losing scores.

Here are some checklists to keep in mind to make sure you’ve covered all the major points before finishing

  • Have you addressed the prompt/topic properly? 
  • Have you organised the content well, used correct vocabulary, and taken a logical approach to the essay topic? 
  • Have you included four paragraphs: an introduction, 2 body paragraphs each developing and supporting an idea, and a short conclusion summarising your ideas?  
  • Have you included examples, explanations, and facts to support your point of view/argument?   
  • Have you written between 200-300 words?

You will have 20 minutes to plan, write and proofread/check your essay. Thus, you must practise essay writing tasks as many times as possible before appearing for the test and keep this blog bookmarked to help when studying or practising. We wish you good luck and are sure you’ll do great! 

Also Read: PTE Registration Process 2023


How many words should an essay have in a PTE Test?

Ideally, keep your word limit for essay writing in the PTE test between 200-300 words. Try to write more than 200 words. If you attempt the essay in less than 200 words or more than 300, you will automatically be scored 0.

What is the total duration of time for the essay writing section in the PTE Test?

In the PTE test of essay writing, you will be prompted with a given essay topic, usually of 2-3 sentences. You will have to write a 200-300 word essay within a stipulated time of 20 minutes.

How is the essay scored on the PTE Test?

The essay is scored on seven traits in the PTE Test, each representing a separate aspect of the essay writing skill.
Maximum Score
Max. score 3 
Formal Requirement
Max. score 2
Development, Structure, and Coherence
Max. score 2
Max. score 2
General Linguistic Range
Max. score 2
Vocabulary Range
Max. score 2
Max. score 2

For more information related to the PTE Test, keep an eye on Leverage Edu and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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