May 6

How To Avoid Low PTE Speaking Scores


The speaking component of the PTE Academic exam is notoriously difficult. There are many instances where even native speakers have failed to score well. This might sound demoralizing if you a prospective non-native candidate. However, the trick to scoring well in the PTE speaking module boils down to more than just how well you speak. There are a few other important factors to consider.

Here are some of the ley reasons why candidates have gotten lower than expected scores as well as how to overcome these issues:

Speak In Full Sentences As If You Were Writing

When we speak naturally, we often pause to think, and sometimes we skip from one sentence to the next as something new comes into our minds, or we decide to rephrase what we were going to say in better way. However, this must be avoided during the speaking exam.

One of the main skills that is being assessed is oral fluency. 5 points are awarded for oral fluency which is a significant number of points, so it is important that you speak in full sentences with a beginning and an end, with as little hesitation or pausing in between.  

Avoid Using Filler Sounds In Between Your Words

Its natural to pause or self correct or repeat ourselves during a conversation. Sometimes our brain just uses sounds to fill in the spaces, while we think of appropriate responses. However, during the speaking test the AI is unable to interpret whether you are using these filler sounds naturally or because you lack the skills to answer appropriately.

The PTE speaking test assesses our ability to turn our conceptual thinking into an informative language using appropriate vocabulary and using filler words implies that we are having difficulty doing this.

Another important reason to avoid pausing for too long is that, if you pause for more than 3 seconds after the microphone starts recording, it will switch off. Anything you say after that won’t be recorded. That’s why it is important to avoid hesitating, pausing, or speaking in breaks.

You can avoid this by practicing as many speaking tasks as you can. You can make a template and use a fixed structure to answer  for each task. You can prepare lists of good openers or effective ways to introduce examples or offer up conclusions. This will ensure that you don’t have to any blank spaces where you use filler sounds

Tip 3: Speak At Normal Speed

Many students make the mistake of thinking that good fluency correlates directly to speaking fast. However, if you speak too fast you might end up sounding incoherent and your responses will be incomprehensible, even if you have a great command over the English language in terms of grammar, pronunciation and a wide ranging vocabulary, speaking too quickly can significantly lower your score

Another common reason that candidates speak to fast during their exam is that they they simply have test day jitters (anxiety).

Often students panic and speak too quickly due to the short amount of time that is given to answer. It is important to speak at a normal speed. And at a normal volume. In short, if you speak too fast for whatever reason, the algorithm might not be able to understand what you are saying.

Speak In Formal English

Formal English is not only a requirement of the writing module, it is also necessary for the speaking tasks as well. Think of your speaking test as more of a formal interview than a chatty conversation between friends. We wouldn’t use colloquialisms during a job interview and you definitely shouldn’t use them during an academic test that could potentially decide your future

Similarly, contractions are also a staple of modern English conversation, and many test-takers assume that using them during the speaking test will make them sound more natural. However, the use of the contracted form of words while recording your responses can result in your words not being understood or recognized by the PTE AI. I advise that you should rather enunciate all of our words so that they are picked up clearly by the microphone.


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