The Definitive Guide To The Pearson PTE Listening Module

The Listening Module is the final part of the PTE Academic exam. It assesses a candidate’s ability to comprehend spoken English in a number of situations that occur in an Academic environment, such as lectures and presentations. The conversations also include a variety of Native and non-Native accents. During this part of the test, candidates are required to listen to a number of audio or video clips and answer various questions based on these recordings. The audio is played only once via an automatic timer. Test takers can only manipulate the volume of the audio to suit their level of comfort.


Listening Test Format


The recordings usually relate to topics like humanities, natural sciences and social sciences.  However, even if you are not knowledgeable about these topics, you will still be able to follow the audio and answer accordingly.

There are a total of 8 tasks present in this part of the test and it lasts for about 45 to 57 minutes, depending on the combination of tasks that you are asked to complete.

Here’s a short summary of the listening test format:

LISTENING: (45 – 57 minutes)

  • Summarize spoken text.
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Fill the blanks
  • Highlight the correct summary
  • Highlight incorrect words
  • Select missing words
  • Write from dictation

Why Knowing The Test Format Is Important


One thing is for sure, the better prepared you are for the test, the more you will improve the time it takes for you to complete the test. Knowing what to expect can also help you to greatly improve your confidence when you actually take the test. it ensures that there are no nasty surprises on test day and that you are well aware of how much time you have for each task.


Which Skills Are Assessed During The Listening Test?


The PTE Listening test is designed to assess your listening comprehension skills. It gives a good indication of whether or not a candidate will be able to understand the real-world listening situations that one might encounter when studying in or moving to an English-speaking country. It also checks your understanding of English as spoken with different accents (American, British, Australian as well as other non-native accents).


Listening Question Types


Summarize Spoken Text


This question tests both your listening and writing skills. In this question candidates are required to write a short summary based on the contents of an audio recording. You will have 12 seconds to read the instructions before the recording automatically plays. The recording lasts for between 60 to 90 seconds. You will then be required to type out your summary into a small text box below the recording. Your summary should be between 50 to 70 words and should only include the important points of the lecture.

It helps to take notes while the recording is playing. Use these notes as a guide when deciding on the important features to include in your summary. You should spend about 3 to 4 minutes on this question.

Here's how this question will be displayed:


Multiple Choice


There are two types of multiple-choice questions. Candidates will either be required to choose a single option or choose multiple answers from a list of options in order to answer a question that is based on an audio recording. The type of question depends on the wording of the question, so be careful and make sure that you read the instructions carefully before attempting to answer.

The recording will start after 7 seconds and last for between 40 to 90 seconds. Once the recording has stopped you will be able to select multiple options. You should spend a maximum of 1.5 minutes on each MCQ

It’s important to note that listening multiple choice, multiple answers are graded using negative scoring. This means that 1 mark will be deducted for every incorrect answer. 

You can easily recognise whether a multiple-choice question has negative marking or not by taking a look at the way the options are displayed. Options that have squares next to them mean that the question is a multiple choice, multiple answers question, with negative scoring.

Options that have circles next to them mean that the question is a multiple choice, single answer question, with regular scoring and only one correct answer.


Fill In The Blanks.


In this question candidates will be required to fill in the blanks of a short transcript, that has multiple key words removed. The transcript will be presented below an audio box. The recording plays after 10 seconds and lasts for around 30 to 60 seconds. The recording is simply and audio version of the displayed transcript. You will have to type out the missing words as you hear them.

This question tests your ability to use contextual and grammatical cues to determine which words should be filled in and each correct answer receives a credit.

Tips For This Question

To score well in this section candidates need to understand a range of vocabulary, collocations, grammar, pronouns and cohesive devices, as well as being able to identify when plural nouns are needed.

Use the words surrounding the blank to predict the type of word needed. You need to have a good understanding of how articles and prepositions are used in order to be able to predict the type of word needed. Certain prepositions signal that a date or specific place follows. articles like a and or the signal whether or not a singular or plural noun should be placed in the blank. A simple error like using a plural noun instead of a singular noun can result in an incorrect answer, so it is important to practice these grammar topics.

Here's how this question will be displayed:


Highlight The Correct Summary


This question is similar to a multiple-choice question. The recording will play after 7 seconds. Candidates must listen to a 30-90 second recording and choose the correct summary of the recording from several passages. Candidates must choose the option that accurately summarises the gist (overall meaning) of the recording.

It’s important to choose the summary that contains only the main features of the recording and avoid those that focus on supporting details and examples.

Here's how this question will be displayed:


Select The Missing Word


This question type is very similar to the Fill in the blanks type of question. However, there is only one missing keyword.

Candidates will be required to listen to a 20-70 second audio recording of a sentence or paragraph that has a keyword missing. You will hear a beep instead of the missing word. You will then have to select the word that best completes the text from a list of possible options.

Here's how this question will be displayed:


Write From Dictation


In this question type candidates will see an audio recording box on the top of the screen with a blank text box beneath it. The recording plays automatically after 7 seconds and you will then listen to it and then type out a word-for-word transcript of what was said. Each audio for this question type is 3-5 seconds long. You will receive one correct point for every correct word present in your answer.

Here's how this question will be displayed:


Highlight Incorrect Words


In this question candidates will be required to point out alterations made to certain parts of a short transcript. The transcript will be present below an audio box. The recording plays after 10 seconds and lasts for around 15 to 50 seconds. The recording is simply and audio version of the displayed transcript. You will have to highlight the incorrect words as you hear them, using your mouse cursor.

This question type also includes negative marking, and one point will be deducted for incorrect answers.

Here's how this question will be displayed:


Skills Needed For The Listening Test.


In order to score well in the listening test, or any other part of the PTE exam, you need to know more than just the types of questions and how to answer them. You also need to develop you basic English language skills (both communicative and enabling skills), without these you will not be able to ace the exam.

Here’s a list of things you should be able to:

  • Can identify main and supporting ideas 
  • Can summarise  
  • Can understand academic vocabulary 
  • Can understand context 
  • Can understand implicit information 
  • Can understand abstract ideas 
  • Can classify and organize information
  • Can form conclusions 
  • Can predict 
  • Can identify transcript errors 
  • Can identify speakers' purpose and attitude 
  • Can identify various accents, speed and tone 
  • Can understand links between points

Now that you have a clearer picture of what expect on test day and what skills are required for the PTE listening test, you can move on to the next step of your preparation – identifying your listening skills strengths and weaknesses.

I think the easiest way to do this is to take a mock test. this will help to familiarise yourself with the test format and you will also get a clearer idea of which question types you struggle with.

Once you gain a better idea about your listening comprehension strengths and weaknesses, it will be easier to decide on the best way to move forward with your preparation. However, it’s important to note that simply taking practice tests will not help you improve in any way. This is merely the first step in determining the correct direction to move forward in regarding your PTE preparation.

It’s extremely important to use authentic PTE Practice tests, in order to get a realistic idea about your actual level of proficiency. Use full-length exams in which you’ll find questions that reflect what you’ll see on the test day and that give you all the necessary help and information needed to guide you through the test before you start.

A great way to aid in your preparation is to familiarize yourself with how native English speakers speak. There are many ways in which you can do this. You could watch English TV programmes or News channels, listen to podcasts about topics that interest you or find content that is somehow IELTS related. This will also help acclimatize you to the sounds and unique pronunciations used by speakers with different accents.

During the Listening test, many of the words used by the speaker might be unfamiliar to you. For this reason, it’s also important to widen your vocabulary You need to change the way you learn new vocabulary. Each time you learn a new word, make sure that you note down the possible synonyms of this word as well and try to use that word in a few sentences so that you are aware of its use.

Once you have mastered the necessary skills needed to complete the IELTS Listening Test, you should try to complete an IELTS Listening practise test under exam conditions in order to also help you to learn how to be fast enough to answer all the questions on time, without making mistakes, as well as gauge the effectiveness of your preparation.


How To Best Manage Your Time During The Listening Test.


Only the summarise written text is timed individually. The rest of the listening test questions are not. This means that you should utilize each second wisely. In my opinion you spend no more than 1.5 minutes on each individual question and make sure that you check your work thoroughly before clicking the ‘next. Button to move on to the next question.

A countdown timer will be present on the top right of the screen during the listening test. It displays the number of items and how much time you have left.


Why Is It Important To Take A PTE Preparation Course?


The most efficient and convenient way to pass specified exam is to take counsel of expert online IELTS tutorials and practice using authentic IELTS Mock tests.

Taking a listening course that is designed to equip you with all the information, strategies and skills needed for you to ace the Listening test is important. This is because having an experienced teacher will significantly impact the time it takes for you to prepare. It’s also the fastest way to identify the areas of your Listening skills that are holding you back from the result you need.