May 5

PTE Academic Writing: The 5 Best Tips For Writing Discourse


Written discourse is one of the skills assessed in the writing component of the PTE Academic. It is also one of those assessment criteria that many candidates are confused about. In this article, we will learn all about PTE academic written discourse and how you can score well in this area of assessment.

What Is Written Discourse?

To understand the above question, we need to know what discourse means. Discourse refers to a formal conversation that is logically ordered and where ideas flow easily from one to the next.

According to Pearson Written discourse involves the structure, coherence, logical development, and range of linguistic resources in a written text.

This means that candidates must possess the ability to organize and present their ideas using a fixed structure and cohesive devices so that their response is easy to read and understand. A high-scoring piece of writing uses a logical organizational pattern, connects ideas, and explains these connections.

There are several things that can affect your written discourse score, such as grammar mistakes, the use of inappropriate words and phrases, or the illogical ordering of sentences and ideas.

There is basically just one question in the exam that assesses written discourse skills and that is the essay question. Here are some tips on how to improve your written discourse score.

1. Analyze The Question

Students often lose marks just because they failed to answer the questions posed within the essay sufficiently.

  • The most common reasons for this are:
  • They don’t spend time carefully reading the question.
  • They don’t understand what the question is asking for.
  • They fail to recognize the type of question being asked.
  • They write a general essay about the topic instead of focusing on what the question specifically asked for discussion about. Therefore, understanding what the question is asking for is of vital importance.

2. Follow A Structure:

Your essay should have a fixed format which usually consists of 4 paragraphs, an introduction paragraph, 2 main body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

3. Logically Ordered Ideas

Your essay should Present a logical sequence of ideas. At the start of each body paragraph, there should be a clear topic sentence to make your essay more cohesive. This sentence provides a summary of the main idea in the paragraph. Thereafter  explanations or supporting evidence and examples should follow

In your body paragraphs, use examples and explanations from your own knowledge or experience. You can also use supporting evidence from facts that you know to help strengthen your argument

4. Cohesive Devices

Your ideas should flow logically from one idea to the next, and be easily understood by the examiner, through the use of appropriate cohesive devices. These are words or phrases that link ideas, sentences, and paragraphs and help you to progress clearly from one idea to another

If you do not include discourse markers and linking words in your answer, it will appear illogical and be more difficult to understand.

A few examples are, Nevertheless, Particularly, Thus, Naturally, etc.

5. Appropriate Tone

Your essay should adopt a formal tone. This means that you should use formal phrases and avoid using colloquialisms and contractions since these imply an informal tone.

Since writing tasks involve producing language, it is very difficult for second language learners to objectively assess their own work. This is where having a trained PTE professional tutor comes in handy. Not only will a PTE lecturer be able to tell you about the estimated scores for your practice answers, but they will also be able to point out your mistakes and help you improve on them as well.


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