PTE-Listening-Write From Dictation

The Write From Dictation is the final question in both the listening module and the overall PTE academic test.

Here's A Detailed List Of What You May Find In This Article:

Write From Dictation Format

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. The recording will play only once and there is not option to pause or replay the recording. This means that you have to fully focus on the recording as it plays.

There are 3 to 4 Write From Dictation items in PTE Academic, depending on the combination of items in a given test. They are presented together in a single block.

How Will This Question Be Displayed?

You will find the instructions at the top of the screen. This will tell you whether you will hear a lecture or an interview.

Below that will be an audio status box, that will display the amount of time left for the audio to play, as well as the audio is playing or whether it has been completed.

The status box will count down from 7 seconds. Then a recording will play automatically and the status box will change to "Playing."

The audio status box also contains a blue bar that will gradually move to the right as the recording continues.

There will also be a slider, which you can use to adjust the volume to your own level of preference. You can adjust the slider by moving it to the left to decrease and right to increase. You are allowed to adjust the volume at any time while the recording is playing.

A response box is present below the audio status box, in which you will type your answers.  You can use this space to type your sentence. You can also easily edit your answer by selecting the text and using the Cut," "Copy" and "Paste" buttons to edit your response .There is also another box which displays your word count as you type.

This item type is individually timed and a timer will continue to countdown on the top right hand corner of the screen. Once the time is up the test will automatically move on to the next item.

How Is This Question Scored?

This question uses integrated scoring, since it contributes to both your listening and writing scores.

You will receive one correct point for every correct word present in your answer.

For this question type, if all the words are right and spelled correctly, you receive the maximum score points for this item type. If one or more words are incorrect, partial credit scoring applies.

What Is Partial Scoring?

Some questions do not have a simple correct or incorrect answer and these questions require subjective responses. Their level of correctness depends on a variety of factors, such a quality, task response, use of grammar or vocabulary.  These answers require a different method of scoring called Partial Scoring.

Questions that require a varied response, like essay or summary writing are score using partial scoring. In such cases, every candidate would have a different response, but their answers still have to meet some common and fixed criteria. These question types are called partial credit questions, and the correctness of their answers are weighed against certain formal aspects like using the correct answer format as well as the quality of the candidates response. These formal aspects also depend on the type of question, for example a speaking question type would depend on pronunciation and word stress, while writing questions formal aspects would include something like the correct use of punctuation.

For this particular question type your score depends on the content of your answer.


Your response should include all the words in the recording, and only these words? Your score also depends on the number of correct words in your response.

What Skills Does This Question Test?

This question tests both your listening and writing skills.

Here’s a list of the skills you need to be able to do in order to answer this question:

Listening Skills

  • understanding academic vocabulary
  • following an oral sequencing of information
  • comprehending variations in tone, speed, accent

Writing Skills

  • writing from dictation
  • using correct spelling

Strategies For Answering This Question

Be ready to type as you listen, so your cursor should be placed on the first blank so that you are prepared to type. Focus on the meaning of the sentence. This will help you remember it.

Type as you listen to the audio. An erasable notebook and pen will be provided to you to make notes as you listen. If you cannot type fast enough then you can try writing on the erasable notebook first and then type the sentence into the response box after listening.

Once you have completed all the blanks, check your answers again. Make sure that every answer fits in a grammatically correct way and double check your spelling, punctuation and grammar

Check your responses and correct them if necessary.  Do not recheck your response right after you type them and while the recording is still playing, as you will waste valuable time and might end up missing important information.

Tips For this question

Time management is key for this question, especially since it contributes significantly to your overall writing score. Remember that this is the very last question in the test, and by this point in time you will probably be exhausted. You might not be operating at your fastest or thinking very clearly due to this. It’s important to practice entire tests under timed conditions to make sure that you are comfortable with and prepared to answer all of these types of questions fully.

To score the maximum number of points for this question you must make sure that you have correctly spelled all of the words. You should also include all words mentioned in the recording and do not leave out or replace any words with other words. if you accidentally forget to write a noun as a plural you will also lose a point

For example boy instead of boys

Although nothing is mentioned in the scoring criteria about sequence, I recommend that your sentence should always be grammatically correct and in the correct sequence as is mentioned in the audio.

Short term memory skills

As a general rule, human beings are capable of storing up to 7 pieces on information in their short-term memory. Since most repeat sentence recordings consist of between 7 to 15 words, you might have to group words together to make up 7 slots of information for your mind to hold.

For example:

The sentence ‘Her appointment for Tuesday afternoon was moved to the following week’ could be grouped in the following way ‘(Her appointment) (for Tuesday afternoon) (was moved) (to the) (following week)’

This creates 5 pieces of information to remember instead of 11 individual words.

How do you know which words to group

Each sentence consists of different types of words

Meaningful words

Grammar words


Lets take a look at the following practice question

These arguments are accepted by most researchers in the field.

The words that give this sentence its meaning are

These arguments are accepted by most researchers in the field.

The grammar words are the words that hold a sentence together and they don’t really have important meanings, such as articles, prepositions etc.

These arguments are accepted by most researchers in the field.

These are the words that you don’t really need to focus on, and if your language skills are good enough, you will most likely be able to infer what these words are even if you have missed them in the audio.

Try closing your eyes when listening to the recording, as this will help you to focus on the words. It can be quite distracting to answer while listening to other candidates typing in the same room.