April 25

PTE Negative Marking – The Best Way To Answer Questions With Negative Marking


Negative marking refers to a grading system in which marks are deducted for incorrect answers. Most questions in the PTE academic exam do not have negative scoring. However, there are 3 question types that do

These include:

  • Multiple-choice, choose multiple answer questions in reading,
  • multiple-choice, choose multiple answer questions in listening
  • Highlight incorrect words (listening)

These three tasks are scored using the partial scoring method.

Multiple-choice, Choose Multiple Answer Questions

Multiple-choice, choose multiple answer questions requires candidates to choose multiple correct responses out of a list of options. This is one of the toughest questions in the PTE reading module

If you get all options correct, you will receive maximum points. However, if some of your options are incorrect, you will receive a partial score.

There is negative marking for this particular question type, meaning that you can lose points if you choose any incorrect options. For any wrong options chosen 1 point is deducted, whilst correct options are given 1 point. Make sure that you are confident about your choices. If you are unsure about a certain answer, do not choose it, An incorrect answer will deduct the points you obtained for your correct answers.

You can easily recognize 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.

If you are sure of only one option, then just select that option. However, If you are sure about one option, but are not so confident about another option, then you should only select the option you are sure of. This to avoid unnecessary deductions of marks.

Highlight Incorrect Words Format

In this question, candidates will be required to point out alterations made to certain parts of a short transcript.

Every word you select is scored as either correct or incorrect. If all the selected words are correct, you receive the maximum score points for this item type. If one or more selected words are incorrect, partial credit scoring applies

For this question type, if all blanks are filled with the right word spelled correctly, you receive the maximum score points for this item type. If one or more blanks are filled incorrectly, partial credit scoring applies.

This question type also includes negative marking, and one point will be deducted for incorrect answers. Make sure you are confident in your choices and do not make any random guesses.

Check your responses and correct them if necessary.  However, do not make any hasty changes to your choice of highlighted words after the audio has ended. Change them only when you are very sure about your mistake


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