PTE-Reading-MCQ Single Answers


Multiple-Choice, Choose Single Answer Format


Multiple-choice, choose single answer questions requires candidates to choose a single correct response out of multiple options.

The texts can be up to 300 words long but are usually much shorter than this. This means that you have more than enough time to read in detail and choose the correct option. You should take 2 to 3 minutes at most to solve this question.


How Is This Question Displayed?


You will find a set of instructions at the top of the screen, followed by a reading text.

The text will be displayed on the left of the screen, with the options on the right-hand side.

You will see a prompt with about 3 to 5 options. You need to simply click on the correct option to select it.

To select a response, click on the corresponding button or the response itself. Your response will be highlighted in yellow. To deselect your response, click on the button next to the response or the response again. If you want to change your selection, click on an alternative option.

Once you are satisfied with your choice, you can select the ‘next’ button to move onto the next question. Remember that reading tasks are not individually timed, so the timer will continue to countdown on the screen.

Here is how this question will appear on test day:


How is this question Scored?


Your response is scored as either correct or incorrect. No credit is given for no response or an incorrect response.

There is no negative marking for this particular question type, meaning that it is important to attempt every question, since you have nothing to lose by trying. Who knows, your educated guess might just earn you a few points.


Skills Assessed


This question assesses basic readingcomprehension skills and tests your ability to analyse, interpret and evaluate a short reading text on an academic subject.

To score well in this question you must be able to comprehend written English text, understand its meaning, theme and the main ideas in it.

These questions might ask you locate specific details from the passage or understand and answer a question based on the overall theme of the passage.

Here’s a detailed list of the skills you will be expected to perform for this question:

  • Main idea or gist: Read for and identify the main idea or theme of the text.
  • Detailed information: Read for and identify specific details, facts, opinions, definitions or sequences of events.
  • Writer's purpose: Read for and understand the function of what the writer says or identify the reasons why the writer mentions specific pieces of information
  • Organization: Read for and identify the overall organization and connections between pieces of information. This evaluates your ability to link different parts of the text together.
  • Inference: Read a text and infer meanings, form, generalizations, make predictions, find relationships or draw conclusions.
  • Textual value: Read for and assess the quality and usefulness of the text.
  • Stylistics: Read for and identify the writer's attitude, feelings or degree of certainty on an issue
  • Carefully read the question in order to understand the instruction, and what exactly is required of you.
  • Make sure that you first read the main questions and skim through the options before reading the passage. In this way, you will have a general idea of what you should look for when reading the passage.
  • Take a look at the options and try to eliminate ones that are obviously incorrect.
  • Now take a look at the remaining options. Try to think of the difference in meaning of these options. Now, that you know precisely about the questions and the answering options, you can try to find the right answers.
  • Avoid merely matching words from the options to parts of the test. Examiners usually trick students by adding options that match the text exactly but are actually incorrect. Focus more on the meaning of each option rather than its key words.
  • Once you have chosen an option, double check to make sure it is correct


Tips And Tricks For The Multiple Choice, Choose Single Answer Question


Here are some tips for this question that will help you to maximize your score.


Read The Question First


Always read the question and the options before you take a look at the text. Doing this will give you a clearer idea about what to look out for when you do read in the text. If you choose to read the text first, you will inevitably have to go back to it once you have read the questions, and this will only waste valuable time.


Confirm Your Answers.


Don’t depend simply on finding matches between words in the options and in the text. Most often the words in a question will match to a synonym of a word in the text, whereas options that are meant to trick you might have multiple words that match to the text but do not answer the question. So look out for synonyms and other words which might mean the same in that context.

Once you find the general area where you think an answer might be located, read the surrounding sentences to confirm your answer. Don’t just immediately assume that you have found your answer.


Understand The Exact Meanings Of The Options.


Make sure you understand the subtle differences between the options and what is mentioned in the text. For example an option might say something like “the majority of birds are active during the day’ while the text mentions that numerous birds are active during the day. The difference in meaning between the word’s majority (meaning most of) and numerous (meaning many) means that that the particular option is incorrect. So be careful and make sure you understand the exact meanings of each option.


Avoid Personal Opinions.


Make sure that all your answers are based solely on information that is present in the text. You might be knowledgeable about a certain topic, but if certain information that you know to be true is not included in the text, you should refrain from using it to answer.


Time Management


Remember that the reading module is times as a whole, so time management is crucial. Do not spend too much time on one particular question. For this question type in particular I recommend spending on average 2 minutes per task, with a maximum of 3 minutes. This will ensure that you have sufficient time for all the other questions.


Build Up Your Reading Skills.


Building up your reading skills can take quite a bit time. Make reading part of your daily routine,

Try to find reading material like books or articles on topics that interest you. Note down new vocabulary and try to determine their meanings from reading in context. Your PTE prep should not only include textbooks, practise tests and skills that you forget as soon as your daily study time is complete.

Try understanding individual paragraphs and summarising them. As you practice more and more of these skills, you will find that the speed at which you answer practice reading tests and exercises will gradually improve and hopefully your score will improve as well.


Practice, Practice, Practice!


Once you have mastered the basic skills you can move on to practicing with authentic Pearson’s PTE practice materials

Taking regular timed practice tests will help check the effectiveness of your preparation for this question type and improve your speed

This will help improve your stamina when it comes to answering questions in succession and you will become familiar with what is expected of you on test day. Make sure that you practice using authentic Pearson practice materials, so that you get a real exam feel

However, I must add that continued practice without proper feedback is entirely useless. There’s no point in taking many practice exercises or mock tests, if you are only going to make the same mistakes


Practice Multiple-Choice, Choose Single Answer Question


Let’s take a look at the following sample question

The artists were not a rich man's frivolous addition to his entourage but an essential part of a scientific team in the age before photography. Their principal task was to draw the specimens that the scientists collected. Although the naturalists, such as Banks, intended to preserve some of their specimens and take them home to England, it would not be practical to do so with all of them. Banks also expected to dissect certain animals, and the artists would preserve a record of this work. In addition to their scientific drawings, Banks wanted the artists to sketch the people and places they visited.

Q. Which of the following can be inferred from the text?

o Photography eventually made scientific expeditions more productive.

o Artists performed a variety of tasks in early scientific explorations.

o Naturalists themselves were often talented artists.

o Dissecting specimens was not as useful as taking them to England.

Answer explanation:

0 Photography eventually made scientific expeditions more productive.

This response is incorrect. Although the text implies that photography became a part of scientific expeditions, the text does not imply that photography made scientific expeditions more productive.

0 Artists performed a variety of tasks in early scientific explorations.

This response is correct because the writer states that artists drew specimens, recorded dissections and sketched the people and places visited during early scientific explorations.

0 Naturalists themselves were often talented artists.

This response is incorrect because this point is not addressed in the text. The writer does not state whether naturalists were or were not talented artists.

0 Dissecting specimens was not as useful as taking them to England.

This response is incorrect because the writer states that naturalists preserved or dissected some of the specimens they found.