PTE-Write Essay


In this question type you will be asked to write an essay on a given topic. Your essay should be around 200 to 300 words and you will be given 20 minutes to finish this task.

Your score for this question will be determined on your use of grammar, coherence, vocabulary, and written discourse.

Your word score will be displayed at the bottom of the screen. Essays that are under or over the recommended word count will not be graded.

You will also be allowed to cut, copy, or paste the text, which makes checking and editing your essay much easier.

The best way to tackle the preparation for this question is through a balanced approach of using theoretical strategies and a practical approach of writing essays

What Skills Do You Need For The Write Essay Question

The writing test is designed to test your ability to produce pieces of writing that are well organised, on topic and accurate in terms of grammar and spelling. To score well you also need to be able to comfortable use uncommon vocabulary and phrases that are related to the topic you are writing about.

The following criteria are taken into consideration:

  • Content
  • Vocabulary
  • Development, structure and coherence
  • Form
  • General linguistic range
  • Connectors
  • Written Discourse

Let’s take a more detailed look at these criteria and what you need to do in order to score well in these areas.


Content refers to whether or not your essay has addressed all points mentioned within the essay question. All aspects of your essay, including the supporting points and examples, have to be topic related. If you fail to meet this requirement you will receive a score of 0 for your entire essay.

Development, Structure And Coherence

Development, structure and coherence refers to your ability to organize and present your ideas so that your essay is easy to read and understand.

In order to do this test takers must write an essay with clear ideas that are logically laid out and easy to understand.

  • Coherence refers to how well a reader can understand what you write. There are several things can affect this, such as, grammar mistakes, the use of inappropriate words and phrases or the illogical ordering of sentences and ideas.
  • Development and structure refers to your ability to link ideas, sentences and paragraphs logically using a fixed structure and cohesive devices like linking words or discourse markers to produce a well-developed response. A high scoring essay uses a logical organizational pattern, connects ideas and explains these connections.

What Are Linking Words And Discourse Markers?

These are words or phrases that link ideas, sentences and paragraphs and help you to progress clearly from one idea to another. You can think of them as the glue that binds your essay together, without them your essay would just be a bunch of randomly disjointed sentences.

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.

Different types of linking words are used for different functions. Here are just a few common linking words that can be used in the PTE Writing test:

It’s important to note that these phrases should be used in moderation, otherwise your essay might seem unnatural.


This refers to the candidates ability to write an essay within the specified word count, between 200 to 300 words. Essays that are below 120 words or above 380 words will receive a score of zero.

General Linguistic Range

General linguistic range is a measurement of how well the language used in your essay conveys or communicates your ideas. This means that whatever you write should be clearly communicated with accurate descriptions, correct emphasis, and no ambiguity.

Your responses should highlight key ideas and creatively express your opinions in a clear and effective manner.

To achieve this I recommend that you use complex sentence structures and a wide range of vocabulary to express the complexity of the subject matter. Complex ideas are often best expressed using complex sentences.

What are complex sentences?


Vocabulary refers to the words and phrases you use in your essay. In order to score well in this are students must demonstrate a wide range of topic specific vocabulary that is used correctly and appropriately. They should also be able to paraphrase and use uncommon collocations with ease. You must also be able to spell these uncommon words correctly.


This refers to your ability to use a range of grammatical structures and to use them accurately. In order to maximise your score in this particular area you must be able to produce complex and error free sentences. As well as demonstrate that you are able to flexibly use different tenses. It’s important that your sentences sound natural, so you should not attempt to use advanced grammar that you are not comfortable using as this could result in basic or systematic errors.

How Is The Write Essay Question Scored?

Both these tasks are scored using partial scoring

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.

Types of essays:

There are no fixed types of essay questions, but the following are the most commonly asked types of questions:

You can be asked to

  • Agree or disagree with a statement.
  • Argue for or against an opinion.
  • Describe a situation.
  • Answer a question.
  • Discuss advantages or disadvantages.

Agree or Disagree With A Statement.

This is usually worded as the opinion essay question. Candidates have to express their opinion on a particular topic.

For example:

Who do you think is the most influential person in the world? Support your choice with examples.


What do you think is the most important invention of the last century? Give reasons and examples where necessary.

Argue for or against an opinion.

This is called the argument essay question.

Advantages And Disadvantages Essay

In this essay question, you will be asked to analyse the advantages and disadvantages of a particular topic or issue.

Make sure that you are aware of which type of advantages and disadvantages you are being asked to write. If you miss out on the fact that your opinion is required, then this could heavily affect your task achievement score.

Also, use separate the advantages and disadvantages into two different paragraphs and include supporting points and examples to emphasise your main ideas. This makes it easy for the examiner to understand your essay.

Sample Advantages and Disadvantages Essay:

Problems And Solutions Essay

In this essay, you will be asked to identify the reasons behind a particular issue/problem and you also need to offer possible solutions to this problem.

This question asks you to describe the causes and propose solutions for a given problem.

Each solution should match with a problem. The resulting essay should not be too general or vague but should directly answer the specific issues mentions in the question. One of the main reasons students fail to score well in this essay is because despite having sufficient causes, they fail to expand on their thoughts and provide sufficient solutions.

Sample Problems and Solutions Essay:

Steps To Write A Good Essay:

Question Analysis

Every essay question has three different types of phrases/words. Topic Words which give us an idea about the general essay topic. This is usually found in the first statement of the question and sets the background of the argument.

The second part of the statement with give you the specific arguments that you need to discuss in the essay. You not always be asked to discuss both sides of an argument, so you need to read this part of the question very carefully. Sometimes you will need to choose one particular side , and sometimes you will have to discuss both sides of the argument. The Keywords in this part of  question will give more details as to what you specifically have to write about regarding the general topic. Often students write a general essay about the main topic instead of focusing on what the specifics asked for in the question.

Lastly, every question includes Instruction words which tell us exactly how to answer.

For example:

Generate Ideas

Planning your essay before you actually start typing is of utmost importance. If you go in without a plan you essay will most probably end up sounding illogical and incoherent.

So the next step in writing your essay would be to generate suitable ideas for the essay topic. It is also important to ensure that for every main idea you come up with, you have sufficient supporting points and examples to back them up with. During this stage of planning, you can also think of useful topic-specific vocabulary to use in your essay. Remember to try to replace common and repetitive vocabulary with more uncommon phrases.

Try to think of two main ideas related to this topic for the two main body paragraphs and also come up with one or two supporting points. You can also add examples to strengthen your main idea. You can use mind maps to help organise your thoughts into a more logical format. Doing this can save you time later on when you are deciding on how to structure your essay. At this stage it's also useful to think about topic-specific vocabulary.

Decide On Your Structure.

In general, your essay should include 4 paragraphs in total.

An introduction

Two main body paragraphs (one for each side of the argument)

A Conclusion

Here's a detailed structure:


  • Sentence 1: Rewrite “General Statement”
  • Sentence 2: Briefly mention side 1 and side 2
  • Sentence 3: Give your OVERALL opinion

Paragraph 1:

  • Sentence 1: Restate “Side 1”
  • Sentence 2: Give reason/s
  • Sentence 3: Give example/s
  • Sentence 4: Conclude "side 1"

Paragraph 2:

  • Sentence 1: Restate “Side 2”
  • Sentence 2: Give reason/s
  • Sentence 3: Give example/s
  • Sentence 4: Conclude "side 2"


  • Sentence 1: Rewrite “General statement”
  • Sentence 2: Give your OVERALL opinion

Write A Good Introduction

An essay introduction begins with a paraphrase of the question. The ability to paraphrase(rephrase), and use synonyms, is just one of the skills that the examiner will be looking out for in your essay. Your introduction should also include an outline statement in which you provide the examiner with a brief description of what will be discussed in the essay. If the discussion essay question asks for your opinion as well then you must also include a thesis statement. A thesis statement is just a short sentence in which you state your opinion for the given topic.

Here’s our sample intro:

Writing The Main Body Paragraphs

Once we have written our introductions, we need to develop our planned ideas into cohesive paragraphs using good vocabulary and cohesive devices and the recommended paragraph structure. Use one of your main ideas to create a topic sentence. The rest of the paragraph will expand on these ideas. Make sure that your ideas flow naturally from one to the next and that you use the correct words to signal what is about to follow. This means that you need to understand which linking words and discourse markers to use for different functions such as introducing an additional point or mentioning an example.

Write An Effective Conclusion

A good conclusion will neatly end the essay by linking all your ideas together and sum up your arguments or opinions. You should not introduce any new ideas or make your conclusion too long. Every conclusion should include only two to three sentences. The first sentence is basically just a summary of your introduction. And the last sentence of your conclusion should either be a recommendation sentence or a prediction sentence. A prediction is a statement about what you think will happen in the future. A recommendation is a statement about what you think should happen in the future.

Here is our sample conclusion:

Make sue that you stick to the topic, or else your writing score will plummet even though you have a good grasp of written discourse and vocabulary.

If however, you feel you are lacking in the areas of vocabulary, grammar and written discourse then you require some professional feedback.

Make sure that you have enough time to check for careless spelling and grammar

Academic phrases are important and should definitely be included. For example, as a result of, however, etc.  but avoid conversational idioms like its raining cats and dogs. This is a formal essay and you need to use formal phrases instead of phrases that you would use in a typical conversation.

If you don’t have any useful examples to add you can always make up one. Remember its your language skills that be used not your knowledge on a particular topic.

Use only one form of spelling. For example, If you use American spelling make sure that you don’t switch to British spelling further on in your essay.