It can be hard to practice speaking for an English language exam such as the PTE Academic on your own. Strong study skills and dedication can help you prepare for the reading, writing and listening parts of the test – but it’s very hard to prepare for the speaking part of a language exam on your own. Most test takers benefit hugely from practicing their speaking skills with a teacher and getting feedback on their pronunciation, intonation, vocabulary and overall fluency. This is why so many people preparing for a language test like PTE Academic sign up for an exam preparation course.
However, there is another option, which is more convenient than a preparation course, while still giving you all the feedback you need to boost your speaking skills and get the score you need in your exam. Read on to find out how ELSA can help!
How PTE Academic works
PTE Academic is a computer-based exam which tests your communication skills in English. It is held at test centers and there are frequent sessions so you can usually book at the last minute. Unlike other exams, you take all the papers in one single session instead of waiting to take the Speaking test. The total test time is 2 hours and there are 3 papers: Speaking & Writing, Listening, and Reading. Let’s take a look at the format of the test:
Speaking & Writing
Time: 54-67 minutes
Number of questions: 7
Question types: Read Aloud; Repeat Sentence; Describe Image; Re-tell Lecture; Answer Short Question; Summarize Written Text; Essay
Time: 30-43 minutes
Number of questions: 5
Question types: Fill in the Blanks; Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer; Re-order Paragraph; Fill in the Blanks; Multiple Choice, Single Answer.
Time: 29-30 minutes
Number of questions: 8
Question types: Summarize Spoken Text; Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer; Fill in the Blanks; Highlight Correct Summary; Multiple Choice, Single Answer; Select Missing Word; Highlight Incorrect Words; Write from Dictation.
In order to score well, you need to use the kind of English you’d hear in an academic environment when answering the test questions. There are lots of resources to practice reading, listening and writing available online – but preparing for the speaking part of PTE Academic can be a bit trickier.
How ELSA can help you with PTE speaking practice
ELSA can help you practice for the Speaking part of PTE Academic using its AI speech analyzer to give you a score. You’ll receive detailed feedback on your performance, with a breakdown of your fluency, grammar, intonation, vocabulary, and pronunciation so you can target areas to work on and keep improving your score.
Here’s a description of each question, with some PTE speaking tips, and details on how ELSA can help you prepare.
1. Personal information
The Speaking part starts with a question about yourself. This question is not scored – its purpose is to help you get familiar with the test technology. You’ll see a written question onscreen, and you’ll have 25 seconds to prepare your answer. Then, you’ll have 30 seconds to record your answer. This part of the test is not marked and is just to make you feel relaxed and used to speaking in English.
2. Read aloud
A text of up to 60 words will appear on the computer screen for you to read aloud. You get 30-40 seconds to prepare. Then you’ll hear a beep to indicate that you should start reading your text.
Use the preparation time to practice unfamiliar words, and notice the punctuation. Commas and full stops mean you need to pause to sound natural and fluent; question marks mean your intonation should go up at the end. Stressing the important words – the ones that convey the meaning – will also help your score.
You can practice for this question with ELSA. Simply choose a text to read to ELSA, and you’ll get feedback on your pronunciation, intonation and word stress to help you perfect your reading for the test.
3. Repeat sentence
The computer will play a sentence of 3-9 words which you have 15 seconds to repeat out loud.
The goal is to repeat the original sentence as closely as possible, so use the same words as well as copying the speaker’s stress and intonation.
ELSA will help you copy a phrase exactly and practice speaking clearly, so you get a higher score.
4. Describe image
A picture appears on the screen and you have 25 seconds to prepare your description of it. For this task, pronunciation and fluency are important and so is the vocabulary you use to describe what you see.
Use the preparation time to make notes of the key ideas and phrases you’ll need to talk about the main ideas in the image and the details related to those ideas. If your answer is well organized, it will cover the general idea shown in the picture, discuss the main point, mention the other details and then conclude.
You can practice this question with ELSA. You’ll get scores for your vocabulary level, plus the app contains lots of lessons to help you build new words into your English.
5. Re-tell lecture
You’ll hear an audio of up to 90 seconds. The audio will be someone giving an academic talk (there may be an image to look at too). After listening, you’ll have 10 seconds to prepare, and then 40 seconds to re-tell the ideas you heard.
You’re more likely to get a good score if you include all the main points without hesitation or repeating yourself.
Practicing over and over with ELSA will help you get used to re-telling ideas and also to joining ideas using ‘connectors’ to improve your fluency score.
6. Answer short question
You’ll hear a short question (maybe with an image) and then you’ll have 10 seconds to give a short answer.
Don’t think that you’ll get higher marks for a longer answer! The important thing is to be accurate and brief. If you hesitate for 3 seconds, the question will mark itself as ‘completed’ and you lose the chance to answer.
Using ELSA to practice this will help you become comfortable with answering questions when you don’t have much time to think.
How else can ELSA help you with PTE Academic?
On the ELSA app you’ll find more than 300 new lessons specifically written to help you practice PTE speaking. The lessons are all based on Pearson’s official exam preparation materials so you can be sure you’re practicing exactly what you need for the exam.
Why choose PTE Academic?
Another huge benefit of PTE Academic, besides being an extremely useful qualification, is that you don’t have to wait long for the results. The exam is scored by AI. Hence, the results will usually be available within 48 hours—much faster than IELTS or TOEIC.
As well as 400 PTE academic lessons on the ELSA app, ELSA’s AI Speech Analyzer will make you more confident when speaking English. You’ll also become more comfortable speaking under exam conditions with a timer and while being recorded.
Confidence is half the battle so good luck!
Download the ELSA app now and prepare for PTE Academic with over 300 PTE Academic lessons!