Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

Mistakes have the power to turn you into something better than you were before. Therefore one of the best ways to improve is to learn from our mistakes. The same goes for everyone who is preparing for PTE. So, in this blog, we will be discussing 5 common mistakes made by PTE test takers. Additionally, I will also tell you how to avoid those mistakes and score excellently in the exam. So, we will focus on the PTE tasks in which most of the test takers make mistakes. 

1. PTE Reading: Reordering paragraphs 

The candidate will reorder paragraphs from an academic text as part of the PTE Academic reading section. A panel on the screen has several sentences in the wrong order, and they have to drag these sentences into a second panel in the correct order. The purpose of this activity is to examine how well test-takers understand the structure of an English text. 

However, many candidates have difficulty with it. They don’t pay attention to language clues like linking terms or sentences that begin with an introductory statement. These are the factors that allow text to be cohesive. 

Be sure not to get hung up on unfamiliar words in the Reading section. Look up the meaning of the word from the context of the sentence. Always be careful when answering multiple-choice, Choose Multiple Answers questions as they have negative markings.  

When filling in the blanks, eliminate any options with ungrammatical or illogical words. Refer to the passage after answering each multiple-choice question. Instead, scan and skim the question before answering. 

How to avoid it: 

It is essential to know how to avoid this one of the 5 common PTE mistakes by practicing linking words, opening and concluding sentences, and how to give opinions or examples. Additionally, you can also practice reordering paragraphs in class. For instance:  

  • Read news articles, blog posts, or short academic texts.   
  • Mix up the order of each one and cut it up into subsections   
  • Practice reordering them by setting the timer for time efficiency 

2. PTE Listening: Summarize Spoken Text 

Candidates need to summarize a spoken text as part of the listening test. Students will be tested on their ability to understand and summarize the main ideas presented during a lecture. This is the second mistake committed by the PTE test-takers out of 5 Common PTE mistakes. 

An audio recording will be played, and students can take notes while listening. After that, they have to write a summary (50-70 words) of the audio in 10 minutes. The quality of the writing and how well the response draws out the key points from the lecture are both weighed in grading this task.   

In reality, most test-takers simply copy what they hear word-for-word from the audio. This indicates that they have understood all of the words in the audio. Although it shows a limited range of vocabulary and grammatical structures, it does not represent their ability to summarize.   

Ideally, you should paraphrase as much of the listening material as possible to get a good score. Here are a few suggestions for helping you paraphrase the listening material:   

  • Select a short video to watch. Even if it is only a few minutes long, have them watch it twice so they can get a better sense of the ideas.  
  • Take notes on the video’s key points. Try to summarize the video using keywords, synonyms, and a good vocabulary. 
  • You will only hear the recording once. So listen attentively. 
  • Do not exceed the word limit. 
  • Be mindful of the time remaining. 
  • When listening to Highlight Correct Summary, do not try to read. 
  • Eliminate any incorrect or incomplete information. 
  • Make sure you listen to the main points. 
  • Taking notes is essential; however, do not write every word. 

3. PTE Speaking: Describe image  

In this task, you will be asked to describe what they see, using their own words, in a graph, chart, map, table, or picture.

You will see the screen image during that time period and think about what they want to say. Once you have finished thinking, you will have 40 seconds to describe the image. A 40-second recording timer will stop the microphone automatically.   

This is the third of the 5 Common PTE mistakes. Candidates make a mistake here of memorizing a response to an image they saw during preparation. Many times, this means they fail to describe what they have seen. In these cases, they typically receive very low scores, or even a zero.   

Generally, this occurs when students don’t feel confident about their vocabulary level. Practicing to describe a range of images, will help you to avoid making the mistake of memorizing and speaking about the image. During your practice sessions, record what you say. Then listen back and identify areas where you can improve and note down any gaps in vocabulary, which can then be improved by further guidance by your online training platforms and practice. 

Follow some more points to make sure you are absolutely free from the common mistakes in the Speaking section: 

  • Continue speaking even if you make a mistake. Correcting it then will negatively affect your score. 
  • Fluency, intonation, and pronunciation are more important than your accent. 
  • Avoid rushing through it. Make sure your content is easy to understand by maintaining a natural pace and tone. 
  • You should not ignore any points, relationships, implications, or conclusions in the Describe the Image and Retell Lecture. Your description should be accurate. 
  • The use of part answers and incorrectly spelled words should be avoided in Short Answer Questions. 
  • You shouldn’t pause for more than 3 seconds, because if you do, the microphone will be automatically closed. 

4. PTE Writing: Essay Writing 

There are two PTE writing tasks to complete in the exam. Among these tests is the writing of an essay, in which candidates are asked to create a short, persuasive or argumentative piece.   

Written prompts ask test-takers to agree or disagree, state their opinion, or comment on a given situation or problem. Their responses are evaluated based on how clearly they present their argument, how well they organize their ideas, and how well they use academic English. The length of their responses should be between 200 and 300 words.   

Can you name the mistake done here? See what happens. Many test-takers don’t follow the word count. According to the scoring guide, if they write fewer than 120 words or more than 380 words, they will get a 0 for their response.  

Writing the essay under timed conditions is one of the best ways to avoid this.    

Go through these points to be sure of not making one of the 5 common PTE mistakes: 

  • Make sure spellings, punctuation marks, and grammar are correct, as well as coherence and cohesion, linguistic range, written discourse, and vocabulary usage. 
  • Do not write more than one sentence in your Summarize written text task. 
  • Do not include external references. 
  • Do not exceed the word limit or the time limit.  

5. Not checking answers   

In addition to the errors mentioned above, one of the most common mistakes committed by the candidates is errors in written responses. It is possible that the candidate has not checked over their work before moving on to the next task.   

Test-takers must proofread their answers before moving on to the next question. In this way, they may be able to avoid simple mistakes in spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, or grammar. Furthermore, it gives them a chance to double-check that they have included all the information outlined in the question.   

To avoid this mistake, practice proofreading your answers. Some candidates might find it uninteresting to do in the beginning. But a little bit of extra effort will save you from making mistakes.

A few more of the common PTE mistakes:

The 5 common PTE mistakes made by the candidates are already mentioned above. However, there are a few more, a few more common ones, that you should be aware of and refrain from doing them. 

  • Speaking too quickly: Keep your speech at an average pace. You need to give your answer within the limited time given, but don’t rush because the time will be enough to complete your answer. Maintain clear diction and strong pronunciation.  
  • Stumbling while answering: Do not stop or go back to explain why there was an error. It is common for students to panic a little when they think they have made a mistake and stumble with “ahmmm”. Regardless of whether you think you made a mistake, don’t pause as you record your answer. 
  • Answering before recording: Your screen tells you when your microphone starts and stops recording. Make sure you speak within that time frame. 
  • Speaking for more than three seconds: You know what’s worse than stumbling? Being silent for more than three seconds when the microphone starts recording. Want to know why? As soon as there is no answer from your side, the microphone will switch off after 3 seconds. 
  • Forgetting about negative marking: Most of the questions in PTE Academic do not have negative marking, but some, such as choose multiple answers, do. Therefore, read the question carefully before selecting your answer. Despite the lowest mark still being zero, choosing the wrong option can result in a low score. 
  • Overuse of repetition: Certain words are actually used over and over again by some people. For instance, “literally.” Avoid this whenever possible. 
  • Punctuation marks: It’s important to recognize the importance of the full stop, “.”, as well as other punctuation marks like a comma. 


Phew! Are you no longer prone to mistakes now? You may think the above errors are insignificant, but they may prevent you from achieving the perfect score. For this reason, it is advisable to prepare better and correct these mistakes in PTE mock tests in order to learn from them and not repeat them on the actual exam. 

What to do next to handle 5 Common PTE mistakes? 

In order to get the perfect score in PTE, avoid these mistakes. Take advantage of PTE preparation apps or online sample questions to get lots of practice. You may also take advantage of online PTE coaching from certified experts for further assistance. 

Edutrainex provides you with all such facilities. You will be able to practice a number of sample questions. Mock tests will help you realize which areas to improve. And all of this under our highly qualified PTE experts. Furthermore, the Intelli-assist will assist you round the clock throughout your PTE journey. 

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