PTE Read Aloud
PTE Read Aloud is the very first task of the PTE test and of the Speaking section. This is a very simple task, which expects you to read a given paragraph and if you do well in this task, it boosts your overall confidence for the entire PTE test. PTE Read aloud has integrated scoring that gets added to both your Reading and Speaking skills. so, in this blog, I will explain the PTE Read aloud task in detail and also give you all the relevant tips and tricks, along with a lot of practice questions and examples, to help you maximize your score.
Not only that, but we will also look at each of the scoring criteria for PTE Read aloud in detail and show you how these impact your speaking scores. To begin with, let’s start with an overview of the PTE Read Aloud task.
PTE Read Aloud Overview
PTE Read Aloud task is the first question type of the Speaking section, which is Part 1 of the test – Speaking & Writing, with around 30 minutes allocated for the Speaking section. A text appears on the screen and you just need to read the complete text aloud, clearly, and naturally. The text paragraph will be approximately 60 words and you get 30 to 40 seconds to prepare your response, depending on the length of the given text. You also get 40 seconds to prepare after the preparation time is over, you hear a beep tone and you should start speaking immediately.
You get 6 to 7 PTE Read Aloud questions in the exam and just like every other speaking task, you are assessed on the basis of content, oral fluency, and pronunciation. The PTE Read aloud questions are designed to test your ability to read a text, usually on an academic topic, and speak as a native speaker. So, pronunciation and oral fluency are the key elements here, as there could be some tongue-twisting words.
PTE Read Aloud Task Summary
- 1st PTE Speaking Task
- Skills assessed: Reading & Speaking
- Text Length: Up to 60 words
- No of Questions: 6 to 7 tasks in the test
- Time: 40 seconds to prepare, 40 seconds to answer
- Scoring: Content, Oral Fluency & Pronunciation
TIPS for PTE Read Aloud task
- You need to be a good reader
- Speak with a purpose (to explain to someone)
- Speak fluently and naturally
- Modulate your voice and make appropriate pausing
- Using correct stress & speak within 35 seconds.
PTE Read Aloud Layout
Shown below is a picture of how you are going to see the PTE Read aloud questions in the real test. I have highlighted the areas of interest so that you understand each of those components.
The PTE Read Aloud layout is quite simple. Like all the other PTE questions, the Read Aloud task also has instructions or Task prompt at the top, which clearly tells you that you have 40 seconds to read the given text naturally and clearly. Although the instructions don’t say that you have 40 seconds to prepare, but you can see the progress of the Audio recorder (displayed just below the Task prompt), which would say “Beginning in 40 seconds” at the start of each question. And at the bottom, you would see the actual text that you need to read.
PTE Read Aloud Scoring
PTE Read Aloud task scoring is in 3 areas, like other Speaking questions. They are primarily –
- Content – How accurately have you read what is given in the text?
- Pronunciation – How clearly have you spoken the sounds of English?
- Oral Fluency – Have you spoken without hesitations and fluently? Have you stressed correct words?
The ‘Content’ also contributes to your Reading score, because this is what proves that you have read the text correctly. Let’s now look into each of these scoring areas in detail.
For PTE Read Aloud content, depending on the length of the text, you will get marks, and to score full marks for content, you should not Add, Skip or Replace any given words.
NOTE: For example, if the length of the read-aloud text is 60 words, and you add/ skip/ replace 6 words, then you lose 10% marks, roughly 1.67% marks for each word. So, be careful not to do that.
Pronunciation is quite straightforward, you need to keep one thing in mind, the evaluation is done by the PTE algorithm, which is software, not human. So, you have to speak in a clear manner, so that it can easily understand your words. In other words, the PTE algorithm is trained to understand the pronunciation of regular native English speakers, which doesn’t mean you need to copy their accents. What it means is that you should correctly pronounce the words given. Let me show you in detail, what I mean here.
Phonics, Consonant & Consonant Clusters
Phonics is a method whereby you relate the alphabet or group of alphabets of English to their respective sounds in spoken language. Consonants and Consonant clusters together contribute to around 42 sounds in English. Additionally, when we use vowels, different sounds come out. Don’t worry by this, it’s not that difficult. You just need to understand those sounds and start using them on a daily basis to improve. Now, when we combine 2 or more of these consonants, they are called consonant clusters and they make a different sound, for example, ‘sh’, ‘cr’, ‘dr’, etc. if you are interested to learn more on how vowel changes the sounds of other consonants, read this article on vowels to learn more.
For PTE Read aloud pronunciation, word stress is really important, which is to stress the appropriate syllable within a word. So, you can normally break a word into a group of syllables, which is nothing but a group of alphabets, mostly having a vowel in each of them. I have shown an example below, so you can understand what I mean here.
For instance, ‘together‘ can be divided into three syllables ‘to‘ / ‘ge‘ and ‘ther‘, all having 1 vowel sound ‘o’ & ‘e’ each. Another example, ‘broken‘ can be divided into 2 syllables ‘Bro‘ and ‘ken‘. For ‘together’, you need to stress the second syllable, which is ‘ge’ and for ‘broken’, you need to stress ‘bro‘. Listen to these sounds here (together, broken)
You can listen to an example of bad word stress, you need to stress the syllables in capital letters, and see how bad it sounds.
Listen to an example of good word stress, you need to stress the syllables in capital letters.
Do you understand now how wrong you could sound if you wrongly stress the incorrect syllables? Hope this makes it clear, that this area is so important to score high in PTE speaking tasks, especially Read Aloud.
PTE Read Aloud task asks you to speak with no hesitations and in a fluent manner. Oral Fluency means that your speaking should also have good rhythm and natural rate, and comprise of 3 scoring parameters. They are Sentence stress, Speed and pause, and Good Modulation.
When reading aloud, you should try not to stress each and every word, but only stress the words that convey meaning. This is called sentence stressing, but how do you figure out which words should be stressed? It’s quite simple, only stress the nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs as they provide meaning to the sentence. The other words in a sentence, which are just there to support the sentence are called grammatical words. These may include conjunctions and prepositions, and you should not stress on them.
The speaker was talking about the various equations in Mathematics.
The words highlighted are meaningful words and should be stressed. Listen here.
Pause and Speed
For, the PTE Read Aloud task, you need to speak at a decent and moderate speed. It is extremely important that you have control over your speed while speaking, otherwise, you are risking not being crystal clear to the PTE algorithm. Due to this, when the software evaluates your response, it is unable to differentiate the words. On the contrary, if you speak very slowly, you are at risk of not being able to finish reading the entire text. So, always speak at a normal speed. And make sure you are pausing after commas and full stops, use punctuation symbols to help you.
Listen to the pace and pausing example below to understand more.
If you want to succeed /Short pause/, you need to work hard /Long Pause/. However /Short pause/, you should also /Short pause/ prepare well /Long Pause/.
TIP: Use the punctuation symbols to help you in pausing. Always speak at a normal rate.
Intonation and Rhythm
PTE Read Aloud also requires everyone to modulate their voice while speaking, to achieve the maximum score. This doesn’t mean that you start singing like a bird, nor does it means that you should speak like a robot. You should actually speak like a native English speaker, who has a good rhythm or intonation in his voice, to sound natural. This is basically the ups and downs in your voice that make you sound human, and the PTE algorithm regards this as an imperative element of oral fluency.
However /Down/, with these changes /Down/, people /Up/ sometimes find algebra /Up/ to be a difficult /Up/ task /Down/.
PTE Read Aloud Strategy
After learning the PTE Read Aloud task scoring criteria, the next step is to follow these simple steps to get a maximum speaking score for this task. There are three simple steps that you should exercise while attempting the PTE Read aloud questions. Read this article on PTE Speaking if you are struggling with speaking scores.
Step 1: Preparation time
Before you read the given text aloud, you have around 40 seconds to prepare yourself. This time is very important as it allows you to rehearse how you would actually speak. You should focus on the words that you find difficult to read and think how you can pronounce them correctly. Even if you don’t know the correct pronunciation of any words, you can still break them into syllables and work out what would be the best way to say them. So, use the 40 seconds to prepare and practice the text.
Step 2: Speaking time
As you already know by now how the scoring works for the PTE Read Aloud task, so just try to speak fluently and clearly. Always speak with a purpose, imagine you are explaining this to someone else. And, lastly, stress the meaningful words in a sentence, and speak without any hesitations, naturally. Don’t worry, we will do some practice questions soon.
Step 3: Move on
Always try to finish your response in between 30 to 35 seconds. If you speak at a moderate speed and naturally you will definitely finish around this time, but if you speak very slowly you are at risk of not being able to finish reading the text. Also, if you speak too fast, you will finish around 20 seconds which is again not good. And lastly, once you have finished speaking, don’t wait for the timer, just click next and continue to the next question.
PTE Read Aloud Practice Question 1
Read the below text aloud. Follow the steps mentioned above and take 40 seconds to prepare.
A new study suggests that humans are born with a part of the brain that is prewired to be receptive to seeing words and letters, setting the stage at birth for people to learn how to read. Analysing brain scans of new-borns, researchers found that this part of the brain — called the ‘visual word form area’ — is connected to the language network of the brain.
In the preparation time, I would go through the entire text and try to focus on the words that I find difficult. For example, in the above paragraph, I would focus on ‘prewired’ and ‘receptive’, and I might fumble while speaking them. Shown below is also the same text, but I have highlighted many of the meaningful words that you should stress. Practice and see if you got it right.
Now, listen to the model answer that would get you 90 out of 90, see how you can speak this well here.
PTE Read Aloud Practice Question 2
Let’s do another example, follow the same steps and approach as explained below, and see if you witness any improvement. This example has more difficult words than the previous example, so use the 40 seconds well.
On December 3rd, after traveling billions of kilometers from Earth, NASA’s Rex spacecraft reached its target, Bennu, and kicked off a nearly two-year, up-close investigation of the asteroid. It will inspect nearly every square inch of this ancient clump of rubble left over from the formation of our solar system. Ultimately, the spacecraft will pick up a sample of pebbles and dust from Bennu’s surface and deliver it to Earth in 2023.
So, which words did you find difficult? I think, ‘investigation’, ‘asteroid’, ‘rubble’, ‘clump’, etc. I would definitely practice these words in the preparation time. Now, let’s look at some of the meaningful words that you should stress.
Again, listen to the model answer below, that will definitely get you 90/90.
More PTE Read Aloud Practice Questions
Below, there is a couple of more practice questions for the “PTE Read Aloud” task. You should practice them by following the strategy suggested above.
PTE Read Aloud Practice Question 1
“People who exercise have better mental fitness, and a new imaging study now shows why. The finding offers new insights into brain metabolism and why exercise could become an important part of treating depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders. These are linked with deficiencies in neurotransmitters, which drive communications between the brain cells that regulate physical and emotional health.”
Listen to the model answer here –
PTE Read Aloud Practice Question 2
“New research suggests that some birds may be able to recognize people’s faces and differentiate between human voices. Being able to identify a friend or potential foe could be key to the bird’s ability to survive. Animal behavior experts worked with pigeons and crows in two separate studies. They showed that pigeons can reliably discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar humans by using facial features.”
Listen to the model answer here –
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