PTE Listening Section

The Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic is specifically designed to test the English language skills of non-native English speakers. Just like GMAT, it is conducted via Pearson Virtual User Environment centres. Also, it is computer-graded and endorsed by several different institutions and organizations. The primary aim of the assessment is to assess non-native English speakers in their readiness to mingle and blend in an English-speaking academic environment. It is usually about 2 hours long, and the results are delivered within five working days.

The PTE Academic has four main sections- speaking, writing, reading, and listening. The combined speaking and writing section amounts to almost 54 to 67 minutes. It includes a personal introduction, repeating specific sentences, re-telling lectures, answering short questions, reading aloud, describing images, summarizing written text, and an essay. This is followed by the 32 to 41-minute reading section, which includes filling in the blanks, MCQs, re-ordering paragraphs, and the like.

And, of course, next comes the PTE Listening section. This entire section takes around 30 to 43 minutes. And during this, you will need to attempt questions in a variety of formats. The gist of this section is that you need to listen to an audio or video clip and then answer the questions that follow accordingly. However, the catch is that you can only listen to the audio message once, which means you’ll need to be attentive when you do so.

What Type of Questions Should You Expect?

Now that you know what the PTE listening section is all about let’s get into the types of questions you can expect to answer. This section has different categories of questions, including:

  • Summarize spoken text
  • Identify the missing words
  • Highlight incorrect words
  • Fill in the blanks
  • MCQs where you can choose multiple answers
  • MCQs with only one probable answer
  • Writing from dictation
  • Highlight the correct summary

Summarize Spoken Text

This part consists of 2 to 3 questions aimed at assessing your listening and writing skills. For this purpose, you are provided with a 60 to 90-second audio prompt, and you will have to write a summary after listening to it. To summarise the paragraph, you will be given 10 minutes to write and there is no rollover time, meaning that even if you save time in this question, you will not get those extra minutes to finish other exam questions. The summary can be anywhere between 50 to 70 words.

MCQs – Choose Multiple Answers

These questions are multiple-choice, and once again, you are provided with an audio clip. You will be given about 2 or 3 questions for this sub-section. The duration of the audio is around 40 to 90 seconds, and you will be given 7 seconds before the audio plays to get prepared. You will need to pick all of the options you think are valid as per the audio recording you heard. However, you are only judged on your listening skills in this portion. Unfortunately, getting an answer wrong will cost you because there is a negative marking system in place.

Fill in the Blanks

These questions also judge your English listening and writing skills. You are played a 30-to-60-second-long audio clip and then expected to match it will the transcription on the screen. Plus, it will have gaps or blanks that you need to fill as per your understanding of the audio. This portion also has just 2 to 3 questions. And you will be awarded points for every correctly spelled word.

Highlight the Correct Summary

Highlight the correct summary is based on a 30 to 90-second audio. You will get 2 to 3 questions of this type. Once you’ve listened to the audio file, you will need to select the passages that best summarizes its contents. Thus, it scores you on your listening and reading skills.

MCQs – Choose Single Answer

You get a 30 to the 60-second audio clip and then, you have to answer 2 to 3 questions wherein you are asked about the tone, style, and content of the recording. Unliked the previous MCQ part, you can only select one option. Also, you are judged solely on your listening skills.

Select the Missing Word

A 20 to 70-second recording is played, but it is not complete. It has a few missing words which you are expected to fill in. You need to select the most suitable option from the provided list. These are also 2 to 3 questions, and you are scored on your listening skills only.

Highlight Incorrect Words

First, you will need to listen to a 15 to the 50-second audio clip, and then you will be provided with a transcript. However, a few words have been changed in the said transcript, so you need to identify them. Your listening and reading skills will be scored in a series of questions. You can left-click to start highlighting. But be careful because every incorrect answer carries two negative marks.

Write from Dictation

After listening to a 3 to 5-second audio file, you will have to write the spoken sentence in the provided space. There will be a total of 3 to 4 questions. And you will be marked 1 point for every correct word. Thus, your listening and writing skills will be judged.

Tips for Acing Your PTE Listening Section

Since you will only be allowed to listen to the audio file once, it is imperative that you listen very carefully. Also, watch the time, especially in the summarize spoken text part. And, of course, the only way to do this is through practice. Thus, if you really want to score a 90 on your PTE listening section, make sure to practice relentlessly. As for the parts with negative marking, be absolutely sure about the answer before attempting it. Otherwise, consider not answering if you think you’ll get it wrong to avoid losing points.

The Bottomline

The PTE academic tests non-native English speakers on how well they could adjust to a native-speaking atmosphere. It has three main sections to test students’ speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills. There are further multiple types of questions in each section. You can only listen to the audio or video clip once for the listening section, which means you need to pay attention. Also, practice makes a person perfect, so don’t forget to practice. If you’re well prepared, you will surely ace your PTE listening section!

If you are planning to come to Australia, you have come to the right page. We will keep you informed with our up-to-date information, news and blogs.

Are you stuck in PTE? Let us help you.

PTE Speaking and Writing

Australia is a home to beautiful beaches and there are tons of places to visit.


USA vs Australia for the international students

USA vs Australia for the international students
Australia for Students