The Pearson Test of English (PTE) is a widely accepted, computer-based English test designed to evaluate the skills of non-native speakers. Aside from educational institutions, the test is also accepted by the governments of both Australia and New Zealand for immigration purposes. In this article, we will be looking at the PTE Reading Section and provide tips to increase your score!

Since the test evaluates real-life, academic English, examinees will be exposed to excerpts from lectures as well as see charts and graphs. Different accents will be used in the test, including, American, British, and non-native speaking accents, thereby exposing examinees to a variety of accents they may encounter in life. Real-life situations are used in the test, which is based on international standards.

The test is made up of three components: Speaking and Writing, Reading, and Listening. Examinees have three hours to complete the exam. The exam consists of different test formats, including multiple-choice, filling in the blanks, and essay writing.

Overview of the PTE Reading

The second component of the exam is PTE Reading. It evaluates the reading skills of examinees and consists of 15 to 20 integrated and independent skill items. The test features different response formats, including fill-in-the-blanks, multiple-choice, and re-ordering paragraphs. These response formats are designed to evaluate the ability of examinees to listen, read, and write information provided in English. Examinees have 32 to 40 minutes to complete this section of the test.

Fill in the Blanks

In the fill-in-the-blanks part of the PTE Reading test, examinees can expect the text to appear on the screen. The text will have several gaps and examinees will have to drag words from a box to fill in these gaps in the text. This response format will come out twice in this section of the test.

Multiple Choice

In the multiple-choice part of the test, examinees will read a passage of text and answer a multiple-choice question. The question is based on the content or the tone of the text. This response format will come out twice in this section of the test. The first instance will require examinees to choose more than one answer while the second instance will only have one answer.

Re-Order Paragraphs

In the re-order paragraphs part of the PTE Reading, examinees will see several text boxes appearing on the screen that are randomly arranged. They are asked to rearrange the text boxes to restore the correct order of the text boxes.

Tips & Techniques to Increase Your PTE Reading Score

Non-native English speakers may find it challenging to answer questions in the Reading component of the test. The following are some tips examinees can take note of when taking the PTE Reading section:

Tip 1: Read the Instructions Before Answering

More often than not, examinees will get down to work and start answering the test without reading the instructions. However, they should read the instructions properly since there may be instances when they will lose points for any incorrect choices. This is particularly true with multiple-choice tests that have more than one correct option.

Tip 2: Understand the Passage Before Filling in the Blanks

Examinees should read through the passage and try to understand the meaning of the text before selecting an answer for each blank. Skimming through the passage or text will allow examinees to understand the main idea of the text and select the appropriate word for each blank. They should read the text before and after the blank since the choices in the drop-down menus may be similar to each other. Knowing the context of the sentence will help examinees to choose the best answer among the choices.

Tip 3: Take Note of Repeated Words

For the multiple-choice part of the PTE Reading, examinees should take note of repeated words in the list of choices. These words are likely adjectives or nouns that are also used in the passage. If these words come out in many of the options, it will provide clues on the correct answer.

Tip 4: Read All Text Boxes Before Answering in the Re-Ordering Paragraphs Section

Examinees should read through all text boxes before re-ordering them. They should look for important words in each text box so they will understand the main idea of each text box. After understanding the main idea of each text box, examinees should try to form the overall idea after the text boxes are put together.

Tip 5: Look for the Topic Sentence

Examinees should look for the topic sentence in the options under the re-ordering paragraphs section. Well-written text normally has a topic sentence. This sentence contains a clear statement to which all the other sentences are based or are connected to. Topic sentences can stand alone and do not start with linkers. They also do not begin with pronouns that are connected to a person or an object in a previous sentence. Topic sentences are also not connected to actions or any information found in previous sentences.

Tip 6: Think of Words that Are Normally Used Together

When answering the fill-in-the-blanks section, examinees should think about words that are normally used together. These words typically form a familiar phrase when they are used together. This is what is called collocation. Examinees will know the correct word to choose when they use collocation when answering the fill-in-the-blanks section of the PTE Reading.

Tip 7: Take Note of the Rules in Grammar

Examinees should take note of grammar rules when answering the Reading component of the test. Grammar rules can guide them in selecting the correct answer in the fill-in-the-blanks section. For instance, examinees can look for the part of speech that is missing in the sentence. This will narrow down their options in the list of choices. In this instance, examinees can look for the best answer from the narrowed-down list of options.

How To Study For the PTE Reading

Examinees must prepare for the Reading section of the Pearson Test of English. This is applicable to both non-native English speakers and native English speakers. The following are some ways examinees can prepare or study for the PTE Reading section.

1. Take the preparation course on the PTE website

The PTE website features a preparation path examinees can use when they prepare for the test. The preparation path goes through all three sections of the test.

2. Practice makes perfect

The best way to prepare for the Reading section of the PTE is to practice. This means examinees should read. Reading exposes them to more words that they may not be familiar with. They can also look for the meaning of any unfamiliar words in a dictionary. This will also allow them to enhance their vocabulary, which is necessary to perform well in the test.

3. Read academic material

Since PTE focuses on academic English, examinees can focus on academic reading materials, such as Science Daily and National Geographic. There are instances when these materials are used in the test itself. Examinees should set a daily reading goal so they have something to achieve for the day. After reading, they can write down the main idea or the message the writer wanted to convey.

4. Become familiar with collocations

Collocations are words that are normally grouped when they are used in the English language. Examinees should become familiar with these types of words since they are useful when answering the Reading section of the test. A 20-collocation weekly goal is ideal for non-native English speakers.


We hope that this article on the PTE Reading Test was helpful. Make sure to also check out our Scholarships Page for different information on scholarships and universities across the globe!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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