PTE Highlight Incorrect Words task
In theory, as long as you can understand the audio and follow along with the text, you should be able to pick the words correctly. The key skill here is your ability to read while listening at the same time.
If you get stuck on a word or a sentence, you run the risk of missing out on rest of the audio. So, this question type requires plenty of practice. TED Talks have a useful interactive transcript feature which can help you practice listening while following a transcript.
Another key point to note here is the negative marking. Don’t think that you can just randomly click and get at least some words right. You can lose marks this way. Therefore, always be careful when clicking on a word.
You can also click on a highlighted word and remove it from the answers!
1. Up to five incorrect words need to be highlighted
Each recording lasts from anywhere between 15 seconds and 50 seconds. Also, every recording contains up to five incorrect words.
2. How you are scored
Negative marking scheme is adapted in this section. You will get 1 mark for each correct response, and 1 mark will be deducted for each incorrect option chosen.
So if a test taker scores 2 points for two correct options, but then scores -2 for two incorrect options chosen, they will score 0 points overall for the item.
Partial credit, points deducted for incorrect options chosen:
- + 1 Each correct word
- – 1 Each incorrect word
- 0 Minimum score
3. Quickly read the transcription before you listen to focus on key words
Use the 10 seconds you get before the audio starts playing to go through the transcript quickly. You will be able to identify at least some words that don’t quite fit in with the rest of the text.
In the 10 seconds before the recording begins, you cannot read word-for-word, but you can skim the transcription.
Focus on the words that give you information: e.g., nouns (‘economy’), adjectives (‘industrial’) and verbs (‘manufactured’). Decide what the general topic is. This will help you pick out words that do not fit this topic area, as you read and listen:
4. Keep your cursor ready
Make sure your cursor is at the beginning of the transcript and your hand is on the mouse, ready to move the cursor. As soon as the audio begins, your hand should move to take the cursor to each subsequent word in the transcript. When you find you have heard a word that is different from what is written in the transcript, click on it. Don’t think too much, don’t stop to verify your answer. If you do, you will miss out on the audio.
5. Don’t click randomly
If you are not sure of the answer choice, don’t click on the word. The Highlight Incorrect Words question type has negative marking. Don’t go on a random clicking spree.
6. Follow the text with the cursor as you listen
In this item type, you have to select the wrong words as the text is read. Don’t try to make notes as you listen.
If you miss a couple of words in the recording, don’t look back to the transcript, keep moving forward.
Sufficient practice will definitely allow you to achieve full score in the section. Practice real exam questions is necessary if you are lacking confidence in Listening Highlight Incorrect Words.