The very first question type that you will face in your PTE exam is the Read Aloud question type in the PTE Speaking section. This is a simple enough question type.
You will see some text on the screen. You will have 30~40 seconds to read the text, understand it and prepare your response. After that time the microphone will open up. You will then have 30~40 seconds to record your response.
The question type contributes to your reading score also in addition to the speaking score. How well you score depends on how natural and comfortable you come across in your spoken response. If you are able to read the sentence properly without mistakes and your response demonstrates fluency, correct pronunciation, appropriate emphasis and flow of speech, you will get a high score.
1. How you are scored
|Number of questions
||6 to 7
|| Contributes score to both Speaking and Reading
| Negative marking
| Time to answer
||35~40 seconds to read the sentence and prepare a response
35~40 seconds to record your response
If you study and work in an environment which uses English language, you will find this question type simple enough. Most of us have to read reports, give presentations, read passages from text at work or study. This question type is just like that!
However, if you are not in a habit of reading out English texts, especially reading them out for others, you will need sufficient practice.
Please note that reading a text is very different from reading it aloud! When you read it aloud your focus is on how to make others understand the text and get it’s meaning across. If you can do this well, you can score high marks in this question type.
Your score depends upon first of all, how well you read all the words in the text. Reading the content accurately is very important. If you miss a lot of words or read a lot of words incorrectly, you will lose marks.
Rest of your score depends upon your oral fluency and your pronunciation. Try to sound as natural and fluent as you can.
This question type also contributes to your Reading score. After all you can only record correctly if you have read the text and understood it well.
2. Make the best use of preparation time
You will be allotted up to 40 seconds to read the text on the screen and compose your response, before the microphone starts recording.
Our team has done research and tested on hundreds of real exam PTE READ ALOUD questions, it has shown that the longest text that you will come across in the PTE exam will take between 30 and 35 seconds to read depending on lexical complexity. Generally speaking, most questions will not take longer than 25 seconds. So the 30 to 40 seconds preparation time is more than sufficient. You should be able to quietly read the longest and most complex academic text at least 2 times in this period.
If there are any words that seem new to you or seem long and complicated, try speaking them before the microphone opens up. Often you can break a complex word into smaller parts and figure out how to pronounce it. If after all attempts the word still seems difficult, just pronounce it the best you can, even replace it with a similar simpler word if needed.
Once the microphone opens up, keep your eyes on the text in the screen and start speaking. In your mind you have already decided where to pause, where to raise your voice, where to lower your voice, which words to emphasize and how to handle the difficult words. Use this information while delivering your response. When speaking, there is no time for second guessing. Don’t hesitate, don’t override what you decided earlier during preparation. If you do your fluency, your pace, your pronunciation can all suffer and adversely impact your overall score.
3. Speak with a purpose
Speaking with a purpose is not difficult. We do it every day when we speak. You probably are doing it unconsciously but you certainly are speaking with a purpose when you vocalize your idea, no matter what language you use. When you speak with a purpose, you subconsciously take appropriate pauses, use correct intonation and put stress on words. You display these skills so the listener can comprehend the words and the point you are trying to make along with inherent emotion.
The machine scoring system expects you to do the same except you are expected to express somebody else’s ideas by reading a text aloud. Therefore, to read with a purpose you must first understand the text that you are going to read.
4. Pace and intonation
Read at a moderate pace. Avoid speaking too fast or too slow, and don’t skip words. Enunciate your words and speak clearly, without rushing the process.
The perception of ‘natural rate of speech’ varies for every individual. One of our subscribers who used to struggle with speaking module sent his Read Aloud recording to us, I have to say his English is good but he speaks even quicker than an auctioneer! Although it took him quite a bit of practice to break the habit, it made a huge difference and he was finally able to achieve the PTE speaking score he needed.
As mentioned earlier, you will have sufficient time to read aloud. So do not try to read fast to save time. Just speak at a volume and rate of speech that comes naturally to you as an individual, when you are giving a lecture to an audience. Moreover, don’t forget to use rising intonation at the beginning of sentences and falling intonation to indicate the end of a sentence. Do this and you will sound pleasant and be speaking at a natural rate with a purpose.
You are expected to have punctuation as well, this is because pauses carry great power and enable you to speak with a purpose, a speech without any break is like an out of control train, which is likely to cause poor pronunciation score. So you need to make tiny pauses when you encounter punctuation marks like comma and full stop. The pause for a full stop should be slightly longer than that for a comma.
5. Read it as what it is
• Contractions should be read exactly as they are. “Don’t” should not be read as “do not” and “I’m” should not be read as “I am”.
• Replacing a word by another, inserting new words or omitting existing words count as errors.
• Do not mix singular and plural nouns. Pronouncing “boy” as “boys” or “houses” as “house” counts as an error.
• Make sure that you pronounce numerical values correctly. Don’t skip the “th” in “25th”. Read “the 1850s” as “the eighteen fifties.”
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 Read Aloud.