PTE Speaking Practice

Among the various English proficiency tests, the PTE is considered a top choice for certification as a skilled English speaker. The PTE is administered in three sections: Speaking and writing, Reading, and Listening. Here we will provide you our advice on what you need to do to be successful in the speaking portion of the PTE. Your success is predicated on repetition, meaning practice, practice, and practice.

Read Related Reading: PTE Reading Practice

During the speaking portion of the exam, you will be required to respond to questions in clear, fluent English using proper pronunciation, consonant intonation, and by formulating a contextually-relevant reply. The PTE Academic exam also is adaptive, recognizing a variety of accepted dialectical versions of proper English pronunciation. Speaking responses are not individually timed.


There are five focal areas that comprise effective speaking. These are the following:

  1. Organization of presentation
  2. Anticipating the listener’s needs
  3. Linguistic cohesion and verbal fluency
  4. Control of language
  5. Properly gauged intonation and word stress patterns

There are several aspects of test-taker responses that are assessed. These are:

  • Speaking with a purpose (to inform, to explain, to repeat, etc.)
  • Speaking at a natural rate with correct intonations, correct word, and syllable stress
  • Use of pronunciations from an accepted dialect of English
  • Using details, examples, and explanations to support an opinion
  • Employing contextually-relevant words and phrases
  • Demonstrating the ability to read aloud
  • Logical organization of an oral presentation and adherence to a time limit
  • Demonstrating verbal fl.uency and construction of complex ideas

The PTE speaking section assessors look for several key aspects of English language mastery. Knowing what they specifically denote in your responses will help you to better prepare yourself for success. 

  • Correct Pronunciation

Make certain to speak your responses clearly, using evenly-metered speech. Talk a bit more slowly than you normally would speak and enunciate, making certain to pronounce each syllable. Do not mumble or gloss over words or portions of words.

  • Verbal Fluency

This language skill can only be accomplished through practice. Therefore, we recommend you spend as much time as possible speaking English prior to the exam. Assessors expect you to demonstrate comfort with using English.

  • Correct Grammar

Using incorrect grammar in any language is an immediate tip-off that the speaker is not a native. There is often an additional assumption people commonly make in assuming a speaker using incorrect grammar lacks intelligence, even though this is not a true measure of it.

One reliable means of obtaining a feel for the proper English grammar is reading. Despite the exam portion discussed here being all about speaking, spending your practice time reading grammatically-correct English writing will assist you quite well in developing a comfort level with the varied forms of English sentence structure.

  • A Reasonable Vocabulary

In the speaking portion of the PTE, it is advised that you answer questions directly and not digress into using overly verbose or flowery language. In English, there are many words that are synonyms, at least on paper.

In actual use, however, native speakers are familiar with the subtle differences in meaning between various synonyms. The synonym of one word when substituted many times does not convey the same idea as the original sentence.

Make sure you build a reliable vocabulary and are certain of the meaning of words you will speak.


Read Aloud

This section consists of 5-6 questions where the student will read aloud and be recorded reciting the provided text. Each question consists of several keywords of some linguistic complexity that the student is expected to pronounce clearly and distinctly.

The test taker is allowed approximately 30 or 40 seconds to review the text, practice, and prepare themselves to recite. Next, they are then given 30 to 40 seconds to record their recitation of the provided text.

In this practice section, each narrative is followed by a recording of the narrative being properly read, with attention to the meter of voice, intonation, and articulation of phonemes. Narratives typically consist of 40 to 60 words.

Repeat Sentence 

In the Repeat Sentence section, you are provided an audio recording (about three seconds of audio) to which the student must listen and repeat. After listening, you will be able to select a recording mode to record your repetition of the spoken sentence. The recorder allows for about 15 seconds for your answer.

Describe Image

In the Describe Image section, you will be presented with an image which you must describe. Typically, these images are complex and may consist of graphs, flow diagrams, or tables. 

You will have approximately 20 seconds to prepare a response, then you will be provided a 30 to 40-second window to record your response.

Retell Lecture

In this section, you will listen to an audio recording (approximately 30 seconds) consisting of a portion of an academic lecture. The recording may or may not also display slides or videos.

After listening to the recording, you are given 10 seconds to prepare your response, then 30 to 40 seconds to record your explanation of the lecture portion.

Answer Short Question

This section of the exam is rather straightforward. You will listen to a short audio recording (approximately five seconds) where a question is posed. You will then be asked to record your answer. Typically, these answers are very short with one-word answers being the most common.

There are many resources available to help you with your PTE exam preparation, but one of the best is SuperPTE. This exam preparation site has a variety of tools to assist you in getting ready for the exam, all at reasonable prices.

On the SuperPTE website, there are sets of free practice questions, including speaking, writing, reading, and listening. Choose to speak and you will be provided with six different exercise choices.

These include Read Aloud, Repeat Sentence, Describe Image, Retell Lecture, and Answer Short Question.

SuperPTE provides 20 free questions in each of these sections.

So check them out and get ready for success.

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