Understanding PTE scoring system

PTE scoring system

You need to understand how the scoring system in PTE Academic works. Basically there are two things:

1. Answers are assessed by computers only
2. One answer could affect one or two section scores

In PTE Academic, you will need to be able to score well on every section. There are two task types. The first type is the Independent Task which only affects a score in one section and the second is the Integrated Task which affects a score in two section types. Every time you have completed the test, you should make sure where you have lost points by looking at your score report. It doesn’t matter really if you did well or not, but it does matter where you scored well and not well. To achieve your target score, you will need to prioritise your efficiency. You should only focus on those questions that you think needs improvement. That way, you will be on the right way to achieve your desired score.

Score report example
Here is my score report.

In your PTE score report you will see Communicative Skills and Enabling Skills. In most cases your scores in Communicative Skills will be assessed but it also varies. This also means that no matter how bad your score is in Enabling Skills, as long as you passed the requirement in Communicative Skills there shouldn’t be an issue.

One thing to consider here. You will have a hard time getting a higher score in the Speaking section if you only scored the lowest 10 points in either or both Oral Fluency and Pronunciation. You don’t need to aim for a full mark for these skills though, you will need to make sure if the microphone properly picks up your voice. If not, you will never be able to achieve your target score for sure.

From here let’s have a look at each element.

Communicative Skills

Reference: PTE Score Guide

Communicative Skills include Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing. When you see your scores, you will need to guess where you potentially lost your points. Especially Integrated Tasks should be treated very carefully to achieve a higher score. Here are examples of Integrated Tasks.

Reading + Speaking (Speaking: Read Aloud)
Listening + Speaking (Speaking: Repeat Sentence etc)
Reading + Writing (Writing: Summarise Written Text etc)
Listening + Writing (Listening: Summarise Spoken Text etc)
Listening + Reading (Listening: Highlight Correct Summary etc)

For example, your score in Write From Dictation in the Listening section will affect both your Listening and Writing scores.

Enabling Skills

Reference: PTE Score Guide

There are 6 categories in Enabling Skills.

Grammar – Your grammar will be assessed. It affects Writing and Listening scores.
Oral Fluency – How fluently you answer questions. Only affects Speaking
Pronunciation – Your pronunciation will be assessed here. Only affects Speaking
Spelling – Your spelling will be assessed. It affects Writing and Listening scores.
Vocabulary – Your vocabulary will be assessed. It affects Writing and Listening scores.
Written Discourse – Your consistency in writing will be assessed. It affects Writing and Listening scores.

Why Speaking is important

I would say, that the most important section among the four PTE sections is Speaking. If you cannot do well in this section, you cannot expect a good score in Overall, Speaking, Listening and Reading.

Here is the breakdown of each question type in the Speaking section.

Read Aloud – Affects Speaking, Reading
Repeat Sentence – Affects Speaking, Listening
Describe Image – Affects Speaking only
Retell lecture – Affects Speaking, Listening
Answer short question – Affects Speaking, Listening

Apart from Describe Image, all questions are Integrated Tasks. Especially Speaking questions have a strong connection with Listening, you will see both your Listening and Speaking scores similar especially when you’re trying to achieve 70+.

And Reading is generally considered a hard section, but you can add a lot of points through the Speaking section’s Read Aloud which affects your Reading score. You should make this question type perfect, then you will have y less problem in the Reading section.

Also, one more thing I want to stress here is that Speaking doesn’t assess your grammar. That means there is no reason that you must stick to correct grammar when doing the Speaking section. Rather you should focus on pronunciation, fluency and content while speaking. This is why it is most important to see how each question is scored.

How your answer is evaluated (by questions)
Each question type has different scoring and different task type. Make sure you go through all these.


Reference: PTE Score Guide


Reference: PTE Score Guide


Reference: PTE Score Guide

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