5 common mistakes in PTE Speaking

PTE Academic test measures the proficiency of your spoken language. This test is different from other traditional tests as you have to speak in a microphone and record your responses, instead of speaking face to face with an examiner. To get the desired score in this test, you not only need to develop language proficiency but also develop a clear tone and be articulate and practice recording your voice.

Let’s look at some of the common mistakes and strategies to avoid them.


Speaking unnaturally

PTE Academic Speaking test requires you to be fluent in your speech. However, fluency does not mean speaking fast. Although, there is a time limit in which you have to complete, don’t make the mistake of rushing to finish your speech and making errors or not being clear. Contrary to speaking too fast, speaking too slow and deliberately also breaks the rhythm of your speech and you sound unnatural. This should be avoided.

To score well, you need to be understood, so look at the timer and measure the time of your talk by practicing and noting how as many words you can speak within this time. Make sure not to make any pronunciation errors or put unnecessary stress on words and letters, this can be recorded as a word as well.

Not speaking into the microphone

Many students prefer to practice for the PTE Academic test by practicing with a teacher and/or a partner who can interact with them in a conversation and guide them to correct their mistakes. They forget that the test will be recorded and they will be speaking into a microphone.

Learning to speak into a microphone is also a skill. Invest in a good microphone and recorder and listen to your recorded speech. When you listen to yourself, notice if you have made the mistake of breathing into the microphone, which can occur when we speak words with “ph”, “sh” “ch” “b” etc. sounds. Also, avoid clearing your throat, coughing, sneezing sighing etc. within your talk as it can be mistaken as a word by the automated grading system. Practice speaking clearly and completely.

Interjecting with sounds or fillers

In normal circumstances, when we speak, we are bound to use sounds like “hmmm” or “aaah” to pause and think about our next word or utterance. Some people also have the habit of using “like” and “so” and other such words in every sentence. When we are in a conversation it is natural and does not break the sequence of our talk. However, in PTE Academic Speaking test, it gets recorded as a word and breaks the coherence of our sentences, leading to low score.

Secondly, plan what you are going to say in the time given to you. Make note of the sequence you will follow in your talk. Practice using a format to plan your talk, while preparing for your PTE test, this will help you to avoid panic during the test. Keep it simple and focus on the main aspects of the task. Once you have planned your speech content, do not hesitate and break the continuity. Speak with confidence and complete your talk using correct vocabulary and grammar.

Use formal academic language

In our normal speech, when we want to speak like a native speaker, we learn and use some informal language or collocation, which helps us sound similar to a native speaker. However, PTE Academic is a test of your academic language proficiency. Here, using slang or colloquial language is not considered using correct language structures, but will surely be taken as a vocabulary or grammatical error.

It is important that you respond to the tasks in a formal manner, using vocabulary that you see in academic texts. You should keep your structures passive as well as use impressive words instead of casual words that we usually use in our social interactions. Also, it is important to avoid using same vocabulary repeatedly. Bring in a variety in the use of your language and talk in precise language and remain focused to the task.

Complete your sentences

In our everyday conversation, we assume that our listener is following our train of thought and if we leave an idea unfinished and move on with the other idea, the listener will understand us, regardless of the unfinished sentence. This advantage is not available to us, in PTE Academic speaking test. Here, you, as the speaker is being recorded and your language fluency is being assessed on the basis of how the use of sentence structures.

Therefore, make sure that you have the sentences completely planned. Don’t leave any sentence unfinished and move on to the next one. Don’t panic and be stressed for time, resulting in hurried talk, and making this critical mistake. Form your sentence structures, speak them in clearly articulate manner. Do not rush to complete your task by speaking in phrases and disjointed sentences. Also, while talking if you notice that you have missed an information or point in your sentence, don’t start you sentence again. Complete the sentence and add you missed point as a new sentence.


Avoiding these mistakes will definitely help you ace the PTE Academic Speaking section.