PTE Core Speaking: Practice Tips, Test Format & Modules

pte core speaking

Welcome to our comprehensive PTE Core Speaking blog post. Think of it as your trainer, as we will guide you through everything related to the speaking section of the PTE Core test. 

From the most basic explanations to the most detailed insights, along with all the helpful tips and tricks – this blog by PTE Magic is here to help you.

Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • The PTE Core speaking section includes five main tasks: Read Aloud, Repeat Sentence, Describe Image, Respond to a Situation, and Answer Short Questions.
  • The key to mastering the PTE Core speaking is maintaining your speaking content, fluency, and pronunciation.
  • We have included a comprehensive set of tips and tricks for each section in the PTE Core speaking for your test practice. See them below.


PTE Core Speaking Test Overview

First, we will provide an overview of the PTE Core test, which will help you better understand its structure and scoring.


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There are five main tasks in the PTE Core speaking test.

The PTE Core speaking is a part of the PTE Speaking & Writing section. There are five main tasks:

  • Read Aloud
  • Repeat Sentence
  • Describe Image
  • Respond to a Situation
  • Answer Short Questions

Additionally, there is a Personal Introduction at the beginning, but we don’t discuss it in detail in this blog since it is not counted toward your score results.

All PTE Core speaking test tasks aim to evaluate your communicative skills. For example, with “Read Aloud”, the test can check your pronunciation and fluency, while “Repeat Sentences” evaluates your listening skills. We will provide a detailed breakdown of each task in the PTE Speaking below, so keep reading.



The next factor you should pay attention to is the scoring system of the PTE Speaking. 

As you probably know, PTE tests, including the PTE Core tests, are computer-based. The scores are structured differently in each section. Content, oral fluency, and pronunciation are the main factors that will affect your overall score.

Therefore, to guarantee a high PTE speaking score, cover the main points in your speech and maintain your fluency and pronunciation. We will show everything in detail below, including the score for specific speaking tasks.

PTE Core Speaking Format & Modules

The PTE Speaking section addresses test-takers’ English communication abilities. In this section, you will meet various tasks that will test different aspects of your English speaking. Let’s see these PTE core speaking modules:

Read Aloud

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An example of the PTE Core Read Aloud section.

In the Read Aloud task, they will present a text of up to 60 words. You will need to read aloud the text so that they can evaluate your reading and speaking skills. The time given for reading depends on the length of the provided text, so pay attention to the status box that shows the countdown.

Before you start to read aloud, you will have 30-40 seconds to prepare. You will hear a short tone after that, and you must speak only after you hear this short tone. Otherwise, your speech will not be recorded.

When the progress bar reaches the end, the status of this task will switch from “Recording” to “Complete”. Remember to finish your speech before the bar ends, since you can only record once.

Another important thing: if you stop for more than three seconds, the recording will automatically stop. Therefore, it’s best to speak continuously to prevent this situation from happening.

Repeat Sentence

The PTE Core Repeat Sentence section will first record a sentence lasting 3-9 seconds. Your task is to repeat the sentence correctly after the recording ends. Test-takers will have 40 seconds to complete this task.

Remember that this section does not have a short tone played after the recording, unlike the Read Aloud section. You must speak immediately when the recording status box shows “Recording”. The audio only plays once, and you can only record once, so remember everything you need to say. 

Describe Image

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An example of the PTE Core Describe Image section.

You will have to describe the image shown in this task. This Describe Image section will give you 40 seconds to complete and will evaluate your speaking skills accordingly. 

Here is what will happen: You will see a countdown in the recording status box. The test gives you 25 seconds to prepare your answer. When the countdown reaches the end, your microphones will open, and you will be ready to record your speech. 

In this task, a short tone will inform you right before you speak. Similar to Read Aloud, you must not talk before the microphone opens, or else you won’t get any score for this part. 

Respond to a Situation

In this test, test-takers must listen and read a situation described in words. After that, they need to give answers to the questions provided. The description text will be up to 60 words, and you have 40 seconds to answer.

The situation mentioned in the description is an everyday case. The PTE Response to a Situation test will give you 20 seconds to prepare your response after playing the audio automatically. Once the countdown stops, the microphone will open and you will hear a short tone as a sign.

Please finish your response before the progress bar reaches the end. You will know when the status changes from “Recording” to “Completed.”

Answer Short Questions

The final task in the PTE Core speaking section is Answer Short Questions. In this section, you must listen to a question lasting 3-9 seconds. All you have to do is give a response with a single word or several words within the next 10 seconds. The task aims to address your listening skills along with your speaking skills.

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An example of the PTE Core Answer Short Questions section.

For your information, the test may also include an image in addition to audio. However, unlike some tasks such as Read Aloud or Respond to a Situation, this task does not have a short tone to indicate when you can start speaking. Therefore, you should pay close attention to the status box to see if it has switched to “Recording” or not.

Once you have finished answering a question and the status has switched to “Completed,” click “Next” to proceed to the next one. 

PTE Core Speaking Practice Tips

This section will review the tips and tricks for your PTE Core speaking test practice. Let’s start with the first section:

Read Aloud

As mentioned above, you will have 30 to 40 seconds to prepare before recording your answer. You should use this time to break down the text into smaller phrases that have meaning. If you don’t know when to stop, use punctuation as your guide. 

Between these phrases, make sure to pause shortly. We recommend starting each word with a higher tone, and when it’s near the end, you can drop your tone down a bit. This technique helps you read more fluently, which can improve your score. 

Additionally, you should apply stress when speaking. How do we stress a word? You do it by adding more emphasis when you read that word. In other words, raise your voice and add a stronger tone to the key syllables.

Repeat Sentence

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Aside from correctly repeating the phrasing, you should also mimic the tone and stress of the speaker.

First, try to listen as much as possible when the audio is playing. The more phrases you can listen to, the higher your score will be if you can repeat the phrases correctly. 

For example, this sentence has three phrases: “Next week’s class / on Wednesday / has been postponed.” We have separated each meaningful phrase with a “/”. If you can listen to this sentence and remember these three phrases, you can repeat them correctly. 

Still, remember that meaningful phrases are not the only focus of this task. Aside from correctly repeating the phrasing, you should also mimic the tone and stress of the speaker in the original audio. We suggest keeping your voice calm and clear while copying their way of speaking.

Describe Image

Try not to panic if you see an image and don’t know how to describe it correctly. The first step is to focus on the main idea of the image. What is the main information when you look at the image, and what are the related details?

You can note down everything you find related to the main idea. Try to write it logically to make it easier when you start speaking. If you write down all the ideas in a messy way, you might not be able to figure it out in the jungle of your notes. 

Messy writing may also make it hard for you to plan your speech correctly, as you need to develop the general information and other details based on the main idea you see. Therefore, a speech with a proper opening and ending will get you a better score.

Respond to a Situation

Since you only have 20 seconds to prepare, you should use this time as much as possible. Test-takers should carefully pay attention to the given description to determine the situation’s main idea. Pointing out the idea will also help them choose which approach to use in their speech: formal or informal.

As we have said before, this section will give you 40 seconds to respond to the situation; therefore, you should plan your answer accordingly to avoid misusing the given time. If possible, try to speak for the entire 40 seconds.

To any test-takers who are afraid they will make mistakes while speaking and think they should give a short speech to avoid that, don’t do it. If you repeat your ideas or make mistakes, correct yourself and continue speaking. If you hesitate, you will lose scores and time, so keep calm and speak until the time runs out.

Answer Short Questions

As with any section in the PTE Speaking test, we suggest test-takers not pause for too long. Once the audio question finishes playing and the status box changes to “Recording”, you should start answering immediately. 

If you wait for longer than three seconds, you will lose your chance to answer as the recording will close, and the status will automatically switch to “Completed”. In other words, you will have missed one question and won’t get any score. Remember that the same scenario will happen during your speech – so do not pause for longer than three seconds.

Remember to reply to the questions with only one or a few words. Don’t give a long answer as it’s unnecessary and might take up your time. For example, with a question such as “What kind of publication is released every day?”, you can either answer “Newspaper” or “Newspaper is released every day.” The score would be the same for both answers, so choose wisely.

PTE Magic: Your Way to PTE Core Speaking Success

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PTE Magic’s training courses are one click away to help you reach your ideal score.

Aside from all the PTE Core speaking tips and practice, PTE Magic’s learning platform is here to help you achieve your PTE goal. Our website is user-friendly; you can easily access all the helpful resources.

Our AI mock tests are ready and available for test-takers to check their ability. Plus, you can experience what will happen on your PTE test day, as our mock tests also use AI-based scoring.

What’s more? Our PTE training courses are one click away to help you reach your ideal score. We have multiple courses in group and personal training that fit your preferences. You will get the best quality learning sources and trainers to guide you on your PTE path, so visit us today!

Final Thoughts

PTE Core speaking formats consist of five main sections designed to capture your English speaking skills differently. The key to mastering this is maintaining your speaking content, fluency, and pronunciation. Additionally, make sure to pay attention to the test rules and how they work to achieve your desired score effectively.

Don’t forget to visit PTE Magic and explore the potential resources for your PTE studying. You won’t regret it!

Last updated on 29/05/2024

I am a firm believer that the best teachers educate with their hearts not just their minds.

Moni | PTE MAGIC International Founder

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