PTE Highlight Incorrect Words: 7 Tips to High Scores!

Overview of PTE Highlight Incorrect Words and 7 Tips To Overcome It

PTE Highlight Incorrect Words is a type of question in the PTE listening test. This section assesses not only your listening but also your reading skills. 

The Highlight Incorrect Words task demands a keen eye for detail and an adept understanding of grammar and vocabulary to get a high score.

This short guide by PTE Magic aims to delve into the overview of the Highlight Incorrect Words PTE section, unraveling its intricacies and providing valuable insights for test-takers striving for the best result.

Let’s scroll to discover the details!


An Overview of PTE Highlight Incorrect Words PTE?

Overview of PTE Highlight Incorrect Words and 7 Tips To Overcome It

What is it?

Highlight Incorrect Words is a part of the PTE listening test. In this section, you will hear a recording and have its transcript. There are some words differing from the original audio.

Your task is to find out mistakes in the transcript when listening to the audio. 

Every recording can last about 30 to 90 seconds. You will encounter this type of question 2 or 3 times in the listening section. 

You have 10 seconds to skim the text before the recording plays. Notice that it will play automatically only once so you need to keep focus all the time.

To master the Highlight Incorrect Words task, it is imperative to have a strong foundation in English grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. 

Test-takers must be well-versed in recognizing errors such as subject-verb agreement, verb tense, word order, and usage of prepositions. 

Additionally, a deep understanding of idiomatic expressions and collocations is crucial to discerning the subtle intricacies of language usage.


How is it negative scoring?

A big warning of this part is that it has negative marks. This means if you choose the wrong phrase instead, your score will be deducted. Therefore, you should choose the answer only when you are sure about it.

However, not all the cases are the same. There are several situations in which you may not lose points.

If you mark a sentence or a phrase that contains the wrong word, you will not receive negative marks. For example, in case the sentence “There are many causes leading to water population” includes the wrong word “water” but you highlight “water population”, you will not lose points.

Similarly, if the right answer is a phrase but you choose one of them only, your score will not be deducted as well. Back to the above example, if the right answer this time is “water population” but you choose “water” only, your score might remain.

7 Useful Tips In Highlight Incorrect Words PTE 

Tip #1: Enhance Vocabulary

A rich vocabulary is a potent weapon in tackling the Highlight Incorrect Words task. Since the errors may not be glaringly obvious, a deep understanding of word meanings and usage is crucial. 

Reading extensively, learning synonyms and antonyms, and exposing oneself to a variety of written materials can significantly contribute to an enriched vocabulary.

Tip #2: Keep pace with the audio

It is better if you read the transcript at the same speed as the recording plays. Try to move your eyesight along with the audio.

If you lose track, it is unlikely to recover. You may not understand the recording thoroughly and miss many details. By this, it is almost possible to find out the right answer. 

If you recognize that you did not catch up with the speaker, leave the information you have missed behind and try to find out which part the speaker is saying as soon as possible. 

This is the ideal way to maximize the chance of choosing the right answer when losing track.

Tip #3: Don’t randomly choose the answer if you are not sure about it

This question has negative marks so don’t make a guess when you don’t know the correct one. You might lose points if you chose the wrong word. It is possible to receive a zero for this question if you make mistakes.

Therefore, strive to maintain concentration to listen and read the transcript to find the right answer.

However, sometimes, you still can make a guess but it must be logical. In case the speaker talks too fast for you to hear clearly, but you can pick up 1-2 possible options, let’s make a guess. It is likely to find the right answer in this situation.

Understanding context will help you in this case. You can analyze and explore which is inappropriate in the sentence to pick up the right answer.

Tip #4: Practice Regularly

Familiarity with the format and style of questions in the PTE Highlight Incorrect Words task is essential for success. 

Engaging in regular practice with authentic PTE materials allows test-takers to acclimate to the nuances of the exam. It helps in developing a strategic approach to quickly identify errors and make accurate decisions within the given time frame.

In addition, you can approach the test format most closely with the mock test provided by the practice website. PTE Magic can be a good choice for you.

Our website provides a huge of questions to prepare for the actual test. With the questions, time pressure, and so on, your experience can mostly be the same as the real one. 

Moreover, by AI application, your score will be analyzed. You will see your strengths as well as your weaknesses to improve later.

Tip #5: Don’t take note

Taking notes is inevitable in many listening tests. However, with this type of question, it is unnecessary. 

The priority of this task is following the speed of the speaker and finding the wrong words. If you take time to jot down, it is a waste and affects your performance a lot. 

Taking notes means that you almost can’t read the transcript while listening. As a consequence, finding the incorrect words in the script is a big challenge. 

There are not any related questions after that, so keep focus and don’t be distracted by anything.

Tip #6: Be consistent with the answer

Like taking notes, reviewing after finishing the task is a must-have step. However, it is useless in this question. It is better to be confident about your first option. Reviewing can make you be confused.

You can consider changing your choice only when you make sure that your answer is wrong. Otherwise don’t do that.

Tip #7: Stay calm under pressure

The PTE is designed to assess not only language proficiency but also the ability to perform under pressure. Remaining calm and composed, especially during tasks like Highlight Incorrect Words, is crucial. Panic can lead to rushed decisions and an increased likelihood of errors. Developing a mindset of composure through practice and mental preparation is key.


In conclusion, the PTE Highlight Incorrect Words task is a big challenge but with the right approach, you can get your dream result. 

By diligently honing grammar fundamentals, enriching vocabulary, and practicing with authentic materials, test-takers can elevate their performance, and success in the Highlight Incorrect Words task becomes an attainable goal.

Don’t forget to apply the above tips to your test, and access PTE Magic to take our mock test to practice more effectively. 

Last updated on 17/11/2023

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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