PTE Written Discourse: Why Is It Important? How to Improve?

PTE Written Discourse

PTE written discourse is an enabling skill in the PTE test. However, many test-takers don’t understand it thoroughly leading to get trouble with this.

If you have prepared for the PTE test and find it challenging to deal with this PTE written discourse, don’t miss out on this blog.

PTE Magic will introduce written discourse and reveal some tips to handle this.

It actually can make a significant difference in your journey to success.

Let’s read on to examine.


What is PTE written discourse? 

PTE Written Discourse

PTE written discourse is a pivotal section of the PTE Academic exam designed to evaluate your ability to convey ideas, opinions, and arguments through the written word. 

However, “discourse” sounds quite strange from usual conversation. To understand more about this term, let’s take a look at its introduction in the PTE guidelines. 

It is said that “Written discourse skills are represented in the structure of a written text: entailing its internal coherence, logical development, and the range of linguistic resources used to express meaning precisely. Scores for enabling skills are not awarded when responses are inappropriate for the items in either content or form”.

Simply put, you can understand that written discourse refers to the skills necessary to structure a written text effectively. It encompasses maintaining internal coherence, logical development, and using a variety of linguistic resources to convey meaning accurately. It’s about how well you organize and express your thoughts in writing.

In general, it refers to some main points: content, logical flow, and vocabulary/grammar usage. 

  • Content: You should keep the reader interested in your paragraph without being off-topic. 
  • Logical flow: Every idea should be arranged appropriately, in order to let people easy to keep track of and be persuasive by your arguments.
  • Vocabulary and grammar: It’s necessary to show off your prominent linguistic skills with the usage of a rich vocabulary range and complex grammar.

Why you should pay special attention to it? 

Written discourse is an important enabling skill in the PTE test. The significance of PTE written discourse cannot be overlooked. Here are four main reasons why you should notice it.

  • Scoring impact: PTE written discourse contributes significantly to your writing and overall communication skills scores. The more master written discourse you can, the higher points you can get. It plays a pivotal role in determining your final PTE score.
  • Language proficiency: This part would reflect your linguistic ability. Therefore, the higher the quality of your written discourse, the better your language score. It also contributes to your practical application in real-life situations.
  • Expressing complex ideas: PTE written discourse tasks often require you to convey complex ideas effectively, a critical skill for academic and professional writing. It will support you in the exam and some other situations like dissertations as well.
  • Competitive edge: Achieving high scores in written discourse can set you apart from other test-takers, boosting your chances of realizing your academic and professional aspirations. 

Overall, written discourse plays an important part in PTE part in specific and in real life in general. It is better to take time to practice it seriously.

How is PTE written discourse scored? 

Understanding how PTE written discourse is scored can give you a strategic advantage. Your performance in this section is assessed based on several criteria, including:

  • Content: You need to create content relevant to the given prompt. Good writing has to connect and resolve all the offered issues in the prompt. 
  • Form: It’s necessary to follow the standard form of an essay including the introduction, body, and conclusion. These are the basic form of all the essays
  • Development and coherence: This aspect assesses how well you develop your ideas, maintain coherence, and ensure unity throughout your response. Every single paragraph should stick to each other.
  • Grammar and vocabulary: In your writing, the accuracy of your language use is a key factor in written discourse. Do you apply proper grammar? How well is your word choice? The structure of the sentence is good enough? These are some questions you need to notice to get a higher score in this part.
  • Spelling and punctuation: It’s crucial to pay attention to detail, including correct spelling, punctuation, and adherence to the word limit. With only a tiny mistake, you can miss your targeting score.

All the above are factors constituting the PTE written discourse. Your scores across these criteria are then averaged to determine your overall score for the written discourse section.

4 tips for improving PTE written discourse

Now you get how written discourse is important and its score range. So what you can do to improve this enabling skill? Below are some recommendations for you.

Understand the topic fully

Knowing exactly the prompt is the first step you need to be a master of written discourse. You need to identify the topic of discussion and what it requires you to deal with.

Remember that each question usually focuses on a specific issue. To recognize the main topic, you can skim and find several related keywords.

Let’s look into this question for example “An increasing number of employees are leaving rural areas to find new chances in the urban. What are the potential effects of this trend, and what remedies can you propose?”

It can easily be seen that bold parts are some keywords you can catch up quickly to identify the topic. Firstly, the question demonstrates a problem when many people relocate from rural to urban. It causes many side effects. You need to point out these consequences and offer respective solutions.

Notice that off-topic is a taboo in writing. You even might receive a zero if create a paragraph that is not related to the topic.

Follow the structure 

Assuring the writing structure is a compulsory factor in written discourse. Formal writing usually contains four parts: the introduction, two body paragraphs, and the conclusion. Your essay needs to have all of these. 

In addition, it is essential to keep a logical flow through the essay. You should use linking words such as moreover and therefore v.v to connect every sentence or every idea to each other. 

For instance, with the above question, you could start your first paragraph this way: “Firstly, the most serious effect we can see when people move from rural to urban is the unbalanced population.”

Otherwise, remember to maintain coherence in the writing. Make sure that all the ideas are connected. You should explain every statement, and provide trustworthy examples and evidence to support your opinion.

Enrich your linguistic range 

Vocabulary and grammar are crucial aspects to assess your written discourse skills. Thus, learning new words and their usage, and combining complex grammar (compound sentences, conditional sentences for example) are keys to winning.

Remember that this is a test so you should apply academic vocabulary and tone when writing. Using basic words would not appreciated. 

However, it does not mean that you have to apply these all the time. You should keep it in a proper density and in the right context. Abusing complicated vocab and grammar could hinder your writing.

So, how to improve one’s linguistic range? Here are some ways:

  • Keep reading: this is the most effective way to enhance your vocabulary. You can read articles, newspapers, or even academic reports,… to broaden your lexicon. In this way, you not only learn words’ meaning but also their context. 
  • Practice regularly: There is no point if you learn on paper only. It’s necessary to apply something new to write. Take a bit of time every day to write a short paragraph with new words you have learned that day. It would help you remember them better.

Get familiar with all writing types

There are many types of writing in the PTE essay test such as argument essays, pros and cons essays, causes and effects essays,… Every type of essay has a different structure. Therefore, you need to master it all to know exactly what you are going to write. 

To acquainted with this, the only way we offer is to revise older tests and try to do it by yourself. The more practice, the more mature you can. Once you know all kinds of questions, you can build your paragraph’s frame better. All you need is to note your idea on the paper and write based on it. 

It is not only time-consuming but also helps you focus on the main idea. You can avoid rambling or even off-topic as well.


In the PTE Academic exam, written discourse stands as a critical pillar that significantly influences your overall score. Understanding written discourse, dedicating time for practice, and applying the tips offered can increase your score significantly.

By mastering this aspect, you not only elevate your chances of success in the PTE exam but also enhance your English language proficiency, a skill that holds enduring value for your academic and professional pursuits.

Last updated on 18/10/2023

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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