10 Common Mistakes in PTE You Need to Avoid

First-time PTE test-takers might feel overwhelmed by the extensive English grammar and vocabulary they need to learn. This vast amount of knowledge can discourage learners and hinder them to get high scores.

10 Common Mistakes in PTE You Need to Avoid

Don’t worry; we’ll list 10 common mistakes in PTE you need to avoid to optimize your performance on the test date.

Top 10 Mistakes in PTE You Need to Avoid

1. Ignore Distractors and Rush to Give Answers

Mastering listening is challenging because it involves multiple skills to grasp and interpret the audio. So, you need to stay focused all the time, paying attention to every word, especially distractors.

One person can state this fact at this moment, and another can correct it the next. After all, there is only a slight difference between “can” and “can’t” in a fast-paced dialogue.

Therefore, it’s recommended to not rush to give answers. Instead, wait until you’ve listened to the whole audio.

Related: Top 10 Best PTE Exam Preparation Tips For Beginners

2. Forget The Notepad

Worry can follow you to the exam room, making it hard to remember all the information in the audio. Luckily, each candidate will be given an erasable notepad where you can jot down important words while listening.

Taking notes is very important in parts like Summarize a Spoken Text and Multiple Choice questions. In these sections, you will have to listen to a pretty long audio packed with a lot of details. So, it’s best to make use of the notepad to not miss out on important points.

3. Choose the Wrong Training Course

If you’ve just started the journey to a PTE certificate and don’t know what to learn first, online courses are the way to go. However, with thousands of courses available, many place their trust in the wrong website. So, be careful when searching for online courses.

For a PTE online course to be considered, you need to check its qualified teachers and other related features and benefits. Things like a tailored study plan, question bank, mock tests, etc. are among the most important ones to have in a good course.

4. Copy Exactly from the Audio in the Summarize a Spoken Text

As the name implies, this part requires test-takers to “Summarize,” not to write exactly what they’ve heard. Sadly, many candidates forget this and lose points in this section.

Even when short on time, don’t forget to summarize the key points in your own words.

5. Speak too Fast or Pause too Long

Regardless of your levels, remember that speaking fast doesn’t equal fluency. A good speaker knows how to balance their pace to deliver their ideas effectively. If you speak too fast, the computer might not completely interpret your answers and give you a lower mark than expected.

On the other hand, making long or frequent pauses while recording also hurts your score. Pausing implies that the candidate hasn’t prepared well for the question or lacked supporting ideas for their answer.

6. Use the Wrong Grammar and too Many Fillers

Grammar is the key to getting better test results, both in writing and speaking.

Wrong spelling or pronunciation negatively affects your score. Using the wrong tense can potentially change the meaning of a sentence. Meanwhile, putting inappropriate punctuation in a sentence can diminish its effect or emphasis.

Additionally, overusing fillers is common with first-time candidates because they might consider them linking words. In Writing or Speaking, many test-takers tend to put “about” after verbs or use too many conjunctions. But this redundancy can make you lose some points.

Also, avoid filler sounds like “um,” “uh,” and “ah” while speaking. Using these fillers frequently makes examiners think you don’t prepare well for the question. These interruptions will lead to a poor score in fluency.

7. Use Informal Language or too Long Sentences

Most PTE candidates choose the Academic type, so using casual language is not advisable in your speaking and writing. In an academic setting, you should use formal, advanced words to get a higher score.

That said, being formal doesn’t mean writing long sentences that are hard to follow. The ultimate goal is to communicate your ideas and viewpoints, so keep your sentences concise. Alternating between simple and complex sentences is a smart strategy.

8. Exceed the Word Limit

You might not know this, but exceeding the word limit can result in a lower mark in writing. Some learners assume that only when writing a long essay can they cover all the important ideas.

However, a good essay should represent your perspectives in a well-organized and concise manner. This PTE section should be between 200 and 300 words long. Also, remember that the Summarize Written Text section requires you to write 5 to 75 words.

9. Lose Track of Time on Unknown Words or Questions

Each PTE part has a time limit; you must finish all the questions before the time runs out. Otherwise, you will lose points for incomplete items.

When encountering unknown words or questions, many try to figure out their meaning or find the answer before moving on to the next. They waste too much time on these questions and don’t have enough time for the remaining ones.

To maximize your score, it’s recommended to manage time wisely to answer all the questions.

10. Forget to Review Your Answers

Even when the Reading section seems easy, spend time checking your answers once more before submitting. Pay more attention to events, numbers, or dates in the text and compare them with your answers. It’s better safe than sorry!


Do you find yourself making at least one of the 10 common mistakes in PTE you need to avoid? If yes, it’s time to change your learning method. Each section of the exam requires different skillsets, so you should spend time practicing them more to get a better score!

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