How to Improve Oral Fluency in PTE

Pearson defines Oral Fluency as the smooth, effortless and natural-paced delivery of speech.

It is one of the enabling skills that are used to rate performance in the productive skill of speaking.

The following tasks measure the test taker’s Oral Fluency:

Task Task Description
Read aloud A text appears on screen. Read the text aloud.
Repeat sentence After listening to a recording of a sentence, repeat the sentence.
Describe image An image appears on screen. Describe the image in detail.
Re-tell lecture After listening to or watching a lecture, re-tell the lecture in your own words.

Pearson established a scoring criteria for Oral Fluency which are outlined as follows:

5 Native-like Speech shows smooth rhythm and phrasing. There are no hesitations, repetitions, false starts or non-native phonological simplifications.
4 Advanced Speech has an acceptable rhythm with appropriate phrasing and word emphasis. There is no more than one hesitation, one repetition or a false start. There are no significant non-native phonological simplifications.
3 Good Speech is at an acceptable speed but may be uneven. There may be more than one hesitation, but most words are spoken in continuous phrases. There are few repetitions or false starts. There are no long pauses and speech does not sound staccato
2 Intermediate Speech may be uneven or staccato. Speech (if>=6 words) has at least one smooth three-word run, and no more than two or three hesitations, repetitions or false starts. There may be one long pause, but not two or more.
1 Limited Speech has irregular phrasing or sentence rhythm. Poor phrasing, staccato or syllabic timing, and/or multiple hesitations, repetitions, and/or false starts make spoken performance notably uneven or discontinuous. Long utterances may have one or two long pauses and inappropriate sentence-level word emphasis.
0 Disfluent Speech is slow and labored with little discernible phrase grouping, multiple hesitations, pauses, false starts, and/or major phonological simplifications. Most words are isolated, and there may be more than one long pause.

Here are few tips to achieve good Oral Fluency:

1. Learn to be relaxed, confident and comfortable.

Pauses, repetition, hesitation and false starts tend to occur when we feel an ounce of anxiety, fear or doubt. These supplementary elements of an enormously difficult and maybe life-changing examination can be avoided if we have confidence in ourselves. Remember, the machine recognizes the rhythm and nature of your speech. Make it smooth and flowing.

2. Avoid uttering Fillers and Non-words.

A filler is any word or phrase that is repetitively and habitually spoken which does not add meaning to the sentence. Native speakers commonly use fillers such as, “kinda”, “okay”, “and”, “you know”, “so”, and “like.” Non-words like “um”, “mm-hmm”, “ah”, “uh”, “er” do not make sense and are not known to the computer. You may lose points for constantly saying them.

3. Practice organizing your thoughts.

In some instances, we lose our train of thought, start to pause and may eventually lose focus. This happens when we run out of idea or can’t find the correct words. Yes, you should do well in terms of content and lexical range; but you can’t stop speaking to find the perfect term or the most brilliant idea. Read to increase your knowledge and improve your vocabulary.

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