Mistakes to Avoid while Preparing for PTE

In our previous blog posts, we have explored the best tips and strategies that a candidate must learn to score highly in PTE Academic.  Now, let’s talk about the ‘don’ts’ and mistakes you should avoid when it comes to taking PTE Academic.


  • Don’t capitalize all the letters of your answers. Use capital letters when beginning a new sentence or writing a proper noun.
  • Don’t click NEXT before the status changes to “Completed”. If you move to the next task before “Completed” shows, your response will not be saved or recorded.
  • Don’t spend too much time on a task. Learn to balance your time so you can finish the exam. For most takers. the Listening section is the easiest.
  • Don’t forget to bring a valid, government-issued and non-expired ID.
  • Don’t engage in activities like eating, drinking, singing and reading notes during the exam. Disturbing or aiding fellow candidates is also prohibited.
  • Don’t be late. You will not be allowed to take the exam if you arrive 15 minutes late at the exam center.


  • Don’t pause for more than three seconds. The microphone will stop recording after three seconds of silence.
  • Don’t imitate the speaker’s accent. Candidates are advised to be natural and clear when speaking. Having an accent like that of a native English speaker does not give added points.
  • Don’t omit, replace, or insert a word in the “Read aloud” task. These errors are deducted from the points earned for words spoken correctly.
  • Don’t give long answers in the “Answer short question” task. An answer is usually composed of one or two words. You don’t have to deliver a complete sentence or make some explanation.
  • Don’t close your eyes. Occasionally, some questions will be based on a picture that will appear on the screen.
  • Don’t speak briskly. Speed is not measured. Oral fluency and Pronunciation strongly matters.
  • Don’t use a monotonous tone. Make brief pauses to change your intonation.
  • Don’t tolerate habitual inclusion of fillers and non-words in your sentences. Avoid stuttering and uttering non-words (uhhhm and ahhh). These are incorrect words and can lessen your score for this section.
  • Don’t stop whenever you mispronounce a word. Yes, you may lose points for mispronouncing a word; however, you will lose more points if you stop talking. Don’t panic and get ready to correct yourself.
  • Don’t leave a sentence incomplete. Incomplete sentences, even if they make sense, are still grammatically incorrect and thus may reduce your Speaking score.


  • Don’t proceed to the next task without proofreading your essay or summary. Spare two to three minutes to read your work to check the spelling, vocabulary, grammar and written discourse. These are enabling skills that are rated based on your answers in the writing section.
  • Don’t go below or beyond the word limit. If you write less or more than the required number of words, you will earn zero points for the task.
  • Don’t write more than one sentence in the “Summarize Written Text” task. Again, if you fail to follow this instruction, your response will not be scored.
  • Don’t get used to writing contractions (I’m, Isn’t, They’re, Wasn’t). Although they are simpler, they tend to set an informal tone which is not ideal in academic and formal writing.


  • Don’t choose all the options in the “Multiple choice, choose multiple answers” task. All incorrect answers will be deducted from the points earned for correct ones. If all answers are wrong, no points will be given.
  • Don’t fail to read the question or prompt. Sometimes, when we ignore this, we tend to look for the correct answer. This is totally a mistake when the task looks for the incorrect response among the options.
  • Don’t proceed to the next task without filling all the blanks in the “Fill in the blanks” task.  Unlike the “Multiple choice, choose multiple answers” task, incorrect answers will not reduce your score for correct answers.


  • Don’t write more than 50-70 words in the “Summarize spoken text” task. No points will be given for responses not observing the word limit.
  • Again, don’t choose all the options in the “Multiple choice, choose multiple answers” task.
  • Don’t choose the option because it contains the same words or phrases mentioned in the recording. Look for the information that the question is looking for.
  • In the “Highlight correct summary” task, don’t read the choices while the audio is playing. Listen intently to the recording, write some notes, and pick the option that is as close as what you have written down.
  • In the “Highlight incorrect words” task, don’t attempt to take notes. Hover the cursor to the words as the recording is playing so you can easily click to the incorrect words.
  • Don’t lose your presence of mind. Remember, the recording will only play once. If you’ve missed the important information, it’s time to make your best guess.

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