Is Reading Speed Important?

Oral fluency is described as the natural, even, and graceful delivery of speech. To be fluent, speak at a normal and acceptable speed. This supports the idea that speed is an element of Speaking. However, speed is not a characteristic gauged in Reading. In the Reading module, there are only correct, partially correct, or incorrect answers.

Let’s look at the pros and cons in incorporating a certain amount of speed in taking PTE Academic:


  1. Finishing the exam on time or earlier. Some test takers scored low in the Listening section because they were not able to finish the exam. This can be frustrating for those who expect they will nail this area.
  2. Better focus. When you read slowly, your mind will tend to wander and lose focus thus wasting more time.
  3. Improve Summarizing abilities. Speed can be very helpful in the summarizing written text task on which only ten minutes is allotted and you must pick the general idea, keywords, and main arguments.


  1. Compromised comprehension. When we aim to completely understand content, we read the transcript gradually and let the ideas sink into our minds. If we read at a faster than usual pace, we may fail to fully comprehend the message that the author wants to convey. It’s like reading without purpose at all.
  2. PTE’s sequential feature. If you plan to put some haste on going through the exam so you can have ample time to review, forget it; this will not really work. After completing a task, the next one will appear on the screen. The program does now allow test takers to return to previous questions or review answers of prior sections.
  3. Missing the answers. Skimming and scanning may lead to missing out the real answers or meaning of the text.

To improve reading speed, practice reading at a faster pace and check whether:

  • You fully understood the text
  • Can summarize the text in one sentence
  • Remember the important points
  • Retain information
  • Avoid re-reading the same pages

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