The different sections of the Pearson Test for English, or PTE-A, are designed to assess different skills of the test takers. However, it is important to understand that no section is specifically designed to test only one skill. All the question types assess a combination of various skills. More than half of the question types in PTE assess a combination of various skills.
First section of PTE-A is a combination of speaking and writing skills. The candidate is assessed on pronunciation, fluency, vocabulary and content. The second section, the Reading section is timed for a total of 32-40 minutes. No question type is timed separately. This section contains 5 different types of questions as follows:
1. Fill in the blanks (Drag and Drop)- A paragraph of about 300 words appears on the screen, with some words missing. There is a list of independent words below the paragraph. The candidate is required to select the correct word and drag the word to its correct place using a click of the mouse. The number of words is more than the number of blanks in the question to increase the difficulty level of the test. However, one word can only be used in one blank. This question type mainly depends on identifying certain cues in the incomplete prompt.
2. Multiple choice, multiple answers (MCMA)- The Multiple Choice Questions, or the MCQs usually involve selecting one right answer to a question from a couple of options. However, as the name suggests, the MCMA question type has multiple right answers. These questions are based on a paragraph of about 300 words. There are around 5-7 options for these questions, out of which, more than one is correct. Each correct answer weighs 1 point. These questions are based on academic material and focus on the test taker’s ability to comprehend the question and select an appropriate response. There are 1-2 MCMA questions in the test.
3. Reordering paragraph- This question appears in the form of jumbled sentences. 4-7 sentences appear in text boxes on the screen. These sentences do not have a pre-defined order. The candidate is required to arrange them to make a complete paragraph. There will be 2-3 such questions, which assess the candidate’s skills of arranging the sentences to make a comprehensible piece.
4. Reading & Writing Fill in the blanks (Dropdown)- This is another type of fill in the blanks in the same section. However, in this question type, all the blanks have a drop-down option. There are 4 options in the drop-down menu, out of which, only one is correct. Choosing the correct option fetches the candidate one point. As the name suggests, this question type assesses a combination of your reading and writing skills. The blanks test your knowledge of grammar and collocation. Most of the time, the choices in the drop down menu are similar but have different meaning and usage. There are 5-7 such questions in the test.
5. Multiple choice, single answer (MCSA)- Unlike the MCMA, the MCSA type questions have only one correct answer to each question. These questions are based on a paragraph of about 300 words. There are questions based on this paragraph. Each question has 4 options, out of which only one is correct. The test taker needs to select the option most appropriate to the question. There are 1-2 questions of this type.
The different question types in the reading section assess the reading comprehension and logical ability of the test taker. The candidate needs to read and understand the questions. To increase the difficulty level of the test, the options are sometimes confusing and tricky. Reading every word in the question and the options is the key to identifying the difference between the correct and the incorrect response.