In this post, I cover the PTE Academic Writing section of the Exam. I go over how to complete the Essay section in time. Although a good typing speed can help you in the PTE Academic exam, it is not the most crucial factor in how quickly you complete the writing section. Watch the video or read the article below.
I go over some tips and strategy to help you if this is an area you struggle with
I received the question from Sarada who is appearing for the PTE Academic exam. Sarada writes in saying,
“Hi Steven, Thank you for the wonderful resources for PTE preparation. I have a problem with my typing speed, so I’m worrying about time in the exam. Could you please suggest any solution so that i can overcome this problem?”
This is a common issue that I’ve received many times from test-takers. They say that they are unable to complete the essay part of the exam in time and are facing difficulties on this. So let’s look at this problem in a bit more detail and figure out what are the areas that we need to work upon to overcome this problem.
If you look at the person exam in detail you can see that they’re mainly three components where your typing speed really comes into play:
- Essay section task (Writing section)
- Summarize written text section (Writing section)
- summarize written text section (Listening section)
So in all these three areas you have a limited amount of time to write down your answer. The essay section is probably the most taxing when it comes to typing speed because you get 20 minutes to write down 200-300 words.
Let’s take an example of the essay section and see how much does the typing speed matter. Say that you were to write an essay off around 230 words and let’s say out of the total 20 minutes allocated to you, you spend about five minutes planning and in proofreading the Essay to ensure that there are no errors.
So out of the 20 minutes, you have 15 minutes to write down 230 words for your essay.
Now if you really break it down and do the math, that comes up to around 15-16 words per minute if you were to complete the Essay in 15 minutes.
So the basic typing speed or the bare minimum typing speed that you require to complete your essay in 15 minutes is 15-16 words per minute. The first thing you can do is to go online and Google ‘typing speed tests’ and figure out if you are above or below this timeline. If you are below this time then obviously you do need to work on your typing speed. If you are above the 15 to 16 second mark and you are still falling short of time on the essay section then there’s probably a different reason why you are not able to complete the Essay in time
Here’s the thing:
The main reason why people who in spite of having a word count of over 15 words per minute struggle in the exam is because they have trouble in coming up with ideas and in putting together sentences. It’s not a typing problem if you really look at it at a deeper level. So for these students, I suggest working with a predefined template and to practice your idea generation to ensure that you are up to the proper skill level when it comes to taking the exam.
Often you must have noticed that when you are practicing writing an essay you don’t know what to write, you have trouble coming up with ideas on the topic sentence and you have trouble putting together the ideas into meaningful sentences.
If you have trouble putting together sentences you can check out my essay template that I have for free. ***Click here for Essay Template***. The template will take care of this issue.
However, the idea generation aspect is something that you definitely do need to work upon and I’m going to provide you with a solution on how to do it. Idea generation for Essays is a skill that can be learned:
What I suggest doing is to take about 10 different essays topics and spend about three to five minutes coming up with ideas on each one of them without physically writing anything down. What this is going to do is get your mind accustomed to coming up with ideas on topics that you have just read about and have no prior experience with.
The more you practice in this way, coming up with the ideas one after the other, the easier it is going to be for you in the exam to come up with essays and put together meaningful sentences.
These are the main aspects that you need to keep in mind if you are falling short of time in the essay section and if it’s not due to a typing speed problem.
Another important point is that in the listening section in your ‘fill in the blanks’ and the ‘write from dictation’ sections you have to write the answers quickly and capture it into the system. In those sections what you can do is you can use the erasable notepad provided by Pearson in the exam and write down your answers in that. You can later transfer your answers onto the system so that you are scored appropriately.
To summarize what we covered here, the following are the things that you need to keep in mind to complete the Essay section in time:
- First, figure out if you are falling below the 15-16 word count range.
- If you are falling below that way and that definitely you need to improve upon your typing speed. This is something that you can do even within a month’s time if you put in consistent practice.
- If you are about the 16 words per minute range and you’re still struggling to not completely your Essays in time it’s probably not a typing problem and it’s a problem related to you putting together sentences, so in that case you can use a template.
- You can also practice the idea generation method that I taught you and you’ll find it much more easier in some time to come up with ideas and put together sentences when it comes to the PTE Academic exam.
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Looking for a comprehensive strategy guide on the PTE Academic exam? Check out my Ebook – ‘Ultimate Guide To The PTE Academic’ which has strategies I used to get a 90 score. It has helped others nail the PTE Academic Exam as well. It is available here.