PTE Core Speaking Format, Modules & Practice Tips

Posted on 10/07/2024 by Moni PTE Magic

Many students find the PTE Core speaking part challenging when showing their English skills.

Knowing the details of this speaking section can greatly boost your scores.

This article by PTE Magic will explain simple strategies and provide examples to help you do your best in the exam.

Let’s take a look.

Key Takeaways

  • There are 6 types of questions in the PTE Core speaking section including Read Aloud, Repeat Sentence, Describe Image, and more.
  • Practical strategies to prepare for the speaking test include using online resources and recording yourself.
  • Improving your pronunciation is the key to better results.
  • Avoid 4 common mistakes while speaking to ensure a smooth and clear performance.


Overview Of The PTE Core Speaking

pte core speaking

The speaking section is the first part of the PTE Core exam, followed by the Writing part. The two parts take about 50 minutes. This section alone is designed to check how well you can speak English clearly and fluently.

There are 6 types of questions you will encounter in this speaking part. It’s the longest part of the test and helps show your overall speaking ability.

PTE Core Speaking Question Types And Tips To Answer

Personal Introduction

The Personal Introduction task is your chance to get used to the PTE test setup before you start the main speaking and listening questions. This part doesn’t affect your score, so don’t stress out!

You will have 25 seconds to read the instructions and prepare, then 30 seconds to record your response. You only get one chance to record your answer. Try to highlight your unique, special traits to impress the judge.

Read Aloud

In the “Read aloud” part, you need to read a text out loud after 30-40 seconds of preparation. When you hear a short tone, you should begin speaking right away. Don’t start before the microphone is on, or your voice won’t be recorded. 

It’s best to speak clearly, not rush, and finish before the progress bar ends. The recording will stop if you stay silent for more than 3 seconds. Besides, you can only record once, and the text will be up to 60 words long. The following PTE Core speaking tips may help you in this section:

  • Use punctuation for pauses: Before the microphone starts, take 30-40 seconds to look at the text and use punctuation marks to decide where to pause. It helps you read more smoothly and clearly.
  • Stress important words: It’s best to emphasize keywords by speaking them a bit louder and with more emphasis. Use your voice to show connections between ideas and signal when you finish an idea.

Repeat Sentence

You’ll hear a sentence in this part and need to repeat it exactly as you heard it. The audio will play automatically. The microphone will turn on when it stops, and you’ll see “Recording” on the screen.

You can start speaking immediately without waiting for a tone and ensure that you finish before the progress bar ends. While doing this part, it’s wise to:

  • Listen for phrases: Pay attention to how the sentence is broken into meaningful phrases. It helps you remember and repeat the sentence accurately.
  • Mimic stress and intonation: Listen carefully to the speaker’s stress and intonation, which can help convey meaning. When you repeat the sentence, try to copy these patterns while speaking calmly and clearly.

Describe Image

This part requires you to describe what you see in an image. You’ll have 25 seconds to look at the picture and think about what to say. When you hear a short tone, you can start speaking. 

You only get one chance to record your response after the recording stops automatically. It will help if you remember these tips while taking this part:

  • Focus on the main point: Look at the image and identify the main idea and key details. Use your erasable noteboard to note down important points and phrases to help you remember them when speaking.
  • Organize your description: Plan your response to cover the main idea, details, and any conclusions. A well-organized answer will help you convey all the important points clearly and improve your score.

Respond To A Situation

You will start this Respond to a Situation task by hearing and reading a text about something common. After that, you need to talk about what you would do or say in that situation. 

The audio will play automatically, and after it finishes, you will have 20 seconds to think about your response and 40 seconds to speak.

Like any other task, you should use preparation wisely. In the 20 seconds you have, identify the main information you need to cover and decide if you speak formally or informally.

Besides, it’s best to avoid repeating ideas, correcting yourself, or hesitating while speaking, as this wastes time and lowers your scores. Therefore, just keep talking and ignore any small mistakes.

Answer Short Question

Like the name of this part, you need to answer a question with one or a few words. You may see an image following the question sometimes. Note that you can’t replay the audio and only get one chance to record your response. 

The below tips may help you to handle this Answer Short Question task:

  • Respond quickly: Start your answer as soon as the recording begins. If you pause for over three seconds, the recording will stop, and you’ll miss your chance to answer.
  • Keep it short: A brief and accurate response is essential. There are no extra points for longer answers, so keep it concise.

How To Prepare For The PTE Core Speaking Section?

Use Online Resources

The PTE Core website offers free sample questions and a practice test to access online. These resources help you get used to the test format, different question types, and difficulty level. You’ll also receive feedback on your performance, highlighting areas where you can improve.

Practice Regularly

Making speaking in English a part of your daily routine is perfect. You can engage in English conversations with others, whether it’s with friends, family, or colleagues, and join English-speaking communities or clubs.

Besides, surround yourself with English media like movies, podcasts, and music, and practice speaking aloud, describing objects, or narrating your day.

Record Yourself

You can practice PTE Core speaking on various topics and record your voice. Listening to the recordings will help you identify areas for improvement, such as pronunciation, fluency, and clarity.

Take Mock Tests

Participating in mock tests to practice different speaking tasks you’ll encounter in the exam is necessary. It will help you get used to the test PTE Core speaking format and build your confidence for the actual test day.

Common Mistakes You Should Avoid While Speaking

Fail To Manage Time

If you don’t manage your time while speaking, you might speak too quickly or slowly. As a result, you may not finish your speaking test within the given time. Therefore, it’s best to practice with a timer and adjust your time to complete your speech on time.

Omit Words

Another common mistake is leaving out important words like prepositions or conjunctions to save time. However, missing these words can change the meaning of your sentence. Thus, make sure to include every word needed for clear and accurate sentences.

Use Fillers And Pauses

Sometimes, you feel nervous, which can cause you to use fillers like “um” or “ah.” It will disrupt the flow of your speech. To handle this, you can practice speaking in front of friends or record yourself to become more confident and reduce the use of fillers.

Pronunciation Mistakes

Mispronouncing words can confuse listeners. Thus, you can improve your pronunciation by listening to native speakers and practicing how they say words.


Achieving a good score in the PTE Core speaking involves understanding the test format and careful preparation and practice.

You can improve your performance by managing your time well and speaking clearly.

Moreover, avoid all the mistakes mentioned above.

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Moni PTE Magic

My name is Moni, and I am a seasoned PTE teacher with over 6 years of experience. I have helped thousands of students overcome their struggles and achieve their desired scores. My passion for teaching and dedication to my student’s success drives me to continually improve my teaching methods and provide the best possible support. Join me on this journey toward PTE success!

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