PTE Listening Practice: Modules, Test Format & Success Tips

Posted on 25/10/2023 by Moni PTE Magic

The PTE Listening part checks your understanding of spoken English in different situations, like lectures or everyday talks.

Understanding the format, how scoring works, and some good tips and tricks are important to get a high score on the exam.

This Listening part includes 8 sections that you need to complete.

Before diving into a real test, let’s explore this PTE Magic‘s guide, and other things you should know about this part to maximize your score!

(Read our Vietnamese version here)


Structure And Scoring System Of The PTE Listening Module

Summarize Spoken Text

Summarize Spoken Text

This PTE summarize spoken text section is the first one in your PTE Listening test. You will listen to a recording that ranges from 60 to 90 seconds in length.

After the recording ends, you will have 10 minutes to write a summary, which falls within a word limit of 50 to 70 words.

Your response is evaluated based on 5 criteria: content, form, grammar, vocabulary, and spelling. Each of these criteria has a maximum of 2 points, contributing to a total score of 10 points.

To score well, your summary should capture the most significant points from the recording, be well-structured, free of grammar errors, use a diverse vocabulary, and have accurate spelling.


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Multiple Choices & Multiple Answers

Multiple Choices & Multiple Answers

In this second part, you will hear a recording lasting 40 to 90 seconds. Then, you will answer a multiple-choice question that might have more than 1 correct response.

You can make your choices by clicking on the options with your mouse. Note that you can only listen to the recording once, so it’s best to focus on the audio.

You will receive 1 point for each correct answer and 1 minus point for the incorrect one. It’s possible to score a minimum of 0, but no negative marks beyond that.

Fill In The Blanks

Fill In The Blanks

The PTE Listening fill in the blanks section is designed to evaluate both your listening and writing skills.

You have a brief 7-second period to read some information before the audio recording begins. The recording typically lasts between 30 to 60 seconds.

During this time, your goal is to type each missing word into the corresponding blank space in the transcript you hear them.

For each correct word spelled accurately, you earn 1 point. There is no negative marking, so you won’t lose points for incorrect answers.

Highlight Correct Summary

Highlight Correct Summary

In the PTE highlight correct summary task, you start with a multiple-choice question. You will get a quick 10 seconds to look at the answer options. Then, you will listen to a recording that’s around 30 to 90 seconds long.

Your job is to pick the one answer that best captures the main idea or message of the recording. In terms of scoring, your response is either marked as correct (earning you 1 point) or incorrect (0 points).

Multiple Choices & Single Answer

Multiple Choices & Single Answer

This PTE Listening multiple choice single answer part includes a recording of around 30 to 60 seconds. You will be given a text providing contextual information.

After reading and listening, you need to choose the one response option that best fits the content of the recording. You can do it by clicking on the mouse.

If you change your mind, you can deselect an option by clicking on it again or choose a different one.

Your response is evaluated based on whether it’s correct or incorrect. You will receive 1 point for a correct answer and no points for an incorrect or missing response.

Select Missing Word

Select Missing Word

During this PTE select missing word task, a recording will be played between 20 to 70 seconds. You need to predict the final word or words that are required to complete the text.

Note that you will not hear the actual final word or group of words during the recording. Instead, a beep signals where you should insert the missing word.

If you choose the most likely words to complete the recording, you will receive a point, but you will not earn any points if you choose the incorrect word.

Highlight Incorrect Words

Highlight Incorrect Words

In this highlight incorrect words part, you will begin this part with a transcript containing errors and then have a brief 10-second window to review it before an audio recording lasting between 15 to 50 seconds.

During this task, your goal is to carefully listen to the recording and simultaneously read the provided transcript to identify and choose words that don’t match what the speaker says.

Use your mouse to highlight the incorrect words. A correct answer will bring you 1 point, but you will lose 1 point for each wrong answer. However, your score cannot drop below 0.

Write From Dictation

Write From Dictation

This PTE write from dictation section is the last and also the most difficult one of the Listening test.

To begin the “Write from dictation part,” you’ll hear a brief audio recording, typically lasting no more than 5 seconds, which contains a sentence. You need to type the sentence you’ve listened to into the response box provided.

The answer must include all the words from the sentence and only those words. The number of correct words in your response determines your score.

If all the words are accurate and spelled correctly, you will receive the maximum score for this question type. However, partial credit scoring will be applied if there are any inaccuracies or spelling errors.

Listening Tips For PTE

Review Grammar And Spelling

Ensure that your responses are correctly structured and make sense. It’s best to check any spelling mistakes and use appropriate punctuation, such as periods or commas, to help your responses be clear and accurate.


Note Main Points And Details

Listening involves capturing both the main points and supporting details. Therefore, it’s not enough to grasp the central message. You should also jot down facts, examples, or explanations that back up the main ideas.

However, you should not note it word-by-word to avoid wasting too much time. It’s best to write just keywords.

Listen For Meanings, Not Just Words

When listening, you should focus on understanding the meaning behind what the speaker is saying rather than merely trying to match individual words.

It’s best to choose the response options that align with the overall meaning or message of the recording.

PTE listening practice regularly via English movies, news, and talk shows can help you improve your skill in quick understanding of the audio content.

Pre-Scan The Text, Questions, And Answer Options

Before the audio recording begins, make good use of the few moments you have to quickly read through the text, questions, and answer choices.

This pre-scanning process helps you get a head start by providing an overview of the topic and keywords you should be attentive to during the listening task.

Focus On Needed Information

The speaker may trick you with some related information instead of diving into the keywords at first. Therefore, you should be alert to capture the main idea at the right time.

Be Ready To Change Your Answer

Sometimes, your initial response may not be the best one. It’s fine to reconsider and change your answer if you think another choice is more accurate.

Therefore, it will be better if you check your answers once again and adjust them for better results.

Track With A Cursor While Listening

To maintain focus during the listening test, consider using your mouse cursor to follow along with the text as the audio plays.

This tracking technique can help you stay engaged and ensure you don’t lose your place, especially in longer passages.

Type Remembered Words In Correct Orders

In tasks that require typing responses, make sure to recall the words you heard in the correct order. Accuracy in both spelling and word order is crucial for earning points.

Double-check that the words you type match what you listen to, ensuring your answers are aligned with the spoken content.

Common Mistakes While Doing The Listening Tasks

pte listening practice tips, format, templates

Time Remaining

One of the most common mistakes of test-takers is not keeping a close watch on the “time remaining.” The clock is always ticking in the PTE Listening part, and you have limited time to listen and respond.

Failing to manage your time effectively can lead to rushed answers and incomplete responses.

It’s essential to pace yourself, allocating sufficient time to listen, think, and respond appropriately.

Spelling Mistakes

Spelling errors can be detrimental to your scores in PTE Listening tasks. While the focus is primarily on listening, tasks involving writing responses also assess your spelling ability. Making frequent spelling mistakes can make you lose points.

Thus, it’s best to learn the vocabulary correctly and check your responses again to ensure they are correct.

Word-To-Word Noting

In tasks that require taking notes, a common mistake is trying to write down every word from the audio. Noting down every single word can be time-consuming and may cause you to miss the main points or important details.

Instead, focus on efficiently capturing the key ideas, main points, and supporting information.

This approach helps you create concise and meaningful notes without being overwhelmed by transcribing word-by-word.


The PTE Listening is vital for assessing English competency. Knowing how it works, how you’re scored, and using smart strategies is essential. Listening carefully, staying within word limits, and keeping an eye on the time left are key.

Scoring is about more than content. It includes form, grammar, vocabulary, and spelling. Therefore, you should balance focused listening, efficient note-taking, and providing clear, accurate responses to succeed.

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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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