PTE Reading: Practice Tips, Format, Mock Test Questions & More

Posted on 29/11/2023 by Moni PTE Magic

PTE reading sections are arguably less challenging than writing or speaking, as they do not require as much creativity or quick thinking. 

Nevertheless, test takers still need to scan critical information effectively for each question while keeping tabs on their time management. That explains why even some advanced learners struggle to get a high score!

This article by PTE Magic will introduce some practical PTE reading tips you can apply during both prior practice and the actual exam.

Keep scrolling to learn more!

(Read our Vietnamese version here)


An Overview Of The PTE Reading Section

Placed second after the Speaking & Writing section, PTE reading questions measure your ability to consume, remember, and comprehend reading materials in English. 

They are authentic texts centering on numerous academic subjects, such as social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. 

No prior knowledge concerning these subjects is required, as you can find all the necessary information within the texts themselves. The section comprises 5 tasks and usually takes 30 to 40 minutes.

PTE Reading Format and Types of Questions

pte reading practice tips tricks format

Though reading comprehension is the main focus, some tasks also test your writing ability to fulfill PTE’s objective as an integrated exam. Below are some common questions you must complete in a PTE reading test:

Fill In The Blanks (Reading/Writing)

This task presents several sentences or paragraphs, each containing more than one gap. You must find suitable words that fit seamlessly into the context while aligning with the overall meaning.

Fill In The Blanks (Reading)

The PTE reading fill in the blanks task has a passage with multiple gaps displayed on the computer screen, with a set of words provided right beneath. 

You must select and drag each chosen word from this set into the blank while ensuring they logically and contextually fit in. 

Answer Multiple-Choice Questions (More than one correct answer)

The PTE multiple choice multiple answer task requires students to select the correct response(s) from a list of given options after reading a passage. 

There are several points within the text where more than one answer is accurate according to the information presented; you must scan the passage thoroughly to identify all of them. 

Answer Multiple-Choice Questions (Single answer)

With this PTE reading multiple choice single answer task, you are prompted to answer multiple-choice questions based on your understanding of the content/tone of the given text. 

While there might be more than one answer that can fit in, you must single out the best response that corresponds with all aspects of the text’s interpretation.

Candidates arrange randomly ordered sentences (usually placed on the left side of the computer screen) into the correct consequence on the right. 

The result must form a cohesive, meaningful structure supporting the proper flow of information or narrative.

Summary Table

Below is our summary table to provide you with a more inclusive overview: 

Task Items Number of items Skills assessed Max prompt length Scoring
Fill the gaps in the sentences with the appropriate words Fill in the blank 5-6 Reading, writing 300 words  Partial credits for every correctly filled gap
Choose the right responses (which can be more than one) from multiple responses given Multiple choice, select multiple answers 1-2 Reading 300 words  Partial credits for correct answers; point deduction for wrong options
Reorder the randomly placed sentences of a paragraph Reorder paragraph 2-3 Reading 150 words  Partial credits for every correct adjacent pair
Choose the right words from a given list to fill the gaps in the passage Fill in the blank 4-5 Reading 80 words  Partial credits
Answer a multiple-choice question by choosing only one correct response Single Answer Multiple Choice 1-2 Reading 300 words  Correct/Incorrect

The PTE Reading Scoring Guidelines

The score range for PTE reading is 10 to 90 based on the partial credits or correct/incorrect system. Specifically: 

  • Correct/Incorrect: Each correct response grants you 1 point. For incorrect answers, no points will be awarded. 
  • Partial Credits: These tasks are evaluated as incorrect (no points), correct (maximum points), or partially correct (some points are given).

Furthermore, Pearson incorporates several patented, proprietary technologies to score test takers automatically. 

Extensive test programs have been conducted to evaluate the tasks’ effectiveness and obtain necessary data (from 10,000 examinees in 158 countries) to train automatic scoring engines; therefore, their reliability is guaranteed.

50 points onwards (out of 90) is considered a passing score and proves the candidate’s competency in:

  • Grammar: Acceptable responses for reading passages contain generally correct grammar that reflects the author’s intended meaning.
  • Vocabulary: Vocabulary usage is scored based on the response’s relevance to the text. Therefore, the correct answer must provide context, use the terms mentioned in the article, and demonstrate language diversity through synonym or antonym implementation. 
  • Decoding: A candidate with good decoding skills should be able to interpret unfamiliar words instinctively and accurately, using the word lists and reading context to get the right clues for each question.
  • Reading Comprehension: With each correct answer or choice, students show the scorer they can read the text effectively, understand its core messages, and relay the information. 

How to Improve PTE Reading for Better Preparation?

PTE Reading Techniques for Each Type of Task

For Multiple-Choice Questions

  • Understand what the questions are about before proceeding to read the text. That way, you will know what information to look for.
  • Identify the key message/theme and keywords. Highlight important clues like figures, names, and locations.
  • Consider using elimination rules to narrow the options faster if it is a single-answer question.
  • 65% of answers are spotted in the paragraph’s first/last two sentences.
  • During your PTE reading practice, learn as much new vocabulary as possible. Do not forget their antonyms and synonyms as well. 
  • Note down repeated words.
  • Single-answer questions are marked based solely on the correct/incorrect rule, so you should not leave any blank. 

On the other hand, multiple-answer ones have a negative marking rule (meaning you will lose points for wrong answers), so it would be better to skip questions you are unsure about.

For PTE Reorder Paragraphs

  • Search for the main idea and headline to arrange the paragraphs/sentences.
  • Sentences with pronouns like “she,” “he,” “they,” “I,” “we,” “those,” “us,” or “them” are never placed at the beginning. 
  • Check out additional phrases (“besides,” “furthermore,” moreover,” “also,”) and contradictory words (“although,” “but,” “however”).

For Gap Filling

  • Do not leave any questions blank since this task does not have negative markings/point reductions.
  • Pay more attention to the immediate parts after and before each incomplete sentence to grasp its context.
  • You can usually find synonyms of the missing words in the passage.
  • Vocabulary building is important to perform well in gap-filling tasks, so take time to learn new words on a daily basis.

3 Extra Tips to Keep In Mind

Improve Your PTE Reading Time Management

The average PTE reading time is approximately 30 to 40 minutes with five tasks, meaning you should not spend more than two minutes on each question. 

Try to improve your reading speed to 220 words a minute during practice. It is also advisable to concentrate on chunks (groups of words) at a time rather than each separate word. 

Double-Check Every Answer

Even when you finish the test with plenty of remaining time, double-checking each answer is necessary to reduce common spelling/grammar errors or misinterpretations. 

Studies reveal that 60% of deadly mistakes in PTE tests could have been avoided if candidates reviewed their answers at least twice before submission.

Read About Topics You Like

The most enjoyable way to improve your vocabulary is to read about something you like, such as blogs, novels, books, news, or even research summaries. 

After all, reading activities can get quite monotonous after long periods, so keeping yourself engaged with diverse themes or genres of personal preferences is the key to success.

Where to Find PTE Reading Mock Test

Online Courses at PTE Magic


>> Want to test your ability? Click here to get a free PTE Magic practice account!


Online Courses at PTE Magic: Numerous PTE courses online (both for reading and other skills) are available. 

Dedicated and qualified trainers at PTE Magic will teach you the basic things to ace the test. Besides, you can get access to free questions that simulate the real exam and practice every day.

PTE Magic also offers you AI-scored mock tests that give feedback on your performance. Thanks to this, you can find areas of improvement and make progress gradually.

Pearson Official Website: This website provides numerous practical materials at no additional charge, including mock tests, practice tests, and sample questions, to help candidates familiarize themselves with the question types and test format.

PTE Preparation Books: The materials they provide are usually more comprehensive than PTE’s official website, as you can find detailed explanations behind each correct answer and extra tips to score higher.


Scanning through long academic articles to score every question within 40 minutes can be challenging. However, with our above tips, your time management and PTE reading skills will improve in no time. 

Most importantly, do not forget to enrich your vocabulary every day with books, novels, or articles about topics of your interests. If anything needs clarification, feel free to reach out to us.

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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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