One would think that the score for writing, grammar, written discourse and closely related skills would be similar or on a similar level but it is not always the case. PTE Academics communicative skills and enabling skills are scored separately and uses different scoring criteria. It should also be noted that all the section of the examination are related which means that the contribution of marks for a particular section is from other sections as well.
The score for the writing communicative skills is generated by five questions namely summarize written text, essay writing, fill in the blanks (reading & writing), summarize spoken task, fill in the blanks (listening) and write from dictation. The enabling skills closely related to writing are grammar, spelling, vocabulary and written discourse. Summarise written text, essay, and summarise spoken text contribute marks towards the above-mentioned enabling skills, however, summarize spoken text and Summarize written text are exclude written discourse.
The question format
- Summarizing written text – assesses reading and writing. The task is to summarize approximate 300 words written text displayed on the screen in 10 minutes.
- Essay assesses writing – The test taker is required to write a 200-300 words essay in 20 minutes on a given topic/subject.
- Fill in the blanks (reading & writing-Dropdown) – The test taker is provided with a approximate 300 words text that has 5-6 blank spaces. The task is to select the correct answer from the dropdown menu.
- Fill in the blanks (listening) – assesses listening and writing skills. There will be a passage with 4-5 blank spaces. The task is to fill in the blanks in 30-60 seconds with appropriate words heard from the audio.
- Write from dictation – assesses listening and writing skills. The task is to type the exact content of the audio in 3-5 seconds. Each correctly spelled word carries one mark.
How writing is scored
- Summarize written text – The score is awarded based on the content by checking whether the summary highlights/covers important points or fails to mention all the important points. A summary that has good content with all points mentioned scores 2 marks while a poor content summary gets zero marks.
- Summarize written text – Other factors that lead to losing marks include failure to adhere to the specified word count of 5 -75 words, writing the summary in capital letters and failing to provide a summary in one complete sentence.
- Write an essay – Essay is also scored based on development, structure and coherence, content and form by scrutinizing adherence to the topic, word count and proper discussion of the main points. A good content essay which properly discusses all the important points of the prompt gets 3 marks while zero marks are awarded in the case where the essay fails to discuss the prompt properly. Essays with errors without communication hindrance are awarded 1 point.
- Adhering to the word count of 200-300 words gets full marks while a word count of 120 – 199 or 301 – 380 gets 1 marks. Less than 120 and more than 380-word long essay gets zero marks.
- Summarize spoken text – Just like summarize written text and writing an essay, summarise spoken text score is based on the test taker’s ability to write a summary that highlights important points with clear communication and also adheres to specified word counts.
- The required word count is 50-70 words long summary and this means that if a test taker provides a word count of 40 -49 words or 71 – 100 words loses marks while a summary of fewer than 40 words or more than 100 words doesn’t get any marks.
- Write from dictation – The score is also partial credit scoring similar to the above-mentioned sections. Each word spelled correctly gets 1 mark while incorrect or misspelled words get zero marks.
- Fill in the blanks (reading & writing-dropdown) – for every correct answer selected, the test taker gets 1 mark.
- Fill in the blanks-(listening) – for every correct answer selected, the test taker gets 1 mark.
- Summarize spoken text – good grammatical structure with no errors and proper word choice for vocabulary gets full marks of 2. However, poorly structured grammar and bad vocabulary that hinders communication gets zero marks.
- Write an essay – the highest points for vocabulary, spelling and grammar are based on the writer’s ability to provide good content with fewer errors, proper word choice and correct spelling. In addition, showing skill to master a wide range of language, contribute marks towards the general linguistic range. An essay with content and errors that hinder communication is awarded no marks.
- Write from dictation – A summary with no spelling mistakes, proper word choice and correct grammatical structures get full marks in enabling skills while a poor word choice and grammatical errors and wrong spelling which hinder communication leads to zero marks. Marks are lost when there are few errors in the summary