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When to use your NotePad and Pen in PTE Academic


You are not allowed to take anything in the PTE Academic Exam Hall. This is because test centers provide you with everything necessary from computer equipment to notepad. In this article, we will talk about how you can put your notepad and pen to use. With some cases, using pte academic notepad and pen is a choice depending upon your writing speed. In other cases, it becomes necessary to do so if you want maximum marks.

Here are the question types in which you can do better with a pen and paper:

pte academic notepad and pen

Describe Image

This question can surprise you in many ways: You may receive a simple image, a graph or a cycle. You will have 25 seconds to prepare your response before the recording begins. Writing your whole response in 25 seconds on a paper can be difficult. You can write the points you want to speak because many times people have something else in mind and speak entirely different because they are rushed. 

Writing down points can include numerical information if a graph, table, etc are given. 40 seconds are given to record your response for Describe Image and you need to address a short intro, a description involving what’s shown and a conclusion. Intro and conclusion should be kept short lasting 5 seconds, ideally. 

You can practice with mock tests to see what kind of note making or writing works for you to give a fluent and informative answer.

Speaking: Re-Tell Lecture

A recording of a lecture is played, it can be upto 90 seconds long. When the lecture stops, you have 10 seconds to prepare yourself before you can give your response. Since the preparation time isn’t long enough to write down a whole lecture, you need to do note-taking for this one while listening. Keep in mind that you have to re-tell lecture in your own words and not repeat.

Note down important keywords while the recording plays and consume those 10 seconds to decide which keyword to include or exclude and form a rough template in your mind. Your response should be 35 seconds long ideally.

pte academic notepad and pen

You need to put your note writing to test by practicing with free mock tests that you get with a PTE Voucher. Keep a notepad and pen with you during the test. 

Writing: Summarize Written Text

You are provided a paragraph which can be upto 300 words with 10 minutes to give your answer. The summary should be just one sentence with no more than 75 words. You have enough time to do a two-step reading: skimming and scanning. In your second round, note down the most important keywords and make a summary around it. 

Your keywords should not include detailed information. Don’t forget to check word limit and grammar use before submitting the summarize written text. Proper use of conjunctions and clauses can fetch you good marks.

Reading: Multiple Choice

Both Multiple Choice, Choose Single answer and Multiple Choice, Choose Multiple Answers demands you to read paragraphs. Note writing while skimming and scanning will help you eliminate the incorrect options. This will ultimately lead to selecting the right ones and making sure 

Don’t forget to read the question first. This will assist you in better note-making. 


You can your notepad the whole time according to your convenience depending upon your listening skills. You can only listen to a recording once so it’s a good idea to note down important things.

  • Summarize Spoken Text: Note writing while listening but don’t let it distract you from listening to the 60-90 seconds prompt fully. You will have 10 minutes to come up with a 50-70 words written response.
  • Multiple Choice: You have to listen to recordings for both single and multiple answer type question so writing down keywords is really essential. Don’t depend entirely on keyword and read the question before the recording starts, you will have 7 seconds.
  • Fill In The Blanks: You can write down the words in the blanks as you listen if you can type fast. If not, then notetaking to the rescue. Don’t focus on spelling when writing on the notepad, write short forms of the word. This will save time and you can write correct spelling while you type.
  • Highlight Correct Summary: Note writing is essential while listening. Once done, match the keywords to the summaries and eliminate the wrong ones. Highlight correct summary keeping the recording in mind.
  • Select Missing Word: The use of notepad and pen is optional here. You can write down the keywords and especially the last words of the recording in order to select what can replace the ‘beep’.
  • Highlight Incorrect Words & Write From Dictation: The two listening task where we will recommend you to skip note writing entirely. 

You need to put your note writing to test by practicing with free mock tests that you get with a PTE Voucher. Keep a notepad and pen with you during the test. Let us know if our tips on note writing worked for you in the comments!

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