PTE Writing tip #1: Keep it simple.
Long, convoluted sentences with lots of punctuation are your enemy. The more you try to extend your sentences, the more likely you will be to make grammar and punctuation mistakes! The Pearson test assessors are not looking for long, impressive sentences; they are looking for sentences that are clear and logical.
Look at this example:
Although many people are in support of standardized testing, I disagree with it for a few reasons and I will talk about these reasons below, including about the fact that it allows students to cheat more easily and stifles creativity in people.
WOW. What a complicated sentence! The ideas are all there, but they sure are hard to follow.
Let’s try this instead:
Although many people are in support of standardized testing, I am not one of them. In my opinion, standardized testing makes it easier for students to cheat and stifles their creativity. I will discuss these ideas further below.
When I wrote the PTE exam, I adopted this simple writing style and I took absolutely no risks with my punctuation. My result was a score of 90 across all writing-related skills, including written discourse and grammar.
PTE Writing tip #2: Take the time to plan your points.
A lot of people run out of time writing their PTE essay because they change their minds about their arguments halfway through and must begin again. People often think that the best tactic is to just begin writing and get the ball rolling and that the ideas will follow. Unfortunately, this is rarely how it works and in general, creating a plan will save you from having to stop and restart.
People will often say that they don’t write out an essay plan because they’re afraid of wasting valuable time. I understand this logic, but I can promise you that it really doesn’t take long to jot down a few quick ideas on your erasable noteboard booklet, especially if you have a method. The E2Language method breaks “planning” into 3 easy steps that take less than two minutes. You can find this method in our PTE “Write Essay” webinar, included in our PTE course preparation packages.
PTE Writing tip #3: Use the “right” format.
When many of our PTE students hear the word “essay”, they automatically understand it to mean a text with 5 paragraphs that includes an introduction, three arguments, and a conclusion. They panic because they realize how unrealistic it is to write all of that content in just 20 minutes with a 300-word limit!
Here’s the thing: you are NOT expected to structure your essay this way. In other words, the standard 5-paragraph template that everyone knows is not the “right” template for the PTE essay section. You don’t have enough time to complete an essay in this style, and you probably won’t be able to think of enough arguments to support your ideas either!
So, what can you do instead?
I want you to keep in mind that there may be multiple “right” answers when it comes to structuring your essay, so here are two examples of essay structures that consistently work on for PTE: