PTE Listening: Core English Skills Part 1

The last part of PTE Academic, Part 3: Listening, requires a large combination of core skills.

The very first skill you will need to develop involves how you listen (listening methods).

Below, is information on different types of listening and where you may need to use them during PTE Academic.

Listening Methods


One of the listening methods you will need to develop is predicting. Before listening, most people will have some idea about what they are going to listen to and prepare themselves for it. They predict.

It helps to think about the recordings before you hear it spoken, it helps you listen more effectively.

This listening method will help during Select Missing Word questions as the topic of the text you listen to is given in the instructions. It will also help in the Re-tell Lecture questions as the image will give you an idea of the general context of the listening text.

Listening for Gist

Listening for ‘gist’ will allow you to understand the general meaning of a text quickly. When someone is talking, listen in a general way and think about what the speaker is trying to communicate and how they might feel about the topic based on their tone of voice.

When practicing, try to listen for the gist before listening for a second time more intensively for specific information.

This reading method will help in the Multiple-choice, Choose Multiple Answer and Multiple-choice, Choose Single Answer questions. Remember in PTE Academic you can not replay the listening track.

Listen for Specific Information

You will also need to be able to listen effectively to find specific information. This is more detailed listening and is often used when you need to answer comprehension questions. You first need to understand what information you are looking for in the text.

When practicing, if you listen to a text that does not have questions write some yourself. Questions that may help could be:

  • What happened?
  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Why did it happen? Or, why did it happen in this way, and not another way?

While listening for specific information, you should listen for synonyms and paraphrasing to match the meaning of the text with the meaning of the questions.  This is because you will not hear the exact words in the question.

Listening to Infer Meaning

At times you can understand what the speakers are saying by inferring meaning, as the information is not always stated by the speakers.

To infer meaning, you need to listen for clues in the text or use general knowledge to guess the meaning of what the speakers are saying. Do this by working out the relationship between the speakers, the tone of voice or the words they use.

You may need to use this listening method in the Multiple-choice, Choose Multiple Answer and Multiple-choice, Choose Single Answer questions.


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