PTE Writing: Core English Skills Part 1

Part 1 of PTE Academic includes a variety of speaking and writing question types. For writing questions, you may need to improve your skills, such as grammar, spelling and vocabulary.

To help practice these skills, we’ve put together some tips on how to improve for this part of the test.


To help improve grammar, get into the habit of reading something in English every day.

Create a reading plan and a reading goal to improve your grammar. Start by reading for at least 30 minutes a day.

It’s recommended that you read a range of texts that you find interesting. Also read news articles on English news sites such as:


It is hard to use correct grammar in long sentences, so try to keep sentences short: about 18 to 30 words. You should also practice with a variety of short and long sentences.

Always remember to:

  • End sentences with a full stop (period)
  • Use uppercase and lowercase correctly

Try to avoid run-on sentences. These are sentences which should be cut to make a shorter sentence, or properly joined to a make a grammatically correct sentence.

You can avoid run-on sentences by using compound and complex sentences, which will also help improve your score. Use commas when writing complex sentences. Some examples of compound and complex sentences can be found through the British Council’s Learn English website.

To perform well, learn to proofread your writing so that you can complete the question types as correctly as possible.

If you can identify areas that you often get wrong, you should work on improving these areas. Ask your English teacher for help, or if you don’t have an English teacher, you can look up your common errors on the internet.


PTE Academic recognizes and accepts US, UK, Australian and Canadian spelling. However, you should be careful with your spelling. Once you have chosen a spelling convention for one question, keep using it within that question. You can change the spelling format in answers to other questions if you like.

You can find a comprehensive list of American and British spelling differences here.


To do well in the writing test, you need to have a broad vocabulary. You should have a good dictionary to help you. A good dictionary will have the meaning, related forms of the word and example sentences.

Longman Dictionaries are a great resource to help you improve your vocabulary.

You should expose yourself to new words at least ten times a day to expand your vocabulary. To learn a new word you should read it, write it and listen to it many times over a couple of days so you can understand the word and use the correct pronunciation.

Another way to expand your vocabulary is to learn the word forms of words you already know.

For example, climate (noun), acclimatization (noun), climatic (adjective), acclimatize (verb) etc.

Each of the above word forms mean something slightly different, so try to learn all the meanings of each word.

In PTE Academic you will score higher points for vocabulary if by using academic words in your writing. Try to learn some of the most frequent academic words used in writing.

Also, think about using synonyms in your writing to avoid repetition of words. A thesaurus can help you find synonyms for common academic words.

The other elements of your vocabulary to consider are correct common prefixes and suffixes, which are added to the base words. Prefixes can change the meaning of a word, for example, expensive and inexpensive.

Adding a suffix, however, can change the part of speech of the word. A common suffix used is ly, which can change an adjective into an adverb (quick/quickly), ment can change a verb into a noun (entertain/entertainment).

There are also collocations, which help you use the right word combinations, as some English words just don’t work well together. To identify collocations, read the PTE Academic collocation list.


PTE Academic is not very strict about accepting only academic vocabulary. You will not lose points for the use of personal pronouns. You will, however, score more points by using higher-level academic vocabulary in the correct way.

You should try to keep a notebook of new words you learn, their meanings, synonyms and all the parts of vocabulary that may help you in the test.

The last core skill required for the writing test is written discourse.


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