PTE Answer Short Question overview

A summary of useful and effective practice tips
Feb 13, 20218 min read

Firstly listen to the audio and then without thinking too much, give your best answer in a word or two. The key here is to understand what is being asked. There is no time to take notes and review them. Your focus should be 100% on understanding the question.

The questions usually come from topics of everyday general knowledge. None of the questions will require you to have any specialized knowledge. As long as you don’t panic or overthink, you should be able to give the right answer.

What to expect

You will hear a question and need to give a simple and short answer. Often just one or a few words are enough.

There will be around 10-12 item sets or questions played in this section. The questions are general knowledge in nature and probably related to topics you would have come across in school or daily life. In some instances, you may also be given an image and be asked a question based on the image.

How you are scored

Number of questions:
10 to 12
Contributes scores to both Speaking and Listening
Negative marking:
Time to answer:
Microphone opens up after a second. You will get 10 seconds to record your response.
  • 1 - Appropriate word choice in response
  • 0 - Inappropriate word choices in response

How to preapre PTE Answer Short Question for high score?

Do not pause too long

After the question is asked the recording status box will change to recording. There is no beep, so you need to start your answer as soon as you see ‘Recording’. If you wait for more than 3 seconds, the recording will stop and the item status will change to ‘completed’, which means that you have lost your chance to give your answer.

Keep the answer short and accurate

There is no use in speaking extra. Marks are awarded for a short, accurate answer. There are no extra marks for additional words so keep it short. Make sure you pronounce the answer as clear as you can as well.

A one-word answer (or a few words, depending on the question) is sufficient, many candidates are under the false impression that giving a long answer might fetch them better scores, which is absolutely unnecessary.

For example, you get the question, “What is the opposite of a pessimist?”

Instead of saying “Optimist is the opposite of a pessimist”, you could simply respond with one word: “optimist”.

Both responses are correct and will fetch you the same score in PTE Academic; however, with the former, you ended up using more words than required and probably wasted a couple of seconds by doing so, which is quite unnecessary. Apart from that, only give your answer once - don’t repeat!

Therefore, you need to give a short, accurate and clear answer, and then click the Next button as soon as the response is given. Some test takers remain silent and wait for the timer to expire after giving response, but we don’t recommend such a practice. This is because although the microphone will switch off after 3s of silence, you don’t want to leave it open as it might record the background noise (you know how loud the person sitting next to you could be), so the best strategy here is to always click NEXT once you finish a speaking task.

You can correct yourself if you have made a mistake

During your response if you say something incorrect, you can quickly correct it and give the right answer, this is because it allows possibility for the system to capture your latter answer which will fetch you 1 point. On the other hand, if you don’t correct yourself and click NEXT instead, you will be scored zero.

For example, if the question was “Which month is the sixth month of the year?” So if you firstly say “July”, you should quickly correct it and say “June”.

Don't overthink

Thinking too much can harm your score! We have seen students think too much and apply convoluted logic to simple questions. As a result, they end up giving wrong answers. The correct answer in most cases is the simplest answer, the natural answer. Our favorite example here is:

Which of these would probably be found in most homes around the world, a computer, a bed or a television?

The simple answer is – A bed. But some students  tend to over complicate the question and some may start to compare the importance of computer and bed in their household . It’s true that these other things are also found in most homes, have that being said, the most common and most obvious is – a bed.

Fully concentrate on the questions

There are 10~12 questions of this type in the exam. And they all come one after the other without a break. People start answering the questions very well, but by the time they reach the 6th or the 7th question, they somehow lose their focus. It is almost like they get bored! And that reflects in the answer in your voice. You must avoid this. Start afresh after each question. Think of each question as the first one.

Do not hesitate, give the first answer that comes to your mind

Most of the times, what comes to your mind first will be the right answer. Simply go ahead with it. If you think too much or go back and forth again and again you will increase the chances of making errors. Avoid this at all costs!

Sample Answer Short Question

With sufficient amount of practice, you will likely to improve in pronounciation, intonation and fluency, which are crucial for better speaking score. MYPTE has a huge a collection of PTE Answer Short question questions for you to practice, each question comes with sample audio answers in different accent for you to mimic from.

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