PTE Reading MCQ single answer overview

A summary of useful and effective practice tips
Mar 03, 20216 min read

The first thing you should do is read the question prompt. Next read the options. Together this will give you sufficient information to go ahead and start reading the passage. As we discussed earlier, do not read the passage without any context. You must always read it with the specific purpose in mind. What exactly is the information you need?

You can first skim through the passage to get an overall idea of the theme and the organization of information in the text i.e. which paragraph or part of the text talks about what. After that you can scan through the passage to either look for a specific detail or validate the given options.

Once you find a reference to the options in the passage, you should read that part of the text again. Also read the sentences before and after to make sure you understand the whole context. Sometimes, the meaning changes after a couple of sentences!

Before you submit your answer make sure to look at all the options. Eliminate the wrong options, don’t rush yourself by selecting the first option that looks right to you.

How you are scored

You are given a passage, a question and around 4-5 options for answer to select from. The text/ passage could be up to 110 words. There is just one right answer to the question! Around 2-3 questions of this type can be asked and there is not partial credit or negative marking.

How to preapre PTE Reading MCQ single answer for high score?

You MUST read the Question first!! NO EXCEPTION!

The first thing you should do is read the question prompt, then read the options, by doing so it will give you a clear instruction about what information you need to look for in the passage, so that you can read the context with a purpose.

Understand question prompt

“Which of the following is true?” or “Which of the following is not true?”

You need to be careful here and read carefully of the question prompt to see if they are asking you to pick the wrong option or right option.

"According to the passage, what is the reason ……?"

Here, the question is asking you to find a particular information. Look for specific words, numbers, events or similar words, you are not looking at main ideas but specific details.

"The author’s main idea here suggests that ......"

The main idea means the gist of the text. Look for an option that gives the overall meaning of the text. You can read the topic sentences to get quick idea.

"According to the writer, ......"

Make sure to look at the text and understand the information that gives the writer’s point of view. The passage probably will try to confuse you by providing a range of ideas from different groups, make sure that you choose the idea or thought from the writer himself/herself instead of others.

Go with elimination strategy

Eliminate the options that are far from being the correct answer. Once you read them you will know. For instance, the options that are talking about some different subject or object altogether. Also, sometimes the timelines can help find out the incorrect ones.

  • Eliminate the answer with wrong information, or not-mentioned information: so if an option is opposite to passage, or it is not mentioned in the passage, it is a wrong answer.
  • Eliminate the answer choices use absolute words such as always, never, all, none, only or absolutely. Most answer choices that use these words are incorrect. The ideas within the answer choices are usually open to interpretation, and cannot be written in such absolute terms as always or never. There is an exception – this rule doesn’t apply to the situation where all four options have absolute words - for example, if all four options contain the word “always”, you have to choose one regardless; or if original passage uses the same absolute words, in that case, you can choose that option, if the option is right.
  • Basically, you need to look for options that use conditional words or statements such as most, usually, often, rarely, or some, options with conditional words are likely to be correct.

Do not Skip!

At times you can be confused as to what the correct answer is. Under any circumstance, do not leave the question unanswered. It might be possible that you come across an unfamiliar word. Skip the word and do not waste much time on it if you are not getting the meaning.

Try to answer the question within a maximum of 2 minutes!

Time management is a major key to success in PTE. We have stressed that time and again. So, make sure that you spend less than 2 minutes on the question.

Don’t choose an option based on your personal judgement

All questions require you to answer based on the text. Even if the topic is something you are very familiar with, you should still not use your own judgement. The text might be focused on a limited time frame, or past or future or just a different set of conditions than you are aware of. So, even if it is something whose answer you know from your general knowledge, you should still read through the options and validate them against what is in the text.

Don’t just match words

Don’t depend simply on finding matches between words in the options and in the text. You should read and try to understand the whole sentences to make a proper decision. Quite often, you will not find a match between the exact words but can find one with a synonym. So look out for synonyms and other words which might mean the same in that context.

You can also try out the sample questions on our PTE Practice Portal. Yes, there are plenty of them for you to perfect this task! MYPTE has a huge a collection of PTE Reading MCQ single answer questions for you to practice, each question comes with answer.

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