Overview of the PTE Academic Writing Section

Instructor: Eric Campos

Eric has tutored in English, writing, history, and other subjects.

Arguably one of the more difficult parts of the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic, the writing section draws not only on your command of English, but also your ability to synthesize good writing on the spot. Read on to learn further details about the writing portion of the PTE Academic.

Overview of the PTE Academic Writing Section

A major indicator of one's skills in the English language is the ability to write. Therefore, writing tasks in the PTE Academic Speaking and Writing section will test your practical application of English in written form, examining your command of vocabulary and grammar as well as your ability to interpret information and then produce a clearly written response to it.

Writing Section Breakdown

The writing section of the PTE Academic is broken down into the following two tasks. Both are timed for a combined total of 30 minutes. Each task has a set word limit as well, so you'll need to be mindful of this as you write.

Summarize Text

For the first task, you'll be given a text to read over and asked to write a one-sentence summary that effectively encapsulates the main focus of the passage. You'll have ten minutes to complete this section. Your response can be no more than 75 words.

Write Essay

The second task takes the longest and is also the more difficult of the two. You'll be given 20 minutes to write an argumentative essay in response to a provided writing prompt. To do this effectively, you'll need to read the passage carefully, take a stance on the topic presented, and defend it. It's essential that you not only outline your view, but also include reasoning to substantiate your argument. Your essay will need to be between 200 and 300 words.

Writing Tools

The writing section of the test comes equipped with useful functions to help expedite the writing process. In addition to a word count function that allows you to monitor the length of your response as you write, you'll have a timer in the top right corner of the screen to indicate the time you have remaining in each section. Like a standard Word document, the writing sections of the test are equipped with cut, copy, and paste functions that you can use to edit your work before submitting it.

Preparing for the PTE Academic Writing Section

While many tests have a set curriculum they draw on, the PTE Academic writing section is a test of skill. Your best chance for success is to hone your writing abilities as a whole and practice writing within the test limits mentioned above.

If you're looking for a resource to help you along in this process, check out's PTE Academic Test: Practice & Study Guide. You'll have access to detailed lessons on all of the PTE Academic test sections, including those outlining strategies for the writing section. These lessons go over such topics as how to effectively summarize ideas, how to structure an argument, and how to write a strong essay quickly. You can also supplement these practice tools with our lesson on Writing Strategies for ESL Students.

These resources are equipped with transcripts, video lessons, practice quizzes, and tests to help ensure optimum preparation for the PTE Academic. If you find yourself needing additional assistance, our courses can also put you in touch with a virtual instructor. Moreover, the flexible and mobile nature of this learning platform means you can study anywhere you want - and at your own pace as well!

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