PTE-A Test

A Comprehensive Understanding Of Scoring Criteria In PTE-A Test

February 14,2018

For anyone who has seen the PTE Score Card, there are many questions that must have flocked their mind.

What is the difference between the communicative and enabling skills?

Does enabling skills score affect the overall score? How?

Can anyone score higher in any or some of the enabling skills and get a lower score in the communicative skills or a score low overall?

Is the overall score average of all scores?

How are these scores awarded?

Woooaah! That are many questions in one breath! However, we understand! And there might be other queries too that arise in your mind just like many students also ask us. Because PTE has an Automated Scoring methodology, it makes the test taker a little inquisitive which is again even legit as its imperative to have a thorough understanding of the Scoring Criteria before you appear for the PTE Academic Test or start a full fledge preparation. After all, each point leads you closer to your target score and loss of one point can result in you missing to achieve the high score.

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Imagine you score 78 and miss by one point to get 8 band equivalent score! Ouchhh…..

That is awful lot of pain to endure!

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Especially if you are applying for a Permanent Residency to Australia, you will know the value of each and every point. Not to miss even for the students trying to score a scholarship.

So, here we are deciphering the PTE Scoring!

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We have done most of the work for you and while we explain you in detail about the scoring of PTE, we advise you to be a little patient. Let us first have a look at the PTE Score Card.

Hey! If you have already appeared for PTE and unfortunately missed to achieve your required score then you can analyse your score card here and understand in depth your strong and weak areas to further work on improving specific skills.

PTE Score Card

As you can see, a test taker is scored for "Listening, Reading, Speaking, Writing" which makes up "Communicative Skills" and "Grammar, Oral Fluency, Pronunciation, Spelling, Vocabulary, Written Disclosure" which is makes up "Enabling Skills". Finally, you get the Overall score. All of the scores of these skills are on a scale of 10-90.

PTE being an integrated style of testing, each of the 20 task types of the test impact the scores of more than one skill.

Overall PTE Score

Your performance in every question of the test affects your Overall Score. It is comprehensively calculated on the basis of your performance and attempted questions.

Communicative Skills Scoring

Your Listening, Reading, Speaking, Writing is score makes up the communicative skills score. There are several questions asked in the PTE-A test that tests more than one of these skills. For example, the task of 'repeat sentence' tests listening and speaking, the task of 'read aloud' tests reading and speaking.  There are test questions which assess reading and writing, listening and writing or listening and reading. Thus, they affect the score of two skills.

Enabling Skills Scoring

Enabling Skills marks a test-taker's performance in Writing and Speaking. Grammar, Oral Fluency, Pronunciation, Spelling, Vocabulary, Written Disclosure scores are determined as a part of enabling skills.

Enabling Skills How They Are Assessed


Proper use of language and syntax

Oral fluency

Clear, natural, and smooth speech


How words are spoken and whether spoken words are understood by most regular English speakers?


Whether AmE or BrE is followed throughout the test; also, spellings for everything are checked


Depending on lexical level and choice of words to convey the messages matter

Written discourse

Structure of the sentence, how well the message is conveyed, logical development, coherence, and linguistic resources' level



Delving deeper into the enabling skills score, one or more of these can be tested in a question. Grammar is assessed thoroughly in both essay writing and it plays a crucial role in summarize written text task, too. Similarly, during speaking, your Oral fluency, pronunciation and spelling will be tested. While reading tasks will assess your spellings too (remember fill in the blanks)! That is the reason to understand what the task demands. Pay close attention to the instructions.

Here is an example provided in the Official PTE Score Guide:

PTE ExampleSource:

>It shows how essay in PTE Writing is scored. First it checks for 'Content'. If that is not found, it scores a zero on that item questions. If there is 'Content', it further moves to check 'Form', and from there to the 'traits' of enabling skills. The cumulative score of 'Content', 'Form' and the 'Enabling Traits' make up the total score of the essay.

Now the score of the 'Enabling Skills' here are reflected in the Overall enabling skills score in your scorecard. Thus your score of essay affects the points in 'Writing' (i.e in the Communicative Skills), the points of skills in 'Enabling Skills' and thus, Overall!

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You can read the scoring criteria for each type of question here in our PTE Guide.

Pearson also elaborates about the various technologies it uses in its automated scoring system. PTE Writing is assessed with the help of a tool named "Intelligent Essay Assessor" (IEA) combined with the "Knowledge Analysis Tool" (KAT) engine. A mathematical method known as Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) is used to analyse the written text just like a human. It is intelligent enough to identify text that is off-topic.

The speaking in PTE is scored using the Ordinate technology which recognises various types of speeches, native as well as non-native and evaluates everything about the speech including the rhythm, speed and timing.

Thus, PTE Tests are examined accurately by using carefully and logically built systems. We understand how you feel as the PTE Scoring is the crux of the matter but so Byzantine! Yup, you read that right, 'byzantine', a bizarre and word unheard of which gets your brain nerves perplexed and intimidates you too!  Well, it means 'complex'. (Hey, did we just give you a hint of Vocabulary here! )

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While we will discuss about vocab in next blog entry, you can certainly start practising one module at a time. Log in to PTE Tutorials and try a full length test. There are plenty of practice materials to help you ace individual tasks of PTE. Numerous students have already got their desired score by practising with resources from It is time you rush too towards your target PTE score!

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