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Highlight Incorrect Words is a task from the Listening Module of the PTE-A test. This question type assesses your listening and reading skills. You have to listen, identify the differences between a recording and its transcription. The task requires the full concentration of the test-taker. It also demands the ability to listen with purpose in a noisy environment. The test-taker also needs to be familiar with different English accents.

In this blog, we will cover the following:

  • Task basics and summary
  • Highlight Incorrect Words task scoring
  • How to avoid negative marking
  • Tips and practice strategies to ace the task
  • Sample questions for quick practice
Let’s get started.

Task Basics: What do I have to do in Highlight Incorrect Words?


You will get an audio recording and its transcript. You will have to listen to the audio and read the transcript at the same time. The task needs you to click on the words that differ from what the speaker in the recording says.

Watch the video below to find out how.


How do I select the incorrect words?

Follow the transcript with the cursor, reading in rhythm with the audio. As you follow the text, scan for incorrect words. When you spot such a word, select it by clicking the left button on the mouse.

Once you have selected a word, it will be highlighted in yellow. In case you decide against your choice, left-click on the word once again to deselect it.

Highlight Incorrect Words Scoring and Negative Marking


This is one of three question types in PTE-A that has negative marking. For the right response, you will receive 1 point. For a wrong answer, you will lose 1 point. To avoid negative marking, click on a word only when you are confident. The least you can score in this task in zero. The overall score in PTE-A is percentile-based. So, choosing the wrong responses can affect your scores negatively.

7 Tips for Acing PTE listening Highlight Incorrect Words


  1. Prepare yourself for different accents, speaking speeds. You can achieve this by practising with a variety of sample questions.

  2. Start practising in the backdrop of a slightly noisy environment. Such an ambience will be like the test environment you will experience.

  3. Even if you miss hearing a few words, don’t stop. Keep moving the cursor with the audio.

  4. Select/highlight the incorrect word only when you are sure.

  5. Once the audio ends, avoid changing the highlighted words unless you are sure that you have made an error.

  6. Don’t take notes for this task as it won’t be helpful. Just follow the transcript with your cursor as the audio plays and pay attention.

  7. A single click is enough to highlight the words. Avoid wasting time by clicking repeatedly.

Need Help?

Are you looking more in-depth guidance, and personalised advice? You can consult our tutors via the Online Coaching mode. Get your PTE preparation started right away.

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