PTE Speaking

PTE Speaking: What's The Best Microphone Position To Score High?

January 02,2019

In the PTE-Academic Test, the Speaking Module is one of the trickiest amongst the four, especially so, for those who are not native speakers of English. Many test-takers who don't feel too confident with their speaking skills are apprehensive of the Speaking Module. How to get 90 in PTE Speaking is a matter of great concern for such test-takers.

Since the PTE-A is a computer-based test, success or failure in the Speaking Module heavily depends on the microphone position. On the test day, every test-taker is allotted a computer and a headphone with a microphone.

How to Test the Mic?

Therefore, the first thing that a test-taker must do is check the system, and the microphone immediately upon being assigned one. If the test-taker finds any technical issues with the computer or the mic, it must be taken up with the officials at the test centre with immediate effect.

It is a terrible idea to start the exam without testing the microphone given to you. Utilise the time given to you at the beginning of the exam, to examine the mic.

How to do it? Speak into the microphone, and listen to your recording to ensure that it is capturing what you speak correctly. For testing purposes, speak an entire sentence into the mic, and see how it captures it. Ensure that the mic is capturing no breathing noises or static sounds. It is a good idea to adjust it till the time you are happy with what you hear.

You can use one of the following sentences to test your mic in the exam:

Two blue fish swam in the tank.

Her purse was full of useless trash.

The colt reared and threw the tall rider.

These sentences are very useful in testing the speech attributes of communications systems and are called Harvard sentences.

What is the Ideal PTE Microphone Position?

So, what are the practical challenges? When we speak, there are short bursts of air that come out, especially when enunciating plosive sounds. If the microphone interprets bursts like these as audio, then it may get recorded as incomprehensible words in your Speaking Module answer.

This directly impacts your pronunciation score.

So, what's the best position for the microphone? After testing with hundreds of test-takers, our PTE experts advise that the best position for the microphone is to place it parallel to the nose, or close to the chin.

This position ensures that the mic is at a position that is close enough to be able to capture what is being said but without recording the breathing sounds.

Avoid placing the mic under the nose, as the air breathed out from the mouth and nose while speaking, may get captured.

Furthermore, test-takers should avoid touching the microphone. Every time you touch the mic; you stand to lose marks.

For details on the position, and the brand of headphone/microphone used in the PTE test, watch the video.

Common Speaking Issues

Since we are on the subject of PTE Speaking, we also want to share with you some common issues or mistakes to avoid. Do not speak too fast. Many confuse a brisk talking speed with fluency. Slow down, and speak at a fast enough pace so that you can enunciate the words clearly. Avoid sprinkling your speech with filler words like 'aahs' and 'uhms', when you are trying to think about what you are going to speak. Avoid speaking in fragment, which is stopping and starting, as this will be counted as disfluent speech. Last but not the least, do not use colloquial or informal language in your speech.

In case you need expert help with specific tasks in Speaking, you can avail our Describe Image Correction Service. You can also get our high-quality materials on Describe Image and Re-tell Lecture to sharpen your preparation.

If you follow these PTE Speaking tips and get enough practice, you will be able to score high in the PTE-A Speaking.