PTE spelling bug

A lot of PTE candidates, especially those who want an overall score of 65 or 79 each, end up missing their target score by falling short mainly in their Writing and sometimes in their Listening scores as you can see here in these test reports.

All of these test reports have one thing in common and that is they all have their Spelling and Written Discourse scores lower than other skills. So what seems to be the problem here?

Well, this problem came to my attention three years ago when I had a student from Columbia. He came to my online classes with the same question. Why do I keep getting the same score in writing skill? Before he joined my online classes, he had sat the PTE test for more than 20 times and he kept missing points only in his writing skill. He needed 79 in each band. I analysed all his test reports and came to the conclusion that the problem lied in his essay writing. I asked him to write an essay on practice website and send his essay screenshot to me. So, he wrote me an essay using the same template he had memorized and used in his previous PTE exams. His template started like this “Recently, the phenomenon of … probably you know the rest.

Once I read his essay, I noticed that most of the words in his template were cliché and only 10% of the content words were related to the topic he was supposed to write about. I asked him to chuck his previous essay template into the bin and to memorize our dynamic essay template. He grudgingly accepted this and once he mastered the template, I gave him the green light to sit the PTE test one last time. This time he got his writing skill above 80 with good scores for spelling and written discourse skills.

Now the one million-dollar question: why does the PTE test penalize the candidates who use a lazy essay writing template in their spelling and written discourse skills?

Well, I would put it down to a bug that their scoring system has. Once certain criteria in essay writing are not met, the system reflects this shortcoming in the scores of spelling and written discourse skills and there is no logic behind it. 

So if you have this problem, you only need to change your writing template to a dynamic one and Bob’s your uncle.

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