Achieve Better PTE Scores Using Essay Structure

Students encounter a plethora of tests throughout their academic life. The PTE exam is only one of them. If you have an upcoming PTE exam, you’ll need to prepare for it.

This article explains the PTE and provides readers with a basic PTE essay structure. Let’s get to it.

person using pencil
Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash

What is the PTE?

The Pearson Test of English Academic is a test that aims to evaluate an examinee’s mastery of the English language. It is a preliminary test that assesses the readiness of non-native English speakers prior to participating in a university-level English instruction program.

The PTE test consists of four sections:

  • Speaking and Writing
  • Reading
  • Listening

This article [and the related essay] relates to the speaking and writing section. It will focus on helping you understand the PTE essay and the things that make a good PTE essay. Understanding the scoring model is among the first steps you must take.

PTE Essay Scoring Model

A PTE Essay presents examinees with a general statement and asks examinees to express their opinion in 200 to 300 words. Their essay will then be evaluated and scored based on the following criteria:


Content refers to the relevance of a response to the question. A highly relevant response receives a score of 3 points.

Development, Structure, and Coherence

This refers to the overall structure of the essay and the link between paragraphs. Essays with a clear structure of ideas get 2 points.


Form evaluates the degree to which a response adheres to the word count requirement. An essay with 200 to 300 words receives 2 points. An essay between 120 and 199 words receives 1 point. Essays shorter than 120 words or longer than 380 words do not receive a point.

General Linguistic Range

A general linguistic range refers to a person’s ability to express ideas clearly and precisely. A clear and precise expression will receive 2 points.


Responses that have correct grammatically complex sentences receive 2 points. Those with some grammatical errors but retain the message receive 1 point. Responses that have multiple faulty sentence structures do not receive a point.


Vocabulary refers to the examinee’s ability to use a variety of words, phrases, and idioms to vividly illustrate ideas. A response with a wide variety of expressions (used correctly) receives 2 points.


Essays that do not have any spelling errors receive 2 points and 1 point for one spelling error. Responses with more than one spelling error do not receive a point.

The Basic PTE Essay Structure

Now that you know how evaluators score a PTE essay, you now understand how to satisfy these conditions. 

If you’re having difficulty starting your essay during your practice sessions, you’ll need to follow a structure. An essay structure will help you organize your thoughts and ensure that one idea flows smoothly to the next.

Try this basic PTE essay structure:

Introduction Paragraph (10% of total word count ~ 20 to 30 words)

  • Start with a good hook
  • State your main argument or opinion

Body Paragraphs (80% of total word count ~ 160 words)

  • Use your body paragraphs to explain your points using supporting sentences. Don’t forget to mind your word count.

Conclusion Paragraph (10% of total word count ~ 20 to 30 words)

  • Summarize your essay
  • Restate your main argument
  • Close with a powerful message

In Summary

Essays are part of the speaking and writing section of the Pearson Test of English Academic. Understanding the task, as well as the evaluation criteria, will allow you to determine the quality of your output.

Make sure to practice writing essays with an essay structure. It will provide you with a framework for your ideas. An organized mind is the key to a clear and powerful answer. 

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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