Why are you writing an essay and for what? I tell a student that unlike writing for the IELTS and other English proficiency tests (including those for school requirements), PTE has two writing test types: summarizing information and essay.
Let me discuss these two as well as the strategies to do them to your advantage.
For summarizing written text, a PTE test-taker faces three challenges: 1) writing a compound-complex sentence to be able to meet the one-sentence criterion; 2) using appropriate punctuation marks; and 3) meeting the summary word requirement of 50-70 words.
To illustrate how it impacts the written output, here is an sample (unedited) summary:
“…to increase production manufacturing companies use Just-in-Time method that inables (sic) less time and productions costs, this production significantly decrease less raw supplies and only based on the current costumers demand in the market.”
To get around this, I suggest the following: write directly into the box, so you can see the word count. Writing directly into the box saves you time in that you are able to edit and rephrase your single-sentence summary. Get the gist (by skimming and sifting) while reading the passage (better to write the gist in the box as well). Expand the gist into a paraphrase but keeping the key words in place (avoid a verbatim summary). Finally, re-read your summary and check grammar issues.
An effective method to beat the word requirement in case you fall short is to “pad” the sentence with adverbs (words modifying verbs). During reviews I deliberately set the time limit shorter, so in all the summary writing items, a student goes over by almost 4 minutes.
Someone who’s not trained to write an essay under time limit, may fall short on words and time at the PTE.
This sample essay (unedited) was finished under 18 minutes. Notice a number of common “rushing” errors, which can be quickly corrected if one is writing without time pressure.
“ Today, one must know how to value money. This personal spending, saving money and investing are profoundly important in one life however it is not ultimately thought of parents and neither in class. Through this initiative, teenagers could have a better understanding of how to value money.
Parents should teach their children how to save money by starting in their childhood. By doing this, they will nurture this habit of spending their money on their needs rather than their wants. Then, when they grow up this attitude will help them to invest in their future and become more successful in life.
Another is that teaching teens how to handle money will make them have a better life in the future as they become an adult. These days, the cost of living is increasing. Food and education are also costly. Thus, it is important to know how to save and how to prioritize what is needed the most.
Children that are trained to spend wisely can be less burdensome to their parents. In college, teens that only depend on their parents for their weekly allowance should know how to manage their money. By saving and teaching them they can become a big help for their family in any instances where they do not have enough money.
At one point, the student tells me, that he has trouble starting an essay. Thus, the unfinished essay above. I give him a tip: when faced by a blank page, get ideas from the essay prompt and do a concept map—break down the bigger topic into smaller, workable topics. Then, choose one that you know most about. Write anything that comes to mind—it need not be a full paragraph right away. Just to get started.
I tell him that’s “free writing”. The effort and breadth of imagination don’t come free, of course.