Reading is a skill that takes a long time to develop.  It is also the most difficult skill to teach. Perhaps because reading skills are difficult to evaluate and one has a feeling that there really is no way of telling if one has reached a considerably high degree of reading mastery. How would you know one is a very good reader? Some highly literate people have a ready answer to this: When one has read the Harvard Five-foot Classics, or The Great Books.   But saying so puts one in a tight spot. It smacks of snobbery–the suggestion being that other books aren’t worth a whit!

Lofty notions such as that, ironically, has little place in PTE Reading. For one thing, during the test one navigates academic passages–a textual transaction which requires a level of critical engagement equivalent to that of a university student’s. This is no reason to downplay the test items, though, because one of these, re-ordering paragraphs, is legendarily tough. Most times devoid of linkers and implicit transitions, the paragraphs are tossed about in chaos and one’s job is to put order and sequence where there is none. There are sign posts scattered in the passage, but one is given no clue where. Taking the text at face value (for instance, connecting the dots between proper nouns and their relationship to the gist and other things) may help, but only to a certain extent. Other meanings are submerged and can only be dug up by inferential reasoning (as opposed to the evidential one). So, this one’s very tricky really.    

However, with an ample diet of heavy reads (preferably out of habit) that lean toward philosophy and the humanities (my personal bias, sorry), one may gain ground with PTE Reading fast.  This won’t translate into superior scores right away (though it’s easy to think of above proficient), but by one’s second mock test telltale signs of a bright prospect start to show. If it seems I’m talking in the abstract here, one had better see the PTE Reading test items for himself so he’ll know what I mean. 

If one hurdles re-ordering paragraphs with a flourish, the rest of the items, namely multiple choice multiple answers, multiple choice single answer, and fill in the blanks, won’t be as much of a challenge. That is, after some time with heavy and thick reads. Reading is its own reward.