In Read Aloud, you should make sure you don’t leave out words nor add new ones. You need to know where to pause as well: And by this I mean pausing at clauses, verb phrases, and key words for emphasis. If you speak in a low voice (while others speak like a rock star), you can record your own voice and replay it for discussion with a coach. If it’s me, I’d tell you to sound self-assured and a bit pushy. You also need to turn up your voice and get used to distraction (for the duration of the Speaking test, which is the first part).
In Describe Image, you might be getting the “template” right but you need to work well—keep pace– with time; I also remind you not to get stuck with the details—fine print– of the picture (charts, graphs). In newer versions of PTE Speaking, there are no more labels on pictures, so I would tell you to get ahead by creating a simple and short introduction based on common sense.
Before resuming practice test in Describe Image, we discussed the use of templates in Speaking answers. Templates (3-sentence Intro, 4-sentence Body, 2-sentence Conclusion) make speaking come in handy. But test-taker should be flexible too as there are items that do not have labels. In newer versions of the PTE labeling the image by reading out fine prints is scored against Content.
Content versus Ease of Delivery– Even with a template you seem to have a tough time speaking—because you want to get the image right. A test-taker should decide which carries more weight: precision or oral fluency. It’s a Speaking test, so you should take control of your words not the correctness of the information in the image. You should sound self-assured if not authoritative.
Hesitancy and fillers—A test-taker shouldn’t let himself be overrun by what he sees in the charts and graphs. To avoid pausing for lack of words, you should have “ready” words and phrases such as “represents”, “dips”, “drops”, “peaks”, “similarly”, “in contrast”, “fluctuates”, “plateaus”, “parallels” etc. These words are appropriate to use in describing charts and graphs.
Working with time—While you should be aware of preparation time, you should not let time get in the way of your delivery. You shouldn’t sound like you’re on the run. So: clearly enunciated beginning and clearly enunciated conclusion.
Scored Practice Test on Pearson site—you should take scored practice tests on Pearson website. That way you’ll be able go over the answer key and rate yourself.
In Retell Lecture, it’s still an issue of organizing the main points of the talk. With a template in place, I suggest you do vertical note-taking—getting only the key points of the lecture without necessarily repeating everything that has been said.
What strategies work for Listening? Assuming you have had enough time to do Listening exercises before test day, these things could still give you a sticky time : for multiple choice and single answer test items, listening for the gist and specific information; for summarizing a speech it’s almost the same strategy except that you should focus on the changes in tone and word choice as well ( then use the answer box for note-taking to avoid the hassle of copying notes from the erasable board) ; for highlighting incorrect words , keeping up with the audio using the cursor; for gap-filling, writing along to keep pace is a challenge (so, longhand note-taking is better); finally, for taking dictation, noting down as much of the audio is tough, so make sure your sentence is grammatically correct.
In any case, Short Answer Questions is fun to do, hands down. It tests your ability to think fast as well as word association skills.