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PTE reading: active vs. passive reading techniques

Reading comprehension plays a vital role in the PTE Academic exam, particularly in the Reading section. To excel in this section, it's essential to employ effective reading techniques that enhance understanding, retention, and analysis of the given texts. Two commonly used reading approaches are active reading and passive reading. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between active and passive reading techniques and discuss how active reading can benefit your performance in the PTE Reading section.

Passive Reading:

Passive reading refers to reading without actively engaging with the text. It involves simply scanning the words and sentences without much thought or interaction. While passive reading may be suitable for leisure reading, it is not an effective strategy for the PTE Reading section. Passive reading can lead to a lack of focus, reduced comprehension, and difficulties in answering questions accurately.

Active Reading:

Active reading, on the other hand, is a proactive and focused reading approach that involves interaction with the text. It requires concentration, critical thinking, and engagement with the material. Active reading techniques can significantly improve your comprehension and retention of information, enabling you to answer questions more effectively in the PTE Reading section.


Before diving into the text, it's beneficial to preview the passage by quickly scanning the title, headings, subheadings, and any visual aids such as graphs or charts. This pre-reading step gives you a general understanding of the content and helps set expectations for what you will encounter in the text.

Annotation and Highlighting:

While actively reading the passage, make use of annotation and highlighting to mark important information, key ideas, supporting details, and any unfamiliar vocabulary. This practice helps you focus on relevant content and allows for easier reference when answering questions later.

Asking Questions:

As you read, actively engage with the text by asking yourself questions about the main idea, the author's perspective, and the purpose of the passage. Formulating questions helps you maintain focus, encourages critical thinking, and enhances your understanding of the material.

Making Connections:

Look for connections between different parts of the text, such as cause and effect relationships, comparisons, or examples. Making connections helps you build a coherent understanding of the passage and enables you to analyze the information more effectively.


After reading each paragraph or section, practice summarizing the main points in your own words. This exercise enhances comprehension and retention, allowing you to grasp the key concepts and arguments presented in the passage.

Active Engagement:

Stay engaged throughout the reading process by mentally evaluating and questioning the author's claims, supporting evidence, and the overall structure of the text. This critical approach helps you analyze the material more deeply and prepares you to answer comprehension and inference-based questions accurately.


In the PTE Reading section, active reading techniques are essential for understanding the passages, retaining information, and answering questions effectively. By adopting active reading strategies such as pre-reading, annotation, asking questions, making connections, summarizing, and maintaining an engaged mindset, you can enhance your comprehension, improve your analytical skills, and achieve a higher score on the PTE Reading section. Practice these techniques regularly to become a proficient and confident reader, ultimately boosting your performance in the exam.