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PTE speaking: strategies for answering short answer questions

The PTE Speaking section evaluates your ability to communicate effectively in spoken English. One of the question types you will encounter in this section is short answer questions. In this blog, we will discuss strategies and tips to help you excel in answering short answer questions in the PTE Speaking section. By implementing these strategies, you can enhance your performance and increase your chances of achieving a high score.

Listen Carefully to the Prompt:

When the prompt for the short answer question is provided, listen attentively to understand the specific requirements. Pay attention to keywords, any limitations on the answer length, and the overall context of the question. This will guide your response and ensure you address the question appropriately.

Identify the Key Information:

Identify the key information or main points in the prompt. Listen for essential details, such as names, numbers, locations, or specific pieces of information that are relevant to the question. Understanding the key information will help you structure your response and provide a concise yet accurate answer.

Plan Your Response:

Before speaking, take a moment to plan your response. Organize your thoughts and determine the key points you want to include in your answer. Consider the logical flow of your response and how you can deliver the information succinctly and effectively. Planning beforehand will help you deliver a coherent and well-structured response.

Use Complete Sentences:

Although short answer questions require brief responses, it is important to answer using complete sentences. Formulate your response using grammatically correct and coherent sentences. This demonstrates your proficiency in English and allows the examiner to evaluate your language skills more effectively.

Be Concise and to the Point:

While using complete sentences, remember to keep your answers concise and to the point. Short answer questions require brief responses, so avoid unnecessary elaboration or repetition. Focus on providing the necessary information without adding extraneous details that may divert from the main point.

Use Relevant Vocabulary:

Incorporate relevant vocabulary related to the topic or context of the question. Utilize appropriate terminology or specific words that accurately convey your intended meaning. This showcases your lexical range and ability to use vocabulary in a targeted manner.

Maintain a Clear and Fluent Delivery:

Focus on maintaining a clear and fluent delivery throughout your response. Speak with confidence, clarity, and an appropriate pace. Avoid unnecessary pauses, hesitations, or fillers (e.g., um, uh) that may disrupt the flow of your speech. A smooth and coherent delivery enhances your overall performance.

Practice Time Management:

In the PTE Speaking section, time management is crucial. For short answer questions, you have a limited time to respond. Practice managing your time effectively during practice sessions to ensure that you can provide concise and accurate answers within the allocated time frame.

Practice Pronunciation and Intonation:

Pay attention to your pronunciation and intonation while answering short answer questions. Aim for clear and accurate pronunciation, enunciating words correctly. Additionally, use appropriate intonation to convey meaning effectively and add emphasis where needed. Practicing these aspects will enhance your overall spoken communication.

Review and Reflect on Feedback:

After each practice session or mock test, review your responses and seek feedback. Pay attention to areas where you can improve, such as clarity, vocabulary usage, or time management. Reflecting on feedback and implementing necessary adjustments will contribute to your progress in answering short answer questions.


Answering short answer questions in the PTE Speaking section requires careful listening, concise delivery, and effective communication skills. By listening attentively, identifying key information, planning your response, using complete sentences, being concise, utilizing relevant vocabulary, maintaining a clear delivery, practicing time management, focusing on pronunciation and intonation, and reviewing and reflecting on feedback, you can tackle short answer questions with confidence and achieve success in the PTE Speaking test. Practice diligently and apply these strategies to enhance your performance and increase your chances of obtaining a high score.