our blog

PTE Tips: Improve your Listening Score

PTE Academic Exam Listening Section


How To Improve Your Listening Skills for the PTE Academic Exam 


Real-Time Troubles

Listening tasks are done in what we call “real-time”. This means that it is all done in the moment, unlike a reading task where you can go back and re-read sections, or a writing task where you can go back and change and delete words. Being a “real-time” task means that you only have one chance to hear it. If you miss the information – that’s it! No going back. This is just one of the factors that can make listening tasks so difficult. One way to deal with this is by following these steps:


  • Pay attention! Don’t let your mind wander.
  • Take notes! You aren’t going to remember everything that was said, so make sure you have good note taking skills to note down keywords when you can.
  • Practice! Like the key to strengthening any skill, practice makes perfect. Make sure you do a little every day and you will be amazed at how much better your listening becomes.


How To Practice

One of the most important things to remember when preparing for PTE Academic, is that the audio in the listening tasks is only audio. That is, you can’t see the face of the person that is speaking. This may surprise you, but humans, especially non-native speakers, rely heavily on being able to see a speaker’s face. This makes it a lot easier to understand what is being said. This is one reason why listening exams can be so difficult.


So, it is extremely important that you practise your listening with appropriate material. That is, only audio! No visual. Things like radio and podcasts are perfect for this type of practice! What’s more, there are so many of these available for free these days, practising becomes a piece of cake.

Check out some of the suggested podcasts below.


What accent is that?

Ever met someone who you just didn’t understand? This may have been because you weren’t familiar with their particular accent. Some students find some accents more difficult to understand than others. In the PTE exam, you will hear a variety of accents for across the globe – Australian, American, English, New Zealand, Canadian – just to name a few! So it is important to be comfortable with as many as you can.


If you find you have trouble with a particular accent, you should start your listening practice by downloading podcasts or listening to radio with that particular accent. Just do 5-10 minutes every day (e.g. on your way to work or at the gym) and you’re on your way to perfect listening skills!


Here are just a few to get you started. Note that many podcasts come with transcripts so you can check what you’ve heard!


The UK

BBC Radio


No Such Thing As A Fish


The United States

News in Easy English

This American Life



Tram Talks

Dr Karl (Triple J)


Any radio station!


Listening Materials for PTE 


To really perfect your listening skills and pass that PTE exam, the best thing to do is take a preparation course. At English Key in Melbourne and Adelaide, our PTE coaching courses offer classes that focus on each section of the exam, including the listening sections.


Our classes teach students the tips and strategies crucial for acing the exam.


Furthermore, we offer mock test classes for PTE Academic, so you can practice with real materials.


If you’re not already taking a PTE training course with us, call us on 0426 935 364 (Melbourne) or 0424565130 (Adelaide) or visit us at 6/313 La Trobe Street Melbourne to chat to one of our friendly staff today.


Get in touch