This task is one of two multiple-choice questions in the PTE reading section of the exam. It could be said to be the more straightforward task out of the two, as you only have to choose one answer. Success in this task comes down to your ability to read and assess a short text and being able to extract information to validate one answer option.

Multiple-choice tests your reading comprehension and how well you can understand the main points made in a text. If you are confident in your reading abilities and have a wide range of academic vocabulary, you will have no problem with this task.

In this blog, we are going to look at an overview of this task in the PTE Reading section, how it is scored, and the best method and strategies we can use to ensure PTE success. We will take a look at some tips and what you can do to improve your overall reading skills before the day of your PTE exam.

Let’s go!

Task Information

Time management is crucial in the PTE Reading section, as there are no individual time limits when it comes to each task. The reading section lasts for a total of 32 – 41 minutes, but it is up to you how you divide this time. You need to remain aware of the clock at all times, and it is a good idea to decide how long you are going to spend on each task before you make your PTE exam booking. You need to make sure you get lots of practice under timed conditions for each task, to feel confident you can make efficient use of time.

There are five tasks to complete within the reading section, and Reading: Multiple Choice, Single Answer is the first task you will come across. You will have to do approximately 2-3 different questions within this item type. We recommend you spend no more than 2 minutes on each question within this task type.

So, what exactly do you have to do in this task? As you can see from the example below, you will be presented with a text of up to 300 words. Like Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer, you will have to read, analyse, understand and assess a text on an academic subject. You will be given a question and a number of different answer choices to choose from. However, for this task, you only need to choose one option.

How is it scored?

You get one point if your answer is correct and zero if it is incorrect. Scoring for this task is pretty straightforward and only affects your reading score.

Suggested Method

Step 1
For this task, students are often tempted to get straight into reading the text. They think that they will be able to answer the question following this, as they will be aware of the topic of the text. This is the incorrect way to approach this task in the PTE Reading section. You need to utilise your time wisely and read for a purpose.

In order to read for a purpose, it is essential to read the question first. Once you identify the focus of the question, this will tell you what you have to look out for in the text, and you will be able to keep it in mind once you start to read the text. Remember the question could relate to the main idea or main topic of the text, inference, supporting details or purpose and opinion of the writer.

Step 2

Next skim the answer options for the key content words. These are the words which provide the sentence with its meaning. Keywords are usually nouns (people, places, events, objects), verbs or even adjectives or adverbs. These keywords will give you a good idea of the topic of the text before you even begin to read it. Related vocabulary or ideas of what the text is about will start to flood into your head at this stage.

If you come across unfamiliar words, try to decipher their meaning from the context within the sentence. Don't panic too much about unfamiliar words and instead focus on what you do know.

Step 3

Now, you can move to the reading text. Scan the text keeping an eye out for the keywords you highlighted in the answer options. When you find one of the keywords, it is important not to assume straight away that this is in the correlating answer options and therefore, correct. Make sure to read around that sentence and confirm the key point being made.

Don’t forget, a lot of the time the keywords might not actually appear in the text but will be replaced by synonyms of the words. Answer options may be also be stated in the text but might be very paraphrased. Remain very aware of this as you scan the text. Don’t be fooled by those distracter options!

Step 4

Leave time to review your decision and confirm the evidence which brought you to your conclusion. Try to verify the reason why you have eliminated the other answer options with evidence in the text. This step can leave you confident with your answer and ready click next.

Practice Tips

The PTE exam is, of course, testing your test-taking skills, but ultimately you can't succeed if your language skills aren't up to scratch. Here are some things you can do to practice and prepare you for success in Multiple Choice, Single Answer.
• Skim read academic texts on a regular basis and stop after every paragraph to ask yourself questions about what you have read. Ask yourself questions like: What is the writer’s main point? What was the writer’s purpose in writing this passage?
• Try to analyse the style and structure of the text, identifying where you can find specific information. You should practice identifying the topic sentence, as this is where you can often decide the main topic of the text.
• Highlight any words you don’t know in the text and see if you can decode their meaning from the context.
• Create lists of words and brainstorm different words you would associate with these words.

Wrap Up

So, there we have it, a comprehensive look at Reading: Multiple Choice, Single Answer. Now all you need is to put these strategies and tips into practice, under timed conditions, to ensure you are ready for PTE success.

Check out more PTE Academic review materials on the Swoosh English website:

And in our YouTube page:

Author's Bio: 

My name is Scott and I am an ESL/PTE Teacher from Portrush, a quaint seaside town on the beautiful North Coast of Ireland. I have a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Master’s degree in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies. I have been teaching English for the past three years and I am a keen traveller, having been to 28 countries. I have extensive experience with many nationalities as an English teacher and have taught in Vietnam, Australia, China and now with Swoosh English on the World Wide Web.