PTE Preparation Blog

Choose Multiple Answers - How to get the scores you need in one attempt

All it takes is a little practice. In this blog, we will suggest strategies and tips for "Before Listening", "During Listening" and "While Answering" to help you go through this item type...

Author: GLS LLP       Date: 10-03-2017

Listening, multiple-choice, choose multiple answers item type is similar to reading, multiple-choice, choose multiple answers item type. The only difference being is that for this question type you have to choose correct answers by listening to an audio recording once, instead of reading a text. The fact that you have to answer by listening to an audio recording once; adds a level of difficulty for this question type. However, if you prepare yourself to listen and comprehend the message of the audio player before it starts and listen carefully than it is easy to score well in this item type and most PTE test takers manage to do pretty well. All it takes is a little practice. In this blog, we will suggest strategies and tips for "Before Listening", "During Listening" and "While Answering" to help you go through this item type like it is a walk in the park.

The task

Listening, multiple-choice, choose multiple answers is a listening item type that assesses listening skills only. There are generally 2-3 questions in this item type. The aim of this item type is to assess your ability to analyze, interpret and evaluate what you hear in a short recording on an academic subject. It is a multiple choice question where you will have to listen, comprehend and then choose more than one correct response.

For listening, multiple choice, choose multiple answers, the top section of the screen will contain instructions. These instructions will say something to the effect "Listen to the recording and answer the question by selecting all the correct responses. You will need to select more than one response". These instructions will remain same for all questions in this item type. So do not waste time reading them but understand and be aware of the instructions for this item type, during the PTE test.

A box representing the audio player will follow the instructions. The timer on audio player will countdown from 7 seconds after which its status will change to playing and you will hear the audio recording. Below the audio player you will find the question followed by response options.

Scoring

The communicative skill scored in this section is listening.

The listening sub skills tested in this section are dependent on the question and could be any of the following: identifying the topic, theme or main ideas; identifying supporting points or examples; identifying specific details, facts, opinions, definitions or sequences of events; identifying a speaker's purpose, style, tone or attitude; identifying the overall organization of information and connections between pieces of information; inferring the context, purpose or tone; inferring the meaning of unfamiliar words; predicting how a speaker may continue. You can interpret these sub skills as the task that the question may require you to perform and the purpose with which you are to listen to the recording.

listening, multiple-choice, choose multiple ansewers is second of the 3 item types where negative marking applies; you score 1 for every correct choice and -1 for every incorrect choice. The minimum you can score is 0. Which means if you have 4 incorrect responses and no correct response, your score for this item type will be 0 and not -4.

Strategies and tips

For this item type we will present the strategies and tips by activities that you have to perform to select the correct answer. The activities are divided into 3 parts namely "Before Listening", "During Listening" and "While Answering".

Before Listening

You will have 7 seconds of preparation time before the audio starts playing. Some PTE test takers use this time to read instructions. As we described earlier the instructions will remain same for all questions in this item type, so, do not waste time reading them during the test but understand and be aware of what the instructions are for this item.

Instead read the questions and the options given. Through your reading of the question and options you will know what the primary topic/idea/point is along with supporting topics/ideas/points that you are going to hear in the audio recording. As you read, link what you understand to your knowledge and experiences. This will help you remember the topics/points/ideas; predict what the speaker is likely to talk about; and will help you comprehend the speakers message as you listen.

If you paid attention while reading the paragraph on sub skills tested in the scoring section of this blog, you would have learned that the questions for this item type are set to test one or more listening sub skills. The reason this is important is, because you will identify the listening sub skills that you have to apply while listening; you will know how to listen and be better prepared to comprehend the speaker's message. Remember that Pearson could test you on more than one sub skill in each question of this item type. So, you may have more than one purpose with which to listen. These sub skills/purpose of reading are

  • identifying the topic, theme or main ideas
  • identifying the supporting points or examples;
  • identifying specific details; facts, opinions, definitions or sequences of events
  • identifying a speaker's purpose, style, tone or attitude;
  • identifying the overall organization of information and connections between pieces of information;
  • inferring the meaning of unfamiliar words;

While Listening

If you have read the question; and the options; and have inferred the sub skills that the question intends to test; you will be ready to listen with a purpose and apply sub skills that Pearson intends to test with the given question. Now the question is, how does one listen to comprehend the speaker's message.

We have observed too many PTE test takers spend too much effort and time trying to write down the key points/topics/ideas word for word. As a result, they are unable to comprehend the message and then have trouble answering the question. This strategy may cost test takers important points.

To develop a winning listening strategy, we experimented with two common strategies that could be applied to multiple choice, choose multiple answers. One group applied the most common strategy amongst test takers, to take notes when listening, while the other group took no notes and solely focused on listening and comprehending the speaker's message. We found that members of the latter group did significantly better than the former group.

While listening, apply your most powerful tool "IMAGINATION". Imagine, you are listening to a phone call. When on a phone call, you know you have to respond when the speaker stops, so you listen carefully to comprehend the message; you choose to remember information that is relevant, you predict what the speaker is going to say next and simultaneously prepare what your response is going to be. You don't make notes or memorize the message word by word; you simply remember the main and sub topics of the conversation.

Listening for multiple choice, choose multiple answers is no different. This is not a re-tell lecture item type. The machine scoring system does not expect you to repeat the lecture. What is expected is that you comprehend the speaker's message and then choose from a set of options what the speaker said. So, listen as if you are on a phone call from a friend who is giving you the most exciting information. Let comprehending the message be your sole focus.

To make the audio content a part of yourself apply associative techniques. This includes that as you listen and comprehend information; link it to your experiences and knowledge base. This technique will etch the message in your memory; it will help you predict what the content of the audio is likely to be and most importantly it will help you comprehend the complete message in entirety.

If you must take notes, write only the key words. Key words will be terms that will be hard for you to remember and will be impossible to answer the question without. These Key words might be terms that speaker uses to describe something or are unfamiliar to you. When you do make notes do not look at the notepad or let your attention diverge from listening and comprehending the lecture.

While Answering

Go through all option while eliminating the options that you are certain will not form part of the answers. Rate the remaining options based on how likely these are to be correct. Recall what you comprehended from listening to the message and choose at least two correct options. If your probability rating for an option being correct is less than 80%, do not choose it as correct. Remember negative marking applies to this item type. You will lose points for giving an incorrect answer.

If you are ready for practice of listening multiple-choice, choose multiple answers; you can take the next step in your PTE Preparation by enrolling in one of our PTE preparation courses. You will get to practice your skills in an environment that simulates actual PTE test. You will have the G-Analytics tool to tell you what skills you need to focus on most and personal tutor feedback to help you along the way and get you the scores you need in one attempt. Have a look at our courses section to learn more.


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