PTE Preparation Blog

Repeat Sentence - How to get the scores you need in one attempt

However, to ensure that you get the best scores consistently and with least effort, in this blog we present strategies and tips that will help you achieve...

Author: GLS LLP       Date: 10-03-2017

Repeat Sentence item type is so easy, that it is difficult to not score full marks. However, to ensure that you get the best scores consistently and with least effort, in this blog we present strategies and tips that will help you achieve these goals. I strongly recommend that you read the blog "Repeat Sentence - Understand the Game" before proceeding further. It will give you a strong basis to understand and implement the tips and strategies in this blog.

If you have read "Repeat Sentence: Understand the Game" blog you will know that the enabling skills of content, pronunciation and oral fluency marked by the machine scoring system comprise of the following sub skills:

  • Speaking with a purpose (to repeat, to inform, to explain)
  • Speaking at a natural rate
  • Producing fluent speech
  • Using correct intonation
  • Using correct pronunciation
  • Using correct stress
  • Speaking under timed conditions

The above sub skills get portrayed incorrectly as tips on a number of PTE blogs. However, question that arise and our students often wonder is, how does one speak for a purpose? What is natural rate of speech? how does one use correct intonation, pronunciation, stress? Well, your curiosity will be laid to rest here. In this blog we will present strategies for each of the above subskills.

Speaking with a purpose

Speaking with a purpose is not difficult and with perfect practice it becomes as easy as a walk in the park. Well, that is because we do it every day when we speak. You may not be doing it consciously and in English but you certainly are speaking with a purpose when you vocalize your thoughts and feelings, no matter the language you use. When you speak, you subconsciously put stress on words, take appropriate pauses, use correct intonation and stress, so that the listener not only understands the words and the point of your speech but also the emotions you have about the topic.

The machine scoring system expects you to do the same except you have to repeat somebody else's thoughts. Since repeat sentence is a listening exercise, you will know from the intonation and stress the speaker uses in the question that you listen to, the speaker's purpose. All you have to do is imitate the speaker. However, be cautioned, each of us is different. Each one of us has different and individualistic vocal capabilities. Hence, you may not be able to repeat sentence with the exact accent, manner, emotions and attitude as done by the speaker and neither does the machine scoring system expects you to. What the machine scoring system is interested in if you can show the same emotions and attitude by using the same intonation and stress as done by the original speaker in your own individualistic way. Many, try to copy the accent of the speaker to produce the same speech. This is unwanted and a big NO and could cost you points.

While Listening

When you are listening, you should be completely focused and oblivious of everything else around you. Quietly, repeat each and every word after the speaker as you hear it. When you have the sentence, repeat it again. As you listen, take note of the intonation and word and sentence level stress used by the speaker.

Remember, you have 15 seconds to repeat sentence. The time that it will take for someone with just about reasonable English skills to repeat the longest and most complex PTE repeat sentence question will not be more than 8 seconds. Furthermore, the microphone closes after 3 seconds of silence and there is a break of one second after the audio has stopped playing and before the microphone opens to record. If you start speaking when the recorder time hits one second means you have 2 seconds to prepare speaking. 2 seconds is just sufficient time for you to quietly repeat sentence twice in your mind. So keep an eye on the audio player and recorder timer. Repeat the words as you hear it quietly in your mind and after the player stops repeat the sentence quietly in your mind. If after repeating sentence twice you still have time keep repeating the sentence quietly. When the recorder's countdown timer hits 1 second start speaking into the microphone.

While repeating sentence

After the micro phone has opened do not just repeat sentence monotonously for the micro phone to record your voice. Use your most powerful tool, IMAGINATION, speak as if you are speaking to an audience; speak as a woman/man of conviction; speak as if you are trying to convince the crowd of your idea; or as if you are providing them with information that no one has ever heard of before; or you are trying to explain something that has never been understood before. Be excited about what you are speaking and imagine that your listeners are just as excited to hear you. When you do this you will automatically be speaking with a purpose and speaking clearly, with correct intonation and stress.

Speaking at a natural rate

As we informed earlier, you will have sufficient time to repeat sentence. So do not try to speak too fast to save time. Others may speak too loudly or too slowly to enable better recording and sounding clear. This is not required. Just speak at a volume and rate of speech that comes naturally to you as an individual. If you do this, you will sound pleasant and pronounce clearly with correct intonation and stress.

Producing fluent speech

All the machine wants to know if you can repeat sentence in a constant, smooth rhythm without hesitations, repetitions, unwanted pauses and false starts. If you speak with a purpose and at a natural rate, you will automatically be speaking in a smooth rhythm.

While Listening

When you are quietly repeating sentence figure out tricky parts of the sentence that may lead you to hesitate, repeat, make unwanted pauses and use false starts. Figure out a strategy for these parts or just be aware of these parts when you repeat sentence for the recorder.

While repeating sentence

Attempt these tricky parts to the best of your ability. If you do make a mistake while repeating sentence, do not correct yourself, just keep going. Correcting will not get you any points but will definitely cost you.

Using correct pronunciation

Pronouncing is easiest for repeat sentence. You will have the pronunciation of all familiar and unfamiliar words in the audio question that you hear. All you have to do is remember and pronounce the words just as you hear them.

Many test takers make the mistake of assuming that correct pronunciation means pronouncing in native speakers accent. If you try to copy accent, you may not sound natural or appear to be speaking with a purpose or pronouncing correctly and may cost you points.

All the machine scoring system wants to know is if you can pronounce words in a manner that could be clearly understood by general users of the English language. To meet this criteria; while you do need to pronounce correctly but you will not be penalized for your accent. So be advised, do not try to copy accent, pronounce the words clearly and as correctly as you can in your own accent, in a natural manner. Please, read our blog "Improve English speaking and pronouciation skills while having fun" to learn more.

Using correct intonation and stress

Intonation is the rise and fall of voice while speaking. Intonation could be a major problem for some non-native speakers of English. Non-native speakers tend to use intonation as in their native language, which may not be appropriate when speaking in English.

While listening

As you repeat words after the speaker, repeat those words and then the sentence with the same intonation and stress. This is not difficult. People generally when listening carefully with a goal to memorize generally register the voice, intonation and stress used by the speaker subconsciously. When you listen to the speaker, you too will automatically be registering this information. All we ask is that you be aware.

while repeating sentence

While repeating sentence, as a general rule, always start high and end low. This can be done by taking a deep breath at the start of the sentence. Thereafter, remember to use the same intonation and stress as the speaker.

Speaking under timed conditions

This is the easiest of all. All that you need to do is finish repeating the sentence within 15 seconds.

We hope you found the tips in this section helpful. For complete and perfect PTE preparation, We strongly recommend that you enroll for one of our PTE preparation courses to practice your skills in an environment that simulates actual PTE test. You will get G-Analytics to tell you what skills you need to focus on most and personal coaching to help you with any difficulties that you face. So you are completelt prepared and get you the scores you need in one attempt.


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