pte listening multiple choice multiple answer
PTE, Articles, PTE Practice Test, PTE Listening

In this lesson, we are going to explore the key facts about PTE listening multiple choice, choose multiple answers test, so that you can have the best possible chance of getting a really high score.

Know how the test functions

The odd name of this test comes from the fact that you have to choose more than one answer. What happens is that you will sit in front of the computer screen and see an audio playback box. It will play a recording for you that lasts for between forty and ninety seconds. You will only hear it spoken one time.

Above the box, there will be a question or task. This might be, for example, a partial sentence that needs to be completed with information that is given in the recording. In that case, you would listen carefully to find some information that could logically complete the sentence.

The key detail, of course, is that you do not just pick one answer.

How to succeed at multiple choice, choose multiple answers

It is important when you do this part of the test that you listen in order to hear the meaning of the text rather than just keywords. Yes, keywords can help us to understand better but we need to focus on meaning rather than just vocabulary.

The reason for that is the answers given are the logical result or answer to the question provided. You are not just listening to hear a missing word. Instead, you need to focus on what should logically complete the sentence or answer the question.

If you just focused on hearing words in the audio recording, then you would only be able to guess vaguely at the right answer. This is because usually there are several answers that feature words from the question but those are not actually the right answers.

There are points… but there are also minus points

One really important thing to note about this part of the test – and something that will surely shock many candidates – is the fact that the PTE listening multiple choice, choose multiple answers section does not just grade candidates by the points they have earned, but it can also deduct points from their score.

This is quite rare in English tests, where often people try to guess answers. In other major English exams, you can take a guess at multiple choice questions, but for PTE listening it is not a wise approach. Every question you get right is worth one point, but every question you get wrong is with minus one point. This means that carelessly picking answers could seriously reduce your score.

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Instead, listen carefully, make notes, and choose your answer according to what is the most logical of the choices available.

The best approaches to the task

Finally, let’s look at some of the best approaches to doing PTE listening multiple choice, choose multiple answers:

  • Read the question and possible answers quickly but carefully at the start. Use the sort of “skimming and scanning” techniques that you would normally use in the reading test.
  • When you listen, pay attention for the keywords that you read in the questions and answers.
  • Make intelligent notes on what you hear. Remember: Don’t say too much or too little. Note down keywords and important ideas.
  • It can be really useful to know what the correct answer is not. By this, I mean you can often deduce which options are definitely not correct. This helps you narrow down your choice for correct answers.


This multiple-choice part of the PTE listening test can really intimidate some candidates because it seems so hard at first. In particular, the possibility of earning minus points is quite frightening! However, when you think about it, this is not actually such a bad thing. The purpose is to stop people recklessly guessing answers and make them think more carefully about the right choice. When you approach a language test in this way, you are already on the road to success.

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