Spelling is often a sticking point when it comes to the PTE write essay test. We are so used to using spell-check these days (even in our mother tongue!) that spelling sometimes falls by the wayside in our revision and practice sessions and when we get to the real thing, we have large gaps in our knowledge of English spelling patterns, let alone all the irregularities. There are various ways to tackle the issues of spelling. We will give you some tips so that you don’t have to be scared of spelling.
Get to know the spelling section scoring system
Firstly, it is good to have an awareness of how your spelling will be scored in the PTE essay writing task. Obviously, if you are looking for the top grade possible in the PTE spelling assessment category, you will be expected to have almost no spelling errors.
In fact, to get the highest score in spelling (2), you are not permitted any spelling errors as such, but you can get away with one typing error.
For the next level(1), you are allowed to make one spelling error and more than one typo. In theory, you could have lots of typos but bear in mind that it is quite easy to spot the difference between a typo and an actual spelling mistake.
Unfortunately, if you have more than one mistake identified as a spelling error, you will not get any points for the spelling section.
So, that all sounds rather strict, doesn’t it? It doesn’t leave much room for error, that’s for sure. If you do end up making some spelling mistakes, it’s not the end of the world as it is only one section out of seven but you may as well try and get one or two points for the spelling score as, when compared with some of the other assessment categories, it could be argued that it is relatively easy to pick up the points here.
You can keep it simple AND show off
The main strategy is to be sensible with your spelling and not to attempt anything too risky. The temptation is to throw in some complex, exciting words in order to show off your vocabulary knowledge. This is, undoubtedly a good idea as you want to make your writing engaging for the reader, but if you are not sure how to spell the word, don’t do it! This doesn’t mean that you can’t use some impressive words which are suitable for your essay.
The trick, as with some other elements of the essay writing,is to memorise some “formal language” “essay style” words that you can use in any essay; words that are transferable when discussing a theme in this style. If you had, for example, ten of these types of words at your disposal, or even a few more, then you would be confident that you could show them off in any essay that you are given. Have a look at some sample PTE essays, as well as your own previous practice essays and make a list to learn. Each time, you practice writing an essay or take a practice test, slip a few of them in and before you know it, it will become second nature. For the rest of the vocabulary used, stick to what you know and don’t attempt any unfamiliar spelling patterns.
REALLY read though your work (no really!)
The second trick is the oldest one in the book but for some strange reason, so many students still don’t do it! PROOFREAD! There is an element of wanting to save time and not wanting to have to read through your essay because you almost don’t want to know if there are any mistakes and just want to move on. Leaving time at the end to read through your work and edit accordingly is the best piece of advice you will ever receive when it comes to a writing test.
Read in the way in which it feels like you can hear yourself reading out loud in your head, rather than skimming and scamming. You’d be surprised that the best writers among us make mistakes that we miss, thinking that we have read through our work. You only have to look at typos in newspapers and online articles to see that this is true! It really is worth the time, both in terms of spelling and grammar and could be the difference between 0 or 2 marks for your spelling which could be the difference between the grade that you want and the one that you don’t.
So, there you have it. You no longer need to be scared of spelling. Use words that you know, learn a word bank of “show off” words and proofread and you will soon have that 2 score that you are after.