Useful tips for PTE Part 1 Item type 6 – Answer a short question

Broaden your level of vocabulary

One of the main useful tips for PTE Part 1 Item type 6 – answer a short question is to make sure you have a good range of English vocabulary, not just in the more common verbs and adjectives but also in the less common nouns. Make sure to read widely from a number of different sources to get more vocabulary covering areas like sports, hobbies, travel and finance.

Identify the question word used

Listen carefully for the way the question is phrased. You will often find that a question word is used that will help you find an answer much faster. If the question is ‘Who…?’ then your looking for a person or something involving people, for example. Questions with ‘Which’ are asking you to choose an answer from a known or limited number of options (‘Which colour is most often associated with love’ for example.

Expect comparisons and syllogisms

You might also get a question or questions with no clear question word but that talk about opposites or comparisons. For example, ‘If you use a telescope to see far away objects, what do you use to see very small objects up close?’ (A microscope). You might also be asked to find an answer form a syllogism (where the answer is logical from the facts). For example – ‘John has just been outside, and he’s soaking wet. Why is he likely to be wet?’ (Answer: It’s raining).

Trick the microphone!

If you’re having problems thinking of the right word you need for the answer, a perfectly acceptable ‘trick’ is to make a small cough. This will prevent there being 3 seconds of silence (after which your answer would no longer be accepted), and will give you a precious extra second or two to recall the word you are looking for. Don’t use this technique too often though!