Writing: Essay

You have 20 minutes to write your essay.

The word count at the bottom of the screen counts the number of words you write. Make sure to write a minimum of 200 words, but no more than 300 words.

There are also cut, copy and paste buttons which you may choose to use while constructing your response.

Cut: Select text from your answer that you wish to remove and left-click “Cut”.

Copy: Select text from your answer that you wish to copy and left-click “Copy”.

Paste: Place the cursor where you wish to paste the cut/copied text and left-click “Paste”.

Test tips

Start by analyzing the task

Before you write anything, note key words in the prompt. Find out the topic, what key points you should focus on to answer the question and any points of view to present

Analyze the essay prompt so you know how to answer

Essay prompts can be written in a number of ways. For example, you may need to discuss whether you agree or disagree with a statement:

Environment pollution is too alarming to be managed by individuals. Real change can be made at the government level. What extent do you agree or disagree?

You may have to consider how different groups of people might feel about a particular situation:

Can money bring happiness? What are the factors for happiness?

How this question is scored

Your response on Write Essay is judged on our ability to write a persuasive or argumentative essay on a given topic. Your score is based on seven factors:

Content: Does your response address the topic?

Content is scored by determining if all aspects of the topic have been addressed in your response. The appropriateness of the details, examples and explanations used to support your point of view is also scored. If your essay does not address the topic, you will not receive any score points for your essay on any of the seven factors. Your essay will be scored zero. The best responses are on topic, contain logical and specific information and answer any questions asked. They also support any arguments with details, examples and/or explanations.

Development, structure and coherence: Does your response demonstrate good development of ideas and a logical structure?

Development, structure and coherence are scored according to the organization of your response. A well-developed response uses a logical organizational pattern, connects ideas and explains these connections. The best responses contain multiple paragraphs and have a clear introduction, body and conclusion that relate to the topic of the essay. Within paragraphs, ideas are clearly presented and supported with details, examples and/or explanations. Transitions between paragraphs are smooth.

Form: Does your response meet the length requirement of between 200 and 300 words?

Form is scored by counting the number of words in your response. You will receive full credit if your essay is between 200 and 300 words. Writing less than 200 words or more than 300 words will decrease your score. If your essay contains less than 120 words or more than 380 words, you will not receive any score points for your essay on any of the seven factors. Your essay will be scored zero.

General linguistic range: Does your response use language that precisely conveys your ideas?

General linguistic range is scored by determining if the language in your response accurately communicates your ideas. This includes your ability to provide clear descriptions, change emphasis, eliminate ambiguity, express subtleties in meaning, and use stylistic features to communicate meaning. You are more likely to receive full credit if you use complex sentence structures and vocabulary correctly, rather than consistently using simple sentence structures and vocabulary. This is because complex ideas are often expressed with complex sentence structures and vocabulary. The best responses use language that highlights key ideas, creatively expresses opinions and ensures clear communication.

Grammar usage and mechanics: Does your response demonstrate correct grammatical usage and consistent control of standard written English?

Grammar usage and mechanics are scored by examining sentence structure, punctuation and capitalization. The best responses contain high proportions of grammatically correct complex sentences that clearly communicate the intended meaning.

Vocabulary range: Does your response demonstrate command of a broad vocabulary range?

Vocabulary range is scored according to the variety of words in your response and their appropriateness in an academic environment. Synonyms, idiomatic expressions and academic terms are also assessed if appropriate. The best responses use precise academic terms and avoid repetition by using synonyms and idioms where appropriate.

Spelling: Does your response demonstrate correct and consistent use of a single spelling convention?

PTE Academic recognizes English spelling conventions from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. However, one spelling convention should be used consistently in a given response.


  • Partial credit scoring applies to Write Essay. No credit is given for no response or an irrelevant response.
  • This question type affects the scoring of the following: writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary and written discourse.
  • Your listening and speaking skills are not tested by this question type, and your reading skills are only used to read the instructions and the prompt.

ILearn PTE 2020