Understanding PTE Essay Writing Scoring Method

Essay writing is one of the most challenging tasks that send chills down the test takers’ spine. This applies not only for the non-natives speakers but for the native speakers as well. Writing an essay of about 300 words in just 20 minutes causes panic stations. However, paying attention to some details and putting some efforts can bring you desired results.

To achieve your required essay writing score, it is essential to understand the PTE Essay Writing Format and item traits that an examiner looks for in your essay.

Below are the 7 item traits, your essay is evaluated on:

  • Content
  • Formal Requirement
  • Development, Structure and Coherence
  • Grammar
  • General Linguistic Range
  • Vocabulary Range
  • Spelling

A test taker’s essay is rated on a scale of 0 to 3 (3 apparently being the highest and 0 being the lowest). The essay is not evaluated and given a 0 right away if -

  • The response is totally irrelevant to the prompt
  • The response is written in any language other than English
  • The response is written in capital letters
  • No response is given






The test taker’s response to the prompt is evaluated on the following aspects of content - whether the response is relevant, includes supporting details, appropriate examples and proper explanations.

This item trait is rated on a scale of 0 to 3.

3 – if the response deals with the prompt in a satisfactory manner

2 – if the content deals with the response adequately but can neglect one minor aspect

1 – if the response fails to deal with more than one major aspects

0 – if the response fails to deal with the prompt in a satisfactory manner


Formal Requirement

Formal Requirement refers to the length (i.e. word count) of the response. Word count for an ideal response ranges from 200 to 300 words. Any response with less than 120 words or more than 380 words gets rejected and is awarded a 0 score.

It is rated on a scale of 0 to 2.

2 – if response is between 200-300 words

1 – if response is either between 120-199 words or 301-380 words

0 – if response is less than 120 words or more than 380 words or if it contains bullet points and short sentences


Development, Structure & Coherence

Development, Structure & Coherence in a response is scored on the basis of demonstration of thoughts, ideas and logical structure.

This item trait is rated on a scale of 0 to 2.

2 – if the response demonstrates a logical structure and good development of ideas

1 – if the response is not structured properly and some constituents are linked inappropriately

0 – if the response lacks coherence, development of ideas and logical structure



PTE Grammar

The response is expected to be grammatically correct for a perfect score.

It is rated on a scale of 0 to 2.

2 – if the response demonstrates an excellent control over grammar and there are hardly any errors

1 – if the response has fairly good control over grammar with no such mistakes that alter the meaning or cause misunderstanding

0 – if the response has several mistakes or simple sentence structures


General Linguistic Range

This item trait is evaluated and awarded a score on the basis of how precisely the response conveys the test taker’s ideas.

This item trait is rated on a scale of 0 to 2.

2 – if response demonstrates ideas in a lucid manner with proper emphasis on critical aspects and elimination of any sort of ambiguity

1 – if response has a fair linguistic range, crystal clear expression of view and proper arguments to support the sentence

0 – if response represents a basic language and lacks precision




Test taker’s vocabulary is considered good, if the essay demonstrates good lexical range.

This item trait is rated on a scale of 0 to 2.

2 – if the response comprises of good use of idioms, phrases and colloquial expressions

1 – if the response shows fairly good vocabulary related to general or academic subjects but represents lexical deficiencies leading to imprecision

0 – if the response has only basic Vocabulary and the range of Vocabulary is not found up to the mark to justify the topic



Self-explanatory as it is, the response is graded on the basis of correct spellings.

It is rated on a scale of 0 to 2.

2 – if all words used in the response are spelt correctly with no or one typing error

1 – if one word is spelt incorrectly and the response contains multiple typing errors

0 – if the response consists of multiple spelling mistakes and typing errors


Having understood the scoring pattern of PTE-A Essay Writing task, it is now easy for you to prepare for the same. You can practise writing essays and get them evaluated from certified trainers with the help of Writing Correction Service. It gauges your performance for the actual PTE-A Exam and also helps you determine your strengths and weaknesses. You can practise accordingly before you book PTE test and win the score you desire.