Step 1: Choose an article of about 250-300 words (the same length as the texts on the PTE!)
Step 2: Quickly scan the article and try to identify and write down the keywords in the text.
These might be:
- Words that repeat themselves (e.g. The word “sperm-whale” in an article about marine preservation)
- Words that match or mean the same thing as the article’s title (e.g. The title of the article is “Drinking too much water can be damaging to health” and you see the word “over-hydration” in the text)
- Words that introduce an idea or action (e.g. A word that describes what the subject of an article thought or did, like “The diver explored the most elusive caves in the Indian Ocean”, or “The author concluded that drinking more than 10 glasses of water is detrimental to the human body”.
Step 3: Now, “speed-read” the text to try to fill in some context around your keywords.
Watch out for:
- Any sub-headings, bolded or underlined phrases in the text
- An introductory or topic sentence, points the support the topic sentence, and a concluding sentence. Keep in mind,the information in the introduction and the conclusion will often be the most useful!
Step 4: Now that you’ve finished speed-reading, take a moment to write down what you think the most important points in the article are.
Try to answer these questions:
- From what perspective is this article written (i.e. was it written by a journalist or researcher, or maybe by the subject of the article him/herself?)
- If you had to choose the 3 most important pieces of information given in the article, what would they be?
- What is the article’s main message?
Step 5: Once you have written down your answers, read the entire article slowly, paying close attention to the details. Compare what you read with your notes – do you think you captured the main points and important keywords in the text? Was your “speed-reading” process almost as helpful as your careful reading of the complete article?
This exercise will not only get you started on the path to becoming a reader, it will also let you know how much work needs to be done. If you aren’t getting the important information from an article when you try to identify keywords, speed-read and take notes, you are not even close to ready for the PTE Reading questions!
Remember to PRACTICE this exercise as much as you can.