03 Feb Speaking: PTE – Speaking Too Quickly in Read Aloud
Many candidates have been told speak as fast as possible in the PTE test, especially in Read Aloud. This is terrible advice.
In all parts of the PTE speaking test, Pronunciation and Oral Fluency contribute up to two thirds of your overall score, and speaking too quickly has very obvious negative impacts on these areas.
For Pronunciation, the computer evaluates how clearly and accurately vowel and consonant sounds are made, if the correct syllables in a word are stressed (e.g. pho-TOG-ra-phy), and whether the right words in a sentence are emphasised (e.g. The LIBRARY is CLOSED on TUESDAYS.)
In terms of Oral Fluency, the computer notices if your rhythm, which is based emphasising the right words, is natural. It also detects how you group words together into phrases and then into parts of sentences or whole sentences with the appropriate pauses in between them.
A rapid speech rate in Read Aloud leads to pronunciation errors and your voice sounding flat, and this makes it impossible to demonstrate the vitally important features above. The computer knows each word in a Read Aloud text, how it sounds, which part of it is stressed, and whether it is emphasised in a sentence. It also knows where every comma and full stop is, and therefore, where pauses or breaks should be inserted.
As a general rule, if you complete Read Aloud texts in less than 20 seconds, you are reading too quickly. Here’s what we recommend:
- Aim for between 25 and 35 seconds.
- Make sure you pronounce long and short vowel sounds as clearly as possible.
- Read through the whole text once out aloud in the practice period and identify any difficult words for you. Repeat them once or twice.
- Leave a pause after commas and a slightly longer one after full stops.
Look at the Read Aloud text below and listen to the recording, noting the speed of the delivery, where the longer and shorter pauses are, and which words are stressed.
The global financial crisis or global economic crisis is commonly believed to have begun in July 2007 with the credit crunch, when a loss of confidence by US investors in the value of sub-prime mortgages caused a liquidity crisis. This, in turn, resulted in the US Federal Bank injecting a large amount of capital into financial markets.