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As a non-native English speaker, mastering oral fluency is difficult. But it can be done once you know how PTE oral fluency is marked. Before I get to the scoring criteria of oral fluency, let’s begin by understanding the 5 levels of oral fluency to improve your score in PTE.

Pro Tip: In your PTE exam, oral fluency applies to Read Aloud, Repeat Sentence, Describe Image and Re-tell Lecture question types.

5 Levels of Oral Fluency in PTE


5 marks.

Speech has no pauses between words. You speak fluently with a smooth rhythm, pausing at the appropriate places and with appropriate inflections and tone in your voice, just like a native speaker.


4 marks.

Speech has acceptable rhythm with minimal inappropriate pauses. And there is only one hesitation, repetition or false-start in your speech.


3 marks.

Speech is at an acceptable speed but has uneven rhythm. There could be more than one hesitation but majority of your words are continuous without pauses.


2 marks.

Speech may have a long pause or may be uneven and it has two or three hesitations, repetitions or false starts.


1 mark.

The rhythm or phrasing in your speech is irregular. Speech is categorised as Limited if it sounds discontinuous and uneven. Poor phrasing, long pauses, multiple hesitations, repetitions and/or false starts are evident in your speech.


0 marks.

Speech has multiple hesitations, pauses, false starts and is slow. Most words are isolated and more than one long pause could be present.

Remember These to Master Oral Fluency

Speed of your speech

It is the main aspect of oral fluency. You have to be able to speak without pausing to think, and it has to flow naturally.

We don’t mean to say that you need to keep speaking like a robot without a pause. What we mean is, you need to pause when necessary like when you see a comma or a full stop. You can either pause or you can change the tone of your voice in these places, depending on the circumstance. 

And when we say speak without pausing to think, we don’t mean that you need to speak fast. You must not speak so fast that it impacts your pronunciation.

Instead, you need to focus on speaking at a natural pace, just like when you are talking to your friend.


Rhythm is difficult to explain. Because it comes to us so naturally that we don’t even think about it. It is important in your oral fluency because it helps you express your emotions. When we speak with our friends, we speak with various intonations and we express our emotions in our speech. And that’s how we need to speak to improve oral fluency in the PTE exam.

Don’t speak like you are a monk chanting a mantra and don’t read like you are reading off the script. What you need to do is, talk like you would normally talk to your friend.

Staccato (A long pause)

Staccato occurs when each word you are speaking comes without a flow and each word sounds disjointed. The moment you take a long pause to think about the next word, you will be losing 2 marks.

Hesitation, Repetition and False Start

The PTE computer algorithm categorizes pauses in terms of hesitation, repetition and false start. And based on the number of “pauses”, the computer deducts your marks by 1 to 3 points, reducing your oral fluency.

When you hesitate in the middle of your speech, when you repeat the same segment or when you start from the middle because you began speaking too early or too late… the computer starts deducting your marks.

So, make sure that you speak at a natural speed, with proper rhythm, minimal pauses, hesitation, repetition and false starts to keep your oral fluency high and your PTE score higher.

What Next?

So far, we have covered how the computer marks our oral fluency in PTE. Now, just imagine this… you want to score 79 or higher… you choose an online platform and begin practicing online. But you have no way of knowing whether your oral fluency is good enough or not. What do you do? You’ll ask your friend… but does your friend know how the computer scores oral fluency?

If yes, then, that’s great news!! 

If no, then… we’ve got you covered…

You can call us on 0422-279-722 or visit us at our office (Level 1/83 York St, Sydney NSW 2000) to improve your oral fluency and get a high score in PTE with help of our expert trainers.

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