For many people, academic writing for an upcoming academic English examination brings forth a sense of dread. Fear of the PTE academic test, as well as PTE general itself, is no different. Writing academic essays is no walk in the park and the PTE Write Essay section does require a high level of written English, as well as vocabulary and grammatical knowledge. Thankfully, there are some strategies you can adopt to make this task far less daunting. So, assisting you in your PTE exam preparation is the purpose of this article.

What is PTE Write Essay?

Here is a breakdown of the important information and components of the Write Essay task:

What do you have to do?

Write an argumentative essay (this will involve reading an essay prompt, assessing both sides of the debate, choosing the argument you agree with most and then developing your argument with supporting examples).

How many words do you have to write?

You need to write 200 to 300 words (with 10% leeway in each direction so between 180-330 words.) A well-developed answer will have at least 250 words.

How long do you have to write it?

You have 20 minutes.

Learn these by heart before your PTE exam booking so you are fully aware of what you need to do on the day.

Warm-up – Ask and Answer

Before considering the essay prompt today, you must develop and reflect upon our chosen topic today – Advertising. No doubt many of you will have your own great ideas on this topic.

Please take down some notes and ideas on the following questions. Even better, if you are doing this task with a friend or study-buddy, ask and answer these questions with one another and share your opinions.

 What makes an ad memorable?
 What are some effective adverts you have seen lately (on TV, online etc.)?
 What is the best way to advertise to children? Adults? Seniors?
 What are the harmful and beneficial effects of advertising?
 How easy do you think it is to influence children with advertising?
 Should advertisers be allowed to advertise to children?

Here is this article’s essay prompt: -

You will have 20 minutes to plan, write and revise an essay about the topic below. Your response will be judged on how well you develop a position, organize your ideas, present supporting details and control the elements of standard written English. You should write 200 to 300 words.

Some people think placing advertisements in schools is a great resource for public schools that need additional funding, but others think it exploits children by treating them as a captive audience for corporate sponsors.

Choose which position you most agree with and discuss why you chose that position. Support your point of view with details from your own experiences, observations or reading.


Strategy One – Identifying your Argument and Point of View

Make sure you understand what you are being asked to do. It is important that you read the prompt carefully and identify both the focus of the question and the point of view from which you are required to write. Remember, if you write off topic, your essay will be scored zero.

So how can we make sense of our essay question prompt in this question of the PTE English test?

Some people think placing advertisements in schools is a great resource for public schools that need additional funding, but others think it exploits children by treating them as a captive audience for corporate sponsors.

What is the topic focus? Advertising in schools.

What is the point of view? Position you most agree with.

What are the two sides of the argument? Great resource for public schools that need additional funding/exploits children by treating them as a captive audience for corporate sponsors.

Do you have to argue ONE or BOTH sides of the argument? One side (that you most agree with).

Strategy Two – Planning Your Argument and Essay Structure

What is the structure of the PTE Write Essay?

Like other English examination tests, PTE essay structure follows similar academic principles.

- Introduction (presentation of topic, argument and counter argument)

- Main Body (details refuting counter argument, details supporting own point of view)

- Conclusion (restatement of argument and supporting claim)

In order to develop your answer in a methodical way, keep the following pieces of information in mind and try to get into the habit of thinking about these every time you begin to write your essay.

- First, try to think of one strong sentence to sum up the main argument.

- Then, think of one strong opening sentence and one strong closing sentence.

Once you have done this, you can add details and supporting points to expand the sentence that sums up the main argument to create the body of your essay. You can then develop the opening sentence to create the introduction and the closing sentence to create the conclusion.


You may already have your own ideas regarding this topic and have already decided on the side of the argument that you most agree with. However, it will stay pay off to take some time (no more than 5 minutes) to brainstorm your ideas in order to develop your argument and confirm or refute your ideas on your original point of view.

Activity – Spend no more than 5 minutes to think of your list of reasons in support of both sides to this argument:

"Great resource for underfunded schools"

"Captive to corporate interests."

Here are some ideas for this essay. Feel free to use them in addition to your own.

- Great resource for underfunded schools: Public schools are chronically underfunded in some countries, can alleviate financial burden for parents if money is used appropriately, some of the products advertised could be of genuine interest to schools, the students, staff and parents, students/teachers could vote on which companies are allowed to advertise.

- Captive to corporate interests - Children are easily influenced and preyed upon by advertising, parents have to foot the bill of these products children have been exposed to, unhealthy both physically and psychologically, corporate interest could purchase influencing power within schools.

Outlining Your Ideas

Now that you have your ideas, it is now time to take some of these and attempt to place them within your proposed essay structure.

Here is an idea for how you can do this with some of the previously brainstormed examples:

- Introduction: advertising in schools = great idea for school funding
- Main Body: many schools underfunded, controlled advertising could bring in needed money, students/teachers could vote on which companies can advertise, schools do not need to accept advertising from inappropriate companies…
- Conclusion: controlled advertising in schools could be very beneficial…

Step 3 – Review

Now that you have written your first draft, you should now take some time to review your work. Please ensure you manage your time to include this activity as reviewing your essay will allow you to correct any inaccuracies or mistakes, which will in turn give you a higher score.
What should you be looking out for in your review? Here are some suggestions:

- Have you remained focused on topic? Veering off-topic and losing focus will result in a reduction in marks so keep in mind that everything you do for this task needs to be related to the prompt.

- 200-300 words?

- Have you used transition words? These result in better cohesion and flow for your essay.

- Academic register? Write like you are writing to your professor, not to your friend via text message. Avoid using slang, colloquialisms and other informalities.

- Any contractions? Focus on using the original term and paraphrasing through the essay rather than using a pronoun for it.

- Any personal pronouns? These should be omitted in preference for more specific language. Avoid using I/we/they etc. as well as general phrases such as ‘In my opinion’.

- SVA errors? One that can be easily corrected in the review. You may be surprised how you have made elementary errors such as ‘he like’ and ‘they is’, even at an advanced level of English.

- Punctuation errors?

- Spelling errors?

Wrapping up

Were you able to use these strategies? Which one was the most difficult to apply? Which one do they think was the most useful? Please let us know with any comments and suggestions. Remember, practicing with these strategies with each essay will eventually routinize to the point that you may use them in autopilot, which will result in a higher score.

I wish you all these best with your practice of the PTE Write Essay section and for exam success on your chosen PTE exam dates.

Please check out the corresponding video for this lesson to get the recording, as well as more tips, strategies, analysis and prompts.

Further Practice

Here is another PTE sample test prompt for you to practice writing with before any PTE test booking:

Some people believe that exploring outer space is important. Other people believe that space exploration is a waste of money.

Choose which position you most agree with and discuss why you chose that position. Support your point of view with details from your own experiences, observations or reading.

Check out more PTE Academic review materials on the Swoosh English website:

And in our YouTube page:

Author's Bio: 

My name is Scott and I am an ESL/PTE Teacher from Portrush, a quaint seaside town on the beautiful North Coast of Ireland. I have a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Master’s degree in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies. I have been teaching English for the past three years and I am a keen traveller, having been to 28 countries. I have extensive experience with many nationalities as an English teacher and have taught in Vietnam, Australia, China and now with Swoosh English on the World Wide Web.