PTE Academic Reading Strategies: Re-order paragraphs

This item type assesses reading skills. It requires you to be familiar with the organization and links between ideas in academic texts and arrange text boxes in a single correct order.

PTE Academic Reading Strategies

Item Type Strategies

Strategy 1

Quickly and quietly read the content of the text boxes to yourself. While you are reading, listen for one text box that sounds complete by itself and is clear on its own. This sentence is likely be the most logical introduction to the paragraph or topic.

Stategies 2

Once you have identified the introduction or topic sentence, quietly read the remaining boxes to yourself again to listen to how they sound together. While you are reading, look for language patterns that will help you identify a sequence. Check the language patterns in each box to confirm your sequence (i.e., use of connectives, use of indefinite articles for first reference, definite articles for further reference, use of pronouns, etc).

Strategies 3

Quietly read the boxes to yourself in the order that you have sequenced them. This will help you check whether the sentences run smoothly from one to the other, and whether the passage makes sense and sounds logical and correct as a whole.

Explanation and Practice of Each Strategy

Strategy 1

For this item type it is important to be able to quickly recognize the topic of the passage, the topic or opening sentence and the overall sequence. One way to help you quickly identify a flow within the passage is to read the text quietly to youself. “Hearing” the text may help you recognize patterns and flow that you might miss when skimming or scanning.

To practice this strategy, do the following activities:

  • Read the sentences from Item1 out loud, one-by-one. After each sentence, ask yourself whether the sentence is a topic sentence or not and think about your reasons.
  • Now look at the topic sentence. (In most countries it is only the government, through their central banks, who are permitted to issue currency.) This is the first text box because it provides background information that makes the rest of the information in the passage stand out as significant.)

Stategies 2

Once the topic sentence or introduction to the passage has been identified, you must then sequence the remaining boxes. Now read out loud the remaining boxes again to listen to how they sound together and look for language patterns that will help you identify a sequence. Note how sentences fit together or ‘flow’, and how sequence within English texts is created with linking words, the use of indefinite articles for first reference and definite articles for further reference, the use of pronouns to replace nouns that have been identified earlier and so on.

To practice this strategy, do the following activities:

  • Look at Item1.
  • First read the sentences out loud and identify the sentence that follows most logically from the topic sentence. (But in Scotland three banks are still allowed to issue banknotes.)
  • Try to think of reasons for choosing this sentence. (This is the second text box because it introduces the subject of the passage. However, it is not the first sentence because “But” and “still allowed” signal that this sentence is referring to a restriction described in a previous sentence.)
  • Continue to re-order the remaining sentences.

Strategies 3

The final step is to re-read the whole passage quietly, in the sequence that you have re-ordered the sentences, to check for logic and overall sense as well as flow. At this point, you should be able to hear whether the text sounds good or whether further changes need to be made.

To practice this strategy, do the following activities:

 

  • Getsomeonetoreadthesentencesoutloudtoyouintheorderspecified.Listencarefullytocheckwhether the response sounds correct when read out loud by another person. Ask them to change the order and repeat the activity.
  • Read through the answers and explanations for Item1.

Respond to a Re-order Paragraphs Item

You will now respond to a test item simulating the test conditions. Remind yourself of the three strategies for this item type and apply them.

Respond to Item 2.

Assess your Response

Were you able to use the strategies? Which one was the most difficult to apply? Which one was the most useful? Read the answers and explanations for Item 2.

Item 1

The text boxes in the left panel have been placed in a random order. Restore the original order by drawing a line from the text box on the left to the space provided on the right.

PTE Academic Reading Strategies: Re-order paragraphs

Item 1: Answer Key and Explanations

Correct Answer:

1. In most countries it is only the government, through their central banks, who are permitted to issue currency.

2. But in Scotland three banks are still allowed to issue banknotes.

3. The first Scottish bank to do this was the Bank of Scotland.

4. When this bank was founded in 1695, Scots coinage was in short supply and of uncertain value, compared with English, Dutch, Flemish or French coin.

5. To face growth of trade it was deemed necessary to remedy this lack of an adequate currency.

Explanations:

1. In most countries it is only the government, through their central banks, who are permitted to issue currency.

This is the first text box because it provides background information that makes the rest of the information in the passage stand out as significant.

2. But in Scotland three banks are still allowed to issue banknotes.

This is the second text box because it introduces the subject of the passage. However, it is not the first sentence because “But” and “still allowed” signal that this sentence is referring to a restriction described in a previous sentence.

3. The first Scottish bank to do this was the Bank of Scotland.

This is the third text box because it gives an example of one of the three banks in Scotland mentioned in the sentence before. Also the phrase “to do this” refers to the phrase, “to issue banknotes” in the sentence before.

4. When this bank was founded in 1695, Scots coinage was in short supply and of uncertain value, compared with English, Dutch, Flemish or French coin.

This is the fourth text box because “this bank” refers to “the Back of Scotland” mentioned in the third sentence.

5. To face growth of trade it was deemed necessary to remedy this lack of an adequate currency.
This is the fifth text box because it concludes the paragraph by giving a reason why the Bank of Scotland issued its own currency.

Item 2

The text boxes in the left panel have been placed in a random order. Restore the original order by drawing a line from the text box on the left to the space provided on the right.

PTE Academic Reading Strategies: Re-order paragraphs

Item 2: Answer Key and Explanations

Correct Answer:

1. Markets may be good at encouraging innovation and following trends, but they were no good at ensuring social equality.

2. These markets had become rapidly dominated by powerful enterprises who were able to act in their own interests, against the interests of both workers and consumers.

3. There had already been some legislation to prevent such abuses – such as various Factory Acts to prevent the exploitation of child workers.

4. Mill was able to see an expanded role for the State in such legislation to protect us against powerful interests.

5. He was able to argue that the State was the only organ that was genuinely capable of responding to social needs and social interests, unlike markets.

Explanations:
1. Markets may be good at encouraging innovation and following trends, but they were no good at ensuring social equality.

This is the first text box because it introduces the topic of the paragraph. All of the other text boxes contain clues that they refer to a sentence before.

2. These markets had become rapidly dominated by powerful enterprises who were able to act in their own interests, against the interests of both workers and consumers.

This is the second text box because the sentence in it begins with “These markets” which is a sign that a sentence about markets came before it.

3. There had already been some legislation to prevent such abuses – such as various Factory Acts to prevent the exploitation of child workers.

This is the third text box because it discusses government response to the situation described in the text box before. The phrase “such abuses” refers to the previous sentence’s mention of enterprises acting against the interests of workers.

4. Mill was able to see an expanded role for the State in such legislation to protect us against powerful interests.

This is the fourth text box because it contains the phrase “such legislation” which refers to the “Factory Acts” in the sentence before.

5. He was able to argue that the State was the only organ that was genuinely capable of responding to social needs and social interests, unlike markets.

This is the fifth text box because it concludes the paragraph by providing a solution to the problem raised in the first sentence. Additionally, “He” could only refer to “Mill”, which is in the previous text box, since “Mill” is the only proper name of a person used in the paragraph.

You can watch this video to learn more:

PTE Academic Reading Strategies: Re-order paragraphs
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