PTE Success: Arranging Ideas Logically and Coherently
CohesionCohesive devices are words and phrases that connect sentences and paragraphs together. They create a logical flow of ideas and make meaning by developing relationships and connections in spoken and written texts. Read these excerpts from two test taker responses to the Essay test item. Which one conveys information more logically and cohesively?
|Mass extinction events are a part of Earth’s history. Today many animal species are disappearing. Animal species are disappearing at a rapid rate. Animal species are facing extinction. Animal extinction can be attributed to natural factors within the environment. Human activities play a key role in the process. Human activities are pollution, the spread of invasive species, overharvest from the wild, climate change. Habitat destruction and population growth have pushed nature to the brink. The current rate of species loss far exceeds normal levels. The current rate of species loss is threatening to become a mass extinction event.|
|Mass extinction events are a part of Earth’s history but today many animal species are disappearing at such a rapid rate that they are facing extinction once again. Although some cases of animal extinction can be attributed to natural factors within the environment, it is evident that human activities play a key role in the process. These activities include pollution, the spread of invasive species, overharvest from the wild, and climate change. In addition, more than a century of both habitat destruction and population growth have pushed nature to the brink. As a result, the current rate of species loss far exceeds normal levels and is threatening to become another mass extinction event.|
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In the same way
On the other hand
Despite (the fact that)
|As a result
As a consequence
Referring back and forwardsConjunctions are not the only way that writers build cohesion into a paragraph. We can use a range of other devices including words and expressions to refer back to people/things mentioned earlier in the text. Including:
- Pronouns: it, he, she, his, her, they, their
- Demonstratives: this, that, these, those
- Comparatives: another, other, similar, the same, better, more, earlier, previous
CoherenceIdeas that are arranged in a clear and logical way are coherent. When a text is coherent the reader can easily understand the main points, the organisational pattern and the connection between key ideas. In PTE, if you organise what you say and write coherently, you will get a better score. This is because a well-organised answer is more likely to cover the main information as well as the additional details in a controlled and logical way. In the Describe Image question type you will need to describe all key elements of the image from an academic source such as a graph, map, chart, table or picture. You will also need to explain relationships between parts of the image, possible developments and conclusions or implications of the information in order to score above one for content. To be able to describe the image coherently, you should take notes on the erasable noteboard, which you can use to organise your answer. Look at the image in the question prompt below and ask yourself:
|General comment||Is the image a graph, chart, table and is there a general trend you can comment on? OR Is the image a map or picture and what are the important features?|
|Main idea||What is the main idea being shown by the image?|
|Details||What are the details relating to the main ideas?|
|Conclusions||What are possible developments and conclusions or implications?|
|General comment||The graph shows trends in the value of Australian goods and services exports from 1978 to 2013.|
|Main idea||It indicates the percentage share for this period for resources, rural, services and manufacturing sectors.|
|Details relating to the main idea||The share of rural goods in Australian exports have declined to relatively low levels with a 10% share, while manufacturing, and services peaked in 1999 but then decreased steadily to 1978 levels.|
|Conclusions||In contrast, Australia’s export value has shifted substantially towards resource exports, accounting for 60% of the total share in 2013.|
Your taskLook at the graph below. Describe in detail what the graph is showing. Remember to:
- take notes to logically organise your response
- use cohesive devices to link the information you give and show how ideas relate to each other
ReferencesWestern, V & Gasper, V. (2018). PTE Academic Lesson Plan Ideas. Pearson Pearson. (2009). Official Guide to Pearson Test of English Academic (with CD-ROM) (1st ed.). Pearson Education ESL. Pearson. (2019). PTE Academic Test Tips (Version 2). Pearson. Pearson. (2019). Score Guide (Version 11). Retrieved from here Disclaimer: The question prompts are for practice purposes only and are not official PTE Test materials.
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