All you need to know about the “Re-order paragraph” in PTE Reading

How to solve Re-order paragraph

In PTE Academic test, Re-order Paragraph is one of the most important tasks in the Reading section. Having the approaches below, it can save your life.

Each Re-order paragraph can make use of one or more of these tips for solving. Do note that these tips should be applied depending on the typical question. Some problems can be solved by taking articles as a cue, while some may need pronouns as a guide.

Here are a few tips to successfully solve it:

  1. Look for the sentence that clearly introduces a person, place, committee, or concept. That will most likely be the opening sentence.

Here is an example:

A. He was looking forward to opening up the presents in the solitude of his room.

B. Sanjay’s birthday was celebrated with a big bash.

C. But the guests insisted he open them up right there.

D. Several people arrived at his home bearing gifts, both big and small.

Introductory Line: Clearly the first line must be statement B. This is because the whole passage talks about gifts and guests and what happens at birthdays. So the first sentence must necessarily introduce the person whose birthday it is. He is referred to by his name in this sentence whereas the remaining sentences refer to him as ‘he’. This is another indication that sentence B is the opening line.

  1. Always spot the central theme of each paragraph. The flow of the story/dialog goes a long way in piecing together the paragraph in the correct order.
  1. Follow the activities:

At times, the paragraph will have sentences talking about activities. In such cases by just analysing which activity happens when the question can be solved very easily. Take this case for example:

  1. He accumulates some capital and goes into a business venture with his sons.
  2. In order to increase his salary, he works through the night.
  3. They open a shop to create men’s garments.
  4. Later he takes the garments and sells it on New York streets.
  5. He takes garments from the sweatshop to finish at home with the help of his wife and older children at night.
  6. A Russian tailor artisan comes to America, takes to the needle trade, and works in the sweatshop for a small salary.

Central theme: The struggle of a tailor and his steps to success

Activity Tracking:                                                                                                        

Finding the opening sentence here is the cakewalk. Sentence F clearly specifies the person and his work, so it’s the opening statement.

Now a sequence unfolds.

A man works in a shop to earn his daily bread. He then goes home and works again with his family’s help. He then starts working through the night to earn more. Only after having worked day and night does his work get ready for sale.

The sequence just shown should give you hints for part of the answer. After F, the order is E-B-D.

Sentence C speaks of a shop that the man opens. So he has to arrange for the capital first. Hence A will come before C.

Therefore, the logical order is F-E-B-D-A-C.

If the sentences are too lengthy, do not spend a lot of time reading every detail of it. Be vigilant and quick in spotting ‘special words’ like connectives, articles, pronouns and adjectives.

  1. Connectives:

There will be sentences having ‘connectives’ like although, though, if, until, since, but, after, alternatively, besides, then, yet, because, consequently, notwithstanding, and, when, meanwhile, so, however, for, whoever, whatever, whenever, nevertheless, therefore, furthermore, whereas, moreover etc.

These sentences are almost never the opening ones. They always refer to people or events mentioned in previous sentences.

For example:

  1. Friendly wash by many other smaller brands has challenged the giants by offering prices which attracted the value-conscious Indian consumer.
  2. In fact, unbranded players are offering packs which are twice the size of a branded product with similar or better quality at cheaper prices.

Central theme: The tough competition given to FMCG companies by smaller brands

Here the connective ‘in fact’ clearly indicates that sentence B should follow A.

Hence the correct order is A-B.

  1. Articles:

Even articles can help to some extent in these questions. ‘The’ is a definite article, whereas ‘a’ and ‘an’ are indefinite articles. ‘The’ is used to denote something or someone specific or when the person or thing for which the article has been used has already been introduced. ‘A’ or ‘an’ are used while introducing something for the first time and also for stating general facts. Like, ‘A hit-and-run case usually has a ten-year jail term as punishment in India.’

For example:

  1. A boy and his friend played all day in the garden near our house.
  2. The next day, I didn’t see the boy in the garden, though his friend was there.

Central theme: Boy playing in the garden

In the second sentence, ‘the’ has been used along with ‘boy’ because he has already been introduced to the reader in another sentence. Also here we are talking specifically about ‘that’ boy. Hence, the correct order is A-B.

  1. Pronouns:

Pronouns like he, she, they, it, them, their, him, her etc. are used when the person being talked about has already been introduced. Some paragraph can be tackled by taking pronouns as a guide.

For example:

  1. They gathered together the death certificates from residents of the town, going back to as many years as they could.
  2. Wolf decided to investigate.
  3. He enlisted the support of his students and colleagues from Oklahoma.

Central theme: An act of investigation

Since the sentence B clearly states the person, Wolf, it is undoubtedly the opening sentence.

Next comes sentence C where pronoun ‘he’ refers to Wolf.

It would make no sense if sentence C came before B. Only after Wolf has been introduced, should we use ‘he’ to refer to Wolf.

After Wolf has enlisted the support of his friends, we can refer to them as ‘they’. So sentence A is the final one in the passage. Clearly, sentence A cannot be used before this because the only one introduced in the first sentence is Wolf and the group of people has only been introduced in the second sentence. So we can refer to the group as ‘they’ only after this second introduction.

The complete answer is thus B-C-A.

However, in case of pronouns in the first person like ‘I’, taking cues from them can get baffling. Such paragraph has to be solved using other approaches.

For example:

  1. A. I am a student preparing for the PTE Academic
  2. B. I request you to provide some helpful tips to solve the logical reasoning questions.

Central theme: A PTE aspirant and his request

Here, pronouns can be of no help. It is best to think of it this way: only after introducing yourself can you talk about your need for some helpful tips.

Hence, the order is A-B.

  1. Adjectives:

Adjectives like ‘simpler’, ‘better’, ‘cleverer’ etc. are comparative. Hence they always hold a relation to other things. Such adjectives can also be of good help in solving this task.

For example:

  1. The solution that you had put up was good.
  2. Riya had posted her solution that I found to be better.

Central theme: Solutions posted by two people

Here, of course, sentence B has to come after A due to the comparative adjective ‘better’.

Now let’s do some practice




Do you want more practice? Check out these exercises here

Reorder paragraph essential practice test for high reading score