A computer-based test that checks a student’s proficiency in English, what makes PTE Academic Test so important? Why do students invest money in getting coached for this test, and keep trying multiple times till they don’t get the score they need? And what do they need this score for?
PTE-A exam isn’t just any exam; it’s a step that decides whether your dreams of studying abroad would finally see the daylight or not. An exam which has an acceptance in over 3000 courses in major countries like Australia, UK, USA, etc., you can’t afford to take this English test too lightly.
But, taking too much of pressure won’t get you anywhere either!
Instead, take the middle way. Start from the basics. Start from the very first things that you would want to know about each of the four PTE sections, before you actually take the test. And here’s what you’d like to keep in mind:
Time is probably of the most value when you sit for any exam; you could know each and every answer, and you could still easily flunk the test if you don’t keep one eye on the timer.
No doubt, timing is crucial for every section; but you might still have a better chance in the Writing section. When it comes to expressing yourself, words come more fluently if you write them. It’s obviously because no one sees you go through “eh…”, and “umm…” in your mind when you write something. Speaking, on the other hand, is a different ballgame altogether. You already feel the pressure with every passing second. So the best you can do for yourself is use the seconds you get before your microphone starts, to understand the topic as much as you can, and at least think of a decent beginning to your answer. Also, do not forget that the mic turns off automatically if you don’t speak up for 3 seconds.
The other thing is focussing upon the correct pronunciation of the words. This should, however, under no circumstances be taken as a cue to fake an accent! For example, saying the words ‘Dollars’ or ‘Sentence’ in a neutral accent would be taken more seriously by your examiner, rather than you trying to get ‘Dah-llurrs’ or ‘Sennence’ out of your mouth. But try to make sure you don’t say “Doe-lars” or ‘Sein-teins’ too. Clarity of speech is a non-negotiable trait to score good in this section.
Also, speaking is first and foremost about making a conversation. The person on the other side of the mic should be able to gauge the punctuation marks in your sentences. For example, you want to say, “I see a cow, a mother and a baby, and a monkey in the picture.”
You can’t say, “I see a cow a mother a baby and a monkey in the picture.” or, “I see a cow and a mother and a baby and a monkey in the picture.”
That’d be just plain ridiculous. Instead, you will say,” I see a cow [insert a pause for comma] a mother and a baby [insert a longer pause for oxford comma] and a monkey in the picture [this should be the longest pause, for you have a full-stop here.]” Lastly, do make sure that you click on the ‘Next’ button only after your mic turns off;
Lastly, do make sure that you click on the ‘Next’ button only after your mic turns off; otherwise, you’ll be moving further without having your answers recorded.
One of the most timeworn ways to check the writing skills in any language is probably by making a student write an essay. PTE test format allows you no more than 20 minutes to plan your essay, write it down, and then revise it. It’s more than enough to write 200-300 words if you’ve practiced a range of topics during your PTE mock tests. But if you haven’t, you may find even double the time too short. So, practice.
The exactly opposite question is summarizing the written text. To shorten a piece of content to about 50-70 words is no mean feat. It requires you to think on your feet! And that is possible only with… yes, you guessed that right. Practice. A lot of practice.
Finally, the punctuation marks might be relatively easier to insert while writing; but students still get all confused over how to use commas, semicolons, colons, hyphens, and sometimes even a full-stop in a sentence. Get these things right before you sit for your PTE-A exam.
If essay-writing is old, then Reading Comprehensions are just plain ancient. Everyone must have had their language papers during school time screaming with RCs!
So then, what do we remember our school teachers telling us about Reading Comprehensions? “Read them!” – that must’ve been their very first lesson for these questions.
You would think, as the title of the question itself commands you to ‘read’, it wouldn’t be too difficult to follow this instruction. But you’d be wrong then. Maybe it’s the anxiety of the time slipping away, or the pressure to crack the exam – students deliberately skip the ‘reading’ part. And while the scan and skim strategy isn’t bad – skimming too requires you to read! So don’t let your focus slip away, or you won’t find answers to even simplest of questions in the paragraphs. Read carefully.
Next comes, rearranging paragraphs. This one can be a lot of fun, if only you pay a little attention! Instead of getting all tensed looking at those haphazardly placed paragraphs, just calmly read all of it and try to see what’s the rough idea behind it. Once you have a summary in your mind, you can put your story-telling boots on, and start reading it all again. This time, use some tricks – such as, a sentence starting with a conjunction, like ‘however’, ‘nevertheless’, etc. can’t be put in the beginning, and so on. Basically, by reading the whole content 2-3 times, and using some age-old English language tricks, you can sail through this question really comfortably!
Coming to the last and the final section of the PTE Academic Test, Listening, the first tip we would like to share is – read. Read your question carefully while you wait for the audio to begin. You can’t possibly take the risk of reading the question while you’re listening to the audio!
Next, as the audio begins, start taking notes. Again, you can’t possibly remember everything the audio says in one go; and the audio doesn’t go a second time. So, once is all you have. Use it properly.
When we say make notes, that doesn’t mean writing everything word to word. That would be an extremely bad strategy! Instead, take the erasable board and pen that you’d be given, and start jotting down the names, dates, any other important numbers, a key word, a key phrase, or anything else you might think important at the moment. Make these notes in a rough manner, and do not worry about giving any structure right now. Remember, you’d be running against time here. Use short forms, or even draw figures if that’s easier (like, a box could be depicted by a simple square), and so on. And as you finally get to the writing part, finish off your summary in about 50-70 words. You’ll get 10 minutes to do the summary; use it to give a loose structure to your write-up, and add most of the important words you wrote down. Do not get digressed from the central theme of the content.
The significance of PTE is not lost on anyone who invests their money, time, energy, and most importantly, their dreams while sitting for this exam. And while no failure is final, failure in a PTE-A exam comes at a pretty huge cost. So, do not leave any stone unturned in your preparation!
Author: PTE Tutorials
Dharmendra Patel is the director of Aussizz Group, a leading immigration and overseas education consultancies. Aussizz has developed PTE Tutorials – one of the leading online portals to get comprehensive PTE Practise. Having a deep understanding of how this exam works and what importance it holds, PTE Tutorials has been designed to help the aspirants score better, gauge their performance, and improve in the weak areas; all this, while experiencing the actual test interface. It has made the study abroad dreams of many come true.