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How to Pass the PTE Exam: 7 Tips From an Expert

If you’re planning on applying to study in Australia as an international student, it’s important to understand how important taking an English test, like the PTE Academic, is.

What is PTE Academic?

The PTE Academic is a globally recognised and accepted English test that assesses speaking, writing, reading and listening. It is currently recognised by more than 3,000 institutions worldwide. PTE Academic aims to be the fastest and most convenient English language test in the world.

How has PTE Academic changed in 2021?

As of 16 November 2021, PTE Academic has been improved in two significant ways.

First, the test will be shorter – the duration is now two hours instead of three hours. The content and style of the test, (e.g., the overall format, question types and scoring scale) has not changed in any other way, so candidates will be able to prepare in the same way as before. The shorter test will still be accepted by the same education and professional bodies within Australia and worldwide. Completing the test will simply take less time and be easier to fit into a busy schedule!

The second major change is that the test can now be completed online, making it more accessible for remote students and anyone affected by COVID-19 restrictions. However, the online test is not currently valid for visa or migration purposes. Students should also double-check that their education institution accepts the online version before they sit the test.

We spoke to Derya Uysal, Client Services and Training Specialist at Pearson, for her expert tips on how to ace your PTE Academic test.

Tip 1: Know what you’re aiming for

It’s useful to know the scores you need to achieve – before booking your test, check with the relevant institution about the scores you need to get where you want to go.

Tip 2: Understand the test format

Make sure that you’re well prepared (and there are no surprises) by familiarising yourself with the test format, timing and the different types of questions and tasks that you will need to complete during the test. 

Tip 3: Practice, practice, practice!

Nothing will prepare you as well as thorough practice. PTE Academic has provided a range of official preparation resources to help you prepare yourself as best as you can for the test. The resources include scored practice tests, a question bank of over 300 questions, an Official Guide and an English Booster with additional practice and activities to help you develop your skills. 

Introduction to PTE Academic is a great free course provided by PTE that takes you through each of the 20 PTE Academic task types and how to approach them. It’s hosted by Jay from E2Language – an expert in test preparation. Try completing some of the tasks yourself.

Tip 4: Review the scoring guide

It’s useful to understand how each test item will be assessed and which traits and skills are required to complete each task. Review the scoring guide to see where you’re at and how you need to improve! 

Tip 5: Be prepared on test day

Whether you are sitting the test online or in person, it’s vital to be prepared. Make sure you have your photo ID with you and some water to drink (and make sure you’ve had breakfast!).

If you’re heading to a test centre, make sure you know where it is and how to get there. Remember, you need to arrive at the test centre 30 minutes early to complete the test check-in process.

If you’re sitting the test online, make sure you have a quiet, private space to do so – you don’t want interruptions or noise disturbing you!

Tip 6: Stay calm and focus

Tests can be stressful, but it’s important to stay focused on completing your tasks. Try not to be distracted by other students (if you’re in a test centre) or people (if you’re at home).

If you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, take a sip of water and a couple of deep breaths and remember that you’ve prepared well and you’ve got this!

Tip 7: Give yourself a pat on the back

Finally – don’t forget to congratulate yourself on completing your test! Acknowledge your own hard work and expect to see your score report in a couple of days.