If you are applying to study in Australia, you may be required to prove you meet the English language requirements. Completing Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic is a way of proving your English abilities, and is accepted by all Australian universities, as well as professional associations and government departments.
If you’ve decided to take the test, we’ve put together some tips on how to prepare for PTE Academic to ensure you’re getting the best results possible.
TAKE THE PTE ACADEMIC PREPARATION COURSE
The PTE Academic Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Introduction to PTE Academic, is a video-guided program that takes you through the test process, so you’ll understand each question across the three sections. The course is designed to familiarise candidates with the test structure and question types for PTE Academic through video guidance and online practice. Plus, it’s entirely free to use!
KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT
By visiting the Pearson PTE website, you can learn more about the test, including how long it will take, the test format, and the types of questions that will be asked. PTE Academic is split into three parts: speaking and writing, reading and listening. It’s important to understand what you are expected to complete in these three parts, so you can prepare accordingly.
FOLLOW THE PREPARATION PATHWAY
The Preparation Pathway on the PTE website is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide that takes you through each stage of the test. Taking your time to work through the course will mean you’re not surprised by any unexpected questions on test day, and you’ll know what’s coming next.
UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF QUESTIONS
There are different types of questions and methods of answering in each part of the test, including multiple-choice questions, essays and filling in the blanks, just to name a few. It is important that you understand these so you don’t make any mistakes.
For example, the test includes both ‘multiple-choice, choose single answer’ and ‘multiple-choice, choose multiple answer’ questions. You need to know where and when to expect these, so you’re not giving a single answer when you should be choosing a few. The Introduction to PTE Academic is a good resource for learning the different types of questions to expect.
UNDERSTAND HOW THE TEST IS SCORED
PTE Academic is marked by AI, which provides a highly objective assessment. Wherever you are in the world, you will be marked in the same way. Some questions are marked on correctness alone (such as multiple-choice questions), while others are based on correctness, formal aspects, and the quality of the response (like the essay). ‘Formal aspects’ refers to the form of the response (for example, whether you go under or over the word limit for a particular question), while the quality of the response is represented in the enabling skills (for example, in a ‘re-tell lecture’ question in the speaking test, you will be scored on skills including oral fluency and pronunciation).
Again, knowing how the test is scored will help you optimise your responses so there’s less room for error. You can find more information on the scoring methods here.
DOWNLOAD AN APP
An easy way to practise on-the-go is to download an app. PTE Academic has its own official app, with details on the test, interactive practice questions and even a study planner. Plus, because it’s an official app, you know all of the information will be accurate.
TAKE AN ENGLISH COURSE
If you’d prefer more structured learning, consider taking an online or face-to-face English course to improve your skills. Having one-on-one time with a teacher or mentor, along with help and support if you need it, is a great way to practise your English. There will be language schools in your hometown that offer English courses; just search around for one that has good reviews or look online (PTE Academic’s preparation partner is E2Language, so that could be a good option).
DO PRACTICE TESTS ONLINE
A variety of PTE Academic practice tests is available on the website. There are free sample questions available, or you can purchase a range of different practice kits, some of which include scored practice tests. These are full, timed exams that will familiarise you with the test format and give you a mock score report.
DIVERSIFY YOUR PRACTICE
By chatting with friends in English, listening to English-language movies or podcasts, and reading and writing in English as much as possible, you will be improving your skills. And, all it takes is a little bit of time each day to steadily build your knowledge. Check our guide for improving your English here.
PREPARE FOR TEST DAY
Before the big day, ensure you have the correct documentation and ID to take to your test centre, give yourself plenty of time to reach the test centre, make sure you’re hydrated, have eaten well, and are calm and level-headed. Good luck with your PTE Academic preparation!