You can take the Pearson Test of English Academic without any preparation and you will neither pass nor fail because there is no passing or failing marks in this exam. However, if you need to score at least 65 in each skill, or worse, at least 79, then you better take a closer look at the situation. Even native speakers have difficulties achieving these scores.
To prepare is one difficult task. Finding the best way is another. The most effective way for one person may not really work for somebody else.
If you find yourself at a loss for where to start, here are a few steps on preparing for PTE Acadmic:
- Educate yourself on PTE Academic
A vast amount of information is available on the official web page of PTE Academic. Visit http://pearsonpte.com/ and familiarise yourself with the different test sections and task types. Learn the duration of the test and the skills assessed. Read about the scoring system and how your responses and answers are rated.
- Gather enough materials
The most recommended published review materials are Practice Test Plus by Pearson Education Limited and PTE Academic Testbuilder by Macmillan Education. Pearson also developed Official Guide to PTE Academic, a software application which has three mock tests with corresponding answers and sample responses.
- Enroll in PTE Academic Preparation Courses
If you have the time and money, take a PTE Academic Preparation course. There are review centres, online tutors and private language schools offering PTEA learning materials and tutorial classes. A list of these schools is found in https://pearsonpte.com/preparation/resources/courses/. Note that these courses do not have endorsement nor accreditation from Pearson.
- Read and study the PTE Academic test tips
What’s the best way to know than to learn from the authority? In www.pearsonpte.com/prepare, Pearson discuss and explain the task types and list ways to approach each. Samples are provided as well as screenshots of the actual tests.
- Immerse yourself in the English language
Listen to the daily news (BBC or CNN) and podcasts (e.g. Ted Talks). Read newspapers, academic journals or research papers. Watch English films and TV shows without subtitles. Speak English as much as possible and make recordings to assess your progress.
- Take the scored mock test
Several applicants recommend taking Pearson’s scored practice test. Your answers will be rated in the same manner as in the actual exam. The result of this test will show your weaknesses so you can work on improving them. They come in different packages and prices range from USD 35.99 to USD 59.99. Check out www.pearsonpte.com/practice-tests.
- Hear what others are saying
Hundreds of testimonies and tips shared by test takers who have successfully nailed PTE Academic are found in forums and blogs. You might be surprised and amused with how much detail they provide. A variety of useful and funny strategies and techniques are available – preparing templates, positioning the microphone above the lips and improving typing speed. They can give links to model answers and their own sample recordings. Reading their own experiences, whether they are failures, mistakes, and success stories, can be stressing but largely, motivating.
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