The Effect of Surrounding Noise on your Test Score

Unlike IELTS, the speaking section of the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic is scheduled on the same day as the other parts of the exam. It will be performed in a room with several other candidates who will probably speak at the same moment. Is it distracting? Yes. Can it be controlled? No. You cannot allow yourself to be distracted or annoyed and lose focus, let alone disturb the person beside you who is close to shouting.

If you’re a first-time PTE test taker, you may find it quite annoying and it might adversely affect your performance. Those who have taken the test a few times have the tendency to increase their volume in the belief that only their voice will be captured by the microphone. This might not help as candidates are encouraged to speak at a moderate volume.

Here are some times that might help you get through the speaking section and overcome any noise concerns:

  1. Choose a less crowded test centerInstead of taking the exam at the nearest center, some candidates travel a distance to take the exam on a test center which has a relatively low number of test takers.
  2. Choose the schedule and test date which you think is the least popularThis strategy may or may not work at all; but, it’s worth giving a try. The first hour of the day tends to be least chosen because simply, people don’t want to get up early. 
  3. Be promptSome administrators allow early candidates to sit the exam before the scheduled time. You can start the exam way ahead than the other test takers and start the Speaking section with less noise to worry about.
  4. Practice speaking and listening in a noisy environmentWhat’s the most effective way of getting over noise? Getting used to it. Pick a place where there are five or more people sitting and speaking at the same time. Do not settle for a spot where the people around you are speaking in a hushed tone. The louder their voices are, the stronger your focus will be. 
  5. Work on improving your concentrationThe ear cannot filter the sound it hears. However, the mind can be taught to listen to your own voice only and to focus on the task on hand.

A simple distraction can lead to a series of complications – panic, anxiety or worse, mental block.

Follow the tips above and have faith that everything will go well.

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