English language ability is extremely important for someone applying for skilled migration to Australia. However, the requirement of the ability level will depend on the subclass of the visa applied for, namely, General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa, Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS visa) and Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa. Depending on the requirement of the respective visa type, one has to sit the test for one of the four levels of English ability, i.e., Superior English, Proficient English, Competent English and Vocational English. The test score is valid for a maximum period of 3 years and hence, you need to sit the test not earlier than 3 years from the date of submitting the visa application.
There are few tests that are approved and the scores accepted by the Australian immigration authority. These tests are International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Occupational English Test (OET), TOEFL Internet Based Test (TOEFL iBT), Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic and the Cambridge Test of English. These tests usually have four sections – reading, speaking, listening and writing. The scoring requirement varies depending on the level of English ability for which the test has been taken.
PTE is gaining popularity among the applicants and the authorities as the test is fast, fair, flexible and secure. The time slots allotted are 77-93 minutes for speaking and writing ability, 32-41 minutes for reading ability and 45-57 minutes for listening ability, making the duration of the entire test approximately 3 hours. The score requirements for achieving vocational, competent, proficient and superior grades are 36, 50, 65 and 79, respectively in each section of the test. So, you must achieve a score of at least 65 in each of the four test components to prove your proficiency in English.
The results are usually available within 5 business days and can be accessed through the online account of the applicant. It can also be forwarded to the authorities or institutions from your online account directly. There are about 200 centres around the world. Randomized test forms and palm-vein scanning have made the system absolutely secure. The computerised system ensures an impartial and accurate marking process.
The process of taking the test is fairly simple. You need to register yourself providing a valid ID, usually a passport, and create an account. You will receive an email with log-in credentials within 48 hours. You can check the test centres, test dates and seat availability from the website and choose the one convenient to you. The fee can be paid online. You may go through the test material and sample test papers for preparing yourself for the test.
On the test day, make sure to reach the centre well on time. The administrator at the test centre will request you to provide your ID, digital photograph, signature and scan your palm as a part of the procedure. He/she will explain the rules and make sure that you are comfortable with the procedure and the system. You can check your score online after 5 business days and send the scores to the institutions, if needed.
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