Tips For Listening :-
Try to write down the fill in the blanks on erasable notebooks while listening,if you will type while listening it will be quite difficult for you.
If you are not sure for the word try to write which suits best according to tense and meaning of the sentence.
There are mainly five wrong words in highlight incorrect.
Try to read the MCQ before listening the audio in given time.
Do not listen in high volume.
In Dictation use correct punctuation marks according to sentence.
Note Down the main points while listening summary – dates,time,place etc.
The first strategy to score in English exam is you should have good English.
I have got 90 overall score and 8 band each in PTE. Though I do not have any experience of giving IELTS but from other people’s views I can say that PTE still gives you higher chances of scoring. (Not based on the rumours that they purposely lower your score in either writing or speaking so that you keep on giving money.)
Following is the strategy that I can suggest.
1. Familiarity with computer based test.
As it is computer based, time bound exam, having a better typing speed will help. I am a software developer and can touch type, this was one of the reason I could finish exam in two hours. So in case you have slow typing speed try to improve it a bit.
2. Get to know each question type in all sections.
You can get information on what to expect in each question type under each section on youtube or on ptepractice.com (Paid). You can also learn what are the best way to solve each question type. This is a must for good score. E.g. reorder paragraph can be solved better using instructions given in youtube video and they are (I heard) worth 20 points each.
3. Try to give a sample exam on web
ptepractice.com sample paper will cost you 35$ ( ~2300INR ) and it will be exact replica of original test. You will get scores for it and will know what sections to improve (Eg. I had low score in written discourse and so read more on how to structure a good essay). Much better than giving exam twice.
4. Make notes on each type of questions (Very important)
I had made a list of all question types and marked them easy/medium/hard during my preparation. I had marked re tell lecture/repeat sentence hard, but slowly learned which questions should be made quick notes for (Re tell lecture) and which one should only be solved based on memory (repeat sentences). In the end I had reached all question types marked as Easy. Believe me 3 second rule and even otherwise repeat sentence looks tough but after practice it is one of the easy ones.
5 Make note of flow of exam.
This one is included in fourth point as well. Along with notes on each question, make notes section wise, try to learn which question follows which one. Describe image is followed by Retell lecture and is quite a change as Re tell lecture sometime come with a image causing confusion. This will keep you well prepared, though I am not sure if this same flow is always followed.
Speaking is little tough I accept. You have to be fast & attentive as well.
1. For describing image & graphs, check for sample videos in Youtube. You basically have to note the key words and describe the image appropriately.
2. Retell lecture is little cryptic. Again, note down the key points in the lecture and rephrase it in ur own words.
Guys, you need to concentrate more on below points.
1. Rearrange the paragraph (Reading) – you need to figure out the past tense at the starting sentence (that would remain the 1st sentence of paragraph). For me it worked.
2. Skimming the text in reading, just chunk out the repeated words in the single choice/multiple options in 4-5 seconds and later concentrate on the main passage where the wword appears and match the relative meaning.
3. Same for listening single & multiple choice.
For listening no need to worry, but you need to be fast in fill up the sections. (Note down in the erasable notepad which they will provide and later enter the answer in these sections)
4. Speaking – paragraph reading – Speak fluently and try to see the next words which you need to speak as it comes. Do not try to speak in any US/UK accent.
5. Repeat the sentence – Try remembering the words as they say OR try repeating the same words without sound as much as you can because there will not be any beep after the main audio ends, you need to start it immediately.
6. Describe an image – Chunk out the main points in the image and speak continously till the time ends and more over concentrate on the Vocabularies and Grammer.
7. Writing – for 20 mins section the topic was (Will there be any change in human behavior by changing the laws? some people argue it doesn’t have effect, write it with your analysis.
Note: for Writing you need to segregate the paragraphs and starting, firstly, secondly and in a nut shell or conclusion like so on, and you need to check the timings as you would run out of time.
In the test center, they would provided erasable note book and marker. Erasable note book consists of 8 pages( it is more enough to use). Before start the test , examiner would ask you to check the marker , how its functioning. Moreover, you do not put the marker cap open(once you used the marker,close it with marker cap) because perhaps it dry up with atmosphere air. Finally you not suppose to erase anything, which you wrote during the exams.
Finally crucial section reading is not in predefined order, make practice that by seeing question/image/prompts ,
you came to know the type of question. For example,
if you see the symbol radio button in responses/ options list– its mc csa( single answers)
if you see square boxes in responses/options list — its mc cma (multi answers)
if you see two big boxes, consists small boxes of sentences — understands that re-order paragraph questions.
If you observe drop down options in the response list – its fill in the blanks reading. Final item left is fill in the blanks reading and writing.
in and all, do practice the tests as much, then you become familiar with that.
Reading was tricky as when we practice mock tests, we do not see the timer (I meant the boosters) and on the right hand top of the screen we can see the timer countdown from 35mins. I started slowly and casually and after completing 3 questions in 9 minutes, I understood that I am falling short of time and increased my pace and completed the last 2 questions in 1-2 mins. Please be aware of this mistake we do in this section.
I was little bit startled to see the sections jumbled up in listening as I got used to the sequence and anyway was able to complete all of them in time. However, I felt one section a little bit tough was select the last word which is replaced with a beep.
PS: I guess ‘repeating the sentence’ scores are for Listening and speaking. So If you are not able to get all the words but are able to pronounce clearly whatever who have said, the marks would be reduced for listening and not for speaking
In speaking section, I think what matters the most is pronunciation and fluency. Accent definitely doesn’t matter as I spoke in Indian accent throughout the test and never tried speaking in british/american accent. In fact, without realizing at first, I spoke on mute for two of the questions in repeat sentence section and mostly spoke off topic for one of the “re-tell lecture” questions (because I didn’t understand anything from the lecture – but of course I did note down important words and used them while “re-telling” the lecture). I definitely wasn’t expecting anything above 75 but I scored a full 90! Make sure you read the sentences the way British/American people do – there should be a clear difference in your tone (high/low pitch, tempo) when you are reading a question verses when you are reading a sentence which ends with a full stop. Tip – Relax and keep calm. While speaking, I closed my eyes and imagined that I am speaking to a friend and not a computer. This helped me with my fluency.
In reading section, allot 10-11 minutes only for re-order paragraph section. This is where people lose marks. Even though a certain order looks correct, it may not be. Try different orders and see if any of them makes sense. Don’t forget to keep a watch on the remaining time and number of questions left in the upper right hand side corner of your screen. I wasn’t watching the time and ended spending about 12-14 mintues on re-order paragraph section alone. I only had like a minute to complete the last two fill in the blanks sections. I am really lucky that I chose the right answers.
Listening and Writing sections are pretty straight forward. However, in “summarize spoken text” under listening section and “write essay” under writing section, allot at least 5 mintues only to review what you just wrote. Do not spend too much time thinking what to write or how to arrange your sentences and paragraphs. Believe me, you will run out of time! Take just a minute or two to think and then start writing whatever comes to your head. In the last 6-7 minutes, arrange/correct your sentences, form paragraphs, review your answer for spelling, grammer and punctuation.
More Tips :
1) You need to be familiar with the exam pattern.
2) PTE is a time-intensive test, so if you do not take time to handle your time very well, you will land in big trouble.
3) The practice exam( i would recommend that as it’s cheap) is tougher than the actual exam.
and would give you a good idea where you can improve.
4) Check spellings in what you write, else, it would really reflect pretty poorly on your overall score.
5) List to recordings in the book i recommended, and it would give you an idea of what is expected in the exam.
6) Don’t worry too much about ” Describe image” as regardless of how you assess yourself, the computer always scores you better.
7) Try not to use the same words repetitively.
8)Be careful with re-arranging paragraphs and re-ordering sentences as they are not scored the way you think( look it up if you don’t know).
If you are unhappy with your PTE Academic score, you may request a rescore. Before doing this, test takers should take the following into consideration:
• PTE Academic is automatically rescored; therefore, it is unlikely that your overall scores will change.
• Only spoken responses and open-ended written responses are rescored.
• In the unlikely event that your score changes, it may go up or down.
• If your score changes, it will replace your previous score.
You may only request a rescore of your most recent PTE Academic test. You can not request a rescore if you have already either
scheduled another test or sent your score to an institution.
To order a rescore, you must contact Pearson Customer Service within 14 calendar days of your score report being made available to you.
The fee for rescores is available from the Customer Service team. In the unlikely event that either your Overall, Communicative Skills or
Enabling Skills scores change, the rescore fee will be fully refunded.
Below are some nuances () of the exam you might find useful. Do let me know if you have questions.
After each question which is not individually timed – when u press next u will be asked for a confirmation to proceed – I had not noticed this mentioned anywhere and was slightly surprised.
Do not try to linger at one question during the listening section because of the time factor. I had only 2 minutes in the end. If you are reasonably confident move on to the next question. Note that even when it is waiting for the recording to play and while the recording is playing the actual test timer keeps running so you need to keep up with this.
There is some noise due to other students, so try to increase volume of your earphone to close to max right at the beginning of repeat sentence section, even if the existing level is audible.
Speaking fluently during the speaking section is the most important thing rather than content. Content has to be on topic but not necessarily exact. You can check the 3 practice tests provided with the Official guide CD and the responses to the retell lecture to get an idea. I thought the Finland related response in the 2nd sample test gives a good idea how to respond when the recording to difficult to grasp fully.
Erasable noteboard and pen – The noteboard is long notepad – about 16 inches long and 10 inches wide. Writing surface is plastic like and pen is erasable marker. You are required not to erase what you write during the exam.
Listening – Summarize lecture – This requires you to write up to a maximum of 70 words for which it is easy to get content. So u can be calm if you do not understand what is being spoken in the beginning as you will get enough information through the lecture and have enough content. Note down a couple of facts / factors and you can elaborate on that.
I have attached some short answer questions I have prepared during my study. Helped me with a couple of questions during the exam. You might one or two or no questions from this.
Your passport is the only document that needs to be taken.
In this case/item, we get 6 or 7 different items Bar-graph, line-graph, pie-chart, photo, table, block diagram, photo/picture. Around you’ll get 6 to 8 questions. When ever, you start the question use different phrases like
This graph depicts………..
This photo illustrates………….
This pie-chart describes………
Use some business trending terms like inclined, take off, decreased , increased, dramatically, rise, rose to name but a few.
Follow some template format like ” This graph depicts the population of UK during years 1950 to 2000. From the year 1950 to 1970 population increased gradually, however from 1970 to 1990 population growth has been dropped to 2 millions. In and all, at the end of the year 2000, it crosses to 2.5 millions.
Use the template same template.
BR // NAGA..
As per my understanding, repetition of words would not effect negatively always but try to use synonyms or broad vocabulary (rich vocab).
While describing, content is not much important (but it is also one factor/try to figure it or tell relate to that). Do not use much pillar words/sounds (hmmm,uhhhh) and avoid long pauses. Better to speak for full time (whole 40 seconds). Oral frequency and pronunciation plays significant role in this item. Forgot that your’re at test center, try to fell your describing to your friend or colleague, describe it straight way. Don’t be tense or nervous.
Writing section is the easiest to score.
Only two types of questions.
Essay, trust me, you can easily do in 20 minutes. Take about 5 minutes to think/plan. and start writing.
Generally it is recommended to have 3-4 paragraphs in it.
1st for introduction to the topic, 2nd for mentioning your opinion/agreement/disagreement on the topic, 3rd for explanation/reason for the same and 4th conclusion.
Writing summary is also easy and can be easily mastered with practicing few samples.
Intro: Be fluent, even if you repeat anything its ok but do not use many fillers like umm, hmmm, etc. It is not marked but fluency will be judged from this section onwards.
Read Aloud: Be fluent, do not stop more than 3 secs , use proper intonation (check official guide to PTE-A or offline practice test), Do NOT USE ANY ACCENT- be in your natural voice and accent (I have seen people using accent which makes pronunciation difficult), proper stress on words and sentences.
Repeat sentence: Try to memorise the words, sentences etc. listen to news,radio etc and try to memorise set of words.
Describe image: describe the major changes or figures, do not pause, don’t worry too much about the content, do not try to correct your words because you will make more errors by doing this.
Retell Lecture: jot down the names, places, figures and end message of the speaker,you have enough time to write, try to get the main idea, again-do not pause while the recording is playing.
Answer Short Question: Make sure you answer in 1-2 words (depends on question).
In the end, make sure you click next when the recording status changes to complete.
Your test room can be really noisy as everyone will be speaking at the same time, so one need to be an active listener.
Pre intro section would not consider while evaluation. However, these recording sent to universities for candidates, those who wanna apply for highers studies.
In intro section is a timed section of 1 min (60 sec) , one should speak about 1 or 2 or more things in listed on monitor. Generally need to speed about personal details, education , job/work, what about future plans, hobbies or interests, why you choose PTEA test, etc.
For Summarize written text. First the word limit is 30 to 50 words.
To summarize – The 300 – 400 word text speaks about 1} a topic 2} 2 or 3 different aspects of that topic. Identify the topic and the aspects. No need to go into details – just come up with phrases that summarize the topic and each aspect being discussed and link it in a sentence. Linking – not sure how to explain how to do this – but it should be simple with words like – Because, Used to be – but now is, which has, due to this/which etc. Also, yes please use punctuation marks as required. Check the examples on internet and www in the official guide. It even uses a semicolon.
Write down key words (those that really mean something and are particular to the context)
Then just talk generally about the subject and use some of those specific words. No need to retell every single detail – tell about what it is in general and then give a specific detail with some of the specific words you caught, any detail you understood.
I got 90 in speaking (don’t know how), but in one of those retell lectures I completely embarrassed myself, pausing, repeating, hesitating, did not know what to say. So keep calm and do your best. Also missed one of the repeat phrases (simply forgot it).
They don’t seem to be very strict to me. So an error is not cause for panic, keep calm and do your best. Maybe they disregard the worst score of each type of exercise, I don’t know.
EDIT: ohh and don’t worry if you can’t fill the 40 seconds. I NEVER reached 40s in any of the speaking tasks and still got a full 90. (My average was about 30s each)
Speak slowly (consciously), read carefully (repeat). If you don’t understand a word memorize its sound (I did this many times). And every single word you don`t know how to pronounce look up in the dictionary…
Listen attentively to what the lecture is trying to convey. Strict to the word limits. Use synonyms and more effective words to convey the message. OK let me use the same example: “Agriculture has fallen into a debt; loans; high cost for seeds and manual labor, resulting more barrowing and loans” – Agriculture is caught-up in a vicious cycle; that should suffice.
• Identifying and remove redundant information in summaries
• Taking notes while listening to a recording
• Communicating the main points of a lecture in writing
• Organizing sentences and paragraphs in a logical way
• Using words and phrases appropriate to the context
• Using correct grammar
• Using correct spelling
• Using correct mechanics
Only one type of question, which appears in two sections, has negative marking. It is the ‘multiple choice, choose multiple answers’ type questions, which appear in the reading as well as listening sections.
As with any test – preparation is the key and here are four key steps to success. You need to have the right level of academic English for your goal. There are lots of free materials on the internet that you can use. More importantly, Pearson publishes a huge range of print and digital English materials that will help you improve your level. In relation to PTE Academic, we have lots of recommended resources to develop academic English and we’re always producing more!
Secondly, anyone taking PTE Academic needs to know the test and develop strategies to answer the questions. Again there are a number of materials that give information about the test format, timings, key test tips and practice for the 20 different task types.
Thirdly, focus more time on weak areas. If tasks like essay writing are more challenging for you, practice writing more essays!
Finally, practice, practice, practice. You need to repeatedly practice tasks in the test and analyze the sample answers so you know what’s tested and what makes a good response. You also need to put yourself under timed conditions and pretend you are doing a real test. It will prepare you mentally and emotionally for “Test Day”.
Key tips for test day
Make sure you’ve prepared so that you have the right level of English for your goal, know the test format and timings and have practiced the test questions.Arrive early at the test center. If you’re rushed, it will affect your performance.
Write with full sentences, capital letters and full stops. You can lose marks if you leave out punctuation and write entirely in capital letters.Don’t repeat lots of words that you hear or read. Try to paraphrase within your answers.Be confident of your answer choices when you answer the multiple choice, multiple answers tasks (Reading and Listening) and highlight incorrect words (Listening) because you can lose marks for any wrong answers that you choose.
(Read aloud, Repeat sentence, Describe image, Re-tell lecture, Answer short question)
Don’t worry too much about managing your time. In the speaking section, the computer will control the time you spend on each task – all you have to do is click ‘Next’.
Speak at a good volume and at a normal pace. If you speak too quietly or quickly, this may affect your score.
If you make a mistake, carry on. You could waste time correcting yourself and getting stressed.
(Summarize written text, Write essay)
Manage your time. You have 10 minutes for Summarize written text and 20 minutes for Write essay.
Write within the word limits or you’ll lose marks. Your answer for Summarize written text should be one sentence of 5-75 words and your essay should be 200-300 words.
(Multiple choice, choose single answer, Multiple choice, choose multiple answers, Re-order paragraphs, Reading: Fill in the blanks, Reading & writing: Fill in the blanks)
Manage your time. You have 32-41 minutes to complete all the tasks in this section so make sure you are strict about how long you spend on each task.
Give yourself plenty of time on the multiple choice questions. They make look easy but they are quite challenging.
(Summarize spoken text, Multiple choice, choose multiple answers, Fill in the blanks, Highlight correct summary, Multiple choice, choose single answer, Select missing word, Highlight incorrect words, Write from dictation)
Be smart about using the erasable note board booklet. There is very little ‘checking’ time in the Listening part of the test so either type notes onto the screen or know exactly how much time you have to transfer notes from your note board booklet to the screen.
Manage your time.Don’t spend too long on the multiple choice questions, make your answer choice and move on or you risk losing marks on other tasks. Remember the Listening part of the test has the most task types to get through.
I feel that the PTE-A, is a VASTLY FAIRER AND MORE COMPREHENSIVE TEST, which I’ll elaborate on further down.
So how do the tests compare?
Based on the above results, I can understand that some readers may feel that my views are “sour grapes”, however I tried to be as objective as I can in my comparison and not as emotive as I want to be about the subject, though admittedly I’ll be using some visual language to express some of my feelings.
Another footnote: I’m not going to go into the minutiae here and give you a complete breakdown of each type of question you will encounter in PTE-A and IELTS, that’s up to you to practise. I would love to break it down and give feedback on every question type, but I simply do not have the time to do so, and I think it’s not in line with the intent of this post. Again, I’m happy to answer questions below and will reserve a response slot right beneath my post to surface any questions / FAQs that may arise in response to my thread, for easy access to anyone else reading this.
I will use some examples of question item types, so some of the meaning behind my examples might be lost on you if you’re not all that familiar with the question types in the two test types.
A: Question format
I feel that language proficiency is a difficult subject to score people on in an economically sustainable manner, and therefore I understand why written exams / tests are based on 4 main “pillars” of language such as L | R | W | S .
I feel, however, that a lot of language proficiency falls through the cracks between these pillars, particularly under examination conditions. The essence of comprehension, paraphrasing, reading between the lines, inference of information, situational context and awareness, interpretation, humour etc. are mostly lost.
PTE-A addresses some of these more “intangible” (for the lack of a better word) skills, by using integrated questions / item types. Integrated item types, refer to the method of testing more than one ability at a time. For example, you may be asked to summarise a piece of written text in your own words, capturing the essence of the text in only one sentence. This will test your writing and reading skills at the same time.
Another good example, is that you will be played an audio clip, which you will need to summarise in written form, testing your listening and writing skills concurrently.
I felt that, even with alien subject matter, with PTE-A I could close my eyes and listen to audio recordings and understand the meaning behind the lecture / audio discussion and then apply my understanding to the questions asked of me. Even “hard” pieces of written text with confusing vocabulary (I have a decent vocabulary, but there were a fair few pieces of text containing words I’ve never heard or seen before), I could get the gist of what’s written (or understand the word because of the context it was used), and apply logical deduction to come to my answer(s) (there are some multiple choice answers with multiple correct answers). In the situations where you needed to verbally summarise a recording (testing listening and speaking together), even though I couldn’t note down (on the erasable notebook you get) all of the main points and fancy words used, I was able to paraphrase, based on my core understanding of the audio clip.
In IELTS test there is no crossover / integrated questions, but they also try to ascertain whether a candidate can capture the meaning of written or spoken English, by asking questions that rely on very specific vocabulary used (or in the case of listening, misdirection). Using the reading module as a prime example, the questions become progressively harder towards the final two reading essays, and the candidate must understand the essay as a whole, to be able to find the information relating to the question he’s looking for. A vital tip that I can give anyone taking the IELTS still, is to ignore the rubbish rubbish rubbish (yes, I really feel strongly about this) advice given by the “road to IELTS” videos. Do NOT skip read the final essay, focussing on key words – read the whole damn thing. Skip reading works fine in the first couple essays, NOT the last!
So in summary of the question types, I’ll use a simile:
During our school-going years, most of us came across two types of teachers. There was the more progressive teacher, who wanted you to do well but encouraged you to think for yourself using all the tools you have available to yourself (reasoning, deduction, argument etc.). You didn’t find those classes any easier, but you applied what you know and did well as a result.
On the flipside, there was the old mean teacher, who used to try trip you up, by using subtle nuances in their questions to you in exam papers they set. Often you would know the correct answer, but because of a mean spirited twist to the question, you got the whole thing wrong.
PTE-A is like the progressive teacher, IELTS-G the latter.
B: Question content
Not an awful lot to write about here, apart from the fact that I found the content, though more academic in nature, much more interesting in PTE-A. I found that I cared about the subject matter of a lot of the questions, and felt it less of a chore to answer. Your views may differ, but I liked the fact that the PTE-A is “real world” content throughout the test vs. the scripted nonsense in the IELTS listening, or the world’s most boring essays in IELTS.
There’s nothing I can say about the requirements to score 8 / 79 as a minimum for each module to attain the points you need. I personally feel that the distinction is a bit arbitrary and an average score is already reflective of modern use of language, but I’m not going to dwell on this.
However, as a direct result of the question format, I feel that PTE-A has a massive advantage for candidates. For example, if you make a mess of a question, you have the opportunity to make up for it, in questions or sections to follow. Using the “summarise written text” (testing reading and writing) as an example again, if you make a bit of a dog’s dinner of your summary, it’s OK – you have other questions later on (or preceding it) where you’re tested on the same skill(s). Added to this, mistakes can also still earn you a partial credit in some circumstances… let that sink in for a second. Obviously this does not apply to all circumstances (multiple choice answers obviously only has right / wrong values).
In IELTS-G, in the reading module, if you make more than 3 mistakes out of the 40 questions asked of you, that’s it – you’re done, no “8” band score for you mate, pay us another £150 ish smackeroos, we’ll see you next time.
This is the image the springs to mind
Yet another direct result of the question format (and also location, but we’ll cover that bit below), is the timing of the test. The subject of timing can be broken down into multiple sections; namely: Exam length, booking urgency and time taken for results to be returned.
As previously mentioned, my English proficiency is high, however I have been and always will be, a slow reader / writer. I was the kid at primary school that got picked on by my teacher for always being the last one to complete an essay, or to finish a reading assignment. I’m not a troglodyte mouth breather, but it’s just one of my personal shortcomings.
The PTE-A test requires you to make snappy conclusions, without needlessly relying on you to cover a lot of information. I found that I had ample time, though not excessive, to complete all tasks and question types. Some of this boils down to reading passages that are not overly long and some of it boils down to the fact that you can absorb information quickly by looking at an image / listening to audio / video etc. There are more examples of this, but it gets my point across.
In IELTS-G, I found that I barely had time to complete my reading due to my aforementioned shortcomings. This did not test my ability to read and comprehend, it needlessly put me under pressure, which can result in errors.
I have been working in a professional environment for many years now, and as a result, my handwriting is and awful mess. It is akin to a drunken spider that fell into an inkwell, flopping around on paper leaving an ink trail behind it. It is shorthand, meant to take notes in meetings, but nothing more. In the IELTS-G you have to hand write your essays, meaning that not only do you need to concentrate hard on writing clearly and accurately on some mundane topic you care nothing about, but also means that this extra care and the time it takes to correct errors, eats into the time allowed to write the essay.
Because PTE-A is computer based, at least I’m able to read what I’ve written on the mundane topic, but also easily spot and correct errors, without the paper looking like a bomb went off on it. My typing is proficient, though I do suffer from fat finger syndrome, but at least I had time to think about my essay and proof read it at least once.
PTE-A you can book up to two days before the test, I believe IELTS is 2 weeks, though I might be wrong on that fact. The point here is, that there’s a lot more available tests for PTE-A, than there are IELTS-G – so no need to book 2 tests in a row (like I had to do a few times during IELTS tests so I can just get the thing over and done with)
IELTS: 2 weeks
PTE-A: 5 working days, though I got my result back the morning of the second working day.
E: Location / Testing centre
IELTS-G tests are taken in halls (apart form the speaking, which is a one-to-one interview), where you sit in a row of candidates, similar to how you used to sit high-school / university exams. It’s overseen by a handful of invigilators, who at times act like they are prison wardens, or treating candidates like children. This is not always the case, but one particularly screechy invigilator springs to mind whenever I think of them.
PTE-A, you take your test in a smaller room, in a closed-off cubicle in front of a PC. I found that with the PTE-A I was a lot more at ease, as it just felt like I’m taking a test on my own sat in front of my computer with no outside pressure or the rigmarole of entering test centre numbers etc.
One aspect that I can’t unfortunately compare, is feedback on scores. As you will notice from my test spread in IELTS, you will see that I figured out what I was doing wrong in the reading module, however my writing waivered. With only half a point off, I was gagging to understand where I have gone wrong, in an attempt to do better the next time around. I emailed the IELTS administrators, asking nicely whether it is possible for them to provide feedback, even if it means that I need to pay the 60 bucks fee to have it remarked. The feedback was as you’d expect, the playground bullies will not even give you feedback on your essay, even if you pay them to have another look at it. They recommended that I seek further tutelage from an accredited tutor. Big surprise there hey – feed them more money!
This is just plain vile and is quite telling of IELTS as a governing body. (see Simpsons meme above)
So for all those who chose to skip all my ramblings above, PTE-A is in my opinion the vastly superior test to take. It is more reflective of your English skills, by testing it in a less obtrusive way than IELTS does. It also enables you to do better, by presenting the test in a modern medium (PC based), using modern scenarios (combination of integrated questions, using real world, audio recordings, video clips, images and so forth)
If you struggle with English, this may not be the silver bullet you’re looking for as PTE-A is not easier. The test merely fairer on the candidate, but you still need the base-skills being tested.