PTE Preparation – How To Best Prepare For The PTE

pte preparation

The PTE opens doors for you to access the study or country of your choice, but it is not a free pass. To earn your PTE you will need to commit time, effort, and stay goal-oriented. This is not always easy, so here are a few tips on how to get yourself best prepared for the PTE.

Related Article: PTE To IELTS

Get To Know The Format

Knowing the format for the PTE allows you to know how to plan your time. 

Section 1: Speaking and Writing 

Suggested allocated time: 77-93 minutes

    • Personal Introduction
    • Read Aloud
    • Repeat Sentence
    • Describe Image
    • Re-tell Lecture
    • Answer Short Questions
    • Summarize Written Text
    • Essay 

 Section 2: Reading

Suggested allocated time: 40-58 minutes

    • Multiple Choice/Choose Single Answer
    • Multiple Choice/Choose Multiple Answers
    • Re-order Paragraphs
    • Reading/Fill in the Blanks
    • Reading and Writing/Fill in the Blanks

 Section 3: Listening

Suggested allocated time: 45-57 minutes

    • Summarize Spoken Text
    • Multiple Choice/Choose Single Answer
    • Multiple Choice/Choose Multiple Answers
    • Fill in the Blanks
    • Highlight the Correct Summary
    • Select Missing Word
    • Highlighting Incorrect Words
    • Write From Dictation


Familiarize Yourself With The Question Styles 

Each section of the PTE will format its questions to fit its outcome. For example, the rearrange paragraph questions are in a drag and drop format. The fill in the blanks is also dragged and drop. 

Other listening and speaking questions are done with headsets and voice recordings. You will be allocated between 7-12 seconds to prepare between questions and another few seconds between the questions and your answers. 


Be Aware Of The Scoring System

The PTE holds itself to a high standard of excellence. To that end, the scoring is very detailed. When you receive your results you will receive an all overscore, but also a break down of all the different sections. 

It is important to know that it is possible to score negatively on the PTE. This means that if you get an answer incorrect, you will not only lose a point, but a point will be deducted. This just means you need to be extra careful when picking your answer. When you are aware of this you are able to train your eye to calmly scan the options, rather than shooting off answers out of nerves. 


Make A Study Schedule

Once you are familiar with the format and have assessed your goal, you can make a study schedule. Dedicate a certain amount of time every day to your PTE study. Pick a focus and keep track of your progress to adjust the schedule as you identify areas that need strengthening. 


Tricks And Tips:

Learn To Pace Yourself

With the PTE you need to pace yourself from start to finish – before the exam, and during. It may have been a while since you took a big test. In school, you relied on teachers to set the pace of your learning.  

In college, there was always something else being thrown at you, setting your pace for you. 

Once you have familiarized yourself with the format and questions, find a pace that works for you. Initially, your study will need to focus on the content itself, but do not forget that there is also a timing goal. 

This can feel restrictive and even cause a little anxiety, but if you arm yourself with a steady pace that suits you, you will be fine. 


Do Not Limit Yourself To Silent Study

Traditionally we are used to reading and writing as forms of study. With language, and especially in the PTE, a huge part of mastering your craft is spoken word. 

The PTE is given in different accents and expects you to follow. In the reverse, it expects you to be able to articulate to a high level, no matter what your accent. 

Do not be afraid of trying out new words, or even repeating old words, to friends, out in the real world. If you are very nervous to start by talking to yourself. Talking to yourself is a great first step to feeling confident as you acquire new language skills.


Have a Designated Workspace

Studies show that we have a pavlovian response to designated spaces. That means that if we do something in one space for long enough, our brain associates the space with the activity. It is the reason you get tired in bed and hungry in the kitchen: associations. 

Find a corner to make your own. It does not have to be a literal corner. It could be a desk or a specific spot that is good for studying. Make sure it is as far as possible from any distraction. 

Try and keep the designated location stocked with study supplies, and even snacks. Your study experience does not have to be isolating, it can be comfortable, but it needs to start out as habitual, so your brain knows it is time to learn!


Do Not Limit Yourself To Your Designated Workspace

The next step from the designated workspace is broadening your horizons. There are two kinds of study – theoretical and practical. When you are in the theoretical model, you will need your space, but when you are in the practice mode, the world is your classroom. 

You can start with post-its and signs around the house. The post-its can be reminders, or words themselves. The best place to hang reminders and riddles are in the bathroom, or next to your kettle.

Best are places where you are not focussed on much else, so when you let your mind wander, it will wander over to your notes. 

This is also considered the next level of your studies because it means you will probably be using English in public. Something you should try and do as much as possible. 


Stay Present

The most important tool is knowing how to stay present. All the knowledge in the world will not help you if you become flustered. Make breathing exercises a regular part of your study routine, or find something that works for you, but remember, learning doesn’t have to be stressful! 

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