Test-taking can be difficult. There are the pressures of the marks. What will you do with your results? There’s the pressure you put on yourself, and there’s the pressure of your peers and family. All that is without even taking into account the learning itself!
How can you stay focused during the PTE? By knowing what you’re up against, and developing tools to anticipate them! So, let’s take a look.
What’s Tough About It:
Letting It All Out
Learning a new language is difficult, sharing your new skill is even harder. Add to that the test element and it is no wonder that people can freeze up.
This is very common, but if you think about it, language is meant to be spoken. It’s like reading a book on the theory of swimming, and thinking you can swim. Of course, reading is internal, but familiarising yourself with words is always best when you let it out.
You can prepare for the element of feeling ‘on the spot’ by simply practicing in everyday scenarios. It is better to make a fool of yourself in low stakes situations, like speaking with a passer-by, than to hold all your information in your head and assume that you will be able to get it all out at the appropriate time.
Stage Fright In Shared Spaces
The test is taken in a designated testing center. This allows the test to be given with the proper equipment, computers, etc and allows for the volume of people taking the test. That’s the tricky part.
Even though you will be in your seat, with your computer, in your space, it can still feel daunting to be surrounded by a large number of people while being tested.
It is important to remember that you are all in the same boat. Every person is there with one goal in mind, to achieve their desired score. To that end, no one is looking at you or listening to your answers. Feel at ease knowing that everyone is just as nervous as you and that becomes one less thing to worry about.
More importantly, if you focus on the test and remain present, soon you will forget there is anyone else in the room at all!
Managing Your Time
If you have been reading up on the format of the Pearson Test of English, you will know that the test is divided into three parts and lasts around two to three hours. If you have read any further than that you will see that there are suggested time frames for each section.
At the end of the day, other than the audio questions, each question response-time relies solely on you. This can be very hard when you are under pressure. Managing your time is essential.
It is very easy when working out an answer to become distracted by your process. The next thing you know, you have used 10 minutes on a question that should have only taken four minutes.
You might be thinking, how can you answer a question in four minutes if it takes you 10? No one expects you to rush yourself, and of course, you can’t have the answer before you have the answer (if you follow), but the message is, don’t be too hard on yourself.
When something looks right, move on to the next question. Avoid spending too much time on any question.
At the end of the day remember to breathe. If you are anxiety-prone, or just do not like tests in general, grounding exercises might be the way to go for you.
There are many styles you can do. The best part is that no one knows you are doing them but you! So if you find you need a little extra help staying calm and focused, definitely look into grounding exercises.
What’s Great About It:
Great For All Styles Of Learning
The PTE is a computer-based test, and it is formatted as such. This means that it utilizes all the elements of basic technology to approach language from as many angles as possible. That makes it easily accessible to all kinds of learners.
Audio, visual, and spoken; there is a place for everyone to thrive. Other tests are simply oral or written. Having all components in one test means that you are able to flex your strengths alongside other areas that you might find more difficult.
Never Wait Too Long To Take A Test
There are testing centers around the world. Not only that, but tests are held six to eight times a month. That means that you are never far away from taking the next step in your application process for your chosen institution or government.
These things can move quickly, and the PTE is always ready for you to take your English to the next level.
Don’t Wait Long For Your Marks
Speaking of moving quickly, the PTE has one of the fastest turn-around times for students to receive their marks. You won’t need to wait weeks for an answer. Officially, results come within five days, but students have been known to receive marks even sooner.
This is wonderful for those who receive their desired scores. As they can quickly progress to the next step in their application process.
It’s even better for those who do not achieve their desired scores. How? This way you know sooner, rather than later, that more preparation is needed.
With so many tests being held per month, and the detailed breakdown of your scores, you can easily make a plan of attack and hit the books hard, before retaking the test at your earliest convenience.
Unlimited Opportunities To Achieve Your Desired Score
How many times can you retake the test? As many as needed! Of course, everyone is aiming to achieve their desired score the first time around, but that is not always the reality.
That’s ok! The PTE knows that sometimes your plans and your skills do not match up, but it also knows that your skills are in your hands. You always have the ability to try again, and achieve your goals!