How I scored 90 in PTE
Scoring 90 in PTE is not as tough as you think. Most people have the perception that you must be a native English speaker in order to score 90 in PTE but this is not the fact.
Being brought up in a Chinese family in Kelantan, Mandarin is the main language used in my daily communication. Even though I usually pass my English exams with flying colors in secondary school, communicating in English seemed like a nightmare to me. After becoming a PTE tutor, I realized that I wasn’t the only one. Most Asians excel in writing and reading but are relatively weak when it comes to speaking and listening due to lack of exposure.
At the beginning.
Before I started my PTE journey, I actually began with IELTS.
I attempted IELTS several times, but was never able to achieve the score of 7 in each band. I usually scored almost full marks in my READING & LISTENING but always 6.5 or lower in my writing.
I wasted almost 2 years and a lot of money on the IELTS exam fees and materials until I discovered PTE.
Many people have been saying that PTE is easier than IELTS, which was why I decided to give it a try. I can still vividly remember my first PTE attempt. It was such a painful experience. Everything happened so fast. The timer was ticking by so fast, my heart was pounding wildly and I felt like I had no control over my brain. I went totally blank, not knowing how to respond during the SPEAKING section. Besides the SPEAKING section, the vocabulary in READING section was also very tough.
As expected, I didn’t score well in PTE during my first attempt. I scored only 45 in my speaking.
For me, PTE was not easier than IELTS at all! I felt really disappointed. I went for my second attempt again, and the result was very similar to my first attempt.
After reading about so many success stories about other people’s PTE attempts, I realized that it was time to seek for help. With the help of PTE Guru from Australia, I manage to identify my mistakes and fix them before going in for my next attempt.
To my surprise, I manage to score 90’s in each section!
After all, PTE is not just about English. It is a combination of English, quick response and a test of general knowledge! So I concluded that, PTE is not easier than IELTS, but PTE is easier to score than IELTS. But for PTE, training beforehand is crucial.
Tips & Tricks to score in PTE
For IELTS, the SPEAKING and WRITING sections are marked by a human examiner, which is why it is incredibly difficult to score well in WRITING for IELTS.
However, for PTE, all answers are marked by an algorithm. Most of the time, people give the answers they think are correct but it might not be necessarily the kind of answers that the algorithm is looking for.
Therefore, in order to score 90’s in PTE, you must first know what kind of answers are required by the marking algorithm. If you give the computer what it wants, it will give you the marks that you want too.
Compared to IELTS, PTE does have many task types. Below are the task types for each of the sections:
- Read Aloud
- Repeat Sentence
- Describe Image
- Retell lecture
- Answer Short Question
- Summarize Written Text
- Fill in the blanks
- Multiple Choice choose multiple answer
- Re-order Paragraphs
- Multiple Choice choose Single Answer
- Summarize Spoken Text
- Multiple Choice choose Multiple Answer
- Fill in the blanks
- Highlight correct summary
- Multiple Choice choose Single Answer
- Select missing word
- Highlight incorrect words
- Write from dictation
It may seem very complicated at a first glance; however, it is a bonus to have so many task types because few people are good at everything. In the case of PTE, you can always use your strength to cover your weaknesses, and try to excel at task types you’re good at, to buffer for those that you struggle with.
For example: If I am weak in Select Missing Word, I can still score from Summarize Spoken Text or vice versa.
Many candidates report that time is very tight in each section. Therefore, PTE format familiarization is very important in order to have good time management. Come up with a PTE study plan and break everything into smaller parts.
How to improve in SPEAKING for PTE?
As mentioned above, most Asian students are good in READING and WRITING but are relatively weak when it comes to LISTENING and SPEAKING. A good starting point to train up your SPEAKING is via Read Aloud.
Many candidates report that the exam environment can be very noisy and distracting.
Therefore, it is highly recommended to practice your speaking in a noisy environment from the start. Turn on your television while you are practicing Describe Image or Retell Lecture. There are many different kinds of templates available in the market.
However, just memorizing templates is not enough. You need to know how to implement the PTE template rather than just doing rote learning.
Speak slowly and steadily to improve your speaking score in PTE.
How to improve in WRITING for PTE?
Key words are very important in PTE. Fill in as many key words in your Essay or Summarize Written Text to boost your writing score in PTE.
If you’d like someone to edit your essay for you, you can request for it here.
Grammar is also another important factor. Practice your essay on Microsoft Word and turn off the autocorrect function. Doing this will allow you to learn from your grammar and spelling errors so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes in the exam.
It is also highly recommended to get someone to proofread your essay. It’s always better to make mistakes during practice than during the real exam.
How to improve in READING for PTE?
Unfortunately, there isn’t as many short cuts for READING compared to SPEAKING & WRITING. The only way to improve on reading is to do as much practice as you can to enhance your vocabulary.
Doing FIB practice can be very dry. Try to read out loud while you are doing FIB. It will enhance the retention of the vocabulary and also helps keep you awake!
Try to go through all of the past year questions before going in the exam. You might not get the same questions, but trust me, the vocabulary is going to be very similar.
If you encounter any unfamiliar vocabulary during your practice, make sure you google up the definition and understand the vocabulary before you proceed to the next question. The vocabulary that appears in the PTE exam is usually repeated.
By expanding your vocabulary pool, it will also boost your comprehension skills which will be quite useful when it comes to Reorder Paragraph and Summarize Written Text.
Keep working on it until you get your score and never give up half way. Scoring 90’s in PTE is POSSIBLE!
How to improve in LISTENING for PTE?
Listen to BBC or CNN news or any podcast to improve your listening skills. Watch English movies with the subtitles on for the first time, and re-watch it again without the subtitles. It will train your listening sensitivity towards different accents.
Tips: Diversify your practice material. Don’t just listen to a single accent that you’re familiar with. Try understanding different or more unfamiliar accents.
Fill in the Blanks and Highlight Incorrect Words are two of the easiest task types in listening. Try your best to score well in these task types to collect as many points as possible and improve in listening for PTE. If you miss out 1 or 2 questions, please let go and carry on with the other questions. Don’t ruin whole questions because of 1 or 2 small mistakes.
PTE is not easier than IELTS, but PTE is definitely easier to score than IELTS.
If you are aiming for band 7’s and above for every section, you should switch to PTE in order to stand a greater chance to achieve your target score.
Although PTE is not a very user friendly test, with sufficient practice and in depth knowledge about the PTE algorithm and marking system, scoring 90’s in PTE is possible.
However, if you are failing PTE multiple times, you should stop retaking the exam until you seek for help to identify your mistakes and get it fixed. Otherwise, it will just be a waste of your money and effort.