Online PTE Training | The Benefits of Online Study for Test Preparation

Choosing online PTE training for your test preparation allows for flexible hours, one-to-one tutorials and feedback, and computerized testing.   

Learn how E2Languge can kick-start your online PTE preparation today!   

What’s so great about online PTE training?

Online PTE Training
Ditch the boring classroom … Go find a fun place to study!

So, you’ve decided to study PTE and now you’re searching the web for PTE practice material …

But, what’s the best approach? There are books, on-site classes and websites that offer online PTE training. The amount of choices are overwhelming!

I’ll be honest, applying for an online course is scary. I remember making the decision to finish my final secondary school classes online. It’s hard to want to trust a web page. Especially when you know you’ll have to rely on material and teachers that you’ve never seen!

Despite my fears, I took a “leap of faith” and enrolled. And, let me tell you: I didn’t regret a thing! I discovered the many benefits of online learning. I have no doubt that these advantages would be valuable to those wanting to pursue online PTE training.

Benefit #1

Online PTE training is flexible

Don’t be late to the classroom again! By studying online, you can schedule your own time around your study habits and lifestyle.

Learning doesn’t have to be painful … even if you’re studying for the high-stakes PTE!

Listen, there was something freeing about being able to study not only when I could, but also, when I wanted.

We all know the feeling of being tired and just “not in the mood”… As hard as we try, our mind keeps drifting off and our thoughts seem scattered. It feels useless to study when we’re in this state. This only leaves us feeling frustrated, confused and exhausted.

And then there are those moments when you feel on top of the world! You’re focused and truly understanding the material. You feel sharp and awake. When you are able to study in this state of mind you walk away feeling confident and empowered.

Online schooling allowed me to study on my own terms. I could set my study routines around when I felt most alert and focused. In fact, because of this, I got more out of one online biology course than all the other science classes I had in school combined!

A flexible schedule makes learning easier and more enjoyable. This same level of flexibility can be applied to PTE practice material when it meets the world of online training.

Benefit #2

One-on-one guidance: You’re the priority

Okay, one thing you have to know about me… I live on feedback. In a classroom, you would find me sitting in the front row and raising my hand every chance I get. So, I learn from actively participating in classroom discussions.

But this is difficult. In fact, in many situations, this is impossible. In a classroom setting the teacher so often has a room full of 30+ people to include! Even with all the enthusiasm in the world I have to reluctantly accept the fact that the teacher has very little time to address me individually.

And here is yet another reason why I like online courses … I got feedback and comments. My online teachers gave me answers to my questions.We had one-on-one conversations and discussed exactly what I was needing to work on. I no longer felt like just another unknown student.

Feedback is essential for progress. Especially when it comes to languages. Repeatedly doing mock tests and reviewing the same PTE practice material over and over is not the answer!

The idea that “practice makes perfect” is only partially correct. You need to know more than what you’ve gotten wrong. You must also understand why and how to fix it (read more about the importance of feedback and one way E2Language provides this). Our E2Language English experts will give you the guidance and attention you will need to succeed.

Benefit #3

The test is computerized

Online PTE Training
If you have a smartphone device, or you can get access to a computer with a stable internet connection, you’re ready to begin online learning!

Just like any situation the more familiar you are, the more comfortable you’re likely to be.

For example, If I have to use a specific kind of calculator in an exam, I will practice with that same kind when I study. I don’t want the extra stress of needing to figure out the layout and functionalities of an unfamiliar calculator on test day. I have to focus on the content I’ve prepared for!

Similarly, there is a clear advantage to enrolling in an online PTE training course. You’ll be able to see the practice questions in a similar format to the actual exam! Why spend your time hand writing and circling answers with a pen, when on test day, you’ll be asked to type and click your responses.

Studying from a book or in a classroom can make the material feel “hypothetical”. E2Language tries to make the PTE practice material as tangible as possible!

Visit our E2 PTE YouTube channel to get started on your PTE journey! 

Study PTE online and start preparing for the exam! Sign up for the E2Language PTE Free Trial. Give yourself greater flexibility and access to expert feedback by reaping the advantages of online learning. Take it from me, you won’t regret it!

Follow our social media for more information on the PTE! 

 

 

Written by: Olivia 

 

 

 

IELTS Speaking Preparation Overview | Tips & Topics for IELTS success!

This article on IELTS speaking preparation explores the 3 parts of the IELTS speaking section and provides a list of IELTS topics along with useful tips for test day! 

The speaking section of the IELTS test is included in both the general and academic IELTS. It lasts for less than 15 minutes and includes 3 parts which will be examined in more detail:

Part 1: Interview

Part 2: Presentation

Part 3: Discussion

Interview (IELTS speaking preparation)

In part 1, the examiner will ask you some simple questions about yourself, such as:

  • What did you study?
  • What do you do for work?
  • What’s your hometown like?
  • What kind of food do you like?
  • Do you enjoy going to the movies?

As you can see from these examples, these questions are pretty easy to answer. The trick is, not to give answers that are too short.

For example, if the examiner asks you what kind of food you like, try to elaborate. Rather than just saying: “I like all kinds of food”, you can say something like: “I have eclectic taste in food. I enjoy trying foods from different countries and experiencing their flavours. I especially like Greek, Italian and Thai food”.

Presentation (IELTS speaking preparation)

In part 2, you will be given a task card that looks something like this:

ielts speaking preparation

As you can see from the example, the topic will always be related to a personal experience you have had. You will have 1 minute to note down ideas and then you will be given 2 minutes to speak continuously on the topic.

Discussion (IELTS speaking preparation)

Part 3 is a discussion.

Here, the examiner will ask you some more questions related to the topic of part 2. But these questions will be more abstract and related to your opinion rather than your experience.

For example, based on the topic above, some discussion questions could be:

  • In your opinion, are national celebrations an important part of a country’s identity?
  • Are any traditional celebrations in your country disappearing? Why do you think that is?
  • Do you think these days that celebrations in your country are over-commercialised or have lost their original meaning?

IELTS speaking topics

There are common themes in IELTS speaking topics, though the specifics of each question vary.

See a list of common themes below!

ielts speaking preparation

The examiner is looking for four things:

#1 Fluency and coherence: Your ability to speak fluently without hesitation, repetition or loss of ideas

#2 Lexical resource: The range and accuracy of your vocabulary

#3 Grammatical range and accuracy: Your ability to speak using accurate complex and simple sentences without serious grammatical errors

#4 Pronunciation: Your ability to be understood when you speak

IELTS Speaking Test Tips

Below are some useful tips for test-day preparation:

Tip #1  Develop your answers by giving examples. This means using personal experiences or knowledge to add more information to your answers and keep your speech fluid.

Tip #2  Give your opinion. This will show the examiner that you can think in English and express yourself on a variety of topics.

Tip #3  Keep your speech fluent. Try to stick to things you know so you don’t get stuck. This will also show the examiner that you can speak at length without too much hesitation.

Tip #4  Ask for clarification. This is not a listening test. If you don’t hear a question, or don’t understand it, it is totally acceptable to ask the examiner to repeat or explain the question. This means you will be able to answer it properly.

Tip #5  Although you need to be prepared, try not to repeat memorized answers. You will come across as robotic and unnatural. The examiner will also know and will change the questions.

Before test-day:

Tip #6  Practice, practice, practice! Role play at home with a friend or family member. Let them be the examiner and you practice answering questions about a variety of different topics. You can also record yourself and listen back to see where you can improve (fluency, vocabulary, etc.).

Tip #7  Read about general topics to broaden your general knowledge. This will help you generate ideas during the test and come up with examples from your own knowledge and experience.

This will have the widening your vocabulary for reading, as well as giving you knowledge that you can then use to generate ideas for your essay. So, read a blog or social media article per day, or watch at least one Ted talk or documentary daily on the topics listed above.

Find further IELTS preparation tips and strategies here

Check out the E2 IELTS YouTube Channel, with loads of methods and strategies including this one on IELTS speaking preparation! 

For more formal test preparation, professional IELTS coaching from experts will help you apply the essay formula to different essay questions. Feedback is another important aspect of preparing for the IELTS writing task.

Learning IELTS online with E2language will provide you with effective methods, practice essays and expert feedback to feel confident and prepared to write your IELTS essay.

Follow our social media for more IELTS resources and updates!

 

 

Written by Jamal A. 

 

PTE Scoring for Newbies: Key Questions Answered!

PTE Scoring is a little confusing at first, but crucial to your understanding of how to approach your PTE exam.

This post from E2Language breaks down the PTE Scoring and provides insight into the different skill components required of you. 

How is the PTE scored? We get this question a lot. And no wonder! The curious students who ask about PTE Scoring just get pointed towards the PTE Score Guide. But informative guides are LONG and hard to read (I don’t know about you, but, I still have not read my school’s Student Handbook). 

Having a good understanding of PTE scoring is important. It can give you insights on where to focus during the exam. So, I am going to outline the basics of what a PTE Newbie will need to know about how the exam is scored.

PTE Scoring
Say goodbye to human error, the PTE items are machine graded.

The Basics

The PTE Academic reports an ‘Overall Score’ which is made up of a combination of what they call ‘Communicative Skills Scores’ and ‘Enabling Skills Scores’. These scores are given on a scale that runs 10–90 (with 90 being the perfect score). PTE items are all machine graded.

What are “Communicative” and “Enabling” Skills?

The PTE measures the following Communicative Skills:

  1. Listening
  2. Reading
  3. Speaking
  4. Writing

Different tasks throughout the exam will impact each of these scores.

The Enabling Skills are:

Grammar: The order that words are written in a sentence. Ex. Is the action verb written in the correct place?

Oral Fluency: The pacing of your speech. Ex. Is it smooth? Do you sound natural? Or are there a lot of pauses or stutters? Find our article on “How to Increase Oral Fluency” for tips on increasing your English fluency.

Pronunciation: The clarity of your words. Ex. Can a native speaker understand you easily?

Spelling: Spelling has to be correct

Vocabulary: The right words are used when appropriate

Written Discourse: Clear and correctly developed ideas/concepts in written form Ex. Are the ideas organized? How easy is it to understand and follow the text?

How do “Enabling Skills” affect “Communicative Skills”?

PTE scoring is complex. Your overall score is given by balancing all the skills that are evaluated through the exam’s tasks.

You can think of Enabling Skills as the “building blocks” or foundation of the Communicative Skills. An example of this is how during a speaking task your “Oral Fluency” and “Pronunciation” will directly affect your Speaking score.

Make sure that you are working to strengthen your enabling skills to boost your overall performance!

PTE Scoring
The PTE enabling and communicative skills are testing both the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

PTE Scoring can be thought of as a 3-step-process

It is important to FOLLOW DIRECTIONS! If the task says to answer in a two-three word response; do that! Remember, the PTE is graded automatically by a computer. So, if it detects a long sentence where a participant was supposed to answer in a short response they will not receive any credit past “content”.

You can think of the grading system in a 3-step process:

Step 1:

Content is scored (Did you answer with the appropriate response/include the correct content? For example,  if you were instructed to describe a diagram but speak about an unrelated topic, your content would be incorrect)

         -If ‘Content’ is CORRECT then ‘Format’ is assessed-

Step 2: Form is scored (Did you answer “in the right way”?As I explained if the prompt asks for any specifics these guidelines must be followed. For example, a “summarize written text” response must be written in only one sentence.)

-If ‘Form’ is CORRECT then the other skills will be scored-

Step 3: Applicable skills are evaluated and marked (Depending on the task different ‘Skills’ will apply.)

This 3-step content-form-skills method makes it important to answer with the RIGHT content and form. You’ve studied so hard to improve your grammar and spelling, don’t waste your chance to boost your score, by neglecting the form in which you need to answer. By answering in the wrong form/content you will automatically lose the opportunity to gain any marks on critical skills (Spelling, Grammar, Writing etc).

Everyone always talks about “NEGATIVE” PTE Scoring

There are three sections on the PTE that use “Partial Credit” scoring to deduct (-1 point) for every incorrect answer.  

The three tasks are:

  1. Multiple Choice, Choose Multiple Answers (READING SECTION)
  2. Multiple Choice, Choose Multiple Answers (LISTENING SECTION)
  3. Highlight Incorrect Words (LISTENING SECTION)

There’s a common misconception that these tasks are graded with ‘negative scoring’. I will explain why, in fact, these tasks are not truly negatively scored.

The scoring is as follows:

CORRECT Response 1 point
INCORRECT Response -1 point

NOW, the minimum (lowest possible mark) you will receive for any of these questions is 0. That’s right! ZERO.

Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers:

There’s a lot of confusion about how ‘Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers’ is scored on the PTE for both Reading and Listening.

The below explanation has been officially confirmed by Pearson.

Example: Suppose a question has four answer options: A, B, C and D.

A and B are the correct options.

-If you select A and B, you will score 2 points.

-If you select A, you will score 1 point.

*No points are lost for not selecting B*

-If you select B, you will score 1 point.

*No points are lost for not selecting A*

-If you select A, B and C, you will score 2-1 = 1 point.

-If you select A, B, C and D, you will score 2-2 = 0 points

Obviously, you should try to select all the correct answer options and avoid selecting any incorrect answer options to maximize your scores. However, if you want to be cautious, you can select just one answer option.

Highlight Incorrect Words:

This section has the same ‘Partial Credit’ (-1 point) for every incorrect answer. This task is graded in the same way as ‘Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers’. These sections are nothing to freak out about. It is impossible to receive a negative mark.

Having lots of questions can be scary, so, we wrote this post to clear up some of that PTE scoring confusion. And by now, you shouldn’t be a “Newbie” anymore. You have to focus on studying NOT worrying. So, if you have any further questions please leave us a comment!  

Subscribe to the E2 PTE Youtube Channel to watch methods webinars and live mock tests like this one! 

Follow our social media for more PTE resources and updates:

 

 

Written by: Olivia 

The PTE Listening Test: Tips for a PTE 90

The PTE Listening Test can be tricky if you don’t pay attention to the prompts and lack good preparation. If you are looking for PTE Listening material to study with, this article will be a good guide for you. 

I also recommend the E2Language Mini Mock Tests and PTE listening practice tests to develop useful methods and practice for all the PTE tasks.

The PTE Listening Test tasks:

  • Summarise spoken text
  • Listening multiple choice, choose multiple answersPTE Listening Test
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Highlight correct summary
  • Listening multiple choice, choose single answer
  • Select missing word
  • Highlight incorrect words
  • Write from dictation

Each of the 8 tasks on the PTE Listening Test focuses on testing different skills.

Summarise spoken text 

It is what it says: a 35- 40 second summary of a spoken text. It tests your ability to take notes; identify a topic; summarise the main ideas; organise your sentences and paragraphs in a logical way; use correct spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Actively listen from the first word—not wait until it makes sense! It may not make sense until the end, in which case at least you will know what the topic is. So, note the keywords from the moment the speaker starts speaking. A keyword may be a single word or short phrase.

Listen for keywords …

Keywords may include main ideas, dates, people’s names, place names, statistics and numbers. Write these down on your erasable notepad.

After you have listened to the spoken text and taken notes, you will have ten seconds to organise them. Group similar ideas together. You need 5 to 6 good keywords and you probably have more notes than you need. Be selective to capture the main ideas from the text.

E2Language members are provided with a framework to use. Select your keywords from your notes and insert them into the framework. Elaborate on one or two sentences.

Watch the time …

Keep a strict eye on the time and aim to finish at 35 seconds. Practise watching the time as you speak. This will let you know that you need to shorten your sentences or elaborate a little on your keywords. The more good practise you do, the more prepared you will be, so ensure you practise the tasks under Listening, Summarise Spoken Text on the E2language website.

You will be awarded marks for content, form, grammar, vocabulary, spelling. Marks count for Listening and Writing.

Listening multiple choice, choose multiple answers

In this task, you will be tested on your ability to comprehend the main ideas in a text and determine which connections between pieces of information. There is negative marking where points are deducted for incorrect options. So, if a test taker scores 2 points for correct options, but the scores -2 for two incorrect options chosen, they will score 0 points overall for the item.

Skim the possible options. Listen very carefully. You may take notes to help you focus and remember, especially names and numbers. Read the options and eliminate the incorrect ones, select the correct ones. Check your answers and submit.

You will be scored 1 for each correct response and -1 for each incorrect response. 0 is the minimum score.

PTE listening test checklist

Fill in the blanks

This task tests your ability to understand academic vocabulary and identify words and phrases appropriate in a context.

The best way to improve your score in this section of the PTE Listening Test is to improve your vocabulary. Read three articles from www.sciencedaily.com daily and use the E2Pronounce app as a dictionary to find the meaning of words that you are unfamiliar with. By reading you will increase your vocabulary which will improve your reading as well as your listening comprehension.

You will be scored 1 for each word spelled correctly, with 0 the minimum score.

Highlight Correct Summary

This task tests your ability to identify a topic, follow a sequence of information and comprehend a different accent.

You will listen to a text of 60-90 seconds. You will then select the correct summary from a list of possible options. Only one summary will be correct. The other options may be similar but there will only ever be one correct option.

Read every word in each option before you make your selection. Sometimes some words or phrases that you heard are in each option, but do not be tempted to select the first option that you think is correct on this basis, but rather read each option from the first word to the last. The meaning may change during the sentence!

Marks are awarded as 1 for a correct response and 0 for an incorrect response. These marks count towards both your PTE Listening Test and PTE Reading Test results.

Multiple Choice, Choose Single Answer

Similar to the Multiple Choice, Choose Multiple Answer, in this task, you will be tested on your ability to comprehend the main ideas in a text and determine connections between pieces of information. Skim the possible options. Listen very carefully. You may take notes to help you focus and remember, especially names and numbers. Read the options and eliminate the incorrect ones, select the correct one. Check your answer and submit.

Marking is 1 for correct response and 0 for an incorrect response.

Select Missing Word

In the PTE listening ‘select missing word’ task, you will be tested on identifying a topic, theme or main ideas and form a conclusion from what a speaker says. As the instructions state:

You will hear a recording about (topic). At the end of the recording the last word or group of words has been replaced by a beep. Select the correct option to complete the recording.

Do not take notes. Listen for meaning. You will either know or not know the answer.

Practise often from the E2Language site to build your confidence.

Marks are 1 for a correct response and 0 for an incorrect response.

Highlight Incorrect Words

You will hear a recording and read a transcript of the recording which differs from what the speaker says. You will click on the words in the transcript that are different.

Negative marking applies. So, if you score 2 points for correct options but then score -2 for two incorrect options you will score 0 points overall for the item.

Listen and be prepared to act quickly. If you are uncertain about whether to click on the word or not, do not click on the word.

Write from Dictation

Here you will be tested on academic vocabulary, follow an oral sequencing of information and use of correct spelling.

You will be asked to listen to a sentence and type the sentence in a box exactly as you hear it. You will only hear the sentence once, so listen very carefully and write as much of the sentence as you can.

Listen carefully and write the sentence down on the erasable pad. You can then type the sentence on to the screen. If you are a very good typist then you can type directly on to the screen as you listen. Work quickly and accurately.

Marks are awarded as 1 for each word correctly spelled. 0 for each incorrect or misspelled word. Marks count towards the PTE Listening Test and PTE Writing Test.

To do well in the PTE Listening Test, register and attend the E2Language Live Listening Classes. This will give you a chance to complete a PTE listening practice test.

Our E2 PTE YouTube Channel has some useful PTE Listening  videos, including this one:

Remember to familiarise yourself with each part of the PTE Listening Test and practise to ensure that you know what each section is asking you to do. Understand the marking, and work as accurately and efficiently as you can.

Feel free to leave a comment and I look forward to seeing you in a live class or a tutorial!

Follow our social media for more PTE resources and updates!

 

 

Written by David Williamson

 

PTE Exam Tips: How Music Can Improve your PTE Score

It’s time for some creative PTE exam tips!

When studying for the PTE academic, you will do everything you can to achieve the score you need.

This blog will look at a more creative approach that will improve your English language skills and confidence before you write the PTE exam.

What is it? It’s listening to music and singing your heart out!

PTE Exam Tips
“Where words fail, music speaks” (Hans Christian Andersen)

PTE exam tips: POP music

Songs are often very repetitive, which can aid long-term memory. Just think about all those times you got a song stuck in your head! The rhythmical aspect of music also aids rote memorization.

Research shows that students may retain more vocabulary when it is presented through a song. In the early 90’s, Murphey (1992) conducted research on the effects pop song lyrics had on ESL learners. He discovered that the songs had many linguistic features that enabled learners to acquire the second language of English more readily.

The songs contained common, short words and a lot of personal pronouns (94% of the songs had first person, I, and were written at the level of a fifth grader). The language used was good to start conversations (imperatives and questions made up to 25% of the sentence structure) and the songs were sung at a slower beat, making it easier to understand the lyrics. Murphey thought these factors helped the adult learners to connect with and understand the songs.

The results of Murphy’s research suggested that using pop songs to learn English in the ESL classroom is a successful tool as it can create a stimulating learning environment to develop listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing skills.  

Here are examples of pop songs that can improve your Language Skills:

“California Dreaming” by The Mamas and the Papas

Who doesn’t dream of sunny California on a cold winter’s day? With lyrics like “All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray,” this short song is great for learning vocabulary about the weather and seasons. It also demonstrates some good examples of conditional expressions.

“All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray.

I’ve been for a walk on a winter’s day.

I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A.;

California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day.”

“Manic Mondays” by The Bangles

This song is a little complex, and the vocabulary is a little advanced for beginner English learners, but the content is right where it needs to be to benefit English learners just starting out.

The song outlines typical daily routines, and has helpful day-to-day routine vocabulary. And besides, who doesn’t wish it was Sunday? It really is the fun day.

This song is also good for seeing the past tense and the past progressive in action. The past progressive is formed with the past tense of the verb to be plus the present participle (a verb ending in -ing). An example of this is in the first verse: “I was kissing Valentino by a crystal blue Italian stream.”

PTE Exam Tips: Vocabulary building

Music is a great teacher when it comes to learning vocabulary.

A recent study took place to see the effectiveness of music on vocabulary acquisition, language usage, and meaning for mainland Chinese ESL learners, and the results were very clear in identifying that English language achievement scores in the area of vocabulary were much higher in the subjects who were exposed to the most music. 

Practice activity:

Go to this link to practice your listening skills through song: http://www.esolcourses.com/content/topics/songs/beatles/here-comes-the-sun.html

PTE Exam Tips: Pronunciation

Turning up the music and singing along is also a great way to work on you language fluency. You don’t have to be the next Elvis Presley, just try singing along to some of your favourite tunes! This will help you to loosen up your vocals and find rhythm within the language.

Top reasons to use songs when learning English:

  • Songs are accessible examples of spoken English.
  • The rhymes in songs provide listeners with repetition of similar sounds.
  • You may feel more fluent singing along to song lyrics than speaking a foreign language, so it’s a way to build confidence.
  • Music with lyrics stimulates both sides of the brain, helping you become more engaged in your English learning.
  • Most lyrics need to be interpreted, and regular practice of this may improve prediction and comprehension skills.
  • Music can help language learners to learn good pronunciation. Melodies and rhymes guide learners to speak in a native cadence.
  • A range of colloquial language can easily be introduced through songs.

Music may not teach you the methods you need to pass your PTE exam but it is a fun way to improve the language skills you’ll need to achieve your desired score!

 

Written by Michelle Anderson.

I’m Nervous About my IELTS Exam

So I’m taking my first IELTS exam this weekend…

I have a Masters degree in linguistics from a top university. I’ve been teaching English for nearly 10 years. I know my grammar inside out and back to front. I have a large vocabulary because I read widely; I studied English literature in my undergraduate degree and English teaching as a diploma. I read in English constantly. Not only that, but I’m a native English speaker. I was born and raised in Australia.

But you know what? I’m nervous… I’m nervous because I’m taking the IELTS exam on Saturday and I don’t know what to expect. I’m worried about the question types. I’m worried what the exam paper will look like. I’m worried about the answer sheet. I’m worried about the pencils. I’m worried about the essay question I will get – will it be an advantages / disadvantages essay?

(For me, I’m not so worried about the English language content part of the exam – that should be easy for me. What I’m more concerned about is the test format.)

IELTS exam
Here I am..looking nervous!

Nervousness is a funny thing. It’s feels the same as anxiety and I think it comes from fear. What should I do to relieve it? I want it to go away… I can ignore it and hope that it will go away but I don’t think that will work. I’ve tried that before – many times in fact! The thoughts will come creeping back no matter how much I tell them to leave. And each thought about my IELTS will be accompanied by a feeling – a feeling of nervousness, a feeling of unknowing. I don’t think ignoring the thought of my exam will help me. It’s not possible. These thoughts are telling me something.

What are they telling me? They’re telling me to prepare. That’s the only thing left to do, actually. But to prepare I need to stop being lazy. So I’m stuck with a choice. I can live with my anxiety and ignore it, which I know will be awful, or I can stop being lazy, put pen to paper and prepare for my exam.

Let’s talk confidence!

Confidence is interesting. Where does it come from? How is it that some people are confident while others struggle with their fears? Confidence, as far as I am concerned, comes from knowledge which produces ability.

Think about the first time that you drove a car. You were nervous. It was new. It was challenging. You didn’t know how to indicate, turn the wheel and use the accelerator. After driving for some time it becomes easy. It becomes easy because you are able. When you are able you have no fear anymore. The fears dissipate and you are left with confidence – confidence because you CAN DO! And the funny thing is about fear and nervousness is that once they are gone you forget that you actually had them!

Being able to do the IELTS exam is the same thing. Not knowing what the test will look and feel like brings about feelings of nervousness. But you know what? I’ve decided to prepare. Even though I’m a native English speaker I’ve started working through the content on E2Language.com.

I’ve started doing the practice tests because A) they are of the same level of difficulty as the actual IELTS exam, and more importantly for me, B) they look the same. The YES / NO / NOT GIVEN reading question for example looks like it will in the actual IELTS exam. If I practice it, therefore, I will not be scared of it. I will have a ‘game plan’. E2Language.com has even built an ‘answer sheet’ that looks exactly like the actual IELTS answer sheet. So when I practice, I practice with the next best thing.

IELTS exam

In addition to knowing what the test format will look like, which greatly relieves my nervousness, the IELTS content on E2Language.com also gives you METHODS.

Here is an example of one of our IELTS exam methods videos:

That’s what I’m talking about!

Put simply, the teachers tell you exactly HOW to answer each of the questions – step by step. This is gold. Really. I mean, could it be any better than A) knowing exactly what you are going to see and B) being told how to answer each of the questions step by step?

Most people freak out about IELTS Writing Task 1 – where you need to describe a graph. Without a model answer and a method to writing this, most people are terrified. I’m not. I know exactly what to do as soon as I see the graph… Step 1… Step 2… Step 3… etc. Done.

Good-bye nervousness! Hello confidence!

Another part of the IELTS that scares me is some of the reading questions, such as Yes / No / Not given… and True / False / Not given. They’re tricky! But the same rule applies… I know what to expect and I know how to do it.

24 hours ago I was nervous. But now I’m not only confident, I’m excited! Admittedly, there’s still a bit of fear there, but I’ll use that to motivate me on test day; I’ll use it to concentrate.

If you’re nervous you have two options: 1) You can choose to ignore your feelings and suffer or 2) you can start preparing now and start feeling confident. The good thing is about the second option is that not only will you feel a lot better but you will also score a lot higher as well.

Win-win!

 

Written by Jay Merlo.

The Truth About “PTE Hacks”

Are “PTE hacks” the answer to finally achieving the PTE 90 you’ve been dreaming about? Probably not… sorry. 

One of the things I have noticed most since beginning my journey with E2Language is just how obsessed people can get with finding PTE “hacks”. What are PTE hacks, you may ask? They are so-called secrets and tricks that will supposedly help you pass the PTE with minimal time and preparation. They are also usually written by people who have attempted the test a number of times. In fact, I’ve seen dozens of forums, videos and blogs promising all PTE hopefuls that studying and hard work is not as important as knowing the right PTE hacks and implementing them.

Now, as somebody who has taken the PTE (twice), studied the PTE format extensively and contributed to developing our E2Language PTE methods, I have something to say that will likely disappoint many of the people reading this. I hate to say it, but it’s the truth: you can’t “hack” your way through the PTE. And honestly, I often wonder why people spend so much time and energy looking for hacks when they could be preparing properly for the PTE instead!

PS: If you haven’t already, make sure you fill out this form for 4 practice PTE questions and answers:

PTE Hacks

With this in mind, here are 2 things that will get you a heck of a lot further to your goal PTE score:

Give Yourself Enough Time to Prepare.

Something I notice with many people who sign up with E2Language is how little time they have given themselves to prepare for the test. Many new students will say to me, “I’m writing my PTE next week and I am scoring in the 50’s on all my practice tests. I need a 75! HELP!” Now, I absolutely understand that people lead busy lives and can’t spend their whole lives buried in PTE materials (unlike me!), but you need to know that giving yourself such a restricted timeline is a massive mistake. Here’s the vicious cycle that I see happen to many of our time-pressed students:

    • I booked my PTE for next week. I’ll do all the studying I can and do my best. If I don’t get the score I need, I’ll just retake it a few weeks later.
    • I did a couple of practice tests and got discouraged. I’m taking the test tomorrow and I keep scoring 15-20 points lower than what I need. I need tips fast!!
    • I found some PTE hacks and memorized them. I figure this is better than nothing.
    • I took the test and didn’t achieve my score. My confidence is hurting and I’m really shocked at how badly I did. I’m going to book another test in 2 weeks and try again.
    • Repeat. I have now taken the PTE 6 times.

Unfortunately, what often happens here is that students will continue to write a PTE every couple of weeks until they either give up, or finally achieve their score after 5-10 attempts. In both scenarios, these students end up hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars poorer.

Even if you have high English proficiency and use English in your everyday life, you should be giving yourself at least a month to practice and prepare for the PTE. You need time to pinpoint and practice your weaknesses, learn the format and methods, get comfortable with time limits and build your confidence. Even for native speakers, a week or two to prepare is pushing it.

How do you know how much time is enough time? Well, our E2Language tutors can help you with that! We work with our students to create realistic, personalized study plans that suit their specific needs and goals. You can learn more about our online PTE courses here.

Learn a Method, Not a “Hack”

I say this so much that I feel like a broken record, but here it is again: you need to develop and perfect a method for each PTE task. A so-called PTE hack like “just keep talking without stopping” is not actually helping you build any skills. What you need is a step-by-step method that gives you confidence in your ability, not tips that worked for one random person, one specific time! Take a look at one of our webinars on YouTube if you want to have an understanding of how you can develop useful methods that work. For example, here is our “Reading and Writing: Fill in the Blanks” webinar:

A Few PTE Hacks That Are Total Myths:

The Myth: You should try using a variety of accents (i.e. American and British) to maximize your chances of the computer picking up your pronunciation correctly.

The Truth: This is a suggestion I saw on a PTE blog awhile ago, and it is just completely untrue. The PTE software is designed to pick up a vast variety of accents, so stick to whatever is comfortable to you and don’t worry about having to sound a certain way.

The Myth: You should skip any difficult words in “read aloud” so that you don’t say them incorrectly and lose points.

The Truth: Skipping words on the “read aloud” task will lose you the same amount of points as mispronouncing words. It’s better to at least attempt to pronounce a difficult word in this scenario; you may actually get it right and keep all your points!

The Myth: For the “multiple choice, choose multiple answers” tasks, you should select all the answer options when you don’t know the correct answers. This way, you’ll get full points.

The Truth: This myth is absolutely ridiculous and I hope nobody has fallen for it! If PTE questions were actually scored this way, everybody would be using this trick! In actual fact, you will get zero points if you select all the options on “multiple choice, multiple answer” questions.

Instead, I would suggest that you be as conservative as possible. If you are certain you know one answer, but are unsure about the other options, stick with the answer you know and leave the other options blank. You get a point for every correct option you choose, but you lose a point for every incorrect option you choose. Therefore, if you have one right answer and one wrong answer, they cancel each other out. Thus, it’s better to pick one you know is correct than to take a chance on one that might be wrong.

So there you have it. We all want the magic formula to help us answer hard questions, but the truth is that practice, realistic goals and sufficient time are the true magic formula to success. They may take longer and be more work than hoped, but they will not fail you. Unfortunately, PTE hacks will.

Do you have a question about any PTE hacks you may have heard about? Tell me about it!

Follow us on social media for all the latest PTE tips, strategies and updates!

 

 

2 Secrets You Should Know Before You Take the PTE Exam

It has now been a couple of months since I took the PTE exam for the second time, but I still find myself thinking about it quite a lot. It’s not so much a test as an experience— one I am not likely to forget anytime soon! My PTE adventure was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster (read about how I failed the PTE and then got a PTE 90), and in the end I took away two very important lessons. I would like to share them with you here, because I think they’re important to consider before you go in. I sure wish I had known them before I wrote the PTE exam for the first time!

Would you like to receive a free PTE study timetable and an online course recommendation from E2Language?

Fill out the form below and we’ll email you with a free study timetable to suit your needs, AND our recommendation for the right E2Language PTE preparation course for you!


PTE Exam Secret #1: You can’t just “wing it”

The first time I took the PTE exam, I assumed that as a native speaker I could just “see how it would go” and still come out with top marks. Unfortunately, I was very wrong, and this was reflected in my scores. Here is the problem: many people think to themselves “I speak great English, I have top marks in English at school and I practice with my friends all the time! An English proficiency test should be a piece of cake!” Here is the problem with that logic: English proficiency tests are not just about English.

PTE exam
My PTE Scores on My First Attempt.

There you have it, the secret is out! Remember, the PTE exam exists to assess your ability to operate in a completely English environment, be it a workplace, a university or a training program, and to do this you must be skilled at critical thinking, social interaction and problem solving. My old French teacher used to say, “it’s one thing to speak another language. It’s another to be yourself in another language”. I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken. Not only do you need to prove your proficiency, you need to prove your skills and strengths in a language that is not your own.

What you can do:

You’re smart. I know you’re smart. You know you’re smart. You can do this, even if it seems frustrating and discouraging. All you need to do is skill build and practice, and all that takes is time, patience, and a bit of determination! Here is a magic formula that will help get you get there:

1. Assess your skill level. Find practice questions and material (a great place to start is our PTE free trial) and get a sense of what the PTE exam questions will look like and what you find challenging. One thing that we see a lot at E2Language is people who are unrealistic about their skill level and their timeline. They are completely lost and confused about the PTE test format, yet they’ve booked their test for the next week and are determined that they can improve in an extremely short period of time.

IF YOU ARE IN THIS SITUATION, PLEASE RECONSIDER WHAT YOU ARE DOING!! This kind of thinking is a recipe for disaster. I know there are deadlines, I know you think you need to do it sooner rather than later, but it is NOT worth failing the PTE and losing confidence just because you wanted to get the exam over with.

2. Stop doing practice questions immediately! Now that you know where you stand with your level, it’s time to work on your weak points. Our PTE experts can help you with this. Not only can they work with you to create a realistic study plan that suits your needs and timeline, they can provide support in the areas where you struggle most. Many people don’t realize that they struggle in a broad area like reading or writing because they lack or have forgotten the building blocks (like basic grammar, sentence structure or format) that these broad skills are based on.

Our teachers can identify the missing building blocks and help you add them to your repertoire. Practicing questions over and over won’t help you improve. Building on your knowledge will. If you’re looking for free resources, check out our free PTE webinars and the PTE activities available on this blog!

3. Reassess yourself. After you’ve worked on your skills, you’ll need to know where you stand again. Feedback from your E2Language tutor is an excellent way to assess your new level. Now is also the time to try out some more practice questions and get a sense of your improvement. Once you are comfortable with your improvement in your weaker areas, it’s time to get serious about practice questions.

A lot of people think that mock tests will get them to PTE success. I have to dispel this myth. Mock tests are useful WHEN you know what you are doing. When you are using them as your only means of preparation, they are a complete waste of your time.

PTE Exam
My PTE Score After Skill Building and Using the E2Language.com Methods!

PTE Exam Secret #2: Surviving the PTE testing environment is half the battle

I really don’t want to scare you, but I also want to be completely honest; the PTE exam centers are not even a little bit fun. They are stressful environments filled with nervous people, security measures, and (most importantly) lots of NOISE. 

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it over and over again: most of us do not prepare adequately or appropriately for this environment. We are trained to find quiet, comfortable places to study, and PTE exam centers could not be further from this setting. You must sit in a cramped cubicle for over 3 hours with the deafening sounds of other voices and frantically tapping keyboards surrounding you. You can’t eat or even drink water during this time, and any stretches or excessive movement you make could put you under suspicion of cheating.

What you can do:

1. You need to get used to studying in chaos. Record yourself practicing a speaking task in a bustling café, try a reading exercise on a noisy tram, or listen to fascinating podcasts in a public park with an outdoor band playing 10 metres away. It sounds a bit silly, but I promise you it will pay off. Your brain will start to get used to tuning out irrelevant information and focusing on the task at hand. It will be frustrating at first, but you will notice a difference in how you handle distractions.

PTE Exam
Try studying in a busy café to get used to noise.

2. Along the same lines as training your brain to tune out chaos, you can try a nifty trick I learned back when I worked in a neuroscience lab. Instead of rushing through the PTE instructions and starting the speaking section as soon as you can, take your time. Wait until you hear people around you begin their speaking tasks, and give yourself another minute after that. Your brain will do this amazing thing called “habituation”, or in other words it will get accustomed to the sounds around you and will start to ignore them. This will make it a lot easier for you to focus on your own task at hand.

When I wrote the PTE for the first time, I was the first to begin the speaking section. It was going okay until other people started speaking, and then I was completely thrown off. Why? My brain did something called “sensitization”. As soon as a new stimulus was introduced (in this case, 5 other voices booming through the small space), my brain fixated on it and allowed me to become distracted. The second time I wrote the PTE, I was the last to begin the speaking section and I noticed a significant difference in my level of concentration and focus.

PTE Exam
Wait to start the speaking section until you hear other people begin.

3. Take the PTE earlier rather than later. Again, this is basic neurobiology. Your brain activity is at its peak in the early morning, and around lunchtime it declines rapidly along with your body temperature, making you sleepy and less responsive and productive. Jay and I took our first PTE at 12 pm after eating lunch and I’m pretty sure I almost dozed off by the time I got to the listening section! I did my second PTE exam attempt at 9 am and I felt sharp, alert and ready.

I hope my insights can help you on your PTE exam day! Best of luck!

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Written by: Kaia

I’m Going to Sit the TOEFL iBT!

A funny thing is happening to me this week.

After eighteen years of giving TOEFL classes and helping students on three continents pass three different iterations of the TOEFL test (pen-and-paper, computer-based and internet-based), I am going to go down to the local test centre with my colleague Jamal and actually sit the TOEFL iBT. That’s right, I’m dedicating four-and-a-half hours of my precious Sunday afternoon to find out first-hand just what it is that my students have been making such a fuss about all these years.

I should point out that Jamal is much keener on this than I am. To start off, she loves doing tests. (Just between us, I think she might be a bit soft in the head!) It’s not that I’m afraid of the TOEFL iBT – heaven knows I’m more familiar with this test than anything else I’ve ever worked on – but now my knowledge is being put under the microscope. I’m getting butterflies just thinking about returning to the office with a lower than expected score. How on earth would my ego cope?

Colin

TOEFL
Wish us luck!

So, which areas of the TOEFL iBT am I most worried about and why? It’s a question that does not have a simple answer. Broadly speaking, I’m a little worried about all of it, so I’ll touch on a few things in each section that are going to make the next few nights a bit more restless than they ought to be:

1) TOEFL Writing

I am a fairly confident writer, though being a pedantic fellow, I am happier to proofread other people’s texts. Small grammar mistakes bother me to an irrational extent. For example, at my daughter’s school there has been a sign offering “Hot Meat Pie’s” since the start of the year. It’s all I can do to stop myself from spray-painting it out. I’ve complained to the administration, to no avail.

My concern about the writing in the TOEFL iBT is time management. There are two pieces of writing to get through in a total of 45 minutes. How will I manage the planning, writing and proof-reading under such pressure? I have been timing myself this week under virtual test conditions and I can see some improvement, but I am still dissatisfied with the quality of my essays.

2) TOEFL Listening

The TOEFL iBT is more “international” than its predecessors. In a previous post I wrote about how it’s being accepted by the Australian immigration authorities as an alternative to the IELTS or the PTE. This means that there are now a wider variety of accents being heard in the test itself. Still, it is undeniably a North American test which is chock-a-block with North American accents. Exposed as we are to such accents through television, movies and music, it is not the biggest challenge to understand what they’re talking about. Even so, I am a native speaker of The Queen’s English (the capital letters are intentional!) and can find some ‘Americanisms’ both confusing and annoying.

The TOEFL iBT listening section includes conversations between two or three people, so I’m a bit worried that the way they speak to each other might cause me a few headaches.

3) TOEFL Reading

I have been out of the university system for quite a few years, and this test is very much academically-focused. The reading for the TOEFL iBT is fairly extensive – each text is around 700 words in length – and it goes into quite a lot of detail on a wide range of topics. There’s no denying that, in order to do well in the TOEFL iBT, you have to be a bit of a Jack-of-all-trades.

Someone who is used to the reality of university life where lectures, seminars and research are a part of their day-to-day routine would not be overawed by the prospect of reading through page after page of different articles. Needless to say, I have already taken a TOEFL practice reading test online, and plan to do so again before next Sunday.

4) TOEFL Speaking

Like most native speakers who find themselves taking a high-stakes English test, we almost resent being asked to prove how well we speak our own language. I mean, really! Talk about adding insult to injury. As a teacher of English as a foreign language, though, I can see the trap that so many of my peers stumble into. More often than not they fail to speak to the test. What does this mean? In the TOEFL iBT it means addressing the topic, referring to the theme throughout and speaking in a manner that is clear and comprehensible to anyone listening in possession of a reasonable level of English.

On top of this, there is the added anxiety of having to talk to a machine. I have every sympathy for test-takers who complain about this aspect of the test, but in truth it is a valid skill. Think about how many times we have to communicate over the phone or leave recorded messages. I’ll do my best to come over well in the speaking, but I am already starting to squirm at the thought of how silly I’m going to sound.

I’ve been taking my preparation for the test seriously. In fact, I have been going over a TOEFL mock test paper this very evening. Also, with all of my professional experience, I am very familiar with what I need to study for the TOEFL iBT. Referring to our E2Language.com TOEFL materials doesn’t hurt either!

So think of me next Sunday as I head down to the TOEFL test place with my colleague: I promise I’ll let you know how I get on (even if it’s bad news!).

 

 

Written by Colin David.

The Importance of Good PTE & IELTS Preparation

When it comes to PTE or IELTS preparation, good teaching, good materials and good methods are absolutely crucial.

Some of the stuff I read on the internet about how to pass the IELTS or the PTE is astonishingly bad. Plus, some of the material that I see on the internet is completely wrong – not to mention confusing!

 

IELTS Preparation

If you are preparing for your IELTS or PTE then you need to be very, very careful about whom you are getting your advice from and where you are getting your practice materials from. Taking the wrong advice and practicing using the wrong materials can do much more damage than good.

PTE & IELTS Preparation: The Importance of Good Teaching

It’s easy to become an English teacher, especially for a native-English speaker in another country. In many countries the so-called “teacher” only has to speak the language to become a teacher. Many of these people have never studied English language and do not know their own language the way that an English teacher should.

You have to be critical when it comes to choosing your teacher. Your test is extremely important. Teachers need to be trusted, but you shouldn’t trust all teachers. How would you know if the teacher is giving you the right advice?

At E2Language we only use experienced and well qualified teachers. But more than that, we use teachers who have experience actually taking the PTE.

Here’s my report card from the day I sat the PTE:

IELTS Preparation

If you’re thinking of doing an IELTS preparation course or a PTE preparation course, ask your teacher if he or she has ever taken an English test – even if they are a native English speaker. Don’t be shy. It’s extremely important that your teacher has the experience necessary to teach you properly. And, please, don’t listen to non-English teachers tell you how to do the IELTS or the PTE or any other test. Just because someone aced the PTE does not mean that they know how to teach it to you. Doing and teaching are very different things!

PTE & IELTS Preparation: The Importance of Good Practice Materials

The other day a student sent me an email asking if his answers were correct. His answers were fine but the questions were wrong! The questions, in fact, did not resemble the actual PTE practice questions at all. I asked him where he got them from and he told me they were free on the internet…

It’s not only a waste of time to practice bad questions, but it can actually be deleterious – or bad for your progress.

Imagine you are preparing for PTE Speaking: Answer Short Question and you come across this question:

Please talk about a time when you went to the seaside.

Well, it’s wrong and it will teach you a bad habit: to answer in more than one or two words. You need to be skeptical of anything that is floating around on the internet. Just because it is free does not mean that it is good. This is an important test and you should ‘invest’ in your preparation – not be stingy.

Writing good quality test questions is incredibly difficult. Did you know that it takes a team of experts about three months to write a recent IELTS exam? That’s right. It has to be written and checked and double checked ad nauseam.

When you get practice materials from the internet you do not know who wrote them and 99% of the time the person who wrote them does not know what they’re doing. You may get a rude shock when you walk into the exam and the exam questions that you see are far different from the ones that you were practicing!

PTE & IELTS Preparation: The Importance of Good Methods

Methods are critical. If you have a method then you can go into your test confident because you will know what to do. However, if you go into a test with the wrong method, then you may go in confident but you may come out shattered. I’ve seen some bad methods getting around, especially in PTE. I once saw a “tip” from someone saying that you should read as quickly as you possibly can. WHAT?! That’s crazy. That’s a recipe for a low score. That is NOT how the PTE scoring works.

The methods that E2Language devises are solid. We spend hours reverse engineering the PTE score guides and IELTS criteria to determine the best way to answer the questions. Plus, our methods are tested. Not only have our teachers scored straight 90s in PTE but we are now getting HEAPS of testimonials that the methods work for our students as well.

Summary

In short, you need to make sure that you have a good teacher, who uses good materials and teaches good methods. It is these three things that will get you the PTE test result or IELTS results you need. If you cut corners and try to save money by using free materials from the internet then you will probably do more harm than good. You can trust the teachers, materials and methods at E2Language because they are tried and tested and they work. Our E2Language reviews speak for themselves. We are a team of experts who have cracked the code of the IELTS and PTE. 

 

Written by Jay Merlo