Note: This E2Language PTE article contains some complex and unique English expressions (idioms). These expressions are hyperlinked to their definitions to help you if necessary. Make sure you click on an idiom if you do not understand it!
Priyanka began her E2Language PTE experience with us in early November, and unfortunately she came to us with an all-too-familiar story. A resident of Chennai, she works for an American multinational corporation and wants to migrate to Australia with her husband. Aiming for a minimum of 65 in every communicative skill, Priyanka had taken the Pearson Test of English four times since last February. She was educated in English, works in English every day, has many of her social interactions in English and regularly reads books and journals in English.
Priyanka’s First Attempts:
In January, in anticipation of her first test, she bought the blue and green covered ‘Official Guide to PTE Academic’. She was disappointed to discover that, while her overall score was 67, her speaking result was a mere 48. Unperturbed, Priyanka immediately applied for another test two weeks later. She went back to the blue Pearson book to prepare a little bit more, then went back to the same test centre for a second bite at the cherry. This time, Priyanka was shocked to discover that her score remained almost unchanged: 69 overall, and 50 in the speaking section.
Priyanka’s husband urged her to enrol in a PTE course at a local English school, which she did. The hours were not ideal, since her job requires her to be at the office at 8am and she cannot leave until after 6pm. Traffic and unpredictable meetings meant she almost never made it to class on time. Still, she tried her hardest for the duration of the four-week course and re-sat her test. Imagine how crushed she was to get exactly the same overall result as before, with a slightly worse result in her speaking! Priyanka was crushed. Investing in three tests, one book and a four-week course over three months, as well as the time she had put aside to study, all to no avail was unbearable. Her husband was outwardly trying to keep his cool, but having got 72 on his first attempt at the PTE, he was getting nervous.
On her fourth attempt, Priyanka did not even tell her husband. Believing that somehow fate had dealt her a bad hand in her previous tests (“Perhaps the questions were just exceptionally difficult in those PTEs?” “Maybe the system was rigged?”) she did no preparation and booked herself for a test at the earliest opportunity. Once again, failure. Priyanka was disappointed. She was unable to sleep and even missed a couple of days of work due to the stress. Her dream of moving to Australia with her husband was crumbling before her eyes, all because of the speaking section of the PTE.
How Priyanka Found Our E2Language PTE Course:
In late August, when Priyanka was almost at her breaking point, she decided to do a quick search for PTE material on YouTube. It had not occurred to her to look online for help before, but Jay’s webinar on Describe Image was exactly what she needed. She went to our website and registered for free to our E2Language PTE course before having a free information session, which is when I first ‘met’ her.
Priyanka told me her tale of woe and her desperation was clear. After a few minutes of talking her down from the metaphorical ledge, I suggested she take one of our packages. Obviously, her focus was on improving her speaking; in every one of her previous tests she had scored over 65 in each of the other skills. I mentioned several issues which are commonly experienced by south Asian speakers of English taking the PTE.
The five key things to remember are:
- Do not speak too quickly: adopt a speed which you can maintain for the duration of the test.
- Do not mumble: if the computer cannot hear you, the computer cannot mark you.
- Make sure your enunciation of words is clear: where does one word end and the next word begin?
- Make sure your tone sounds natural: you should not sound like a robot.
- Avoid all hesitations, umms and aahs: these are fatal to your speaking score.
South Asians like Priyanka are surrounded by English all the time. If it is not their first language, it practically is: at work, at play, at school, everywhere. But be warned! Constantly speaking, reading, writing and listening to English on a regular basis does not a test taker make. The algorithm that marks your speaking does not care whether you are from South America, south Asia or South Australia, so treat it with respect.
I also told Priyanka to take a very deep breath and not to fret. She had until the first semester of 2017 to obtain the PTE result she needed, so there was no need to rush her preparations and risk yet another failure. She and I had a shared objective: that her next PTE would be her last!
Priyanka’s E2Language PTE Training was a success!
As it turned out, participating in our webinars, practicing and recording herself every day, in addition to the two 1:1 tutorials she took with E2Language made all the difference. Priyanka retook the PTE in November and achieved an overall score of 78, including 71 in the speaking.
Priyanka’s story is not unusual. You need only look at the testimonials on the E2Language Facebook page to realise that. Being properly prepared for the PTE, learning our methods and knowing how to tackle all 20 sections of this challenging test makes all the difference in the world.
Is your story similar to Priyanka’s? Are you desperate to pass the PTE and discouraged by your past attempts? We can help. Share your story with us in the comments below.
Written by Colin David.