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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 ’90s, 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:

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.

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