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!
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!
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