Friday, November 9, 2018

My Experience on Preparing for PTE Academic Exam


After postponing for a long time, today (2018-11-09) I finally sat for the PTE Academic English exam. As I did not spend enough time to prepare and practice for the exam, I do not expect that I will get a good score 😅. I will have to wait 5 more business days to see the exam results. Until then, I decided to record some of the things which can be helpful to other future test takers.

Planning

As I was postponing the preparation for this exam many times (as there were lot of other interesting tech stuff to learn than 'boring' English 😃), I decided to just schedule the exam without any preparation 😟. I scheduled the exam about 3 weeks ago, so I only had around 2 weekends + 3 more weekdays to prepare for the exam.
PTE official website itself has lots of valuable resources for you to prepare for the exam (See https://pearsonpte.com/preparation/ ). This website even provides free practice questions which you can download to your computer (See “Offline practice test” in https://pearsonpte.com/preparation/resources/  page). I downloaded the PTE test takers hand book and other such documents available from the official website. This website also has good introductions (including short videos) about each question type. Then I created a separate folder for each question type to store the resources related to that question type. This helped me to easily focus on each question type individually. Then I created a plan to prepare for the exam within the short time period available before the exam.
For PTE, there are two main areas you must focus.
  •  English enabling skills (Grammar, Vocabulary, Pronunciation, etc)
  • How to answer each question type

Preparation

Improving English Enabling Skills 

In addition to prepare for answering the questions, you must improve your core English enabling skills such as grammar, vocabulary (PTE exam focuses on academic related vocabulary), and pronunciation.
For grammar, I followed an online video course from Udemy website (by Anthony Kelleher). For vocabulary, I followed a pdf which contained "the top 400 words from PTE vocabulary". But I think my academic related vocabulary was already good due to the day-to-day work I do for my job and due to lot of reading I do, so you may have to spend more time to study more words targeted in PTE vocabulary.
For the pronunciation, I learned two techniques. First one is, to google whenever I find a word which I didn't know how to pronounce, and then click the "speaker"🔉 button in the Google 🔎 result page to listen how to pronounce it. The second technique was to use the Voice Recorder software available in Windows OS to record my own voice saying the specific word and then to listen to the recorded voice to compare it with actual expected pronunciation to identify whether I have to improve the pronunciation. You will be surprised to learn that although you thought you pronounce the word correctly in your mind, you pronounced it wrongly in reality (even some simple words). This second technique is very useful as it gives you immediate feedback to correct your pronunciation.

Preparing for Question Types

What I did first, was to re-order the question types by the complexity and difficulty, from most complex/difficult to least complex/easy. Then I could prioritize spending time on preparing and practicing the question types in the top of the list, and then go down the list. I identified that I actually did not have to prepare for some question types in the list, as those are very basic questions. I practiced answering those questions only during the mock tests.
"Write an essay" question type was on the top of my prioritized list, and the second one was "Describe an image" question type. Those were followed by "Re-tell a lecture", "Summarize Spoken Text", and "Summarize Written Text". From all of these prioritized question types, I struggled with "describe an image" question type the most.

Methods/Structures

To answer a question from each of these complex question types in PTE exam, it is not enough to have proper English enabling skills such as grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. It is essential to have a method, or a structure prepared beforehand for properly and quickly answer these questions within the given short time period. Fortunately, there are videos in YouTube that explain about these methods/structures by an excellent English PTE guru named Jay, from http://www.e2language.com website. I will list down links to these videos at the end of this post.

Practice

For practicing, I found some sample questions from different sources such as from Jay’s videos, from PTE website, and other online resources. As I did not have enough time left, I did not practice enough questions to make me feel fully confident. For example, I wrote only 3-5 essays before the PTE exam.
I also bought 2 scored mock tests from Pearson website (https://www.ptepractice.com/). Doing these scored mock tests was very useful to get ready for the actual exam.
Things to note: Although I had more than enough time when I did the mock exams, it seemed I was not careful with time during the real test. Therefore, I was not able to answer 1-2 questions in the first section. Also, it was little bit distracting due to the noise of the other test takers during the first section. From my overall experience during the preparation and facing the PTE exam, the most difficult question type for me was "Describe an image" question type. All other question types were manageable. It was very interesting experience (as this is my first non-tech exam after more than 10 years), but I am not exactly sure what will be the score. Let's hope for the best 🙏. [UPDATE: I received my PTE score report on next day. Score was better than I expected 😊]

Links

·        Question Type: “Write an essay”
o   PTE Writing Write Essay SUPER STRUCTURE  Sentence by Sentence with Jay! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_-u0fHQetQ
o   How to write a good essay Paraphrasing the question - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9aVjBHEEbU  
·        Question Type: “Describe an image”
o   PTE Speaking: Describe Image | SUPER METHOD! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rveo3RFK3kk
o   PTE ACADEMIC DESCRIBE IMAGE with RESPONSES - ULTIMATE COLLECTION !! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9_PYMRyQCY
·        Question Type: “Re-tell a lecture”
o   PTE Speaking  Retell Lecture METHOD with Jay! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9iYnbHd5ys
·        Question Type: “Summarize Spoken Text”
o   PTE Listening: Summarize Spoken Text | METHOD with Jay!  - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc86wI4v4rc
·        Question Type: “Summarize Written Text”
o   PTE Writing: Summarize Written Text | Learn the Proven Method! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdyRgrOEzx8


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3 comments:

Jolly Killers said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

Hi, very nice and well-written article. I got 75 in PTE exam and I didn't get coaching to form any coaching centre. I only use TCYonline and continuously prepare with the help of their innovative testing techniques. You just need to check out their website for deep details about PTE Exam.

kamal said...

Thanks for sharing this superlative article on the internet. According to my experience the best and superlative source for PTE Academic exam preparation is TCYonline. This is an innovative and user-friendly platform that provides a complete analysis after every test.