Today, every country is scrutinizing the study visa regulations. Australia has increased the language proficiency requirement by 0.5 bands for graduate and post-graduate courses, while the UK has banned the entry of dependents with study visa holders; Canada has toughened its shield against migration fraud and France has put an entire immigration law in place to limit the intake of foreigners in their nation.
All these circumstances have narrowed the paths of international travel for foreign students who wish to study at foreign universities. The competition to obtain study visa has increased and the seats are limited, so only the best of the best get to pursue their dreams. Amid such circumstances, it becomes imperative to put your best foot forward.
Through this article, we aim to impart knowledge about one of the most crucial tests, PTE, which will take you a step closer to your dream destination.
Introduction to PTE Exam:
Pearson’s Test of English or PTE is an English-language proficiency test for non-native speakers. The test is a testament to a student’s ability to read, write, speak, and understand the English language. The test is usually given by international students, professionals, and migrants before entering native English-speaking nations such as the UK and the USA.
Although the selection criteria vary as per university requirements, PTE is a widely accepted test format in the UK, New Zealand, and Australia.
Why Do You Need a PTE Test?
To apply for a visa to a native English-speaking nation, applicants have to prove their command of the English language. The language proficiency proves that the applicant would be able to communicate and live comfortably in the host nation. Clearing the language proficiency test is a must for visa approval.
Types of PTE Exam:
PTE exam is categorized into two types- PTE academic and PTE general.
PTE academic is the specific test designed for all those who wish to travel abroad for educational purposes. It assesses all four language skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The candidate is scored on a scale of 0-90, with each skill band corresponding to a specific level of English proficiency.
This is a general test that can be given by anyone who wishes to travel for any other purpose than studying. This test is scored on a scale of 0-50, with each 5-point band corresponding to a specific level of English proficiency.
The test results for both the tests are available within 2-5 days.
What is the PTE Exam Format?
It is an adaptive test:
Both PTE Academic and PTE General, employ an adaptive design, meaning it tailors the test experience to each individual’s proficiency level. This dynamic approach prevents a fixed number of questions or a strict time limit. Instead, the test software continuously analyzes a candidate’s performance and adjusts the difficulty of subsequent questions accordingly.
The entire test is monitored and evaluated by computer programs, however, human expert scores for the questions train and improve the test module.
The test begins with a set of questions spanning various difficulty levels across reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Then on the basis of the responses of the candidate, the difficulty level for the following questions is determined. The adaptive software also identifies the questions and patterns that suit the candidate’s proficiency level. In simple terms, correct answers lead to more challenging questions, while incorrect answers prompt easier ones.
Typical Ranges for PTE Academic and PTE General:
- PTE Academic: 52-64 questions and 2 hours to 3 hours.
- PTE General: 36-48 questions and 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes.
Evaluate Proficiency Against Four Communication Methods:
PTE Academic test accesses the overall proficiency of the candidate across four different communication methods, writing, listening, and reading.
Section 1: Writing and Speaking: This section consists of a mix of speaking and writing questions to assess the verbal and written communication skills of an applicant. The test begins with a verbal introduction, followed by questions related to reading and repeating texts and describing images. It is then followed by short answer questions and writing essays.
In total, there are 28-36 questions to be completed in 54- 67 minutes.
Section 2: Reading skills: The test is divided into five parts- fill in the blanks (from 80-word text and 300-word text), multiple choice answers (single answer and multiple answers), and re-ordering the paragraph. A total of half an hour is devoted to completing this section, which comprises 13-18 questions.
Section 3: Listening skills: This section evaluates the listening skills of the candidates. This section is further divided into eight parts- Summarize spoken text, multiple choice questions with multiple answers and single answers, fill in the blanks, highlight the correct summary of the given text, select missing words, highlight misfit words, and write dictation.
In summation, the entire section contains around 12-20 questions to be completed in 30-43 minutes.
Conducted at a Test Center on Computer:
The test is conducted at different test centers as per the candidate’s preference. India has 35 test centers. At the test center, the candidate is provided with a computer setup and all the other equipment required for completing the test. After the pandemic, candidates can also opt for an online PTE test from the comfort of home; however, it does not apply to the visa application process.
PTE Academic and PTE General have different scoring scales.
- PTE Academic: Scored on a 0-90 point scale, with each band corresponding to a specific level of English proficiency (from low to high).
- PTE General: Scored on a 0-50 point scale, with each 5-point band representing a level of proficiency.
What are the Fees for the PTE Exam?
To give this comprehensive exam, a student is charged INR 15,900/- attempt, and there is no bar on the number of attempts for the PTE exam. The only condition is maintaining a five-day gap between the previous and current attempts.
What is the Registration Process of the PTE Exam?
To appear for the PTE test, a candidate must create an online account on the official website of the PTE academic website. After account creation, an email from PTE will be received with the login ID and password.
Based on login credentials, the candidate can now select a suitable date and test center from the list of already given test centers. Then after paying the requisite fees, student registration is complete.
PTE Conducting Body:
The test is developed and administered by Pearson VUE, a subsidiary of Pearson PLC, a global leader in education and learning. Pearson VUE operates a vast network of over 20,000 test centers in 180 countries, making it one of the most accessible and well-established testing organizations in the world.
PTE Compared to IELTS and TOEFL:
All three tests determine the language proficiency of applicants and are accepted by most of the foreign universities. All three tests evaluate the speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills of the candidates. However, these differ in the purpose, time, exam pattern, and the scoring criteria.