How to Prepare for PTE: Best Strategies

Imagine you have a month to get ready for your PTE English exam. Moreover, you have no time or money to attend any PTE preparation courses. Is it still possible to use this last month wisely?

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This Custom-Writing article offers you a well-thought strategy to make the most out of your study efforts. PTE is a challenging academic test that checks your proficiency in listening, speaking, writing, and reading in the English language. That is why you need to focus on these four activities. The resources listed here will help you on your way.

👣 How to Prepare for PTE: First Steps

The COVID pandemic has changed our traditional way of doing things, from shopping to education. We have learned to be more independent and self-sufficient. With the lockdown, it has become clear that having a computer with internet access is enough to study almost anything (probably, except for nuclear physics and brain surgery).

The picture lists the five steps you should make when starting your PTE preparation.

If you can read this text, you already have enough language competence to pass PTE. The only thing you need is to train yourself for specific assignments. But before you plunge into practice, review these pieces of advice.

  1. Get familiar with the test format. You cannot grow to be an expert in something if you do not set up the limits for your knowledge. The test format plays the role of such boundaries. It helps you to make the full-scale preparation for the exam at home realizable even in 10 days.
  2. Set up your purpose: Which score is your aim? The question can be answered through the requirements of the institution you intend to apply to. Most colleges and universities specify their minimum requirements. It should be your waymark.
  3. Try out a test sample. Never neglect this step. First, you will find out how much practice you need. Second, it will show your weak points (see the following line).
  4. Define your strong and weak points. In the follow-up to the previous step, write down the best assignments based on how well you completed them. Leave them for the last couple of days, and focus on the rest. It is a perfect idea to start with the worst result, gradually moving to the tasks you did better.
  5. Use professional resources for preparation. There are three options: courses, books, or mobile apps. Links to these practice materials can be found below.

👌 How to Prepare for PTE: Best Tips

You’ve learned about the test format and its requirements. Now it is time to work on your skills.

The best way is to divide your work between the next four aspects. If you spend at least one hour every day doing PTE assignments, you will develop listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills in one week.

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Develop Your Listening Skills

Below are described the key listening skills: pronunciation and listening techniques.


The most complicated thing about listening tasks is that they are taken from real conversations of native and non-native English speakers. For the most part, the accent is clear and articulated. Still, you can have some problems with understanding the connected speech due to the following pronunciation habits.

  • Intrusive /r/. When one word ends with a vowel, and the next one starts with a vowel, too, some people insert an /r/ sound. E.g., “saw animals” sounds like saw/r/animals.
  • Linking /j/ and /w/. Mind that native speakers usually say he/j/addressed and go/w/on. But no j or w is present in writing.
  • Catenation. When a word ends with a consonant and the next one starts with a vowel, they are “glued together.”
  • Twinning. He looks sad sounds like “he look sad.” We do not pronounce the two neighboring /s/ sounds twice.

Listening techniques

The following active listening techniques can help you cope with almost any nuances of fluent speech. After all, you are supposed to understand the general message, not every single word.

  • Prediction. Every next word you hear limits the variants of how the sentence ends. You can train yourself to predict what the speaker is going to say. This skill will come in handy for tasks where you need to select the missing word.
  • Listen for information. Before the text starts, look through the questions. There will be some requiring you to find definite answers on when or where the conversation takes place. Train to find the answers in the text.
  • Listen for meaning. This method works well for multiple-choice questions. Your purpose is to understand why the speaker says such words and which ideas they try to convey.

Develop Your Speaking Skills

Although the speaking section has much more scoring criteria, you need to focus on your fluency, pronunciation, and vocabulary. Practicing these three categories will make you sound proficient.

The picture contains the key speaking skills that you'll need when taking your PTE test: fluency, pronounciation, & vocabulary.
  1. Fluency. Speak English every time you have an opportunity. Read aloud everything while you train for your PTE exam. You can practice your fluency only by actually using the language. If your roommate or family member at least understands English, talk to them in it! One month of such efforts, and you will be surprised by how fluent you become.
  2. Pronunciation. You are not expected to speak like a native American, but your accent should be discernible. Mind the sentence stress and the way you pronounce vowels and consonants in unstressed positions. The best way to train the skill is to listen to the same text multiple times and then retell it with the same intonation and pronunciation.
  3. Vocabulary. Answer Short Question is the only speaking task that will require you to show your well-developed language. To practice this skill, lists of synonyms and write down any new word you come across. Review these lists before going to bed.

Develop Your Writing Skills

Like in speaking, writing requires good knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. But spelling and written discourse rules also matter.

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  1. Grammar. First, try to write in short sentences. The longer the phrase, the more possible mistakes become. But be sure to use a couple of compounds or complex sentences, as the score depends on them as well. Second, read every day. In such a way, you will develop the habit of correct grammatical structures. CNN and BBC news resources do perfectly well for this purpose. This practice will also help you with all the other three skills described below.
  2. Spelling. PTE recognizes any spelling tradition, be it US, Canadian, UK, or Australian. But if you choose one of them, stick to the same convention till the end of your writing question. You can change it for another question if you like.
  3. Vocabulary. Your score vastly depends on how diverse your speech is. To develop it, expose yourself to new words every day. Read and write down new expressions in context. Thus, they are easier to remember. Look up the words in an explanatory dictionary rather than a bilingual one. Besides, make a list of academic terms that you can use in your PTE writing section.
  4. Writing discourse rules. The standard structure of a five-paragraph essay can fit any written assignment. Make all your answers start with an introduction, continue with the main body, and finish with a conclusion, even if you make it in three sentences. You should also train your reasoning skills, especially for the Write Essay assignment. Practice brainstorming arguments in support of a thesis. If you learn to develop many ideas in a short time, you will always manage to select two or three that fit your question the most.

Develop Your Reading Skills

Most people think that reading is all about grammar and vocabulary. However, it is just the tip of the iceberg. Use the following techniques to raise your score.

The picture lists the forms of reading that you should familiarize yourself with while preparing for PTE.
  1. Skim reading. Move your eyes quicker than you manage to pronounce the words in your head. Reading silently at the same speed as you talk is unnecessary. You can do it much faster if you practice.
  2. Scan reading. Often, there is no need to read through the entire text. Look through the text for the exact word that appears in your question and attentively read the paragraph containing it. The technique can save you much time during the general exam.
  3. Critical reading. To understand the writing purpose, you need to follow the style, register, and tone of the text. Its structure also plays a significant role in conveying the meaning. Pay attention to all these factors to do well in Highlight Correct Summary assignment.
  4. Deep reading. This technique is helpful in combination with scan reading. You find the necessary place in the text and then read it through to detect the answer. If no method works, and you cannot find a solution, attentively read the entire text.

📚 How to Prepare for PTE: Top 5 Books

A good PTE preparation book contains all you need for the exam. We recommend the following 5 books that can guide you on the way to your best PTE score.

🔰 The Official Guide to PTE Academic, 2 nd ed. Here you can find more than 200 practice questions, as well as a detailed description of all PTE sections. The best thing about this practice book is that it was written by the same people who compose the actual PTE exam tasks. They know what you will need during the test!
🔰 Pearson Test of English Academic The book offers tying all task types and question formats you will face during your PTE exam. The book is accompanied by a CD containing videos of the speaking test. Watching them will help you avoid some typical mistakes. Besides, the book gives valuable advice on how to deal with various assignment types.
🔰 The Official Guide to PTE Academic, 1st ed. This is the first edition of the book referred to in point 1. It is much cheaper but contains only three exam sections. Besides, it is the official literature recommended by Pearson.
🔰 PTE Academic Practice Tests Plus The book contains three offline mock tests for your practice. The difficulty level of assignments in this book reflects their actual complexity at the exam. However, the questions are not present on the CD (only the listening assignments). It means that you will need a pen and paper to note your answers.
🔰 PTE Academic Testbuilder The book contains four complete mock tests. At the end of the book, you will find listening scripts. It can be a good idea to listen to the CD while following the script with your eyes once you’ve answered the questions.

🌐 Best PTE Preparation Apps

Below are the 4 most popular PTE preparation apps.

📱 PTE Academic Official Practice This app should be your choice if you are short of time. The app calculates how long you can practice each skill and suggests your personal study plan. Daily practice suggestions will make your training more fun and motivating. Does not contain a mock test but has examples of all the 20 question types.
📱 PTE Exam Practice – APEUni This one simulates the Pearson scoring system so that you can check how much you will score on the exam. The app links you to online video tutorials that explain how to cope with each task. A significant benefit that it can judge your speaking performance by checking your fluency and pronunciation. The app also verifies the grammar of your writing.
📱 Free PTE Test Here you’ll find a set of real-life exam questions for your training. The app has a brief description of the test section formats. Besides, you can read about the most complicated questions in their blog. It should be your choice if the exam is too soon.

✏️ How to Prepare for PTE: FAQ

What is PTE test?

PTE abbreviation stands for Pearson Test of English. It checks the level of language proficiency in non-native speakers. Besides, it reproduces the possible interaction scenarios on campus to check if you will be able to cope with them in real life.

Which is easier, IELTS or PTE?

Both academic tests are equally challenging. They require fundamental knowledge of grammar and extensive vocabulary. Each of the two tests presupposes that you should be familiar with their formats and requirements. But some people find PTE more complicated because of its rare vocabulary and academic subject matter used in texts.

How to get 90 in PTE?

Time management and concentration are your keys to success. Understand how the scores are given to focus your preparation on the tasks that have the highest value. By the way, the speaking section is the most heavily marked assignment. If you practice all the speaking assignments, your reading and writing skills will improve as well.

Which countries accept PTE?

Top universities and colleges in almost 50 countries accept PTE. USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Ireland, and Canada are ready to use your PTE score for admission to an educational institution or for immigration purposes.

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