PTE – Overall exam strategy

This is 3 hours exam and intense focus during the exam will help you avoiding many mistakes.

It is time bound, so speed is a crucial factor as well. During the exam, there will be a timer displayed for each section. It is a good idea to keep an eye on it throughout the exam, so you know if you are lagging behind and need to speed up. You don’t want to spend too much time rechecking your answers and then have time run out with questions to go.

You also need to be well versed and prepared on the different question types that you will be tested on. Nothing should come as a surprise during the exam. Here is where all your practice will come into use.

One of the most important parts of your preparation is to know early on what your areas of improvement are. The scored PTE official mock tests available online are particularly useful to help identify this. These mock tests can be given from home over the internet. You receive scored results similar to what you would receive in the actual exam. This is highly recommended as this is as close as you can get to the actual exam in a fraction of the cost. It makes sense to go for this rather than spend $150-200 and reappear for the exam.

An alternative way to do this would be to do tests and do a self-assessment. Scoring parameters for each question format is given in subsequent chapters. You can manually compare your answers against these parameters and get an idea of where you stand. For correct/incorrect type answers, doing this will be easier. For some of the speaking and writing answers though this will be a rough guess.

For some of you; your weak area may be speaking, for others it will be reading. You may even need to improve on all sections. Whatever the case may be make sure you identify this early so you can tailor your preparation plan accordingly and know what to focus on.

Preparation plan

The preparation time will vary from person to person. Generally, 3-4 weeks with 2 hours per day should be sufficient time for you to familiarize yourself and prepare for the exam. If you are a complete beginner to English and have trouble putting together English sentences, it would obviously require additional time and efforts. If you can read and understand this book, I believe you are at an appropriate level to attempt the exam.

There are few who struggle to make the required time for preparation. If you are one of them, I suggest taking an inventory of how you spend your day and identify tasks that you can eliminate or cut down on for a few weeks till the exam is out of the way.

Basic grammar knowledge is essential for a decent score, as this will be used in almost all sections, so quickly brush up on areas on which you have known issues. Google is your friend here. There is comprehensive material available on internet for free on this topic.

Your time is valuable and you would want to get the exam over with as soon as possible. A relatively short and dedicated action plan tends to work better than an unorganized preparation, with long breaks in between.

On the following page is a suggested study plan for 25 days, which will enable you to get your best PTE score you can, with your current level of English. All of the task has been give equal weightage. This is a recommended plan. You can tweak it around as per your requirements and needs. Remember to cover all tasks at least once.