Chances are you have taken a number of mock tests before you turn up at the PTE Test Center.  And weeks before that, you have had at least 15 days of review (must have been online if not contact classes).  And, if English is not your first language, you have had issues with intonation, delivery, oral fluency,  grammar and vocabulary in Speaking.  In writing, you faced difficulty with complex sentences (using linkers and coordinating conjunctions) as well as meeting the word requirement in writing a summary. In Reading, you plodded through paraphrasing and getting context clues ; while in summarizing spoken text you had a hard time using complex sentences and punctuation marks.

With these working against you,  your first mock test may been quite a tough experience.  Many Filipinos find Repeat Sentence a challenge (some are caught off guard and fail to repeat some sentences; while some say words not in the voice prompt).  They say they are  caught unprepared for the transition between test items, say, between Retell Lecture and Repeat Sentence. In Listening, many are in fact left trailing by the voice prompt in highlight wrong words. Some say they have to literally put dots on the computer screen to mark words. 

Another common scene  is when in one’s first  few attempts at Summarizing spoken text, one goes over the with word limit, and getting it right only by the 3rd set.  Let me caution you:  rushing ahead  while making notes  could lead to spelling errors, as well as sentence construction slips. Crucial to doing this test item is not to get the talk verbatim but to get the key words; and the summary be written in a clear, error-free way.  Then you if you could compress the summary into three sentences the better (to avoid being wordy and redundant).  Remember  to check spelling, verb tense and syntax errors.

Here’s an example of a rushed summary:

The talk is about language and how it is used nowadays.

The speaker complained that the written and spoken used now is different. Hea said that words are often mis-used and that quality of writting and speaking is falling. He wanted children to start learning the language again as early as possible. But then again He also said that Language change and so its use.

See how the grammar suffers.

On hindsight, a mock score of 10 on Oral Fluency means one barely spoke at all.  The few words that escaped one’s mouth may have been all garbled either because of the defective headset or one voice was neither loud nor clear.  What the computer  recorded (and read) instead were incomplete syllables. Keep this mind on test day: Speak  clearly with emphasis. 

In essay writing, you have all of 20 minutes to  finish and wrap up an argument. Most times an essay prompt asks for a debatable point.  Take a close look at your verb  tenses.  This may be trivial but we have heard of cases where some test-takers  could not write the past form of a verb correctly. This may have led to spelling errors.  An incorrect word due to spelling error negatively  affects  a Vocabulary score. This impacts one’s score in summarizing a written and spoken text.  Taken together, including shifts in verb tense, these will impact Grammar.        

In the end, if you have to take a PTE mock test elsewhere ,  take it at a secure place. Check the equipment (PC, headset, chair) and make sure to stay away from distractions (even if you want to simulate the actual test room). Skills are integrated in the PTE, so a shortcoming in one impacts the other skills.  Therefore, in preparing for the PTE, an integrated approach should be taken.  Take as many mock tests to be able to keep track of your progress.