First Take PTE
Test Date: October 16, 2017
Report Issue Date: October 18, 2017
Overall Score= 62
Maria took PTE the first time on October 16, 2017, in Manila. She did self-review for the most part at the time. She had free access to online practice at her former Australian migration consultant’s office. They had a PTE lecturer who flew in from Manila, but there was no regular review schedule in place.
There was a day-long PTE Introductory course, however, where applicants were walked through the test format and test-taking strategies. The rest of the sessions were carried out by the applicants independently. They were allowed “unlimited time” for practice at the center. How much time in all did that amount to, she had no idea. The review fee, according to Maria, was stiffer than BridgeAus’s.
At the time Maria found Speaking and Reading a challenge. She was not confident with her way of speaking (delivery) and she had a difficult time “decoding” the data and information in Describe Image. In Re-tell Lecture, she found the voice clips either too fast or too “academic” to her level of understanding, let alone giving an well-structured re-telling.
And yet she got an overall score of 62 (good), falling short of a few points in Reading and Writing. She recalled that she did not meet the word requirement (250-300) in Writing. She had a hard time with Re-ordering paragraphs.
First Mock Test
Date Taken: May 30, 2018
Overall Score= 61
Maria took her first mock test May 30, 2018, exactly 23 days after her last PTE review day on May 7, 2018. She had had more or less 13 hours of coached review and 3 hours of independent practice at the center. At that point in the course of the review, she had worked with all the test formats lacking practice time only for Reading and Listening. She had a nagging feeling that she was not doing well enough in Speaking, particularly in Re-tell Lecture. By this time she had used the Speaking and Writing Essay templates a lot during practice to the point of speaking and writing mechanically.
In Listening, she found getting the gist for the summary a challenge. There was a grey area concerning word requirement for the summary of a spoken text. Some internet sources say hitting 50 is enough while others suggest reaching the maximum of 70. The issue is further compounded by writing—using a complex-compound sentence with correct punctuation marks (violation of which impacts grammar and writing). An anxious test-taker runs the risk of placing punctuation marks such as semi colon (;), dash (–) and full stop (.) in the wrong places. Or, pressed for time after thinking too much, may end up using trailing word groups and phrases.
Note the overall score difference between first take PTE and the first mock test: It is almost negligible (from 62-61– 1 point). The same is true of Reading (from 57 to 58) and Writing (61-59). There is a marked slide, though, for Listening (67-61) and Speaking (72-68). It is said that the PTE mock test is more challenging than the real one. If this is so, then with slight variances such as these, the review strategies covered may not be far off the mark.
Second Take PTE
Test Date: June 7, 2018
Report Issue Date: June 8, 2018
Oral Fluency= 68
Written Discourse= 70
Maria took her second PTE 8 months after the first one and 9 days after her first mock test. The results came out a day later (June 8, 2018). She took the test in Cebu along with 9 others (according to her there were 10 of them in the test room). Everything (meaning the test procedures) was in order; she did not come across any issues before the test began.
In doing the Speaking part, Describe Image particularly, she was “so into it” (her own words) that at one point she lost track of the time limit. She was steeling herself for Re-tell Lecture; she expected the voice clips to be difficult. But she just went at it anyway. Listening test items didn’t present any issue (occasionally there are internet rumors that some PTE test items are getting updates); same with Reading and Writing. What Maria prepared for in Writing was not to run out of time and not to leave her last paragraph hanging with an incomplete sentence.
Vis-à-vis her first PTE and mock test results, note the pointed difference in Overall Scores (1st= 61, mock test=62, 2nd = 68); in Reading (1st= 57, mock test= 58, 2nd= 74); Writing (1st-51, mock test= 61, 2nd=66); Speaking (1st=72, mock test=68, 2nd=80). In Listening mock test and 2nd PTE results hardly vary (61, 62). The relationship between the two is revealing.
There is an upward trend in Reading, Writing, and Speaking scores. Listening practice time may have been compromised in favor of the other skills as per Maria’s request. She wanted to focus more on her weak spots, namely Speaking and Writing.
Equal time should be spent on all the skills regardless of weak spots and requests. A PTE review student evaluates himself/herself differently than the coach does. A PTE pre-assessment may provide a “picture” of a prospect student’s English proficiency level. Official mock test (from the PTE page) results can be predictors of actual PTE results.