The Pearson PTE Academic exam is an up-and-coming English language proficiency test and it is fast becoming one of the most popular English language exams in the world. The PTE exam gives and accurate description of a non native speaker's language capabilities in four key areas, namely: listening, reading, speaking and writing. In order to assess these skills, candidates are required to complete 21 different tasks. Each of these tasks tests at least one of the four main skills. Often the assessment of 2 skills are combined together within a single task/question type. The PTE exam is currently available in Singapore. In this article we will cover exactly what the PTE Academic exam is and why you might need to take it.
Here’s a detailed summary of what you can expect to learn about in this article:
Why Do Singaporeans Have To Take The PTE Academic Test?
Certain universities or immigration authorities may require proof of a candidate’s ability to cope with the level of language that will be used regularly for academic courses. In such instances, even native English speakers are required to prove their level of language proficiency by taking the PTE Academic exam.
The main reason that Singaporeans might have to take the PTE Academic exam is that, although English is the main official language in Singapore, there are three other official languages as well namely: Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. This diversity has resulted in the birth of Singlish, which is a loose mix of multiple languages including English and Chinese, and is usually spoken with a thick accent. Despite the fact, that most Singaporeans are quite proficient at English, their use of Singlish often creates the impression that they are not.
Basic information about PTE Academic
a. Who Hosts The PTE Academic Test?
All Pearson Language tests, including the Pearson Test Of English (Academic), fall under the management of the Pearson PLC group. The Pearson Language Test Department focuses primarily on preparing and conducting language proficiency tests that accurately reflect the capabilities and skills of second language learners, across the globe.
b. Where Can PTE Academic Take You?
The PTE academic test is a computer-based exam that is geared towards second language learners who wish to study in English speaking countries like the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. It is accepted by 6000 organizations worldwide. At the moment, it can also be used for visa and immigration purposes to Australia and New Zealand.
c. What Is The PTE Academic Format?
The exam consists of 3 modules – reading, listening and the speaking and writing combined module and lasts for a total of 3 hours in one complete session. You are also allowed to take an optional 10-minute break after the second module is complete.
The content of the exam is based on real life academic content that you might come across while studying in an English-speaking country. This includes things like across graphs, summaries, excerpts.
The test also contains both native and non-native accents in typical everyday real-life conversations.
The modules include questions types ranging from MCQs to essay writing, reading out sentences to choosing a proper word. In total there are twenty-one types of question formats.
d. What Are The Different Modules About?
The PTE Exam consists of 3 modules. During each of these modules a test taker can be asked a number of different question types. There are 21 different PTE question types, which assess either 1 or 2 communicative skills .
1. Speaking and Writing Module
The speaking section of the PTE exam assesses whether or not a candidate can produce natural sounding speech, with the correct pronunciation, intonation and stress. Many speaking tasks contain elements which assess a candidate listening skills as well. The speaking part of the exam is done at a computer instead of a one on interview. Test takers have to speak into a microphone. Their voices are recorded and sent for evaluation by a computer algorithm. The brief personal introduction component at the beginning of this task will be recorded and also sent to any organizations that you have chosen to report your PTE scores to.
The writing test is the second part of this module. It consists of individually times tasks, which are designed to test your ability that produce pieces of writing that are well organized, on topic and accurate in terms of grammar and spelling. These tasks include a summary of written text as well as 1 or 2 essay questions.
2. Reading Module
The PTE reading module contains authentic academic passages and questions that are meant to assess various reading comprehension skills. It consists of a single timed section that lasts for about 32 – 41 minutes, depending on the combination of tasks that your test consists of.
The common topics of the reading module passages are related to science or humanities. Despite the technical nature of these texts, it is not necessary to be an expert on any of these topics. All the information needed to answer the different question types will be present in the within the passages.
3. Listening Module
This part of the test assesses a candidate’s ability to comprehend spoken in number of situations that occur in an Academic environment, such as lectures and presentations. The conversations also include a variety of native and non-native accents.
During this part of the test, candidates are required to listen to a number of audio or video clips and answer various questions based on these recordings. The audio is played only once via an automatic timer. Test takers can only manipulate the volume of the audio to suit their level of comfort.
Here is a summarized version of what to expect in terms of content and structure of the PTE academic test:
Speaking & Writing
77 – 93 minutes
32 - 41 minutes
45 - 57 minutes
e. How Is The PTE Exam Scored?
The PTE exam is unique with regard to the fact that is not evaluated or graded in any way by human examiners. All tests are assessed by a state-of-the-art computer algorithm, which goes a long way to ensure fairness and standardization, wherever the test is offered. This artificial intelligence is used to check students written answers as well as objectively grade their speaking tests.
An additional plus point of using computers to check tests, is that they complete this task far faster than their human counterparts. As a result, test results are usually available in less than 5 days after you take the test.
Your score report will include both your overall score and a detailed breakdown of your performance in terms of communicative skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking) as well as enabling skill scores which include:
The overall score is an accurate reflection of your overall English language capability. The score takes into account your performance based on all items in the in the exam. The overall score ranges from 10-90 points.
The scores for communicative skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing) are based on your performance on tasks that assess these particulars skills. As mentioned before, the questions in the PTE exam often assess more than one skill at a time.
Scores for enabling skills (grammar, oral fluency, pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary and written discourse) are also are based on your performance on tasks that assess these particulars skills.
Where Are PTE Test Centers Located In Singapore?
There are currently two official Pearson PTE test centers located in Singapore.
Remember to choose a center that is convenient for you. Do a bit of research and get the opinion of previous test takers. You should also check the location before you actually take the test, so that you are familiar with the route and the surroundings. This ensures that there are no unforeseen issues on your test day and that you arrive on time, stress free and focused.
On Which Dates Are PTE Exams Held In Singapore?
The exams are held on once every day of the year, except public holidays. Additional test spots on a particular day can be added depending on demand. However, test dates and scheduling policies do vary by location. Dates are available on a first come first serve basis so it is important to confirm that a particular test date is available instead of assuming that it will be. You can check a dates availability online on the official Pearson PTE website.
How Can I Book My PTE Exam?
You can easily book your exam at any official Pearson language test center or online. You can even book your test just a day before you sit for the exam. This is a service which is not offered by any other language proficiency tests.
Let’s take a look at the online PTE academic booking procedure:
Step 1 - Create an Account
In order to book a test, you first need to register with Pearsons and create an account on the official Pearsons PTE website. To do this you need to have a valid email address and fill out your personal details. Your personal details must match the information that is present on your current passport and identity document. Additional information like your previous exam history (if applicable) is also required.
Step 2 - Choose Your Test
You also need to choose which test you want to register for. This depends on whether or not you wish to take the PTE Academic or General Test. Do note that only PTE Academic is accepted for study in an English speaking countries and that the same PTE Academic test type can be used for immigration to Australia and New Zealand.
Step 3 - Choose Your Test Center And Date
Once the above-mentioned details have been entered, candidates are required to select a test date and venue.
Step 4 - Check Your Details
Candidates are given the opportunity to recheck their registration details before payment. You would be then required to revise their order one last time before going ahead with the payment. Changes to test date and venue can also be made without incurring any extra cost.
Step 5 - Payment
Payment can be easily made online using the following credit or debit card.
- American Express
No other forms of payment are currently accepted. Once your payment has been made. Candidates will receive an acknowledgement receipt and a confirmation email. Your confirmation email will include confirmation of your booking and payment.
When Is The Best Time To Book Your Test?
In my opinion, the best time to book your test would be when your English level is at its best and you are well aware of the strategies and skills needed to ace your exam. It's much better to prepare first and then book your test. Use the time between your preparation and booked test date to continually improve your skills through practice. Unfortunately, most students do not heed this advice, mostly because they have an unrealistic opinion about their current level of proficiency as well as the actual level of difficulty of the PTE Academic exam.
What Is The Cost Of PTE In Singapore?
The cost varies from country to country but it is generally in the range of between $150-$210.The standard PTE Academic exam fee in Singapore is around $ 250. If a candidate books their PTE exam within 48 hours of their actual test date, then they are required to pay the PTE Late Booking price of $ 312.50.
Eligibility Criteria For The PTE Exam
There is no minimum educational qualification needed in order to take the PTE Academic test. However, there is a minimum age requirement. To take the exam you must be at least 16 years old. Candidates that are below the age of 18 are also required to get a parental consent form signed before they sit for the exam.
If you feel that you are not currently at a level of English language proficiency that is necessary for the PTE exam, then you should consider enrolling for an PTE preparation course with an experienced PTE tutor.