In my previous article, I discussed how the Pearson Test of English Academic can help you gain an extra 20 points towards General Skilled Migration and reflects the “real life” English you need to get life in a new country off to a great start.
As with all tests, adequate preparation is crucial. For many aspiring migrants needing to take an English test, it may have been several years since they took an official exam. Knowing how to prepare effectively and what to expect on the day are key when it comes to securing a successful outcome. Use these five exam preparation tips below to improve your English test results:
1. Familiarise yourself with the type of test questions you will be asked and know what to expect on the day.
The Official Guides published by the testing bodies are an excellent source of information to help you fast track your learning. They offer materials that replicate the real test questions as well as guidance and strategies for dealing with every task set. Taking a practice test in exam-like conditions helps to improve time management skills and set realistic expectations on your potential performance.
As with all high stakes tests, security arrangements at the test centre are strict. Test takers need to prove their identity via a passport or similarly approved document, so it’s a good idea to arrive at least 30 minutes before the test time and have your documents to hand.
2. Give yourself enough time by setting clear, measurable and achievable goals. This will help keep your motivation up and your end goal in sight.
Start with a detailed understanding of current English proficiency. That makes it easier to focus on any weaker areas ahead of taking the test and plan how long you’ll need to study for to bring your skills up to the required level.
3. Seek English instruction that works for you and matches your specific needs and learning goals.
Coursebooks are a good option if you have a little more time to study in the run-up to the test. A rigorous preparation course structure will take you through a series of normally class-based lessons designed to prepare you for the test. Sometimes, however, the best way to prepare for a test is to join a class and receive tuition face to face. There is a multitude of courses and they offer class-based or individual tuition, from intensive week-long courses to six-month programmes to help brush up on your English skills.
4. Choose quality materials that are at the right level for you – they should stretch you a bit to help you progress so you stay motivated.
Digital learning can be very useful, providing opportunities to study at a time that suits and giving lots of feedback opportunities. Many test-takers take advantage of the large amount of free preparation material that includes everything from print and digital course guides to practice tests. A huge amount of information is also posted on YouTube, including tutorials and advice covering the range of different tests on offer.
5. Be persistent – keep practising at every opportunity.
Make the most of those spare minutes to practise your skills. Every workday includes a little downtime so try to incorporate a few short 5 or 10 minute practice activities each day to keep building your knowledge.
IELTS has long been the standardised test approved by the Australian government and the test of choice for visa applicants both for work and study. Since November 2014, in an effort to make it more convenient for applicants, the DIBP has approved a number of additional tests that can be used as proof of English language skills, including TOEFL iBT, Cambridge English Advanced (CAE) and the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic).
6. Bonus tip just for PTE Academic test takers
PTE Academic offers a wide range of free and paid materials online that help test takers prepare for their migration visa English test. Of particular note is the Scored Practice Test that gives test takers an indicative score – so they know how close they are to their goal. Learn more about scored practice test online.