Earlier in the first part of my success story, I have mentioned about PTE format and five general strategy for PTE Academic Success. In this part I am covering my preparation to get 79 in PTE Exam.
For Speaking section:
I have decided my pace (not that of total oral fluency as per definition of PTE) would stay on same level throughout the section, based on the videos of the NAVJOT BRAR on Youtube. She said throughout the speaking section your fluency should remain same. Be it RA,RS, DI, RL, ASQ. In another words, the pace/speed of your speech in each and every section has to be as same as possible. For instance, you may speak RA in a usual manner, as you talk in day to day life, while in DI, RS and RL you might speak in a bit of hurry, because of time stipulation or memory issue or whatever. And lastly the tone/volume (high /moderate/low pitch) of the speech has to be similar throughout the section. People try and speak too fast and loudly, that I was not comfortable with. Rather, I opted for slightly lesser speed than usual (day to day conversation) and the tone I kept where the mike could hear and record me, and not that one which my neighboring test taker would also hear/distract by.
One thing I would like to add is, to record every section at one go, whenever you are practicing, and be critical about the same and try to find variation within that one full test. E.g. record the PTE Practice plus 1st test of full speaking section and then try to listen all your recordings and be analytical about it. Critical aspect is that, the pace and tone throughout the section should be as similar as possible. Save these recordings and compare them in future with the recent most recordings, this will certainly give an appropriate way to rectify in optimum manner.
- RA- Be normal, even a word or two you might not know, just speak as if you know that word, you might lose fraction of marking if it was wrong, on the other hand if you try and master and speak in some weird tone with uncomfortable tone, the chances are you end up hampering your overall speaking score by doing this.You get score on content, pronunciation and oral-fluency in this section, be sure you read the score guide of PTE, it is very important to know the details.
Strategies I opted for RA were totally inspired from PTE GOLD channel:
1st speak in chunks. Like one can break the one sentence in several chunks, take a very little pause in between those chunks and start a chunk with a little higher tone(not loudly) and end a chunk with a lower tone.
Stress some of the important words in the paragraphs, by speaking them in a slightly higher tone than your usual tone while reading out the paragraph. Be confident even if, a minor mistake here and there. I had two minor fumble/misplacing of word in RA speaking but I scored 83 in speaking. So keep on going, and leave a mistake done there itself. Do not let that affect you after that.
One advice to use the time of 20 seconds only, after you complete your 5 RAs, is that, not press next button, and indulge in some breathing exercise for 20 seconds maximum and then go for the 6th RA. Anyways minimum RA has been 6 in general. This one would help you tremendously to recollect your strength and get yourself prepared especially for DI and RL. Purely optional, but very much advisable.
One more aspect I felt and it is purely my interpretation but doesn’t cause any damage, if you follow the same. While all of your RAs are going to end, well before your stipulated 40 seconds, I have an advice not to press the next immediately. Rather, wait for the recording instruction on screen to tell you that your recording is completed. I will explain this. Mainly what happens is, once you stay silent for more than 3 seconds, it stop recording and whatever you have said thus far only get recorded. Now, what I did was let the recorder do its task up till my RA is finished, and then let it go to an end after I stayed silent for 3 seconds, rather than hitting the next button. What happens is while you were reading the text aloud it (recording progress) was going slowly, and when you remained silent for more than 3 seconds, after your RA was over it runs at the right hand side and said your recording is finished. THIS ALL IN ALL IS JUST MY POINT OF VIEW, NOTHING ELSE.
- RS- I wasn’t good at this task initially. I practiced everyday (at least 10 RS and 10 WFD), to get myself decent enough ready for the same.Plan should be speak in same manner as you did in RA, and stress so much and not to pause when not required. For instance, you don’t remember one of the chunks of the RS, then leave it, say as much you can recollect.
Do not stress too much. Just speak with same confidence as in RA. Try and be calm, as RS would usually be 10-12, and would be not in too much length. Just one/two would a bit lengthier, and mostly would smaller ones.
Practice from PTE GOLD, they are having nice videos on this and also, PTE official material is must for each and every section.
My strategies were to listen the full sentence attentively and repeating in phrases inside my head as much as I hear, while the sentence recording is on. And then to reproduce while the mike starts to record our voice/response.
This could be achieved after lots of practice and daily practices to be precise.
- DI – This one section has a lot of weightage in speaking score. You get scored on content, pronunciation and oral-fluency in this section. If I had to tell about my marks, they aren’t good in pronunciation (71) and oral-fluency (64), but in speaking I scored decent score (83). That depicts one picture that, I must have scored good in content, then only I could achieve this overall speaking score.Content is important, but not at an expense of pronunciation and oral-fluency. If I had to tell you about my routine and preparation patterns, all I concentrated in speaking is on pronunciation and oral-fluency, and still I couldn’t score more on it. Yet, it remains a main focal point for all your efforts. Never undermine these. Content you will get improved on by your daily practices. And surely you will get there don’t worry.
Now, coming to very crucial part- “FORMAT”. I didn’t follow any format as such, but a pattern rather. Words may differ, but sequencing should be similar. For the same I followed what NAVJOT BRAR said in her video. 1st speak about the kind of image, that’s bar graph, pie chart, line chart, combination of those, a picture, etc. Then start taking about what is in it. Like you can straight away go to the trend, or max-min, and then finally when only 1/4th part of your timing is remaining, start with your conclusion. Conclusion has a very important role in this. Say anything in conclusion, if you find it confusing or stuck. You may give out max and min again by using different vocabulary, like highest/lowest, biggest/smallest, max/least, etc. Do not over try and use high-vocabulary words. You may just keep it as simple as possible.
Some of the standard vocabulary you can use :
Illustrates, elucidates, depicts, demonstrates, describes, shows, denotes and vividly explains.
This vertical/ horizontal bar graph depicts the information about the……………………
over the period of……………years. The data is calibrates in terms of ……………………
As it is clearly visible from the bar graph that……………………………
Overall, it can be said that………………………………………………………………………………
This vertical/horizontal bar graph illustrates the information about the…………………
over the time span of……………….years. The data is calculates in terms of……………..
It is crystal clear from the bar graph that…………………………………………………………..
To conclude, it can be said that……………………………………………………………………….
Basically follow the sequence like:
- What kind of graph it is. i.e. line graph/pie chart/bar graph etc.
- What is the title of graph
- Time span i.e. from the year…..to…..
- Highest percentage/proportion.
- Lowest percentage/proportion.
- Use specific vocabulary of graph, and make your own after preparing for some days.
- One had to practice thoroughly before exam to master this section.
Concentrate more on the same fluency as you may maintain in earlier section, and do not try and run through the data. Keep speaking at normal rate, and you will certainly get good score. My strategy has been to keep the things simpler, just follow PTE GOLD channel videos, and keep on improving. And do at least 10 DIs on daily basis, that will put your words in place and you will end up mastering it real soon.
Never stop speaking before 35 seconds.
- RL: Retell lecture score goes in both Speaking as well as Listening, so you should be absolutely bang-on with this task.To start off, this task is all about listening carefully and taking down notes. Try and use abbreviations while noting down the important aspect of the lecture. Give emphasis on key words, as that is the most critical while achieving the 79 score. For this I had again referred to NAVJOT BRAR videos. That video will teach you the simplest way to do things in an efficient manner.
Here the format should be used wisely. Do not over emphasized but it is always advisable to use the format like the below one, which was shared by one of group member (SNS) while I was preparing for PTE.
There is no standard as to how it will come, but in general, it has been on medical, science, general life and so on. If you could not understand some of the words in the lecture, then don’t get stressed out. It is all fine, if you just maintained the pace and tone same as previous sections and keep on talking relevant stuff. Missing one or two things will not impact much. Try and concentrate on listening the audio/video and stay absolute calm.
While answering, you should know how much you would be able to speak out in grammatically correct manner in the given 40 seconds. This could be developed while preparing and treat this as very important. All the PTE material RL has to be practiced thoroughly. The PTE GOLD channel’s RL are decent enough to give you good practice. It is all about skillful note taking skill and a really smooth retelling from your side.
For instance, some topics or lecture would be lengthy, and to reproduce in 40 seconds would sound a bit cumbersome task. My advice, is not to stress, and focus the best parts you could speak and start speaking with all the confidence you have.
Never stop speaking before 35 seconds.
For those who have exams lined up in coming next month or even more, they should try and watch English news channels, Hollywood movies and alike (Note: all of these without subtitles). This would certainly help in your grasping capabilities.
- ASQ: This is more of general knowledge. I would prefer not to devote too much time to this. Just look for the PTE GOLD video and prepare yourself.Nowadays, the trend has changed in this section. They would provide and image, diagram, graph, etc and would ask a simple question on that. Mind it simple question. Strategy while this section is on, is simple stay focus on hearing part and given answer as soon as your mike starts. For instance, an image would be there and they would ask, which is the 9th Step, you just have to see the flowchart in the image, and give the answer by reading out what the step 9 says. Do not get freaked out on this section, as this is not that highly marked for your overall speaking score. I gave three wrong/uncertain answer. So, just relax, and give as much as you could remember and give answer on common sense kind of questions. CAUTION: Do not take lightly, and practice some of the questions. Just that, time devotion requirement is not that big.
For Writing Section:
General opinion is one should follow the format in both the question types in PTE writing section and I did the same. Try and build your own format by referring to the available formats on internet and other places. Do not try and use so many fancy words, unless you find yourselves comfortable in it, and yes to spell it correctly. And use of simpler sentences is advisable, unless you are so good with grammar. As grammar can not be learnt overnight and you need to learn it before taking up PTE A. It is a kind of pre-requisite before the exam. Hence, be sure and use your common English words, which you are very much used to and also confident about the spell of the same.
Enjoy the writing section in general, as you might have formats for all the question types. You can follow these best ways to prepare for writing section. SWT, Essay and SST all have formats. So, to achieve 79 is easier as per my understanding in writing.
- SWT- This question type has two to three questions for 10 marks each. And this is not the difficult task. Feel confident before the task and be very alert while you read the full text. Try and capture important words/sentence and use that in your summary. If you are going to follow the format, then ample practice of the same is required, as every text is unique and to put that in a format requires skills. Try and follow your pattern, but surely try and follow the flow of the text even in your answer, but not necessary.Text has to be 25-75 in length. If I had to advice, it should be 30 to 40 words in length. This is going to get accomplished, if you stick to your simple strategy of finding key words, and finding important and crux part if the text. This could be developed by reading newspapers or news articles in internet and develop the habit of summarizing it in your brain and develop this throughout the preparation time.
Practice in this section is must, at least 20 SWT should be practiced. Try and use some vocabulary words by replacing the word given in the text. This would shoot up your vocab score. Again no fancy words, I mean. For example, “younger generation“ is a phrase you want to replace, then you can use, teen agers, young ones, todays’ generation, like wise.
If you are following format, then try and use different formats (may slight change here and there) for all the SWT. Do not follow same for all the SWT questions. Big no.
Essay topics are mostly available to everyone. I suggest everyone should try and write at least 3 essays a week, and develop the habit of Para-phrasing and writing in any abstract topic. After writing in the note pad, paste it in a word file, and see all your mistakes and mark them and commit yourself not to repeat those. Especially spell check is must. Usually you would speak a word more often but that word you can not write it in the correct spell.Keep a record of all your essay writing and revisit those and recheck for spell and write down the spelling again and again until you master it. Spelling in Writing section plays big role.
Many formats are available for essay writing. Use the one you feel is best suited and remembered by you. After all the content is also very important in essay writing.
I followed the below:
Para no. one: the topic… Some people say this……, while others say that.. I am inclined to believe that… I shall elaborate/explain my view point in following paragraphs.
Para no, two: First of all…. For instance….
Para three: Second of all……. For example…
Para Four: In conclusion, based on above illustrations, one could safely say that….. Moreover, everyone should take the positives out of the…..
Again, what is more important is to deal with the prompt very accurately and in totality. Whether it is asking to take your stance, or it is asking the general view, or want to discuss both sides. (these three types)
Ideal length as per my understanding is 260 words on approximation.
If you are following the format, then try and use different formats (may change slightly here and there) for all the essays. Do not follow same for all the essay type questions. Big no.In most cases it is just one essay, no more headache, I guess.
I will cover preparation of remaining two section of PTE exam in next part. One who is looking for PTE Academic Voucher at best price in India at Compass Overseas with free 5 mock tests and lowest price in India.
Please give me comment below what your thought about this part.