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The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) is a computer-based test designed to assess the readiness and ability of non-native speakers to study at universities in which English is the medium of instruction. The test is also used by emigration authorities to determine the ability of would-be emigrants to function in English speaking countries and by corporations to screen employees for positions in which considerable English language proficiency is required.

The PTE Academic is an integrated test assessing all four fundamental skills (reading, listening, speaking and writing) in one three-hour test session and it focuses on real-life English, particularly as used in academic settings. Test scores are reported using the Global Scale of English, a standard numeric scale from 10 to 90 which can measure English language proficiency precisely with reference to the widely used set of levels distinguished in the Common European Framework of References for Languages, or CEFR.

As language skills are not exercised in isolation, the Pearson examination places great emphasis on integrated tasks which assess a variety of language skills simultaneously in order to determine test takers’ readiness to attend English language universities. These integrated test items are task-based and simulate both the types of situations, such as attending lectures and giving presentations, a student will encounter in an academic environment and the range of language functions needed to respond adequately to them. For example, some questions require you to demonstrate your understanding of either a reading passage or an extract from a lecture by providing a written summary of it while others assess your understanding of a lecture by giving an oral summary of its main points. The fact that language skills are assessed in combination means that it is vital for all four primary skills to be of a fairly high standard to achieve a decent test score.

When taking tests of this kind, many students perform poorly because they are not adequately trained in the numerous skills and sub-skills required for each of the sections of the test. They will therefore be greatly assisted by the fact that Exam English classes take the form of private, one-on-one lessons in which individual performance can be assessed closely and in which the student has the trainer’s undivided attention. As many who take this test do so for the purpose of emigration and work full time, we are also prepared to be flexible in our administrative arrangements and, if necessary, lessons can be arranged outside normal business hours.

It is very difficult to say how much preparation is needed as this will vary depending not only on the English language competence of the student but also the scores required for either emigration or further study. However if you are a non-native speaker you should expect to have to spend a good deal of time preparing unless you are a strong upper intermediate student. Even course books designed for compact courses assume roughly 50-60 hours of study.

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