supercow

IELTS v.s Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) | My personal findings

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    My partner sat the IELTS on Saturday. Second time to sit it. He missed out first time by .5 in reading. If he doesn't score a 7 this time were gonna go PTE. The 13 days wait is painful, would rather know so we can go ahead and book another test. Am I right that PTE results are avail within 24hours?

     

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    It varies. My partner took PTE twice but failed badly on the speaking. His since taken ielts and got the results we need. First time he waited 9 days for the pte result, second time he had his results in 2 days. Fingers crossed for the 7s this time for you both.

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    It's funny isn't it when your fluent in English and come from an English speaking country that you cant pass an english exam.

    He said it went ok but paets were tricky and in the listening he could feel himself daydreaming?

    Thankfully I don't need to do the test?

     

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    Just wanted to update. Ieltd results came back on friday. L 7.5 R 6 W 7.5 S 8

    Failed reading AGAIN.

    Booked in for Pte on 6th march. He's bricking it.

     

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    Hey everyone,

     

    Just wanted to share my story so far with IELTS. I've just completed an Occupational Therapy degree over here in Perth and I now need to get 20 points for superior english in order to qualify for an EOI. I've taken IELTS 4 times over here in Perth in the last couple of months (3 General, 1 Academic just to mix things up). Results below

     

    Test 1: L 8.5 R 9 W 7.5 S 8.5

    Test 2: L 9 R 9 W 7.5 S 9

    Test 3: L 8.5 R 8.5 W 7 S 9

     

    Test 4: Awaiting results

     

     

    Now, four years ago I took the same test in good ol' blighty in a small town called Peterborough and got 8.5 in Writing and over 8's in all other sections. I have since completed my OT degree and received an overall grade of 80% or a High Distinction. Throughout the degree I completed many pieces of academic writing to a very high level. So I really don't understand how my english ability has regressed. I recently spoke to an invigilator informally at one of the test venues and she told me that examiners are pulled if they consistently grade papers too high (and presumably too low). Surely the aim should be to grade accurately?

     

    I have submitted remark requests for my first 2 tests and the results should be coming this week. I am now done with IELTS and I have a PTE test booked in a couple of weeks. If I somehow don't pass that, the next available PTE slot in Perth (or anywhere in Australia) isn't for 6 weeks!! I don't have the luxury of waiting that long as OT is on the list of occupations at risk of being removed this July. So, if I need to sit the Pearson exam again I will be travelling, most probably to Malaysia to sit the test again at short notice.

     

    I am not worried at all about not getting over the line as I know it's just a matter of a few more tests at the most. I just wish I had started IELTS/PTE earlier, maybe last summer holiday from uni... Unfortunately I was too busy kitesurfing then! :D Sorry guys, I really don't enjoy posting this kind of thing. I know it is likely to discourage and dishearten others. But thats my story... Perhaps IELTS in other countries is not so dodge. It really does seem like a business over here with all the Asians and Indians with deep pockets taking multiple tests.

    Edited by swordvish

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    Dear All PIO forum members (and those lurking / those that have found this thread via a search Engine)

     

    As promised, here follows my personal views on IELTS-GENERAL vs. the Pearson Academic tests of English, for emigration purposes.

     

    Please note that I am in no way, shape or form affiliated with any educational institute; I'm only writing this to help those, who feel like they have reached a stumbling block which they simply cannot conquer. I am happy to answer any questions you have about IELTS and PTE, but please do bear the above mentioned in mind, my advice will only ever be anecdotal.

     

    I have very strong personal views on giving and receiving advice, particularly on the internet, due to the relative anonymity the internet provides. My reasoning is that, advice without context can be very misleading and in some cases downright dangerous.

     

    hEJQpjw.jpg

     

    Please indulge me while I introduce myself to you first, before we delve a little deeper into the subject. For those who just want to jump straight to the crux of the matter, please feel free to ignore my ramblings below and skip to the summary at the bottom of the post.

     

    Who am I?

    I am a South African born, 30something year old male, who moved to England back in 2001 (holy crap time flies!).

    What is my (self-assessed) English proficiency level?

    English is not my native language in the strictest sense of the term, as I had been raised speaking Afrikaans as my mother tongue. My English has always been above average, given the fact that I had English speaking friends growing up, and I come from a country where it is widely spoken.

     

    My school education was entirely in Afrikaans as well, apart the English classes of course. I went to University, where I had the choice of translating my lectures, source material and notes into Afrikaans with the option to write my exams in said language, but chose to “change the way I learn” and do it all in English instead. I am not a lazy person per-say, however I will always take the path of least resistance if such an option exists, and I really couldn't be arsed with the additional overhead of the aforementioned translation.

     

    My nominated occupation is an “ICT Business Analyst” and have been working as one for the last 13ish years. The fact that I work within software development is irrelevant to this topic, but the essence of my skills lay in my ability to communicate accurately, in simple English, both verbally and in written form. I make a good living doing exactly that, so I knew that my level of English is pretty high and I consider English as my native language now. (I’d be in dire trouble if I needed to do a test of Afrikaans ability now! :) )

     

    Why did I do the IELTS and Pearson tests and what scores did I need?

    I want to emigrate to Australia and I needed to score a minimum of “8” (IELTS) or 79 (PTE-A) in each module respectively (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking). As many of you already know, the average score is pretty much irrelevant and only a by-product of the individual scores, with candidates needing to score at least the minimum band in each of the discrete modules.

     

    The reason I needed 8, is because I did not study what I do for a living (i.e.: lost a lot of points in my application, because I blagged my way into what I do), and therefore needed to bolster my visa application by getting 20 points for language ability, as opposed to 10 for a lower banding, or no points for the absolute minimum entry criteria.

    What tests have I done, and what were my scores?

    IELTS-G: Total of 6 attempts, please see the spread of my test results below:

    Listening | Reading | Writing | Speaking

    1. L8, R7, W8, S9

    2. L8, R7.5, W7.5, S9

    3. L8, R7.5, W8, S9

    4. L9, R8.5, W7.5, S9

    5. L9, R9, W7.5, S8.5

    6. L8.5, R8, W7.5, S 9

     

    PTE-A: 1 attempt

    Listening | Reading | Writing | Speaking

    1. L90, R90, W90, S87

     

    Before you draw any immediate conclusions and skip the rest of this post, I must stress that I feel the PTE-A is NOT an easier exam to take.

     

    --This is a pause for that statement to sink in for a moment…but don't lose hope –

     

    I feel that the PTE-A, is a VASTLY FAIRER AND MORE COMPREHENSIVE TEST, which I’ll elaborate on further down.

    So how do the tests compare?

    Based on the above results, I can understand that some readers may feel that my views are “sour grapes”, however I tried to be as objective as I can in my comparison and not as emotive as I want to be about the subject, though admittedly I’ll be using some visual language to express some of my feelings.

     

    Another footnote: I’m not going to go into the minutiae here and give you a complete breakdown of each type of question you will encounter in PTE-A and IELTS, that’s up to you to practise. I would love to break it down and give feedback on every question type, but I simply do not have the time to do so, and I think it’s not in line with the intent of this post. Again, I’m happy to answer questions below and will reserve a response slot right beneath my post to surface any questions / FAQs that may arise in response to my thread, for easy access to anyone else reading this.

    I will use some examples of question item types, so some of the meaning behind my examples might be lost on you if you’re not all that familiar with the question types in the two test types.

     

    A: Question format

    I feel that language proficiency is a difficult subject to score people on in an economically sustainable manner, and therefore I understand why written exams / tests are based on 4 main “pillars” of language such as L | R | W | S .

     

    I feel, however, that a lot of language proficiency falls through the cracks between these pillars, particularly under examination conditions. The essence of comprehension, paraphrasing, reading between the lines, inference of information, situational context and awareness, interpretation, humour etc. are mostly lost.

     

    PTE-A addresses some of these more “intangible” (for the lack of a better word) skills, by using integrated questions / item types. Integrated item types, refer to the method of testing more than one ability at a time. For example, you may be asked to summarise a piece of written text in your own words, capturing the essence of the text in only one sentence. This will test your writing and reading skills at the same time.

     

    Another good example, is that you will be played an audio clip, which you will need to summarise in written form, testing your listening and writing skills concurrently.

    I felt that, even with alien subject matter, with PTE-A I could close my eyes and listen to audio recordings and understand the meaning behind the lecture / audio discussion and then apply my understanding to the questions asked of me. Even “hard” pieces of written text with confusing vocabulary (I have a decent vocabulary, but there were a fair few pieces of text containing words I’ve never heard or seen before), I could get the gist of what’s written (or understand the word because of the context it was used), and apply logical deduction to come to my answer(s) (there are some multiple choice answers with multiple correct answers). In the situations where you needed to verbally summarise a recording (testing listening and speaking together), even though I couldn’t note down (on the erasable notebook you get) all of the main points and fancy words used, I was able to paraphrase, based on my core understanding of the audio clip.

     

    In IELTS test there is no crossover / integrated questions, but they also try to ascertain whether a candidate can capture the meaning of written or spoken English, by asking questions that rely on very specific vocabulary used (or in the case of listening, misdirection). Using the reading module as a prime example, the questions become progressively harder towards the final two reading essays, and the candidate must understand the essay as a whole, to be able to find the information relating to the question he’s looking for. A vital tip that I can give anyone taking the IELTS still, is to ignore the rubbish rubbish rubbish (yes, I really feel strongly about this) advice given by the “road to IELTS” videos. Do NOT skip read the final essay, focussing on key words – read the whole damn thing. Skip reading works fine in the first couple essays, NOT the last!

     

    So in summary of the question types, I'll use a simile:

    During our school-going years, most of us came across two types of teachers. There was the more progressive teacher, who wanted you to do well but encouraged you to think for yourself using all the tools you have available to yourself (reasoning, deduction, argument etc.). You didn't find those classes any easier, but you applied what you know and did well as a result.

     

    On the flipside, there was the old mean teacher, who used to try trip you up, by using subtle nuances in their questions to you in exam papers they set. Often you would know the correct answer, but because of a mean spirited twist to the question, you got the whole thing wrong.

     

    PTE-A is like the progressive teacher, IELTS-G the latter.

     

    B: Question content

    Not an awful lot to write about here, apart from the fact that I found the content, though more academic in nature, much more interesting in PTE-A. I found that I cared about the subject matter of a lot of the questions, and felt it less of a chore to answer. Your views may differ, but I liked the fact that the PTE-A is “real world” content throughout the test vs. the scripted nonsense in the IELTS listening, or the world’s most boring essays in IELTS.

     

    C: Scoring

    There’s nothing I can say about the requirements to score 8 / 79 as a minimum for each module to attain the points you need. I personally feel that the distinction is a bit arbitrary and an average score is already reflective of modern use of language, but I’m not going to dwell on this.

     

    However, as a direct result of the question format, I feel that PTE-A has a massive advantage for candidates. For example, if you make a mess of a question, you have the opportunity to make up for it, in questions or sections to follow. Using the “summarise written text” (testing reading and writing) as an example again, if you make a bit of a dog’s dinner of your summary, it’s OK – you have other questions later on (or preceding it) where you’re tested on the same skill(s). Added to this, mistakes can also still earn you a partial credit in some circumstances… let that sink in for a second. Obviously this does not apply to all circumstances (multiple choice answers obviously only has right / wrong values).

     

    In IELTS-G, in the reading module, if you make more than 3 mistakes out of the 40 questions asked of you, that’s it – you're done, no “8” band score for you mate, pay us another £150 ish smackeroos, we'll see you next time.

     

    This is the image the springs to mind

     

    Pa34KBx.jpg

     

    D: Timing

    Yet another direct result of the question format (and also location, but we’ll cover that bit below), is the timing of the test. The subject of timing can be broken down into multiple sections; namely: Exam length, booking urgency and time taken for results to be returned.

     

    Exam Length

    As previously mentioned, my English proficiency is high, however I have been and always will be, a slow reader / writer. I was the kid at primary school that got picked on by my teacher for always being the last one to complete an essay, or to finish a reading assignment. I’m not a troglodyte mouth breather, but it’s just one of my personal shortcomings.

     

    The PTE-A test requires you to make snappy conclusions, without needlessly relying on you to cover a lot of information. I found that I had ample time, though not excessive, to complete all tasks and question types. Some of this boils down to reading passages that are not overly long and some of it boils down to the fact that you can absorb information quickly by looking at an image / listening to audio / video etc. There are more examples of this, but it gets my point across.

     

    In IELTS-G, I found that I barely had time to complete my reading due to my aforementioned shortcomings. This did not test my ability to read and comprehend, it needlessly put me under pressure, which can result in errors.

     

    I have been working in a professional environment for many years now, and as a result, my handwriting is and awful mess. It is akin to a drunken spider that fell into an inkwell, flopping around on paper leaving an ink trail behind it. It is shorthand, meant to take notes in meetings, but nothing more. In the IELTS-G you have to hand write your essays, meaning that not only do you need to concentrate hard on writing clearly and accurately on some mundane topic you care nothing about, but also means that this extra care and the time it takes to correct errors, eats into the time allowed to write the essay.

     

    Because PTE-A is computer based, at least I'm able to read what I’ve written on the mundane topic, but also easily spot and correct errors, without the paper looking like a bomb went off on it. My typing is proficient, though I do suffer from fat finger syndrome, but at least I had time to think about my essay and proof read it at least once.

     

    Booking urgency:

    PTE-A you can book up to two days before the test, I believe IELTS is 2 weeks, though I might be wrong on that fact. The point here is, that there’s a lot more available tests for PTE-A, than there are IELTS-G - so no need to book 2 tests in a row (like I had to do a few times during IELTS tests so I can just get the thing over and done with)

     

    Results:

    IELTS: 2 weeks

    PTE-A: 5 working days, though I got my result back the morning of the second working day.

     

    E: Location / Testing centre

    IELTS-G tests are taken in halls (apart form the speaking, which is a one-to-one interview), where you sit in a row of candidates, similar to how you used to sit high-school / university exams. It’s overseen by a handful of invigilators, who at times act like they are prison wardens, or treating candidates like children. This is not always the case, but one particularly screechy invigilator springs to mind whenever I think of them.

     

    PTE-A, you take your test in a smaller room, in a closed-off cubicle in front of a PC. I found that with the PTE-A I was a lot more at ease, as it just felt like I'm taking a test on my own sat in front of my computer with no outside pressure or the rigmarole of entering test centre numbers etc.

     

    One aspect that I can't unfortunately compare, is feedback on scores. As you will notice from my test spread in IELTS, you will see that I figured out what I was doing wrong in the reading module, however my writing waivered. With only half a point off, I was gagging to understand where I have gone wrong, in an attempt to do better the next time around. I emailed the IELTS administrators, asking nicely whether it is possible for them to provide feedback, even if it means that I need to pay the 60 bucks fee to have it remarked. The feedback was as you’d expect, the playground bullies will not even give you feedback on your essay, even if you pay them to have another look at it. They recommended that I seek further tutelage from an accredited tutor. Big surprise there hey – feed them more money!

    This is just plain vile and is quite telling of IELTS as a governing body. (see Simpsons meme above)

     

    Summary

    So for all those who chose to skip all my ramblings above, PTE-A is in my opinion the vastly superior test to take. It is more reflective of your English skills, by testing it in a less obtrusive way than IELTS does. It also enables you to do better, by presenting the test in a modern medium (PC based), using modern scenarios (combination of integrated questions, using real world, audio recordings, video clips, images and so forth)

     

    If you struggle with English, this may not be the silver bullet you’re looking for as PTE-A is not easier. The test merely fairer on the candidate, but you still need the base-skills being tested.

    Supercow.. Forgive me if this has already been answered but if you needed 8's, did you not already have that by the 4th attempt and used your previous scores combined? I heard that was possible? Only enquiring as my missus is taking a retest and any failings she hopes to use both papers combined. Thanks

     

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    Posted (edited)

    @bigpoppadolph no this is incorrect. You need all 8's across one exam! Hence the annoyance and why we all think it's just a money making exercise! I done Pearson's three times see my scores below! Ridculous! 1st R80 , W84, S82, L78; 2nd R90, W90, S90, L78; 3rd R90, W90, S79, L84Good luck! She might be lucky first time :)

    Edited by Dragonflygecko

    189 Visa- ACECQA successful 02/09/2016- Skills Assessment (TRA) Successful 19/01/2017- PTE-A 09/02/2017 (R90; W90; L84; S79) EOI 10/02/2017 Invite 14/02/2017 lodged 21/02/2017; Medicals & all PCC's 03/03/2017; CO request form 80 for partner & PTE-A proof 08/03/2017 Visa Granted 25/05/2017:D To the Gold Coast we go... Fly 27/08/2017

    Oh my! We're Australian Residents :jiggy:

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    @bigpoppadolph no this is incorrect. You need all 8's across one exam! Hence the annoyance and why we all think it's just a money making exercise! I done Pearson's three times see my scores below! Ridculous! 1st R80 , W84, S82, L78; 2nd R90, W90, S90, L78; 3rd R90, W90, S79, L84Good luck! She might be lucky first time :)

    Thank you, I had read it somewhere but turns out it was for the skills assessment and not the visa which is a shame. Thanks for sharing your Pearson's experience, I agree it all seems like a massive money making excercise but they've got you over a barrel.

     

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    I promised myself if I get my required scores in my PTE-Academic test I will share my whole experience with my other english tests.

     

    I have been living in Australia for quiet sometime and I needed to do the english proficiency tests in order to enter a university for my higher education. I have given IELTS 3 times and my scores are shown below with the dates of my test;

     

    14/JAN/2017- L 7.0 / R 8.0 / W 6.0 / S 8.5

    11/FEB/2017- L 7.5 / R 7.0 / W 5.5 / S 7

    04/MAR/2017- L 8.0 / R 7.5 / W 6.0 / S 7

     

    The required band was 6.5 in L/R/W and 7 in Speaking. I was always short of 0.5 or 1.0 bands. I appealed for the writing component of the last test, but I still havent heard from them.

     

    On 07/APR/2017 I took PTE-academic for the first time and here are my results;

     

    L 84 / R 76 / W 76 / S 90    When my results were plotted against the key given by PTE which compared their scoring with IELTS and TOEFL,

    my results equaled to L 8.5 / R 7.5 / W 8.0 / S 9.0 (I repeat, this resut is predicted from the PTE key)

     

    In conclusion, dont waste your money with IELTS, the system is outdated and not fair (unfair part being half of the test is subjective while the other half is objective). I have read many blogs with similar scenarios of this unfaithful act to many fellow candidates. The best example to desmonstrate how IELTS is outdated, is that they have clearly mentioned NOT to use module answers or fomats in essays, in my opinion a person has his or her own format in writing and might even have some modules which the candidates are comfortable with; however, it is the candidates responsibility to alternate that module to fit it in the question, and this tactic should not be frowned upon because there are millions of people giving this test and there are bound to be many similarities (FYI: I dont have such modules).

     

    Nevertheless, in regards to PTE, If you have dificulty with computers and slow typing speeds (when I mean slow, by using one finger for one letter at a time) go with IELTS but with good good good preparation in writing and speaking. However I would highly recommend PTE as it is fair and gives speedy results. The whole experience with PTE is modern and up-to date.

     

    I hope this information finds you well, and please dont be alrmed if you see the exact same post in other blogs, im just hoping that my info will help atleast one individual.

     

    Take care and best of luck for your future, I do hope you will succeed!

    • Like 1

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    On 4/21/2015 at 21:17, supercow said:

    Dear All PIO forum members (and those lurking / those that have found this thread via a search Engine)

    ....

    If you struggle with English, this may not be the silver bullet you’re looking for as PTE-A is not easier. The test merely fairer on the candidate, but you still need the base-skills being tested.

    I just registered to thank you for that. This is very useful.

    To bag a little bit on IELTS in a fair way, I am super proficient in English. I speak with a super clear GenAm accent, I grew up in the states, and have cherished and practiced and kept my English knowledge at a super high level ever since. I took an IELTS Academic exam a year and a half ago, and in all my bands I got a 9, except for writing where I got a 7.5. Even after I had complained and paid the extra money they didn't change anything. I was chastised for not taking their writing assignment super seriously: the question was if governments should build housing for the poor and in my response I went at authority figures and politicians in general, saying they aren't smart enough to do basic stuff, like behave in a decent manner, let alone solve huge issues etc. So in the end I got marked down lower, so I wouldn't get a perfect score, and because of my views on politics. 

    Very disappointing. In my view when I take a test in English, it's actually the test that is taking a test, not me. IELTS got close, but failed. Oh well. 

     

    Thanks again for this summary, it is very useful. 

    • Like 1

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    Pte is tough in some aspects. I've sat IELTS and PTE twice. Still needing my 79+. The first attempt at PTE I got Speaking 90, Reading 90, Listening 77, Writing 69. The second time I got speaking 90, reading 90, writing 79, listening 78. Gutted, to say the least! Sitting again this week. But I do prefer PTE over IELTS in every way. I'm a native English speaker from the UK and it's still a tough exam as it's not all about how good your English is. Core skills like memory are also important.

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    I also needed to get  20 points for Superior English. I'm a native English speaker, originally from the UK. I work in a role that requires extensive communications, so it's not unusual to write multiple articles or documents a week. I thought I'd sail through.

    My initial instinct was to go with IELTS, but availability was pretty poor for quite a long time, so I had a look at other options. PTE-A is not available in my location and most the other tests seemed a bit exotic in their admin. So that left TOEFL. For Superior you need to score L: 28 R: 29 W: 30 S:26 out of 30. That means writing needs to be "perfect". 

    The test was in a packed location. It was noisy, the keyboards were old and required hammering on the spacebar. The test itself was straightforward and, frankly, presented few problems. I'd already checked on form and format prior to taking the exam and there were no surprises. 

    Two weeks later my results came in. L: 30 R: 30 W: 27 S:30... I asked for a remark, with no change. I had been VERY confident on the writing section, having written numerous pieces of a similar style on a regular basis. But still, I returned to the books, studied further. I'd covered everything, even adding some extras to make the pieces shine: variable pacing to maintain interest, avoiding passive voicing, adding a little alliteration to be playful.

    I booked another test, sure that it was perhaps a spelling error or two, or perhaps bad luck. The experience was even worse, with incredible noise levels, heat and a PC that had problems. The test results came back two weeks later: L: 30 R: 30 W: 27 S:30. I couldn't believe it! I was f'ing LIVID. Again I handed over cash for a remark and, yes, again it came back with no change.

    Getting desperate I tried to find a way to take PTE-A. In the end I booked it in another country, and paid for return flights and a hotel. The exam experience couldn't have been more different. The environment was professional, the exam room dimmed with modern equipment and only a handful of candidates. The test itself was tough. It was far more challenging than the TOEFL. I walked out with some doubt. I felt like I'd been stretched, and required to prove something. When I thought back on TOEFL, it felt more like a game of "Simon" where one fault would sink your chances. But still, my performance didn't feel flawless. My results came through the next day L: 90 R: 90 W: 90 S: 90. 

    I'm still (9 months later) very angry about the whole TOEFL experience. There are charts available that line-up the scoring ranges of the different tests to allow comparison. The top end of PTE-A is head and shoulders above TOEFL. I have a strong impression that TOEFL failed to correctly assess my English capabilities. I would advise others not to take this exam if you require Superior points.

     

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    I'm a native speaker that only requires a 7 on the IELTS. Should I go ahead with that, or do the PTE?

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    My partner only needed  7 across the board, I asked him and he said PTE is easier but it all depends on the exam conditions, with PTE he could hear everything that everyone else was saying so that was very off putting and it is all done by computer, Ielts test is more like exam conditions (that you had at college), and you also speak to a human, overall he preferred the Ielts, hope this helps

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    I think so George. The marks are out of 9, as a University educated native English speaker I got 9, 9, 9, 8.5, without any preparation. 

    If you are relatively well educated and articulate you should be fine with IELTS, and as KristyJ said, while the PTE seems to give better results for lots of people, the format is not ideal due to more background noise, so unless you are struggling to get the right score with IELTS I would try IELTS first.

    Best of luck. :)

    • Like 1

    Chris Peck, Manager at Stellar Migration.

    Permanent Resident in Melbourne after two years in SA (state sponsored GSM).

    Posting on behalf of Elena Krasnova, Registered Migration Agent 1572978, Migration Institute of Australia #13584

    www.stellarmigration.com

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    Posted (edited)

    Hi,

    I need some help with my PTE mock test result. My question is regarding the writing score as i received 68 but I am aiming for 79+. If i look at the enabling skill, i got pretty bad score for Spelling and Grammar. Are these two the only culprit? How do i know what score i got for the content I wrote. Which enabling skill parameter is responsible for this?

    Really appreciate if someone can answer this. Thanks in advance!!
     

    mocktest.png

    Edited by iRuleU

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    Seems to me your vocabulary is OK, but not great, but your spelling and grammar are bad, and that's letting you down. I think it's pretty clear where you need to focus your efforts.

    You may want to take a look at their score guide pdf on the Pearson website.


    Chris Peck, Manager at Stellar Migration.

    Permanent Resident in Melbourne after two years in SA (state sponsored GSM).

    Posting on behalf of Elena Krasnova, Registered Migration Agent 1572978, Migration Institute of Australia #13584

    www.stellarmigration.com

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    Posted (edited)

    Below is my experience with PTE preparation and exam.

    I finally took my PET-A exam and received following score
     86/84/90/87.
    I did not expect the above score in READING because time management was a nightmare. It was like I'm running against the time and it put me under immense pressure where my concentration took a dip. I felt like I was guessing and after the test I was feeling down and out because I thought I messed it up pretty bad. Nevertheless, I got pretty happy and excited after seeing my score as now it enables me to claim 20 points.

    Test center was pretty good, I had 5 people with me and there was good enough gap between the cubicles. I was not at all distracted. Staff was pretty approachable and professional, kudos to them.

    For speaking and writing preparation, i just concentrated on the mock test to understand the scoring pattern. I bought gold test kit twice and repeat practiced on the same tests to find my shortcomings. 

    I figured in writing if i get 90 on written discourse and 79+ on vocab and spelling and 65+ on grammar then I can secure 80+ on writing easily. 

    For speaking, it's completely on pronunciation and oral fluency. On 4 attempts of mock test, i was getting 90 on pronunciation and between 80 to 83 in fluency, and mind you, I was not focusing much on content structure in retell lecture and describe image. I applied the same technique on the real exam and got 90 overall (90 pron n 81 oral).
     

    Edited by iRuleU
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    After a few attempts, I finally achieved my PTE 90. 

    Speaking 90

    Reading 84

    Listening 90

    Writing 81

    I would recommend PTE over IELTS to everybody unless they're not that confident using computers. 

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    I have my PTE-A booked for next Monday, after a few failed attempts of IELTS I just can't seem to break the 6.5 barrier in writing. 

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    I have my PTE-A booked for next Monday, after a few failed attempts of IELTS I just can't seem to break the 6.5 barrier in writing. 

    I know an English teacher who can't seem to achieve his writing above 8 in ielts on multiple occasions. Big money making scam I think

    Sent from my SM-G935F using PomsinOz mobile app

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    On 4/22/2015 at 05:17, supercow said:

    Dear All PIO forum members (and those lurking / those that have found this thread via a search Engine)

     

    As promised, here follows my personal views on IELTS-GENERAL vs. the Pearson Academic tests of English, for emigration purposes.

     

    Please note that I am in no way, shape or form affiliated with any educational institute; I'm only writing this to help those, who feel like they have reached a stumbling block which they simply cannot conquer. I am happy to answer any questions you have about IELTS and PTE, but please do bear the above mentioned in mind, my advice will only ever be anecdotal.

     

    I have very strong personal views on giving and receiving advice, particularly on the internet, due to the relative anonymity the internet provides. My reasoning is that, advice without context can be very misleading and in some cases downright dangerous.

     

    hEJQpjw.jpg

     

    Please indulge me while I introduce myself to you first, before we delve a little deeper into the subject. For those who just want to jump straight to the crux of the matter, please feel free to ignore my ramblings below and skip to the summary at the bottom of the post.

     

    Who am I?

    I am a South African born, 30something year old male, who moved to England back in 2001 (holy crap time flies!).

    What is my (self-assessed) English proficiency level?

    English is not my native language in the strictest sense of the term, as I had been raised speaking Afrikaans as my mother tongue. My English has always been above average, given the fact that I had English speaking friends growing up, and I come from a country where it is widely spoken.

     

    My school education was entirely in Afrikaans as well, apart the English classes of course. I went to University, where I had the choice of translating my lectures, source material and notes into Afrikaans with the option to write my exams in said language, but chose to “change the way I learn” and do it all in English instead. I am not a lazy person per-say, however I will always take the path of least resistance if such an option exists, and I really couldn't be arsed with the additional overhead of the aforementioned translation.

     

    My nominated occupation is an “ICT Business Analyst” and have been working as one for the last 13ish years. The fact that I work within software development is irrelevant to this topic, but the essence of my skills lay in my ability to communicate accurately, in simple English, both verbally and in written form. I make a good living doing exactly that, so I knew that my level of English is pretty high and I consider English as my native language now. (I’d be in dire trouble if I needed to do a test of Afrikaans ability now! :) )

     

    Why did I do the IELTS and Pearson tests and what scores did I need?

    I want to emigrate to Australia and I needed to score a minimum of “8” (IELTS) or 79 (PTE-A) in each module respectively (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking). As many of you already know, the average score is pretty much irrelevant and only a by-product of the individual scores, with candidates needing to score at least the minimum band in each of the discrete modules.

     

    The reason I needed 8, is because I did not study what I do for a living (i.e.: lost a lot of points in my application, because I blagged my way into what I do), and therefore needed to bolster my visa application by getting 20 points for language ability, as opposed to 10 for a lower banding, or no points for the absolute minimum entry criteria.

    What tests have I done, and what were my scores?

    IELTS-G: Total of 6 attempts, please see the spread of my test results below:

    Listening | Reading | Writing | Speaking

    1. L8, R7, W8, S9

    2. L8, R7.5, W7.5, S9

    3. L8, R7.5, W8, S9

    4. L9, R8.5, W7.5, S9

    5. L9, R9, W7.5, S8.5

    6. L8.5, R8, W7.5, S 9

     

    PTE-A: 1 attempt

    Listening | Reading | Writing | Speaking

    1. L90, R90, W90, S87

     

    Before you draw any immediate conclusions and skip the rest of this post, I must stress that I feel the PTE-A is NOT an easier exam to take.

     

    --This is a pause for that statement to sink in for a moment…but don't lose hope –

     

    I feel that the PTE-A, is a VASTLY FAIRER AND MORE COMPREHENSIVE TEST, which I’ll elaborate on further down.

    So how do the tests compare?

    Based on the above results, I can understand that some readers may feel that my views are “sour grapes”, however I tried to be as objective as I can in my comparison and not as emotive as I want to be about the subject, though admittedly I’ll be using some visual language to express some of my feelings.

     

    Another footnote: I’m not going to go into the minutiae here and give you a complete breakdown of each type of question you will encounter in PTE-A and IELTS, that’s up to you to practise. I would love to break it down and give feedback on every question type, but I simply do not have the time to do so, and I think it’s not in line with the intent of this post. Again, I’m happy to answer questions below and will reserve a response slot right beneath my post to surface any questions / FAQs that may arise in response to my thread, for easy access to anyone else reading this.

    I will use some examples of question item types, so some of the meaning behind my examples might be lost on you if you’re not all that familiar with the question types in the two test types.

     

    A: Question format

    I feel that language proficiency is a difficult subject to score people on in an economically sustainable manner, and therefore I understand why written exams / tests are based on 4 main “pillars” of language such as L | R | W | S .

     

    I feel, however, that a lot of language proficiency falls through the cracks between these pillars, particularly under examination conditions. The essence of comprehension, paraphrasing, reading between the lines, inference of information, situational context and awareness, interpretation, humour etc. are mostly lost.

     

    PTE-A addresses some of these more “intangible” (for the lack of a better word) skills, by using integrated questions / item types. Integrated item types, refer to the method of testing more than one ability at a time. For example, you may be asked to summarise a piece of written text in your own words, capturing the essence of the text in only one sentence. This will test your writing and reading skills at the same time.

     

    Another good example, is that you will be played an audio clip, which you will need to summarise in written form, testing your listening and writing skills concurrently.

    I felt that, even with alien subject matter, with PTE-A I could close my eyes and listen to audio recordings and understand the meaning behind the lecture / audio discussion and then apply my understanding to the questions asked of me. Even “hard” pieces of written text with confusing vocabulary (I have a decent vocabulary, but there were a fair few pieces of text containing words I’ve never heard or seen before), I could get the gist of what’s written (or understand the word because of the context it was used), and apply logical deduction to come to my answer(s) (there are some multiple choice answers with multiple correct answers). In the situations where you needed to verbally summarise a recording (testing listening and speaking together), even though I couldn’t note down (on the erasable notebook you get) all of the main points and fancy words used, I was able to paraphrase, based on my core understanding of the audio clip.

     

    In IELTS test there is no crossover / integrated questions, but they also try to ascertain whether a candidate can capture the meaning of written or spoken English, by asking questions that rely on very specific vocabulary used (or in the case of listening, misdirection). Using the reading module as a prime example, the questions become progressively harder towards the final two reading essays, and the candidate must understand the essay as a whole, to be able to find the information relating to the question he’s looking for. A vital tip that I can give anyone taking the IELTS still, is to ignore the rubbish rubbish rubbish (yes, I really feel strongly about this) advice given by the “road to IELTS” videos. Do NOT skip read the final essay, focussing on key words – read the whole damn thing. Skip reading works fine in the first couple essays, NOT the last!

     

    So in summary of the question types, I'll use a simile:

    During our school-going years, most of us came across two types of teachers. There was the more progressive teacher, who wanted you to do well but encouraged you to think for yourself using all the tools you have available to yourself (reasoning, deduction, argument etc.). You didn't find those classes any easier, but you applied what you know and did well as a result.

     

    On the flipside, there was the old mean teacher, who used to try trip you up, by using subtle nuances in their questions to you in exam papers they set. Often you would know the correct answer, but because of a mean spirited twist to the question, you got the whole thing wrong.

     

    PTE-A is like the progressive teacher, IELTS-G the latter.

     

    B: Question content

    Not an awful lot to write about here, apart from the fact that I found the content, though more academic in nature, much more interesting in PTE-A. I found that I cared about the subject matter of a lot of the questions, and felt it less of a chore to answer. Your views may differ, but I liked the fact that the PTE-A is “real world” content throughout the test vs. the scripted nonsense in the IELTS listening, or the world’s most boring essays in IELTS.

     

    C: Scoring

    There’s nothing I can say about the requirements to score 8 / 79 as a minimum for each module to attain the points you need. I personally feel that the distinction is a bit arbitrary and an average score is already reflective of modern use of language, but I’m not going to dwell on this.

     

    However, as a direct result of the question format, I feel that PTE-A has a massive advantage for candidates. For example, if you make a mess of a question, you have the opportunity to make up for it, in questions or sections to follow. Using the “summarise written text” (testing reading and writing) as an example again, if you make a bit of a dog’s dinner of your summary, it’s OK – you have other questions later on (or preceding it) where you’re tested on the same skill(s). Added to this, mistakes can also still earn you a partial credit in some circumstances… let that sink in for a second. Obviously this does not apply to all circumstances (multiple choice answers obviously only has right / wrong values).

     

    In IELTS-G, in the reading module, if you make more than 3 mistakes out of the 40 questions asked of you, that’s it – you're done, no “8” band score for you mate, pay us another £150 ish smackeroos, we'll see you next time.

     

    This is the image the springs to mind

     

    Pa34KBx.jpg

     

    D: Timing

    Yet another direct result of the question format (and also location, but we’ll cover that bit below), is the timing of the test. The subject of timing can be broken down into multiple sections; namely: Exam length, booking urgency and time taken for results to be returned.

     

    Exam Length

    As previously mentioned, my English proficiency is high, however I have been and always will be, a slow reader / writer. I was the kid at primary school that got picked on by my teacher for always being the last one to complete an essay, or to finish a reading assignment. I’m not a troglodyte mouth breather, but it’s just one of my personal shortcomings.

     

    The PTE-A test requires you to make snappy conclusions, without needlessly relying on you to cover a lot of information. I found that I had ample time, though not excessive, to complete all tasks and question types. Some of this boils down to reading passages that are not overly long and some of it boils down to the fact that you can absorb information quickly by looking at an image / listening to audio / video etc. There are more examples of this, but it gets my point across.

     

    In IELTS-G, I found that I barely had time to complete my reading due to my aforementioned shortcomings. This did not test my ability to read and comprehend, it needlessly put me under pressure, which can result in errors.

     

    I have been working in a professional environment for many years now, and as a result, my handwriting is and awful mess. It is akin to a drunken spider that fell into an inkwell, flopping around on paper leaving an ink trail behind it. It is shorthand, meant to take notes in meetings, but nothing more. In the IELTS-G you have to hand write your essays, meaning that not only do you need to concentrate hard on writing clearly and accurately on some mundane topic you care nothing about, but also means that this extra care and the time it takes to correct errors, eats into the time allowed to write the essay.

     

    Because PTE-A is computer based, at least I'm able to read what I’ve written on the mundane topic, but also easily spot and correct errors, without the paper looking like a bomb went off on it. My typing is proficient, though I do suffer from fat finger syndrome, but at least I had time to think about my essay and proof read it at least once.

     

    Booking urgency:

    PTE-A you can book up to two days before the test, I believe IELTS is 2 weeks, though I might be wrong on that fact. The point here is, that there’s a lot more available tests for PTE-A, than there are IELTS-G - so no need to book 2 tests in a row (like I had to do a few times during IELTS tests so I can just get the thing over and done with)

     

    Results:

    IELTS: 2 weeks

    PTE-A: 5 working days, though I got my result back the morning of the second working day.

     

    E: Location / Testing centre

    IELTS-G tests are taken in halls (apart form the speaking, which is a one-to-one interview), where you sit in a row of candidates, similar to how you used to sit high-school / university exams. It’s overseen by a handful of invigilators, who at times act like they are prison wardens, or treating candidates like children. This is not always the case, but one particularly screechy invigilator springs to mind whenever I think of them.

     

    PTE-A, you take your test in a smaller room, in a closed-off cubicle in front of a PC. I found that with the PTE-A I was a lot more at ease, as it just felt like I'm taking a test on my own sat in front of my computer with no outside pressure or the rigmarole of entering test centre numbers etc.

     

    One aspect that I can't unfortunately compare, is feedback on scores. As you will notice from my test spread in IELTS, you will see that I figured out what I was doing wrong in the reading module, however my writing waivered. With only half a point off, I was gagging to understand where I have gone wrong, in an attempt to do better the next time around. I emailed the IELTS administrators, asking nicely whether it is possible for them to provide feedback, even if it means that I need to pay the 60 bucks fee to have it remarked. The feedback was as you’d expect, the playground bullies will not even give you feedback on your essay, even if you pay them to have another look at it. They recommended that I seek further tutelage from an accredited tutor. Big surprise there hey – feed them more money!

    This is just plain vile and is quite telling of IELTS as a governing body. (see Simpsons meme above)

     

    Summary

    So for all those who chose to skip all my ramblings above, PTE-A is in my opinion the vastly superior test to take. It is more reflective of your English skills, by testing it in a less obtrusive way than IELTS does. It also enables you to do better, by presenting the test in a modern medium (PC based), using modern scenarios (combination of integrated questions, using real world, audio recordings, video clips, images and so forth)

     

    If you struggle with English, this may not be the silver bullet you’re looking for as PTE-A is not easier. The test merely fairer on the candidate, but you still need the base-skills being tested.

    Great posts!! Keep it up

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    Hi Supercow,

    2 years later and I find your post very helpful. However, I am still undecided which one to go for, as I think I have skills in both. So, may I ask how long you took to prepare for your PTE test? I need to be realistic on time frame , but am a bit limited with test dates around, so in the end which one I goes for might be determined by which date works best for me.

    Also, the basic book you bought  [I think I saw somewhere in the threads - would you say that is enough for a quick turn around time? I am wondering whether the marked mock tests packages is worth it...

    Anyway, I guess you are so relieved it is over.....and not writing this post!

     

    Thanks!

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