The student has requested us to keep his name and details anonymous, as he feels his office managers might find out that he is planning to move out of India. Hence, we are posting this exactly as it is obtained from the student. We thank him wholeheartedly for coming up with such a detailed, conversational write-up. We wish him the best for his future endevours. – Team Fountainhead Prep
For any individual planning to attempt a PTE exam in the near future, the first question that arrives in his/her mind is “How difficult is the PTE exam really?”. Being in the IT industry myself I too had similar thoughts & believed, with me being fluent in spoken & written English can take it on in one-go.
But alas was proven wrong, it was only in my 3rd attempt that I managed a 79+ across sections & that too with some effort in preparation & practice.
PTE exam may not appear challenging for many but getting a 79+ across sections does require certain level of patience, preparation, practice, strategy & sometimes sheer dumb luck. But luck will come to your rescue only if you have given your 100 percent. Even if you score one point less in any of the section, you need to retake the test. And every time you take a test, it’s a costly affair!!
For those who are not patient enough to read this completely (Though, I would love you to :)) here are few quick tips if you are getting started with your PTE preparation.
What not to do when starting your PTE preparation?
Some key points of not to do things for anyone planning on saving some hard earned money (if you have plenty for multiple attempts, I am no one to stop you)
- Don’t book your PTE exam without understanding the exam first
- Do not watch YouTube or any other video before reading yourself about it first (Go through official Pearson website to get a quick overview of the exam)
- Do not blindly believe your friend who scored 90, what worked for him/her may not work for you. Always try to reason, why his/her method could have worked. If you are able to reason with conviction, you probably know what to do.
- Do not go for fixed templates/answers, prepare for anything & everything. Again, understand the rationale -why a template may or may not work.
- Do not forget, it’s a computer evaluating you & not a person (so mostly no element of bias)
- Do not keep repeating your mistakes without seeking help
- Do not re-book exam immediately after your 1stattempt (This resulted in my 2nd attempt failure)
If you have not achieved your target score in 1st attempt – seek help, do not book another exam in hope that you missed because of luck or you can outsmart the computer or outperform yourself. You most probably will end up repeating the same mistakes & end up getting a similar score.
What to do when starting your PTE preparation?
Three key things to know for anyone & everyone planning to write PTE exam are,
- Your PTE Target Score – Your immigration consultant or college can tell you that
- How much time do you have for preparation? – As per your family time & workload
- What is your current level in the PTE exam? – Where do you stand today & how much you need to learn to reach your target score
Answers for the 1st & 2nd are individual specific, once you know the answer to them what you really need now is a platform to accurately test your current level for you to know what you need to do to reach your target score. As per my consultant, I needed 20 points towards my immigration point. So, I needed to score 79+ in each of the sections in PTE. He also mentioned that If I get a 65 in each, it will fetch me 10 points towards immigration points.
Now, this is very important to understand – I have seen many of my friends falling into this trap. Be very clear from the start – If you are only getting 10 points from PTE, is there any other way you get the other 10? If the immigration consultant is not clearly telling, most probably you need to score 79+ in each.
My PTE Journey
Part1 How I did all the wrongs I could,
Always remember if it’s free it’s probably not worth it & that’s what I learnt after my 1st test attempt when I got an overall score of 69.
Couple of things that I did before my first attempt.
- spoke to someone who had attempted PTE recently,
- watched some YouTube videos (what he had watched),
- went to some free mock test websites (got score around 75s in most of the free tests),
- booked my test within a week,
- did not practice much, some here & there free practice modules,
- did not read much, some random articles on google
- did not know how the test is scored
Finally, I managed a meager 69 & thought now I know how it’s done & booked my 2nd attempt next week. Followed the same process next week and got a 71 this time. And to make things worse, my writing score dropped to 59!!
Poof, came an eye opener “Why am I getting similar scores again & again?”, “Am I not wasting too much money on these attempts?”, “Should I actually consult an expert?” & “What is wrong with me?” – Pat came the answers from inside – “Repeating mistakes”, “Yes”, “Yes” & “Over confidence”.
Part 2 How I corrected all my wrongs
So here is how I corrected all my wrongs,
Step 1: Went back to that friend (XYZ), below is our conversation
Me: Asked him how much did he score in PTE?
Me (puzzled): In your first attempt? (As I knew his English was not better than mine)
XYZ: Obviously not, scored a 60 in first but then 85 in second.
Me (sceptical): What magic wand did you whip the next time?
XYZ (confident): Followed some good advice & practiced for a month.
Me (quizzing): Whose advice?
Me (interested): Who’s FHP?
XYZ: Fountainhead Prep, it’s the most efficient platform for PTE preparation. I did not want to waste any more money on reattempts, so while researching for PTE preparation I found their blog, read their reviews which impressed me & after that I just followed their advice.
Me (engrossed): And what advice was it?
XYZ: FHP believes all their students must attempt a PTE diagnostic test, the test is free but they do charge for expert evaluation & believe me it’s good & worth every penny. They gave me a score of The expert feedback, I received itself was so detailed & accurate that it made me realize all the mistakes I had done in actual tests & would surely have scored the same in my 2nd attempt.
Me (inquisitive): And then?
XYZ: Then what, I had a call with their expert, booked a package, followed their advice & post one month of preparation…. VOILA… got my 85.
Me (absorbed): Really, hard to believe.
XYZ: Try it yourself, but I remember you too attempted PTE right. How much did you score?
Me (ignoring): Thanks XYZ, will let you know my next attempt score for sure.
Step 2: Searched Fountainhead Prep on Google, read the reviews & then visited Fountainhead Prep website. Saw an ongoing option of “Schedule a call with a PTE expert for free”. Scheduled my call on the next available slot & waited.
Step3: Received a call from Ambarish (Fountainhead Prep), a patient and humble guy, asked me of my PTE target score, previous attempts & how I had prepared prior to my attempt. Then, he asked me to attempt the PTE Diagnostic test, which was essential for them to study my actual exam attempts. In the call, I was explained the FHP recommended preparation guidelines & had to complete the 1st step to see the progress in my scores.
Step4: Sat on a weekend, closed my room doors & windows & attempted the 3 Hour PTE Diagnostic test, paid the evaluation charges. The diagnostic test was quite similar to the original exam I had attempted twice before. Patiently waited for my results, next day evening got my results in the form of a video feedback – explaining each & every attempt I had made & a score of 67.
Initially anytime I attempted a mock test from any other site, I used to get a score report and used to accept it without questioning or reasoning. See what matters is not the score? But why I am getting a certain score or stuck at that score. If one does not accept the reality that he/she needs an expert opinion to improve, rather spends time and money in multiple attempts, he/she will keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again and again without much or any progress.
But what I got from FHP made me understand the value of a good feedback and the process. In the video feedback, all the mistakes that I had made were pointed out & provided me with suggestions on how to improve.
Step5: Based on feedback received, I registered for the Self Prep pack & attempted 1-2 question types each day, spending not more than 2 hours each day. I booked for Mock Test attempts twice a week & in 3 weeks I felt very comfortable with my practice & preparation.
I always attempted a different mock test every weekend & each of the FHP mock test posed a different challenge, the test was so balanced & upbeat that I always felt like an actual PTE exam. I took precisely 6 mock tests from FHP. In the first two mock tests, I scored 85+ in Speaking and Listening. But Reading and Writing was stuck between 73-76. But, with the video feedback, every time I was able to correct the mistakes. And with the third mock test onwards, I was able to score more than 80 in Reading and Writing as well.
In the last mock test, I attempted on the FHP portal I got a score of 85+ in all sections except Writing. I got a 78 in Writing. But the video feedback clearly explained some of the blunders that I made especially the proofreading bit. It was clearly a case of being overconfident. But I was glad that FHP guided me and pointed that out to me.
Trust me guys, the kind of constructive feedback that you get from FHP will make you more and more open-minded and appreciate the learning process. And I believe that’s going to stay with you for a long time. That’s the biggest takeaway that I had learning from FHP. The FHP PTE expert did push me to continue with practice & mock tests to aim for a perfect 90 score. But, it was at the same time my workload increased and I had to get done with PTE at any cost. With my newly gained confidence, I once again asked them, if I could go ahead with my next attempt. They gave me a thumbs up and that was more than enough for me. Post 3 weeks with FHP, I again booked another actual PTE exam.
Step6: This time during the PTE actual exam I was more focused, aware of critical question types (the ones not to be messed up), knowledge of integrated tasks & with 3 weeks of practice behind me – just more confident. And finally, that’s what I got an overall score of 88. In just 3 weeks I was able to progress from 71 to 88.
PTE may not appear to be a difficult exam but still to get a good score you do need proper guidance. With so many free options around, people tend to waste a lot of time & money (in actual exam re-attempts) rather than actually searching for a platform which can provide them the required results.
See what matters is not the score? But why I am getting a certain score or stuck at that score. If one does not accept the reality that he/she needs an expert opinion to improve, rather spends time and money in multiple attempts, he/she will keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again and again without much or any progress.
I had gone through at least 15 websites; but what Fountainhead Prep provide you, I didn’t find in other such platform/website i.e. a true clear picture of your PTE attempt which helps you plan your PTE preparation better. Fountainhead Prep worked for me, my friend and many others as I found, you too should give it a try. No harm in attempting a PTE Diagnostic test & getting your attempt evaluated by an expert.
What worked for me may not work for you always, but I can vouch for it that the effort that FHP experts put in is completely worth every penny.
So signing off & wishing you all the best for your next PTE attempt.