Test debut

INTERVIEW

Test debut

The new entry-level exam on the block is the Pearson Test of English (PTE). It promises to accurately measure a student’s communication skills through a computer-based test.

This is not the first entry-level test in India. More than 2 lakh students take various tests of English every year. The other names in the market have already made a niche. Where does Pearson fit in the picture?

The Pearson Test of English was designed to enable success. We decided it was best to start making changes at the bottom. The exam format, accessibility and the reviewing of results is  different. There are more options and it is more convenient.

Could you take us through the exam format?

The Pearson Test of English is an internet- based test (www.pearsonpte.com), measuring all four language areas — listening, writing, reading and speaking. There are seven additional integrated question types. This is something that is unique to Pearson. The test content is developed within the Pearson Group in collaboration with the Graduate Management Admission Council ( GMAC). The test duration is 3 hours. Students can register online and schedule a test using a flexible ‘choose and book’ system. A candidate can even book a date 24 hours prior to the test date.
 
This being an introductory phase, how do you plan to familiarise students with the format of the test?

Pearson has released an official set of test preparatory material. These are: A scored online practice test with results made available on the same day and unscored practice test with sample answers. This helps in knowing what to expect and reducing the test-taking stress. We also have a free test tutorial providing a detailed overview of the test with samples of each question type. Besides, the website also contains over 2,000 practice questions, an analysis of sample questions, test-taking tips and more.

What, according to you, makes Pearson a reliable test?

With PTE, there is no question of cheating or malpractice. The test is almost fool proof. At every step, we have removed situations that allow or encourage impostors, copying etc.  The results are made available five days after the test. This facility does not exist with other entrance tests.

Which are the universities that have recognised the Pearson Test of English?

A total of 770 colleges and courses have accepted PTE scores. Countries like China, USA, Japan, Korea, Australia, the UK, Hong Kong and Canada have recognised this exam as an entry-level exam.

How challenging was the process of designing an entry-level test?

To begin with, before the idea of a pilot programme even, a team from Pearson started out by conducting a Needs Analysis programme. After many rounds of discussions and collecting data from universities and students, we zeroed in on the missing pieces of the puzzle. As the end user of our service is the university, the test was designed to ensure that these loops are closed.

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