Improve your language skills to ace IELTS, PTE

Career boost
Last Updated 31 October 2019, 00:30 IST

As early as the 60s, Indian immigrants have been trotting the globe in search of better opportunities, some in pursuit of an education, while others have migrated to better their careers. The process of migration has been quite straightforward. They seek the best of immigrants, and most importantly, ‘good’ English-speaking migrants. These countries use exams like IELTS and PTE as a process of filtration. The exams test your language skills.

So, how do you prepare for these English-proficiency exams?

Let us first know what they are and know their structure.

IELTS: The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English.


Exam structure:

IELTS has four components:

Listening (30 minutes)

Reading (60 minutes)

Writing (60 minutes)

Speaking (11–14 minutes)

The total exam time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

PTE: The PTE Academic test is run by Pearson PLC. It is a British multinational publishing and education company headquartered in London. Website:

Exam structure:

PTE Academic has three main modules:

Speaking and writing (77 to 93 minutes)

Reading (32 to 41 minutes)

Listening (45 to 57 minutes)

The PTE test is completed within 3 hours in one sitting. After you go through each of the exam modules and syllabus, you will realise that the exam modules are quite similar and only vary on grading.

Here are some tips to help you qualify in IELTS and PTE:

Increase your vocabulary

Learn the use of words and their possible contexts. The only way to pick up this habit is by reading. Set a goal to learn certain number of words every day, use them in sentences.

While you’re at this, learn their pronunciation, include one by the native speaker as well. Own a dictionary. Don’t spend too much time on complex words.

Listen, read, write, think

The key to speaking and writing English as expected by the exams is minimise overlapping of languages. Listen to English audiobooks, news feeds and podcasts to absorb pronunciation.

Begin to write down your thoughts in English. Summarise your day’s learning. Rewrite a story you have read elsewhere. If you’ve read an interesting article in this paper, rewrite it in your own words. Set a word limit and time yourself.

Speak to your friends, family, colleagues, professors in English. This is known to ease exam stress and boost confidence. Record your voice, replay and analyse your mistakes. Focus on the vowel sounds while speaking. Also, familiarise yourself with foreign accents.

Invest in a personal trainer

Exams like PTE and IELTS are about testing your language skills. Whether you have coaching classes or not, you would do better to have a personal trainer to steer you along the right path. A trainer will
help you in conversing and expressing yourself.

Get your progress monitored by a
trainer and pay attention to the daily feedback about your practices

Practice mock-sessions

The most important, yet simple, rule is to practice and learn from your mistakes. Then there’s nothing stopping you from getting the scores you want for a better future.

(The writer is co-founder, ufaber)

(Published 31 October 2019, 00:30 IST)

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