Education blog by Pearson India

  • PTE Writing Tips: How to Improve Your Essay Writing Score

    One of the sections of the PTE exam is designed to assess your English writing proficiency. Throughout the entire test, you will have to incorporate your writing skills along with your speaking, reading, and listening skills. However, as soon as you complete the speaking section, you will be presented with two tasks entirely based on testing your writing proficiency.

    ​PTE Writing Module Overview

    ● Summar ise Spoken Text

    In this PTE writing task, you will be given a paragraph that you have to summarize in your own words. You have to finish the summary in one sentence using more than 75 words. You will have 10 minutes to read the paragraph, summarize it, and proofread it.

    ● Essay Writing

    PTE essay writing is the second task in this section that requires you to write an essay between 200 and 300 words. You will be given a prompt of one or two lines, and you have to write an essay on that given topic within 20 minutes. Your essay scores are based on the following aspects:

    •  Content 
    • Formal Requirement 
    • Development 
    • Grammar 
    • Linguistic Range 
    • Vocabulary 
    • Spelling

    It is essential to keep these aspects in mind when you are writing your essay, irrespective of the topic given. Besides that, here are some tips to help you improve your writing score.

    1. Focus on the key concept

    Your prompt can be based on a debatable topic, current affairs, or any subject matter. You have to identify the core of your topic and incorporate it throughout your test. Stick to the topic and keep it crisp. Even when you are putting forth your personal opinion, keep the key point at the centre of it. When you read the topic, you can start making your rough notes, mentioning your key points before you begin writing your essay.

    2. Plan a structure

    It is best to divide your essay into three parts: the introduction, your argument, and the conclusion. Even when you are making notes, you should keep this structure in mind. This will not only help you decide the content you want to write, but it will also help you stay within the word limit.

    3. Use examples or facts

    Using examples, facts or even anecdotes helps make the material more engaging and credible. It shapes your essay and gives it a personality. If you have enough information about a topic, you should utilize it completely. Include important dates, statistics, or even names of personalities if you are sure of your facts.

    4. Use quotes or idioms

    Just like examples and facts, quotes and idioms add a flair to your essay. Catchy phrases are also a way to go. But, you have to make sure that they are not colloquial or come from a slang language. You can consider using them if the context demands it. But do not compromise on the grammar and the academic writing style. Adding popular quotes can give direction to your essay. However, do not enforce it if it’s not required.

    5. Use comprehensible vocabulary

    If you consider learning hard vocabulary as one of the top PTE writing tips that you need to conquer, then it’s time for you to rethink that. You must focus on using easy vocabulary that is quick to read and does not use most of your word count. At the same time, you have to also ensure that your writing style is not lousy. Context and sentence formation are as important as the vocabulary that you choose to use. Furthermore, you should also use appropriate introductory phrases and conjunctions. To put across your point in a seamless way. You can use phrases and linkers like; in my opinion, I believe, moreover, given the facts, etc.

    It can take a while to get into the habit of writing. But if you practice in all sincerity, it is possible to improve your essay writing skills. Pearson’s PTE Academic Official Coursebooks and the online app can provide you with many writing prompts for you to practice. You can also take the practice tests as well as mock tests to quantitatively judge your performance. The above tips, combined with practice can help you improve your PTE essay writing score.

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  • Effective Ways to Improve Your PTE Listening Skills

    The PTE listening section can be a challenging part of the entire test for most aspirants. In this day and age where the world is thriving on short attention spans amidst many distractions, pseudo-listening has become an internalized trait for many. But as you begin your PTE preparations, it’s time that you exchange this trait for productive and interpersonal listening skills.

    Before we talk about the effective ways to improve your PTE English listening skills, let’s have a quick look at the PTE Listening section. It will give you a general idea of how to plan your learning and what types of questions to expect.

    PTE Listening Section

    Items Task Number of Items Prompt length
    Summarize Spoken text Listen to the audio clip and recapitulate it in 50 to 70 words 1 - 2 60-90 seconds
    Multiple-choice, choose multiple answers Listen to the audio and select as many correct options as you see on the screen 1 - 2 40-90 seconds
    Fill in the blanks Fill in the blanks by writing the word that matches the transcription given on the screen with the audio that you listen 2 - 3 30-60 seconds
    Highlight correct summary Based on the audio, select the correct summary given on the screen 1 - 2 30-90 seconds
    Multiple-choice, choose single answer Listen to the audio and select the single correct option 1 - 2 30-60 seconds
    Select missing word Select the missing word from the given options to complete the audio that plays 1 - 2 30-60 seconds
    Highlight incorrect words Select the word from the written transcript that is different from the speech in the audio clip. 2 - 3 20-70 seconds
    Write from dictation Listen to the audio and write it down in the answer box 3 - 4 3-5 seconds
    • The PTE listening section entails you integrating your reading as well as your writing skills to score your best.
    • You will have 7 to 10 seconds to read before the audio plays.
    • There is a time constraint, so you have to stay focused when the audio plays and be quick with your answers.

    The below tips will help you understand how to improve your listening skills in English for your PTE exam.

    1. Listen actively

    We have established how important it is to actively listen to score well in your PTE Listening section. But how can you do that? It can be difficult to simply switch to being attentive when people are talking, so it’s best to take small steps. You can start by watching movies with and without English subtitles. It’s best to watch without subtitles because that ensures you stay focused.You should listen to podcasts on topics of your interest. Furthermore, throughout your PTE preparation, you can watch videos or listen to audio lessons. Since your aim is to be educated through these lessons, you will need to be more attentive. You should also make a habit of taking notes while you are consuming content via audio or video.

    2. Take digital notes

    Speaking of taking notes, it would be ideal if you used a computer for the same. As we saw in the above PTE Listening paper pattern, your English listening skills are tested by integrating them with your writing skills. You listen to the audio and then type down the answer. There is limited time for you to respond. Throughout your exam, you will have to make notes as you listen to the audio and type down your answers later. Hence, it’s better to start practicing this pattern of listening and taking notes on the computer throughout your PTE preparation.

    3. Spare a few seconds after each answer

    PTE listening tips are not successful if you don’t combine them with time management. You have to spare a few seconds at the end of each answer, so you have time to go through it and make any changes needed. In the few seconds or minutes, you have to respond, you must divide your time between listening to the questions, decoding them, answering them, and revising your answer. You can choose to appear for mock tests using the PTE Academic Official Practice App. This app helps you learn through practice tests, mock tests, live classes, etc. It will not only help you learn but give you a taste of the PTE exam and help you learn time management skills along with listening skills.

    4. Pay attention to the details

    Make it a habit to pay attention to details while listening to audio. The keywords of the recording are as important as minute details like pronouns and tenses mentioned in it. When these negligible but crucial aspects of language are taken into consideration, your answers are more sound and accurate.

    Combining Pearson's official coursebooks with its online and offline practice tests can give you a very well-rounded preparation for your PTE Listening section. The skills you learn will also help you develop your overall listening habit

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  • How to Improve English Language Skills for PTE Test

    If you have decided to appear for the PTE Academic, then you must start working on your English language skills. The common notion around preparation for English proficiency tests is that it is easier for native English speakers compared to non-native English speakers. There is no hard and fast answer to justify if this is true, but what we know for sure is that  we require very good English language proficiency to get great score in PTE.

    PTE Academic requires you to upgrade from  your existing English language skills and build it based on its technicalities, which comprise using accurate grammar, extensive vocabulary, appropriate structures , etc. This does not mean  having a mental dictionary full of the most difficult words to  be able to form complex sentences. Rather, PTE A  requires you to be able to communicate in a crisp and simple but theoretically correct way.

    If you want to improve your English language skills for the PTE test, you need to focus on  all your English language communicative skills i.e., Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing skills because the exam assesses your proficiency in all these 4 skills

    Here’s how you can improve your English language skills 


    People often find it intimidating to carry on a conversation in English. This may come from the fear of being unable to precede the conversations or the fear of not being able to pronounce some words correctly. There are numerous other reasons why people who are fluent in reading and writing English might struggle in verbal communication . But, you have to start at some point and learn from your mistakes.

    Enhancing your English speaking skills is not only good  for your PTE A, but that will also help you in the long run. You can start by speaking English in your close circle. Or you can start by reciting some words that you find difficult to pronounce.

    Do not translate from your native language but start thinking in English . We all have constant thoughts filling our heads.that never stops. So, why not make the most of it by thinking in English? This way, you have all the time in the world to translate or even search for words that you do not know.


    To improve your English skills in terms of listening, the best thing you can do is consume as much content as you can in English. You can watch movies, listen to songs, podcasts, poems, watch the news, etc. Listening to other people talk in English will expose you to new words and pronunciations. The PTE listening test is not only based on your capability to listen. You should also be able to break it down and comprehend it, so you can follow that up with your answer. Consequently, the more English content you consume, the more accustomed you become to process the language.


    When we talk about improving your English skills in  reading, we are not limiting your sources just to books. Sure, they are a huge help. By reading, you are introduced to new vocabulary, aphorisms, and idioms, and it also helps increasing your knowledge. But there are many things aside from books that you can read.

    You can read your favourite magazines, online blogs, news articles, short stories, etc. The key is to keep reading while also comprehending  what you're reading. If you come across any words that you do not know the meaning of or you do not know their pronunciation, you should quickly look them up. This will add value to your reading sessions.

    When you get comfortable with reading, you should focus on reading fast or skimming through it by focusing on the important aspects. The PTE test is time-bound, and hence, you will have to learn to be fast with your reading skills. You can time your reading sessions to see where you stand and how much improvement is needed.


    Writing in English not only helps you create sentences, but you also learn their spelling. You can enhance your English writing skills by journaling. It does not have to be very detailed or long. On the PTE test, you will not have to write paragraphs of answers; a few sentences would be enough. You would get writing tasks like writing summary or essay To work on this, you can also rely on online PTE preparation resources as well as the scored Practice tests.

    Pearson has multiple PTE preparation resources that you can rely on. Using official coursebooks, you can learn all the basics of the English language. You can also use offline sources and the official PTE app to take mock tests. Pearson have ample unique sample test questions for you to practice. Besides ,  you can continue using the above tactics to improve your English language skills. You can internalize these habits as they not only improve your English language skills but also help in shaping your personality.

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  • 4 tools to help you get a great score in PTE academic

    Studying abroad in one of the most notable institutions is a part of many students’ vision boards. But before you can start your academic journey at your dream school, you need to tick off all the prerequisites for admission. The process is long, the preparation is hard, but if you do it right and wholeheartedly, you can get admission to the finest school. It is ideal to start planning ahead for your further studies because these educational institutes have a lengthy admission process comprising of form fillings, document submission, visa approval, etc. But besides that, you will also need to spare time to prepare for entrance exams and the English proficiency test.

    Most of the foreign educational institutes that you will apply to will require an English proficiency certificate from a recognized organization. Once that is cleared, you will be allowed to move forward with the admission process. PTE Academic is one of the most trusted English proficiency tests that is accepted by top institutes worldwide. So, if you are keen on studying abroad, it is essential that you include the PTE test score in your admission portfolio.

    PTE Academic needs a dedicated preparation time. Even if English is your first language, you have to study for this test unwaveringly. The test is not based on your colloquial language use. In fact, it examines your knowledge of the fundamentals and intricacy of this language.

    Your PTE Academic score will define your academic future. Hence, it’s best to leave no stone unturned. To step up your PTE preparation, you need to make sure that you learn using the right sources. You must stay focused and not get overwhelmed by too many options.

    In 4 tools to help you get a great score, please use intricacies instead of intricacy in the 3rd paragraph and replace the Official Coursebooks paragraph with the paragraph I have given below. 

    1. Official coursebooks

    For PTE preparation, one of the best tools that you can rely on is the official coursebooks. The PTE Academic official coursebooks provide you with all the high-quality preparation resources to prepare for the test. 

    The official coursebooks comprise the following: 

    These coursebooks will not only help you learn about the exam and the content you need to learn for it, but they will also offer you materials to test your acquired knowledge once you are through with the syllabus

     2. Offline practice test

    When you are getting closer to your exam date, you want to spend more time assessing your knowledge by taking as many tests as possible. One of the most efficient ways to do this is by getting your hands on the offline practice test material. The PTE tool lets you download test content, which comprises audiobooks, pdfs, sample responses, etc. Since there is no time limit for this offline test, you can take your sweet time thinking and coming up with the answer. The goal of this PTE tool is to get you into the habit of taking tests once you have finished your syllabus. This offline test helps you build confidence and assess your performance.

    3. Official Online practice app

    You will come across many PTE apps to help you prepare for the test, but you can learn from one of the most authoritative sources, which is the PTE Academic official practice app. The app comprises multiple tests with a unique set of questions. The online tests give you the true experience of the PTE test because they are timed. Consider this your trial before you appear for the official PTE test. Appearing for time-bound tests will help you gauge your performance better and give you an idea of your potential PTE score.

    4. PTE Academic Taster

    The PTE Academic Taster is another official PTE tool that gives you a glimpse of this English proficiency exam by presenting you with 5 sampled questions. Before you go through the 3-hour long test, answering 70 questions assessing your reading, speaking, writing, and listening abilities, you can use the PTA Academic Taster to get a ‘taste’ of your actual exam. You can try 5 sample questions and get instant feedback on your performance. The questions are based on the following formats:

    • Fill in the blanks
    • Reorder the paragraphs
    • Multiple choice questions with a single correct answer
    • Highlight incorrect words
    • Select missing words

    It is best to get your hands on these official PTE Academic tools right from the very first day of your preparation. It will help you put your best foot forward and start on the right note. Besides these PTE tools, you can also choose to opt for free online courses, go through the test guide, score, etc, to know more about the exam and enhance your preparation.

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  • Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Take PTE Test Online

    If you have decided to appear for PTE Academic, one of the most prominent English proficiency tests, then you must start your preparation as soon as possible in full swing. But if you are dubious about your learning sources and medium, then let us help you make a decision.

    PTE preparation requires you to invest time and effort. No matter if English is your native language or if it is a foreign language to you, it is possible to pursue your learning online as it will help you maximize your development while saving time and money.

    Here are the top 5 reasons why you should do PTE preparations online.

    1. Flexible hours

    PTE Academic is an English test so diverse that it is not only accepted for college admissions but is also a pre-requisite in immigration processes. Hence, the candidates appearing for the test are individuals coming from all walks of life. Some are homemakers, full-time workers, students, professionals, etc. Everybody has a different schedule and goals. By opting for online PTE preparation, you have the chance to learn at flexible hours. No matter if you are an early riser or a night owl, you can study at any time, at your own pace. You can study while on your way to work, during lunch hours, and in between your lectures. With online PTE preparation, you get to take control of your learning schedule.

    2. Sample questions for practice

    Just studying is not enough to learn anything new. You have to put that into practice to understand how much you have learned. With online PTE preparation, you can access many sample questions that you can practice to test your knowledge. They also come with answers, so it is easy for you to evaluate your performance. One of the prime benefits of solving sample questions is that you are learning by practical implication. This is the stage of learning where you are thorough with concepts and now you have to polish your skills before you start appearing for tests and solving question papers. Hence, attempting to solve sampled questions is going to help you learn quickly.

    3. Online practice tests

    Before you take the PTE test online, you must have a taste of it by taking online practice tests. They are designed exactly like the original PTE test. Hence, you will get a real-time experience. These tests are time-bound. They will prepare you to think and answer rapidly. This is the difference between attempting to solve sample questions and appearing on practice tests. The former lets you learn at your leisure, while the latter prepares you for the ultimate test. It is ideal that you start taking online PTE practice tests when you are getting closer to your exam dates. You can dedicate the final days of your PTE preparation to solving as many practice tests as possible. Since you are preparing online, it is possible for you to continue taking online practice tests for as long as you want, and that too, at your own leisure when you feel you are prepared enough.

    4. Unique set of questions

    The fact that you can take online PTE practice tests at any point in your journey of preparation, is not the only best part about learning online. Every time you take a new practice test, you will come across a new set of unique questions. There are times when students often rush through certain concepts or leave them for later. Taking practice tests will give you an opportunity to circle back to that as you will come across questions that will cover your entire syllabus. However, to do that, you must keep taking practice tests online. Every unique set of questions will enable you to think better and have a complete revision with results that will help you understand your development.

    5. Quick results

    Taking online PTE practice tests gives you an opportunity for self-evaluation. Since the tests are AI-based, you can be assured of receiving unbiased results. In addition to that, you can also take advantage of the fact that the results are delivered quickly. If you are pursuing your PTE preparation with PTE, you will have access to many learning resources, practice tests, and your results will be delivered to you within the span of 2 days. Pearson ensures that you receive quick results so that you have time to assess your performance, recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and work on getting better before the D-day arrives.

    Now that the PTE English test has moved online, why shouldn’t your preparations too? It will help you have a seamless learning experience without compromising on your other primary activities, like studying for school or working. You can start at any point and learn in the comfort of your own home.

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  • PTE Reading Tips And Strategies For First-Time Examinees

    The PTE Academic is built to test your reading, writing, and speaking proficiency in English. Hence, it is crucial that your preparation consists of strategies that help you build knowledge and skills to excel in all patterns of this examination.

    Regardless of whether you are a native English speaker or not, unless you are a voracious reader with immense knowledge about the intricacy of the language, your skills may fall short of helping you score your highest. PTE Academic entails testing your efficiency in the language. Your PTE preparation must include a significant amount of time dedicated to enhancing your reading skills.

    Before we get into how to improve your PTE reading skills, let’s look at the paper pattern of this section of the test to better strategize your preparation.

    Exam Pattern

    The content of PTE reading tests revolves around subjects like humanitarian studies, natural sciences, social sciences, and general knowledge. To score high in not just your PTE reading section but all the other sections too, you must focus on these subjects while preparing for the test.

    This part of the test is 29–30 minutes long and contains five different question types.

    PTE Reading Overview:

    Here in the table are the details about the PTE Reading: 

    Question Type Task

    No. of questions

    Length Scoring

    Skills assessed

    Reading and Writing: Fill in the blanks You will be given a paragraph with spaces to fill. Alongside you will have a drop-down button and options to choose from. Pick the correct answers to complete the entire paragraph. 5-6 Text up to 300 words Partial credit scoring Reading and Writing
    Multiple-choice, choose multiple answers There is more than one response. Choose all the answers that you think are correct.


    Text up to 300 words Partial Credit Scoring Reading

    Reorder paragraphs

    On the left-hand side, you will have multiple text boxes. Drag and drop them to the right side in the appropriate order.

    2 - 3

    Text up to 150 words

    Partial Credit Scoring

    Reading: Fill in the blanks The passage that appears on the screen will have several gaps. Pick the right words from the given options to fill in the gaps. You will have more options than gaps. 4 - 5 Text up to 80 words Partial Credit Scoring Reading
    Multiple choice, single answer There are many options given, but there’s only one correct answer. 1-2 Text up to 300 words No score for wrong or no response Reading

    PTE Academic Reading preparation strategies

    1. Read what you like

    One of the prime PTE reading tips is to engage in as much reading as possible. You can read books, blogs, theories, reviews, notes, news, studies, stories, anything that is related to the subjects of the test. You can pick any genre that interests you.

    2. Try to speed read

    PTE Academic is a time-bound test. Hence, it is essential that you master the art of reading quickly. As you begin your PTE preparation journey, try to keep increasing your reading speed by setting a goal of reading a certain number of words within a certain span of time.

    3. Prepare your own dictionary

    Along with speed reading, you also need to ensure that you are cognizant of what you are reading. If you come across new words, you must look them up, understand their meaning, and even note them down for personal reference.

    4. Improve your grammar

    Speaking of reading thoughtfully, you have to focus on improving your grammar too. Pearson’s PTE study materials will help you cover everything from the basics to advanced in terms of grammar. First, you can start with understanding English grammar. Reading excessively will help you come across the application of grammar in sentences. As you go on reading, you will become more familiar with it.

    PTE Exam Preparation Strategy

    1. Skimming and scanning

    Skimming and scanning will help you save time while you focus on the important aspects of the text presented to you. This rapid reading method will give you an overview of the question, and you will only absorb the information that matters to you the most.

    2. Read the question twice

    Even though this test is time-bound, if you use the PTE reading strategies well, you will have enough time to read the question more than once. This will help you pick up on information that you may not have gathered in the first place.

    3. Highlight the keywords

    Using your memory, highlight the keywords in the paragraph that you think will help you pick your responses. You will not only save time but also avoid running around the bush if you identify the keywords.

    4. Elimination technique

    In the case of multiple-choice questions, if you are unsure of the right answer, use this elimination technique to rule out the possible wrong answers. Once you have eliminated those, you will be left with nothing but the correct option.

    5. Practice Tests

    Excessive and impulsive reading alone will get you nowhere. But when you combine it with the practice tests, you will develop and enhance your reading skills. Pearson’s PTE practice tests will help you develop your reading skills. You can use their study materials to learn and their online tests to evaluate your skills.

    These guidelines will help you define your PTE preparation strategies. To stay on the right path and not get distracted by an overwhelming number of learning patterns or resources, you can use these tips and strategies to score your best in PTE Academic.

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  • Olivia’s Chevening dream: a decade in the making

    The Chevening scholarship is a route to studying in the UK for people all over the world. It offers the brightest and best the opportunity to study for a Master’s at a British university. Since 1983, Chevening has helped over 50,000 professionals pursue their studies and become leaders within their communities and sectors.

    Chevening scholar Olivia Rondonuwu grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia. Her background was in journalism and she dreamed of studying social policy in the UK. But her path to becoming an international Master’s student wasn’t a straightforward one.

    The importance of determination

    Olivia knew several successful people working in journalism who’d been awarded Chevening scholarships. As a journalist, she’d interviewed high profile people who were alumni of LSE. Her ambition was to become one of the female leaders in the Indonesian media, focusing on Indonesian social policy.

    “I had been thinking about the scholarship for ten years,” she says. “My dream was to study social policy at the London School of Economics, but of course, I couldn’t afford it.”

    Competition for the scholarships is fierce, as Olivia discovered the first time she applied to the Chevening scholarship. She got to the interview stage, but she wasn’t successful. Then she applied again - and this time, she didn’t reach the interview stage.

    However, Olivia wasn’t deterred from pursuing her dream of studying in the UK - and on her third application for the Chevening scholarship, her persistence paid off. “I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “It didn’t seem real until I got on the plane to London. It had been such a long process - I was so happy to finally be going to study in the UK.”

    Studying at the London School of Economics

    So how was Olivia’s first day in London? “It was horrible,” she laughs. “The weather was awful, and my bus got stuck in a traffic jam. In Indonesia, if you’re in a traffic jam, you can just get off the bus and jump on a motorbike taxi – but in London, you can’t do that! And at lunchtime, it seemed like the only option was cold sandwiches – British people love bread!”

    As Olivia started the MSc in Social Policy and Development, doubts started creeping in. Had moving to London to study been the right choice for her after all?

    Imposter syndrome affects a lot of students who are studying at top universities. At times, they can feel that they don’t belong there. And Olivia felt that, as an older student, she was at a disadvantage, compared to other students who’d gone straight into the Master’s from their undergraduate degree. “I was thirty six,” she explains, “so I was older than a lot of the other students. I felt that I was too old to be there.”

    Luckily, it didn’t take Olivia long to shake off these doubts. As the course went on, she was able to recognise the value of her experience as a journalist, and gain in confidence and self-belief.

    “You have to look inside yourself,” she explains, “and find the confidence to say, I’m a future leader.” And of course, she’d been waiting for so long to study at LSE -  meaning that she really appreciated every moment, and was able to make the most of this amazing opportunity.

    A personal transformation and a new network

    Once Olivia got over her imposter syndrome, she found herself gaining more and more confidence, thanks in part to the academic culture at LSE and the focus on critical thinking. “It was quite different from Indonesian academic culture,” Olivia explains.

    “Here, you are encouraged to think more critically about your opinion on a topic.” She found that building her critical thinking skills helped with her self-belief. “Once you have the confidence in yourself, it helps you to dare to be different,” she says.

    The other thing that Olivia loved about her Chevening experience was meeting other students from all over the world. “I was amazed by how international the group was - there were students from Latin America, from Afghanistan,” she says. “It was very competitive, but very international.”

    Studying in the melting pot of a London university was a fantastic way to build a global, professional network.

    Advice for other international students

    Before Olivia travelled to London, she was given lots of advice by the UK embassy in Jakarta. “They warned us about the weather,” she says. “They even recommended getting a special lamp in case we suffered from seasonal affective disorder!”

    But when Olivia is asked what her words of advice were for other international students, her answer is perhaps surprising. “Be brave and embrace it, the bad and the good,” she says. “Enjoy every minute. Yeah, some days the weather will be grey, but enjoy it! It’s all part of the experience of studying in the UK. So enjoy every minute - learning, networking, living in London.”

    Though she will admit – she still doesn’t like sandwiches for lunch!

    Learn more

    In order to study at a UK university and apply for a UK student visa, you’ll need to prove your level of English. PTE Academic is a fast, reliable, computer-based test that is accepted by 99% of UK universities and the UK Home Office as proof of your English language skills. You’ll typically receive your scores in just two days - so you won’t have a long wait for your results, and can get on with the application process!

    Learn more about how PTE Academic can help you study in the UK.

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  • Student life in the UK: A guide to British festivals

    Studying in the UK provides a great opportunity to immerse yourself in British culture and traditions. Not only can you meet new people, try new food and explore different cities, you can also experience a range of different festivals that you might not celebrate in your own country.

    While there are many British traditions and festivals, here are some of the oldest and most widely celebrated festivals that you can get involved in while you’re studying in the UK:

    The top 5 British festivals

    1. Halloween

    So what is Halloween? Also known as All Saints’ Eve, Halloween is a celebration in many countries on 31st October, which honors religious Saints and the dead.

    The tradition dates back to an ancient Celtic festival held on this day, where people would light bonfires and wear costumes to frighten away spirits. Later, in the 8th century, Pope Gregory III chose November 1st as a time to honor the saints.

    While it remained a religious festival for many years, in the last century it has turned into a fun, yet spooky, holiday to celebrate. Children and young adults particularly enjoy Halloween and take part in a number of activities.

    These include trick-or-treating where they knock on neighbours’ doors and ask for sweets, carving faces into pumpkins and watching horror movies. Let’s not forget dressing up in scary costumes, like a vampire, witch or zombie, and attending a fancy dress party!

    There are lots of different ways to take part in this festival as a university student. In the UK, most universities normally organize Halloween parties on October 31st. And if you don’t like dressing up, it’s also a common tradition for cinemas to show horror films as an alternative Halloween celebration.

    2. Bonfire Night

    Also known as Guy Fawkes’ Night, Bonfire Night is a British festival that takes place on November 5th each year. So why do people celebrate bonfire night? It is a day that commemorates the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

    Guy Fawkes was a Catholic who didn’t agree with the King’s persecution of Catholics at the time. So, he developed a plan to blow up Westminster Palace in London while King James I and the members of parliament were inside. However, the plot was unsuccessful and he was sentenced to death.

    When the people of London realized that the king had escaped assassination, they lit bonfires to celebrate. After this, King James I declared that November the 5th would be a public day of thanksgiving for the plot's failure. Nowadays, people celebrate this night with bonfires, fireworks, sparklers and toffee apples.

    If you’d like to experience Bonfire Night, you’ll be able to attend organized outdoor gatherings with bonfires and fireworks displays around cities and in public spaces. Make sure to wrap up warm, as it gets cold during November evenings in the UK!

    3. Christmas

    Christmas is an annual religious festival celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25th. However, both religious and non-religious people across the country celebrate this holiday. Although Christmas Day on December 25th is the main event, British people also celebrate Christmas Eve on December 24th and Boxing Day on December 26th.

    There are a number of British Christmas traditions associated with this holiday. For instance, people eat turkey, hang up decorations and stockings, pull crackers, eat mince pies, give each other presents and even watch the Queen give a televised speech on Christmas Day.

    If this is something that you’d like to experience you’ll have plenty of options in the UK. Many pubs and restaurants allow you to book a traditional Christmas meal. Moreover, many cities have a Christmas market in December where you can try mulled wine and buy gifts. It’s truly a magical time of year!

    4. New Year's Eve

    Shortly after Christmas, people in the UK and other countries around the world celebrate New Year's Eve on December 31st. It is the last day of the year before New Year’s Day, which marks the start of a new calendar year.

    A festival that has been celebrated for centuries, British people recognise it as a night where they can welcome in a new year. At midnight on New Year’s Eve, it is tradition to set off fireworks and firecrackers, as well as celebrate with food and drink. Some families dance to Auld Lang Syne, a Scottish folk song which means ‘long long ago’ and is traditionally sung to farewell the old year.

    Cities and towns around the country hold fireworks displays, parties and other events to celebrate this festival. If you’d like to join in you’ll be able to search for an event near you. Similarly, you can watch the BBC or another major television channel from your home - each year they broadcast live performances, interviews with celebrities and the countdown to midnight.

    5. Easter

    The end of winter and beginning of spring is celebrated in many countries across the world, and Britain is no different. In the UK, Easter heralds a week of celebrations for those who are both religious and non-religious.

    Easter begins with Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. This week includes Good Friday, a public holiday, Easter Sunday and ends with Easter Monday, also a public holiday. The date of Easter Sunday varies from year to year - in 2022 it will be on April 17th.

    Nowadays, this festival offers an opportunity for families to get together and eat a traditional roast dinner. Some people decorate the dinner table with painted eggs, little yellow chicks, bunnies and spring flowers like daffodils, white lilies and tulips. It’s also tradition to buy family and friends chocolate eggs from supermarkets or chocolatiers.

    If you’re interested in celebrating Easter in the UK, you’ll be able to book an Easter roast dinner at most pubs and restaurants, as well as buy chocolate eggs. There are also a number of Easter egg hunts that you can try. In London, for example,  there’s an event where you have to search for chocolate eggs around the city. You can check your local area to see what they have organized.

    Study in the UK

    The opportunity to study in another country is an invaluable experience. If you choose the UK as a study destination, not only will you improve your English, you’ll also learn about UK culture, celebrate British traditions, and make some memories that will last a lifetime!

    If you’re interested in experiencing life as a student in the UK, PTE Academic may just be what you need. This test is recognized as an official language certificate that can be used for UK visas to access 99% of British universities.

    Learn more about how PTE Academic can help you achieve your goals.

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  • Key UK trends for international student recruitment

    The United Kingdom has been a popular international student destination for decades. Not only does living in the UK give them a great opportunity to enrich their English skills, but the country also has a great academic reputation, an open-minded culture, and lots of post-study work opportunities.

    The UK has also benefited from a surge in student interest because of the closure of Australia’s borders, due to COVID-19, and the high rates of coronavirus in the US. In fact, a spring poll found that the UK is now a more popular study destination with international students than the US, Canada, Australia and Germany, thanks to the success of the UK vaccine rollout.

    All these benefits of studying in the UK make it a great option for recruiters to promote to their clients.

    In order to be truly effective in promoting the United Kingdom as a study destination, it’s important that you’re up-to-date with all the country’s latest international student recruitment data. If you’re aware of where international students are coming from, the universities they love, and the subjects they want to study, you’ll be better positioned to connect with new clients and meet their needs.

    So, here is a breakdown of the top UK trends you need to know for international student recruitment.

    The number of international students in the UK and where they’re from

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  • Which UK university is best for you?

    People study abroad for many reasons - to see new places, to experience a different culture, and maybe most importantly, to get access to student life and educational opportunities not available at home. If you want to study at a UK university, you’ll not only have access to some truly innovative teaching and research - you’ll also be joining one of the most multicultural student bodies in the world.

    Within the UK, there’s a huge range of universities and courses to choose from. So, how do you choose between over 160 institutions, and thousands of courses? Research finds that half of students who drop out of university early do so because they chose the wrong course, so it’s important to be completely happy with your choice.

    So, let’s have a look at what you need to consider before you make your university application, so that you can make the right choice.

    Choose your subject

    The first step in the process of choosing a university is deciding what you want to study. Your UCAS personal statement will be sent to all your university choices, so it should be relevant to all the courses you apply for. This means that all of your course choices must be the same or in a similar field.

    Think about the school subjects you’re good at, but also think about what you could spend the next three or even four years studying.

    Is there a subject that you want to continue and deepen your knowledge in? Or do you want to study something completely new?

    Do you want to study a subject like law or medicine that relates to a specific job? Or perhaps you want to take a course like history that can be used in a wide range of careers? Think carefully about these questions, and the rest of the process will become a lot easier.

    Do as many events and online taster sessions, and sign up for as many free online courses as you can. Futurelearn has a great range of taster courses from universities all over the world. This can really help you decide where your interests lie.  Above all, keep notes on what interests you, and what doesn’t.

    If you think you want a broader degree, then you’ve always got the option of doing a joint honours degree. This means you combine two different courses. Many joint honours courses combine a language with another subject, giving you the possibility to use your learning around the world, or even do a study placement in another country.

    Consider the competition

    When thinking about what course you could do, it’s important to consider the competition. Some courses have many more applicants than places, but there are also hundreds of ‘hidden’ courses which get far fewer applicants. For example, the University of Oxford gets 16.9 applicants per place on its Economics course, but it’s closer to 3 applicants per Classics place. Classics covers a range of areas like politics, history, linguistics, social sciences and more, and really challenges your intellect.

    Economics might be competitive, but Classics might be just as valuable. There are thousands of ‘hidden’ courses, which, just because they’re not famous, don’t attract as many applicants. Check out the full range of courses on the UCAS Explore site, and the Uni Guide, and do it with an open mind.

    Once you’ve narrowed down your list of courses, it’s time to think about where to study.

    Think about location and compare universities in the UK

    The UK might be a small country, but it’s incredibly diverse. There are large, international cities like London or Glasgow, smaller towns and cities like Cardiff, Belfast or Nottingham, rural universities like Lancaster, coastal towns like St. Andrews or historic cities like York, Oxford or Cambridge.

    So, when you’re deciding on a UK university, you need to first ask yourself: what’s important to you? Would you prefer to live in a busy city or in the quiet countryside? Are you going to be doing a lot of exploring or will you stay near campus? These factors will make a difference to your decision.

    You’ll also need to think carefully about costs. Different parts of the UK have different costs of living, depending on things like rent, transport, and the cost of entertainment. Check out property websites to see what rents are like, to get an idea of how expensive life will be.

    For more information, check out our article on the cost of living in the UK.

    Finally, the type of university itself is important. Some universities have campuses where the whole of university life takes place, like the University of York. Others are more spread out, such as the University of Manchester, which has buildings all over the city. Each has its own atmosphere and you should think about which you prefer.

    Look at the rankings: How to choose a university in the UK

    Find out how your preferred universities rank in the league tables. Rankings of the top universities in the UK don’t just measure teaching quality. They show data on student satisfaction, post-graduation employment rates, and staff to student ratios.

    The best universities in the UK and courses with higher rankings will be more competitive to gain entry to. You can apply for up to five courses on your UCAS form, so it’s a good idea to choose a range of courses and universities. Include an ambitious choice which you may or may not get the grades for, and safe choices that you know will accept you.

    You can check the Guardian university rankings, or the Times Higher Education rankings to see which universities are the most highly rated.

    That being said, student life in the UK is about balance. You need to consider both rankings and what’s right for you. It’s no use going to a top ranking UK university in a location you hate, studying things that don’t interest you, and where the culture on campus doesn’t appeal to you.

    Sometimes it might be better to move down the rankings if you know that the university will really help you to shine.

    Remember, the reason that there are so many different kinds of university is because everyone is unique. If you’re applying to somewhere that you know really matches your values and interests, you’ll be much more likely to make a success of your university career.

    Research the teaching style

    It’s a good idea to look at the style of teaching and assessment at your chosen university. Some courses focus more on final exams, some on coursework, and some on projects, dissertations and independent research.

    See whether your university’s exams are open book or closed book. If they’re closed you have to remember a lot more, but if they’re open you will probably have to give more detailed answers in your exams.

    If you can attend open days and chat to other students and potential professors, do so. But if you can’t, remember that each university course website will tell you about the course content and how it is assessed. You need to make a choice based on what type of assessment will suit you best.

    Some courses are taught in large lectures and seminars, and others, such as many Oxbridge colleges, will teach you in small groups or one-to-one with a tutor. The teaching style that works best for you will be decisive in your choice.

    Consider your hobbies

    Every university has its own culture and social life based around the student unions and societies. University life is about more than studying, for local and international students alike.  

    You will have a more balanced student experience if you make time for your hobbies. Look on the university website to learn about student societies and clubs, and see which activities are available to you. But don’t worry if you don’t see anything that appeals - you can always be proactive and start your own society.

    Do you have a sport that you love to do? If you do, and you’re really good at it, you might even be eligible for a scholarship. There are all sorts of funding and awards available, so even if you think you won’t get anything it’s a good idea to check.

    Read about sports scholarships at UK universities.  

    Make sure you fulfil the English language requirements

    You’ll need to pass a test of English for your UK student visa requirements. You can take any Secure English Language Test (SELT) that’s been approved by the Home Office, the UK government department responsible for immigration.

    PTE Academic can be used for UK student visas for degree level courses, and to access 99% of universities in the country. The test takes two hours, covers reading, speaking, listening and writing and is entirely done on a computer. Results usually come back within 48 hours, making it convenient and reliable.

    Choosing a UK university requires a lot of thought. Luckily, choosing an English test to get the visa is easy.

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