Ridhima, an international student from India, had to take the English language proficiency test 67 times before she could achieve the score she needed to be eligible for permanent residency in Australia. She says this has cost her tens of thousands of dollars, two years of her time in Australia and a well-paying job.
“Until August this year, passing the PTE (Pearson Test of English) had become the fulcrum of our lives. I’d study day and night and yet I couldn’t attain my target. I had begun to feel that I was an utter failure and avoided social events,” says Ridhima who finally got the required result in August 2019.
Ironically, she coached students for PTE and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) in India before she moved to Australia in 2013.
Having spent over $35,000 on coaching and test fees alone, it was only after her 67th attempt at the test that she could apply for her Australian permanent residency jointly with her husband who has been in Australia as a dependent spouse.”
Like Ridhima, there have been many aspirants who try their level best to acquire the eligibility criteria for P.R. They spent thousands of dollars to pass these tests and a lot of time and energy too.
In Australia, tests like PTE and IELTS can get an applicant up to 20 points. Visa Monthly had a discussion with about 30 international students who passed it. They say their journey of achieving such scores has been the toughest. Out of these, most of them have tried more than 16 times to achieve the required marks and only 2 have qualified it at first attempt. They also say that the problem is within the checking and marking system.
Sasha Hampson, Pearson’s Head of English for the Asia Pacific, says “candidates are assessed based on their performance on the test day and their score is in no way connected to previous test attempts.”
Ms. Hampson also highlighted that while there is no “pass or fail mark’ in PTE, typically a score of 65-79 is required for migration purposes in Australia.
“The overwhelming majority of test-takers only sit IELTS once. If they do not get the score they require, they should stop and seek help from our team of experts to better understand their areas for improvement, rather than continually repeating the test expecting a different outcome,” he told Visa Monthly.
PTE’s Ms. Hampson insists that taking PTE repeatedly, particularly in a short period of time, is not an effective method for achieving enhanced test scores. She suggested students prepare well before the exam which will help to score better at first attempt than taking up PTE again and again.
Also, Warwick Freeland, Managing Director of IELTS at IDP Education said, they encourage test takers to prepare well before sitting for it.
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