Category Archives: Australia

Pearson PTE sucks, and here is why..

It’s been more than a year since i came to Australia on a subclass 457 Visa to work in a Gas project in Queensland around end of May 2014, and since then and i am trying so hard to get the PR (Permanent Residency); Australia is a great continent and there is lots of potential promising opportunities in it.

After my first interview with an immigration agent, the picture started to get clearer as of how to obtain the points (60) in order to be eligible to lodge the expression of interest for a Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa, considering my age and education; that alone granted me 45 points (30 for age and 15 for Bachelor degree after being assessed by ACS), as for overseas experience, i am supposed to get 10 points as i have an experience around 7 Years, but for odd reasons, ACS decided to slash two years of that experience in order to consider my Bachelor degree equivalent to some Australian university’s computing degree, leaving me with less than 5 years of overseas experience, and that will translate into 5 point only according to the Australian Immigration criteria.

Stuck at 50 points, my choices – as the lawyer advised – is to set for an English test and get a high mark, initially i thought its going to be a piece of cake, not knowing what a nightmare is awaiting for me.

In order for your expression of interest to pass through, you should be English competent, an English competency requires you to get at least 6 in each of the IELTS modules (speaking, listening, reading and writing), how ever, proving your English proficiency will grant you 10 points, but is at the cost of getting at least 7 of each module in the IELTS.

Setting for the exam twice with just a day or two of practicing exam samples, i had two inconsistent results of (8, 7.5, 6.5, 6) & (7, 8, 7.5, 6.5) in each of speaking, listening, reading and writing respectively, with both averaging 7 & 7.5 missing only 0.5 in the writing taking away those 10 points I’ve been dreaming about.

IELTS was more like of a judgement day, a massive hall with more than 300 takers, each reading the tips for the last moments, some of them look like high class overseas students, some of them looks like taxi drivers seeking a PR, initially i thought the experience was terrible, but comparing to PTE test that I’ve taken later on, IELTS was heaven.

The reasons why i went to the PTE test because: 1) the lawyer told me to try resetting a different English test (never take that from a lawyer) and 2) the PTE test was computer based, and i thought: a computer engineer should be comfortable with computers, and as my worst score in IELTS was writing, chances are good -with 130 wpm typing rate- that i’ll do it better in PTE, i won’t be worrying about spelling as i will be relying on my photographic memory.

I’ve registered to take the PTE test, paid 330 (while IELTS costs 300), did the sample tests, not too bad.. bought the golden test practice with around 57 USD, done both tests, while i got a bad mark on the first one (not used to the test scheme of recording and stuff), the second one was a better.

I’ve attended the test today Aug 28th 2015, handed over my passport, scanned both palms like some kind of a criminal, read the policy signed and asked to wait.

The lady that was handling PTE takers then asked us to gather and put our stuff in the designated lockers, she asked if we have any questions, I’ve taken a glimpse at the hall and i asked her whether its going to be noisy having multiple people talking and recording at the same time, instead of her answering, an Indian fellow taker answered (it should be fine as we are all going to the same test together).

I’ve went in there, put my headset in, adjusted and tried to press it against my ears as much as i can, played the sound a couple of times, sweet, tested the microphone, sweet, started to read the intro of the exam, when i started to notice a background noise.

Once i jumped to the first speaking test and Holy Fucken Cow ! It’s a flipping bee hive! and regardless of how hard you try to concentrate, its useless, i raised my hand a couple of times, and the supervisor would come and suggest to me to turn the volume up, well, thank you very much but i am in need of my ears to use them for whatever left of my life, and i am not happy to lose my hearing because other attendees either speak too fucking loud or turned the headphones to maximum volume!

After barely making it to the writing test, and one word comes to my mind to describe what it was like, a cyber cafe! And every one is punching the fucken keyboard like its their worst enemy, smashing spaces, couldn’t get one word of the screen, i started to become more nervous than the speaking test as the punching increases, when i raised my hand for the third time and i told the supervisor i can’t take it anymore.

Supervisor: have you tried the ear plugs ?
Me: no thanks, it’s useless, the whole environment is not comfortable, i don’t believe this is suitable place for such a test.
Supervisor: You’ll lose your money, are you sure do you want to go out of the hall?
Me: yes please!

Outside the hall while taking my stuff out of the locker, we had a small chat, she told me how is it fine with the others, and my answer was simple: look mam, i don’t want to sound racist because i am not, the 7 takers inside are Indians, and if they are used to jibber-jabber kind of environment for the first 20 or 30 years of their lives, i am not, besides, the hall is too tight for 8 people to take such an exam and speak to the mic, in IELTS, listening is played for all at once and that is it, speaking is individual where you are given a chance to think and the room is insanely quite, writing on paper is not as noisy as typing on a keyboard, i don’t think PTE has met the standards of what an exam room should be, specially a room that tight.

I left the building knowing I’ve just threw 400 AUD into the dust bin, if who ever read this is sound, don’t you ever think of taking Pearson’s PTE.