Today I’m going to show you how to improve your PTE score while travelling in a train. I’m currently back home (in India) spending time with family. Today, I had the fortune of travelling in a local train.
Now the train was jam packed with a lot of people stuffed in the compartment. I had to squeeze my way in. Once in, I was surrounded with people, both my hands were up in the air, holding on to the grab bars.
Now usually, I would have a pair of earphones on me and I’d be listening to a podcast or an audiobook(more on this later) to keep me occupied. But for today, it was just this jam-packed train and my thoughts.
I resigned to my fate. I just stood there in an awkward position getting lost in my internal dialogue.
‘-What’s with all the crowd today?
-Where the hell are so many people going on a Sunday afternoon?
-Why are they all on this train?
-The person next to me could definitely use some deodorant.
-I definitely need a shower after this train ride.
-The people complaining about the trains in Australia should be on this train.
-You should have put on your headphones on before entering the train Steven…..’
Now if there’s one thing I hate more than crowded trains, it’s not making the most of my time. So I struggled to put a hand into my pocket, pulled out my phone and took an epic photo so you know can see what it was like.
If you need to improve your score in the PTE Academic, the next time you find yourself travelling anywhere, I want you to make use of that phone you bought.
Not by clicking a photo(you can do that after you clear the PTE), but by plugging in earphones and listening to an audiobook. You’ll learn something new, improve your English and make the most of your time.
For those of you who don’t know, an audiobook (or talking book) is a recording of a text/book being read.
I have been listening to audiobooks for about 3 years now and it allows me to expand my English and gives me access to diverse vocabulary I otherwise would not have come across. It’s one of the tools that helped me to get a 90 score.
Here’s the best part:
It requires minimal effort from your side. I usually listen to audiobooks while doing day to day tasks(commuting to work, buying groceries, etc). This is a great way to learn and expand your vocabulary without additional time investment.
I personally use the Audible(an Amazon company) app on my phone to listen to audiobooks. They even give you an audiobook for you to try out for free.
You can get your free audiobook via this link – FREE AUDIOBOOK CLICK HERE
Audiobooks gave me the flexibility and freedom to achieve this without changing my routine. I used my time wisely. In part 2 of this series, I go into more detail and cover why listening to Audiobooks helps you.
Here’s the thing:
Everyone is looking for tips and strategies to clear the PTE. Now for some questions like the describe image, having a good strategy can help you up your score. But for other questions there isn’t really a lot in terms of tips/strategies. For example, in the reading section for the ‘fill in the blanks’, you will either know the correct answer or you will have to guess.
You can improve your chances of knowing the correct answer by expanding your vocabulary. To improve you
vocabulary you need to expose yourself to English language as much as possible. That’s how you learn new words. But not just any English, Academic English. You see Academic English is a bit different from everyday English. It’s usually more formal and often uses more advanced vocabulary not encountered in everyday conversation.
It’s the reason why even test-takers who know to speak English, struggle to get their desired score.
Now how do you get exposure to Academic English if you don’t have this environment around you? The answer is you create the environment required to reach your goal. The reason I recommend Audiobooks is because it’s easy to use without changing your current routine. It’s as simple as downloading an app and getting started.
You can get wide access to academic vocabulary in a shortest possible time. This is similar to what you encounter in the PTE.
A strong vocabulary is the foundation for all sections of the exam!!!
Audiobooks have high production standards, which means you have very high quality of English.
Let’s look at sections in the exam where this will be useful:
This is obvious. Your brain gets accustomed to listening to diverse English and over time you understand the subject matter better. This will help you during the listening section of the exam where these skills are essential.
You will know correct pronunciation of words. The funny thing with pronunciation is that you only know the correct pronunciation of a word once you have listened to it. Have you ever read a word, thought about how it sounds and then later found out that the actual pronunciation is something else? (This used to happen to me a lot). Listening to words in Audiobooks takes care of this problem.
You will build up your vocabulary by listening to diverse words. You will get comfortable using connecting sentences and vocabulary in the right way. Once you hear how correct English is used, you will have a better understanding of how sentences are framed and put together.
For ‘fill in the blanks’, the blanks and words around it usually often have phrases that are frequently used together. If you’ve heard it or have come across combinations before, then it becomes easier to remember.
Example: The Kangaroos were _____ around the bush. (dancing, walking, hopping)
Kangaroos hopping is a known fact. You know of it because you’ve heard of it before. You come across these facts when you start listening to more English.
To conclude, listening to Audiobooks on Audible (I still use it) is something that has really helped me improve my English and learn new things. It is something I always recommend. Simply plug in your earphone while travelling to Work/University and your good to go!
Tip: Increase the playback speed in the settings to between 1.5x -2x if you find it too easy. Try to make it difficult for yourself. At first, it may seem a bit fast but you will get used to it and it will be easier in the exam when you get audio in normal speed.
While listening keep asking yourself, ‘What was the key message in the last 3-5 mins’. Pause if you have to. This will ensure you are actively listening and understanding, which is key. If you hear new words google them and find out what they mean.
I have two audiobooks to recommend:
1. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – by Yuval Noah Harari
2. The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease – by Daniel Lieberman
I highly recommend the audiobook Sapiens. Not only is it a mind blowing book, but it also contains academic vocabulary on a wide range of topics, similar to what you encounter in the PTE Academic exam.