What’s PTE Test Anxiety?

It’s the day you have been preparing for days or months, and you feel awful. Your stomach is churning and your head is throbbing. For some of you, the mouth feels dry but at the same time, you have to use the bathroom more than usual. Your muscle is tensed and you are sweating. You know you don’t have flu but you have the jitters, aka test anxiety, which is exacerbated during PTE test as your future in Australia hangs on this score.

Can you overcome test anxiety?

Feeling nervous before a test can be taken as normal, as it has been shown to help improve your focus. However, test anxiety during PTE can interfere with your test-taking performance, and also it can have a heavy toll on your score. Since text anxiety can wreak havoc on your test day performance, you may want to consider several strategies to reduce test anxiety and increase your performance on the PTE test day.

PTE test day tips

1. Get plenty of sleep

Research has shown a direct correlation between sleep and academic performance. Cramming the night before the PTE test is never the answer, and can exacerbate your PTE test anxiety. Aim to have 9 – 10 hours of sleep before the test. So, plan ahead on getting a good night’s sleep for optimal performance on the test day. Remember that PTE is like a marathon race where the constant focus is vital.

2. Block out bad thoughts

It’s important to have block negative messages such as “I’m no good at taking tests” or “I’m a loser if I don’t score in PTE”  you might be perceiving. Coming up with a morale-boosting self-help mantra like “I can do this” can improve your attitude towards the PTE test.

3. Don’t forget to eat and drink

It’s easy to forgo food and drink due to anxiety. However, our brain cannot function without energy. So, eat nutritious food that offers a steady stream of nutrients before the test. Do not load up on carbs or caffeinated sugary drinks that make you jittery.

4. Be prepared

This is obvious, but the question is how to be prepared? The first thing you have to understand is that the number of questions you have to answer in PTE is massive. So, reviewing question types and strategies can make you feel more confident about the test. The expert test prep at Progressive PTE provides the boost you need to feel collected and confident.

5. Perform microphone check before the test starts

Many students tend to overlook this particular task. Some score reports have 10 out of 90 on pronunciation skills which can mean only one thing – your response for the speaking section was not recorded. So, how do you get out of this rut? Firstly, learn how to adjust your headset properly. Secondly, learn how to answer properly in the speaking section with our mock test.

6. Keep an eye on time-marker

PTE is a time constraint test. In the speaking section, you have to answer 35 to 42 questions within 30 – 35 minutes. It pays to learn to keep an eye on the timer at the corner of the PTE test screen. You can practice this skill with the Progressive PTE mock test.

7. Typing improves your test-taking efficiency

Typing your essay is more flexible than writing. If you come across a question you have never encountered before you can start with writing the body paragraph first. You could not do this by writing it as you may not have an idea about how much space you will require to complete your paragraph.

8. Ratty Headphones isn’t your friend

Perhaps you are used to the latest in design and style noise-canceling technology in headphones that snugly fit over your ears. However, PTE headphones can be a whole different story as some of them tend to be at the cheaper end of the price spectrum and not properly maintained due to overuse by the test takers. Due to these problems, it might be hard to hear the PTE test recording. Furthermore, the volume level of recording can be very low for some of the recordings. However, many students forget that they have access to a nifty volume level tool in the PTE test – see the illustration below.

PTE Listening Tips

Solution: Remember that you can adjust the volume for every question.

9. Breathe

We all breathe. But did you know that you can use breathing to help with your anxiety? Next time you are taking the PTE test, try this. Inhale slowly for four counts (1001, 1002, 1003, 1004) and then exhale with the same count. Doing this 3 to 4 times takes away your anxiety and helps you to relax.

10. Remember the Strategies

PTE contains 20 question types. So, practicing strategies for each question can take away your test anxiety. It’s also vital to learn your strategies properly with practice questions.



Eric Shrestha

About the Author

Eric scored 90 in all four Communicative Skills of PTE with 90 in all of Enabling Skills. He scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT with 117 out of 120 in TOEFL. He went on to graduate with a degree in Genetics and Biochemistry followed by 7 years of post-graduate study in Biomedical Sciences with a focus on cancer research. His GRE score was in the 99th percentile. Before migrating to Australia from the US, he attained 9 in Reading, 9 in Listening, 8.5 in Writing, and 8 in Speaking in IELTS. He is passionate about bringing education and the tools to succeed to students from all backgrounds and walks of life. He has years of tutoring experience and researches Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and Automated Essay Scoring in his free time.