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Ara expands its English testing services

21 February, 2019

Ara Institute of Canterbury has cemented its reputation as the leading English language testing centre in the South Island by becoming an Official Test Centre for PTE Academic.

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Ara Exam Coordinators Adilah Khan-Edmundson and Elisabeth Jaeger outside the testing centre.

PTE Academic is an English language test developed by Pearson, a world leader in academic testing. Securing the test centre is a coup for Ara.

“We’re thrilled to add PTE Academic to our suite of English testing services,” says Heather Knox, manager of Ara’s School of English. “Pearson approached us to become a test centre, which is a compliment in itself and an acknowledgement of our many years’ experience in providing high quality English testing services. Pearson is well regarded internationally and I’m sure many people will be pleased to know they can take the test locally now.”

Knox says in the past, those wanting to sit PTE Academic needed to travel a significant distance to do so. “Last year alone, 500 local people travelled to Auckland to take the test.” Ara’s test centre only opened in late January, but already bookings are strong.

The PTE Academic test is highly rated by users because it’s considered fast, fair and convenient, particularly when compared to other options. Tests can be booked up to 24 hours prior to the test session, there are two sessions available each week and results are provided within five business days (compared to over a month for some test services). PTE Academic results are widely recognised, including by all New Zealand universities, technical institutes, private training providers and Immigration New Zealand.

To ensure a 100% secure test environment, Pearson uses highly sophisticated technology. This includes palm vein identification of test-takers and closed circuit camera monitoring of each test session. Similarly, tests are marked by computer to ensure impartiality and accuracy.

Knox says test-takers generally tend to be migrants applying for residency, or international students who wish to apply for tertiary study and need to show they meet the English language entry criteria. The test is also used by many migrants who need to provide evidence of their English language proficiency when applying for a job.

Knox adds that from time to time, Pearson will offer a 10% discount on tests – “another appealing feature of this world-class service, which we’re very proud to offer at Ara”.