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PEIC Young Learners: Providing a foundation for building 21st-century careers

Parents all over the world want their children to have good job prospects and be ready for their 21st-century careers. In fact, according to a survey of parents we completed in summer 2019, this was their main reason for encouraging their children to learn English.

It’s essential we prepare young learners for their future employment in a world and workplace that’s unpredictable and constantly changing. Alongside the English language, employers are looking for staff who show strengths in the various 21st-century skills and who are able to use them effectively.

What are 21st-century career skills?

21st-century skills are a set of learning, literary and life skills that are essential for success in an ever-changing world. They cover a wide range of subjects and disciplines.

The image shows the key 21st-century skills which we reinforce in students through our English language learning materials and assessments.

Oral communication skills

The survey demonstrated that parents value good speaking skills in their child’s English learning. They consider oral communication to be a top measure of good progress in their child’s learning, such as seeing their child using English with friends and family.

There is a strong communicative approach in both the PTE General and PTE Young Learners exams. Both provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate this skill in realistic scenarios.

Which other 21st-century career skills does the PTE Young Learners incorporate?

Critical thinking skills

Tasks within the test promote the use of critical thinking skills – that is, the ability to make a good judgement from the analysis of certain facts.

Critical thinking skills are tested throughout the PTE Young Learners, from the lowest level, Firstwords, through to Breakthrough. For example, during the first listening task, students are asked to identify details from the text, including hypothetical outcomes at higher levels.


Creativity is another key 21st-century skill. Students are encouraged to be creative in the test when they are asked to write a narrative from a series of images.

Literary skills

Literacy skills are practiced throughout PTE Young Learners, in realistic scenarios – and the “Brown family” provides familiar characters, which helps boost students’ confidence. As you can see from the graphic, the language students are encouraged to use is reviewed and built upon as they move up through Springboard and Quickmarch to Breakthrough.

Collaborative and social skills

Furthermore, the organization of the oral test means that students need to work collaboratively and show flexibility. Taking the test in groups of five with an examiner also allows students to demonstrate their social skills.

Find out more about the oral test, along with tips to help prepare your students for this part of PTE Young Learners.

What are further benefits of PTE Young Learners?

In addition to testing the four skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening, PTE Young Learners introduces students to test tasks which they will see in the PTE General test, an internationally recognised qualification which is accepted by many institutions around the world as a measure of English language proficiency. Introducing them to tasks such as multiple choice activities and gap fills in a comfortable test environment helps to increase their confidence and reduce any anxiety which they may feel in a more formal testing environment.

As the test is benchmarked against the CEFR, it provides a clear measure of students’ progress. Furthermore, all students receive a formal certificate following the test, including a Certificate of Attendance for those who do not meet the minimum pass requirement. However, in the more than 40 countries around the world where the test is available, the average pass rate across all levels is 84%, with a 90% pass rate for students at Breakthrough level.

How can I prepare my students for PTE Young Learners?

An additional benefit of the PTE Young Learners test is that it doesn’t require you to follow a specific coursebook. However, many resources, such as My Little Island and Big English, cover the language students will be expected to demonstrate at each level.

Source: Pearson Education


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