Working with GMAC, Pearson has just announced the release of a new English language test to rival ETS' TOEFL. The new test--PTE Academic--will be available for students on October 26th and 780 business schools have already expressed interest in accepting it in addition to the TOEFL. PTE Academic includes new features, such as increased security and a spoken word portion, to give admissions officers a sense of how the student speaks--a service that the TOEFL lacks. The new test will also be less expensive than the TOEFL in some countries, and since it is a computer-based, student scores will be sent to their schools almost immediately once they finish the test.
Although PTE Academic has received positive attention from BusinessWeek and Clear Admit, it still has a long way to go before it successfully rivals the TOEFL, as one of the TOEFL's main attractions is its ubiquity. Having one standard test makes it easy for admissions officers to compare applicants. Seven thousand schools accept the TOEFL, and in 2008, almost one million students took the test. Pearson hopes that with GMAC's help and PTE Academic's new features and computer format will quickly make it a strong competitor.
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