Building an app to help English language learners prepare for a critical exam

PTE Academic is an online English-proficiency test that learners take when applying for international visas and overseas university places.

The problem

Pearson noticed that test candidates were not arriving for their tests fully prepared for what they were expected to do, or for how the test was delivered. This resulted in candidates being unnecessarily overwhelmed with the test day experience, which had a negative impact on their final results.

The solution

We designed and built a mobile application that helps learners better understand the test format, gives them tips and allows them to practise the different activity types in the exam. We started by taking time to understand our primary persona, define the value proposition and produce a clickable prototype, then built an iOS MVP that we launched and tested with users. We went on to iterate on the initial MVP (minimum viable product) and launched a full feature-rich iOS and Android app to the app stores.


Key takeaways 

Currently the app is available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and performing better than target projections. We received positive overall feedback from the client and the learners we have tested it with.

  • Over 39,000 users have now prepared for the test and the updated app has allowed them to understand and prepare for this high-stakes exam.
  • From concept to app store in 8 weeks demonstrated the importance of our iterative, agile approach. Testing and future iterations to drive forwards the value delivered by the product.
  • Client re-engagement throughout the product build (first MVP, then iOS app then Android app and updates).