15 Smart Idioms for PTE Test Takers (Part 3)

Building up your vocabulary during your PTE training period will give you an edge when you take the exam. It’ll limit the moments when you have to pause and…

…analyze context clues to understand uncommon English expressions;
…search for the correct word or phrase to get your message across; and
…calm yourself because you’re worried that you misused an expression.

pte test

Enhance your PTE performance! Learn how to discern and apply the following idiomatic expressions to increase your final score.

1. A blessing in disguise
It refers to something good that seemed bad or detrimental at first.

The unexpected downpour was a blessing in disguise.

2. Bite the bullet
To get something inevitable or unpleasant over with.

With the project’s deadline just around the corner, they had no choice but to bite the bullet and ask for Jenny’s help.

3. Call it a day
To conclude a period of activity, either because you don’t want to continue anymore or because you think you have accomplished enough.

His PTE review instructor decided to call it a day after the unexpected blackout short-circuited the projector.

4. Come out swinging
To be aggressive, confrontational, or accusatory in initiating an encounter.

The activists came out swinging against the government, demanding that the corrupt politician resign.

5. Get your act together
To conduct oneself in the manner essential to success.

With only a week before his test date, Peter decided to get his act together and engage in intensive PTE review.

6. Let someone off the hook
To not hold someone who was caught doing something wrong or illegal responsible for their actions.

The case was suspicious. I think the police let him off the hook too easily.

7. Miss the boat
To fail to take advantage of an opportunity.

Lucy missed the boat on that PTE training course promo.

8. Hear through the grape vine
To discover something unofficially and informally via gossip and rumors.

“I heard through the grapevine that you and Victor have become an item. Want to share your side of the story?“

9. Cross the bridge when you get there
To stop worrying about a possible problem in the future and just deal with it when it happens.

“We’ll cross the bridge when we get there,” Mila told George as they searched for their mother’s missing ring.

10. Break the ice
To do something get the conversation going and make people feel more comfortable on their first meeting.

One of the best ways to break the ice is by sharing a relatable story.

11. Comparing apples to oranges
To correlate things that cannot be practically or logically compared.

You can’t compare your job as an engineer with mine as a dentist–that’s like comparing apples to oranges.

12. Burn bridges
To intentionally destroy one’s connections, relationships, and opportunities.

Just because you broke up with him doesn’t mean that you should burn your bridges with all the friends you two shared.

13. Pull yourself together
To calm down, recover your center, and behave normally.

Failing the mock exam in your last PTE training class doesn’t mean that you’re going to fail the actual test. Pull yourself together!

14. By the skin of your teeth
To accomplish something by a very narrow margin for success.

He passed, but only by the skin of his teeth.

15. Go down in flames
To fail at something abruptly and spectacularly.

All her hopes and efforts to become the advertising manager went down in flames when they found out about her forged diploma.

Find ways to incorporate these idioms to your speech and essays to enhance your test results. Enroll in the best PTE review program in your city to learn more useful expressions!


        • “50 Popular English Idioms to Sound Like a Native Speaker.” MyEnglishTeacher.eu Blog. October 31, 2017. Accessed February 22, 2018. https://www.myenglishteacher.eu/blog/50-popular-english-idioms-and-slang-words/.
        • Alan. “20 Essential English Idioms for Sounding Like a Native.” FluentU English. July 08, 2017. Accessed February 22, 2018. https://www.fluentu.com/blog/english/essential-english-idioms/.
        • “English Idioms | Learn English.” EF. Accessed February 22, 2018. https://www.ef.com/english-resources/english-idioms/.
        • “Idiomatic Expressions.” English Grammar Revolution: Grammar Made Easy. Accessed February 22, 2018. https://www.english-grammar-revolution.com/idiomatic-expressions.html.
        • Possel, Heiko. “Famous Idioms | Meaning.” Smart Words – Advanced Vocabulary. Accessed February 22, 2018. http://www.smart-words.org/quotes-sayings/idioms-meaning.html.
        • “Idioms Definition.” The Idioms. Accessed February 22, 2018. http://www.theidioms.com/.

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