IELTS Reading: IELTS True/False/Not Given Question Type

IELTS Reading Strategies for True/False/Not Given Questions

Whether it’s IELTS Academic or the IELTS General test, most people across the board seem to say that the most challenging question type for the IELTS reading test is the IELTS True/False/Not Given question type.

So lets look at some IELTS reading strategies to tackle this famously tricky question type and then practice applying them together to see how we can steer our exam ship into safe and calm waters!

ielts reading true / false / not given
Learn how to navigate the treacherous IELTS waters with our IELTS reading strategy!

‘Switch on’ During Your Exam

Before we begin on our potentially treacherous ‘journey’ into the world of IELTS reading questions, an important piece of general advice to mention, which is a universal IELTS reading strategy that can be used for each and every question type, is to use your brain!

Really – and I’m not trying to be being rude or condescending, but it seems that in exam conditions we can, and do unfortunately, forget to really ‘think’ or use our brain, or even worse, become unable to think or ‘switch on’ our brain and go into some panicked ‘fight or flight’ state, otherwise known as a brain freeze or shut down!  Not much fun.

So to avoid both of the above and gain access to all the wonderful skills and abilities we all have at our disposal thanks to our amazing brains, lets have a look at some techniques to tap into our full IELTS reading strategy potential and power through the test!!

IELTS Reading Strategies

Some overall IELTS reading strategy tips:

  • Utilise our rewording or paraphrasing skills to fully absorb and clearly interpret the meaning of a statement when we read the question and answer options
  • Use our analytical or critical thinking skills to ask ourselves: what is going on in this paragraph, and then learn to separate the main idea from the supporting ideas and detail.
  • Remember to use our common sense and background knowledge on a subject to make a logical deduction or guess at a meaning of an unknown word or message/idea on a topic (just because it’s a formal academic test, doesn’t mean we can’t think for ourselves and trust our own judgment!)

IELTS True/False/Not Given Reading Strategy:

So first of all we need to read the given statement carefully and then cross check it in the text or passage and to do this we can use the following steps:

Step 1.

Focus on the statement.

Step 2.

Identify the key words and interpret meaning of the statement.

Step 3.

Locate the area in the text that talks about this particular information.

Step 4.

Decide if it is saying the same thing (True), a different thing (False) or is not mentioned or referred to at all (Not Given).

So lets try this strategy with the IELTS True/False/Not Given statements below (in the following text the relevant information has been located and highlighted for you to guide you how to use this strategy):

Practice Your IELTS True/False/Not Given Question Type

Are the Following Statements True/ False or Not Given about koalas according to the text below:

  1. Koalas are vegetarian
  2. There are more koalas in the south parts of Australia
  3. Koalas may have 1-3 babies during their lifetime
  4. Koalas are mainly awake at night
  5. Koalas get drunk from gum leaves
  6. Koalas do not drink water normally

The Real Story about Koalas

Q.1 & 2. Although bear-like, koalas are not bears. They are mammals, so feed their young milk and are marsupials, which means that their babies are born immature and they develop further in the safety of a pouch. They are a tree-dwelling, herbivorous marsupial, which averages about 9kg in weight and live on gum leaves. Their fur is thick and usually ash grey with a tinge of brown in places. Koalas in the southern parts of Australia are considerably larger and have thicker fur than those in the north. This is thought to be an adaptation to keep them warm in the colder southern winters.

Q.3. Younger breeding females usually give birth to one joey each year, depending on a range of factors. The joey stays in its mother’s pouch for about 6 or 7 months, drinking only milk. After venturing out of the pouch, the joey rides on its mother’s abdomen or back, although it continues to return to her pouch for milk until it is too big to fit inside. The joey leaves its mother’s home range between 1 and 3 years old, depending on when the mother has her next joey.

Q.4 & 5. Koalas are mostly nocturnal. They sleep for part of the night and also sometimes move about in the daytime. They often sleep for up to 18-20 hours each day. There is a myth that koalas sleep a lot because they ‘get drunk’ on gum leaves. However, most of their time is spent sleeping because it requires a lot of energy to digest their toxic, fibrous, low-nutrition diet and sleeping is the best way to conserve energy.

Q.6. The koala gets its name from an ancient Aboriginal word meaning “no drink” because it receives over 90% of its hydration from the eucalyptus leaves (also known as gum leaves) it eats, and only drinks when ill or times when there is not enough moisture in the leaves i.e. during droughts, etc.

Check Your Answer to IELTS True/False/Not Given Question Types

ielts true/false/not given
Check the answers after you have re-read the questions in the above example!
  1. Koalas are vegetarian= T (herbivorous means only eats plants; eats gum leaves)
  2. There are more koalas in the south parts of Australia = NG (koalas are bigger in size in southern Australia but the number of koalas is not mentioned)
  3. Koalas may have 1-3 babies during their life-time =NG (they do not talk about how many joeys they have)
  4. Koalas are mainly awake at night = T (mostly nocturnal, which means awake at night time)
  5. Koalas get drunk from gum leaves = F (they sleep a lot, but it doesn’t state that they become drunk)
  6. Koalas do not drink water normally = T (they usually get their water from gum leaves)
So how did you go with IELTS True/False/Not Given practice?! Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Remember, the IELTS reading strategy to keep carefully checking to see if it is saying the same thing, something different or they do not talk about it in the text, and above all use your brain!

For more IELTS reading tips, take a sneak peak at the IELTS Preparation: Maximising Your IELTS Reading Test Score!

Follow our social media for more IELTS resources and updates!

Written by Danielle, E2Language Master Tutor.  

Which is Easier, TOEFL or IELTS?

Almost every day an E2Language student will ask us which is easier, TOEFL or IELTS? Well, we think it’s time to address this question in more detail once and for all!

First and foremost, it’s important to let you know that neither of these tests is easier than the other. With that said, people are unique and have different learning and testing styles, so often they will find one test more suited to their skills over the other. To choose the right test for your needs, you must know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and you must also know which format (written or computer-based) you are more comfortable with.

I know, I know. You’re sitting there thinking, “Get to the point, Kaia!! IELTS or TOEFL, which is easy?!!” I hear you. Let’s get started!

Which is easier, TOEFL or IELTS
Which is easier, TOEFL or IELTS? Let’s find out…

Which is Easier, TOEFL or IELTS: Depends Which Test You Need!

Before choosing between TOEFL and IELTS, make sure you are able to answer the following questions:

  1. Are both tests accepted by the institution or immigration authority for the country I wish to enter?
  2. Which is more appropriate for my needs, IELTS General or IELTS Academic?

The answer to the first question is pretty important, since it may turn out that your prospective university, workplace, or federal government only accepts one of these tests. For example, the Canadian government accepts IELTS but not TOEFL for immigration purposes.

The second question may also play an important part in answering the “Which is Easer, TOEFL or IELTS?” question. If you are planning to take an English test for professional purposes only (not immigration or academic purposes), you have the option of taking the IELTS General test.

Most people find the IELTS General to be more practical and relevant to everyday life; for example the reading section contains shorter, more general texts than the IELTS Academic reading section, which focuses more on complex vocabulary and academic concepts. In addition, the first task on the IELTS General writing section asks test-takers to write a formal, semi-formal, or informal letter to someone, while the first IELTS Academic writing task requires test-takers to analyze and describe data.

 Bottom Line: Many people find the IELTS General less intimidating and complex than the IELTS Academic, so if you’re eligible to take IELTS general, you may want to keep this in mind! Out of the three (IELTS General, IELTS Academic or TOEFL), most of our E2Language students would prefer to take the IELTS General if they had the choice!

Which is easier, TOEFL or IELTS
Taking an English test for professional purposes? You should consider the IELTS General!

Which is Easier, TOEFL or IELTS: Speaking

Okay, time for you to do a little self-evaluation. Do you like speaking English in front of other people, or do you find it terrifying? Do you like speaking into a microphone with no speaking partner, or do you find it unnatural? (If you don’t know the answer to the second question, try recording yourself speaking about a topic non-stop for 2 minutes on your phone or another device to find out!)

If you enjoy engaging in conversations with others (especially strangers!) in English, you may find the IELTS speaking section a better fit than the TOEFL speaking section, in which you must record your answers using a computer and a headset.

The IELTS speaking section is a lot like a first date: your examiner is “getting to know you” and you are telling them all about yourself and your thoughts on various topics. In contrast, TOEFL speaking feels a little bit more like a traditional “test” because there are twice as many task types as IELTS (6 vs. 3) and most of these tasks are related to either summarizing or problem solving, although you must still provide your opinion in most cases.

Bottom Line: If you don’t get nervous speaking English in front of other people and you want to have an experience that’s more like a real conversation, you might find the IELTS speaking test easier than the TOEFL speaking test.

Learn more about the TOEFL Speaking Test on the E2 TOEFL YouTube Channel

Which is Easier, TOEFL or IELTS: Writing

It’s time to journey back into your own mind again! When it comes to problem solving, are you more of a concrete thinker or an abstract thinker? In other words, do you like to have the facts right in front of you, or do you prefer to piece them together yourself?

If you chose the first option, you’ll probably enjoy the graph/chart/table/diagram you’ll find on IELTS Academic Writing Task 1. This task is all about summarizing and/or describing the available information in your own words, and it is great for analytical thinkers.

The TOEFL integrated writing task delivers information in multiple ways (through a reading passage and a recording) and takes a step further than IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 by asking you to compare and contrast the information provided to you. Successfully identifying and breaking down differences or similarities in opinion takes some strong abstract reasoning skills.

As previously mentioned, the first IELTS General writing task requires you to write a letter in a formal, semi-formal or informal style. If you’re a practical person with lots of experience writing professional and personal emails and other written correspondence, you’ll probably do very well on this task.

Bottom Line: Are you a “details” person? Give those IELTS Academic graphs a try! Are you more of a “big picture” person? Have fun with those information comparisons on the TOEFL!

 Learn about IELTS Writing Task 1 on our E2 IELTS Channel

Okay, I hope you’re not still sitting there in complete frustration, chanting “IELTS OR TOEFL, WHICH IS EASY?” over and over again and wishing somebody would just give you a straight answer. Sorry guys, unfortunately life isn’t that simple most of the time!

You may find one of these tests easier than the other, but remember that your experience is different to your friends, your family, and every random person on an IELTS or TOEFL forum! The key to this question is your understanding of your own skills, shortcomings and needs.

As the wise Aaron Carter once sang in his lyrical masterpiece ‘Do you Remember’: “The answer lies in you”.

Tell us what you think! Which is Easier, TOEFL or IELTS? 


Written by Kaia

OET Test Dates 2018

Below are the OET test dates for 2018. Remember, if you need any help, support or feedback visit

OET test dates

oet test dates

OET test dates

OET test dates

Okay, so you’ve located your preferred test date but don’t know where to start your test preparation?

It’s simple. Start your FREE OET TRIAL with E2Language and gain access to course materials.

In the meantime, test your knowledge by reading the following OET blogs:

Fill out the form below to receive a list of simplified medical vocabulary you can use on the OET speaking test!

Follow our social media for more tips on how to pass OET!



Written by Jay.

TOEFL Listening Tips: Essential Vocabulary and Tips to Practice

Here are my top TOEFL Listening Tips to get you started with the Listening section! 
TOEFL Listening Tips
TOEFL Listening Tips: You should practice each one of these tips using the examples provided. 

TOEFL Listening Tips #1 Take notes

Okay. Obvious I know, but taking notes is an essential piece of this TOEFL listening tips article. Why?

Because few students actually think about how to take notes effectively. Taking notes is a crucial skill for you to develop, and something that will take practice just like any other skill! As you practice, you’ll develop patterns and codes which will really help you to keep track of those longer conversations and lectures!

Here are some pointers for taking notes … 

When in a conversation: 

Don’t try to copy the entire conversation! Develop a system of abbreviations, symbols and capital letters to symbolize frequent topics (for example, as the conversations are university related, I often write ‘P’ for ‘paper’, ‘C’ for class’ and ‘Pf’ for ‘professor’ ).

Try organizing your notes into a table. You could try drawing a line down the middle and when the narrator says ‘listen to a conversation between X and Y’ , you can write ‘X’ and ‘Y’ at the top of each side of the table. Then, as the audio progresses, you can keep each speaker’s main points organized.

Note-taking example:
S Pf
Fin P: doubts..
Q: where Ý res? Check lib sec. 220
😊! More time? Ok…by Fri
Sub. Class/office? Office b/f 5pm

(TOEFL listening tips: You might do something similar as long as it works for you!)

Can you understand my notes? Here I have written some full words, the first syllable of longer words (fin= final res= resources, lib=library, sec=section, b/f=before), used singular letters for common words (P=paper, Q=question) and some symbols (happy face= great! , upward arrow= more).

These are just some examples, and to be honest, it doesn’t really matter what abbreviations, symbols, or characters you use as long as you understand!

When listening to lectures: 

Try making a flow chart. You can start with a column for the main ideas, and draw arrows to supporting examples, key facts, or contrasting ideas.

Listen for connecting words, so you can follow the organization of the lecture! You don’t have to write down these words, but when you hear them, you know that important information will follow. These words will act as an auditory clue, so pay attention to what comes next.

Examples of what to listen for:

  • Adding information: In addition, for example, furthermore
  • Explaining a result: Therefore, as a result, consequently
  • Comparing & Contrasting: However, in contrast, on the other hand
  • Giving reasons: Because (of), due to, for this reason, since, thanks to
TOEFL Listening Tips
TOEFL Listening Tips: Listen for auditory clues to gauge the speakers statement.

TOEFL Listening Tips #2 Pay attention to Tone and Stress

As you’ve probably noticed from TOEFL Listening files, there are lots of intonation changes in English. Rarely will a speaker have a flat tone throughout an entire sentence, unless they’re bored that is!

Although the test may be a slightly dramatic at times with all the ups and downs, you’ll notice that native speakers actually do this, and it’s an important part of conveying meaning and attitude.

On the TOEFL Listening section, you’ll hear informal conversations between two people, and you’ll often be asked about the speaker’s attitude. To help you answer the question, pay close attention to the speaker’s tone of voice, and which words he/she chooses to emphasize.

Let’s consider an example:

Boy: “How do you like your new social sciences class?”

Girl: “ It’s really great. The teacher is always absent.”

Question: What is the girl’s attitude towards the class?

There are two possibilities here, depending on how the girl says the sentence. If she lengthens the word ‘really’ and has a flat tone throughout the second phrase, she is probably showing sarcasm, and therefore doesn’t like the class.

On the other hand, if she pronounces ‘really great’ and ‘always’ with a high tone, she is showing excitement and she must like the class as the teacher is never there (less work for her!).

Common intonation patterns to listen for:

–Confusion/Uncertainty: multiple pauses/slow speech/fillers ‘Um..well..I guess I could”

–Excitement: high tone ‘That’s great!

–Surprise: rising tone ‘Are you serious?

–Consistent flat tone: boredom/indifference “That’s great

TOEFL Listening Tips #3: Expand your vocabulary

Because the listening involves “real-life” conversations, you can expect lots of phrasal verbs, idiomatic expressions, and university-related vocabulary. In order to understand the context of the conversations, you should know words like:

Dean= the head of a college or university faculty or department.

Registrar= an official in a college or university who is responsible for keeping student records.

Scholarships= a grant made to support a student’s education, usually given based on academic or other achievement.

Prerequisite= a course that is required to be completed before entering another course.

Student Loan= a sum of money borrowed from the bank to be used for university tuition and payed back once a student graduates.

Tuition= the amount of money paid for instruction at a college or university.

Transcript= an official record of a student’s grades and courses taken.

Deadline/Due Date=The day by which something should be completed or submitted.

In the conversations and lectures, you will often hear phrasal verbs and idiomatic expressions, so you should start learning and practicing them early on.

Some common ones just to get you started may be:

Hand in =submit (an assignment)

Check out =take a book out from the library

Take up (sthng) with (so)= discuss an important issue in detail

Look over= review in detail

Find out= discover

….but there are so many more!  Check out verb lists for TOEFL Phrasal Verbs or on to practice.

Do you want to know what adequate TOEFL preparation time you need? Check out TOEFL Preparation Online.

Follow us on E2 TOEFL for more TOEFL Listening Tip videos!

Watch amazing LIVE CLASSES, like this video from the TOEFL listening Lecture Series: 

Want more TOEFL Listening Tips? Head over to: Free TOEFL Resources & How to Prepare for TOEFL.

Follow our social media for more TOEFL resources and updates!

Written by Meaghan.  

Free TOEFL Resources & How To Prepare for the TOEFL

In this E2Language article we’ve not only shared some of our favourite free TOEFL resources, but we also outline some of Jamal’s top tips for preparing for your exam.  

free TOEFL resources
Preparing for your TOEFL isn’t as daunting as it seems. 

With any English proficiency exam it’s hard to know where to start. Sure, having your hands on the right free TOEFL material is critical but students also need to know what to focus on.

Every section (and even specific tasks) test different skills so it’s important to prepare yourself for each one. Throughout this article I will link helpful webinars, lesson videos, and articles that will provide you with some of the methods and strategies needed for effectively tackling the different parts of the TOEFL.


For this task it’s important you practice narrating or ‘describing’ different stories and events. You should try thinking about something personal, possibly the plot of the book you just read or a funny memory, retell these stories to yourself or family members.

For more help on this task and a sample response from E2 TOEFL


We suggest you begin researching a wide range of topics; choosing one daily. Focus on articles which inspire different opinions. Then decide where you ‘stand’ on the topic. Practice explaining your opinion in 1 minute spoken responses, giving detailed reasons to support your viewpoint.

Want to see what that looks like?

TOEFL Integrated Speaking & Writing

A major skill you’ll need to develop for both these tasks is synthesising information from two separate sources to give both a written or spoken summary.

You should try finding an article and lecture on the same topic. Some examples might include: culture, the environment or history. Then you can discuss (through voice or word) the main points of the two pieces.

Similar to preparation for other sections of the test:

  1. Chose a Topic
  2. Speaking: 1 Minute (summarize)
  3. Writing: Write a summary focusing on the points that were similar or different.

Some more on Integrated Speaking:

TOEFL Reading (Inference) Preparation

TOEFL Reading tests for many skills. One of which is INFERENCE. Students must be able to make inferences about what an author means by something.

As you read through articles highlight or note any words or phrases that are new to you. Try to guess from context what the author means by their choice of words. Then look it up! This will help you improve both your vocabulary and get you comfortable with making inferences.

Want more TOEFL Reading Tips:

TOEFL Reading Section: Expert TOEFL Reading Preparation Tips

And whilst you’re there, check out another TOEFL reading tips article.

We have articles on the E2Language Blog, webinars on the E2 TOEFL YouTube Channel, and more! Make sure to browse all your favourite E2 archives. Make use of the free TOEFL resources we provide.

Did you know? We even offer FREE online TOEFL Writing classes. Sign up for the TOEFL Writing Classes today! Now you plenty of free TOEFL resources to work off!

Join us in the next LIVE Class!


Follow our social media for more TOEFL resources and updates!


Written by Olivia. 









PTE Retell Lecture: Speaking Secrets for Success

Some people are confident and relaxed with PTE Retell Lecture. In this blog we’re going to look at their secrets and see how you can maximise your score in this task.

Firstly, you can break PTE retell lecture down into three parts; listening, note-taking and retelling. Evaluate your ability in each.

PTE retell lecture


If you lack confidence or are weak at listening, you need to build your vocabulary and build your listening skills. Here’s how.

1. Use the collocation list on the E2language website. It’s in the reading section. This list will show you words that often go together. You just need to read across the lines to see the collocations. For example:

  • abstract concept
  • academic achievement
  • in academic circles

You’re not going to remember by reading once. So read sections and re-read. Spend just three minutes two or three times a day.

2. The collocation list is based on the Academic Word List. You already know the first 3000 words of English. This list of 570 words is the next group you need to know. If you know the first 3000 and this group of 570, that’s enough language to help you manage 95% of most written and spoken texts in English.

You can work on the list here: The Academic Word List. Go through the list systematically looking at all the words you don’t know – click for the dictionary meaning. There are also games, practice activities and quizzes to help you.

3. Read English language newspapers and read Science Daily. Listen to news audio on BBC news.

4. When you are reading / listening, write down new words (and their meanings, collocations and other forms). Then spend a few minutes two or three times a day reviewing the lists. Cover the meanings – see if you can remember. Cover the words and then write them – can you spell them correctly?

5. Another thing you should do is listen to TED talks. There are thousands of talks on a range of topics. One of the great things about TED talks is the little button under the video labelled ‘Transcript.’ If you click this, you will be able to see the exact text, so if you missed a word or a phrase while you were listening, you can check it.

Find TED talks on unfamiliar topics so that you can learn new vocabulary. Listen to just the first 60 – 90 seconds and use them for PTE Retell Lecture. Listen, take notes and then retell (record yourself on your phone). Then you can go back and read the text to evaluate your note taking. You can also listen to the speaker again and compare their pronunciation, stress and intonation with yours.


Note-taking involves writing keywords as you listen. A good way to think of it is in terms of nouns and the W words – who, why, when, where, what?  There are no perfect words to write down. Write down keywords that will help you to remember and retell.

Here’s a useful trick – if you write numbers, also write a word to say what the number represents.

If you write this, you won’t remember. This will help you to remember.



92,000 barrels of oil

470 billion $

2006 new laws

Many candidates are not sure how much detail they need. Clearly you need the main idea, but according to Pearson the task is testing your ability to repeat, inform and explain as well as your ability to support information with details and examples. So numbers and dates can also be relevant.

PTE retell lecture


Let’s start by thinking about the marking criteria. You can get up to 5-points each for pronunciation, fluency and content.


Cover key points, show relationships between things and include implications and conclusions. Include some details and examples.


Vowel and consonant sounds need to be clear.  Deletions need to be used appropriately (eg. ‘and’ often becomes ‘n’ – boys ‘n’ girls). Word and sentence stress should be correct.


Rhythm should be smooth and phrasing needs to be appropriate (eg. where you pause between groups of words). There should be no hesitations or repetitions.

For pronunciation and fluency help watch the E2language Core Skills Pronunciation videos.

One point to note is that your fluency drops as soon as you start making complex decisions, so you need to keep it simple. The E2language template helps you do exactly that.


The speaker was discussing TOPIC

He/She mentioned KEYWORD 1

He/She described KEYWORD 2

He/She talked about KEYWORD 3

He/She discussed KEYWORD 4

He/She suggested that KEYWORD 5

Turn it into a reading exercise. Match sentence one to your first note; sentence two to your second note and so on. That way you don’t need to make many decisions. Once you’ve learnt the template, you can write down key letters for the verbs (see below) and put your notes next to those letters – then read.


  • Write 6 or 7 short, simple notes.
  • When retelling don’t add anything to most notes. Put a full stop. Keep them short.
  • Choose just two notes to add a bit.

This will be right for between 30 and 40 seconds.

In the sound file below you will see that the speaker has a lot of information and finishes just in time. Some information could have been dropped if there was danger of going over 40 seconds.

Retell Notes:

PTE retell lecture

Sound Files:

Listen to the RETELL LECTURE:


If there is a listening problem and you missed some of the talk, all you can do is focus on what you did understand. Maximise your marks for what you did catch.  Sure you will lose marks for ‘content,’ but you can still get marks for pronunciation and fluency. Keep talking generally on the topic – even if it isn’t perfect.


Now you know all of the secrets of those candidates who are quite relaxed about the task. They can relax because they know they have maximised their chances of doing well. You can do that too. Develop your vocabulary and listening skills. Practise note-taking. Do lots of specific practice for PTE Retell Lecture. Work on your PTE fluency.

There are two practice examples below and you’ll find thousands more at


  1. Listen: If you don’t understand everything, just catch what you can.
  2. Take notes: nouns – W-words.
  3. Retell: Retell what you understood – using the template. Maximise your marks for fluency and pronunciation. Record yourself on your phone and evaluate your performance against the three criteria listed at the start of this blog.
Practice 1 – PTE Retell Lecture:
Practice 2 – PTE Retell Lecture:

Visit this article on 4 Mistakes Everyone Makes on PTE Speaking Tasks.

Check out this video on PTE Retell Lecture! For more videos, visit E2 PTE for Live Classes and Mini Mock Tests. 

Do you have any PTE speaking tips you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments below.

Be sure to follow our social media for more PTE resources and updates!


Written by Melinda. 

OET for Nurses: Why Taking OET is Often the Right Choice

At the beginning of the month, something very exciting happened for many of our E2Language students: the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) began formally accepting scores for OET for nurses.

Why is this so exciting? Well, many of our students hoping to move to the UK happen to be nurses, and Cambridge specifically built OET for nurses (and other medical professionals).

This means that our UK-bound nurses now have a more accessible test to practice for, and one that takes into account their nursing skills and experience in addition to their English skills.

OET for nurses

Let’s break down the three top reasons why OET is often the right choice for nurses:

1. OET for Nurses: It’s tailored to your profession

If you’re a nurse, you are probably comfortable working in a fast-paced environment, dealing with difficult patients, making decisions under pressure, and understanding complex information quickly. These skills make you perfectly suited to the various OET sections, as each one mirrors real-life scenarios that nurses face in the workplace.

For example, the OET speaking section is a role-play exercise in which you must interact with a “patient” who has come in with a medical complaint. In the OET writing section, you must write a discharge letter using relevant information about a patient under your (hypothetical!) care.

The benefit of preparing for tasks like these is that nurses get a chance to practice important professional skills that they will need to showcase in a Western context (e.g. UK hospitals). It’s crucial to remember that moving to another country usually comes with massive cultural shifts on top of the language differences.

Preparing for the OET allows nurses the chance to practice highly valuable professional skills that may look slightly different in a Western context, like bedside manner expectations and appropriate follow-up questioning procedure.

I’ll give you an example. Many of our students have worked as nurses for many years, but still find it odd when they begin working in a hospital in the UK or Australia and find that they are given much more decision-making responsibility than they are used to. Furthermore, North-American hospitals in particular are very “patient-centric”, which means that patients often ask more questions or require more in-depth explanations than a foreign-trained nurse may be used to.

Bottom Line: OET for nurses hoping to immediately find work in countries like the UK is a great way to “kill two birds with one stone”. In addition to learning the appropriate English concepts to pass the test, nurses get to improve skills that will serve them well in their next workplace, and hopefully will come out of the OET experience with professional growth on top of their language success!

OET for nurses

2. OET for Nurses: The Vocabulary Will Be Familiar to You

Along the same lines as the point above, the OET is extra applicable to medical professionals because it employs common medical vocabulary that you’ll be very comfortable with if you are a nurse. While the PTE, IELTS and TOEFL require that you learn complex English vocabulary that you will probably never use in real life (how many nurses need to write about why they think “education is a critical element to prosperity” in their workplace?)

In general, the nurses we prepare for OET feel a lot more comfortable and confident when they open up a practice exercise and see words like “aetiology” and “rheumatic fever” and “sterilization” (for the record, these words would absolutely terrify me!).

Bottom line: If you’re a pro with medical vocabulary, the OET will probably intimidate you a lot less than some of the other English tests out there!

Fill out the form below to receive a list of simplified medical vocabulary you can use on the OET!

3. OET for Nurses: It’s Suited to “Pencil and Paper” and “Face-to Face” People

We live in exciting times when it comes to technology, and it is pretty cool that lots of exams have become computer-based and offer all kinds of fancy automated grading and voice recognition! However, some people will just always feel more comfortable picking up a pencil and writing something out by hand.

In many hospital environments, medical professionals still use paper-based charts and other materials every day, and nurses talk to real patients in their workplace environments, not computers. Many nurses have come to us and complained about how strange and uncomfortable it felt to talk at a computer in exams like the PTE, and how they felt they would have done much better interacting with a human being.

Because the OET is paper-based and uses human examiners to test speaking, E2Language students coming from nursing backgrounds often consider it the ideal test. The “traditional” format sets them at ease, and this (combined with the familiar vocabulary and content) boosts their confidence quite a bit. One thing we definitely know from experience is that a little confidence goes a long way.

By the way, I should probably mention here that although E2Language is an online OET preparation school, our practice materials can easily be done on paper and we encourage students watching our live classes to take real notes! Cambridge OET even named us as an official Cambridge OET preparation provider last year!

One last thing to note is that although IELTS also offers paper-based, face-face testing, it’s not tailored to nurses in the same way that OET is. If you want the best of both worlds in terms of professional relevance and more traditional test methods, OET wins out.

Bottom Line: If you’re a nurse and you’re intimidated by English proficiency tests like TOEFL, or undecided over PTE or OET, the OET is probably a great option for you.

For OET online preparation be sure to watch E2 OET YouTube channel like this one below! 

Already Convinced?

There you have it. Those are the reasons why we always recommend OET for nurses who want to work in Western countries, now including the UK! So, if you’re a nurse moving overseas to an English-dominated country, open up your old textbooks, brush up on your impressive medical vocabulary, and book your OET test date with confidence!

Follow our social media for more tips on how to pass OET!

Start your OET course today!

Written by Kaia.

Understanding your PTE Essay Topic: Basics of a Good Essay

Imagine if you had practiced answering the exact PTE essay topic before sitting your PTE exam? 

Well, it’s not entirely out of the question if you happen to brainstorm a few common PTE essay topics.    

PTE Essay Topic
Brainstorming possible PTE essay topics is a great way to practice your written responses. 

The Basics to a Good Essay

The more you write essays, the easier it gets but there are a few key elements to writing a good essay that you need to know at the outset. First and foremost, you need a clear structure, which E2language has the perfect formula for. Also, ensure that you accurately answer the whole question and stay on the PTE essay topic.

Finally, it’s vitally important that you follow the ‘rubric,’ or instructions, on what you need to do with the topic: agree or disagree, discuss, find a solution, outline the advantages and disadvantages or give your opinion.

PTE essay topic
When tackling PTE Essay Topics follow a clear structure, be accurate with your answer, stay on topic and follow the instructions. 

A question that I frequently ask students who have just sat the PTE test is: Which PTE essay topic did you get? This way I can get an update on the latest essay topics that are coming up. Knowing a majority of the common PTE essay topics in advance allows you to prepare for them, and thus saves time and stress during the test.

When you go through the list of the most common PTE essay topics, even if you don’t have time to write an essay for every single one, you can certainly at least read through them so you know what to expect. You can then write a short plan with 2 main ideas/ key points that you would make in the body paragraphs of your essay if you got that PTE essay topic in the test.

I’ll show you what I mean by a short plan to illustrate how simply and quickly brainstorming some ideas for your essay can be done, using some of the most common PTE essay topics, which I have categorised below according to theme or broad academic topic.

I have used the minus and plus symbols to indicate whether the point is for or against: − / + .

PTE essay topic
This table shows some of the common PTE Essay Topics grouped together with their main body paragraph ideas.

Other Common Academic Subjects and PTE Essay Topics 

What are some of the most common PTE essay topics that we see time and time again on the PTE exam?

PTE Essay Topics

A quick explainer for each topic … 

Shopping: over-packaging; large shopping malls

Work: who should do decision-making in companies; the modern work/ life balance- difficulties with

Travel: effects of tourism on a country; travel to study- good or bad

Media: are newspapers are necessary,

Sport: extreme adventure sports

Inventions: the best invention in the past 10/100 years

Environment: combatting climate change, birth place affecting one’s success

Education: the ability to learn versus being able to read and write well; is assessment through exams in education out-dated

No ideas for your PTE Essay Topic?!

Don’t feel bad if you have trouble coming up with ideas for different PTE essay topics as it’s quite a common problem.

While it’s true that some people are naturally creative and seem to be ‘ideas people,’ and others have strong critical thinking skills for solving problems or finding solutions, it doesn’t mean that you can’t improve in this area to be able to create a strong argument for and against in your essays and increase the speed of generating some main ideas and examples for your essay.

Some suggestions to develop this skill are:

Practice brainstorming! Take a topic and just start writing what comes to mind and let your thoughts and inspirations flow. Also, this can be fun and inspiring to do with others in a group- 2,3 or more minds can be more powerful than 1! Even asking friends and family about their opinion on a topic- engage in a lively intellectual discussion to gather their ideas for your essay!

Just Google it! If you don’t know much about a topic or subject area –no excuses, just research it: you could read articles, watch programs, listen to talks and analyse others’ essays and opinions on the matter.

For more PTE Writing advice and strategy, view PTE Writing Tips: How to Improve your Essay Score

Take a look at E2Language’s PTE Write Essay ‘Super Structure’ video posted below! You can visit E2 PTE YouTube channel for plenty of PTE test preparation videos. 

Do you have any PTE writing tips you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments below.

Be sure to follow our social media for more PTE resources and updates!


Written by Danielle.  

PTE Listening Practice: Maximising Your PTE Listening Score

Maximise your PTE scores by following these PTE listening practice tips. Learn what skills are tested for, and get advice on the timing and number of questions, the marks or points per question and the strategies for approaching each question type.

PTE listening practice
So, how interrelated are the PTE Listening and PTE Speaking scores? 

How does my PTE listening score get calculated?

An important thing to know about your PTE listening score is that some of the speaking section questions contribute to your listening score. Also, some questions in the listening section affect your reading and writing scores. You can see the skills tested for each question in the table below:

PTE listening practice
This table shows the PTE skills being tested for in the exam. 

Improving Your Listening Score

Lets look at how you can improve and maximise your listening test scores for each question type, including information and advice on:

1.  Timing and the number of questions

2. Marks or points per question

3. Strategies and how to approach them

PTE Listening Practice: Summarise Spoken Text

1. Timing & number: 10 minutes per summary and you cannot go to the next question until the 10 minutes is up so use it all! 2-3 tasks.

2. Marks: 10 marks per summary, divided into the 5 skills as above in the table.

3. Strategy: This task is the same as re-tell the lecture where you have to summarise the main points/ideas only of the lecture but you must also produce a well-written piece of writing as per the criteria in the table. You must write between 50-70 words.

As with retell lecture, you can use the following sentence structures + main ideas/ points to create your summary: The lecturer was discussing…. He/she mentioned that… He/she said that…..He she talked about…. He/she suggested that…. Use linking words between sentences for clarity, such as: also, in addition, however, finally, etc.

OET scoring
Keep practicing this tricky task by using audio recordings. 

Practice using these PTE Summarise Spoken Text audio examples from the blog and visit all 7 PTE Summarise Spoken Text Practice Samples on the blog! 

PTE Listening Practice: Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer

1. Timing & number: Answer in approximately 1 minute after the recording stops. 2-3 tasks.

2. Marks: 1 mark per correct answer; -1 for each incorrect response, so choose carefully and don’t choose an answer if you are unsure.

3. Strategy: Read the question and skim the possible answers before the recording starts so you know the topic and what information you are listening for. Take notes and be aware that the first answer will be revealed after the key words are first spoken. Then closely listen for the second answer after this. There are usually 2 answers. After the recording, eliminate answers options that are incorrect or not mentioned.

PTE Listening Practice: Fill in the Blanks

1. Timing & number: 7 seconds until the recording starts and fill in the missing words as the speaker says them. 2-3 tasks.

2. Marks: 1 mark per correctly spelt word

3. Strategy: Quickly skim the passage in the 7 seconds before the recording starts to predict the missing words. Fill in the missing words as the speaker says them- don’t get left behind! After the audio finishes, go back and check at the end for spelling and correct grammar, e.g. singular/ plural forms, or noun/ adjective forms of the word.

PTE Listening Practice: Highlight the Correct Summary

1. Timing & number: 10 seconds to scan the answer options, 30-90 seconds for the audio and take approximately 1 minute to answer. 2-3 tasks.

2. Marks: 1 mark per correct answer

3. Strategy: Use the 10 seconds to skim the answers to pick up key words for the main ideas being discussed. Take good notes. After the recording, eliminate answers options that are incorrect or not mentioned. If you don’t know, choose one any way!

PTE Listening Practice: Multiple Choice, Single answer

1. Timing & number: Try to answer in 30 seconds-1 minute after the recording stops. 2-3 of this task

2. Marks: 1 mark per correct answer.

3. Strategy: Read the question and skim the possible answers before the recording starts so you know the topic and what information you are listening for. Take notes and note down key words. After the recording, eliminate answers options that are incorrect or not mentioned. Choose 1 option.

PTE listening practice
Use your reasoning skills to hone your multiple choice answers. 

PTE Listening Test Practice: Select Missing Word

1. Timing & number: 7 seconds before the recording starts. 2-3 tasks.

2. Marks: 1 mark per correct answer

3. Strategy: Read the instructions before the audio starts to find out what the listening is about and start to guess the vocabulary that might be used and skim the answer options. If any seem out of place, they might be incorrect. Keep your focus on the gist of the text even if you don’t understand every word. Keep your eye on the time bar. Important information will be spoken towards the end of the text.

For a comprehensive look at this task visit PTE Select Missing Word Task and use the practice questions and sample audio provided. 

PTE Listening Practice: Highlight Incorrect Words

1. Timing & number: 10 seconds before the recording starts. Move and click as the passage is spoken. 2-3 tasks.

2. Marks: 1 mark per correct answer; -1 for incorrect word choices

3. Strategy: Click when you think a word is spoken differently to the text. Sometimes the difference will be very subtle but thinking about it will cost answers as the speaking continues so keep moving your cursor in time with the speaking!

PTE Listening Practice: Write from Dictation

1. Timing & number: 7 seconds before the recording starts and each recording is 3-5 seconds. 3-4 tasks.

2. Marks: 1 mark per word

3. Strategy: Try and catch every word in the sentence and ‘record’ it in your head so you can ‘play it back’ later. Write down main content words: nouns, verbs and adjectives and add minor and grammar words later and/or use abbreviations for words if needed to save time and retype later when the speaking stops. Check for spelling and grammar: plural forms of nouns, correct articles, verb endings, etc.

PTE listening practice
Write down the main content words from the recording. 

 Final Tips for Your PTE Listening Practice

  • Do lots of practice with time management: when you are practicing the listening section questions, time yourself and stick to the times suggested above
  • Make sure you leave enough time to complete Write from Dictation, which is the last question in the test as it’s worth between 30- 40 points in total and will impact both your listening and reading scores!
  • Build up your PTE vocabulary on a range of academic topics by reading and listening widely
  • Practice and build up your ‘active listening skills’ = 100% focused listening for detailed and specific information
  • As well as E2language and PTE practice material, try listening to some great talks and lectures on TED and informative videos at National Geographic.

For more PTE listening practice tips visit the article on PTE Listening Test: Tips for a PTE 90

Check out Jay’s PTE Listening: Write from Dictation video from our E2 PTE Channel on YouTube.

Also, watch the entire PTE Listening Every Task Explained on YouTube for explanations of every PTE task! 

Do you have any PTE listening practice tips you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments below.

Be sure to follow our social media for more PTE resources and updates!


Written by Danielle. 

TOEFL Independent Writing Practice: Step by Step

Practice makes perfect they say, and no less is true for the TOEFL exam! However, if you don’t even know where to start, we’ve got you covered with this step-by-step guide to TOEFL independent writing practice.

TOEFL Independent Writing Practice
We’ve got you covered! Follow these steps when you approach the TOEFL Independent Writing. 

TOEFL Independent Writing Practice Step #1: Get yourself organized.

Before you have a crack at writing an essay, there are some important things you need to know:

  • The Independent Writing task will be timed. You will have 30 minutes to complete it, so you should practice with the same restriction. At first, this may be difficult, but that’s what practice is for, right?
  • The TOEFL iBT is given on a computer, so make sure you practice typing and not handwriting!
  • Although there is no strict word limit for your essay, you should aim to write more than 300 words. Don’t plan to write too much, or else you might not save yourself enough time to edit your work.

Next, have a look at the TOEFL Independent Writing Rubric.

Let’s aim high, and look at the requirements to get a ‘5’ (the maximum score):

  • Effectively addresses the topic and task
  • Is well organised and developed with clear explanations, examples and details
  • Displays logical progression and coherence
  • Consistently correct use of language, sentence structure, word choice and grammar though may have minor errors

By the way, you can fill out the form below to download a free TOEFL ‘independent writing’ essay sample!

TOEFL Independent Writing Practice Step #2: Analyze the question

Ok, so you have your timer setup, you’ve picked out a question, and you have your word processor open. Now, it’s time to analyze the question. This step is crucial; if you start writing off-topic then you could lose major points!

Once the timer starts, take a minute to figure out: What is the topic and what is the task?

First of all, you’ll need to identify keywords from the question. You might want to take down a few words on your scratch pad, just to remember.

Let’s look at some example questions:

1. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? There is nothing that young people can teach older people. Use specific reasons and examples to support your position

2. Some high schools require all students to wear school uniforms. Other high schools permit students to decide what to wear to school. Which of these two school policies do you think is better? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

3. What discovery in the last 100 years has been most beneficial for people in your country? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

4. You have the opportunity to visit a foreign country for two weeks. Which country would you like to visit? Use specific reasons and details to explain your choice.

5. Some people believe that the best way of learning about life is by listening to the advice of family and friends. Other people believe that the best way of learning about life is through personal experience. Compare the advantages of these two different ways of learning about life. Which do you think is preferable? Use specific examples to support your preference.

*The above examples were found in this link

Click to View Question Summary

In (1), you are asked to choose a side (agree or disagree) and support your opinion.

In (2), you are asked to explain a preference between two options.

In (3), you are asked to think about one example and explain why it is the best/ most important.

In (4), you are asked to illustrate a hypothetical situation and explain your choice.

In (5), you are asked to compare two different situations and explain your preference

TOEFL Independent Writing Practice Step # 3 Structure your essay

Once you know what you are being asked to do, you should take another 1-2 minutes to plan the structure of your essay, and brainstorm some examples that you will use to support your ideas.

Some important things to remember about the structure of your essay:

  • Always, always, always have an introduction and conclusion! Your introduction should include some general statement about the topic, a sentence addressing the question, and finally, your thesis statement. This is where you will provide the main point of the essay so that the reader knows what will come next.
  • Your conclusion should include a restatement of your thesis statement from the intro and a summary sentence. Do not introduce any new information in your conclusion!
  • Decide how many body paragraphs you will have, and what you will put in each. As mentioned above, there’s no strict guideline here, but two body paragraphs is usually a safe bet. If you are explaining a preference or explaining why you agree/disagree, you want to think of two major reasons to support your opinion. Explain and provide support for each reason in its own body paragraph. You could also partially agree, and write one paragraph about each side.
  • For a comparison essay (example 5) you’ll want to choose your preference first, then provide a couple reasons why. In each body paragraph, you will explain a reason for your preference while comparing evidence from both situations.

TOEFL Independent Writing Practice Step #4 Write and edit your essay

Now it’s time for the main task: actually writing your essay!

Some things to consider while writing:

  • Do I provide sufficient explanations and examples?
  • Do you use a variety of vocabulary?
  • Do you use a variety of sentence structures?
  • Do you have correct spelling/grammar?

 TOEFL Independent Writing Practice Step #5 Assess your skills

If you are on your own for practice, start by having a look at the TOEFL Independent Writing Rubric and try to assess yourself. Also, have a look at some sample answers and compare to your own writing. Are you using similar vocabulary? Is your essay structured similarly?

Self-assessment is hard though, and you might find you’re not even aware of your own errors. You may want to try typing your answer into a word processor with English enabled to check for basic spelling/grammar errors. Another great tool is the Grammarly app (you can attach it to your browser). It won’t catch all errors, but it’s a start!

You should also consider seeking professional help. Having a native English speaker read and edit your writing may help you to recognize errors you weren’t even aware of. By signing up for, we can assess your writing and give you detailed, personal feedback.

TOEFL Integrated Writing Practice
Back to the drawing board, don’t be afraid to start with afresh with these steps. Please see the summary of steps below. 

There you have it, TOEFL takers! Five important steps to get started with your own TOEFL Independent Writing practice:

  1. Get yourself organized
  2. Analyze the question
  3. Structure your essay
  4. Write and edit your essay
  5. Assess your skills

Remember to practice lots and practice often, and soon that ‘5’ score won’t seem so far away!

Where did you go wrong on the TOEFL Integrated Writing? Find this useful template for approaching the How to Improve Your TOEFL Integrated Writing 

Is your TOEFL exam fast approaching? Try this reading this article on TOEFL Tips and Tricks

Check out the E2 TOEFL Channel for free tutorial videos posted regularly!

Want to access TOEFL Learning Material: The Best Online TOEFL Study Materials in the one place? Look no further!

Need some TOEFL preparation advice? Study effectively by reading TOEFL Preparation Time: How Long Do I Need? 

Follow our social media for more TOEFL resources and updates!


Written by Meaghan.