English E Learning Links

English exam success generally relies on a good, overall level of English skills combined with an awareness of specific English exam strategies. Therefore, the links below will help you with both aspects of achieving English exam success.

Overall level of English skills





Specific English exam strategies



What is the TOEFL exam?

Although it is another type of academic exam, the TOEFL exam design and format is very different to that of PTE, and more in line with Academic IELTS. 

EXAM FORMAT for each papers to be taken.


EXAMPLES of each paper:





FREE APP which you should have a look at:


BEFORE, tackling a sample test:


TOEFL ‘at home’ as an academic alternative to IELTS

Has your Academic IELTS exam date been re-scheduled because of COVID-19 exam centre closures?

Have you considered ‘switching to’ the TOEFL exam, the US equivalent of IELTS? This exam is now available to be delivered/completed at home!

Please follow these links for more information:






English exams & Covid-19, as of 17th March 2020.

IELTS: Currently, whether or not to run exams is at the discretion of individual exam centres. Cancelled as following:

  • Aberdeen – Tests currently suspended until 4 April 2020
  • Southampton – Tests currently suspended until 21 March 2020
  • INTO Glasgow – Tests currently suspended until 18 April 2020
  • University of Sheffield – Tests currently suspended until 25 March 2020

PTE: varies around the UK so best to contact PTE direct.

How long do I have to write my exam essay?

In my experience, time pressure is often a huge concern for both IELTS and PTE candidates. The factors contributing to this stress are:

  • How to get started?
  • What to write?
  • Choosing the ‘right’ words?
  • Check spelling!

Therefore, your choice of exam is important in respect of how long is allowed for the essay-writing. Options are:

  • PTE which allocates 20 minutes to write, 200 – 300 words.
  • IELTS, both computer-delivered and paper-based, which allocate 40 minutes to write a minimum 250 words.

After that, both marking marking criteria are very similar so therefore time allowed becomes an important difference.

Computer-delivered IELTS, Edinburgh

New to Scotland, the established Basil Paterson Exam Centre now offers computer-delivered IELTS exams in its purpose-built computer exam suite.

General and Academic modules available, three times per month. More details and information on this link.

How to write English exam essay introductions.

The introduction is where the examiner first experiences students’ writing and they will form his/her judgement quickly. A poor introduction will require the writer to change the examiners mind in later paragraphs to score well. In addition, introductions are the place where the reader outlines the structure of their essay and can prevent examiners from becoming confused about the direction of an essay.

In the opening sentence of the essay students should state the topic and suggest a reason why the topic is important. Introducing the topic in the first sentence is critical if the reader is to be sure of what the topic of the essay is.

The second sentence is the ideas sentence. This sentence is probably the most critical of the essay and has two functions. This may take the form of rephrasing the question.

The final sentence is to allow the reader to understand the direction of the arguments and the overall structure the essay. The listing of key ideas is very important because it also helps keep the writer focused on the topic rather than drifting and writing about unrelated topics.

At the end of the introduction a reader should know what the topic is, why the topic is important, the key ideas as well as the structure and the aim of the essay. When all of these items are present, the reader is unlikely to become confused about the direction or the content of the essay.

3 Step plan to IELTS and PTE English exam success

Step 1:

choose the better exam for you, either IELTS or PTE, and be realistic when setting achievable target scores, for extra visa points.

Step 2:
request pre-exam tasks to complete at home, to return for free  assessment and feedback, prior to scheduling your individual tuition.

Step 3:
Work on exam strategies and techniques with support, and self-study material, from your tutor, up to the exam date booked.

IELTS v PTE Essay Writing

One of the conversations I frequently have with students, concerns switching exam formats. This may be from General IELTS to Academic PTE, or visa versa. However, the reasons for this option are critical when looking at the advantages and disadvantages, to you, of switching exam format.

Writing: there is no advantage opting for one exam, over the other, as this part of the exam is marked in the same way in both IELTS and PTE. Although, in IELTS Writing Task1 is simpler than PTE Writing Task 1.

Speaking: is significantly simpler in IELTS as it involves interacting with a person, rather than being marked by a computer, and is not based on academic tasks, as in PTE.

Listening: as IELTS is designed as a skills-based exam, this is more straightforward that PTE listening. In contrast, PTE is designed as a listening and note-taking exam and therefore, the listening section has a strong emphasis on grammar and vocabulary.

Reading: in contrast to the writing section, if this is the problem area in IELTS, PTE reading is much simpler because of the exam design, see above.

 Founder, Marian Anderson is an expert in English exam preparation

Who We Are

English for Emigration, founded by Marian Anderson, an expert in her field, helps you identify, and correct, any problems that may be preventing you from gaining your target scores in IELTS, or Pearson PTE exams, needed to progress your visa application.

01501 773622 (tel)


Need help with your visa application?

For specific questions about visa applications, the following organisations can help:

www.downundercentre.com www.brazolotmigration.com/ www.overseas-emigration.co.uk

Exam Success

IELTS Tuition