Category Archives: IELTS Medical

The benefits of being bilingual

  • By Anna

Speaking two languages instead of just one has obvious benefits in rapidly changing, multicultural, globalised world. It is clear that being bilingual opens a lot of different doors, not only in terms of your professional career, but also in terms of your personal development.

It turns out that bilingualism can have much more perks that you would think at first. The most obvious benefits would be being able to talk to a wider range of people, easier travelling or being able to watch a film in its original language. However, there appear to be many more, not-so-obvious advantages.

It has been scientifically proven that being bilingual makes you smarter. Speaking more than one language can have a profound effect on your brain, improving your cognitive skills, and even preventing dementia in old age.

The image of bilingualism is much different now than what it was a century ago. Back in the day, it was perceived as an obstacle, especially for children and teenagers. Many scientists and educators insisted that being able to speak more than one language could interfere with one’s education. Today, that opinion has changed completely. Although, the researchers were never wrong about the fact that bilingualism interferes with a person’s education, it is definitely not a burden, but more like a blessing in disguise. There is scientific evidence that when you speak in one language (while being fluent in two or more), all languages that you can speak are active in your brain. This could lead to a situation where one language system obstructs the other. But this interference forces the brain to resolve the conflict and at the same time it gives the mind a valuable workout which strengthens the cognitive muscles in the brain.

Bilingual people are also usually better at resolving mental puzzles or tasks. The collective evidence from a number of studies implies that bilingualism improves people’s solving problem and planning skills as well as remembering complicated directions, for example when driving a car.

I hope this article motivated you, even if just a little, to learn a foreign language. Keep exercising your mind and gain those bilingual superpowers!

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What to do when you’re stuck


  • By Anna

You have taken the IELTS exam multiple times already and you still cannot get the scores you need. Perhaps you were studying by yourself; perhaps you were attending classes at some English school. It could be that you are getting the score you need from three skills, while in one you still get that disappointing 6.5.

Sound familiar? 

There are actually a few ways to deal with that. We very often come across medics who, for some reason, have issues with scoring 7.0 or 7.5 in writing. This is usually due to lack of proper preparation and not doing enough writing at home. When you are preparing by yourself, it gets a bit tricky when you are doing the writing tasks, because you need someone to check them for you and give you feedback. Sure, your grammar or spelling mistakes can be corrected by any good English teacher – however, the format of your essay, what needs to be included in each paragraph – you can only get that feedback from a qualified IELTS tutor / examiner.

We had a medic who booked in for a writing course of 10 classes, as she needed to get from 6.5 to 7.0 in writing. She was eager to improve and she attended classes three times a week. Bear in mind, that after each class she would get homework which she had to hand in before the following class, which required a lot of effort from her. She never complained, though, and found time to do the homework religiously and when the exam date came, she got the score without any problems.

For nurses, there is also another way to get unstuck. Some of them decide to switch to the OET exam, where the writing skill seems to be much easier for them. The OET writing exam is much more predictable as it usually is a referral letter or a discharge letter. The whole exam is entirely healthcare oriented, so it seems less difficult for some of our nurses.

Remember that when you’re stuck in one place, it is always worth trying new things or new approaches to studying. There’s never just one way to do get ready for IELTS. Various things work differently for various people, so don’t be afraid of trying out something new.

Get un-stuck with us… Call 02036376722!


His first English textbook

  • By Anna

We all know that Christmas time is exciting; not only because of the cheerful atmosphere, music and festive lights all over, but also because of the time you get to spend together with your family. For expats, this time of year could be especially challenging as most of them are away from their families who usually live overseas.

Nowadays, multicultural families are quite common, therefore the possibility that not everyone will speak the same language at the Christmas dinner is much higher. I mean, there is not that much you can express with hand signs (unless you know the sign language, which is another story).

This time of year is also when a lot of Christmas ads come on TV, as there is no doubt that the Christmas spirit drives the sales. There is this one particular Christmas ad which will make your hearts melt. It tells a beautiful story of an old, Polish man who gets his first English textbook in order to learn the language before Christmas. You can see him struggling, but also putting a lot of effort into it.

I believe it will be an amazing motivation for all of you who have relatives who do not speak the same language as you. Family is one of the most important values in our lives, so it is definitely worth the effort to actually sit down, get that language book and practice. Even though at first it seems like a lot of hassle and work; even though that sometimes it may drive you crazy when you cannot understand that one particular grammar rule; even though that you occasionally pronounce some words in a wrong way – it will all be worth it at the end, when you see the big smile on someone else’s face.

Spend the holidays with us… Call 02036376722!



Doctors’ path to working in the UK

  • By Anna

While overseas qualified doctors have to pass the IELTS exam with a minimum score of 7.5, the English proficiency test is not the only stop on their path to working as a practicing doctor in the United Kingdom. After they have passed the IELTS with a sufficient score, they have to go through the PLAB (Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board).

The PLAB exam consists of two parts. The first part is made of 200 single best answer questions (SBAs). It is a multiple choice exam, also known as ‘best of five’ or ‘one of five’. Each question starts with a short scenario, followed by a question e.g. ‘What is the most likely diagnosis in this scenario?’

This part is designed to test your ability to apply knowledge to the care of patients. The questions relate to current best practice in the UK and you’ll need to answer having in mind only published evidence. The exam covers the most common and important conditions.

The second part is an objective structural clinical examination (OSCE) and comprises 18 different scenarios, each lasting around 8 minutes. You’ll be tested in settings such as a mock consultation or an acute ward. In this part, a doctor is marked in three areas: data gathering, technical and assessment skills; clinical management skills and interpersonal skills.

Did you know that at IELTS Medical we offer preparation courses for PLAB? Except for covering the practical skills, e.g. mannequin teaching or clinical examinations, we also focus on communication and ethics skills. Our tutors are practicing doctors who have significant UK working experience, so their input during the PLAB preparation course is priceless.You can check some of our previous customers’ testimonials: “Firstly, let me thank you and everyone at IELTS medical for their support and guidance. Yes I am applying for PLAB exam now and I am representing India in the IELTS medical world cup.”

“Whatever the results I will get, I want to thank you for your help, your professionalism, your fresh personality and your beautiful smile! You have been very supportive, very helpful and creative with the yoga session!!”

For 2018 course dates, visit our PLAB website for more information.

Qualify as a doctor with us… Call 02036376722!


NMC OSCE Course – Getting ready for Helen and Mel from MyNursesLife

  • By Anna

The final stage of registration for overseas qualified nurses is the OSCE. The role of this test is to measure the candidates against the current UK pre-registration standards. Nursing in the UK is made up of separate fields of practice, each requiring three years of pre-registration undergraduate education.

The OSCE will test our nurses on their communication and clinical skills, as well as decision making and handling difficult situations. It is made up of six stations, each lasting 15 minutes. Four of the stations will be scenario based and relate to:

1) assessment- holistic patient centred,

2) planning,

3) implementation,

4) evaluation.

All of which are stages of nursing and midwifery care, where you will be expected to apply your theoretical nursing knowledge to a real-life situation. Two stations will be testing practical clinical skills. You have to keep in mind that in order to pass the exam, you will have to have done many of the nursing/midwifery scenarios before.

At IELTS Medical we offer OSCE preparation courses for nurses, in cooperation with the MyNursesLife. Helen and Mel are registered nurses and together our goal is to assist overseas qualified nurses to gain employment within UK hospitals (both NHS and private healthcare).

Our next OSCE coaching will take place next week, starting from 7th of December and it will last 3 consecutive days in the Whittington Hospital.

Working in small groups, our nurses will receive coaching and guidance to help you pass the OSCE first time. We simulate a clinical environment, presenting you with scenarios that you will likely encounter as a Registered Nurse. At the end of the course you will be invited to sit a mock examination that is assessed.

Both Helen and Mel are registered NHS nurses and enjoy guiding our nurses to OSCE success.

Pass OSCE with us… Call 02036376722!



How long will it take me to get my score?

  • By Anna

As an IELTS Medical Administrator, I have to admit that it is one of the most frequent questions and at the same time – one of the most difficult ones to answer directly. This is due to the fact that the answer itself depends on many various factors.

  1. Your previous IELTS score and the score you are aiming at.

It will more likely take more time for a Nurse A to score 7.0 if her last IELTS score was 5.5 than Nurse B whose last score was 6.5. On average, it takes around 5 weeks (while you attend classes twice a week) to go up 0.5 band. However, we have had medics who scored up higher and much quicker, so it is definitely not a rule.

  1. Your determination.

It could be that Nurse A, even though her last score was much lower than Nurse B’s, will get 7.0 quicker. Why is that? Because she is motivated to learn and improve, she never misses her classes, she always does her homework and is not afraid to ask questions when she does not understand something. Remember that the tutor will never do all the work for you; they are here to guide you and help you learn. It is up to you to get the 7.0 or 7.5 score.

  1. Give yourself time.

Please do not leave preparing for the IELTS exam for the last minute. Learning a foreign language is a process that has to take some time and it won’t happen overnight. Additionally, remember that discipline is a key to IELTS. You have to be in touch with the language every day, ideally all the time, in order to significantly improve. Besides attending classes, it would be a good idea to have a British radio in the background, watch British TV and speak to people in English.

To sum up – how long will it take you to get your score? The answer is: it depends on you. We can guide you in the right direction and assist you along the way, but it will still depend on you how quick you will get there.

Get your score with us… Call 02036376722!


Easy ways to expand your vocabulary

  • By Anna

Expanding your vocabulary is crucial while preparing for the IELTS test. It will definitely make it easier as you go through each skill on the exam. Having a broad vocabulary will also help you in your everyday life as words are one of the key predictors of someone’s profession, education level or social status.

The question now is – how to actually expand your vocabulary? The easiest and fastest way is to read. And not only books. If you are reading this at the moment, I would say you are on the right track. Read everything you possibly can: books, newspapers, road signs, and ingredients’ list on your shampoo bottle.  You will not only learn new words, but you can also improve your grammar and after some time, you may find it much easier to form complex sentences.


Look the words up. Whenever you see a word you don’t understand, look it up. Google and a dictionary are your friends. However, please do yourself a favour and do not search for equivalents of said word in your native language. Instead, look up the English definition of the word and check the examples, how it should be used in a sentence. This way, you have more chance to actually remember the word and use it in the future.


Search for synonyms of words you use the most often. It can especially help you while writing a paper. Don’t get too crazy, though and remember that sometimes, even though certain words can be synonymous, they cannot be used in the same type of paper.  It is all about the register!


Play word games. Who said learning new words cannot be fun? If a boring train ride is part of your commute, why not make it more interesting by doing some crosswords? If you prefer staring at the screen of your phone, there are also educational games you could install (e.g. the word game I am playing now is called Word Cookies).

As you probably already know, the key to learning new words or expressions is always your motivation and persistence. Appreciate the beauty of the language, dive into it, research the etymology of the words you learn – you will be surprised how interesting it can be.

Increase your vocab with us… Call 02036376722!