International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Occupational English Test (OET), and the Person Test in English (PTE) are among the frontline exams used to test the English language proficiency of health care professionals all over the world. Here is the list of the most common myths about IELTS, OET, & PTE misconceptions, and the real facts to know about them.

These tests are conducted by the administrative bodies to ensure that the doctors, nurses, and the other staff are well versed and have sufficient communication skills to deal with all levels of patients and colleagues, ensuring best comprehension and care without any communication gaps.

Often, these crucial exams are surrounded by many common notions about them building over time, which are mostly false, and only misconceptions that need to be cleared. These myths are misleading and inauthentic, which may give wrong guidance to the candidates preparing for the respective exams.

Here are the myths about IELTS, OET and PTE:

Myths and Facts about IELTS

While preparing for the IELTS exam, there can be a lot of advice coming your way; but you need to ignore all the irrelevant ones and focus on improving your English by following only the authentic guidelines. Mentioned below are some of the most widespread myths that need to be done away with as early as possible.

  • Myth 1-

    IDP and British Council do not conduct the same IELTS, and the difficulty level varies with different countries.

Truth– The test of both the organizations IDP and British council is run by Cambridge University. The University takes all the care to make sure that the difficulty level is constant, no matter which country you are in, or which test you appear for. The papers are almost the same and are tested without major differences.

  • Myth 2-

    The band score increases as much as you write over the word limit in the writing section.

Truth– The more words you write, the more mistakes you can make exceeding the word limit with extra words. For scoring your maximum marks in the writing section, write at least 150 words in task 1, and 250 words in task 2. More writing will take up your extra time as well. So choose the content wisely, and include only that part which benefits you,  and is relevant to your task in one way or another.

  • Myth 3 –

    Articles like ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’ are not counted in the word count of IELTS.

Truth– All the articles are counted in the total word count to assess the writing tasks.

  • Myth 4 –

    Task 2 requires 250 words and not more than 270. Not fulfilling any one of these will cause you the loss of one band.

Truth– There are only the specifications given about the minimum words required, but there’s no limit for maximum words. Many students waste their time just counting words and stressing about exceeding the limit, but there’s nothing to worry about. Just stick to the range and include relevant content.

  • Myth 5-

    If you are smiling or making the examiner laugh in the speaking test, you may be marked better.

Truth– Every examiner is properly trained and guided about assessing the candidates fairly without any biases. They are trained to check only on the basis of proficiency of your English. Your smiles are only good for you to be relaxed and won’t help you get more marks or any favour.

Also Read : Is it Easy to Crack the PTE Exam for the IELTS Aspirants?

Myths and Facts about OET

All the floating misconceptions about OET which may misguide you are cleared below with the actual facts.

  • Myth 1 –

    The spellings need to be perfect in OET part A listening, or else you will lose marks!

Truth – Spelling the words you have not written down before can be tricky, especially in cases of medications and treatment. That’s the reason your spellings need not be perfect in first priority to score marks for a correct answer.

Just make sure that the spelling is recognisable to the checker, and the spelling of the word is close enough not to change its meaning. Change in the meaning of the word will take away your marks. For example, the “nimonia” word will be considered for pneumonia for once, but if you use “typical” instead of the word “atypical”, it will be marked as incorrect.

  • Myth 2 –

    You need to use fancy vocabulary and grammar in the writing section.

Truth – In the writing sub-test, you need not show off your grammar or fancy vocabulary, because it won’t fetch you any kind of extra marks. Instead, it can be detrimental if it hinders the checker’s comprehension. Just use effective and correct grammar and words to convey and communicate your answer perfectly.

  • Myth 3 –

    A certain number of spelling mistakes are allowed in the OET writing test.

Truth – This is absolutely false! There is no specific number of mistakes “allowed” in the writing sub-test, though the frequency of errors is taken into account. Try not to make too many mistakes in general.

The assessors do consider the impact of errors made over the number of errors made. Thus significant errors will cost you more marks.

  • Myth 4 –

    You will be punished for exceeding the word limit.

Truth – This is the biggest myth. The word limit provided in the letter in writing sub-test of 180-200 words is just for guidance. Select your content wisely, and express it crisply and concisely and fit it in this range. Even if you exceed the limit, and have written no irrelevant information, you won’t be penalised with less marks.

  • Myth 5 –

    The score for a B grade in the reading and listening test is the same for every OET session.

Truth – The score that you require to score a B grade (scale score of 350) in these tests changes slightly for every session to align with the different difficulty levels of the papers. You should, however, aim to achieve the highest.

Also Read : What is the Difference between the PTE Academic and PTE General?

Myths and Facts about PTE

Following are the myths that you should avoid falling for, and aim to score high.

  • Myth 1 –

    Using backspace affects your PTE score.

Truth – This is absolutely false! Use of backspace is nowhere related or is never a                                                                                          reason for scoring less. It won’t affect your score in any manner.  

  • Myth 2 –

    Use of different accents would fetch you more marks.

Truth – This won’t help you in PTE exams. The assessors, in fact, expect you to keep your natural tone and an average pace. Instead, it’s recommended not to try fake accents and keep it real if you want good marks.

  • Myth 3 –

    You can skip some of the tasks.

Truth – Do not even think of skipping tasks in the PTE exam. Remember the format for understanding the reason behind this. The marks are carried forward to the next session. Thus if you skip one writing task, you also lose your marks for the previous listening sessions.

  • Myth 4 –

    Avoid the difficult words in read-aloud for better scores.

Truth – Neglecting the difficult words while reading aloud might not lead to convey the right meaning of the content, and also misses out on some essential words. This stage checks your oral fluency, and you are also scored for the content.

  • Myth 5 –

    Choose multiple options if not sure.

Truth –  Never choose more than one option. Choosing the wrong options would result in losing more marks due to the negative marking system. Thus, leave the options unmarked if you aren’t sure.

These myths can be dangerous and misleading for any aspirant. The first-timers are especially more vulnerable to falling for such statements and losing out on their marks. Thus, for OET, PTE and IELTs preparation, seek trustable guidance from an expert who will lead you from fiction to facts.


Reach out to any authorised platform and study the reasons behind any myths before abiding by them. Moreover, just focus on your English and take all the efforts in improving that to score your highest marks. Be in touch with IELTS Ninja blogs and newsletters to understand more about the IELTS, OET, and PTE exams and related preparation.

Also Read : Is there a Fact Check in Essay Writing in IELTS? Here’s a List of Do’s and Don’ts

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