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July 8, 2020
The language to compare two pie charts  Summarising two pie charts for an IELTS Academic Task 1 needs careful preparation. Here, I am going to focus on deciding the language we need to do this because if we use the correct language, then we have a good chance to obtain a high band score. Now we need to handle the language of percentages and proportions and, of course, the language we need will vary according to the topic and content of the pie charts. That is one reason why it is vital to study the title and any sub-headings of the charts.   Pie chart review Take this example and decide what type of language we will need to describe it. Naturally we need in the first place language to describe proportions. Some key words are: * per cent (correctly spelled as two words)* percentage* proportion* amount* share At the same time, we must be able to use language of comparison – to say which country had the largest and smallest share etc. Some key words here are: * most/least* largest/smallest* more/less* greater/smaller Two pie charts: related topics, one time frame Usually, Task 1 will not be just one pie chart to describe but two or maybe more. This might involve two pie charts related in terms of “opposition” but static in the sense that both refer to the same time frame, normally a year. Look at the following which present for the year 2108 the principal European Union trade partners in terms of food and drink: the first chart concerns export partners and the second, import. In this case, what kind of language do we need? Of course, we still need the same language of proportion and comparison. The major difference is the need to make comparisons between the two pie charts comparing exports with imports, making the task more complex. Two pie charts: one topic only at  different times Source Now look at these pie charts. There are of course similarities with the first set. We will always need language to describe proportions and to compare items. This set refers to agricultural exports from the USA to Cuba in 2005 and then in 2014. In other words, we have just one topic shown over time. Therefore, we need to use language describing change and trends. This may be more complex because we have to handle all of the following: proportion language – to describe percentages comparison language – to describe the biggest and the smallest trend language – to describe what changes over time Overview * two pie charts on a different topic and the same time frame ⇒ language of proportion and comparison* two pie charts on a related topic and in a different time frame ⇒ language of proportion and comparison and change Practical advice * Do not start writing before giving yourself enough time to think. First decide the language you will need in your answer. Give yourself 5 minutes to look, think and plan.* Study the charts carefully: the titles for example to check if they deal with the same or connected topics.* Check the time frames very carefully in the charts and plan how time differences will affect y...
July 4, 2020
Vinod is based in Hyderabad India: * recently under lockdown * temporarily without a job * test date moved by two months What did he do? He made the most of the situation, he studied the official IELTS books, did practice test after practice test. Then he joined the online IELTS classes we were offering. And then started writing essays and getting feedback while on the IELTS online course. He made full use of his time and jumped from 6 to 7.5. It’s truly inspiring how feedback and hard work can improve your IELTS band score. Trial our essay correction service with this $5 essay service You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud | Transcript |
June 30, 2020
This podcast will help you because * We review the essentials (and explain why going for Band 9 is a bad idea!) * We cover two essential language components to include * We review some authentic native English speaker material * We cover how to find excellent material to use in your prep * We share a solid model for you to follow in your graph description Pie charts – Basic guide In Task 1, the pie chart is one of the most common ways to present information for you to describe. Pie charts are not difficult to understand but it is a good idea to look at possible problems and the important language we must know to describe them well.  The idea of this lesson is to show how we can describe a pie chart in simple terms. We must also think about some possible problems pie charts present and the language we need to be able to describe them. Remember that in the IELTS exam, when pie charts are included, you will see two or more shown for you to make comparisons between data.   Pie chart essentials Two key elements stand out in any pie chart: * Percentages: the various parts of the “pie” will always be equal to 100%* Comparisons: the chart gives a simple, clear view of the differences between its parts So, the language we need for our description must include ways to write about figures and especially percentages or proportions as well as how to make comparisons.  Key language elements 1: percentages Pie charts always show percentages. This is the case even where the numbers on the chart may not be expressed in percentages. If you look at these two charts they present the same data in two different ways. Taken from : https://chartio.com/learn/charts/pie-chart-complete-guide/  All pie charts present information in percentage terms. To put it simply, the total sum of all the parts will be 100%. But it is     possible that numbers are shown in different ways. Look at this for example: The UK continues to be Scotland’s largest market for trade. Real world examples are a great source  https://www.commerce.gov/news/blog/2018/09/manufacturing-leads-top-sector-foreign-direct-investment-united-states Number and percentage language: variations It is important to show that you know how to write about numbers and percentages in different ways. This will help to give you a higher grade. The main ways include: ·         Proportion ·         the amount (uncountable) ·         A number (countable) ·         Fractions: a half, a third, a quarter, two-thirds a half/third/quarter etc. ·         Figures: the numbers themselves At the same time, you have to use language to describe the information in the chart. Numbers are important but not enough. Task 1 is asking you to show your ability to write about numbers and what they mean....
June 26, 2020
This tutorial will help you because: We will share 2 important elements to Part 1 (you will be surprised by what they are) We talk about 2 common types of questions in the speaking exam (and how you can prepare for them) We look a the perfect model answers for these questions POPULAR TOPICS FOR SPEAKING PART 1  Part 1? No problem. The easy part. It’s just personal questions about what you do or where you live and a couple of other topics. Yes, you talk about yourself but, does that make it easy? Let’s look at THREE THINGS you can do to make sure your Part 1 is at least a sure 7.0.  To begin with: * 1. The context Let’s remind ourselves the importance of 2 key elements. Timing and the examiner.  Part 1 lasts 5minutes. You: * Give your name and show your identification. (30 seconds) * Answer 4 questions about work or study OR where you live. (1 minute 30 seconds) * Answer questions about 2 TOPICS. There will be 4 questions for each topic. (3 minutes) That’s 12 questions in 5 minutes.  THE EXAMINER wants to know how fluent you are, if your vocabulary is good enough, how correct your grammar is, if your pronunciation is easy to understand. From the first moment, the examiner is thinking of the scores you are going to get, picking up details about your use of English.  For the examiner, this can be a routine where most candidates end up with a 6.0 average. Job done. So, how can you stand out from the crowd?  Preparation. For the exam and beyond. First, the exam:- * • Exam Preparation  The test really starts with: Let’s talk about what you do. Do you work or are you a student?   or Let’s talk about where you live? In what part of the country are you living? NEVER memorise details. It will sound false. Be brief and put it into a context. Something like:- Well, I’m a mechanical engineer and I’ve been working for (company) for (3 years). I’m responsible for installing and maintaining air conditioning systems.  Why? Because the 3 follow up questions require more complex language giving you the chance to impress! What’s more important, the work you do or the people you work with? (comparisons, explanations) Do you think you will live in this (house) for a long time? (future, conditionals) To prepare for this, of course, watch all those IELTS exams videos. There’s nothing wrong with that but it’s YOU that has to put in the effort.  Think and write about work, studies, where you live. Answer What? Where? Why? When? Who? How long? Prepare the vocabulary you need, talk in the past, present, future. What about the other two topics? There’s a wide range including  Creativity: (film, television, art, music, photography) Learning (history, mathematics, science) Communication (emails, contacting friends) Technology (computers, smart phones) Leisure/celebrations (weekends, birthdays and national holidays, breaks and vacations) Styles (jeans, shoes, colours, hairstyles) Relationships (friends, family, neighbours, pets, wild animals) Environment (weather, the sky). The pattern is similar to the work/live format, an “opener” plus 3 more. They’re all about YOU but there will be some we don’t normally talk about or even notice.  Let’s talk about pens and pencils. Do you prefer to write with a pen or a pencil? At school, did you write with a pen or a pencil? How would you feel if someone gave you a pen or a pencil as a gift? Do you think you will use a pen or a pencil more or less in the future? Always make it as personal as possible.
June 24, 2020
The IELTS Speaking Test lasts 14 minutes and is divided into 3 parts. In this tutorial we look at tips to help you successfully pass this section of the exam. We find out: * What exactly the examiner is listening for during the exam * We look at the different questions and topic types * We give you some tips to help you prepare yourself for this exam * IELTS Speaking Part 1: Overview The IELTS Speaking Test lasts 14 minutes and is divided into 3 parts. Part 1 takes up the first 5 minutes and begins when the examiner greets the candidate with a “Good morning/afternoon. My name is ………. .” The time has come for you to speak. This first part is not so demanding. You will be asked about whether you work or study or, alternatively, about where you currently live. Then, the examiner will ask 3 follow-up questions. Then, the examiner will ask you about 2 different topics to talk about. There are 4 questions to answer on each topic. Stop a moment and think about this: Total time: 5 minutes (includes about 30 seconds to establish identification at the start) 4 questions about work/study or where you live.  4 questions each on 2 topics topic. Let’s do the arithmetic. A total of 12 questions and answers in around 4 minutes 30 seconds. And, the examiner can ask you to explain answers in more detail with a simple “Why?” as a follow up to many questions. What can we learn from those numbers? Well, to begin with, that’s a lot of questions in a short space of time. It’s more of an interrogation. And first impressions are rightly or wrongly, important and so you need to show the examiner how good your English is right from the start. When you have to answer a lot of questions in a short time, you do not have time to “think” of what you are going to say. You have to be spontaneous and, of course, sound confident. And to help guarantee that will happen, you need to be extremely well prepared. * What is the examiner listening for? In Part 1, the examiner is reading the questions from the booklet. If we know what the examiner is looking for, that can help us plan our answers. The questions are designed so that the candidate can begin to show his or her language skills when talking on familiar topics in the four areas the examiner is assessing. Fluency: your ability to keep talking without long pauses or hesitations. This includes our ability to re-phrase, to backtrack and say something in a different way. Vocabulary: if you have a wide vocabulary of general and specialised words and how you combine words together in familiar patterns (collocations) Grammar: your range of structures, that is, of the different verb tenses, modal verbs and conditional sentences as well as correct word order. Someone who only talks in the “present tense” will not receive a high band score. Pronunciation/Intonation: you must speak clearly with acceptable pronunciation of individual sounds and use intonation to express meaning, such as the voice rising or falling at the end of an utterance, for example. There is no problem with having an “accent” as long as any native English speaker would not have problems in understanding you. All the above are part of your current English level. If you have any weakness in any of these areas, work on it. Now, Part 1 topics and the sets of questions on each one, are designed not only to give you the chance to talk about yourself but also for the examiner to find your level in the 4 areas. * Topics and question types The first question remember is either:
June 19, 2020
In this week’s tutorial, we take a look at some advice for the IELTS Listening test. In this tutorial we will: Look at the marking criteria for the test Look at some listening strategies you can apply Talk about how to prepare and practice for the exam IELTS listening: what’s the score? You probably won’t be surprised to learn that many well prepared IELTS candidates whose scores in Reading, Speaking and even Writing average at least 7.0 and above, are disappointed with their result in Listening. “I got 6.0. A 6.0 in Listening! After so many years studying English. And I needed to get a 7.0 in all four areas.” Yes, it happens. Not to everyone. . But it does and let’s be honest, it really shouldn’t. Now then, I know that there are lots of IELTS practice materials and of course it is very important to practice as much as possible, to do tests and check your score regularly. But, apart from practice, what else can we do to make sure we get the score we deserve? Let’s start from the beginning: the test itself. 1. Know the test You know this but it’s a good idea to go over it again. * The test lasts 30 minutes * You answer 40 questions * There are 4 sections * The 4 sections are different * There is a variety of question types What does this information tell me? Well, apart from anything else, that there’s no time to waste in this test. No time to work out what to do. In other words, you need to have your plan in mind before the test begins. Luckily, in (d) and (e), we know what to expect. The 4 sections always follow the same pattern. The types of questions are varied but we can also see repeated patterns. Let’s look at these two aspects in a little more detail. 2. Know the sections Two important things to keep in mind: what general purpose does each section have and how many people speak in each. When I say “purpose”, I mean not just the aim of the spoken communication but what listening skill or skills the exam is testing. It is a good idea to keep this in mind so if, for example, you find it hard to understand everything when 2 or more people are speaking or you find it difficult to follow an academic type talk, then concentrate on improving in those particular areas. Know your strengths. But recognise and work on your weaknesses. So, in brief each section aims to: Section 1 (questions 1-10): Tests your ability to understand English in everyday situations such as making inquiries. Always 2 speakers. Section 2 (questions 11-20): Work or study related talk providing information. You listen for specific details. Just 1 speaker. Section 3 (questions 21-30): A small group discussion about studies. At least 2, possibly more speakers. Section 4 (questions 31-40): A talk in the style of an academic lecture. Always 1 speaker. 3. Apply listening strategies from the start We are already applying strategies. Knowing what to expect is a strategy. Also, the knowledge that the listening exercises are easier at first but become progressively more difficult. Generally speaking, listening to 3 people talking is more difficult than listening to 1. A university style talk is more difficult than making a hotel reservation. In other words, if Section 1 is the easiest part, then we must get off to a good start. Now, before we look at the types of questions asked and how they relate to each section, take a look at these other general tips. 4. Use time to read the questions  You are given time to look at the questions before you answer each section.
June 16, 2020
IELTS Speaking Part 1: Topics The IELTS Speaking Test is divided into 3 parts. In Part 1, you will be asked about whether you work or study or, alternatively, about where you currently live. Then, the examiner will ask you about 2 different topics to talk about. There are 4 questions to answer on each topic. As Part 1 lasts for 5 minutes, you have about 1:30 to talk about each of these two topics. You need to show the examiner how good your English is right from the start. When you have to answer a lot of questions in a short time, you do not have time to “think” of what you are going to say. You have to be spontaneous and, of course, sound confident. Keeping these points in mind, let’s go on to look at a particular possible Part 1 topic: Hobbies. Hobbies as topic Part 1 topics are personal. The basic idea is for the candidate to talk about his or her personal experiences and feelings. Imagine the examiner begins by saying something like: “Let’s talk about your hobbies” and immediately follow up with the first direct question. Remember here in Part 1, the examiner is just reading from a script and can only follow up any question with a “Why?” if he or she wants you to give more information, so it’s you, the candidate, who will be speaking more. There will be 4 questions, excluding any possible “Why?” follow ups. With the Hobbies topic, these could be what you hear. What hobbies or interests do you have? Do you need to use any special equipment to do this hobby? Do you prefer to do your hobby with other people or do you prefer to be alone? Why do you think so many people have hobbies? Questions are speaking opportunities The total amount of time you have to answer these questions will be around one and a half minutes, just 90 seconds. How much can you say in 90 seconds? We are probably talking about an average of 3 or 4 “sentences” for each question. I know, “sentences” is not the right word. But it will give you an idea. Let’s take an example. Hobbies? Yes, I do. I love taking photos and I have this really expensive camera. It’s a Nikon and I’ve had it for about 5 years. In fact, my grandfather gave it to me. He was the one who got me interested in photography. What I like most is taking photos of landscapes. It’s risky walking around with a camera these days so I only take it with me at the weekends when I go out with family or friends. I timed myself saying that. It took me 17 seconds. Of course, in a real interview that would be longer. We have to add some natural pauses and the occasional “er..” or “umm”. Let’s give it 22 seconds maximum. That would be reasonable. It may be a little too long in fact if we assume that we will answer each question in the same time. But, of course, some answers might be shorter. Perhaps, question 2, for example: No, not really. I mean, I’m not a professional so I don’t have a tripod or anything like that. Everything these days is digital so I don’t have to worry about developing the film. All I need is the camera and then save and store them on my laptop. That took me 12 seconds. If we call it 16 seconds, we are up to 38 seconds of candidate speaking time after 2 questions. Add the time it takes for the examiner to ask the questions. Timing yourself Practising in class, with other students or just by yourself, getting a feel for the timing is important. It’s so easy to time yourself. You don’t want to say too much and you don’t want to say too little. If you go on talking for too long, the examiner will interrupt you anyway. That is nothing to worry about …the examiner is working to a strict time schedule and wants to keep things moving. At the same time, prepare to say something like a minimum of 3, a maximum of 5 “sentences” with each question. Level of detail 
June 12, 2020
How are my IELTS scores calculated? The IELTS Test is made up of four sections, the reading, writing, listening and speaking. Each of these sections is worth 25% of your score, so no section of the test is weighted more than the other. To get your overall band score, each section is calculated and then your band is the average of those four scores. Overall scores are rounded up to the nearest .5. So, if your average overall score is 6.75, this will be rounded up to a 7. However, this is not the case with individual sections of the test where scores are rounded down. Example, in writing, if you get a 6.75, this would be rounded down to a 6.5 and NOT rounded up to a 7. Here is an example of the band score descriptors, for you to get an idea of what is expected for band band 6 to band 9. The IELTS Reading Band Scores The marking for reading is objective where the number of correct answers will determine your band score. Each question is worth one mark. Spelling mistakes will be marked as incorrect so it is important that your spelling is as accurate as possible. Academic Reading Scores General Reading Scores IELTS Listening Scores The marking for listening is also objective where the number of correct answers will determine your band score. Each question is worth one mark. Spelling mistakes will be marked as incorrect so it is important that your spelling is as accurate as possible. Listening Scores IELTS Speaking Scores The IELTS Speaking section is scored on 4 criteria: * Fluency and Coherence * Lexical Resources * Grammatical Range and Accuracy * Pronunciation Band descriptors for Speaking can be found HERE In order to score at a particular band, the candidate has to fulfill ALL the positive descriptors for that band. For example, at band 7 under Fluency and Coherence the positive descriptors are: * speaks at length without noticeable effort or loss of coherence * may demonstrate language-related hesitation at times, or some repetition and/or self-correction * uses a range of connectives and discourse markers with some flexibility If a candidate fulfills only 1 or 2 of the descriptors, he or she cannot score a 7 for Fluency and Coherence. IELTS Writing Band Scores Task 2 of the exam is worth double the marks of task 1 and there are different band descriptors for each task. As with the speaking test, there are four criteria that are considered: * Task Achievement * Coherence and Cohesion * Lexical Resources * Grammatical Range and Accuracy. The band descriptors for task 1 also include certain criteria that are relevant only for the General test and others that apply only to Academic. For example, for the General test, it is important test takers use the right tone (formal or informal) in their letters but for the Academic test, students must include an overview in their response in order to be considered for a band 6. You can find band descriptors for task 1 here: https://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/ielts_task_1_writing_band_descriptors.pdf and task 2 here: https://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/ielts_task_2_writing_band_descriptors.pdf In order to score at a particular band, the candidate has to fulfill ALL the positive descriptors for that band. For example, at band 7 under Task Achievement for Task 2 the positive descriptors are:
June 10, 2020
Everyone is asking: “ What’s the IELTS Indicator Test?”. Although a few articles exist about the test, we spoke to Maria who recently took the Indicator test and found out what to expect.In this tutorial, we speak to Maria who recently took the IELTS Indicator test. * Listen to the full interview with Maria to find out:* What to expect when you take the test* What makes you eligible to take the IELTS Indicator Test* Why she decided to take the test Like many students, Maria had a test booked for April but it was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. She took the IELTS Indicator test to not delay her college application. After booking, paying and doing the test, Maria got the scores she needed for her college application and is off to Canada! Maria previously took the general IELTS exam three times and this time she had to take the academic test. She found it strange to type out her essays as she had done the hand written exam before.The speaking section of the exam took place over Zoom and it followed the same format as the normal IELTS exam. Maria felt at ease during the Indicator Test because she was at home.This is part of the reason she got her desired IELTS scores of 8.5 for listening, 6 for writing, 7 for reading and 7.5 for speaking.Maria suggests that students who can take the IELTS indicator test should benefit from the lower cost and the convenience of taking it from home. Have a look at the following sections to help start your IELTS Preparation: * IELTS Writing* IELTS Speaking* IELTS Reading* IELTS Listening You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud | Transcript |
June 6, 2020
Process diagrams are quite frequent in Academic writing task 1 and many students find them quite overwhelming as the processes can look quite complicated and they are often scientific. These process diagrams can include anything from recycling, concrete making, solar panels, heating systems to making glass. You are NOT expected to know about any of these! You are given the key vocab you need! So, if you are not very confident in matters of science or geography, you don’t need to panic.   In this tutorial we are going to take you through how to describe a Natural Process in task 1 writing and a Natural Process is more closely linked to animals, the weather, growing trees or plants and marine life and this tutorial will show you: *  Where to start in understanding and interpreting the picture.  * Which language to use to connect your ideas and link the stages in the process together. * How to improve your coherence. * Grammatical suggestions to score really highly in this task by using the passive voice and participle clauses. Following these tips will ensure your response to describing a natural process is both coherent and well structured.  Step1. Looking at the diagram.  Understand the cycle and identify stages. The first thing to remember is that your aim is to describe what is happening (it can help you to imagine that the examiner does not have the picture in front of him) so you need to be very clear about the start, the different clear stages, and the end. Quite often, and this is really important to reassure yourself, it simply does not matter where you start as long as you include most of the key stages and are clear and coherent in your response.  Hunting for visual clues.  Look to see if the diagram is divided – for example if the cycle starts in one place and then splits, or if there are any arrow to show you the direction of something. This might help you find a clear start. Very often in a natural process – as the name suggest is cyclical so whether you start with a chicken or an egg does not matter!  Natural cycles.  This diagram (source Internet, unknown) is labelled The Life Cycle of a Frog and includes key vocabulary to guide you. You can use these words but equally if you can find your own better or alternative words then we recommend you do as this will score you marks in lexical resource.  The rubric will say: You should spend about 20 minutes on this task. The diagram illustrates the Life Cycle process of frogs in a pond. Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant. Write at least 150 words.  You will notice that the rubric for Task 1 is always the same whether it is a pie chart, bar chart , map, graph or process.  The Life Cycle of a Frog – how to start.  * Use arrows (if there are any) to help you. Here there are no arrows. * The arrows take you from mature frog, through the reproduction process (not shown but assumed), the stages of development of tadpoles in the pond and back to the fully grown frog again. * It is a circular diagram – a Life Cycle so it does not matter where you start. * We are going to start with the embryos as this feels logical! * This Cycle is not difficult so all you have to do is explain the stages and describe this clearly using academic language. Step 2 – Decide which connecting words and vocabulary you need.  Use CHUNKS or FRAGMENTS of language.  To score highly in this Task 1 you need to link the stages together.  Here are some key words for this and you will see these in my answer.  Adverbs to connect stages in a cycle – grammatical coherence.  First stage. The first stage is when + noun + verb To begin with,
June 2, 2020
Let’s start with the basics. * WHAT IS THE IELTS INDICATOR TEST? It is a new test introduced by the British Council to support students who are unable to proceed with their plans to take their actual IELTS test because of Covid 19. By taking the indicator test, you will receive an indicative score for each section along with an overall indicative score. Indicative scores will help you know how you performed and where you need to improve. As IELTS Indicator provides an indicative score only, it is not accepted by all organisations. Before you book, be sure to check with your university or educational institution. It is a computer-based test – which you take safely and securely at HOME. Of course, this is perfect because in lockdown you are unable to go out and often, even if lockdown has been easing where you are, you may not feel totally comfortable going to an exam centre right now. Also, in many countries we have no idea when the centres will reopen and quite possibly you need your results NOW so you can make plans for September 2020, the start of the academic year. * WHEN AND WHERE? Only available for a limited time. The Academic IELTS INDICATOR test is only available for a limited time while IELTS testing is currently suspended due to COVID-19.  One of its aims is to help Educational providers, such as universities who can use IELTS Indicator to help them gauge or measure the English language ability of future students while IELTS testing is suspended. Country availability will continue to be updated in the coming weeks. The test is not available in Mainland China. Note: we don’t know how long it will be available for but if you think this might suit you get involved now!! Do not miss out on this chance. * WHO IS IT FOR? Essentially it is for any test taker seeking to study abroad who needs to continue their application process with their prospective University or educational institution while IELTS testing centres are suspended. This is really relevant, and the timing is great because many applications to Universities are approaching their final deadlines so not only do you NEED to know where you stand but the admission decisions need to be made soon. IMPORTANT: IELTS Indicator is an Academic test only and has not been developed for immigration purposes. It is currently only intended for university applications and there is no general test indicator. * WHEN DO I GET MY RESULTS? The good news is that results are quick. You will receive your results digitally within seven days of completing all sections of the test. Retakes? And if you need to you can retake the test you can. Tests take place once a week while normal testing is suspended. You will receive an indicative score for each part of the test and an overall indicative score as well. This is fantastic as it will be the best chance you have to work out what your strengths are and what you may need to work on – for example if you need to focus on writing then you can get going on that immediately (mention online course!!) * WHAT DOES IT TEST? Listening : 30 minutes – 40 questions Reading : 60 minutes – 40 questions Writing : 60 minutes – 2 tasks Speaking: 11 to 14 minutes 3 tasks over Video Call The Listening, Reading and Writing :  The test covers all four skills just the same as the usual exam, it asks the same kind of questions as IELTS (we have no suggestion that the level is any easier so that is an important thing to note), and it is marked by genuine IELTS examiners so the validity of the test as far as...
May 30, 2020
In this tutorial, we take a look at a comprehensive task 1 checklist that you can use in your IELTS exam, to ensure that you do not lose any unnecessary marks on your test. REMINDER: USING CHECKLISTS is a great way to check your STRATEGY has worked! It is a great idea to use a checklist to make sure you have covered everything you should in Task 1. Checklist * Have you paraphrased the rubric in your introduction or just copied it? * Have you written a clear overview? * Have you summarised the information and not just listed every piece of data? * Have you included any information that is not in the data? * Have you left any important data out? * Have you just listed information, or have you compared it? * Have you divided your answer into clear paragraphs? * Have you mentioned any striking features? * Have you avoided repetition of words and structures? * Have you used a range of grammar, vocabulary and complex structures? * Have you used the correct tenses and verb form? * Have you used appropriate linking devices such as adverbs and conjunctions? * Have you checked your writing for mistakes? * Have you completed the task according to the rubric? * Have you written at least 150 words? Here is the sample question they will be reviewing: The question has been taken from the course book “Ready for IELTS (Macmillan, 2020) Task 1 You should spend about 20 minutes on this task. The graph below compares the number of visits to two new music sites on the web. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant. Writing Task 1 Model Answer: The graph shows how many times two new music websites were visited over a period of 15 days. Overall, the trends in each case are upward with Music Choice being more popular than the Pop Parade site for most of the period and while clicks on the Music Choice site fell over the first 10  days the sites following similar fluctuating patterns on days 7-9.   Regarding the Music Choice streaming website, visit numbers rose from just under 120,000 hits on the first day to approximately 170,000 which was the highest, at the end of the period. On days 7 and 9, there were two noticeable lows at about 40,000 and 45,000 visits respectively, followed by a dramatic jump to a high of about 150,000 hits on day 11. By contrast, while there were only about 40, 000 visits to Pop Parade on the first day, numbers more than doubled to around 80,000 hits at the end of the period. There was a peak in visits to the Pop Parade site at about 120,000 hits on day 12 when visit numbers briefly overtook those of Music Choice. Commentary: This answer manages to include all the key data summarising the overall increasing trends as well as some of the more unusual features such as the steep rises / falls and cross over points. The data includes information on both sites, using relevant topical vocabulary and presents the numbers correctly. The past tense is used to refer to the 2 week period and some dynamic language is appropriate for describing the movement in the graph. Useful language to note and use: Comparatives: more popular than, the highest, more than doubled to. Other good fragments: two noticeable lows, fluctuating patterns, dramatic jump, briefly overtook. Verbs: were visited (passive), being more popular than,  regarding the MC. Linking expressions: while, by contrast, when. You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download Here...
May 26, 2020
How to Plan your Academic IELTS Task 1 writing In this tutorial we are going to look at a Strategy for Planning your Academic IELTS Task 1 writing and the reason we’re going to talk about this is because it’s very easy with the Task 1 to jump in and start writing your answer without really carefully taking on board all the data you have in front of you and how you are going to use the time you have. Why a strategy is a good idea. Remember it is suggested that you only allow about 20 minutes for Task 1 so you need to write as efficiently and as accurately as you can so that your answer will have maximum impact and therefore the chance for the best result possible. A lack of planning and absence of a really careful and sensible Strategy for Planning your Academic IELTS Task 1 writing can result in you missing key data, such as identifying whether a chart is dynamic – that is, if it changes over time, or if it is static- giving you a snapshot of a particular moment, or what unit of measurement the numbers are given in. This tutorial offers you three great things. * WHAT you should look for when you see the graph or pie chart or bar chart or table or even a mixture of those – increasingly popular in recent exams at the moment. * HOW the planning works in action using a line graph to work through this process, then use notes to answer the question really efficiently. * BUILDS confidence and the ability to meet the criteria listed in the IELTS band assessment scores. Finally we will look at a Band 7 model answer for the question and work on how this could be upgraded to a Band 8 or even Band 9. Why is planning so important – I don’t have time! The recommended time for IELTS writing task 1 is 20 minutes and it can seem like a real challenge to ‘select, report and compare’ so much data in that short time. But by taking 3 -4 minutes to plan you are actually saving time! How? * If you know what to write, then the actual writing is easy! * If you plan first, you will not waste time deciding what to write next. * When you plan you write a few notes, and these will be the guide to your actual answer. * Remember: it does not take long to write 150 words when you know what to say! Taking notes and organising them.  In an exam you are under pressure and you may think that you will remember what to say but also, when you are stressed, you may not…so make notes on a piece of paper (you will be provided with this in the exam room) and then make sure you organise them so you can use them really efficiently. If you follow the planning strategy here then you will be ready when you get into the exam to use this 3-4 minutes time in the best possible way. Learn and practice the strategy before you go into the exam. Match your plan to the task by understanding the rubric. For Academic writing task 1 diagrams the rubric or question is always the same. You are always asked to ‘Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons were relevant’. Let’s look at this in more detail because this is the basis of the strategy. A 5 point strategy in 5 minutes. * Time period and vocabulary. * LOOK: Is the diagram dynamic (time changing) or static (one point in time). This tells you the kind of language you need (rose dramatically, fell steeply) or facts. The time period also tells you the tense you are going to use. This is so important and an area where lots of students make mistakes. * What is the data referring to? Student courses, computer owners, travel destinations. Thinking about this activates your vocab. * Step back and see the big picture. * Although it seems obvious check how many items are shown. In your pie chart, how many sections or segments are there? On a bar chart,
May 22, 2020
This week we will look at how to write a formal letter for your IELTS general task 1. Take a look at the following steps to help you understand the question and write a structured letter. The example we look at in this tutorial is about writing a formal letter making a request to change your college. Letter Question about Changing your college – a more formal letter It is an example of a formal letter written to someone in authority – the director of a college. I will give you a model answer as well as giving you some advice on the structure of the letter and the appropriate vocabulary to use to make the letter more formal. Understanding the letter question You are doing a course at a college that has centres in two different cities. You want to change from one to the other because it offers an additional course that interests you. Write a letter to the college director requesting the change to the other centre. You should include details about: * what course you are doing now * why you want to change to the other centre * what recommendation you have for the college for the future The focus of the letter You must write about each topic in the question but it is not necessary to write the same amount about each topic. In this question, I would suggest that you focus especially on the reasons why you want to change and then what recommendation you have. Think about who you are writing to This is a fairly formal letter: you are writing to someone you have met but probably do not know very well and that person is in authority. This means that: * your language should be more formal * you need to be polite Structuring your letter Remember that paragraphs are important. Normally, you start any letter by stating why you are writing and end it by saying what you expect to happen next. In this case: paragraph 1: to change centre (why you are writing) paragraph 2: give reasons why you want to change paragraph 3: make a recommendation (what you would like to happen) Topic vocabulary If you get a question similar to this on the subject of education, you should be familiar with the vocabulary. It is also a good idea to write about what you know, so in my model letter I mention studying for IELTS and take a simple example of another course I would like to take. Take a look at some of the “education” language included. Dear Mr. Wright,  I am writing to ask if it would be possible for me to transfer to the Brighton centre from the beginning of next term. I am currently enrolled in the Advanced English Programme and wilI present the IELTS exam in July. The reason for my request is that Brighton is offering an introductory course in Accounting and Finance which I am very interested in taking along with my English studies. Although I have worked in finance in my own country, I need to become familiar with English terminology and procedures. On condition I obtain a Band 7.0 in IELTS, I have been offered a job in an international accounting firm that will pay my tuition fees to study part-time for a degree in Accounting.  I understand that my request comes at very short notice and I regret any inconvenience this might cause. However, it is unfortunate that the same course is not offered here. Can I recommend that you consider including this course in the near future? I am convinced that you would have many interested students. Yours sincerely Ana Aponte Formal/politeness language Now look at the parts I have highlighted in blueand then read the comments below. You can try and use a lot of this language in your letters. Dear Mr. Wright, I am writing to ask if it would be possible for me to transfer to the Brighton site from the beginning of next term. I am currently enrolled in the Advanced English Programme and wilI presentthe IELTS e...
May 19, 2020
The key to writing a good IELTS essay is to use a process or system. To write an essay that will bring you success in the exam you need to think, not just about the result, but consider the process too. An essay is the product of a process and if you leave out just one step in the process the result may be less than ideal. Writing a good IELTS essay starts with understanding the steps in the process and what the outcomes should be. In this article you’ll learn the following. * Why using a system or process is essential to the success of your essay? * A recommended process with suggestions on how you should handle each step in the process * An explanation of what can go wrong and what mistakes you’re likely to make if you skip that step in the process Right at the end we’ll offer you a practice run There is no magic formula to writing an excellent IELTS essay. There are other systems that may work equally well, but the secret is to have a system and to adapt that system to one that gives you the best results. Stick to a process and you’ll avoid two serious problems Incoherence – disjointed essays that cause confusion You have a much better chance of ensuring that your essay is coherent if you use a set method to write it,. This is because with a method you would have gone through all the steps necessary to ensure coherence, moving from step 1 to step 2 to step 3 and so on. This means that you have given each part of the essay an equal level of importance. If you start with the end in mind without considering each step along the way, you may miss out on an essential stage of the process and end up with an essay which lacks coherence. Answering the question with the wrong essay Many students write essays in preparation for the exam. The problem with this is that, in your eagerness to answer with a carefully prepared essay, you may not answer the question as it has been asked. It may also happen that the question that you are faced with may not fit any of the pre-planned essays that you had in mind. In which case it is useful to have a reliable process to help you to write that winning essay. If you have a process you can enter the exam room with confidence, knowing that you have a system that will allow you to answer almost any question that’s thrown at you. When you have learnt the process of answering IELTS exams it all gets a lot easier. Before you start to write Often this first step in the process is the part that is left out in the nervous tension at the start of the exam. Don’t be tempted to leave this step out. Step 1 – read the question and understand what the examiner is asking Make sure that you understand what question is being asked. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to go off on a tangent and fail to answer the question. IELTS questions are precisely worded and they require a specific answer. Time spent reading the question and understanding the requirements is time well spent. It is the surest way to ensure that you answer the question well. IELTS is very specific and it is not okay to write about the general topic. Instead the answer must be very specific and pointed. Common errors * You completely misunderstand the question * The question looks like one that you have written in the past. You rewrite the same answer only to find that the question was not the same. * Your essay is too general and doesn’t answer the question that was asked. Step 2 – think about what you’re going to write This is the stage at which you plan the essay, but you can’t just plan. You must think. Don’t just react with a ready-made essay which may or may not answer the question asked. You need to carefully read the question and decide how you can answer it using your language skills, your experience, and your knowledge.
May 15, 2020
Task 1 writing practice In task 1 you will have to describe numbers. This lesson will help you to describe those numbers in various ways that showcase your English language skills. It is important that you know how to do this as many students who have not practiced the skill and repeat the numbers in the graph rather than interpreting it. Remember this is an English language exam and the aim is to examine the extent of your vocabulary and your ability to use it adequately. What is wrong with the answer Below you’ll find a chart and a description of the information on it. Can you see what’s wrong with the description? This chart shows that 25% of household income is spent on food and 22% on education. 13% is spent on clothes and 12% is spent on transport. 8% is spent on a mixture of household and personal items and 5% on power. That leaves households with just 15% to save. I hope that you can see what is wrong with this description. It is not very exciting. It demonstrates very little of your English skill. The words “spent” and “%” run right through the paragraph and simply tell what can be seen from looking at the graph anyway. Improving your descriptive skills Below you’ll find four ways in which you can vary your description. To make comfortable use of them in the exam, you’ll have to practice these skills on a regular basis so that you become very familiar with them. Compare sections of the pie chart Householders spend 25% of their household income on food. This is more than five times what they spend on power and just over twice the amount spent on transport, which comes in at 12%. There are many ways to make comparisons, so this gives you a great deal of flexibility. Here are some comparative words that you can use * Most * Least * More * Less * As * Not as Use fractions in place of % It is not necessary to use percentages in the description of the graph. Fractions work just as well. So, you could say that a quarter of household income is spent on food. This is a great way to show the breadth of your vocabulary. Find other words to describe the graph So, you could say, for example, that while a quarter of the household income is spent on food each month, at 22%, only slightly less is spent on education. The smallest proportion of the household income pays for power with $5 of every $100 spent on power. The following words should help you to become more adventurous in your descriptions of the graph. * Proportion * Figure * Number/ amount * One in five, one in ten Try grouping things together and think about how you order the words So, you could say that almost 60% of household incomes are spent on food, clothing, and education. While households spend almost as much on transport as they do on clothing. When all household expenses are paid most households can save just $15 out of every $100. Practice Practice makes perfect, so look at the pie chart below and try to apply the knowledge that we have mentioned above to describe how people commute to work in New York. You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud |
May 13, 2020
In this tutorial we (Ben and Daphne) review three cue card answers. We look at fluency, vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar. We also share advice on how the student can overcome the errors we spotted. This is a new service we are launching to help students improve their speaking score. Eventually this will be integrated into the Speaking Confidence course. You should listen to this tutorial because: * You can learn from their mistakes * You will hear how a student can go OFF TOPIC and lose points * You will also hear a model answer, with the right vocabulary and details How does this service work? * Record your speaking answer (cue card provided) * Email your recording * We send you your feedback in a voice recording, from a Native English Speaker IELTS expert. Here is a video explaining the process in more detail. Start now and get two for the price of one.  You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud | Transcript |
May 9, 2020
In this tutorial, we offer you some IELTS GENERAL WRITING TASK 1 tips so we will be looking at different aspects of letter writing. I have done quite a few tutorials about Letter writing because this is a form of writing which personally, I really enjoy and I still write a lot of letters. I thought it would be useful for you to have some IELTS general Writing task 1 tips to guide you and to help you get an amazing score when it comes to this part of your IELTS exam. A long time ago when I was at school, we had lessons all about how to write different kinds of letters and it is the quite rigid or fixed format of some letters which I find really interesting and which – because some of the conventions – or rules of writing, for example using formal, set, fixed phrases like ‘ I would be grateful if you could provide me with information on … or ……I am writing to complain about the appalling meal my family had at your restaurant last weekend’  – are still observed today. So, you need to know exactly how these work. Understanding what is expected from you, not only in terms of the marking bands but in terms of how these letters ‘work’ perfectly is very important and I hope my writing tips today will help you with your exam preparation if you are nearing the beginning of your work or almost reaching your exam date! For this tutorial I thought it would be fun to use a mnemonic. A mnemonic is a group of letters which can help you to remember ideas, facts and information and they can be really helpful to use when you are revising for an exam and you need to train your brain to quickly recall important information. I have used them quite a lot when I have been taking exams and as well as acting as a memory assistant, mnemonics can also help make sure you do not leave anything OUT – make sure you have not forgotten anything so you have the best chance to score very high marks. Our mnemonic today is (of course) the word GENERAL because this tutorial is all about offering you IELTS GENERAL WRITING TASK 1 tips so let’s look at our letters. G is for GREETINGS the start and end of the letters E is for EFFICIENT how to make the most of your time in the exam and produce a great letter following the exam prompts. N is for what NOT to do E is for EXPAND it’s important to develop or expand your ideas so your letter becomes real and believable. R is for REGISTER which means understanding changing the tone of your writing according to who you are writing to so a letter to your Bank for example will be more formal than a letter to a friend. A is for ACCURACY in all things exam you have to be accurate! In spelling, in punctuation and in how you lay out your letter – what is actually looks like on the page. L is for LANGUAGE and here I will be sharing some really great chunks of functional language and key expressions with you can use in your practice and in your exam as well. I have also compiled lots of great expressions which you can use in your writing according to the function of the letter such as for a complaint, request for information, or job applications! I hope you find all this really useful for your IELTS General task one preparation! Key Expressions to use for letter writing: Apologizing I’m sorry about… I am sorry that… I’m very sorry about… I’m very sorry for… Please forgive me for… I’d like to apologize for… Please accept my apologies. Please accept my sincere apologies. (very formal) Asking for Help I’d be grateful if you could… I would be grateful if you could… I would appreciate it if you could… Could you please… I was wondering if you could help me.(informal) I would like to know…
May 6, 2020
In this tutorial, you will learn * 3 tips for making notes in Part 2 of the IELTS speaking test * 3 things you need for a high band score in IELTS speaking Part 2 * why some students are stuck on 6.5 This will help you in your exam because: * Effective notes will improve your speaking performance and IELTS score. * Notes help you focus on what’s important. * You’ll learn how to get a speaking band score of 7.0 in IELTS. There are 3 speaking sections in the test. In Part 2, you have to talk about a topic for 1-2 minutes. The topic is given on a cue card. Topics are usually based on your personal experience. Examples:  * Describe something you liked very much and bought for your home * Talk about a very difficult task you succeeded in doing as part of your work or studies * Describe a website you have bought something from In Part 2 of the IELTS speaking exam, you should: * show the examiner that you can talk at length on a topic * organise and develop related ideas It’s also a good opportunity to demonstrate the range of your vocabulary. The IELTS examiner will hand you a topic card/candidate task card. On this card is the topic you need to speak about and some bullet points. The bullet points are prompts to help you plan your talk. The examiner will give you instructions and paper and a pencil to make notes. You have 1 minute to plan your talk before you begin to speak. Use this minute to think about the topic and the bullet points/prompts on the topic card. Make notes to help you plan the flow of your talk. * TIP 1:Do not write complete sentences – you don’t have enough time! Cue card example Talk about a book you recently read that you enjoyed. You should say: * the name of the book * why you read it * what you thought about it and explain what you enjoyed about reading the book. Example notes * 12 rules for life by Jordan Peterson, psychology, philosophy, self-help * recommended, good reviews * practical, insightful, different, good for self-improvement * self-reflection, learning, better understanding, thought-provoking * TIP 2: As a guide, 20-25 words should be enough for your notes. When the examiner asks you to begin speaking, you should speak on the topic for 1-2 minutes. Don’t worry about the time. The examiner will tell you when the 2-minute time limit is up. You must try to speak about the topic for at least 1 minute. If you don’t it can affect your speaking score negatively. At the end of the time, the examiner will ask you a couple of closing questions related to the topic and what you said. Part 2 of the speaking test only lasts for around 3-4 minutes. Why is making notes for IELTS Speaking Part 2 important?  Your talk should be organised. There should be a logical flow to your ideas and how you develop them during the time you speak. Think of it as a short presentation. There should be: * an introduction, setting the scene * the main part of the talk which expands on the topic * an ending which shows you have finished talking If your talk is not organised well, it will be difficult for the examiner to follow what you’re saying. You will not get a high score! How can I score more than 6.5?  A portion of the marks awarded for Part 2 speaking is based on coherence and fluency. What is coherency?  When you speak coherently, your talk has a logical order that the listener can follow easily. What is fluency?  When you speak fluently, you do pause for longer than is natural while speaking. You need to show that you can think and speak at...
May 1, 2020
Meet Amandeep, a very competitive Indian student currently based in Canada. Corona virus has enabled him to go for Canadian PR. Before Covid-19, the total score immigrants needed was much higher, but since lockdown no new immigrants can come in. Therefore Canada cannot meet its quota of immigrants, so it’s lowering the bar in order to meet the target. And geniuses like Amandeep spotted this and decided to go for IELTS (again). Although in his last test his score was 8.5 in the reading, he was still at 6.5 for the writing. In this tutorial he shares how he got to 8.5, and how he will get to Band 7 in the writing. Amandeep is currently on our online course getting feedback and essay corrections from Daphne and Ellen, and I’m confident he will get a 7 when he takes his test. Let’s see what happens!  You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud |
April 29, 2020
The IELTS exam comprises of four main sections, the reading is the second part. In this section of the test you are given a question booklet and an answer sheet, both of which you will return at the end of the test. Your timing is an important factor for the test as you’ll be allocated one hour. During this time you need to complete 40 questions from the three required sections. There are a few differences between the paper-based and computer-based versions of the IELTS Reading test. It is more a matter of the advantages or disadvantages of the two formats. You can become acquainted with the computer-based IELTS Reading test interface by visiting the following link from the official IELTS website: https://www.ielts.org/about-the-test/computer-delivered-ielts/sample-test-questions . There you will find official samples of all question types for both the Academic and the General Training tests and answer keys for them. Now have a look at the detailed comparison between the paper-based and computer-based Reading tests below and choose the best format for you. What are you given at the start of the test? Paper-Based Test:  * You are given the IELTS Reading examination booklet that contains the reading passages and questions, and an answer sheet to be completed. Computer-Based Test:  * You are sitting in front of the computer on which the test will be running the test. Where will I write my answers? Paper-Based Test: * Your answers must be writteninpencilon the answer sheet in clear and legible handwriting. * You may take notes on the examination booklet, but you mustwrite your final answers onthe reading answersheet, as the examination booklet will not be looked at and graded. Computer-Based Test: * You answer all the questions on the screen. There is no text on paper as there is no answer sheet whatsoever. Will I get additional time to transfer my answers onto the answer sheet? Paper-Based Test: * There is no transfer time in the paper-based IELTS Reading test.  When 60 minutes are over, the test is over as well and you must hand in your answer sheet. Computer-Based Test: * You don’t need to bother about transferring your answers onto the answer sheet as there is NO answer sheet. What can (and should) I do while I’m working on the test? Paper-Based Test: * You can take notes on the examination booklet. This helps you to understand the main ideas in the text paragraphs and reduces the time you need while to answering questions. * You can also underline key words and ideas. This is very useful to mark the location of correct answers in the reading passages. Computer-Based Test: * If you select some text in the reading passage on the screen you can right click it and select either Highlight or Notes. * You can Highlight any section of the text on the screen if you want to focus on it or mark the location of the answer to a question. This works the same way as underlining on paper. * You can select Notes and type whatever you need on the post-it note that appears. This is similar to taking real notes in the margins of your examination booklet. *  You can also mark a question by ticking the Review box (in the lower left corner of the screen) so that you have a look at it later and not forget it Before you know how to improve your IELTS reading you need to establish whether you need to do the Academic or General test. The IELTS academic test will evaluate if your level of English is good enough for an academic environment like studying at an English university or college whereas...
April 25, 2020
In this tutorial, you get  information about how to score a band 9 in your academic task 1. Ellen goes through each of the band descriptors and helps you interpret what is needed to reach the best score possible. Task achievement states that an answer must FULLY satisfy the requirements and must include a fully developed response but what does that mean? How is the “fully developed response” of a band 9 different from a band 8 response that is developed “sufficiently?” One way to test your writing is to ask ” Can someone draw the diagram based on my answer”. If you describe the image in such a way that someone can draw it fairly accurately then that is one way to know you have done a good job of describing the diagram! Is using lots of connectors the way to score well in Coherence and Cohesion? There are certainly better ways! In fact, band 9 coherence and cohesion should be almost invisible, it should be seamless and flow, with connected ideas but without “clunky” words like Firstly, Secondly, etc. As for paragraphing, it may not be the most important element in task 1 but if you are aiming for a high score you should pay attention to how you separate your paragraphs – the better you do the higher your score. Everyone learns typical task 1 vocabulary like Increases Dramatically, Fluctuates, Gradual Decrease, etc, but a band 9 task one needs vocabulary that shows a wide range while being natural and has a sophisticated use of features, like knowing how to change around word forms appropriately. Knowing what kinds of synonyms to use for commonly found words is also important so it critical to learn these words. Band 9 in Grammatical Range and Accuracy says you need to use a wide range of structures with full flexibility and accuracy but how can you do that in 150 words? There are certain advanced structures that you can use easily in task 1 like cleft sentences, relative clauses, clauses of concession and advanced forms of cohesion. Remember though that no amount of advanced grammar can help you if your basic grammar has errors so make sure your tenses are correct, that passive voice is used accurately and that you use the right prepositions. Getting a 9 in task 1 is certainly not easy but it isn’t impossible. Don’t forget to have your essays checked by an experienced IELTS tutor so you can progress more effectively. You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud | Transcript |
April 23, 2020
In this tutorial you will learn: * How to efficiently prepare for IELTS Speaking Part 1. This will help you in your IELTS Speaking exam because: * You will learn exhaustive practical tips for IELTS Speaking Part 1 preparation. * You will learn how to avoid the most typical mistakes many test-takers make in Speaking Part 1. IELTS Speaking is a short but somewhat demanding exam section, which, if approached with the right amount of preparation, can be an absolute breeze! In this tutorial you will learn everything you need to know about Part 1 of the Speaking exam, and namely structure, content, stress management, evading typical errors, and practical tips to achieve a good score. Stress management: the right overall mindset and navigating challenges for the entire Speaking exam Remember, if your mind is peaceful your speaking quality will soar! Why? Because when you are less stressed, you speak more coherently, remember better examples and detail and feel genuine and energetic, which is a huge benefit for your Speaking score. First of all, make sure you know what the exam is like because when you know what awaits you, you are less likely to be stressed. * Duration: 10 – 15 minutes * IELTS Speaking exam structure * Part 1 (4–5minutes) short questions about yourself and everyday situations. * Part 2 (3–4minutes) one – to two-minute talk, based on your own experience, on a simple topic provided on a cue card. * Part 3 (4–5minutes) general but more abstract questions on topics related to Part 2 topic. * What is the test like? – there’s ONE examiner who will ask you questions and record the entire exam session. THAT is very important: many candidates are often shocked by the fact that they are recorded during the exam and freak out, which leads to poorer scores. * What should your general approach to the test be? – Follow the examiner’s instructions, listen carefully and don’t hesitate to re-ask for clarification. Speak clearly and answer only the questions that you are asked. Don’t add irrelevant, off-topic information! Don’t come with pre-memorized answers because the examiner will know it and you will lose marks. * How is IELTS Speaking marked? – You answer will be assessed using a 9-band scale applied to 4 aspects of your language: fluency and coherence, vocabulary, grammar and accuracy and pronunciation. You get 4 marks for each of these criteria, which are then calculated into the final Speaking score. Tips for efficient stress management:  * Think of the exam as an interesting conversation with a new classmate/co-worker. * You know what the exam is like, that’s why there’ll be no surprises. * Don’t try to correct yourself, if only winds you up and freaks you up too. Just go on. * Embrace the questions. It’s a chance to show what you know and love. * When you feel the tension build up, try to slow down. * If you’re stuck at some specific word, replace it with a basic synonym and move on. Now more specifically IELTS Speaking Part 1 contains familiar information questions, which means that everything you will be asked deals with things about yourself – your background, origin, preferences, hobbies, etc. This is done to assess if you can sustain conversation about yourself in trivial, everyday situations. It is certainly the easiest part of the Speaking exam and works as a warm-up for the following Speaking sections – Part 2 (the long turn with cue cards) and Part 3 (more abstract analytical questions). Now here is the complete list of our tips and recommendations how to ace IELTS Speaking Part 1. Tip 1.
April 17, 2020
In this tutorial, Ellen teaches you the details of IELTS Speaking part 3. Part three is the hardest part of the test. Why? The questions you are asked become increasingly more sophisticated in this part and more abstract with each question. The IELTS speaking test is assessed according to the following criteria: * Fluency and coherence * Lexical resource * Grammatical range and accuracy * Pronunciation Each of these areas contributes 25% to your overall band score for the IELTS speaking test. Interestingly, students often do far better on this part than they do in part one which is the easier part. Part three requires mature thought and well structured, well-developed answers in order to do well. However, part three has a more relaxed feel because it is supposed to be a dialogue between you and the examiner. One of the ways the examiner helps create that feeling is by making up his/ her own questions just like we would in a natural conversation. The examiner’s book has three sets of questions in part three, but you will only be asked two of them. Higher level candidates typically get more difficult questions so that they can show the range of their language abilities. You will be expected to speak at length, providing detailed, structured and extended answers to the examiner’s questions. Types of questions you will get will ask you to agree/ disagree, predict, compare, or comment on different issues. The purpose of these different questions is for you to have an opportunity to show your range of grammar and vocabulary when speaking on abstract topics. In this tutorial, you will : * Hear some sample answers to common part three questions which show the kinds of language you should aim to use and how long you should extend your answer for, based on the different question types. * The answers will include advanced language from a native speaker IELTS tutor that you can learn and incorporate into your own speaking. * You will see how the different part three question types require different types of language, including modal verbs, future forms, and language of comparing and contrasting. By the end of the tutorial you will understand what you need to do to score well in part three and get the best score possible! Have a look at some more of our speaking tutorials to help you prepare for your IELTS exam. You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud | Transcript |
April 14, 2020
In this tutorial you will learn: ·     How to build the structure of your IELTS General Writing Task 1 answer. This will help you in your IELTS General Writing exam because: ·       You will learn the main elements that you should build into your GT Writing Task 1 answer. ·       You will learn invaluable tips that work with all the types of IELTS General Writing Task 1 questions. General Training Writing Task 1, which is always a letter writing task, is often perceived easier than its Academic counterpart. Yet, GT Task 1has its own intricacies requiring preparation.  In this tutorial you will learn to structure and elaborate all the types of letters in a fast and efficient manner. First, here are the features of General Training Writing Task 1. You should spend no longer than 20 minutes and it accounts for about 30% of your entire Writing score. In GT Writing Task 1 you will always be asked to write one type of letter. It may be one of the following types: informal, neutral/formal or formal. Here are examples of each letter type question. Letter type Who are you writing to?Sample purpose typesInformal letterA person that you know very well.You can and will call them by their first name.Thanking a friend or a colleagueProviding information to a friend/family member/colleagueInviting a friend for a summer holidayAsking for advice from a family member/friendNeutral/formal letterA person that you may or may not know so well. You might have met them once.You will use their last name to address them politely.Making a request to return an item to a neighbourComplaining to the landlord about mouse infestationMaking a suggestion to a superior manager regarding work Formal letterA person that you have never met, and you do not know their name.Complaining about poor quality of service/product to a store/airline/bank/restaurantProviding apology and explanation for absence from collegeApplying for a job Whether you write a formal, neutral/formal or informal letter, you should structure it clearly and efficiently, so the purpose (advising, apologizing, complaining, requesting, etc.) is easily perceivable. The universal letter structure consists of these compulsory parts. ·       Opening with a salutation (saying hello) part. ·       Introduction: purpose of writing ·       1 body paragraphs that will explain the situation or outline the problem ·       1 body paragraph that will offer the solution, or suggest desirable action. ·       Concluding sentence ·       Closing with a farewell (saying goodbye) part. ·       Signature (is OPTIONAL!)  Important: clearly signal the beginning of a new paragraph in one of the following ways: –  Leaving an indent: this means writing at about 3-4 centimetres to the right of the left margin. –  Skipping a line: this is leaving an entire line space between 2 paragraphs, and start the new paragraph with a small indent.  Let’s outline the GT Task 1 letter in more detail. SALUTATION
April 10, 2020
How to best prepare for IELTS Speaking part 2 with Cue Cards In this tutorial you will learn: * How to prepare for IELTS Speaking Part 2 – the long turn with cue cards. This will help you in your IELTS Speaking exam because: * You will learn essential tips for IELTS Speaking Part 2 preparation. * You will get practical advice and exercise tips for answering cue cards. Summary * What happens: cue card – 1 min to prepare and write down notes + up to 2 min to answer + 1-2 follow-up questions. Don’t be scared when you’re interrupted. * Prepare NOT to be surprised by the topic. You can actually answer anything. * There is no wrong answer: wrong is NO answer at all or OFF-TOPIC.Take notes! * answer all parts of the task in brief -> this gives your answer structure * write the most relevant keywords * put down good relevant vocabulary * not too many details, you will add them as you speak and develop * make your notes make sense because the cue card will be taken from you + also legible handwriting! * think of ONE good example that is appropriate for the topic 5.Don’t go off-topic and don’t twist the topic. 6.Paraphrase the cue card words in your own words. 7.Write out your answers into a Google doc. You will see a blue underline with grammar suggestions. This is much much smarter than Grammerly. 8.When writing out your cue card answers try and implement this structure: The recent family memory I would like to share with you is one about my brother’s birthday. It was such a good TERRIFIC experience, mainly because of two reasons. Firstly….. Secondly…..  Using this framework lends a little structure to your answer, this may help your confidence because you have a plan. * After writing out your answers, review them and look for opportunities to improve, for example if you see the word “good” -perhaps change it for “terrific”. Secondly the food was just really good simply delicious!  Another tip is to give examples after your reasons. Secondly the food was just really good simply delicious! For example, the creme brulee my mum made was all but gone within two minutes of serving!  11.While writing out your answers, try adding some collocations, here are a few easy ones: If my memory serves me well, it was in 1999…  If I remember correctly it was the creme brulee that just disappeared within two minutes!  * Record yourself. Listen to yourself afterwards and pay attention to what you could improve (topic relevance, development, hesitation, pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary). * In a couple days do the same cue card again. Compare your old and new answer. Any improvement? * Listen to good speakers extensively – short TED talks. Learn from them. Become them! Write out answers for every cue card you can get your hands on. Get the grammar corrected in the google doc. Research the cue card topic online and search for new specific vocabulary for that topic. Then review the card and improve it with your new vocab. Master the superlative. This will add some colour to your talk, it’s also essential for Academic Task 1. 14.Memorize a successful opening phrase, like: “When it comes to our local festivals, the one I particularly like is… .” Or, I would like to tell you about the local festivals in my county, Yorkshire…. 15.Practice talking on random topics without stopping for 2 minutes. Time yourself. 16.Practice taking notes only, even without answering, to improve note-taking skills. 17.Try to practice with another person because it feels different from merely talking on your own/to your phone. You can download or listen to the audio version here: |
April 8, 2020
You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud | Transcript | In this tutorial you will learn: * How to write an IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 answer. This will help you in your IELTS Academic Writing exam because: * You will learn the main steps to write any type of Academic Writing Task 1. * You will learn invaluable vocabulary for Task 1 questions. If you are preparing for IELTS Academic, you probably already know that its Writing section requires special preparation: you comment on a data visual in Task 1 and write an academic essay in Task 2. In this tutorial we cover how to write IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 like a pie chart, flow chart or even a map. Step 1: Understand what you will see in front of yourself. You will have to write a descriptive text that comments on a visual. This visual may be a line graph a bar chart a pie chart a table a process, flowchart or cycle diagram a map or even a multiple task visual, which is a combination of any visuals mentioned previously(for example: 2 pie charts, a pie chart and a bar graph, a map and a table, 2 tables, 3 pie charts, etc.). Remember this important tip: Practice writing for ALL types! Pie charts, maps, flow diagrams etc All types of tasks are rotated and are not repeated from one exam to another. So, if you get a diagram or a multiple task (3 bar charts) at the exam, and you barely practised describing it, your score will be severely compromised. Make sure that you are well familiarized with all visual types and have written at least 2 practice answers for each type, including the multiple tasks. Be aware, this is as much an EXAM SKILL as it is a LANGUAGE SKILL. Summarising a chart or graphic adequately in your own language will be a challenge. Step 2: Understand what you need to do with that graph, chart, map or diagram. No matter the task type, IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 will always state: “summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant”. What does this mean? Let’s analyze these instructions in more detail and clarify what you will have to do. * You will have to to point out only the most relevant information from the visual (=summarize, main features), * You you will have to decide what to comment on (=selecting) based on the data in the graph, * You you will need to use the numbers from it (=reporting) and not simply enumerate the data, but * You will need to evaluate how they are similar or different (=make comparisons).
April 4, 2020
Anu, a quality engineer from Nigeria needed to improve her IELTS score in two months to immigrate to Canada, to give her kids a better future.Anu invested in our essay correction service for feedback and rapidly started improving!She loved working with our essay corrector, Daphne, and it was like Daphne was looking over her shoulder while she was taking her IELTS exam.In this podcast, Anu shares her experience with our IELTS success formula that took her IELTS writing from band 5.5 to 7!Congratulations Anu! You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud | Transcript |
April 1, 2020
You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud | Transcript | In the IELTS exam, the general writing task 1 section asks candidates to respond to a letter, whereby they need to explain a situation or request information. The average time for general task 1 is 20 minutes and candidates are required to write at least 150 words in their response. In this tutorial we look at the wide range of TASK 1 general TOPICS for 2020. We review some of these questions, sorting out whether they require formal, informal or neutral writing style and why, and providing you with examples of some key sentences which you might write when you answer these. Different styles of writing * Formal writing is often used in academic writing or for business and requires a style which has a serious tone in the writing style. * Informal Writing often takes a more personal tone and the writing can be more conversational, making use of colloquial language and figures of speech. * Neutral Writing normally takes the form of stating facts and neither formal or informal in the style of writing. This tutorial will divide recent TASK 1 general topics into these three categories of writing and offer some sample sentences which you could use in your answers, for your IELTS General writing task 1 exam. These recent task 1 general questions cover a huge range of topics like; * from parking a bicycle, * organising a trip for a friend * moving house * designing a website * speaking at a conference You can see these cover a wide variety of topics and situations as well as demanding confidence in functional language – requesting, apologising, suggesting, advising, complaining and so on. But as far as lexis or vocabulary is concerned there is nothing too frightening here – we have ‘ work, eating out, moving house, talking about where you live, hotels or travelling.’ This is important to think about because it should give you the confidence to know that you can approach this task without needing any specialist vocabulary so you can really focus on getting the ‘tone’ of your writing correct – (formal informal) and on showing communication skills! This is what writing letters or emails is all about! * FIRST we’re going to look at recent TASK 1 general topics themselves – what are they about and what sort of situations are you going to respond to * SECOND I am going to suggest some really good sentences which you might use yourselves when you are answering any of these tasks which will guide you when you try to practice any of them at home! OK – so let’s get into looking at some recent TASK 1 general topics which have been seen in exams recently and shared with us by our students! I have sorted these into formal, neutral and informal to help you! Take a look at some more general ta...
March 30, 2020
CORONA is hitting hard. As you probably know, tests are being cancelled, countries are in lockdown, and most of us are at home adjusting to these strange times. To help you get through this we are offering the following coupons on our online courses: $50 Coupon for Jump to Band 7 or it’s Free + Speaking Confidence and Reading Courses Normally $229 – New price is $180 Coupon: 50-COVID $25 Coupon for Jump to Band 7 or it’s Free  Normally $195 – new price is $170  Coupon: 25-COVID If you buy now, your course access is extended until December 1st 2020! More information in this video: This podcast is all about the actions you can take, while at home to improve your IELTS scores. There are 19 practical action steps you can add to your study schedule. Each action step is straightforward, and most of them you can do by yourself. Also in the recording I talk about what IELTS IDP is doing to solve the problem now, and what they will do in the future when normality returns (extra tests available, bigger test centres etc). You can get the full official updates here. https://www.ielts.org/news/2020/covid19-information-for-our-global-test-taker-community And what are IELTSPodcast doing?  * All current students get their course usage extended until December 1st 2020. * Launching a forum for IELTS Students – where they can ask questions to our team of IELTS professionals * Coupons available for new students stuck at home You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud | 19 Steps for IELTS home study during lockdown * Translations from English into your own language. Back and forth, choose academic text. Translate your own vocabulary bank. * Get feedback, improve faster, find your errors and work on them by getting your essay corrected. * After identifying your errors in spelling or grammar, research the grammar rule then practice the rule using online grammar quizzes. * Make a calendar to organise your study schedule. Assign tasks for each day, or assign weeks to each IELTS section. Week 1 = Reading, Week 2 = Speaking. * Record answers to these recent speaking questions seen by other students in the exam. Tip: Add 2 second pauses to improve listener comprehension, and sound more sophisticated. * Do an IELTS reading or listening practice test, identify where in the test you lose points and work on that area. * Join forum.ieltspodcast.com here you can ask questions, a teacher will answer. * Research ideas and answers for IELTS Writing Task 2 questions. Get educated about IELTS topics.
March 28, 2020
Meet Laura, a Colombian Doctor, stuck at Band 7! While living in England she needed a 7.5 in her writing to start her new job. She got English lessons from multiple tutors but they were all useless and she still couldn’t pass! On her SEVENTH attempt, she decided to invest in a course from IELTSPodcast. With no regrets. Laura admits that after her first essay correction, she felt destroyed by all th errors in her essay. But she didn’t give up and took the feedback and started improveing her writing. With Ellen’s feedback, her writing improved and improved, she then took the test and got her Band 7.5! Well done Laura! You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud | Transcript |
March 25, 2020
Meet Shahla from Bangladesh who is soon going to be working as a film director in Vancouver. Shahla is an aspiring film director and after a five year struggle with IELTS, she finally passed after investing in our essay correction service for valuable feedback. Her goal was to apply for the express skilled entry visa […]
March 21, 2020
In this tutorial Ellen analyses the speaking band descriptors, covering all four band criteria. She explains what the characteristics of a band 9 and band 8 are and goes into depth describing bands 7, 6 and 5. She tells you what the examiner is doing during your speaking test and how no one portion of […]
March 18, 2020
In this tutorial, you’ll learn How an IELTS examiner would look at your Academic TASK 1 bar chart essay and what they are looking for using the key IELTS band marking descriptors. How a really good Band 6.5 Task 1 can easily be upgraded and transformed into a really great Band 7 response using a […]
March 14, 2020
This tutorial will help you: -Choose the right information to include in your essay -How to get your paragraphs in a logical order which will help your coherence. -How to use great grammar but make it sound natural -How to use a wide range of vocabulary to talk about the same thing and not repeat […]
March 11, 2020
In this tutorial we continue our 3 part series of IELTS Grammar – Essentials for 2020 – Band 9. This week we look at giving you examples, explanations, and show you how you can use specific structures in your IELTS essay to achieve your desired band 9 score in your IELTS Writing. In case you […]
March 7, 2020
In this podcast, our essay corrector Ellen puts YOU in the driver’s seat as you review a student’s essay with her, deciding what band score the essay should get. With the band descriptors as your guide, you will learn How the introduction makes a first impression on the examiner How mistakes and missteps can influence […]
March 4, 2020
Jaime’s English skills are excellent, he knew this, all his friends knew this too. Jaime even got Band 9 in the Reading. However his writing was stuck at 6.5. Jaime did a language course and got zero improvement. He wrote essay after essay after essay, sometimes writing up to 3000 words per essay! Still NO […]
February 29, 2020
Have you ever looked at an official IELTS website and asked yourself how it can help you? Do you know how to read and analyse student essays and read examiners comments? In this podcast I’m going to have a detailed look at some key official IELTS websites – from all over the world – and […]
February 26, 2020
In this part two of The Essentials for IELTS Grammar 2020, we will be giving you examples, explanations, and how you can use these structures in your IELTS essay. In this tutorial, we will specifically be looking at higher-level vocabulary mainly focused around band 8. We’ll look at the following: Alternative complex conditional structures Replace […]
February 23, 2020
In this tutorial you will learn: A list of grammar points and topics that are necessary to achieve IELTS Band score 7 and higher in Writing or Speaking exam section. This will help you in your IELTS exam because: You will find out how to structure your grammar study and revision while preparing for the […]
February 19, 2020
In this tutorial Ellen looks at cause and effect essay questions and certain aspects of the question to be on the lookout for. In this podcast you will learn: some examples of cause & effect essays different examples of language and phrases used in the prompt how not to confuse this question type with other […]
February 15, 2020
Luzia ends her expensive IELTS frustration by jumping to Band 7! After taking the exam 5 times, and trying other essay corrections services, she decides to work with IELTSPodcast (😊). She needed to pass to continue working in the UK. Although Luzia is incredibly smart, the IELTS writing was a serious roadblock in her plans. […]
February 12, 2020
When you have to prepare your students for the IELTS exam, you’re up for a task that is far from easy, especially when it comes to the Speaking section. In this tutorial we intend to help you navigate the daunting task of teaching your exam candidates what the Speaking exam is like and how to […]
February 8, 2020
In this tutorial you will learn: How to approach teaching IELTS Speaking overall and Part 1, in particular. This will help you to teach about the IELTS Speaking exam because: You will learn about the main challenges and purposes of the IELTS Speaking exam. You will see real activities that you can practise with your […]
February 5, 2020
In this tutorial, you’ll learn How an IELTS examiner would look at one of the more usual Task 1 questions – MAPS! I love map questions but many students are unfamiliar with them and so might panic in the exam! How to understand what is needed and what clues to look for before you start […]
February 1, 2020
Naveed from Bangladesh, was on Band 6.5 in the writing. He had taken the test a few times before already ($$$). He’d gotten his essays corrected before but was infuriated with the feedback he was sent. So he tried the IELTSPodcast essay correction service and was ECSTATIC. He had just gotten married in Bangladesh, applying […]
January 29, 2020
In this tutorial we look at a 6.5 essay.    You will learn why It would get a 6.5 What its strengths are What its weaknesses are What kinds of decisions an examiner makes when looking at an essay.   You will also learn what kinds of scores on your writing will result in a 6.5. The […]
January 25, 2020
In this tutorial, we will be looking at recent Speaking Cue Cards  seen around the internet sent in by students and  sent in by our students as well who are on the IELTS Online course and taking exams.  First, we look at a cue card and then apply a framework that will be very useful. […]
January 22, 2020
Here is the second tutorial on General IELTS Task 1 Letter writing. The aim of this tutorial is to help you: Understand the questions and the setting or context for the letter. Think about what to write – how to use the prompts that you are given in the question rubric. Understand how to start […]
January 18, 2020
In this tutorial we cover: Understand the questions and context for the letter. Think about what to write – how to use the prompts that you are given in the question rubric. Work out how creative to be? Is it ok to make up lots of strange facts and information? Understand how to Start and […]
January 15, 2020
In this tutorial we look at 10 typical IELTS questions and suggest possible topic sentences. In the audio tutorial these sentences are further improved to avoid repetition, and rewritten to improve their effectiveness.   We also cover:  How to expand your vocabulary Eliminating redundancy in your sentences  How to start concisely start your essay How to […]
January 13, 2020
Paraphrasing is an essential skill for both Academic IELTS Task 1 and 2. And, as you probably know, it’s also extremely useful for the Reading and Listening components of the test. In this tutorial you will learn:  The essentials of paraphrasing A structure for your Academic Task report A complete list of phrases and terms […]
January 11, 2020
Carlos, from Mexico City, was stuck at 6.5 in the writing!  In the first test he scored 6.5 in the writing, then went to a local academy for two months, took the test again, but was still stuck at 6.5.  He did improve his speaking score though (thanks to the academy).  In this tutorial he […]
January 8, 2020
In this tutorial we focus on Band 9 essay writing, specifically “what the examiner wants to see” and how to do it. You will learn: Writing techniques essential for Band 9 (obviously useful for Band 7 and 8 too) What the examiner wants to see in your paragraphs When and how to use idiomatic expressions […]
January 6, 2020
Rohan needed IELTS for Canada.  He was stuck at 6.5.  Stressed and frustrated at 6.5.  This 6.5 blocked him from immigrating to Canada.  He bought invested in a single  essay correction because he had already taken the test numerous times, and needed to pass this time.  Before he was practising with random topics and trying […]
January 4, 2020
Sumedh is a doctor from India who needed to pass the IELTS in order to start a PLAB course in the UK.  At first he thought the essay corrections we returned to him were terrible.  He disliked them and paid no attention.  But the night before the exam he studied ALL the feedback we had […]
January 1, 2020
It’s 2020 and time to get ready to pass IELTS!  In this tutorial you will learn:  New successful systems, goals and habits Practical strategies for passing IELTS What to do before every study session (this improves your focus dramatically).  In this tutorial, we’ll look at some very practical strategies for your IELTS preparation. These are […]
December 30, 2019
Good day IELTS Students!  What do you do when you have NO TIME to study?  You have family, work and an IELTS exam coming up very soon?  This is exactly what happened to Rupert, he is a smart Filipino working in Singapore as a chemical engineer.  Rupert had taken the exam a few times, and […]
December 28, 2019
Meet Diego from Columbia! Now he finally got Band 7 he’s on his way to Canada! Before he was stuck at 6.5 for the writing.  He had taken the exam 6 times in total, that’s almost 2000usd!  He had also tried a few other online course, but none of them promised the success he needed.  […]
December 25, 2019
In this tutorial we look at a band 9 essay.  Ellen gives some general writing advice like how important it is to know the band descriptors, analyze the question thoroughly and brainstorm BEFORE you begin to write anything.   In this tutorial you will learn: How an essay  is analyzed according to the band descriptors (Task Achievement, […]
December 23, 2019
Meet Olga!  A Russian IELTS student on her way to Australia!  Olga is aiming for PR in Australia for a better life for her two year old autistic child.  What is your MOTIVATION for passing IELTS?  Why are you putting in hour after hour in preparation?  For PR in Canada?  A better future for your […]
December 21, 2019
Learning to Pass IELTS With Flying Colors This tutorial is all about practical IELTS study strategies. It especially for students who are preparing for the exam by themselves. Follow this tutorial and you’re headed for a Band 7 pass. In this episode you will learn: How to develop IELTS study habits and strategies for success […]
December 18, 2019
This IELTS Reading tutorial covers lots of tips and advice to help you pass.  We cover:  The GOLDEN RULE Skimming and Scanning The “Discuss it with Yourself” Approach Follow the Plan/Algorithm Find proof in the text, Underline and Number Don’t panic if you don’t know some words. But try to deduce from context.  When in […]
December 14, 2019
In this tutorial, you’ll learn How to easily and simply ‘upgrade’ your IELTS task 2 essay from Band 6.5 to Band 7 by learning a really important technique called ‘Academic Hedging’. How to improve your marks for Grammatical range and accuracy and coherence by simply changing one verb for another! About the importance of ‘distancing’ […]
December 11, 2019
Follow the instructions! In this tutorial I speak with an Ex-Examiner about the IELTS Reading exam.  Cate is now living in Canada and shares with us how she helped hundreds of adult students pass the reading exam.  In this tutorial she shares:  – the easiest way to pass and prepare for the Reading exam – […]
December 7, 2019
In this tutorial we cover:  How a busy self study student can make time to prepare for the IELTS Why Powerful Focus is essential (and how to get it) How to keep motivated (useful for adult learners)  How to get an INSTANT ROUTINE You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download […]
December 4, 2019
In this tutorial, you’ll learn How to easily and simply ‘upgrade’ your IELTS task 2 essay to Band 9 by adding collocations or extra adjectives to your sentences. How to use a few idioms to show the examiner you are a really confident writer. How to use these adjectives to further develop your ideas which […]
November 30, 2019
Meet Henry! He jumped a whole band score!  How did he do it? Getting feedback and improving his essay writing, and following the online course. Henry is a very hardworking, smart and successful IELTS student from Mongolia, he now lives in Australia.  In this interview he shares his favourite resources and podcasts. These include:  The […]
November 27, 2019
In this tutorial, you will: learn how to tackle ‘matching’ questions more effectively become more familiar with different sections of the listening test Matching questions are common in sections two and three of the listening test. The instructions can vary so, as always, it’s very important to read them thoroughly. As with other types of […]
November 23, 2019
Meet Daphne!  Some of you may recognise this name or her voice. She is one of the new essay correctors we have at IELTS Podcast. Daphne and I have a very practical conversation about IELTS Writing task 2.  In this tutorial we cover: a methodology for organising your ideas  advice for filling your mind with […]
November 20, 2019
In this tutorial, you will: become more familiar with section one of the listening test learn how to tackle ‘completion’ questions more effectively find out how to avoid some common pitfalls with this type of question In section one of the IELTS listening test, you will hear a conversation between two people in an everyday […]
November 16, 2019
In this tutorial we dive into special topic specific vocabulary for the IELTS Speaking part two test.  Not only do we offer sample answers and generic idiomatic expressions you can incorporate into your speaking exam, we also highlight a few phrasal verbs.  We also share how you can upgrade certain phrases and vocabulary to improve […]
November 9, 2019
In this tutorial, you will: become more familiar with Task One of the IELTS Academic writing test  find out how this section of the test is marked and assessed There are two tasks in the IELTS Academic writing test. You need to complete both of them, and you will have a total of 60 minutes.  […]
November 6, 2019
In this tutorial, you will learn how to: incorporate hypothetical language into your speaking  propose solutions to problems improve your ability to agree and disagree In today’s podcast, we’re going to look at ways to improve the range of language you incorporate into parts two and three of the IELTS speaking test. First, we’re going […]
November 2, 2019
In this tutorial, you will find out: what is meant by ‘a complex sentence’ the importance of incorporating complex sentences in the IELTS speaking test the importance of focussing on natural use of language The speaking test is the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training and it always involves a face-to-face interview […]
October 30, 2019
In this tutorial, you will: find out what to expect in Part Three of the IELTS speaking test  learn how to give and support opinions improve your ability to talk about advantages and disadvantages The speaking test is the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training and it always involves a face-to-face interview […]
October 26, 2019
Tina from Vietnam is sitting her IELTS for the fifth time but she’s finally confident that she’ll get the score she wants. IELTS Podcast has been helping foreign students to get great marks on their IELTS tests for years, the first step to following their dreams abroad. One such student is Tina, a Vietnamese citizen […]
October 23, 2019
In this tutorial, you will find out: what to expect in Part Two of the IELTS speaking test  how to get a ‘Band 9’ score in this part of the test..! The speaking test is the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training and it always involves a face-to-face interview with a certified […]
October 19, 2019
In this tutorial, you will find out: Exactly what to expect when you take the IELTS listening test  How the scoring converts to IELTS Band Scores How the computer-based and paper-based tests compare If it is a good idea to take your IELTS test on a computer? The listening test is the same for both […]
October 16, 2019
In this tutorial, you will: find out what to expect in Part One of the IELTS speaking test  learn tips to help you improve your performance in Part One The speaking test is the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training and it always involves a face-to-face interview with a certified IELTS examiner […]
October 12, 2019
Pronunciation This criterion includes the following aspects: Articulation of sounds – how well you pronounce the sounds of the language and if you link the words properly. Word and sentence stress – how you single out the correct syllable in a word or the correct words in a sentence. Intonation – if your voice is […]
October 9, 2019
In this tutorial,  Ellen looks at To What Extent Do You Agree essays and how to answer them to get a higher score in Task Achievement. The podcast will teach you: Why use a concession paragraph How to analyse the question How to structure your position statement in the introduction How to organize your paragraphs […]
October 2, 2019
In this tutorial you will learn: How to understand the way you are assessed in the IELTS Speaking exam in two criteria: Fluency and Coherence, and Pronunciation This will help you in your IELTS Speaking exam because: You will find out how exactly to improve the quality of your speaking.  You will discover what is […]
September 28, 2019
In this episode we chat with Irina who will soon be on her way to Canada! She was preparing with her local academy in Moscow but got frustrated with the contradictory advice, timetable requirements and general faff of class attendance.  Also, she had a little boy running around the house, and was 6 months pregnant!  […]
September 25, 2019
In this tutorial we have a Band 6.5 / 7 academic task 1 essay graded by an EX-IELTS examiner (on our team of essay correctors). This tutorial will help you:  Choose the right information  Use the right sentence structures  Decide on the perfect tense to use Each criteria has been considered and the sentence in […]
September 21, 2019
In this tutorial, we’re going to talk to Maria on how she passed IELTS using our online course. She is from Brazil and took the IELTS for doing a Law Masters in England. Yes, it was a sweet ending, but did you know how many times she took IELTS? FIVE times!!! And she was stuck […]
September 14, 2019
This tutorial addresses some common myths that exist regarding IELTS and tries to clear away some of these misconceptions.  We focus on the test itself, its grading and also look specifically at speaking and writing. Topics covered include: – re-marks – word count – vocabulary dos and don’ts – impressing the examiner during the Speaking […]
September 7, 2019
In this tutorial, we answer three (3) speaking questions recently seen by students in the IELTS exam. Each answer has been transcribed and useful phrases that you can use have been highlighted. The audio tutorial explains why these phrases are useful and how you can use them. Tip: Listen to the audio, write down the […]
September 4, 2019
In this tutorial we have a Band 6.5 – 7 essay graded by an EX-IELTS examiner (from our team of essay correctors!).  First you can read the essay, and after we break down which sentences helped this essay score a Band 6.5 – 7.  This tutorial will help you understand:  How an essay gets a […]
August 28, 2019
In this tutorial you will learn: How to use conditionals for real and unreal situations This will help you in your IELTS speaking exam because: You will learn to use more complex grammar structures for part 3 of the exam. In part three of the speaking test you need to elaborate on the topic from […]
August 24, 2019
In this tutorial we explain two major categories of diagrams you will see on task one: static and dynamic.  Each type requires a different approach and, of course, different vocabulary.   We show you how to recognize the difference and understand what language you need to use for each type.   We also walk you through different […]
August 21, 2019
In this tutorial you will learn: What it means to display a full range of pronunciation features with precision and subtlety in a Band 9 answer This will help you in your IELTS Speaking exam because: You will learn what are pronunciation features and how to use them effectively in your answer You will see […]
August 17, 2019
In this tutorial, we take a close look at process diagrams. We discuss: How to write an overview What verbs you should use When you should use passive and active voice How to write more cohesive paragraphs Which words you can use from the diagram and which not And we walk you through several different […]
August 10, 2019
These may be your common issues the first time you see an IELTS Writing Task 2 question: “I don’t know this topic!” “What should I write here???!!!” “How can I start my essay???!!!” “My mind is going blank!” “This is the first time I’ve heard about this word!” To help you with this common problem, […]
August 7, 2019
Setting the tone for the Speaking test: Greeting IELTS examiner In this tutorial, you’ll learn How to greet the examiner How to make the best impression that you can before you commence the exam. This will help you in your IELTS because You’ll make a good first impression You’ll set the tone for a comfortable, confident […]
August 3, 2019
The first time you see an IELTS Writing Task 2 question, these may be your common thoughts: “I don’t know anything about this topic!” “What should I write???!!!” “Oh no! My mind is blank!” “What’s this all about?!” To help you overcome this problem, I decided to make a tutorial answering recent IELTS task 2 […]
July 31, 2019
In this tutorial we have a Band 7 essay graded by an EX-IELTS examiner (from our team of essay correctors!). First you can read the essay, and after we break down which sentences helped this essay score a Band 7. Each criteria has been considered and the sentence in the essay has been colour coded […]
July 30, 2019
IELTS Topics are extensive, and consistently finding answers for them takes practice. Below I share how I produce an essay, including thinking of ideas, building paragraphs and planning. Contents How to Get Ideas For Topics Topics and Answers Video of IELTS Topics, answers and getting Ideas Audio version and transcript Topic and Answer: Education Topic and Answer: Globalisation […]
July 27, 2019
In this tutorial, we’re going to talk to Mariana on how she passed IELTS using our online course. Mariana is from Brazil and she took IELTS five times until she finally scored 7.5 in Writing. The other four exams were taken in 6 months and she was getting 6.5 only! Since she sat the IELTS […]
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