To my surprise, we have actually got quite a bit of really interesting feedback and questions from my last post about my experience of taking the IELTS test, so thanks for that! This time, I want to talk about how we can get into our best possible form on the test day.
It’s difficult to go seriously wrong with the Reading and Listening tests in IELTS. Even if you have trouble understanding the text or the audio, the question paper gives you a pretty clear idea of what you need to write. And if you’re not sure, you can always guess. With the Speaking test, you’ll be asked a series of questions, so even if you make a mistake with one of them, you’ll get another chance with the next question. Writing Task 2 is different — If you fail to understand the question, and go off on the wrong track, you could score no marks at all. And that could mean missing the band score you need.
Certain tasks in IELTS are more predictable than the others — for example, we know that in the Listening module there is always at least one part related to education and academic knowledge. The Reading module in General Training also features topics that are fairly predictable, and there is no reason to not prepare well for them.
Here are just a few of the questions candidates have asked us about the Listening test. You may have wondered yourself… Read on for the answers.
‘I have no experience of the subject, so how can I respond?’
I often get this question from candidates. They worry they do not have knowledge of some of the topics that examiners might ask them about, for example a favourite building, an eye-catching advertisement or a memorable trip. Maybe you feel the same way?
How many times do you check your mobile every day? North Americans check their social media accounts on average 17 times a day; young people in the UK spend more than 27 hours a week on their phones; in Malaysia and Qatar it’s 40 times a day! So do these devices, which we all have at our fingertips, offer opportunities to boost your IELTS band score? In this post we will look at three ways in which they do.
In this post I will focus on two areas where it is easy to lose marks in both General Training and Academic Writing. The first is the word count, and the second is spelling and punctuation.
When I have a new IELTS class, the first thing I want to assess is their exam skills. So I ask them to read and complete some IELTS Reading tasks. Almost always the questions go to one side, and the candidates focus on the text and read it word by word from beginning to end. I can always see some students panicking about words they don’t know. Meanwhile the minutes are ticking away and no answers are being noted down…
In the Reading test, time is precious. This post focuses on three key strategies that can help you save time, and improve your band score.
The best listeners are engaged with whatever they are listening to. This could be a lecture at school or a conversation with a friend. Have you ever spoken to a friend and then thought, ‘Oh, what did he just say?’ because you were daydreaming? You weren’t being a good listener! And this can happen in your IELTS test too.
A very important part of the fluency and coherence assessed in the IELTS speaking test are words and phrases called discourse markers. The term may sound complicated but the idea is simple: discourse markers are words and phrases we use to move through conversations, going from one idea to the next, to introduce new topics or return to old ones.
Many learners know it’s important to use discourse markers but don’t realize that most of these markers also reveal different underlying attitudes toward the new idea. Let’s look at four common discourse markers used to introduce opinions and try to clarify the attitudes behind them.