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Author: Andrew Stokes, IELTS specialist, ClarityEnglish

IELTS Writing: The easiest way to fail

The challenge

First, try to answer these questions:

  1. What is the minimum number of words you need to write for Writing Task 1?
  2. What are the five points the examiner is looking for in IELTS Writing?
  3. How should you divide your time between Task 1 and Task 2?

If you can’t answer these three questions confidently, you are not ready to take IELTS. The easiest way to fail to get the band score you need is to go into the test without fully understanding what is required of you.
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IELTS Listening: All the basics, from the British Council

The problem

It’s easy to do badly in IELTS Listening if you don’t have a thorough understanding of what to expect. For example, are you confident you can answer these questions:

  1. Is it important to use capital letters accurately?
  2. Is a point subtracted if you get an answer wrong?
  3. How much time do you have to study the question paper before the audio starts?

More importantly, what should you do with the time you have between looking at the question paper and listening to the recording? Knowing this can easily make the difference between one band score and another.
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IELTS Listening: Help! I don’t understand the accent!

The problem

IELTS is an international test, so you might hear a range of different accents, including Australian, British, New Zealand and North American. Remember that you only hear the audio once in the Listening test so you need to be absolutely confident that you can pick out every detail first time. An unfamiliar accent can get in the way of that. While there will not be any extreme accents, you should at least be familiar with a range of ‘standard’ accents.
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