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Author: Andrew Stokes, IELTS specialist, ClarityEnglish

IELTS Speaking: What is the examiner looking for?

The issue

In IELTS Speaking Part II, you have to talk for two minutes on a topic given to you by the examiner. Do you understand how you will be graded?

According to the IELTS Speaking assessment criteria, your speaking will be marked on the following five points:

  • Fluency and coherence: how well your response flows and how well connected your ideas are
  • Lexical resource: how well you use vocabulary to express what you mean
  • Grammatical range and accuracy: how well you use English grammar, the variety of grammatical structures you use and how you use grammar to aid understanding
  • Pronunciation: how easy it is for the examiner to understand what you are saying
  • Relevance: you must, of course, stick to the topic on the card

This is not difficult to understand in theory, but are you confident you know what it means in practice?
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IELTS Listening: The importance of synonyms

The problem

At the beginning of the Listening test you are given 30 seconds to look at the question paper. This enables you to use the words on the paper to predict the words that you will hear in the recording. But that would be too easy! It’s much more likely that you will not hear these words; you will hear different words that mean the same thing. These are called synonyms.
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IELTS Writing: Boost your score by reading

‘Reading and writing cannot be separated from each other: the more in-depth reading you do, the more in-depth writing you will eventually do.’ The University of Washington points to a clear link between reading and writing. Reading exposes you to different styles; it shows you how grammar is used correctly; and it helps you to build vocabulary and use it accurately. But to get the maximum benefit for your IELTS Writing test, you need to use reading as a source for focused writing activities. Read on for an example of how you can do this.
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IELTS Writing: The most difficult paper?

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.
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IELTS preparation: Using your mobile to boost your band score

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.
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