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Author: Bryan Dowie, IELTS teacher, Hong Kong

IELTS Listening: Three things that can go wrong

Most people find the Listening test more stressful than the Reading test. That’s because when you are reading, you have the texts in front of you and you can refer to them more than once. When you are listening, if you miss an answer, it’s gone — and because you only hear the recording once, you can never get it back. So you need to work out some strategies in advance.
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IELTS Writing: Make every word count

The challenge

Your band score in IELTS Writing will depend in part on the range of vocabulary you use. Specifically:

  • Band 6: an “adequate range of vocabulary”
  • Band 7: a “sufficient range of vocabulary”
  • Bands 8-9: a “wide range of vocabulary”

You only have 150 words in Part 1 and 250 words in Part 2 to do this, so it’s really important that you don’t waste words and make every word counts.
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IELTS Writing: The 4 keys to success

Whether you are taking IELTS Academic or General Training, you will need to write a 250 word essay in the Writing Part 2. You will perform much better if you understand what the examiner is looking for — and then deliver it.

First, let’s look at the IELTS assessment criteria:

  1. Task achievement. This means you should answer all parts of the question, your answer must be relevant, and you should provide supporting ideas for the points you are making.
  2. Coherence and cohesion. Your writing should be structured so it is easy to read and understand. This means you need to organise your ideas into paragraphs. You also need to link your ideas with words like however, therefore and despite.
  3. Lexical resource. To get a good score, you need to use a wide range of vocabulary. Not everything has to be 100% correct, but any errors you do make should be few in number and should not affect understanding.
  4. Grammatical range and accuracy. As with vocab, you should use a variety of grammatical structures, and any grammatical errors should be few in number and should not affect understanding.

Now, let’s see how we can apply them to a candidate’s essay. Read more

IELTS Reading: Exam skills are critical to success

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.

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