IELTS Speaking: Good speakers make mistakes

The IELTS Speaking test is the shortest test in all four modules: it lasts between 11-14 minutes. You might be forgiven, however, if you think of these 14 minutes as the longest in your lifetime, as they determine your future. Nervousness and lack of preparation are your biggest enemies, so what are you going to do about them? Here are my suggestions:
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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 Reading: Time management the key to a high band score

‘I don’t understand how some candidates could complete the paper within just one hour — there is just so much to read!’ We often hear candidates complaining about the lack of time in the Reading test: the articles are long and difficult, and it seems impossible to complete all the questions in an hour. In this blog post, we will look at a smart way to manage your time in the Reading test.

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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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IELTS Speaking: The grammar challenge

You might be surprised to hear that grammar is one of the four criteria used to assess your IELTS Speaking test performance and that it carries 25% of the points.

Many test-takers assume grammar in speaking is only about accuracy and not making any mistakes. This is only half the story. Making errors is natural, and IELTS understands this: even IELTS Speaking Band 7 expects that ‘some grammatical mistakes persist’.

To avoid mistakes, it helps to think about the tenses you use, and ensure these tenses relate to the questions being asked. So, if the question asked is What did you do at work today?, a key word here is did, which is in the past tense. So your answer should be in the past tense too, e.g. I wrote a report.

However, grammar is also about showing a range of grammatical structures. This means going beyond simple sentences (e.g. only using the simple present), and using a variety of tenses and grammatical features.

How can you demonstrate a wider range of grammar in your speaking? Read more