IELTS Speaking: Using technology to improve your vocabulary

Being successful with English, in IELTS and beyond, means finding a way to make using the language a regular part of your life. Learners often feel frustrated and lose interest in studying vocabulary when they find study materials rather boring and not connected to their own interests, but more interesting materials can difficult to find and even more difficult to understand.

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IELTS Preparation: The best way to prepare for IELTS

The IELTS test is critically important for most people. It can make the difference between studying overseas and staying at home; between having your immigration status confirmed or denied — perhaps for ever.

So, with your IELTS test coming up, you should study non-stop to get the result you need, right? The evidence suggests that this is not the case. You need to study, yes, but you need to study strategically.

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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 answer 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.

Let’s start by looking at a sample Writing Task 2 question.

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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'.

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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...

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