How to improve your vocabulary around sports
TopTips
How to improve your vocabulary around sports

One of my passions, in addition to the English language, is sports. Sports vocabulary is useful in all four parts of the test as well as being an important factor in socialising with people outside of the test context. So, I thought I'd share with you my top booster tips for improving your vocabulary around sports, so you can – like me – talk about the topic for hours with your English-speaking friends, or just feel a little more prepared for the IELTS test if sport isn't really your thing ☺.    In sports, there are four main areas you might want to consider: people, places, objects and actions, and you might want to create a little study grid, a mind map or an excel glossary where you can organise the vocabulary and keep adding new words and expressions as you go along. Check out my blog on animal vocabulary to see examples of a study grid and a mind map.  If you want to study an area of vocabulary in more depth, an Excel glossary file is probably your best option.  Here’s an example of how you can use Excel to organise your sports vocabulary (or any other vocabulary for that matter).    (Click to download) (Click to enlarge) Perhaps more than any other vocabulary area in the test, sports lends itself to playing a  couple of fun vocabulary games. Charades: Sport is a great area to work on because you can have a lot of fun doing it. If you have a friend who is also preparing for the IELTS test, write down a lot of words to do with sports on separate pieces of paper. Then, without looking, pick a word and take turns to mime (or draw) the word. The other person has to guess what the word is. Bonus points if they can spell it! Famous athletes: Another game you can play is the famous sports people game. Write down the name of a very famous sportsperson. Then take turns to ask each other questions like  What equipment do they use?  Where do they play their sports? What competitions have they won? … If you don’t know the answer in English, use a dictionary to find out and make a note of the new word. Keep going until one of you has guessed the right answer.  Sports is also a really popular topic in the writing part of the exam, especially the benefits of sport and the connection between health and sport. To prepare, you could write down all of the benefits of sports that you can think of in your own language. Then imagine that you are asked to discuss this in English. Underline any words where you get stuck because you don’t know the English word. Spend some time with a dictionary to find out what these words are in English. Don’t forget to check the pronunciation, so that you recognise the words in the Listening test. And, finally, a super quick vocabulary lesson:  Learners of English often get confused about when to use ‘go’, ‘play’ or ‘do’ when talking about different sports. So here is my super quick explanation of the rules: If the sport ends in -ing, we say ‘go’. For example: ‘go swimming’. The exceptions are weightlifting, body-building, fencing and boxing. Probably because you don’t need a lot of space for these. We can say ‘do’ in these cases or simply use the sport as a verb: e.g. ‘I box’.  Got it? Ok, next rule: If the sport is a game, we say ‘play’. For example: ‘play tennis’.  2 down, 1 to go: If it’s not ‘go’ and it’s not ‘play’ we say ‘do’. In other words, we use ‘do’ for everything else. For example: ‘do yoga’.   LANGUAGE ACTIVITY Find a list of sports on the internet and decide whether you would say ‘go’, ‘play’ or ‘do’ for each one of them. Try to do this as quickly as you can. That way it’s really good practice for the speaking exam when you don’t really have much time to think about this. Sophie  PS. Pete Jones has a couple of really great blogs on improving your vocabulary around a particular topic area. If you want to find out how to improve your vocabulary around technology, energy and education, I highly recommend you check them out.

Sophie Hodgson

2 June, 2021

How to improve your vocabulary around sports

How to improve your vocabulary around sports

One of my passions, in addition to the English language, is sports. Sports vocabulary is useful in all four parts of the test as well as being an important factor in socialising with people outside of the test context. So, I thought I'd share with you my top booster tips for improving your vocabulary around sports, so you can – like me – talk about the topic for hours with your English-speaking friends, or just feel a little more prepared for the IELTS test if sport isn't really your thing ☺.
Top Tip - Choose a sport your interested in

 

In sports, there are four main areas you might want to consider: people, places, objects and actions, and you might want to create a little study grid, a mind map or an excel glossary where you can organise the vocabulary and keep adding new words and expressions as you go along. Check out my blog on animal vocabulary to see examples of a study grid and a mind map.

If you want to study an area of vocabulary in more depth, an Excel glossary file is probably your best option.

Here’s an example of how you can use Excel to organise your sports vocabulary (or any other vocabulary for that matter).

Example Glossary Sports

 

Download Glossary Template

(Click to download)

Top tip for learning vocabulary

(Click to enlarge)

Perhaps more than any other vocabulary area in the test, sports lends itself to playing a couple of fun vocabulary games.

Charades: Sport is a great area to work on because you can have a lot of fun doing it. If you have a friend who is also preparing for the IELTS test, write down a lot of words to do with sports on separate pieces of paper. Then, without looking, pick a word and take turns to mime (or draw) the word. The other person has to guess what the word is. Bonus points if they can spell it!

Famous athletes: Another game you can play is the famous sports people game. Write down the name of a very famous sportsperson. Then take turns to ask each other questions like

  • What equipment do they use?
  • Where do they play their sports?
  • What competitions have they won?

If you don’t know the answer in English, use a dictionary to find out and make a note of the new word. Keep going until one of you has guessed the right answer.

Sports is also a really popular topic in the writing part of the exam, especially the benefits of sport and the connection between health and sport. To prepare, you could write down all of the benefits of sports that you can think of in your own language. Then imagine that you are asked to discuss this in English. Underline any words where you get stuck because you don’t know the English word. Spend some time with a dictionary to find out what these words are in English. Don’t forget to check the pronunciation, so that you recognise the words in the Listening test.

And, finally, a super quick vocabulary lesson:

Learners of English often get confused about when to use ‘go’, ‘play’ or ‘do’ when talking about different sports. So here is my super quick explanation of the rules:

  1. If the sport ends in -ing, we say ‘go’. For example: ‘go swimming’. The exceptions are weightlifting, body-building, fencing and boxing. Probably because you don’t need a lot of space for these. We can say ‘do’ in these cases or simply use the sport as a verb: e.g. ‘I box’.

Got it? Ok, next rule:

  1. If the sport is a game, we say ‘play’. For example: ‘play tennis’.

2 down, 1 to go:

  1. If it’s not ‘go’ and it’s not ‘play’ we say ‘do’. In other words, we use ‘do’ for everything else. For example: ‘do yoga’.

 


LANGUAGE ACTIVITY

Find a list of sports on the internet and decide whether you would say ‘go’, ‘play’ or ‘do’ for each one of them. Try to do this as quickly as you can. That way it’s really good practice for the speaking exam when you don’t really have much time to think about this.

Sophie

PS. Pete Jones has a couple of really great blogs on improving your vocabulary around a particular topic area. If you want to find out how to improve your vocabulary around technology, energy and education, I highly recommend you check them out.

Sophie Hodgson

Sophie has been supporting students on their IELTS journey since 2003 and feels privileged to have watched them succeed. While most people probably do not like taking tests, Sophie believes that preparing for the IELTS exam can be both interesting and fun. She loves language and structure and enjoys exploring both with her students to help them achieve their aims.

More about the author

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Recommended For You

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IELTS Vocabulary up to Band 6

Learn all the vocabulary you need to achieve up to band 6 in IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. It includes useful tips on how to learn vocabulary and covers tricky areas such as the language needed to describe data and processes. This book also includes practice exercises for each skill, regular progress checks and tips on how to avoid typical errors. Previous title Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Also available for Bands 6.5 and above *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

How to improve your vocabulary around animals
TopTips
How to improve your vocabulary around animals

There's a myriad of animals in the world, and the topic happens to be a very popular one in the IELTS test. Especially in IELTS Reading, where an extraordinary number of texts and sections seem to be about obscure beetles in South America that nobody has ever heard of. It can be really difficult to decide what vocabulary around animals you should study in preparation for the exam.  Here's a little surprise when it comes to preparing for the reading and listening part: you should probably not focus on animals at all. Instead, focus on the things animals do, the way they look, and the groups they belong to.  That is because when you get a text or a section about a specific animal, the animal is usually introduced with a short explanation. So, there is no need to study the word ‘pangolin’, if the text tells you that “the ‘pangolin’ is a mammal, covered in scales which serves as protection from predators and that when a predator approaches, the pangolin curls up and uses its sharp tail to protect itself.” In this sentence, for example, the words ‘mammal’, ‘scales’, ‘predators’, ‘curls up’ and ‘tail’, are much more important than the word pangolin itself.  Here is my example of what your animal vocabulary study sheet could look like: (Click to enlarge) It is easy to see that this list is by no means complete and that you will have to keep adding to it through the course of your studies.  If you simply follow a table like the one above, it might become difficult at some point and you might prefer to re-organise the vocabulary items into a mind map. Here’s an example of what that might look like (just keep adding more words and definitions in English and/or translations into your language to the map):  (Click to enlarge) The important thing with mind maps is that the way you organise the information has to make sense to you. Nobody else. So, if you think it’s logical to compare similar ideas across animals – for example baby animals: puppies, kittens, cubs, chicks – then you should arrange information that way on your mind map. If it makes sense to you to categorise the animal kingdom into separate groups first – e.g. birds, mammals, fish – then that is how you should divide your mind map. For some people, mind maps don’t work at all and they are confusing rather than helpful. If you are among them, ignore this method, and move on to something that works for you.  A lot of people really like having pictures of animals around and you could incorporate that in your vocabulary studies by copying and pasting images of the relevant vocabulary into a word document and annotating them. Annotating here means to add your own text to the pictures. (Click to enlarge) Another great way to prepare for the exam is to read texts about animals or watch television programmes about exploration and conservation. You could do this in English and make a note of key vocabulary that is used frequently. Alternatively, you could engage with the topic in your own language, identify key vocabulary and research the words in English. This technique is useful for the Reading and Listening test, but even more so for Writing Part 2 as you might be asked about the importance of protecting nature or a similar issue.  In the Speaking test, you are likely to use animal vocabulary that you can personally relate to. This might be to answer questions about your pets or your favourite animals, animals you are afraid of or about animals that your country might be famous for. So, make a mental note of the way animals play a part in your everyday life. If you’ve enjoyed this blog, check out more advice on learning vocabulary here, or for more practice I recommend Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS. Sophie  

Sophie Hodgson

11 May, 2021

How to improve your vocabulary around animals

How to improve your vocabulary around animals

There's a myriad of animals in the world, and the topic happens to be a very popular one in the IELTS test. Especially in IELTS Reading, where an extraordinary number of texts and sections seem to be about obscure beetles in South America that nobody has ever heard of. It can be really difficult to decide what vocabulary around animals you should study in preparation for the exam.

Here's a little surprise when it comes to preparing for the reading and listening part: you should probably not focus on animals at all. Instead, focus on the things animals do, the way they look, and the groups they belong to.

That is because when you get a text or a section about a specific animal, the animal is usually introduced with a short explanation. So, there is no need to study the word ‘pangolin’, if the text tells you that “the ‘pangolin’ is a mammal, covered in scales which serves as protection from predators and that when a predator approaches, the pangolin curls up and uses its sharp tail to protect itself.” In this sentence, for example, the words ‘mammal’, ‘scales’, ‘predators’, ‘curls up’ and ‘tail’, are much more important than the word pangolin itself.

Here is my example of what your animal vocabulary study sheet could look like:

Vocabulary Study Sheet for IELTS

(Click to enlarge)

It is easy to see that this list is by no means complete and that you will have to keep adding to it through the course of your studies.

If you simply follow a table like the one above, it might become difficult at some point and you might prefer to re-organise the vocabulary items into a mind map.

Here’s an example of what that might look like (just keep adding more words and definitions in English and/or translations into your language to the map):

IELTS Vocabulary Mind Map Example

(Click to enlarge)

The important thing with mind maps is that the way you organise the information has to make sense to you. Nobody else. So, if you think it’s logical to compare similar ideas across animals – for example baby animals: puppies, kittens, cubs, chicks – then you should arrange information that way on your mind map. If it makes sense to you to categorise the animal kingdom into separate groups first – e.g. birds, mammals, fish – then that is how you should divide your mind map. For some people, mind maps don’t work at all and they are confusing rather than helpful. If you are among them, ignore this method, and move on to something that works for you.

A lot of people really like having pictures of animals around and you could incorporate that in your vocabulary studies by copying and pasting images of the relevant vocabulary into a word document and annotating them. Annotating here means to add your own text to the pictures.

Annotated image to support vocabulary studies

(Click to enlarge)

Another great way to prepare for the exam is to read texts about animals or watch television programmes about exploration and conservation. You could do this in English and make a note of key vocabulary that is used frequently. Alternatively, you could engage with the topic in your own language, identify key vocabulary and research the words in English. This technique is useful for the Reading and Listening test, but even more so for Writing Part 2 as you might be asked about the importance of protecting nature or a similar issue.

In the Speaking test, you are likely to use animal vocabulary that you can personally relate to. This might be to answer questions about your pets or your favourite animals, animals you are afraid of or about animals that your country might be famous for. So, make a mental note of the way animals play a part in your everyday life.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog, check out more advice on learning vocabulary here, or for more practice I recommend Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS.

Sophie

Bonus IELTS Speaking Language Activity

 

Sophie Hodgson

Sophie has been supporting students on their IELTS journey since 2003 and feels privileged to have watched them succeed. While most people probably do not like taking tests, Sophie believes that preparing for the IELTS exam can be both interesting and fun. She loves language and structure and enjoys exploring both with her students to help them achieve their aims.

More about the author

filter tags

Recommended For You

recommended book image
IELTS Vocabulary up to Band 6

Learn all the vocabulary you need to achieve up to band 6 in IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. It includes useful tips on how to learn vocabulary and covers tricky areas such as the language needed to describe data and processes. This book also includes practice exercises for each skill, regular progress checks and tips on how to avoid typical errors. Previous title Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Also available for Bands 6.5 and above *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses
TopTips
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses

Which of these skills do you feel most confident with: listening, reading, writing or speaking? Which do you feel you most need to improve? Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is essential if you want to focus your IELTS preparation on the right areas and maximise your study time. As a teacher, I’ve seen people avoid practising certain skills because they find them more difficult than others, and I’ve seen people lose motivation because they only focus on their weakest skills and lose confidence in their ability to improve.  So, to help you understand how best to use your IELTS preparation time, look at the skills below, identify which ones are your strengths and which are your weaknesses, and then read my advice at the end of this post about deciding which to focus on.  IELTS skills and sub-skills As you probably know, IELTS assesses listening, reading, writing and speaking, but have you thought about the set of skills needed to do each of these well (i.e. sub-skills)? For example, to do well in the IELTS Listening test, you need to be able to understand the main ideas and detailed information, recognise the opinions, attitudes and purpose of a speaker, and follow the development of an argument. (Click to enlarge) So, now you know what sub-skills are needed for IELTS, it’s time to identify which you’re already good at and which you need to improve. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses If you read the skills and sub-skills above and don’t know which ones are your strengths and weaknesses, then you’re not alone. Most people find it easier to identify their weaknesses than their strengths and find it difficult to identify which sub-skills they are strong or weak at. To help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, here are three methods you can try. Pay attention to your results and feedback. You may of course have taken an IELTS test before and can see in your results that some of your skills are stronger than others. You can also pay attention to results and feedback from other sources, e.g. what other people say about your writing or how much they understand when you speak.  Think about how different parts of the IELTS test make you feel. If you feel interested when you listen to IELTS Listening recordings, for example, or fulfilled when you answer the questions, this is a sign that listening is one of your strengths or could become one in the future. If you feel worried or afraid when you think about the IELTS Writing test, it’s probably because your writing is an area of weakness.  Try the practice questions on IELTSi. IELTS intelligence is an online tool that will quickly help you check your ability in the skills/sub-skills needed for IELTS. If you do the IELTS Reading questions, for example, you’ll get feedback on what sub-skills the questions test, why you got particular answers wrong, and how you can increase your chances of getting similar questions right next time. Here’s an example of the feedback you can get from IELTSi, showing you the reading sub-skill that a question tested (i.e. finding details), the reason the answer was wrong, and how you can improve at this sub-skill. (Click to enlarge) Once you’ve identified your strengths and weaknesses, you’re ready to choose which ones to focus on in your IELTS preparation. Choosing the skills and sub-skills to focus on If it’s only your IELTS Overall band score that’s important, then you have the option to focus more of your time on improving your strengths rather than your weaknesses, and there are very good reasons to do this. Focusing on your strengths can make you feel happier, experience less stress, feel more confident and be more productive!  If, like most test takers, you need to reach a minimum score in each of the IELTS skills (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking), then of course you can’t ignore your weaknesses. What you can do, however, is focus your time in one or both of the following ways so that you improve the skills you’re already good at, stay motivated, and make progress in your weakest areas. Use your strengths to support your weaknesses. For example, if you’re much stronger at listening than reading, you could use your listening skills to support your reading skills by listening to a news story or audiobook before reading it. If you’re more confident with your speaking than your writing, you could tell someone your ideas on an IELTS Writing Task 2 topic before planning and writing the essay. Help someone who needs help in your areas of strength and ask them for some help in your areas of weakness. When you have to teach someone else, you’ll put more effort into understanding the skill or sub-skill and find out what you still need to learn. You’ll also no longer need to struggle alone with the skills you find most difficult. To find out the IELTS band score you need, check with the institution you are applying to (e.g. the university, employer or government department) or search on the official IELTS website here. If you use your strengths to your advantage and study in ways you prefer, you’ll make the best use of your study time and feel a lot better too! Best of luck, Pete

Pete Jones

30 April, 2021

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses

Which of these skills do you feel most confident with: listening, reading, writing or speaking? Which do you feel you most need to improve?

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is essential if you want to focus your IELTS preparation on the right areas and maximise your study time.

As a teacher, I’ve seen people avoid practising certain skills because they find them more difficult than others, and I’ve seen people lose motivation because they only focus on their weakest skills and lose confidence in their ability to improve.

So, to help you understand how best to use your IELTS preparation time, look at the skills below, identify which ones are your strengths and which are your weaknesses, and then read my advice at the end of this post about deciding which to focus on.

IELTS skills and sub-skills

As you probably know, IELTS assesses listening, reading, writing and speaking, but have you thought about the set of skills needed to do each of these well (i.e. sub-skills)?

For example, to do well in the IELTS Listening test, you need to be able to understand the main ideas and detailed information, recognise the opinions, attitudes and purpose of a speaker, and follow the development of an argument.

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses

(Click to enlarge)

So, now you know what sub-skills are needed for IELTS, it’s time to identify which you’re already good at and which you need to improve.

Identifying your strengths and weaknesses

If you read the skills and sub-skills above and don’t know which ones are your strengths and weaknesses, then you’re not alone. Most people find it easier to identify their weaknesses than their strengths and find it difficult to identify which sub-skills they are strong or weak at.

To help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, here are three methods you can try.

  1. Pay attention to your results and feedback. You may of course have taken an IELTS test before and can see in your results that some of your skills are stronger than others. You can also pay attention to results and feedback from other sources, e.g. what other people say about your writing or how much they understand when you speak.
  2. Think about how different parts of the IELTS test make you feel. If you feel interested when you listen to IELTS Listening recordings, for example, or fulfilled when you answer the questions, this is a sign that listening is one of your strengths or could become one in the future. If you feel worried or afraid when you think about the IELTS Writing test, it’s probably because your writing is an area of weakness.
  3. Try the practice questions on IELTSi. IELTS intelligence is an online tool that will quickly help you check your ability in the skills/sub-skills needed for IELTS. If you do the IELTS Reading questions, for example, you’ll get feedback on what sub-skills the questions test, why you got particular answers wrong, and how you can increase your chances of getting similar questions right next time.

Here’s an example of the feedback you can get from IELTSi, showing you the reading sub-skill that a question tested (i.e. finding details), the reason the answer was wrong, and how you can improve at this sub-skill.

IELTS Intelligence Feedback

(Click to enlarge)

Once you’ve identified your strengths and weaknesses, you’re ready to choose which ones to focus on in your IELTS preparation.

Choosing the skills and sub-skills to focus on

If it’s only your IELTS Overall band score that’s important, then you have the option to focus more of your time on improving your strengths rather than your weaknesses, and there are very good reasons to do this.

Focusing on your strengths can make you feel happier, experience less stress, feel more confident and be more productive! 

If, like most test takers, you need to reach a minimum score in each of the IELTS skills (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking), then of course you can’t ignore your weaknesses.

What you can do, however, is focus your time in one or both of the following ways so that you improve the skills you’re already good at, stay motivated, and make progress in your weakest areas.

  1. Use your strengths to support your weaknesses. For example, if you’re much stronger at listening than reading, you could use your listening skills to support your reading skills by listening to a news story or audiobook before reading it. If you’re more confident with your speaking than your writing, you could tell someone your ideas on an IELTS Writing Task 2 topic before planning and writing the essay.
  2. Help someone who needs help in your areas of strength and ask them for some help in your areas of weakness. When you have to teach someone else, you’ll put more effort into understanding the skill or sub-skill and find out what you still need to learn. You’ll also no longer need to struggle alone with the skills you find most difficult.

To find out the IELTS band score you need, check with the institution you are applying to (e.g. the university, employer or government department) or search on the official IELTS website here.

If you use your strengths to your advantage and study in ways you prefer, you’ll make the best use of your study time and feel a lot better too!

Best of luck,

Pete

Pete Jones

Pete has been helping IELTS test takers and teachers for many years and really enjoys helping people improve their English and their IELTS band score.

More about the author

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IELTS intelligence

Improve your skills the intelligent way. IELTS intelligence is the fast, accurate way to assess your ability in the skills needed for IELTS success. Developed in partnership with Cambridge Assessment English, the producers of the IELTS test, this online tool helps you maximise your study time to achieve your target band score. Simply answer a series of IELTS-style questions then get your feedback report showing your strengths, weakness and how to improve. *Cambridge One is an online learning platform from Cambridge University Press.

Top 3 strategies from a successful IELTS candidate
TopTips
Top 3 strategies from a successful IELTS candidate

What are the best strategies to get the IELTS band score you need? What do a sloth and an ant have to do with IELTS? Is it a good idea to study with another IELTS candidate? These are some of the questions I am going to answer today. In 2011 I was an IELTS candidate, just like you. Although I didn’t really need to sit the exam for any particular purpose, I was very determined to get a high score…and I did it! These are some strategies I used that really made a difference for me. Build self-discipline: be aware of the sloth! You come home from work or school and you’re tired. The last thing you feel like doing is studying vocabulary to describe bar charts for Academic Writing Task 1, even though you know this is what you should be doing as this is an area you need to improve.  You have two options:  You don’t do it. You’ve already worked very hard today. You decide to do a much more relaxing and enjoyable activity such as watching your favourite TV series. You relax for ten/fifteen minutes, gather your energy, have a shower and then start working on those expressions.   Guess which option I would always go for? OK, there are times when you’re really exhausted. You won’t learn very much so it’s better to leave your studies aside. This shouldn’t happen too often, though. I’ve always thought that there are two animals living in our brain: a sloth, the lazy one, and an ant, the hard-working one. It’s extremely easy to join the sloth as it makes you do easy, fun and pleasurable things. But joining the sloth doesn’t give you any rewards in return.    The ant, on the other hand, is the one that will make you sweat and work hard, but has a great prize for you in the end. You definitely want to collaborate with the ant to pass the exam, so be careful not to spend too much time with the sloth in your brain!  Focus on what you’re not good at first I learned this from my drum teacher. He used to tell me, ‘You should practise and work at things you have difficulties with, not the ones you’re already good at. That’s how you will improve your drumming’. This is also valid when preparing for IELTS. It’s easy to do things we’re already good at, but problems begin when you have to do those you’re not comfortable with.  It was writing for me. What is it for you? Look at the picture below. Those are all the writing tasks I did in preparation for the exam.   For various reasons, I had a lot of trouble finishing Task 2 in forty minutes. This was a specific weakness I had, so I needed to improve on this. To solve a specific problem, you need a specific solution and, in my case, this was to practise writing Task 2 essays using a stopwatch. I would start writing and, after forty minutes, I would stop, no matter if I had finished or not. I then counted the words and recorded the number in my notebook. I did the same thing using a lot of other Task 2 questions and the number of words slowly started to increase. I improved, and the more I improved, the better I felt. On the day of the exam, I was confident I would complete Task 2 in time. And so I did. So, ask yourself what you’re not so good at and be as specific as possible in your answer. If you find a specific problem, it’ll be easier to find the right solutions for it. Then make your weakness your priority. Practise with another candidate Practising and studying with another IELTS candidate has a lot of benefits. You can learn from your mistakes, share problems and give advice to each other. It’s also a way to reflect and discuss what you find problematic about the exam. I used to meet with one of my classmates just to practise the speaking part of the exam. He would take the role of the examiner and interview me with a stopwatch. We then swapped roles. We recorded the interview on our smartphones and then commented on our performance. It was fun and we learned a lot from each other. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, you can easily find a candidate on social media (better if they don’t speak your language). A problem shared is a problem halved, right? These were my top strategies I used as an IELTS candidate. They worked for me but they might not work for you. There’s only one way to find out: try them! Fabio

Fabio Cerpelloni

21 April, 2021

Top 3 strategies from a successful IELTS candidate

Top 3 strategies from a successful IELTS candidate

What are the best strategies to get the IELTS band score you need? What do a sloth and an ant have to do with IELTS? Is it a good idea to study with another IELTS candidate? These are some of the questions I am going to answer today.

In 2011 I was an IELTS candidate, just like you. Although I didn’t really need to sit the exam for any particular purpose, I was very determined to get a high score…and I did it! These are some strategies I used that really made a difference for me.

Build self-discipline: be aware of the sloth!

You come home from work or school and you’re tired. The last thing you feel like doing is studying vocabulary to describe bar charts for Academic Writing Task 1, even though you know this is what you should be doing as this is an area you need to improve.

You have two options:

  1. You don’t do it. You’ve already worked very hard today. You decide to do a much more relaxing and enjoyable activity such as watching your favourite TV series.
  2. You relax for ten/fifteen minutes, gather your energy, have a shower and then start working on those expressions.  

Guess which option I would always go for? OK, there are times when you’re really exhausted. You won’t learn very much so it’s better to leave your studies aside. This shouldn’t happen too often, though.

I’ve always thought that there are two animals living in our brain: a sloth, the lazy one, and an ant, the hard-working one. It’s extremely easy to join the sloth as it makes you do easy, fun and pleasurable things. But joining the sloth doesn’t give you any rewards in return.

Sloth

 

The ant, on the other hand, is the one that will make you sweat and work hard, but has a great prize for you in the end. You definitely want to collaborate with the ant to pass the exam, so be careful not to spend too much time with the sloth in your brain!

Focus on what you’re not good at first

I learned this from my drum teacher. He used to tell me, ‘You should practise and work at things you have difficulties with, not the ones you’re already good at. That’s how you will improve your drumming’. This is also valid when preparing for IELTS. It’s easy to do things we’re already good at, but problems begin when you have to do those you’re not comfortable with.

It was writing for me. What is it for you?

Look at the picture below. Those are all the writing tasks I did in preparation for the exam.

Writing Practice

 

For various reasons, I had a lot of trouble finishing Task 2 in forty minutes. This was a specific weakness I had, so I needed to improve on this. To solve a specific problem, you need a specific solution and, in my case, this was to practise writing Task 2 essays using a stopwatch. I would start writing and, after forty minutes, I would stop, no matter if I had finished or not. I then counted the words and recorded the number in my notebook. I did the same thing using a lot of other Task 2 questions and the number of words slowly started to increase. I improved, and the more I improved, the better I felt. On the day of the exam, I was confident I would complete Task 2 in time. And so I did.

So, ask yourself what you’re not so good at and be as specific as possible in your answer. If you find a specific problem, it’ll be easier to find the right solutions for it. Then make your weakness your priority.

Practise with another candidate

Practising and studying with another IELTS candidate has a lot of benefits. You can learn from your mistakes, share problems and give advice to each other. It’s also a way to reflect and discuss what you find problematic about the exam.

I used to meet with one of my classmates just to practise the speaking part of the exam. He would take the role of the examiner and interview me with a stopwatch. We then swapped roles. We recorded the interview on our smartphones and then commented on our performance. It was fun and we learned a lot from each other. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, you can easily find a candidate on social media (better if they don’t speak your language). A problem shared is a problem halved, right?

These were my top strategies I used as an IELTS candidate. They worked for me but they might not work for you. There’s only one way to find out: try them!

Fabio

Fabio Cerpelloni

Fabio took the IELTS exam in 2011 and has been supporting IELTS candidates and English language learners for 6 years in different countries.

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Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS

This all-in-one study guide provides comprehensive preparation for IELTS Academic and General Training and is packed with activities, practice tests and tips to help you maximise your IELTS score. It covers the language and skills you need to perform with confidence. Organised by skill, you can study from start to finish or focus on areas that you need most help with. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

All the vocabulary and grammar you need for IELTS Success
TopTips
All the vocabulary and grammar you need for IELTS success

We're excited to share three new editions of our popular IELTS books focussing on Grammar and Vocabulary. Whatever your target band score - we have the product for you! The new editions include: IELTS-style exercises Regular progress checks Tips on how to avoid typical errors   Want to see more? Our writing team have created a range of blogs using IELTS Vocabulary Up to Band 6, you can find a selection below: How to improve your vocabulary using collocations Common Mistakes: -ed or -ing for adjectives describing feelings How to improve your vocabulary around education 5 ways to improve your spelling What is British English? Words, words, words – here’s a challenge for you   Want to see more? Our writing team have created a range of blogs using IELTS Vocabulary for Bands 6.5 and above, you can find a selection below: Three ways to remember vocabulary for your IELTS test Talking about your hometown How to improve your vocabulary around personality How to improve your vocabulary around technology How to improve your vocabulary around energy IELTS Speaking Game: Don't Say It! Word families: learn one new word and ‘meet' two more   Want to see more? Our writing team have created a range of blogs using IELTS Grammar for Bands 6.5 and above, you can find a selection below: Grammar: What is future tense? Grammar Essentials: The Definite Article Grammar Essentials: past simple versus present perfect Grammar Essentials: What is the passive voice? Grammar Essentials: Subject and Verb Agreement Describing processes in IELTS Writing Part 1 Essential Grammar in IELTS Speaking How to get a better score for grammar If you have any topic ideas for future blogs that you would like us to cover using exercises from these books, do let us know on Facebook or Instagram. Please do let us know if you have any questions, we'd love to hear from you! We Love IELTS Team 

We Love IELTS

19 April, 2021

All the vocabulary and grammar you need for IELTS success

All the vocabulary and grammar you need for IELTS Success

We're excited to share three new editions of our popular IELTS books focussing on Grammar and Vocabulary.
Whatever your target band score - we have the product for you!

The new editions include:

  • IELTS-style exercises
  • Regular progress checks
  • Tips on how to avoid typical errors
IELTS Vocabulary up to Band 6

 

Want to see more? Our writing team have created a range of blogs using IELTS Vocabulary Up to Band 6, you can find a selection below:

IELTS Vocabulary for Bands 6.5 and above

 

Want to see more? Our writing team have created a range of blogs using IELTS Vocabulary for Bands 6.5 and above, you can find a selection below:

IELTS Grammar for Bands 6.5 and above

 

Want to see more? Our writing team have created a range of blogs using IELTS Grammar for Bands 6.5 and above, you can find a selection below:

If you have any topic ideas for future blogs that you would like us to cover using exercises from these books, do let us know on Facebook or Instagram.

Please do let us know if you have any questions, we'd love to hear from you!

We Love IELTS Team

We Love IELTS

We Love IELTS gives IELTS test takers all the preparation materials and advice they need for success.

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word families
TopTips
Word families: learn one new word and ‘meet' two more

‘My vocabulary is not very good.’ ‘I don’t know many words in English.’ Does this sound familiar? Do you feel the same? Would you like to expand your vocabulary? Did you know that words have families too? Words are related to other words – a bit like a cousin.    Listening Practice: Listen to Liz share how to learn one new word and 'meet' two more.     Let's start with the word 'communicate' - this is a verb. Here it is in a sentence: It is difficult to communicate in a foreign language. Now let’s start the sentence with the noun from the same family: Communication in a foreign language is difficult.  The adjective is ‘communicative’; here’s the same sentence: It is difficult to be communicative in a foreign language.   When you learn a new word, it is a good idea to learn how to form the noun, verb and adjective if there is one. This way you’ll start to learn vocabulary not one word at a time, but in threes! To make nouns, verbs and adjectives, you need to add ‘suffixes’ to the end of a word. A suffix is a letter, or group of letters, that can be added to the end of a word to form a new word. Let’s look again at the words above. Verb – communicate. We add the suffix 'ate' to make some verbs. Here are some examples: translate, create, celebrate, participate. Noun – communication. We add the suffix 'tion' to make some nouns. Here are some examples: translation, creation, celebration and participation. Adjective – communicative. We add the suffix 'tive' to make some adjectives. Here are some examples: informative, creative, attentive. When you can make different forms of words then you can use them to express the same or similar ideas in different ways (as in the ‘communicate’ sentences above). Here are some more examples: Example 1: I am going to graduate next month. My graduation is next month. There is no adjective that can be made from ‘graduate.’   Example 2: It is important to collaborate with your team. Collaboration with your team is important. It is important to be collaborative when you’re working in a team.   Expanding your vocabulary will help you in all parts of the IELTS test. Using different forms of words shows you have a range of vocabulary and grammar. It’s also a good way to avoid repeating the same words, especially in the Writing and Speaking tests. Why not practise today? Choose one of the words below and write two sentences - one sentence using a verb, the other using a noun or an adjective. inform decorate imagine protect circulate compensate attract   It’s important to say there are more suffixes which have not been mentioned here. I'd recommend further practice from IELTS Vocabulary up to Band 6 (Unit 21). We’ll be covering more suffixes in later blogs so please come back for more. Liz

Liz Marqueiro

19 March, 2021

Word families: learn one new word and ‘meet' two more

word families

‘My vocabulary is not very good.’ ‘I don’t know many words in English.’ Does this sound familiar? Do you feel the same?
Would you like to expand your vocabulary? Did you know that words have families too? Words are related to other words – a bit like a cousin.

 

Listening Icon Listening Practice: Listen to Liz share how to learn one new word and 'meet' two more.

 

 

Let's start with the word 'communicate' - this is a verb. Here it is in a sentence:

It is difficult to communicate in a foreign language.

Now let’s start the sentence with the noun from the same family:

Communication in a foreign language is difficult. 

The adjective is ‘communicative’; here’s the same sentence:

It is difficult to be communicative in a foreign language.

 

When you learn a new word, it is a good idea to learn how to form the noun, verb and adjective if there is one. This way you’ll start to learn vocabulary not one word at a time, but in threes!

To make nouns, verbs and adjectives, you need to add ‘suffixes’ to the end of a word. A suffix is a letter, or group of letters, that can be added to the end of a word to form a new word.

Let’s look again at the words above.

Verb – communicate. We add the suffix 'ate' to make some verbs. Here are some examples: translate, create, celebrate, participate.

Noun – communication. We add the suffix 'tion' to make some nouns. Here are some examples: translation, creation, celebration and participation.

Adjective – communicative. We add the suffix 'tive' to make some adjectives. Here are some examples: informative, creative, attentive.

When you can make different forms of words then you can use them to express the same or similar ideas in different ways (as in the ‘communicate’ sentences above). Here are some more examples:

Example 1:

I am going to graduate next month.
My graduation is next month.
There is no adjective that can be made from ‘graduate.’

 

Example 2:

It is important to collaborate with your team.
Collaboration with your team is important.
It is important to be collaborative when you’re working in a team.

 

Expanding your vocabulary will help you in all parts of the IELTS test. Using different forms of words shows you have a range of vocabulary and grammar. It’s also a good way to avoid repeating the same words, especially in the Writing and Speaking tests.

Why not practise today? Choose one of the words below and write two sentences - one sentence using a verb, the other using a noun or an adjective.

inform decorate imagine protect

circulate compensate attract

 

It’s important to say there are more suffixes which have not been mentioned here. I'd recommend further practice from IELTS Vocabulary up to Band 6 (Unit 21).

We’ll be covering more suffixes in later blogs so please come back for more.

Liz

Liz Marqueiro

Liz has been teaching IELTS around the world for over 25 years.

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IELTS Vocabulary for Bands 6.5 and above

Learn all the vocabulary you need to achieve band 6.5 and above in IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. It includes useful tips on how to learn vocabulary and covers tricky areas such as the language needed to describe data and processes. This book also includes practice exercises for each skill, regular progress checks and tips on how to avoid typical errors. Previous title Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced Also available for up to Band 6 *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

What is computer-delivered IELTS?
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What is computer-delivered IELTS?

When you book your IELTS test you may have to choose whether to do the test on a computer or on paper. Today I am going to answer some of the questions I am asked most often about the computer-delivered IELTS. 1. Is the computer-delivered IELTS test different to the paper-based IELTS test? The simple answer to this question is NO. The content of the computer-delivered test is exactly the same as paper-based IELTS, and the skills you need to complete the tasks are identical. However, typing your answers on a computer rather than writing them on paper means that things like making corrections, taking notes, highlighting text and keywords etc. are a little different. In the computer-delivered IELTS you read the questions, read texts on a screen and input your answers on the computer. You will not need to transfer your answers to an answer sheet. Just like in the paper-based test, in the computer-delivered test the Listening, Reading and Writing sections are all completed on the same day. In the computer-delivered IELTS the Speaking Test is face-to-face,  just like the paper-based test. It usually happens on the same day as the other sections of the test but, it can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests. You will be told by the test centre what the arrangements are. So, to summarise the test content, the question types and scoring are all exactly the same. The only minor difference is in the timing of the IELTS Listening Test as you do not need to transfer your answers at the end of the test.  2. Can I take the IELTS test in my home? No you cannot. All IELTS tests happen in an IELTS test centre. This is to ensure that the test is secure and fair for all candidates. 3. Can I use my own laptop for the IELTS test? No you are not allowed to use your own laptop. To ensure that the test is secure and fair for all, you will take the test on a desktop computer in an IELTS test centre.   4. How can I prepare for the computer-delivered test? You can use exactly the same preparation material for both the computer-delivered and paper-based IELTS. The most important step is to get a good self-study book that has information about all parts of the test. Choose a book that covers the IELTS test that you are taking: Academic or General Paper. Use the Resource Finder to help you find the best self-study book for you.  You can also use any of the preparation material on the We Love IELTS website along with our Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channel of course! You can also subscribe to our Newsletter so that you don’t miss any new resources. Here are some steps you can take when preparing for the computer-delivered IELTS are: Get a good self-study book that covers all parts of the IELTS test you are preparing for. Make sure you understand what you will be asked to do in each section of the test. Remember the Writing Section and Reading Section is different in the Academic IELTS Test and General Paper IELTS Test.  Get a feel for what the computer-delivered IELTS is like with IELTS Intelligence or this YouTube playlist from IELTS Official.  Get lots of practise typing quickly and accurately (without relying on any software to check your spelling and grammar). Use past test questions and type your answers on your computer, time yourself so that you know how quickly you need to type.  Take an online familiarisation test so that you know what all the options in the computer-delivered IELTS test are. Pay particular attention to how you make notes, highlight words, move through the questions and record your answers. 5. Which test should I take? This comes down to personal choice. You may be used to taking exams on paper from other exam situations you have experienced, whereas other people might feel more comfortable typing or have more experience taking tests on a computer. Whichever format you choose, make sure you get lots of practice writing quickly! You need to have legible handwriting or be able to type quickly and accurately. You can go back and correct any mistakes but there is no spell-check tool on the computer! An advantage of opting for the computer-delivered IELTS is that there are more test dates available, so you may be able to choose a more convenient time to take the test. Another advantage of the computer-delivered test is that you get your results quicker, usually within 3-5 days! I hope that this blog post has answered some of your questions. If you have more questions about IELTS you can look at the FAQs page here on the website or send us a direct message on Facebook or Instagram. Good luck in the test! Emma

Emma Cosgrave

9 March, 2021

What is computer-delivered IELTS?

What is computer-delivered IELTS?

When you book your IELTS test you may have to choose whether to do the test on a computer or on paper. Today I am going to answer some of the questions I am asked most often about the computer-delivered IELTS.

1. Is the computer-delivered IELTS test different to the paper-based IELTS test?

The simple answer to this question is NO. The content of the computer-delivered test is exactly the same as paper-based IELTS, and the skills you need to complete the tasks are identical. However, typing your answers on a computer rather than writing them on paper means that things like making corrections, taking notes, highlighting text and keywords etc. are a little different. In the computer-delivered IELTS you read the questions, read texts on a screen and input your answers on the computer. You will not need to transfer your answers to an answer sheet.

Just like in the paper-based test, in the computer-delivered test the Listening, Reading and Writing sections are all completed on the same day. In the computer-delivered IELTS the Speaking Test is face-to-face, just like the paper-based test. It usually happens on the same day as the other sections of the test but, it can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests. You will be told by the test centre what the arrangements are.

So, to summarise the test content, the question types and scoring are all exactly the same. The only minor difference is in the timing of the IELTS Listening Test as you do not need to transfer your answers at the end of the test.

2. Can I take the IELTS test in my home?

No you cannot. All IELTS tests happen in an IELTS test centre. This is to ensure that the test is secure and fair for all candidates.

3. Can I use my own laptop for the IELTS test?

No you are not allowed to use your own laptop. To ensure that the test is secure and fair for all, you will take the test on a desktop computer in an IELTS test centre.  

4. How can I prepare for the computer-delivered test?

You can use exactly the same preparation material for both the computer-delivered and paper-based IELTS. The most important step is to get a good self-study book that has information about all parts of the test. Choose a book that covers the IELTS test that you are taking: Academic or General Paper. Use the Resource Finder to help you find the best self-study book for you.

You can also use any of the preparation material on the We Love IELTS website along with our Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channel of course! You can also subscribe to our Newsletter so that you don’t miss any new resources.

Here are some steps you can take when preparing for the computer-delivered IELTS are:

  1. Get a good self-study book that covers all parts of the IELTS test you are preparing for. Make sure you understand what you will be asked to do in each section of the test. Remember the Writing Section and Reading Section is different in the Academic IELTS Test and General Paper IELTS Test.
  2. Get a feel for what the computer-delivered IELTS is like with IELTS Intelligence or this YouTube playlist from IELTS Official.
  3. Get lots of practise typing quickly and accurately (without relying on any software to check your spelling and grammar). Use past test questions and type your answers on your computer, time yourself so that you know how quickly you need to type.
  4. Take an online familiarisation test so that you know what all the options in the computer-delivered IELTS test are. Pay particular attention to how you make notes, highlight words, move through the questions and record your answers.

5. Which test should I take?

This comes down to personal choice. You may be used to taking exams on paper from other exam situations you have experienced, whereas other people might feel more comfortable typing or have more experience taking tests on a computer.

Whichever format you choose, make sure you get lots of practice writing quickly! You need to have legible handwriting or be able to type quickly and accurately. You can go back and correct any mistakes but there is no spell-check tool on the computer!

An advantage of opting for the computer-delivered IELTS is that there are more test dates available, so you may be able to choose a more convenient time to take the test. Another advantage of the computer-delivered test is that you get your results quicker, usually within 3-5 days!

I hope that this blog post has answered some of your questions. If you have more questions about IELTS you can look at the FAQs page here on the website or send us a direct message on Facebook or Instagram.

Good luck in the test!

Emma

Emma Cosgrave

Emma has been teaching IELTS for 20 years. She enjoys helping people to develop both their language skills and confidence.

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IELTS intelligence

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Birthday vocabulary
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Birthday vocabulary

We Love IELTS is officially a year old today and to celebrate our first birthday I'd like to help you learn some vocabulary on the topic of birthdays and milestones. So, whether you're 18, 80 or anywhere in between, read on for some vocabulary related to these special occasions and for some common mistakes to avoid. Even if you don’t celebrate birthdays yourself, it’s still important to be able to talk about this topic in case you have to in your IELTS Speaking test! Birthdays When you think about the word ‘birthday’, which other words come to mind?  The first words to come to my mind are birthday cards, birthday cakes, birthday parties, and birthday presents.   These pairs of words are examples of words that are often used together in English (i.e. collocations), and if you remember them as combinations of words (e.g. ‘birthday presents’) rather than separate, individual words (‘birthday’ and ‘presents’), you’ll be able to use them more fluently when you speak. Whenever I think of birthdays, I also think about getting one year older and one year nearer my next milestone birthday – a milestone or landmark birthday is a special birthday such as your 18th, 21st, 30th, or 40th. Are there any birthdays that are particularly special in your culture?  A common mistake when describing your age Which of the following are correct ways for someone to describe his/her age and which are mistakes? I have 20 years old I’m 20 years old I have 20 years I’m 20 Think carefully as you could choose the wrong answers if you translate directly from your first language. You may be surprised at how many English language learners use the wrong grammar to say how old they are! You can check the answers at the end of this post. (You could also check the grammar I used above to describe how old We Love IELTS is). Milestones One meaning of the word ‘milestone’ is a very important event or stage in someone’s life. Which of these milestones have you reached?    Remember, personalising vocabulary like this (i.e. connecting new words/phrases to your own experiences and opinions) is one way to improve your vocabulary for IELTS. For other meanings of the word ‘milestone’, check out the entry in the Cambridge online dictionary here. A useful phrasal verb  With any important milestone, there’s usually some excitement about reaching it, e.g. I’m sure you are (or were) excited about going abroad for the first time. To see how to use (and not to use) the phrasal verb ‘look forward to’ to describe this excitement, check out this video of 30-second IELTS. {"preview_thumbnail":"/sites/default/files/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/Ff-zeuaWG98.jpg?itok=65uQk0KR","video_url":"https://youtu.be/Ff-zeuaWG98","settings":{"responsive":1,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":0},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (Responsive)."]}   At 1, We Love IELTS has reached an important milestone, and we’re looking forward to continuing to help you prepare for IELTS over the next year. Pete P.S. The correct ways for someone to describe their age are 2) I’m 20 years old, and 4) I’m 20. Answers 1 and 3 are mistakes.

Pete Jones

26 February, 2021

Birthday vocabulary

Birthday vocabulary

We Love IELTS is officially a year old today and to celebrate our first birthday I'd like to help you learn some vocabulary on the topic of birthdays and milestones.

So, whether you're 18, 80 or anywhere in between, read on for some vocabulary related to these special occasions and for some common mistakes to avoid.

Even if you don’t celebrate birthdays yourself, it’s still important to be able to talk about this topic in case you have to in your IELTS Speaking test!

Birthdays

When you think about the word ‘birthday’, which other words come to mind?

The first words to come to my mind are birthday cards, birthday cakes, birthday parties, and birthday presents.

Birthday Vocabulary

 

These pairs of words are examples of words that are often used together in English (i.e. collocations), and if you remember them as combinations of words (e.g. ‘birthday presents’) rather than separate, individual words (‘birthday’ and ‘presents’), you’ll be able to use them more fluently when you speak.

Whenever I think of birthdays, I also think about getting one year older and one year nearer my next milestone birthday – a milestone or landmark birthday is a special birthday such as your 18th, 21st, 30th, or 40th.

Are there any birthdays that are particularly special in your culture?

A common mistake when describing your age

Which of the following are correct ways for someone to describe his/her age and which are mistakes?

  1. I have 20 years old
  2. I’m 20 years old
  3. I have 20 years
  4. I’m 20

Think carefully as you could choose the wrong answers if you translate directly from your first language.

You may be surprised at how many English language learners use the wrong grammar to say how old they are!

You can check the answers at the end of this post. (You could also check the grammar I used above to describe how old We Love IELTS is).

Milestones

One meaning of the word ‘milestone’ is a very important event or stage in someone’s life.

Which of these milestones have you reached?

Milestones

 

Remember, personalising vocabulary like this (i.e. connecting new words/phrases to your own experiences and opinions) is one way to improve your vocabulary for IELTS.

For other meanings of the word ‘milestone’, check out the entry in the Cambridge online dictionary here.

A useful phrasal verb

With any important milestone, there’s usually some excitement about reaching it, e.g. I’m sure you are (or were) excited about going abroad for the first time.

To see how to use (and not to use) the phrasal verb ‘look forward to’ to describe this excitement, check out this video of 30-second IELTS.

 

At 1, We Love IELTS has reached an important milestone, and we’re looking forward to continuing to help you prepare for IELTS over the next year.

Pete

P.S. The correct ways for someone to describe their age are 2) I’m 20 years old, and 4) I’m 20. Answers 1 and 3 are mistakes.

Pete Jones

Pete has been helping IELTS test takers and teachers for many years and really enjoys helping people improve their English and their IELTS band score.

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IELTS Vocabulary up to Band 6

Learn all the vocabulary you need to achieve up to band 6 in IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. It includes useful tips on how to learn vocabulary and covers tricky areas such as the language needed to describe data and processes. This book also includes practice exercises for each skill, regular progress checks and tips on how to avoid typical errors. Previous title Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Also available for Bands 6.5 and above *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

We Love IELTS turns one
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It's our birthday - enter our competition to win!

We Love IELTS turns 1! Thank you for being part of our community and supporting our vision to provide industry-leading preparation for IELTS test takers. Here's an overview of what we have achieved and links to resources available on We Love IELTS: ⭐ Over 100 blog posts have gone live covering all IELTS Skills, with 56,000 downloads! Find our top picks here. ⭐ Two seasons of our podcast, with over 50,000 plays! ⭐ 664,735 video views across 74 videos on YouTube. ⭐ Nearly 10,000 Instagram followers, keeping up with our daily stories and exercises. ⭐ Over 430,000 of you have joined our community on Facebook. ⭐ Nealy 15,000 of you subscribe to our newsletter, with tips and advice straight into your inbox. (P.S. You can still subscribe if you haven't already)   We're really excited to let you know about a competition we are running to celebrate our one-year anniversary.  We are giving one lucky winner the opportunity to complete an authentic Writing practice test Task 1 or 2 and get their work marked by a former IELTS examiner. This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone currently studying for IELTS who has their test coming up and wants to know how they are getting on. To enter: Go to our Instagram Like this post Follow our page Let us know how We Love IELTS has helped you with your IELTS studies.  (Terms and Conditions apply) Good luck! We Love IELTS

We Love IELTS

22 February, 2021

It's our birthday - enter our competition to win!

We Love IELTS turns one

We Love IELTS turns 1! Thank you for being part of our community and supporting our vision to provide industry-leading preparation for IELTS test takers.

Here's an overview of what we have achieved and links to resources available on We Love IELTS:

⭐ Over 100 blog posts have gone live covering all IELTS Skills, with 56,000 downloads! Find our top picks here.

⭐ Two seasons of our podcast, with over 50,000 plays!

⭐ 664,735 video views across 74 videos on YouTube.

⭐ Nearly 10,000 Instagram followers, keeping up with our daily stories and exercises.

⭐ Over 430,000 of you have joined our community on Facebook.

⭐ Nealy 15,000 of you subscribe to our newsletter, with tips and advice straight into your inbox. (P.S. You can still subscribe if you haven't already)


Your chance to win

 

We're really excited to let you know about a competition we are running to celebrate our one-year anniversary.

We are giving one lucky winner the opportunity to complete an authentic Writing practice test Task 1 or 2 and get their work marked by a former IELTS examiner. This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone currently studying for IELTS who has their test coming up and wants to know how they are getting on.

To enter:

  1. Go to our Instagram
  2. Like this post
  3. Follow our page
  4. Let us know how We Love IELTS has helped you with your IELTS studies.

(Terms and Conditions apply)

Good luck!

We Love IELTS

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We Love IELTS

We Love IELTS gives IELTS test takers all the preparation materials and advice they need for success.

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IELTS Common Mistakes for bands 6-7

This book highlights the real mistakes that students make in the IELTS test and shows how to avoid them. Each unit targets a key problem area and is based on analysis of thousands of scripts from real test takers. Clear explanations and exercises show you how to use the language accurately. You can check what you’ve learned in the units with regular tests. Previous title Common Mistakes at IELTS Advanced. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

Are you feeling anxious about your IELTS test?
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Are you feeling anxious about your IELTS test?

Feeling nervous before taking a test like IELTS is very natural.  Many students worry about getting the score they need, if they have enough time to prepare, or if they can meet the expectations of someone else (e.g. a parent). You may really want to get a high score to start a university course, get a better job or move to another country. Feeling anxious can be positive; it can keep you motivated and focused on your goal. However, if you’re feeling very anxious or you don’t know how to manage your worry and nerves, it can affect how well you can prepare and how well you do in the test itself. So, if you’re worried about how anxious you are, read on… Are you too anxious about the test? If you’re feeling some or all of the following, then your anxiety about the IELTS test is probably having a negative effect on your preparation and will probably affect your performance on test day. (Click to enlarge) Constant worry and negative thoughts, for example, can prevent you from concentrating on or completing study exercises or test questions. Not being able to do tasks that require deep thinking (e.g. categorising vocabulary) will limit what you can learn and remember. Low self-belief may result in you deciding not to take an IELTS test at all! So, if you’re experiencing any of these, here’s what you can do to feel less anxious. How to manage test anxiety The good news is there’s lots you can do to manage your test anxiety before and during the IELTS test. While you’re preparing for IELTS, you can… become familiar with the format of the IELTS test so you know what to expect when you take the test learn strategies for how best to approach different question types and how to overcome problems (e.g. if you’re asked a difficult question in the IELTS Speaking test, ask the examiner to repeat the question to give yourself some thinking time) learn in ways that you prefer, e.g. on your own or with others replace negative thoughts like ‘I’m never going to get the score I need’ with positive ones like ‘I can do this. I’m putting effort into my preparation. I’m improving’ understand what’s making you most anxious and look for ways to turn that into a positive experience, e.g. if you’re worried about not having enough time to prepare, adjust your goal or schedule so that you have more time use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, listening to music, taking a walk or doing activities you enjoy make time to eat well, sleep well and see friends reflect on why a previous test experience didn’t go well and what you can do differently this time During the test, you can… replace negative thoughts like ‘I’m going to fail’ with positive ones like ‘I can do this. I prepared well. I know what I have to do’ focus on what you’re doing not what others in the test room are doing  use the strategies you have learned to answer questions and overcome problems, e.g. if you didn’t hear a question the examiner asks you in the IELTS Speaking test, ask them to repeat it manage your time, e.g. only spend a maximum of 20 minutes on the first IELTS Reading section/passage before moving on to the next one If you do all of these, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance of approaching the IELTS test with confidence and performing your best on the day. Get your anxiety to a manageable level and then use it to stay motivated and focused on your preparation! Listen to my podcast episode on how to reduce any anxiety you might have regarding the IELTS test: Pete

Pete Jones

11 January, 2021

Are you feeling anxious about your IELTS test?

Are you feeling anxious about your IELTS test?

Feeling nervous before taking a test like IELTS is very natural.

Many students worry about getting the score they need, if they have enough time to prepare, or if they can meet the expectations of someone else (e.g. a parent).

You may really want to get a high score to start a university course, get a better job or move to another country.

Feeling anxious can be positive; it can keep you motivated and focused on your goal.

However, if you’re feeling very anxious or you don’t know how to manage your worry and nerves, it can affect how well you can prepare and how well you do in the test itself. So, if you’re worried about how anxious you are, read on…

Are you too anxious about the test?

If you’re feeling some or all of the following, then your anxiety about the IELTS test is probably having a negative effect on your preparation and will probably affect your performance on test day.

Signs that you're too anxious

(Click to enlarge)

Constant worry and negative thoughts, for example, can prevent you from concentrating on or completing study exercises or test questions.

Not being able to do tasks that require deep thinking (e.g. categorising vocabulary) will limit what you can learn and remember.

Low self-belief may result in you deciding not to take an IELTS test at all!

So, if you’re experiencing any of these, here’s what you can do to feel less anxious.

How to manage test anxiety

The good news is there’s lots you can do to manage your test anxiety before and during the IELTS test.

While you’re preparing for IELTS, you can…

  • become familiar with the format of the IELTS test so you know what to expect when you take the test
  • learn strategies for how best to approach different question types and how to overcome problems (e.g. if you’re asked a difficult question in the IELTS Speaking test, ask the examiner to repeat the question to give yourself some thinking time)
  • learn in ways that you prefer, e.g. on your own or with others
  • replace negative thoughts like ‘I’m never going to get the score I need’ with positive ones like ‘I can do this. I’m putting effort into my preparation. I’m improving’
  • understand what’s making you most anxious and look for ways to turn that into a positive experience, e.g. if you’re worried about not having enough time to prepare, adjust your goal or schedule so that you have more time
  • use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, listening to music, taking a walk or doing activities you enjoy
  • make time to eat well, sleep well and see friends
  • reflect on why a previous test experience didn’t go well and what you can do differently this time

During the test, you can…

  • replace negative thoughts like ‘I’m going to fail’ with positive ones like ‘I can do this. I prepared well. I know what I have to do’
  • focus on what you’re doing not what others in the test room are doing
  • use the strategies you have learned to answer questions and overcome problems, e.g. if you didn’t hear a question the examiner asks you in the IELTS Speaking test, ask them to repeat it
  • manage your time, e.g. only spend a maximum of 20 minutes on the first IELTS Reading section/passage before moving on to the next one

If you do all of these, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance of approaching the IELTS test with confidence and performing your best on the day.

Get your anxiety to a manageable level and then use it to stay motivated and focused on your preparation!

Listen to my podcast episode on how to reduce any anxiety you might have regarding the IELTS test:

Pete

Pete Jones

Pete has been helping IELTS test takers and teachers for many years and really enjoys helping people improve their English and their IELTS band score.

More about the author

filter tags

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Top Tips for IELTS Academic

This pocket-sized revision guide gives you essential advice for each part of the IELTS Academic test. It includes clear examples and explanations to show you exactly what each tip means, general tips for each paper, and sections on how to revise and what to do on test day. It also comes with an interactive IELTS practice test on CD-ROM. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

New Year’s Resolutions
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New Year’s Resolutions

Happy new year! At this time of year most of us are looking to the future. As one year ends and another begins, it is good to take stock (= examine a situation), look back at what you have achieved and look forward to what you would like to achieve in the coming year. In many cultures people make resolutions (= promises to themselves) about how they are going to do things differently. Have you made any resolutions for 2021? A simple question - you can answer yes or no - but how do you then go on to talk about the resolutions that you have made? Let me help you out … The grammar that we use to talk about resolutions is quite straightforward. Hurray! Resolutions are plans that we have made, the decisions have already been made by the time we are talking about them. So, the best structures to use are: Be + going to + verb I’m going to quit smoking. I’m going to do more exercise. I’m going to take my IELTS test.  My resolution(s) is/are + infinitive My resolution is to lose weight. My New Year’s resolutions are to speak English every day and keep a vocabulary notebook. As well as using these structures there are some really great phrasal verbs that we can use to talk about resolutions. PHRASAL VERB MEANING Take up (something) start a new hobby or activity Get back into (something) start doing an old hobby again Give up (something) stop doing something completely Cut down on (something) reduce your consumption or use of something Save up for (something) save money regularly towards buying something Can you make any sentences using these phrasal verbs that are true for you? Here are some examples: I’m going to take up painting in 2021.  My resolution is to save up for a new car, it will take all year, but I am determined to do it! I’m going to get back into karate, I used to do it as a kid.  My other resolution is to not be lazy in my studies. I am going to push myself to improve my English. Listen to Richard talking about his new year’s resolutions. Can you hear any of the structures that we have talked about? How about the phrasal verbs? What are his three resolutions for 2021?   Download Tapescript It takes a lot of determination and willpower (=the ability to do things you don’t want to do, or not do things you do want to do) to stick to your resolutions. Make sure that the goals you are setting yourself are realistic so that you don’t end up feeling demotivated by the end of January. If you want to take your IELTS preparation to the next level, here are a few ideas of things you can do in 2021: Subscribe to the We love IELTS Newsletter and receive all the latest information and links in your inbox. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to get daily tips, activities and information on IELTS. Subscribe to the We Love IELTS YouTube channel and watch the videos our fantastic experts are making for you. Listen to the We Love IELTS podcasts and learn about IELTS whilst doing some listening practice. Good luck in 2021, I hope you achieve all of your IELTS goals! Emma

Emma Cosgrave

20 December, 2020

New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy new year!

At this time of year most of us are looking to the future. As one year ends and another begins, it is good to take stock (= examine a situation), look back at what you have achieved and look forward to what you would like to achieve in the coming year. In many cultures people make resolutions (= promises to themselves) about how they are going to do things differently.

Have you made any resolutions for 2021?

A simple question - you can answer yes or no - but how do you then go on to talk about the resolutions that you have made?

Let me help you out …

The grammar that we use to talk about resolutions is quite straightforward. Hurray!

Resolutions are plans that we have made, the decisions have already been made by the time we are talking about them. So, the best structures to use are:

Be + going to + verb

  • I’m going to quit smoking.
  • I’m going to do more exercise.
  • I’m going to take my IELTS test. 

My resolution(s) is/are + infinitive

  • My resolution is to lose weight.
  • My New Year’s resolutions are to speak English every day and keep a vocabulary notebook.

As well as using these structures there are some really great phrasal verbs that we can use to talk about resolutions.

PHRASAL VERB

MEANING

Take up (something)

start a new hobby or activity

Get back into (something)

start doing an old hobby again

Give up (something)

stop doing something completely

Cut down on (something)

reduce your consumption or use of something

Save up for (something)

save money regularly towards buying something

Can you make any sentences using these phrasal verbs that are true for you?

Here are some examples:

  • I’m going to take up painting in 2021.
  • My resolution is to save up for a new car, it will take all year, but I am determined to do it!
  • I’m going to get back into karate, I used to do it as a kid.
  • My other resolution is to not be lazy in my studies. I am going to push myself to improve my English.

Listen to Richard talking about his new year’s resolutions. Can you hear any of the structures that we have talked about? How about the phrasal verbs? What are his three resolutions for 2021?

 

Download Tapescript

It takes a lot of determination and willpower (=the ability to do things you don’t want to do, or not do things you do want to do) to stick to your resolutions. Make sure that the goals you are setting yourself are realistic so that you don’t end up feeling demotivated by the end of January.

If you want to take your IELTS preparation to the next level, here are a few ideas of things you can do in 2021:

  • Subscribe to the We love IELTS Newsletter and receive all the latest information and links in your inbox.
  • Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to get daily tips, activities and information on IELTS.
  • Subscribe to the We Love IELTS YouTube channel and watch the videos our fantastic experts are making for you.
  • Listen to the We Love IELTS podcasts and learn about IELTS whilst doing some listening practice.

Good luck in 2021, I hope you achieve all of your IELTS goals!

Emma

Emma Cosgrave

Emma has been teaching IELTS for 20 years. She enjoys helping people to develop both their language skills and confidence.

More about the author

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IELTS Common Mistakes for bands 6-7

This book highlights the real mistakes that students make in the IELTS test and shows how to avoid them. Each unit targets a key problem area and is based on analysis of thousands of scripts from real test takers. Clear explanations and exercises show you how to use the language accurately. You can check what you’ve learned in the units with regular tests. Previous title Common Mistakes at IELTS Advanced. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

A year of We Love IELTS - IELTS Experts Top Picks
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A year of We Love IELTS - IELTS Experts' Top Picks

As you know, our IELTS experts are a really important part of the We Love IELTS team and one of the main reasons we can deliver high quality content to help your IELTS preparation. We've asked our writers what their top picks are from over 100 blogs posted this year.   (P.S. These are a great place to start if you are new to We Love IELTS!)          Let us know what your favourite blog post has been on Instagram or Facebook. We'd love to hear from you. The We Love IELTS Team

We Love IELTS

19 December, 2020

A year of We Love IELTS - IELTS Experts' Top Picks

A year of We Love IELTS - IELTS Experts Top Picks

As you know, our IELTS experts are a really important part of the We Love IELTS team and one of the main reasons we can deliver high quality content to help your IELTS preparation. We've asked our writers what their top picks are from over 100 blogs posted this year.  

(P.S. These are a great place to start if you are new to We Love IELTS!)

Pete's Top Pick

 

Emma's Top Pick

 

Sophie's Top Pick

 

Liz Top Pick

 

Let us know what your favourite blog post has been on Instagram or Facebook. We'd love to hear from you.

The We Love IELTS Team

We Love IELTS

We Love IELTS gives IELTS test takers all the preparation materials and advice they need for success.

More about the author

filter tags

Understanding how you prefer to learn
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Understanding how you prefer to learn

Do you prefer studying alone or with others, studying in a quiet environment or one with background music, using an electronic device or paper? Do you prefer a structured approach to your learning that you can get from a book or course, or a more flexible approach where you choose to learn what interests you most each day? To learn most effectively, it’s important to identify your preferred ways of learning and how you can use these in your IELTS preparation. It’s also important to identify opportunities you may be missing if you only learn in your preferred way.  Identify how you prefer to learn Learning in your preferred ways builds confidence, so here’s an exercise you can do to help you identify them. Think of a positive or negative learning experience that you’ve had and write down what made it successful/unsuccessful (e.g. Was it structured? Did you study alone?). The experience can be a course, a book, a video, an exercise or life experience. Think of another learning experience that you’ve had and write down what made it successful/unsuccessful.  Compare your answers in Step 1 and 2, identify how you most or least preferred to learn, and decide if your preferences can be applied to other learning opportunities. One result of this exercise could be that you decide to change how you’re currently learning because it doesn’t match your learning preferences.  You may, for example, have unsuccessfully tried keeping a vocabulary notebook and realise you should look for a note-taking app instead because you prefer to learn using digital tools. Your preferences may of course change in different situations or over time, so I recommend doing the exercise above at different points in your IELTS preparation. There may also be times when you need to learn in ways you would prefer not to. When to learn in your least preferred ways So, now you know how you prefer to learn, it’s time to think about what learning opportunities you may be missing. If, for example, you prefer studying alone and only do this, you’ll be missing out on opportunities to test what you understand by explaining it to other people. In this case, it may be time to think about joining a study group. If you prefer a structured approach to your learning and are working from the start to end of a course or book, you may be spending too much time on things you already know and not enough time on what you really need to learn. If this sounds like you, it might be time to take a more flexible approach even if you find it more challenging! How do you prefer to learn? What learning opportunities are you missing? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram. Pete

Pete Jones

3 December, 2020

Understanding how you prefer to learn

Understanding how you prefer to learn

Do you prefer studying alone or with others, studying in a quiet environment or one with background music, using an electronic device or paper?

Do you prefer a structured approach to your learning that you can get from a book or course, or a more flexible approach where you choose to learn what interests you most each day?

To learn most effectively, it’s important to identify your preferred ways of learning and how you can use these in your IELTS preparation.

It’s also important to identify opportunities you may be missing if you only learn in your preferred way.

Identify how you prefer to learn

Learning in your preferred ways builds confidence, so here’s an exercise you can do to help you identify them.

  1. Think of a positive or negative learning experience that you’ve had and write down what made it successful/unsuccessful (e.g. Was it structured? Did you study alone?). The experience can be a course, a book, a video, an exercise or life experience.
  2. Think of another learning experience that you’ve had and write down what made it successful/unsuccessful.
  3. Compare your answers in Step 1 and 2, identify how you most or least preferred to learn, and decide if your preferences can be applied to other learning opportunities.

One result of this exercise could be that you decide to change how you’re currently learning because it doesn’t match your learning preferences.

You may, for example, have unsuccessfully tried keeping a vocabulary notebook and realise you should look for a note-taking app instead because you prefer to learn using digital tools.

Your preferences may of course change in different situations or over time, so I recommend doing the exercise above at different points in your IELTS preparation.

There may also be times when you need to learn in ways you would prefer not to.

When to learn in your least preferred ways

So, now you know how you prefer to learn, it’s time to think about what learning opportunities you may be missing.

If, for example, you prefer studying alone and only do this, you’ll be missing out on opportunities to test what you understand by explaining it to other people. In this case, it may be time to think about joining a study group.

If you prefer a structured approach to your learning and are working from the start to end of a course or book, you may be spending too much time on things you already know and not enough time on what you really need to learn. If this sounds like you, it might be time to take a more flexible approach even if you find it more challenging!

How do you prefer to learn? What learning opportunities are you missing? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram.

Pete

Pete Jones

Pete has been helping IELTS test takers and teachers for many years and really enjoys helping people improve their English and their IELTS band score.

More about the author

filter tags

Recommended For You

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Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS

This all-in-one study guide provides comprehensive preparation for IELTS Academic and General Training and is packed with activities, practice tests and tips to help you maximise your IELTS score. It covers the language and skills you need to perform with confidence. Organised by skill, you can study from start to finish or focus on areas that you need most help with. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

How to choose the right IELTS course or tutor
TopTips
How to choose the right IELTS course or tutor

Getting help with your IELTS preparation may be the best decision you can make. But, with hundreds of IELTS courses and tutors to choose from, how can you choose the right one for you? Well, it starts by being clear on exactly what kind of help you need. What kind of help do you need? Not all IELTS courses and tutors offer the same kind of help so it’s important to know exactly what help you need before making any decisions. You may, for example, need help with… all parts of the IELTS test because you don’t know where to start or how to prepare improving one skill (e.g. Writing) because you need to improve your band score in this area and don’t know how to improve it on your own improving your English in general before you start preparing for the IELTS test You may also need the encouragement, motivation and/or support that you can get from working with other people. So, take some time now and write down what it is that you need help with. An IELTS course or tutor? When you know what help you need, it’s easier to decide whether a course or a tutor is going to be better for you. To help you make the decision, here are some general characteristics of IELTS courses and the help that tutors can provide. IELTS courses generally provide ...  a structured way for you to learn about the IELTS test and some opportunities to practise some guidance on how to answer different types of IELTS questions some feedback on your performance  opportunities to work with, and learn from, other people preparing for IELTS  encouragement and support from a teacher and others Some courses may not provide all of these while others may also provide more. An online self-study course, for example, may not provide opportunities to work with other people or may be focused on one skill. A classroom-based course may also provide some guidance on how to learn more effectively. IELTS tutors generally provide … an individual programme based on exactly what you need guidance on how to overcome the specific difficulties you are experiencing more detailed feedback on your performance than you get on a course personal encouragement and support  So which is going to give you the help you need: an IELTS course or tutor? Choosing an IELTS course or tutor Once you’ve made the decision to take an IELTS course or to work with an IELTS tutor, it’s time to find the right one for you. When choosing an online or classroom-based course, it’s important to check… if the school/website has a good reputation and can be trusted what the course includes how much teacher support is provided and who the teachers are what kind of feedback you’ll receive how many other people will be on the course, where they are from and what their level of English is This online IELTS Academic course is from Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Assessment English and Kaplan, covers all four skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking) and has a teacher-led or self-study option. When choosing an IELTS tutor, it’s important to check (or ask) … if they are a qualified English language teacher, e.g. do they have the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) or equivalent how experienced they are in helping people prepare for IELTS how familiar they are with the IELTS Writing and Speaking criteria what kind of feedback they give A good way to check what kind of feedback a tutor gives is to ask for an example of feedback they have given to someone else. It’s also very important that you like the tutor! How much do courses/tutors cost? The cost of an IELTS course or tutor ranges from very little to a lot. So, if the option you want is too expensive, keep looking because you may be able to find a more affordable option that is still useful. When considering the cost, don’t forget to think about the cost in time and money if you don’t get help and don’t get the IELTS band score you need! I hope this post has helped you make a decision about the kind of course or tutor you need. Pete

Pete Jones

11 November, 2020

How to choose the right IELTS course or tutor

How to choose the right IELTS course or tutor

Getting help with your IELTS preparation may be the best decision you can make.

But, with hundreds of IELTS courses and tutors to choose from, how can you choose the right one for you?

Well, it starts by being clear on exactly what kind of help you need.

What kind of help do you need?

Not all IELTS courses and tutors offer the same kind of help so it’s important to know exactly what help you need before making any decisions.

You may, for example, need help with…

  • all parts of the IELTS test because you don’t know where to start or how to prepare
  • improving one skill (e.g. Writing) because you need to improve your band score in this area and don’t know how to improve it on your own
  • improving your English in general before you start preparing for the IELTS test

You may also need the encouragement, motivation and/or support that you can get from working with other people.

So, take some time now and write down what it is that you need help with.

An IELTS course or tutor?

When you know what help you need, it’s easier to decide whether a course or a tutor is going to be better for you.

To help you make the decision, here are some general characteristics of IELTS courses and the help that tutors can provide.

IELTS courses generally provide ...

  • a structured way for you to learn about the IELTS test and some opportunities to practise
  • some guidance on how to answer different types of IELTS questions
  • some feedback on your performance
  • opportunities to work with, and learn from, other people preparing for IELTS
  • encouragement and support from a teacher and others

Some courses may not provide all of these while others may also provide more. An online self-study course, for example, may not provide opportunities to work with other people or may be focused on one skill. A classroom-based course may also provide some guidance on how to learn more effectively.

IELTS tutors generally provide …

  • an individual programme based on exactly what you need
  • guidance on how to overcome the specific difficulties you are experiencing
  • more detailed feedback on your performance than you get on a course
  • personal encouragement and support

So which is going to give you the help you need: an IELTS course or tutor?

Choosing an IELTS course or tutor

Once you’ve made the decision to take an IELTS course or to work with an IELTS tutor, it’s time to find the right one for you.

When choosing an online or classroom-based course, it’s important to check…

  • if the school/website has a good reputation and can be trusted
  • what the course includes
  • how much teacher support is provided and who the teachers are
  • what kind of feedback you’ll receive
  • how many other people will be on the course, where they are from and what their level of English is

This online IELTS Academic course is from Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Assessment English and Kaplan, covers all four skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking) and has a teacher-led or self-study option.

When choosing an IELTS tutor, it’s important to check (or ask) …

  • if they are a qualified English language teacher, e.g. do they have the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) or equivalent
  • how experienced they are in helping people prepare for IELTS
  • how familiar they are with the IELTS Writing and Speaking criteria
  • what kind of feedback they give

A good way to check what kind of feedback a tutor gives is to ask for an example of feedback they have given to someone else.

It’s also very important that you like the tutor!

How much do courses/tutors cost?

The cost of an IELTS course or tutor ranges from very little to a lot. So, if the option you want is too expensive, keep looking because you may be able to find a more affordable option that is still useful.

When considering the cost, don’t forget to think about the cost in time and money if you don’t get help and don’t get the IELTS band score you need!

I hope this post has helped you make a decision about the kind of course or tutor you need.

Pete

Pete Jones

Pete has been helping IELTS test takers and teachers for many years and really enjoys helping people improve their English and their IELTS band score.

More about the author

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IELTS Online Preparation Courses

Kaplan Test Prep together with Cambridge University Press and Cambridge Assessment English bring you online preparation courses for IELTS Academic that combine score-raising techniques and authentic test practice. Choose from the live teacher-led course or the self-study course and receive 18 hours of video lessons, four practice tests, personalised progress reports, homework assignments and teacher email support.  

8 websites to help you prepare for IELTS
TopTips
8 websites to help you prepare for IELTS

In this blog I want to share some of my favourite websites and apps with you to help your IELTS preparation. These links are not all IELTS focussed, some of them are just for fun, and yes, I know that you're preparing for IELTS and that you're focussed on the test, but it's equally important to work on your general English. Remember, learning exam skills will only help you to improve your band score a bit, if your English level is not good enough then no amount of practice tests will get you the 7.5 or 8 you need for that MBA you want to take!   1. LEARNING ENGLISH This resource from the BBC is available online or you can download the app. You can find activities to practise grammar, vocabulary, listening, reading and more. If you’re fond of audiobooks there are some radio plays that you can listen to.  They also have 1-minute and 6-minute English videos. These are fantastic for developing vocabulary and opinions of a wide range of topics. You can start by doing the ‘Test Your Level’ activity which will then guide you to resources that are the right level for you. The content is constantly added to so you will always find something new to do! 2. CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH This resource from Cambridge English, is not specifically IELTS focussed but does have some good, short (5-10 minute max) activities, great for developing vocabulary and grammar.  Choose your level and the kind of activity you want to do or see all the activities and choose anything that interests you. I would recommend that you go for the intermediate and advanced level activities although the beginner activities could also serve as useful review.  3. WORDSHAKE Wordshake is a fun word game! You get given a grid of letters and you need to find as many words using those letters as possible in the time given. It is a fun way to practise spelling and challenge yourself to remember English words that you have learnt.  4. FREERICE This is a brilliant website and app. Not only is it a fun way to test your English, but by playing the game you are helping the UN World Food Program raise funds (through advertising) to provide food to people in need.  You can choose different levels of difficulty and different categories from English grammar to famous paintings to test yourself on. The questions get harder as you play longer. It is truly addictive! 5. CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY Sign up for an account with Cambridge Dictionary Plus and start making your very own wordlists. You can then turn your lists into quizzes that you can use to test yourself. Alternatively, there are plenty of image quizzes and wordlist quizzes created by the team at Cambridge Dictionary that you can do too.  6. ENGLISH CLUB We all need to work on grammar, it’s just the way it is. This site has lots of games you can play to go over different tenses and structures… in fun and interesting ways. Not IELTS focussed but I’m certain that you’ll be able to find plenty to keep you busy and help you improve your grammatical accuracy on this website.  7. CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY BLOG “About Words” is run by Cambridge Dictionary. The articles are written for people learning English using a high level language. They introduce and explain a lot of vocabulary in context.  I especially recommend looking at the ‘Word of the Day’; you could get into the habit of checking each day at a certain time. You could set yourself the goal of reading one blog post a week and making a note of the new words that you learn in your vocabulary notebook.  8. WE LOVE IELTS Last but not least, we’re here to help you prepare for IELTS success. We are working hard to make sure that the content we provide is updated and added to on a regular basis. Check back regularly for new podcasts, blog posts and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter to receive updates direct to your inbox.  So, there you have it, a list of websites that you can access from your phone, tablet or computer when you have some time to spare. Thanks for reading and feel free to share this post with any of your friends who might find it interesting. Emma

Emma Cosgrave

6 November, 2020

8 websites to help you prepare for IELTS

8 websites to help you prepare for IELTS

In this blog I want to share some of my favourite websites and apps with you to help your IELTS preparation. These links are not all IELTS focussed, some of them are just for fun, and yes, I know that you're preparing for IELTS and that you're focussed on the test, but it's equally important to work on your general English. Remember, learning exam skills will only help you to improve your band score a bit, if your English level is not good enough then no amount of practice tests will get you the 7.5 or 8 you need for that MBA you want to take!

 

1. LEARNING ENGLISH

This resource from the BBC is available online or you can download the app. You can find activities to practise grammar, vocabulary, listening, reading and more. If you’re fond of audiobooks there are some radio plays that you can listen to. 

They also have 1-minute and 6-minute English videos. These are fantastic for developing vocabulary and opinions of a wide range of topics. You can start by doing the ‘Test Your Level’ activity which will then guide you to resources that are the right level for you. The content is constantly added to so you will always find something new to do!

2. CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH

This resource from Cambridge English, is not specifically IELTS focussed but does have some good, short (5-10 minute max) activities, great for developing vocabulary and grammar. 

Choose your level and the kind of activity you want to do or see all the activities and choose anything that interests you. I would recommend that you go for the intermediate and advanced level activities although the beginner activities could also serve as useful review. 

3. WORDSHAKE

Wordshake is a fun word game! You get given a grid of letters and you need to find as many words using those letters as possible in the time given. It is a fun way to practise spelling and challenge yourself to remember English words that you have learnt. 

4. FREERICE

This is a brilliant website and app. Not only is it a fun way to test your English, but by playing the game you are helping the UN World Food Program raise funds (through advertising) to provide food to people in need. 

You can choose different levels of difficulty and different categories from English grammar to famous paintings to test yourself on. The questions get harder as you play longer. It is truly addictive!

5. CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY

Sign up for an account with Cambridge Dictionary Plus and start making your very own wordlists. You can then turn your lists into quizzes that you can use to test yourself. Alternatively, there are plenty of image quizzes and wordlist quizzes created by the team at Cambridge Dictionary that you can do too. 

6. ENGLISH CLUB

We all need to work on grammar, it’s just the way it is. This site has lots of games you can play to go over different tenses and structures… in fun and interesting ways. Not IELTS focussed but I’m certain that you’ll be able to find plenty to keep you busy and help you improve your grammatical accuracy on this website. 

7. CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY BLOG

“About Words” is run by Cambridge Dictionary. The articles are written for people learning English using a high level language. They introduce and explain a lot of vocabulary in context. 

I especially recommend looking at the ‘Word of the Day’; you could get into the habit of checking each day at a certain time. You could set yourself the goal of reading one blog post a week and making a note of the new words that you learn in your vocabulary notebook. 

8. WE LOVE IELTS

Last but not least, we’re here to help you prepare for IELTS success. We are working hard to make sure that the content we provide is updated and added to on a regular basis. Check back regularly for new podcasts, blog posts and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter to receive updates direct to your inbox. 

So, there you have it, a list of websites that you can access from your phone, tablet or computer when you have some time to spare.

Thanks for reading and feel free to share this post with any of your friends who might find it interesting.

Emma

Emma Cosgrave

Emma has been teaching IELTS for 20 years. She enjoys helping people to develop both their language skills and confidence.

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Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS

This all-in-one study guide provides comprehensive preparation for IELTS Academic and General Training and is packed with activities, practice tests and tips to help you maximise your IELTS score. It covers the language and skills you need to perform with confidence. Organised by skill, you can study from start to finish or focus on areas that you need most help with. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

Top tips for describing maps in IELTS Writing Part 1
TopTips
Top tips for describing maps in IELTS Writing Part 1

When I was younger, I used to have a recurring dream: I would show up for an exam and fail terribly because I had studied geography but instead it was a history exam. It was extremely stressful. I would imagine that this is a similar feeling to what some of my students experience when they've been studying hard to discuss developments (increases and decreases) in Part 1 of the Writing test and instead they are faced with something like this on exam day:   As I’ve mentioned in some of my other blogs, each type of writing task steers you in the direction of a certain set of language. If you can demonstrate a good command of that language, you should achieve a satisfactory mark for the task. So today, I want to talk you through the key language to consider if you get a map like the one above in the IELTS test. 1. Establish what tense you should use in your answer. Look at the dates given on the map. In our example above, both dates given are in the past. One is earlier than the other. This shows us that our main tense should be the past simple, potentially with the opportunity to show the examiner that you can also handle the past perfect, but that is optional for some bonus marks.  e.g. ‘There was a joint car park for staff and members of the public.’ Sometimes, maps are labelled something like ‘current layout’ and ‘planned changes’, which indicates that you should be using the present simple and future tenses.  e.g. ‘The main car park is currently located at the front. The plans indicate that it is going to be moved to the side of the building.’ Very occasionally, you get a comparison between a past year and the current year, in which case the best tense to use would be the present perfect; but as I said that is actually quite unusual. Having said that, we might assume that for example things haven’t changed much since 2010 and we could use the present perfect to show that the changes made in the past still affect the present. This would just be another way to impress the examiner.  e.g. ‘The car park has been moved to the side of the building.’ It’s even rarer to get one map with no date. In this case, you should use the present simple as we assume that the map depicts a permanent situation. Once you have established suitable tenses for describing the map, make sure you remember to proofread for tense accuracy at the end. 2. You will need a good grasp of active and passive forms to describe the changes that were made. e.g. ‘They built a new car park’ would not score you nearly as high as saying ‘a new car park was built’. In fact, I was trying to think of simple examples when I discussed tenses above, but I felt really unnatural and I had to use the passive form several times. 3. You will also need to be able to describe where things are located in relation to each other. e.g. ‘next to’ and ‘behind’ are accurate, but ‘adjacent’ and ‘to the rear of’, would probably score you higher marks. 4. Another type of language you should be able to demonstrate is the language of comparison. e.g. ‘the new car park arrangement provides considerably more parking space for staff and the public’. 5. Finally, whilst you are usually given key vocabulary in the task e.g. ‘roundabout’, you might want to study the vocabulary to do with construction and infrastructure (e.g. facilities, construct, demolish).  When we look back at the list of language items, we realise that, luckily, we don’t have to study a whole new set of language, as they are all vital in several other parts of the test. However, knowing what it is the examiner is looking for will make it much easier to stay in control of your answer and to do well in the test.  If you find this useful, look out for my upcoming blog on describing processes. Sophie 

Sophie Hodgson

27 October, 2020

Top tips for describing maps in IELTS Writing Part 1

Top tips for describing maps in IELTS Writing Part 1

When I was younger, I used to have a recurring dream: I would show up for an exam and fail terribly because I had studied geography but instead it was a history exam. It was extremely stressful.

I would imagine that this is a similar feeling to what some of my students experience when they've been studying hard to discuss developments (increases and decreases) in Part 1 of the Writing test and instead they are faced with something like this on exam day:

Map exercise IELTS Academic 13

 

As I’ve mentioned in some of my other blogs, each type of writing task steers you in the direction of a certain set of language. If you can demonstrate a good command of that language, you should achieve a satisfactory mark for the task. So today, I want to talk you through the key language to consider if you get a map like the one above in the IELTS test.

1. Establish what tense you should use in your answer. Look at the dates given on the map. In our example above, both dates given are in the past. One is earlier than the other. This shows us that our main tense should be the past simple, potentially with the opportunity to show the examiner that you can also handle the past perfect, but that is optional for some bonus marks.

e.g. ‘There was a joint car park for staff and members of the public.’

Sometimes, maps are labelled something like ‘current layout’ and ‘planned changes’, which indicates that you should be using the present simple and future tenses.

e.g. ‘The main car park is currently located at the front. The plans indicate that it is going to be moved to the side of the building.’

Very occasionally, you get a comparison between a past year and the current year, in which case the best tense to use would be the present perfect; but as I said that is actually quite unusual. Having said that, we might assume that for example things haven’t changed much since 2010 and we could use the present perfect to show that the changes made in the past still affect the present. This would just be another way to impress the examiner.

e.g. ‘The car park has been moved to the side of the building.’

It’s even rarer to get one map with no date. In this case, you should use the present simple as we assume that the map depicts a permanent situation.

Once you have established suitable tenses for describing the map, make sure you remember to proofread for tense accuracy at the end.

2. You will need a good grasp of active and passive forms to describe the changes that were made. e.g. ‘They built a new car park’ would not score you nearly as high as saying ‘a new car park was built’. In fact, I was trying to think of simple examples when I discussed tenses above, but I felt really unnatural and I had to use the passive form several times.

3. You will also need to be able to describe where things are located in relation to each other. e.g. ‘next to’ and ‘behind’ are accurate, but ‘adjacent’ and ‘to the rear of’, would probably score you higher marks.

4. Another type of language you should be able to demonstrate is the language of comparison. e.g. ‘the new car park arrangement provides considerably more parking space for staff and the public’.

5. Finally, whilst you are usually given key vocabulary in the task e.g. ‘roundabout’, you might want to study the vocabulary to do with construction and infrastructure (e.g. facilities, construct, demolish).

When we look back at the list of language items, we realise that, luckily, we don’t have to study a whole new set of language, as they are all vital in several other parts of the test. However, knowing what it is the examiner is looking for will make it much easier to stay in control of your answer and to do well in the test.

If you find this useful, look out for my upcoming blog on describing processes.

Sophie

Sophie Hodgson

Sophie has been supporting students on their IELTS journey since 2003 and feels privileged to have watched them succeed. While most people probably do not like taking tests, Sophie believes that preparing for the IELTS exam can be both interesting and fun. She loves language and structure and enjoys exploring both with her students to help them achieve their aims.

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IELTS 15 Academic

IELTS 15 Academic contains four practice tests EXACTLY like the real exam. It comes with audio scripts, answer keys and sample Writing answers. A new downloadable Resource Bank includes extra sample Writing answers, a sample Speaking test video and answer keys with additional explanations. QR codes in the book provide quick access to the audio and video content.  This book gives you an excellent opportunity to familiarise yourself with the test format and practise exam techniques using real-to-life test material written by the test makers (Cambridge Assessment English).  Also available for IELTS General Training *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

How to improve your vocabulary around personality
TopTips
How to improve your vocabulary around personality

There are many words in English to describe someone's personality - the type of person someone is because of how they behave, think and feel – and choosing the right ones can sometimes be tricky. But, if you get the opportunity in your IELTS Speaking test to talk about someone’s personality, it’s a chance to impress the examiner with how much vocabulary you know! So, complete the following three exercises and then see if you can use any of the vocabulary in the IELTS Speaking Part 2 topic at the end of this post.  Adjectives Look at the following adjectives (words used to describe nouns) and decide if any of them describe your personality:   If you’re not sure what some of these adjectives mean or how to pronounce them, you can use a dictionary to check and then come back and decide if they apply to you. Personalising vocabulary like this (i.e. connecting new words/phrases to your own experiences and opinions) is one way to improve your vocabulary for IELTS, and it can be more effective than trying to memorise a list of vocabulary that you don’t relate to your own life. More adjectives Look at the following adjectives and decide if they usually describe positive qualities or negative qualities:   To check whether you have put the words into the correct category, use a dictionary and download this completed table and compare it to your answers. Putting vocabulary into categories like this based on their meaning requires a deeper level of thought than trying to memorise vocabulary from lists and will help you remember the vocabulary for longer.  Prefixes You may have noticed in the exercises above, or perhaps you knew already, that you can add a prefix to some adjectives to turn a positive quality into a negative one. For example, the prefix ‘im’ (meaning ‘not’) can be added to the word ‘patient’ to create the word ‘impatient’ (meaning ‘not patient’). Which prefix (im, in or un) is the correct one to use with the following adjectives to create words with the opposite meanings? considerate polite reliable You can check your answers at the end of this post. Word-building strategies like this can help you improve your vocabulary more quickly as you learn different ways to use new words! IELTS Speaking Part 2 Now, for a chance to use some of the vocabulary and to help you remember it, try the following: Read the IELTS Speaking Part 2 task below from Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced Give yourself one minute to think about what you want to say and make some notes Talk about the topic for one to two minutes   For more vocabulary exercises and tips on learning vocabulary, check out my IELTS vocabulary posts on the topic of education, technology and energy. If you did all of the vocabulary exercises above and in my other posts, I’d use the adjective ‘diligent’ to describe your vocabulary learning.  Well done! Pete PS The answers to the prefixes question are: inconsiderate, impatient and unreliable.

Pete Jones

23 October, 2020

How to improve your vocabulary around personality

How to improve your vocabulary around personality

There are many words in English to describe someone's personality - the type of person someone is because of how they behave, think and feel – and choosing the right ones can sometimes be tricky.

But, if you get the opportunity in your IELTS Speaking test to talk about someone’s personality, it’s a chance to impress the examiner with how much vocabulary you know!

So, complete the following three exercises and then see if you can use any of the vocabulary in the IELTS Speaking Part 2 topic at the end of this post.

Adjectives

Look at the following adjectives (words used to describe nouns) and decide if any of them describe your personality:

List of words for personality

 

If you’re not sure what some of these adjectives mean or how to pronounce them, you can use a dictionary to check and then come back and decide if they apply to you.

Personalising vocabulary like this (i.e. connecting new words/phrases to your own experiences and opinions) is one way to improve your vocabulary for IELTS, and it can be more effective than trying to memorise a list of vocabulary that you don’t relate to your own life.

More adjectives

Look at the following adjectives and decide if they usually describe positive qualities or negative qualities:

Personality words in a table

 

To check whether you have put the words into the correct category, use a dictionary and download this completed table and compare it to your answers.

Putting vocabulary into categories like this based on their meaning requires a deeper level of thought than trying to memorise vocabulary from lists and will help you remember the vocabulary for longer.

Prefixes

You may have noticed in the exercises above, or perhaps you knew already, that you can add a prefix to some adjectives to turn a positive quality into a negative one.

For example, the prefix ‘im’ (meaning ‘not’) can be added to the word ‘patient’ to create the word ‘impatient’ (meaning ‘not patient’).

Which prefix (im, in or un) is the correct one to use with the following adjectives to create words with the opposite meanings?

  • considerate
  • polite
  • reliable

You can check your answers at the end of this post.

Word-building strategies like this can help you improve your vocabulary more quickly as you learn different ways to use new words!

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Now, for a chance to use some of the vocabulary and to help you remember it, try the following:

  1. Read the IELTS Speaking Part 2 task below from Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced
  2. Give yourself one minute to think about what you want to say and make some notes
  3. Talk about the topic for one to two minutes
Speaking Part 2 Task from Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced

 

For more vocabulary exercises and tips on learning vocabulary, check out my IELTS vocabulary posts on the topic of education, technology and energy.

If you did all of the vocabulary exercises above and in my other posts, I’d use the adjective ‘diligent’ to describe your vocabulary learning.

Well done!

Pete

PS The answers to the prefixes question are: inconsiderate, impatient and unreliable.

Pete Jones

Pete has been helping IELTS test takers and teachers for many years and really enjoys helping people improve their English and their IELTS band score.

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What is IELTS?
TopTips
What is IELTS?

If you are new to the world of IELTS it can all be a bit confusing. Today we will try to answer some of your questions. Listening Practice: Listen to Emma read What is IELTS?     What is IELTS? IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. It measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. It may be required by immigration authorities as part of the application process.   Which IELTS test should I take? Academic or General Training? IELTS is available in two versions; Academic and General Training. Always check which IELTS test the organisation you are applying to requires so that you don’t waste time and money preparing for/taking the wrong test. Here is a quick overview of the different tests. IELTS Academic is for those applying for higher education. It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training. Thousands of education and training providers all over the world use IELTS results to select their students. You can find out which institutions accept IELTS scores on the IELTS website. IELTS Academic may also be a requirement for those applying for professional registration. Many professional registration bodies and employers rely on IELTS as evidence of English language proficiency. IELTS General Training is for those applying for secondary education, training programmes and work experience in an English-speaking environment. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. The test focuses on basic survival skills in a wide variety of social and workplace contexts.  What does IELTS assess? Both versions of IELTS assess the four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. All candidates take the same Speaking and Listening tests but the Reading and Writing sections are different.  Double-check which IELTS test you need to take, the Reading and Writing sections are different! How long is the IELTS Test? The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. You will take the first three parts on the same day, in the following order: Listening, Reading and Writing (there are no breaks between these tests). Your Speaking test will be held on either the same day or seven days before or two days after, depending on your local test centre arrangements. The IELTS Speaking test is a face-to-face test with an official IELTS examiner, you take the test by yourself.  How can I prepare for IELTS? We Love IELTS has preparation resources to help you achieve IELTS success, whether you are a first-time test taker or resitting the test. You may want to take a practice test to get an understanding of your current level and your strengths and weaknesses. This will also give you more information on the format of the test. You can find practice tests and materials on our website. If you are not sure which book or resource is best for you then let our Resource Finder guide you. Remember that everyone is different, learns differently and learns at a different pace so don’t put pressure on yourself to prepare in a short period of time. How long will it take me to prepare for IELTS? The length of time it takes to prepare for IELTS depends upon your level of English language proficiency and your target band score. If your English level is already at the standard needed, then you may simply need to learn about the IELTS test format and ensure that you have the exam skills needed. On the other hand, you may find that you need to work on improving your general English before you start working on IELTS specific exam skills, this can take longer.   How is IELTS marked? IELTS is not a pass/fail exam. It is a test to check the level of your English, IELTS is marked using a 9-band scoring system. A score of 1 shows a non-user all the way to a 9 which shows an expert user.  You can also get .5 scores for example 7.5.  You will receive individual band scores for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking, and an overall band score which is the average score of all the skills. You can find out more about how IELTS is scored on ielts.org.  Qualified examiners mark your work using a fixed set of criteria. Examiners must go through extensive training to become qualified to mark test papers. Your work will be marked by more than one examiner to ensure that marks are consistent and fair no matter where you sit your IELTS test.  What’s the difference between the paper or computer IELTS? The paper-based test requires test takers to sit at a desk with the question and answer sheets for the Reading, Listening and Writing tests in an official IELTS test centre. Test takers will write their answers in either pen or HB-pencil. The Speaking test is carried out face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner. The computer-delivered test requires test takers to sit the Reading, Listening and Writing tests in front of a computer with the questions presented on the screen in an official IELTS test centre. The test takers then submit their answers through the computer. The Speaking test is not on computer and is carried out face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner. You can find out where computer- delivered IELTS is currently available at: ielts.org.  Get lots of writing practice before the test - you need to build your stamina and ensure your handwriting can be read. If you are taking computer-delivered IELTS make sure you can type quickly and accurately, there is no spell check and typos will be considered spelling errors. I hope i’ve answered some of your questions today. There’s lots of information on the IELTS test on the rest of the website. Good luck with your preparation and remember, we are here to help.  Subscribe to our newsletter to get IELTS activities in your inbox and follow us on social. If you have questions that we haven’t answered here, why not try our FAQs page or send us a message on Facebook or Instagram.  Good luck with your IELTS preparation.  Emma 

Emma Cosgrave

13 October, 2020

What is IELTS?

What is IELTS?

If you are new to the world of IELTS it can all be a bit confusing. Today we will try to answer some of your questions.

Listening IconListening Practice: Listen to Emma read What is IELTS?

 

 

What is IELTS?

IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. It measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. It may be required by immigration authorities as part of the application process.  

Which IELTS test should I take? Academic or General Training?

IELTS is available in two versions; Academic and General Training. Always check which IELTS test the organisation you are applying to requires so that you don’t waste time and money preparing for/taking the wrong test. Here is a quick overview of the different tests.

  • IELTS Academic is for those applying for higher education. It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training. Thousands of education and training providers all over the world use IELTS results to select their students. You can find out which institutions accept IELTS scores on the IELTS website.
  • IELTS Academic may also be a requirement for those applying for professional registration. Many professional registration bodies and employers rely on IELTS as evidence of English language proficiency.
  • IELTS General Training is for those applying for secondary education, training programmes and work experience in an English-speaking environment. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. The test focuses on basic survival skills in a wide variety of social and workplace contexts.

What does IELTS assess?

Both versions of IELTS assess the four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. All candidates take the same Speaking and Listening tests but the Reading and Writing sections are different.

top-tip

Double-check which IELTS test you need to take, the Reading and Writing sections are different!

How long is the IELTS Test?

The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. You will take the first three parts on the same day, in the following order: Listening, Reading and Writing (there are no breaks between these tests). Your Speaking test will be held on either the same day or seven days before or two days after, depending on your local test centre arrangements. The IELTS Speaking test is a face-to-face test with an official IELTS examiner, you take the test by yourself.

How can I prepare for IELTS?

We Love IELTS has preparation resources to help you achieve IELTS success, whether you are a first-time test taker or resitting the test. You may want to take a practice test to get an understanding of your current level and your strengths and weaknesses. This will also give you more information on the format of the test. You can find practice tests and materials on our website. If you are not sure which book or resource is best for you then let our Resource Finder guide you.

top-tip

Remember that everyone is different, learns differently and learns at a different pace so don’t put pressure on yourself to prepare in a short period of time.

How long will it take me to prepare for IELTS?

The length of time it takes to prepare for IELTS depends upon your level of English language proficiency and your target band score. If your English level is already at the standard needed, then you may simply need to learn about the IELTS test format and ensure that you have the exam skills needed. On the other hand, you may find that you need to work on improving your general English before you start working on IELTS specific exam skills, this can take longer.  

How is IELTS marked?

IELTS is not a pass/fail exam. It is a test to check the level of your English, IELTS is marked using a 9-band scoring system. A score of 1 shows a non-user all the way to a 9 which shows an expert user. You can also get .5 scores for example 7.5.

You will receive individual band scores for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking, and an overall band score which is the average score of all the skills. You can find out more about how IELTS is scored on ielts.org.

Qualified examiners mark your work using a fixed set of criteria. Examiners must go through extensive training to become qualified to mark test papers. Your work will be marked by more than one examiner to ensure that marks are consistent and fair no matter where you sit your IELTS test.

What’s the difference between the paper or computer IELTS?

The paper-based test requires test takers to sit at a desk with the question and answer sheets for the Reading, Listening and Writing tests in an official IELTS test centre. Test takers will write their answers in either pen or HB-pencil. The Speaking test is carried out face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner.

The computer-delivered test requires test takers to sit the Reading, Listening and Writing tests in front of a computer with the questions presented on the screen in an official IELTS test centre. The test takers then submit their answers through the computer. The Speaking test is not on computer and is carried out face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner. You can find out where computer- delivered IELTS is currently available at: ielts.org.

top-tip

Get lots of writing practice before the test - you need to build your stamina and ensure your handwriting can be read. If you are taking computer-delivered IELTS make sure you can type quickly and accurately, there is no spell check and typos will be considered spelling errors.

I hope i’ve answered some of your questions today. There’s lots of information on the IELTS test on the rest of the website. Good luck with your preparation and remember, we are here to help.

Subscribe to our newsletter to get IELTS activities in your inbox and follow us on social.

If you have questions that we haven’t answered here, why not try our FAQs page or send us a message on Facebook or Instagram.

Good luck with your IELTS preparation.

Emma

Emma Cosgrave

Emma has been teaching IELTS for 20 years. She enjoys helping people to develop both their language skills and confidence.

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Developing your English for university after IELTS General Training
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Developing your English for work after IELTS General Training

One of my former students has become a good friend of mine. Many years ago, he hired me as a private tutor to work with him towards the General Training version of the IELTS test. He needed the test to apply for a visa to Australia in order to start a job as a carpenter. I still remember that in one of the first messages they sent from Australia they talked about how kind and helpful everybody was, but how unprepared he felt for so many elements of life there. How at work he still had to use his hands a lot to communicate with his colleagues, how difficult it was to make real friends, and how simple tasks like making a phone call posed a real problem. A few months after that, I had another email and I was astonished at how much better my friend’s English had become and how much more comfortable he was at expressing himself. He told me that now he really understood how everything he learned had an immediate application, it was much easier to remember language and he was much more motivated to invest time in developing his language skills. When I asked him what he would do differently about preparing for the test he said that he would make it more about himself and that he would look beyond the test itself to understand how everything he studied would help him in real life.  As a non-native speaker of English myself, I couldn’t agree more! As I put it in a recent blog for test-takers preparing for the Academic version of the test: Think of the IELTS test as an airport to your real destination. While it’s important to make sure you have your ticket, passport, vaccinations, visa, and anything else you need to get through the controls, you’ll also want to know what to do at the other end of your journey. Here are some of my top tips: 1. Start by looking at your future life in your own language Find out as much as you can about the place you want to live in, what kind of things people do there, what kind of things you think you might enjoy doing there yourself. Find out what local delicacies the region is famous for, find out what sports people play, a little bit about the history of the place. Start making it real for you, because if you know that you will be living in a ‘mountainous’ region, it will be so much easier to remember the word. 2. For your reading in English, find a text that’s relevant to your future life where a reliable translation exists Read the text first in your own language and then in English. You’ll be surprised how much easier vocabulary and ideas fall into place and because they are relevant to who you are, or who you want to be, things will be much easier to memorise. 3. Prepare specifically for your future job or occupation For example, if you want to work in a restaurant, study everything from the furniture (e.g. barstool) to the names of vegetables (e.g. brussels sprouts). This may not feel immediately relevant for the test, but by thinking about how you would talk about these things, you will increase your fluency and confidence.  4. Study vocabulary that means something to you For example, if you’re a big football fan, make sure you can follow English football commentary on TV, or if you have children, consider how you would talk about them to other parents. (Look up the word ‘tantrum’ you’ll probably need it!) 5. Start researching the kind of communities you will be joining My friend, for example, always wanted to learn to play cricket but it took him quite some time to find a team when he arrived in Australia. Now, he does a lot of socialising with his cricket teammates, something that would’ve been really helpful on arriving in the country. His wife, on the other hand, started volunteering at a local animal shelter straight away because she had already been in touch with them before leaving their home country. And she found it much easier to settle in and make friends. 6. Spend some time considering the kinds of language activities you will need to engage in including business phone conversations or registering your child for childcare.  Looking beyond the test to your future life will make it much easier to understand how the things you study for the IELTS test can be used in real life. This will not only help your motivation, but also your language retention. It’s also important to remember that in language learning nothing is ever wasted. Even if you don’t always get to use everything in the test, you will, sooner or later need it for what really matters. Good luck on your journey! Sophie

Sophie Hodgson

9 October, 2020

Developing your English for work after IELTS General Training

Developing your English for university after IELTS General Training

One of my former students has become a good friend of mine. Many years ago, he hired me as a private tutor to work with him towards the General Training version of the IELTS test. He needed the test to apply for a visa to Australia in order to start a job as a carpenter.

I still remember that in one of the first messages they sent from Australia they talked about how kind and helpful everybody was, but how unprepared he felt for so many elements of life there. How at work he still had to use his hands a lot to communicate with his colleagues, how difficult it was to make real friends, and how simple tasks like making a phone call posed a real problem.

A few months after that, I had another email and I was astonished at how much better my friend’s English had become and how much more comfortable he was at expressing himself. He told me that now he really understood how everything he learned had an immediate application, it was much easier to remember language and he was much more motivated to invest time in developing his language skills. When I asked him what he would do differently about preparing for the test he said that he would make it more about himself and that he would look beyond the test itself to understand how everything he studied would help him in real life. 

As a non-native speaker of English myself, I couldn’t agree more! As I put it in a recent blog for test-takers preparing for the Academic version of the test: Think of the IELTS test as an airport to your real destination. While it’s important to make sure you have your ticket, passport, vaccinations, visa, and anything else you need to get through the controls, you’ll also want to know what to do at the other end of your journey.

Here are some of my top tips:

1. Start by looking at your future life in your own language

Find out as much as you can about the place you want to live in, what kind of things people do there, what kind of things you think you might enjoy doing there yourself. Find out what local delicacies the region is famous for, find out what sports people play, a little bit about the history of the place. Start making it real for you, because if you know that you will be living in a ‘mountainous’ region, it will be so much easier to remember the word.

2. For your reading in English, find a text that’s relevant to your future life where a reliable translation exists

Read the text first in your own language and then in English. You’ll be surprised how much easier vocabulary and ideas fall into place and because they are relevant to who you are, or who you want to be, things will be much easier to memorise.

3. Prepare specifically for your future job or occupation

For example, if you want to work in a restaurant, study everything from the furniture (e.g. barstool) to the names of vegetables (e.g. brussels sprouts). This may not feel immediately relevant for the test, but by thinking about how you would talk about these things, you will increase your fluency and confidence. 

4. Study vocabulary that means something to you

For example, if you’re a big football fan, make sure you can follow English football commentary on TV, or if you have children, consider how you would talk about them to other parents. (Look up the word ‘tantrum’ you’ll probably need it!)

5. Start researching the kind of communities you will be joining

My friend, for example, always wanted to learn to play cricket but it took him quite some time to find a team when he arrived in Australia. Now, he does a lot of socialising with his cricket teammates, something that would’ve been really helpful on arriving in the country. His wife, on the other hand, started volunteering at a local animal shelter straight away because she had already been in touch with them before leaving their home country. And she found it much easier to settle in and make friends.

6. Spend some time considering the kinds of language activities you will need to engage in including business phone conversations or registering your child for childcare. 

Looking beyond the test to your future life will make it much easier to understand how the things you study for the IELTS test can be used in real life. This will not only help your motivation, but also your language retention. It’s also important to remember that in language learning nothing is ever wasted. Even if you don’t always get to use everything in the test, you will, sooner or later need it for what really matters.

Good luck on your journey!
Sophie

Sophie Hodgson

Sophie has been supporting students on their IELTS journey since 2003 and feels privileged to have watched them succeed. While most people probably do not like taking tests, Sophie believes that preparing for the IELTS exam can be both interesting and fun. She loves language and structure and enjoys exploring both with her students to help them achieve their aims.

More about the author

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Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS

This all-in-one study guide provides comprehensive preparation for IELTS Academic and General Training and is packed with activities, practice tests and tips to help you maximise your IELTS score. It covers the language and skills you need to perform with confidence. Organised by skill, you can study from start to finish or focus on areas that you need most help with. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

How to improve your vocabulary around energy
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How to improve your vocabulary around energy

How electricity is produced may not be something you think about every day, but it's definitely a topic you should learn more vocabulary on for your IELTS test. I can think of many examples where it would help you get a higher band score if you know and use words connected to the topic of energy. This IELTS Writing Task 2 question from IELTS Vocabulary for Bands 6.5 and above is just one example: (Click to enlarge) So, to get started, complete the following two vocabulary exercises on the topic of energy, and then practise using some of the words/phrases by answering the Writing Task 2 question above. Types of power Which of the following types of power are used in your country to produce electricity? Which do you think are a good idea? nuclear, wave, wind, solar, hydroelectric If you’re not sure what some of the types of power are or how to pronounce them, you can use a dictionary to check and then come back to think about your answers to these two questions. Personalising vocabulary like this (i.e. connecting new words/phrases to your own experiences and opinions) is one way to improve your vocabulary for IELTS, and it can be more effective than trying to memorise a list of vocabulary that you don’t relate to your own life. And remember, when you learn new words, it’s important to learn how these words are used with other words, and you’ll see one way to do this in the next exercise. Alternative energy There are different definitions of alternative energy. All of them include renewable resources such as the sun and the wind, while some also include nuclear power because it’s an alternative to fossils fuels (gas, coal and oil). Learn how to use this vocabulary by listening to the following conversation between two students, noting which types of power they think are a good idea, and then completing the vocabulary exercise below.     To check how much you understood before completing the vocabulary exercise, download the recording script and compare it to your notes. (I’ve included the two types of power the students think are a good idea at the end of this post). Now, listen to (or read and listen to) the conversation again, and notice which of the types of power from the previous section are used with the following words:    ______ / ______ farms ______ dams ______ turbines ______ power a ______ power plant   And for another useful combination of words, notice which word meaning ‘to produce’ is used with the word ‘electricity’:   _______ electricity   You can check the answers at the end of this post. Noticing which words are used together in texts and audio recordings is one way to improve your vocabulary, and it can also help you use words more fluently when speaking and writing and process words more quickly when reading or listening. For more vocabulary exercises and tips on learning vocabulary, check out the book Vocabulary for IELTS or Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced, and subscribe to the We Love IELTS newsletter so that you find out when the next post in my vocabulary for IELTS series is published. Don’t forget to practise using this vocabulary by answering the Writing Task 2 question at the beginning of this post. Pete PS The two types of power the students think are a good idea are solar power and wave power. PPS The answers to the vocabulary exercise are: solar farms, wind farms, hydroelectric dams, wind turbines, solar power, a nuclear power plant, generate electricity.

Pete Jones

11 September, 2020

How to improve your vocabulary around energy

How to improve your vocabulary around energy

How electricity is produced may not be something you think about every day, but it's definitely a topic you should learn more vocabulary on for your IELTS test.

I can think of many examples where it would help you get a higher band score if you know and use words connected to the topic of energy.

This IELTS Writing Task 2 question from IELTS Vocabulary for Bands 6.5 and above is just one example:

Writing Task 2 question from Page 87 of IELTS Vocabulary for Bands 6.5 and above

(Click to enlarge)

So, to get started, complete the following two vocabulary exercises on the topic of energy, and then practise using some of the words/phrases by answering the Writing Task 2 question above.

Types of power

Which of the following types of power are used in your country to produce electricity? Which do you think are a good idea?

  • nuclear, wave, wind, solar, hydroelectric

If you’re not sure what some of the types of power are or how to pronounce them, you can use a dictionary to check and then come back to think about your answers to these two questions.

Personalising vocabulary like this (i.e. connecting new words/phrases to your own experiences and opinions) is one way to improve your vocabulary for IELTS, and it can be more effective than trying to memorise a list of vocabulary that you don’t relate to your own life.

And remember, when you learn new words, it’s important to learn how these words are used with other words, and you’ll see one way to do this in the next exercise.

Alternative energy

There are different definitions of alternative energy. All of them include renewable resources such as the sun and the wind, while some also include nuclear power because it’s an alternative to fossils fuels (gas, coal and oil).

Learn how to use this vocabulary by listening to the following conversation between two students, noting which types of power they think are a good idea, and then completing the vocabulary exercise below.

 

 

To check how much you understood before completing the vocabulary exercise, download the recording script and compare it to your notes. (I’ve included the two types of power the students think are a good idea at the end of this post).

Now, listen to (or read and listen to) the conversation again, and notice which of the types of power from the previous section are used with the following words:

 

  • ______ / ______ farms
  • ______ dams
  • ______ turbines
  • ______ power
  • a ______ power plant

 

And for another useful combination of words, notice which word meaning ‘to produce’ is used with the word ‘electricity’:

 

  • _______ electricity

 

You can check the answers at the end of this post.

Noticing which words are used together in texts and audio recordings is one way to improve your vocabulary, and it can also help you use words more fluently when speaking and writing and process words more quickly when reading or listening.

For more vocabulary exercises and tips on learning vocabulary, check out the book Vocabulary for IELTS or Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced, and subscribe to the We Love IELTS newsletter so that you find out when the next post in my vocabulary for IELTS series is published.

Don’t forget to practise using this vocabulary by answering the Writing Task 2 question at the beginning of this post.

Pete

PS The two types of power the students think are a good idea are solar power and wave power.

PPS The answers to the vocabulary exercise are: solar farms, wind farms, hydroelectric dams, wind turbines, solar power, a nuclear power plant, generate electricity.

Vocab-for-IELTS-Advanced-recommended-by-Pete

Pete Jones

Pete has been helping IELTS test takers and teachers for many years and really enjoys helping people improve their English and their IELTS band score.

More about the author

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IELTS Vocabulary for Bands 6.5 and above

Learn all the vocabulary you need to achieve band 6.5 and above in IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. It includes useful tips on how to learn vocabulary and covers tricky areas such as the language needed to describe data and processes. This book also includes practice exercises for each skill, regular progress checks and tips on how to avoid typical errors. Previous title Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced Also available for up to Band 6 *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

How to improve your vocabulary around technology
TopTips
How to improve your vocabulary around technology

If there's one topic you should learn more vocabulary for in the IELTS test, it's probably technology. Because technology is such a big part of our everyday lives, there’s a very good chance that you’ll have to talk, write or read about some kind of technology (or listen to someone talking about technology) in your IELTS test too. You may think of technology as computers and mobile devices (e.g. tablets and smartphones), and these are certainly examples, but technology also includes other kinds of equipment and machinery used in industry, transport, hospitals and even our homes (e.g. ovens and washing machines). So, read on for two vocabulary exercises that will help you learn how to use more vocabulary connected to the topic of technology. Technological advances  A technological advance is an improvement or development in technology, and you’re holding one right now if you’re reading this on a smartphone or tablet! Learn other ways to use the word ‘technology’ by reading the following text, noting the advantages and disadvantages of technological advances mentioned, and then completing the vocabulary exercise below. (Click to enlarge) Check how much you understood below: (Click to enlarge) Now, find every time the word ‘technology’ (or ‘technological’ or ‘tech’) is used in the text and note down the words used with it, e.g. ‘advances in technology’, ‘wireless technology’ and ‘communication technology’. If you’re not sure what some of the vocabulary means, guess what it could mean in the text and then use a dictionary to check if you’re right. Noticing how vocabulary is used in a text like this from Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced is one way to improve your vocabulary for IELTS, and it can be more effective than learning vocabulary from lists where you can’t see how the vocabulary is used. Pronunciation When you learn new words or phrases that you want to use in your speaking or understand when you hear, it’s important to learn how they are pronounced. Listen to how the words below are pronounced and in each case identify which syllable is stressed (sounds louder than the other syllables), e.g. ‘ca’ in the word ‘communication and ‘nol’ in the word ‘technology’.     communication technology wireless technology information technology technological advances  computer access entertainment industry sophisticated technology Now listen and record yourself repeating these phrases with the same syllables stressed so that you feel more confident using them and so that people will be more likely to understand you when you do. (I’ve included the list of phrases with the stress marked at the end of this post so you can check if you’re stressing the right syllables). For more vocabulary exercises and tips on learning vocabulary, check out the book Vocabulary for IELTS or Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced, and subscribe to our We Love IELTS newsletter so that you find out when the next post in my vocabulary for IELTS series is published. Remember, learning vocabulary is not only about learning more words, it’s also about learning how different words and phrases are used together. Pete PS The underlined syllables in the following words are stressed: communication technology, wireless technology, information technology, technological advances, computer access, entertainment industry and sophisticated technology.

Pete Jones

9 September, 2020

How to improve your vocabulary around technology

How to improve your vocabulary around technology

If there's one topic you should learn more vocabulary for in the IELTS test, it's probably technology.

Because technology is such a big part of our everyday lives, there’s a very good chance that you’ll have to talk, write or read about some kind of technology (or listen to someone talking about technology) in your IELTS test too.

You may think of technology as computers and mobile devices (e.g. tablets and smartphones), and these are certainly examples, but technology also includes other kinds of equipment and machinery used in industry, transport, hospitals and even our homes (e.g. ovens and washing machines).

So, read on for two vocabulary exercises that will help you learn how to use more vocabulary connected to the topic of technology.

Technological advances

A technological advance is an improvement or development in technology, and you’re holding one right now if you’re reading this on a smartphone or tablet!

Learn other ways to use the word ‘technology’ by reading the following text, noting the advantages and disadvantages of technological advances mentioned, and then completing the vocabulary exercise below.

How to improve your vocabulary around technology Image 1

(Click to enlarge)

Check how much you understood below:

Advantages and Disadvantages

(Click to enlarge)

Now, find every time the word ‘technology’ (or ‘technological’ or ‘tech’) is used in the text and note down the words used with it, e.g. ‘advances in technology’, ‘wireless technology’ and ‘communication technology’. If you’re not sure what some of the vocabulary means, guess what it could mean in the text and then use a dictionary to check if you’re right.

Noticing how vocabulary is used in a text like this from Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced is one way to improve your vocabulary for IELTS, and it can be more effective than learning vocabulary from lists where you can’t see how the vocabulary is used.

Pronunciation

When you learn new words or phrases that you want to use in your speaking or understand when you hear, it’s important to learn how they are pronounced.

Listen to how the words below are pronounced and in each case identify which syllable is stressed (sounds louder than the other syllables), e.g. ‘ca’ in the word ‘communication and ‘nol’ in the word ‘technology’.

 

 

  • communication technology
  • wireless technology
  • information technology
  • technological advances
  • computer access
  • entertainment industry
  • sophisticated technology

Now listen and record yourself repeating these phrases with the same syllables stressed so that you feel more confident using them and so that people will be more likely to understand you when you do. (I’ve included the list of phrases with the stress marked at the end of this post so you can check if you’re stressing the right syllables).

For more vocabulary exercises and tips on learning vocabulary, check out the book Vocabulary for IELTS or Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced, and subscribe to our We Love IELTS newsletter so that you find out when the next post in my vocabulary for IELTS series is published.

Remember, learning vocabulary is not only about learning more words, it’s also about learning how different words and phrases are used together.

Pete

PS The underlined syllables in the following words are stressed: communication technology, wireless technology, information technology, technological advances, computer access, entertainment industry and sophisticated technology.

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Pete Jones

Pete has been helping IELTS test takers and teachers for many years and really enjoys helping people improve their English and their IELTS band score.

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Three ways to remember vocabulary for your IELTS test
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Three ways to remember vocabulary for your IELTS test

Do you find it difficult to remember new vocabulary? If you do, you're certainly not alone. I think most language learners struggle to remember many of the new words and phrases that they note down or read in vocabulary lists. I can’t promise that you’ll remember every new word you see or hear after you’ve read this post, but hopefully, it will help. Research shows you’ll remember more vocabulary if you categorise it, personalise it and review it. It’s the CPR of vocabulary learning! 1. Categorise vocabulary The following exercise is an example of categorising vocabulary, and you’ll see that it requires a deeper level of thought than simply looking at and trying to remember a list of words. You’ll also see over time that this extra mental effort will help you remember the vocabulary for longer! Look at the words below and answer this question: Which of the following words are associated with television and radio, which are associated with newspapers and magazines, and which are associated with both categories?  You can use a dictionary to check and categorise any words you don’t know.   Make sure you categorise all the vocabulary before checking your answers. If you check the answers without doing the exercise, it won’t help you remember the words! 2. Personalise vocabulary To increase your chances of remembering vocabulary, it’s also important to personalise it (i.e. connect new words/phrases to your own experiences and opinions). For example, it would help you to remember the words ‘series’ and ‘episode’ from the list above if you thought about your favourite series on television (or a streaming service like Netflix) and the last episode you watched. It would help even more if you wrote this down or said it out loud: My favourite series is ______ and in the last episode that I watched…. (explain what happened) Spend five minutes now connecting some of the words from the list above to your likes, dislikes, experiences and/or opinions. Five minutes of your time now could help you remember the vocabulary for your IELTS test! 3. Review vocabulary  We generally need to see and/or hear a new word multiple times before we can remember it, so it’s important to review new vocabulary regularly. One way to do this is to keep a vocabulary notebook and/or create flashcards, and then to regularly test your understanding of the vocabulary that you’ve added.   So, if you haven’t already got one, buy a notebook or download a note-taking app today and start adding new vocabulary that you want to remember.  Start making flashcards or try a flashcard app like Quizlet. Be sure to make the flashcards yourself rather than use someone else’s. In this way, you can personalise the information you put on the cards and make it easier to remember the new words. Watch my Facebook Live on three ways to remember vocabulary for IELTS: {"preview_thumbnail":"/sites/default/files/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/RW_Eryk4WTY.jpg?itok=77wmo6nR","video_url":"https://youtu.be/RW_Eryk4WTY","settings":{"responsive":1,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":0},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (Responsive)."]}   Remember the CPR of vocabulary learning to remember more words and phrases for your IELTS test: Categorise, Personalise and Review. It’s a life-saver! Pete

Pete Jones

7 September, 2020

Three ways to remember vocabulary for your IELTS test

Three ways to remember vocabulary for your IELTS test

Do you find it difficult to remember new vocabulary? If you do, you're certainly not alone. I think most language learners struggle to remember many of the new words and phrases that they note down or read in vocabulary lists.

I can’t promise that you’ll remember every new word you see or hear after you’ve read this post, but hopefully, it will help. Research shows you’ll remember more vocabulary if you categorise it, personalise it and review it.

It’s the CPR of vocabulary learning!

1. Categorise vocabulary

The following exercise is an example of categorising vocabulary, and you’ll see that it requires a deeper level of thought than simply looking at and trying to remember a list of words.

You’ll also see over time that this extra mental effort will help you remember the vocabulary for longer!

Look at the words below and answer this question:

  • Which of the following words are associated with television and radio, which are associated with newspapers and magazines, and which are associated with both categories?

You can use a dictionary to check and categorise any words you don’t know.

Vocabulary Exercise from IELTS Vocabulary for Bands 6.5 and above Page 98

 

Make sure you categorise all the vocabulary before checking your answers.

If you check the answers without doing the exercise, it won’t help you remember the words!

2. Personalise vocabulary

To increase your chances of remembering vocabulary, it’s also important to personalise it (i.e. connect new words/phrases to your own experiences and opinions).

For example, it would help you to remember the words ‘series’ and ‘episode’ from the list above if you thought about your favourite series on television (or a streaming service like Netflix) and the last episode you watched.

It would help even more if you wrote this down or said it out loud:

  • My favourite series is ______ and in the last episode that I watched…. (explain what happened)

Spend five minutes now connecting some of the words from the list above to your likes, dislikes, experiences and/or opinions.

Five minutes of your time now could help you remember the vocabulary for your IELTS test!

3. Review vocabulary

We generally need to see and/or hear a new word multiple times before we can remember it, so it’s important to review new vocabulary regularly.

One way to do this is to keep a vocabulary notebook and/or create flashcards, and then to regularly test your understanding of the vocabulary that you’ve added.

Flashcard-example

 

So, if you haven’t already got one, buy a notebook or download a note-taking app today and start adding new vocabulary that you want to remember.

Start making flashcards or try a flashcard app like Quizlet.

Be sure to make the flashcards yourself rather than use someone else’s. In this way, you can personalise the information you put on the cards and make it easier to remember the new words.

Watch my Facebook Live on three ways to remember vocabulary for IELTS:

 

Remember the CPR of vocabulary learning to remember more words and phrases for your IELTS test: Categorise, Personalise and Review.

It’s a life-saver!

Pete

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Pete Jones

Pete has been helping IELTS test takers and teachers for many years and really enjoys helping people improve their English and their IELTS band score.

More about the author

filter tags

Recommended For You

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IELTS Vocabulary for Bands 6.5 and above

Learn all the vocabulary you need to achieve band 6.5 and above in IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. It includes useful tips on how to learn vocabulary and covers tricky areas such as the language needed to describe data and processes. This book also includes practice exercises for each skill, regular progress checks and tips on how to avoid typical errors. Previous title Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced Also available for up to Band 6 *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

Your views can help learners around the world
TopTips
Your views can help learners around the world

How are you getting on with your IELTS preparation? Or perhaps you've already taken your test? We hope the materials on our website and social channels have been helpful! We'd love to hear from current and past test takers about how you've prepared and what else you need to help your preparation! Completing our survey only takes five minutes and you will be in with a chance to win an Amazon Echo Dot as a thank you for supporting IELTS learners around the world. If you know someone else who has taken the test or is currently preparing, why not forward this to them to give them a chance to win an Amazon Echo Dot?  Thank you!  The We Love IELTS Team  PS. Did you know you using a product like an Amazon Echo Dot can be a useful tool in spoken English development? Find out how in our blog post.  For full terms and conditions, please click here. The prize draw opens at 12am on 1st September and closes at 12am on 20th September. Entries received after the Competition Period will not be included in the prize draw but data may still be used as per these Terms and Conditions. The prize draw winner will be chosen and announced on 25th September.

We Love IELTS

4 September, 2020

Your views can help learners around the world

Your views can help learners around the world

How are you getting on with your IELTS preparation? Or perhaps you've already taken your test? We hope the materials on our website and social channels have been helpful!

We'd love to hear from current and past test takers about how you've prepared and what else you need to help your preparation! Completing our survey only takes five minutes and you will be in with a chance to win an Amazon Echo Dot as a thank you for supporting IELTS learners around the world.

take-our-survey-sept-2020

If you know someone else who has taken the test or is currently preparing, why not forward this to them to give them a chance to win an Amazon Echo Dot?

Thank you!

The We Love IELTS Team

PS. Did you know you using a product like an Amazon Echo Dot can be a useful tool in spoken English development? Find out how in our blog post.


For full terms and conditions, please click here. The prize draw opens at 12am on 1st September and closes at 12am on 20th September. Entries received after the Competition Period will not be included in the prize draw but data may still be used as per these Terms and Conditions. The prize draw winner will be chosen and announced on 25th September.

We Love IELTS

We Love IELTS gives IELTS test takers all the preparation materials and advice they need for success.

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Recommended For You

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Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS

This all-in-one study guide provides comprehensive preparation for IELTS Academic and General Training and is packed with activities, practice tests and tips to help you maximise your IELTS score. It covers the language and skills you need to perform with confidence. Organised by skill, you can study from start to finish or focus on areas that you need most help with. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

Working with a Study Buddy
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Working with a Study Buddy

It can get lonely studying on your own. It's so easy to lose your motivation when the only person cheering you on is your reflection in the mirror. You might find yourself wondering 'Does it really matter if I do this Listening task today?' Does this sound like you? If it does, then you might benefit from working with someone. Having someone else who is relying on you to turn up at a certain time and do the work that you’ve committed to can be a real game-changer. You’re no longer only answering to yourself; you have a responsibility to not let your study partner down. Today I’m going to give you 4 activities that you could do with another person face-to-face (if possible) or online using something like Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype or any other video calling software. The important thing is having someone to work with.  1. Do some practice Speaking tests Arrange a time and date for a call and plan on being the Examiner and the candidate. The person taking the role of the Examiner has to be in charge of timing the different sections of the test. If you have the option of recording the call, then you can watch it back to see how well you performed. Give each other feedback.  Even if you’re not feeling confident giving feedback to each other, doing this activity will help you get used to the timings of the IELTS Speaking test and should help you overcome some of your nerves.  2. Write together Do you plan your answers before you write them? Many learners don't plan their writing. It’s a habit that you should really try to get into as it ALWAYS improves your writing.  Make a date to meet up (in person or online) and find 4 practise questions to use (you can find them in the IELTS 15 book for example). Talk about how you would answer each of the questions, discuss your ideas and opinions, make some notes and then make an outline plan.   Arrange to meet up again and promise to write 2 of the 4 essays you have planned. The next time you meet, exchange your essays and read through, highlighting any errors along the way. As it’s often hard to see your own mistakes, a fresh pair of eyes is a really useful resource. The more you do this, the more confident you will feel in your writing.  3.  Be the teacher  When you teach someone something, you learn it really well yourself as well.  You won't improve your IELTS score by just doing IELTS questions. You need to get your English level up too. This means reviewing grammar and developing a really wide vocabulary. Make a list of things you both want to review/learn.  Your list may include things like: Using articles Present perfect or past simple Comparative adjectives Vocabulary for describing graphs Linking words Take a topic each and prepare to teach your study buddy all about it on an agreed date. As you prepare to teach your friend you’ll be reviewing much more carefully than you would if it was just for yourself. As a bonus, you also get the benefit of learning another topic from them too. 4.   Listen to each other It’s important that we have people to talk to who understand what we’re experiencing. IELTS is a high stakes test, you may be feeling stressed or overwhelmed with your preparation. Having someone to talk to who is going through the same things as you can make you feel a lot better.  Make sure you leave time for chatting about things other than IELTS. Find out what you have in common. If you come from different cultures take this opportunity to learn about another way of life.  If you do have questions about IELTS, don't be afraid to ask the experts too. You can contact your local test centre or contact us here at We Love IELTS via Facebook or Instagram. We’re all here to help you on your IELTS journey.  Good luck with all your IELTS preparation.  Emma 

Emma Cosgrave

1 September, 2020

Working with a Study Buddy

Working with a Study Buddy

It can get lonely studying on your own. It's so easy to lose your motivation when the only person cheering you on is your reflection in the mirror. You might find yourself wondering 'Does it really matter if I do this Listening task today?' Does this sound like you? If it does, then you might benefit from working with someone.

Having someone else who is relying on you to turn up at a certain time and do the work that you’ve committed to can be a real game-changer. You’re no longer only answering to yourself; you have a responsibility to not let your study partner down.

Today I’m going to give you 4 activities that you could do with another person face-to-face (if possible) or online using something like Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype or any other video calling software. The important thing is having someone to work with.

1. Do some practice Speaking tests

Arrange a time and date for a call and plan on being the Examiner and the candidate. The person taking the role of the Examiner has to be in charge of timing the different sections of the test. If you have the option of recording the call, then you can watch it back to see how well you performed. Give each other feedback.

Even if you’re not feeling confident giving feedback to each other, doing this activity will help you get used to the timings of the IELTS Speaking test and should help you overcome some of your nerves.

2. Write together

Do you plan your answers before you write them? Many learners don't plan their writing. It’s a habit that you should really try to get into as it ALWAYS improves your writing.

Make a date to meet up (in person or online) and find 4 practise questions to use (you can find them in the IELTS 15 book for example). Talk about how you would answer each of the questions, discuss your ideas and opinions, make some notes and then make an outline plan.  

Arrange to meet up again and promise to write 2 of the 4 essays you have planned. The next time you meet, exchange your essays and read through, highlighting any errors along the way. As it’s often hard to see your own mistakes, a fresh pair of eyes is a really useful resource. The more you do this, the more confident you will feel in your writing.

3. Be the teacher

When you teach someone something, you learn it really well yourself as well.

You won't improve your IELTS score by just doing IELTS questions. You need to get your English level up too. This means reviewing grammar and developing a really wide vocabulary. Make a list of things you both want to review/learn.

Your list may include things like:

  • Using articles
  • Present perfect or past simple
  • Comparative adjectives
  • Vocabulary for describing graphs
  • Linking words

Take a topic each and prepare to teach your study buddy all about it on an agreed date. As you prepare to teach your friend you’ll be reviewing much more carefully than you would if it was just for yourself. As a bonus, you also get the benefit of learning another topic from them too.

4. Listen to each other

It’s important that we have people to talk to who understand what we’re experiencing. IELTS is a high stakes test, you may be feeling stressed or overwhelmed with your preparation. Having someone to talk to who is going through the same things as you can make you feel a lot better.

Make sure you leave time for chatting about things other than IELTS. Find out what you have in common. If you come from different cultures take this opportunity to learn about another way of life.

If you do have questions about IELTS, don't be afraid to ask the experts too. You can contact your local test centre or contact us here at We Love IELTS via Facebook or Instagram. We’re all here to help you on your IELTS journey.

Good luck with all your IELTS preparation.

Emma

Emma Cosgrave

Emma has been teaching IELTS for 20 years. She enjoys helping people to develop both their language skills and confidence.

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Top Tips for IELTS Academic

This pocket-sized revision guide gives you essential advice for each part of the IELTS Academic test. It includes clear examples and explanations to show you exactly what each tip means, general tips for each paper, and sections on how to revise and what to do on test day. It also comes with an interactive IELTS practice test on CD-ROM. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

Using body language to reduce stress levels and improve IELTS performance
TopTips
Using body language to reduce stress levels and improve IELTS performance

Have you ever heard the expression 'fake it till you make it'? In today's blog I'm going to explore how by 'faking' relaxation and confidence in your body language during the Speaking test, you can impact both your stress levels and your performance. Research in a field called ‘embedded cognition’ has shown that our brain and our bodies are connected in a two-way relationship. Most people know that how we feel can impact our body language, which is why we hang our head when we’re sad or fidget when we’re nervous. However, embedded cognition has found that body language also impacts the function of our brain and that we can trick our brains into a different mood by faking the body language associated with that mood. Doing this successfully in a high-stress situation like an exam takes a little preparation, so here is my step-by-step guide to faking it: Look at your current body language First, spend some time watching yourself in situations where you’re confident and relaxed. At dinner with your family, perhaps, or chatting online with a friend. How do you sit? What position is natural for your feet? What do you usually do with your hands? How do you hold your shoulders and your head? How long do you usually hold eye contact? Where do you look when you break eye contact naturally? Do you smile? It is really important to find out what your body language is like when you’re confident and relaxed because you’re not trying to fake being someone else during the exam, you’re trying to fake a confident, relaxed you.  Having said that, if you’re often told that you need to speak up, try sitting up taller. People who sit more upright tend to speak more clearly and seem more confident than people who slouch. This is because when we hunch, we don’t get enough air to project our words clearly to our listeners. Tell your brain "I'm confident and relaxed" Once you have established which physical clues tell your brain “I’m confident and relaxed”, spend some time practising getting into a relaxed and confident position on command. Place a chair at a table and, if you can, a mirror on top. Alternatively, open a one-person chat meeting or your camera so you can see yourself. Sit down and adjust your body to your ‘confident’ pose, starting at the feet and working your way up.  Put on an outfit that makes you feel confident On the day of the exam, put on an outfit that makes you feel confident. It doesn’t matter if this is formal or informal as long as it makes you comfortable. Play your favourite music, eat your favourite breakfast, call your favourite person. Do anything that makes you feel positive, relaxed and empowered. If you can, walk some part of the way to the exam. Walk in a way that says: “I’m on a mission. I’m a VIP on my way to success”. That may sound a bit cheesy, but there’s nothing like moving with purpose to tell your brain: “I’m feeling confident.” Adjust your body to your usual ‘confidence’ position When you enter the exam room and sit down, make sure that you take a minute to adjust your body to your usual ‘confidence’ position. Start at the feet and work your way up. If you don’t usually smile, even when you’re happy and relaxed, let your face assume your own expression of relaxed confidence, even if you might not feel like it at that moment. Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself throughout the exam to breathe: shallow breathing leads to robotic intonation and can make it difficult to understand what you’re saying. It may also lead to you breaking your sentences in unnatural places simply because you have to take a breath.   Recognise the examiner as a human being Also take a moment to recognise the examiner as a human being. This will allow you to communicate with them more naturally, rather than ‘talking at them’ since your volume and pace will be more natural and thus much clearer.  Remember that they are there to do a job, just as you are and that they hold no real power over you as a person, no matter how intimidating the situation may seem to you. If you adopt a body language that says you are a friendly equal to the examiner, it reduces your stress levels, enhances your ability to understand questions and frees up your brain to think faster and come up with better answers. You are also a lot less likely to ‘freeze’ during the exam, because your body is telling your brain: “We’ve got this! I’m not worried. Do your thing.” You will probably still be a little nervous before the exam: that is the adrenaline being released into your body. Embrace it! It’s a sign that your body and your brain are ready for the task! Sophie

Sophie Hodgson

11 August, 2020

Using body language to reduce stress levels and improve IELTS performance

Using body language to reduce stress levels and improve IELTS performance

Have you ever heard the expression 'fake it till you make it'? In today's blog I'm going to explore how by 'faking' relaxation and confidence in your body language during the Speaking test, you can impact both your stress levels and your performance.

Research in a field called ‘embedded cognition’ has shown that our brain and our bodies are connected in a two-way relationship. Most people know that how we feel can impact our body language, which is why we hang our head when we’re sad or fidget when we’re nervous.

However, embedded cognition has found that body language also impacts the function of our brain and that we can trick our brains into a different mood by faking the body language associated with that mood. Doing this successfully in a high-stress situation like an exam takes a little preparation, so here is my step-by-step guide to faking it:

Look at your current body language

  • First, spend some time watching yourself in situations where you’re confident and relaxed. At dinner with your family, perhaps, or chatting online with a friend. How do you sit? What position is natural for your feet? What do you usually do with your hands? How do you hold your shoulders and your head? How long do you usually hold eye contact? Where do you look when you break eye contact naturally? Do you smile? It is really important to find out what your body language is like when you’re confident and relaxed because you’re not trying to fake being someone else during the exam, you’re trying to fake a confident, relaxed you.
  • Having said that, if you’re often told that you need to speak up, try sitting up taller. People who sit more upright tend to speak more clearly and seem more confident than people who slouch. This is because when we hunch, we don’t get enough air to project our words clearly to our listeners.

Tell your brain "I'm confident and relaxed"

  • Once you have established which physical clues tell your brain “I’m confident and relaxed”, spend some time practising getting into a relaxed and confident position on command. Place a chair at a table and, if you can, a mirror on top. Alternatively, open a one-person chat meeting or your camera so you can see yourself. Sit down and adjust your body to your ‘confident’ pose, starting at the feet and working your way up.

Put on an outfit that makes you feel confident

  • On the day of the exam, put on an outfit that makes you feel confident. It doesn’t matter if this is formal or informal as long as it makes you comfortable. Play your favourite music, eat your favourite breakfast, call your favourite person. Do anything that makes you feel positive, relaxed and empowered. If you can, walk some part of the way to the exam. Walk in a way that says: “I’m on a mission. I’m a VIP on my way to success”. That may sound a bit cheesy, but there’s nothing like moving with purpose to tell your brain: “I’m feeling confident.”

Adjust your body to your usual ‘confidence’ position

  • When you enter the exam room and sit down, make sure that you take a minute to adjust your body to your usual ‘confidence’ position. Start at the feet and work your way up. If you don’t usually smile, even when you’re happy and relaxed, let your face assume your own expression of relaxed confidence, even if you might not feel like it at that moment. Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself throughout the exam to breathe: shallow breathing leads to robotic intonation and can make it difficult to understand what you’re saying. It may also lead to you breaking your sentences in unnatural places simply because you have to take a breath.  

Recognise the examiner as a human being

  • Also take a moment to recognise the examiner as a human being. This will allow you to communicate with them more naturally, rather than ‘talking at them’ since your volume and pace will be more natural and thus much clearer.
  • Remember that they are there to do a job, just as you are and that they hold no real power over you as a person, no matter how intimidating the situation may seem to you. If you adopt a body language that says you are a friendly equal to the examiner, it reduces your stress levels, enhances your ability to understand questions and frees up your brain to think faster and come up with better answers. You are also a lot less likely to ‘freeze’ during the exam, because your body is telling your brain: “We’ve got this! I’m not worried. Do your thing.”

You will probably still be a little nervous before the exam: that is the adrenaline being released into your body. Embrace it! It’s a sign that your body and your brain are ready for the task!

Sophie

Top Tip from Sophie

Sophie Hodgson

Sophie has been supporting students on their IELTS journey since 2003 and feels privileged to have watched them succeed. While most people probably do not like taking tests, Sophie believes that preparing for the IELTS exam can be both interesting and fun. She loves language and structure and enjoys exploring both with her students to help them achieve their aims.

More about the author

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Top Tips for IELTS Academic

This pocket-sized revision guide gives you essential advice for each part of the IELTS Academic test. It includes clear examples and explanations to show you exactly what each tip means, general tips for each paper, and sections on how to revise and what to do on test day. It also comes with an interactive IELTS practice test on CD-ROM. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

How to improve your vocabulary around education
TopTips
How to improve your vocabulary around education

One way to improve your vocabulary for IELTS is to learn more words and phrases connected to the common IELTS topic of education. You may have to answer questions in the IELTS Speaking test about your studies, read an article in the IELTS Reading test on different educational approaches or give your opinion in the IELTS Writing test about which subjects should be taught at school. And in the IELTS Listening test, you’ll definitely have to listen to people talking about their studies. So, to get started, complete the following two vocabulary exercises on the topic of education, and then come back again in a few days to see how much you remember. Subjects Can you name the subjects (in English) that children study at school in your country? Can you say (in English) what you studied or are studying at college/university or a subject you’d like to study in the future? If not, then the following exercise is for you. Copy (or print) the table below and add the missing subject names, people and adjectives. For example, you study architecture to become an architect (someone who designs buildings) and offer architectural services.   Download the answers and then add school subjects in your country that aren’t in the table, the subject(s) you studied or are studying at college/university, or a subject you’d like to study in the future. Word-building exercises like this one from IELTS Vocabulary up to Band 6 are one way to improve your vocabulary for IELTS. Study habits Can you talk about how you study best (in English)? Can you describe (in English) what you do when you have difficulty studying? To learn more vocabulary for answering these questions, read the following text about good study habits, decide if you agree with the advice given, and then answer the vocabulary questions below.   Answer the following vocabulary questions: Which word or phrase in the text describes someone who studies a lot? Which word or phrase in the text describes things that stop you from working? Which word or phrase in the text describes a sound you can hear but do not actively listen to? You can find the answers at the end of this post. Learning vocabulary from a text like this is another way to improve your vocabulary for IELTS and can be more effective than learning vocabulary from lists where there isn’t a clear context (a situation in which the words are used). For more vocabulary exercises and tips on learning vocabulary, check out the book IELTS Vocabulary up to Band 6 or Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced, and subscribe to the We Love IELTS newsletter so that you find out when the next post in my vocabulary for IELTS series is published. Don’t forget to do the vocabulary exercises in this post again in a few days to see how much you remember. Pete PS The answers to questions 1, 2 and 3 above are: studious, distractions and background noise.

Pete Jones

27 July, 2020

How to improve your vocabulary around education

How to improve your vocabulary around education

One way to improve your vocabulary for IELTS is to learn more words and phrases connected to the common IELTS topic of education.

You may have to answer questions in the IELTS Speaking test about your studies, read an article in the IELTS Reading test on different educational approaches or give your opinion in the IELTS Writing test about which subjects should be taught at school.

And in the IELTS Listening test, you’ll definitely have to listen to people talking about their studies.

So, to get started, complete the following two vocabulary exercises on the topic of education, and then come back again in a few days to see how much you remember.

Subjects

Can you name the subjects (in English) that children study at school in your country? Can you say (in English) what you studied or are studying at college/university or a subject you’d like to study in the future?

If not, then the following exercise is for you.

Copy (or print) the table below and add the missing subject names, people and adjectives. For example, you study architecture to become an architect (someone who designs buildings) and offer architectural services.

Vocabulary Example Top Tips

 

Download the answers and then add school subjects in your country that aren’t in the table, the subject(s) you studied or are studying at college/university, or a subject you’d like to study in the future.

Word-building exercises like this one from IELTS Vocabulary up to Band 6 are one way to improve your vocabulary for IELTS.

Study habits

Can you talk about how you study best (in English)? Can you describe (in English) what you do when you have difficulty studying?

To learn more vocabulary for answering these questions, read the following text about good study habits, decide if you agree with the advice given, and then answer the vocabulary questions below.

Study Habits

 

Answer the following vocabulary questions:

  1. Which word or phrase in the text describes someone who studies a lot?
  2. Which word or phrase in the text describes things that stop you from working?
  3. Which word or phrase in the text describes a sound you can hear but do not actively listen to?

You can find the answers at the end of this post.

Learning vocabulary from a text like this is another way to improve your vocabulary for IELTS and can be more effective than learning vocabulary from lists where there isn’t a clear context (a situation in which the words are used).

For more vocabulary exercises and tips on learning vocabulary, check out the book IELTS Vocabulary up to Band 6 or Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced, and subscribe to the We Love IELTS newsletter so that you find out when the next post in my vocabulary for IELTS series is published.

Don’t forget to do the vocabulary exercises in this post again in a few days to see how much you remember.

Pete

PS The answers to questions 1, 2 and 3 above are: studious, distractions and background noise.

Pete Jones

Pete has been helping IELTS test takers and teachers for many years and really enjoys helping people improve their English and their IELTS band score.

More about the author

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IELTS Vocabulary up to Band 6

Learn all the vocabulary you need to achieve up to band 6 in IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. It includes useful tips on how to learn vocabulary and covers tricky areas such as the language needed to describe data and processes. This book also includes practice exercises for each skill, regular progress checks and tips on how to avoid typical errors. Previous title Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Also available for Bands 6.5 and above *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

How to be an independent learner
TopTips
How to be an independent learner

It's every teacher's dream - a class full of highly motivated and independent learners. Perhaps you are one of these students. Almost certainly though, you've met one and have shared a class with them. You've probably wondered how they became like that and maybe how you could become one of these types of learners. Of course, it's not just teachers who benefit from students who are proactive, learn from their experiences and improve quickly. In this blog, I'm going to talk about how you can become more of an independent learner when studying for IELTS.   Focus on the process, not just the end result If you’re taking the IELTS exam, the most important thing for you is probably the score you receive – to get you to your learning destination or your dream job. That’s totally understandable, but I want us to take a step back and think about what makes us receive high scores – perhaps let’s call it your learning journey. Consider the actions you need to take to get the scores you’re hoping for. Develop a growth mindset It’s important that you have something which is often called a growth mindset – that is the idea that with time, you can develop your skills to reach your goals. Rather than just focussing on the final result, think about the steps and processes you need to go through to get there. These can be things like recognising good strategies that you occasionally follow and using them more, as well as reducing how much you use less effective strategies. To help you do this, think about what you did in IELTS practice activities and previous tests and consider the following questions:  What did you do well?  What did you not do so well?  What do your teachers say you should do?  How much of that advice did you follow?  I strongly recommend that you keep a record – a reflective journal perhaps – of this. This will help you identify what you should do next time to do even better. A good independent learner knows where they are on their learning journey, where they need to go and how they can get there. This means that they know what they do now and what they need to do more of or differently. Let me give you some examples: Speaking and Writing Think about all the good advice you’ve read about for the Speaking test. Let’s think about Part 2. Do you always use the full one minute to prepare? Do you always try to use a variety of grammar structures and a wide range of vocabulary? There are many other pieces of good advice here too. Write a list of all the recommended tips you’ve heard and think will work. Do the same for the Writing test– consider what is essential to do in Task 1, for example writing a summary statement and focusing only on the key parts of the data, etc. After every practice, ask yourself three important questions: How many of these tips did you follow? How many did you not follow?  What worked well? What didn’t? What will you do differently next time and why?  Use a checklist to help you and keep a diary – a reflective journal – and over time, watch how you use more of the strategies that work and fewer of the ones that don’t. If possible, write down the scores and comments you get and think about how you can improve further.  Listening and Reading For Listening, think again about all the positive strategy tips you’ve discovered like reading the questions carefully before the test starts and underlining the keywords.  For Reading, think about good tips to stay on top of time management – there’s a lot to get through in this exam. Make a list of all of these effective steps you should take to do well. Again, a checklist works well here. After you do each of the practice activities and tests when preparing for IELTS, note down what you did in your reflective diary and answer the same questions as before. Watch as you use more and more of these good strategies and fewer of the less effective ones. Better processes mean better results It would be understandable to think that some people are just better at language learning or exam-taking than others. Perhaps you feel some people just have a natural gift for these things. While there may be a small element of truth here, this shouldn’t discourage you if you feel you’re not lucky enough to be one of these talented people. It’s more likely that these people are using highly effective strategies and are just more aware of what they’re doing and why. The key is to always think of your learning journey – where you’re at and where you need to go. This will help you understand what you need to do more of and what you need to less of. Focus on the process here - use a checklist and regularly update your reflective diary. Reward yourself for using more and more of the recommended strategies and watch as you hopefully get to your desired destination quicker.  Good luck!  Jishan

Jishan Uddin

15 July, 2020

How to be an independent learner

How to be an independent learner

It's every teacher's dream - a class full of highly motivated and independent learners. Perhaps you are one of these students. Almost certainly though, you've met one and have shared a class with them. You've probably wondered how they became like that and maybe how you could become one of these types of learners. Of course, it's not just teachers who benefit from students who are proactive, learn from their experiences and improve quickly. In this blog, I'm going to talk about how you can become more of an independent learner when studying for IELTS.

 

Focus on the process, not just the end result

If you’re taking the IELTS exam, the most important thing for you is probably the score you receive – to get you to your learning destination or your dream job. That’s totally understandable, but I want us to take a step back and think about what makes us receive high scores – perhaps let’s call it your learning journey. Consider the actions you need to take to get the scores you’re hoping for.

Develop a growth mindset

It’s important that you have something which is often called a growth mindset – that is the idea that with time, you can develop your skills to reach your goals. Rather than just focussing on the final result, think about the steps and processes you need to go through to get there. These can be things like recognising good strategies that you occasionally follow and using them more, as well as reducing how much you use less effective strategies. To help you do this, think about what you did in IELTS practice activities and previous tests and consider the following questions:

  • What did you do well?
  • What did you not do so well?
  • What do your teachers say you should do?
  • How much of that advice did you follow?

I strongly recommend that you keep a record – a reflective journal perhaps – of this. This will help you identify what you should do next time to do even better. A good independent learner knows where they are on their learning journey, where they need to go and how they can get there. This means that they know what they do now and what they need to do more of or differently. Let me give you some examples:

Speaking and Writing

Think about all the good advice you’ve read about for the Speaking test. Let’s think about Part 2. Do you always use the full one minute to prepare? Do you always try to use a variety of grammar structures and a wide range of vocabulary? There are many other pieces of good advice here too. Write a list of all the recommended tips you’ve heard and think will work. Do the same for the Writing test– consider what is essential to do in Task 1, for example writing a summary statement and focusing only on the key parts of the data, etc. After every practice, ask yourself three important questions:

  1. How many of these tips did you follow? How many did you not follow?
  2. What worked well? What didn’t?
  3. What will you do differently next time and why?

Use a checklist to help you and keep a diary – a reflective journal – and over time, watch how you use more of the strategies that work and fewer of the ones that don’t. If possible, write down the scores and comments you get and think about how you can improve further.

Listening and Reading

For Listening, think again about all the positive strategy tips you’ve discovered like reading the questions carefully before the test starts and underlining the keywords.

For Reading, think about good tips to stay on top of time management – there’s a lot to get through in this exam. Make a list of all of these effective steps you should take to do well. Again, a checklist works well here. After you do each of the practice activities and tests when preparing for IELTS, note down what you did in your reflective diary and answer the same questions as before. Watch as you use more and more of these good strategies and fewer of the less effective ones.

Better processes mean better results

It would be understandable to think that some people are just better at language learning or exam-taking than others. Perhaps you feel some people just have a natural gift for these things. While there may be a small element of truth here, this shouldn’t discourage you if you feel you’re not lucky enough to be one of these talented people. It’s more likely that these people are using highly effective strategies and are just more aware of what they’re doing and why. The key is to always think of your learning journey – where you’re at and where you need to go. This will help you understand what you need to do more of and what you need to less of. Focus on the process here - use a checklist and regularly update your reflective diary. Reward yourself for using more and more of the recommended strategies and watch as you hopefully get to your desired destination quicker.

Good luck!

Jishan

Jishan Uddin

Jishan has been an English teacher mostly at UK universities for over fifteen years and has extensive experience in teaching, co-ordinating and leading on a range of modules and courses. He is also an author for Cambridge University Press for whom he has written students' and teachers' books for IELTS exam preparation courses.

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Top Tips for IELTS Academic

This pocket-sized revision guide gives you essential advice for each part of the IELTS Academic test. It includes clear examples and explanations to show you exactly what each tip means, general tips for each paper, and sections on how to revise and what to do on test day. It also comes with an interactive IELTS practice test on CD-ROM. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

How to get a better score for grammar
TopTips
How to get a better score for grammar

Do you want to go from a good band score to a better band score? Of course you do! This blog will look at a few ways you can improve your band score in grammar. Examiners will be looking for a good 'grammatical range and accuracy'. This means using a wide variety of grammar structures and using them correctly.    Listening Practice: Listen to Liz read how to get a better score for grammar     Are you ready to begin?  Here are the instructions: First, I’ll start by giving you a good sentence.  Then I’ll give you a word in bold.  You must use the word in bold in the second sentence.  The second sentence must have exactly the same meaning as the first.  Here is an example to get you started: (Click to enlarge) Both sentences have exactly the same meaning but the second sentence has used a wider range of grammar – not as good as / spoken English / written English (these last two are both grammar and vocabulary). Here are some more for you to practise with. I’ve also given you the first words in the second sentence to give you a bit more help.  Grammar points for each sentence: 1. the passive voice, 2. changing verb to nouns / adjective + noun, 3. not only … but also, 4. prefer + to / + ing, 5. modals in the past. (Click to enlarge) You can find the answers to these exercises below. Answer sheet download I hope this blog has helped you to see how you can make a good sentence even better by using a wider range of grammar structures. This will help you improve your band score for grammar not only in the Speaking test, but also in the Writing test.   I hope you have found this useful, we’ll be covering more grammar in later blogs so please come back for more.  Liz

Liz Marqueiro

7 July, 2020

How to get a better score for grammar

How to get a better score for grammar

Do you want to go from a good band score to a better band score? Of course you do! This blog will look at a few ways you can improve your band score in grammar. Examiners will be looking for a good 'grammatical range and accuracy'. This means using a wide variety of grammar structures and using them correctly.

 

Listening Icon Listening Practice: Listen to Liz read how to get a better score for grammar

 

 

Are you ready to begin?

Here are the instructions:

  1. First, I’ll start by giving you a good sentence.
  2. Then I’ll give you a word in bold. 
  3. You must use the word in bold in the second sentence.
  4. The second sentence must have exactly the same meaning as the first.

Here is an example to get you started:

Grammar Example

(Click to enlarge)

Both sentences have exactly the same meaning but the second sentence has used a wider range of grammar – not as good as / spoken English / written English (these last two are both grammar and vocabulary).

Here are some more for you to practise with. I’ve also given you the first words in the second sentence to give you a bit more help.

Grammar points for each sentence: 1. the passive voice, 2. changing verb to nouns / adjective + noun, 3. not only … but also, 4. prefer + to / + ing, 5. modals in the past.

IELTS Writing Grammar Activity

(Click to enlarge)

You can find the answers to these exercises below.

Answer Sheet

Answer sheet download

I hope this blog has helped you to see how you can make a good sentence even better by using a wider range of grammar structures. This will help you improve your band score for grammar not only in the Speaking test, but also in the Writing test.  

I hope you have found this useful, we’ll be covering more grammar in later blogs so please come back for more.

Liz

Grammar for IELTS used by Liz

Liz Marqueiro

Liz has been teaching IELTS around the world for over 25 years.

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IELTS Grammar for Bands 6.5 and above

IELTS Grammar for Bands 6.5 and above provides clear explanations and extensive practice of all the grammar you need for IELTS. Grammar is presented through listening material, so your listening skills will also develop while you study. It includes a wide range of tasks from IELTS Academic and General Training Reading, Writing and Listening sections. Previous title Cambridge Grammar for IELTS *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

IELTS 15 - What's new?
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IELTS 15 - What's new?

IELTS Authentic Practice Tests are one of our bestselling books on Amazon and really popular with IELTS candidates because they are EXACTLY like the real exam. We check the practice tests with real students to make sure they are the same level as the IELTS Academic and General Training tests so you can be confident you are getting the most authentic experience possible.    Listening Practice: Listen to Emma read what’s new with IELTS 15     IELTS Authentic Practice Tests are suitable for all students preparing for the IELTS test. You get four practice tests to familiarise yourself with the test format for each part. The tests can be used flexibly alongside courses or other IELTS preparation materials. You can use them over your IELTS preparation journey, or as a final check before you take your IELTS test. What’s new in IELTS 15? 1. QR codes for easy audio and video links The QR codes will take you straight to the audio or video you need for each test. You just need a QR reader on your phone. Don’t worry if you don’t have this, you can also download the same content in the Resource Bank.   2. Improved book navigation Page references at the end of each part allow you to go directly to the answer keys, audioscripts and Writing sample answers needed to check the task.    3. Example Speaking test video This will show you a Speaking test in real life so you know what to expect on test day. We also have examiner feedback on the Speaking test so you can see the kind of things they’ll be looking for. The examiner also shares some handy tips!    4. Answer keys with extra explanations for Reading and Listening These will help you to understand why the answers given are the correct ones. IELTS Reading and Listening tasks use lots of ‘distractors’ - options that seem very likely but are actually incorrect. The Answer key with extra explanations will also give reasons for why these options are wrong.  5. Additional sample Writing answers You can use these to see extra Writing answers at different levels for each of the tasks in the book. You can compare the different answers to get a better understanding of what is expected at each level.      Please see below example screens you will see when you are activating your Resource Bank code:   I hope you've found this summary useful! If you have any questions please do contact us on Facebook or Instagram - we'd love to hear from you. Tessa  Managing Editor, Test Content

We Love IELTS

2 July, 2020

IELTS 15 - What's new?

IELTS 15 - What's new?

IELTS Authentic Practice Tests are one of our bestselling books on Amazon and really popular with IELTS candidates because they are EXACTLY like the real exam. We check the practice tests with real students to make sure they are the same level as the IELTS Academic and General Training tests so you can be confident you are getting the most authentic experience possible.

 

Listening Icon Listening Practice: Listen to Emma read what’s new with IELTS 15

 

 

IELTS Authentic Practice Tests are suitable for all students preparing for the IELTS test. You get four practice tests to familiarise yourself with the test format for each part. The tests can be used flexibly alongside courses or other IELTS preparation materials. You can use them over your IELTS preparation journey, or as a final check before you take your IELTS test.

What’s new in IELTS 15?

1. QR codes for easy audio and video links

The QR codes will take you straight to the audio or video you need for each test. You just need a QR reader on your phone. Don’t worry if you don’t have this, you can also download the same content in the Resource Bank.

QR Code Example

 

2. Improved book navigation

Page references at the end of each part allow you to go directly to the answer keys, audioscripts and Writing sample answers needed to check the task.

Improved Book Navigation

 

3. Example Speaking test video

This will show you a Speaking test in real life so you know what to expect on test day. We also have examiner feedback on the Speaking test so you can see the kind of things they’ll be looking for. The examiner also shares some handy tips!

Speaking Test Video

 

4. Answer keys with extra explanations for Reading and Listening

These will help you to understand why the answers given are the correct ones. IELTS Reading and Listening tasks use lots of ‘distractors’ - options that seem very likely but are actually incorrect. The Answer key with extra explanations will also give reasons for why these options are wrong.

5. Additional sample Writing answers

You can use these to see extra Writing answers at different levels for each of the tasks in the book. You can compare the different answers to get a better understanding of what is expected at each level.

Resource Bank Details

 

Please see below example screens you will see when you are activating your Resource Bank code:

How to login to the Resource Bank

 

I hope you've found this summary useful! If you have any questions please do contact us on Facebook or Instagram - we'd love to hear from you.

Tessa

Managing Editor, Test Content

We Love IELTS

We Love IELTS gives IELTS test takers all the preparation materials and advice they need for success.

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IELTS 15 Academic

IELTS 15 Academic contains four practice tests EXACTLY like the real exam. It comes with audio scripts, answer keys and sample Writing answers. A new downloadable Resource Bank includes extra sample Writing answers, a sample Speaking test video and answer keys with additional explanations. QR codes in the book provide quick access to the audio and video content.  This book gives you an excellent opportunity to familiarise yourself with the test format and practise exam techniques using real-to-life test material written by the test makers (Cambridge Assessment English).  Also available for IELTS General Training *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

Find your passion and develop your English language
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Find your passion and achieve your English language goals

Here at 'We Love IELTS', we love IELTS. We love it because we see the possibilities it opens up for our readers, and because we love helping you achieve the score you need. However, we don't expect you to love the exam itself, because, let's face it, very few people actually like exams. At the same time, we shouldn't underestimate what love and passion can do for you as a language learner: a good IELTS score is a side-effect of finding a connection to the language that goes beyond simply understanding it and using it in an exam-focussed, mechanical way.  Along with so many other people in England, I’ve recently been inspired by the achievement of Jürgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool Football Club, who led his team to victory in the Premier League with record-breaking performances after a 30-year wait for the title. Jürgen, who is German, does not speak English perfectly and the English teacher in me notices grammatical errors when he speaks. However, he is known throughout the footballing world to have a ‘way with words’, which means that when he speaks, he truly communicates, and people are eager to listen to what he says because he always finds the right words to make his message strong and inspiring. I believe that it is this desire to share the love and passion he feels for football with others which not only allows him to use the English he already knows to great effect, but to keep improving all the time. And in the meantime, who cares about grammar when you have something to say and inspire others.  A couple of years ago, I worked with a student who was preparing to do a PhD and although he came to me thinking that his English was not very good, by the end of term, he produced an essay that taught me about energy transformation in batteries in a way that not only allowed me to really understand the processes involved, but his passion for the topic made it come alive for me and I understood the role his research will play in changing the way we use and store energy. By the end of the semester, his English had improved significantly without him even noticing, although he did, of course, still make mistakes, and he’s now contributing to published articles in scientific journals with a team of native speakers.  I am very lucky to be working in a profession where I get inspired by my students (and readers) all the time and I guess my message to you is this: Find your passion and find a connection with that passion and the English language.  Another one of my students has a passion for writing and although her English isn’t perfect, when we studied one of her stories in our literature class, her classmates got more excited about her work than the famous English writer we studied the week before, because she had a message the other students needed and wanted to hear: ‘Don’t wait to show others what matters to you until you’re perfect at it. Get your message out now.’ For example, if you love food, there are many exciting cookery programmes in English for you to watch, but why not go beyond that and share the love for your country’s cuisine with others by making some cookery videos in English yourself, so others can enjoy what you love. By figuring out how to communicate what really matters to you to others in English, you’ll improve your language skills more effectively than by doing endless grammar exercises (although there’s a time and place for those, too, of course).  So what’s your message? How would you like to inspire the world?  I can’t wait to find out! Sophie

Sophie Hodgson

2 July, 2020

Find your passion and achieve your English language goals

Find your passion and develop your English language

Here at 'We Love IELTS', we love IELTS. We love it because we see the possibilities it opens up for our readers, and because we love helping you achieve the score you need. However, we don't expect you to love the exam itself, because, let's face it, very few people actually like exams.
At the same time, we shouldn't underestimate what love and passion can do for you as a language learner: a good IELTS score is a side-effect of finding a connection to the language that goes beyond simply understanding it and using it in an exam-focussed, mechanical way. 

Along with so many other people in England, I’ve recently been inspired by the achievement of Jürgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool Football Club, who led his team to victory in the Premier League with record-breaking performances after a 30-year wait for the title.

Jürgen, who is German, does not speak English perfectly and the English teacher in me notices grammatical errors when he speaks. However, he is known throughout the footballing world to have a ‘way with words’, which means that when he speaks, he truly communicates, and people are eager to listen to what he says because he always finds the right words to make his message strong and inspiring. I believe that it is this desire to share the love and passion he feels for football with others which not only allows him to use the English he already knows to great effect, but to keep improving all the time. And in the meantime, who cares about grammar when you have something to say and inspire others. 

A couple of years ago, I worked with a student who was preparing to do a PhD and although he came to me thinking that his English was not very good, by the end of term, he produced an essay that taught me about energy transformation in batteries in a way that not only allowed me to really understand the processes involved, but his passion for the topic made it come alive for me and I understood the role his research will play in changing the way we use and store energy. By the end of the semester, his English had improved significantly without him even noticing, although he did, of course, still make mistakes, and he’s now contributing to published articles in scientific journals with a team of native speakers. 

I am very lucky to be working in a profession where I get inspired by my students (and readers) all the time and I guess my message to you is this: Find your passion and find a connection with that passion and the English language. 

Another one of my students has a passion for writing and although her English isn’t perfect, when we studied one of her stories in our literature class, her classmates got more excited about her work than the famous English writer we studied the week before, because she had a message the other students needed and wanted to hear: ‘Don’t wait to show others what matters to you until you’re perfect at it. Get your message out now.’

For example, if you love food, there are many exciting cookery programmes in English for you to watch, but why not go beyond that and share the love for your country’s cuisine with others by making some cookery videos in English yourself, so others can enjoy what you love. By figuring out how to communicate what really matters to you to others in English, you’ll improve your language skills more effectively than by doing endless grammar exercises (although there’s a time and place for those, too, of course). 

So what’s your message? How would you like to inspire the world? 

I can’t wait to find out!

Sophie

Sophie Hodgson

Sophie has been supporting students on their IELTS journey since 2003 and feels privileged to have watched them succeed. While most people probably do not like taking tests, Sophie believes that preparing for the IELTS exam can be both interesting and fun. She loves language and structure and enjoys exploring both with her students to help them achieve their aims.

More about the author

filter tags

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Top Tips for IELTS Academic

This pocket-sized revision guide gives you essential advice for each part of the IELTS Academic test. It includes clear examples and explanations to show you exactly what each tip means, general tips for each paper, and sections on how to revise and what to do on test day. It also comes with an interactive IELTS practice test on CD-ROM. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

Developing your English after IELTS Academic
TopTips
Developing your English for university after IELTS Academic

I've spent many years as a language teacher preparing students for the IELTS exam, and during that time, I've become quite passionate about making this as positive and useful as possible and helping students get their required IELTS score. Now I'm a university lecturer, I've gained a whole new perspective as I work with some students who have achieved the required score, but who are still finding it difficult to cope with their university studies.  One of the key problems is that students can be so focussed on the skills they need to get through the exam, that they neglect to improve their English language skills and to look ahead to what they’ll need once they enter university.  Think of the IELTS exam as an airport to your real destination. While it’s important to make sure you have your ticket, passport, vaccinations, visa, and anything else you need to get through the controls, you’ll also want to know what to do at the other end of your journey.  So here are my top tips for looking beyond IELTS: Start reading texts from your future field of studies in English. This will help you build the vocabulary you’ll need on your degree programme. Remember to start with fairly simple texts on websites and build to more advanced sources such as textbooks and journal articles. You may also want to find a subject-specific dictionary to help you understand key ideas in your field. If you’re worried about your listening skills, watch documentaries about topics from your subject area (with subtitles if you find it useful). Read about your future subject in your own language. The more you already know about the subject, the easier it will be to understand concepts in another language and to absorb new vocabulary.  Work on your general language skills. You should spend at least as much time on improving your grammar, vocabulary, spelling etc., as you do on IELTS exam skills. Remember that IELTS is not a different language! It’s still English, so the better you are at English the higher your IELTS score will be. However, if you want to study the language with examples that are directly relevant to the exam, you could use some of these sources: Cambridge Grammar for IELTS Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced Research the academic skills required at university. IELTS is essentially a language exam. Once you arrive at university, you will have to acquire a whole new set of academic skills, which go beyond the level tested in IELTS. This includes ideas such as structuring an essay, referencing and hedging. Many universities allow open access to their academic skills sites, so a quick internet search should provide you with lots of useful sources. There are also numerous subject-specific academic skills handbooks available which should help you research and write/present within your discipline.    Research your preferred universities and cities in as much detail as you can. This will help you choose the best option for you and to orientate yourself. Many universities offer similar academic options, so think about what matters to you as a person. Do you prefer clean air or a bustling nightlife? Do you want to continue practising a particular sport? Thorough research will also help you go through the process of settling in and making friends more smoothly as you’ll know where to go and what to do.  Remember that spending time on the activities above, doesn’t take time away from your IELTS preparation. On the contrary, looking beyond IELTS can form an important part of achieving your required score while giving you a head-start in your university studies. For example, reading texts from your field of study counts as reading practice and will improve your fluency and vocabulary.  Good luck on your journey! Sophie

Sophie Hodgson

24 June, 2020

Developing your English for university after IELTS Academic

Developing your English after IELTS Academic

I've spent many years as a language teacher preparing students for the IELTS exam, and during that time, I've become quite passionate about making this as positive and useful as possible and helping students get their required IELTS score. Now I'm a university lecturer, I've gained a whole new perspective as I work with some students who have achieved the required score, but who are still finding it difficult to cope with their university studies.

One of the key problems is that students can be so focussed on the skills they need to get through the exam, that they neglect to improve their English language skills and to look ahead to what they’ll need once they enter university.

Think of the IELTS exam as an airport to your real destination. While it’s important to make sure you have your ticket, passport, vaccinations, visa, and anything else you need to get through the controls, you’ll also want to know what to do at the other end of your journey.

So here are my top tips for looking beyond IELTS:

Start reading texts from your future field of studies in English. This will help you build the vocabulary you’ll need on your degree programme. Remember to start with fairly simple texts on websites and build to more advanced sources such as textbooks and journal articles. You may also want to find a subject-specific dictionary to help you understand key ideas in your field. If you’re worried about your listening skills, watch documentaries about topics from your subject area (with subtitles if you find it useful).

Read about your future subject in your own language. The more you already know about the subject, the easier it will be to understand concepts in another language and to absorb new vocabulary.

Work on your general language skills. You should spend at least as much time on improving your grammar, vocabulary, spelling etc., as you do on IELTS exam skills. Remember that IELTS is not a different language! It’s still English, so the better you are at English the higher your IELTS score will be. However, if you want to study the language with examples that are directly relevant to the exam, you could use some of these sources:

Research the academic skills required at university. IELTS is essentially a language exam. Once you arrive at university, you will have to acquire a whole new set of academic skills, which go beyond the level tested in IELTS. This includes ideas such as structuring an essay, referencing and hedging. Many universities allow open access to their academic skills sites, so a quick internet search should provide you with lots of useful sources. There are also numerous subject-specific academic skills handbooks available which should help you research and write/present within your discipline.

English Beyond IELTS Tip

 

Research your preferred universities and cities in as much detail as you can. This will help you choose the best option for you and to orientate yourself. Many universities offer similar academic options, so think about what matters to you as a person. Do you prefer clean air or a bustling nightlife? Do you want to continue practising a particular sport? Thorough research will also help you go through the process of settling in and making friends more smoothly as you’ll know where to go and what to do.

Remember that spending time on the activities above, doesn’t take time away from your IELTS preparation. On the contrary, looking beyond IELTS can form an important part of achieving your required score while giving you a head-start in your university studies. For example, reading texts from your field of study counts as reading practice and will improve your fluency and vocabulary.

Good luck on your journey!
Sophie

Sophie Hodgson

Sophie has been supporting students on their IELTS journey since 2003 and feels privileged to have watched them succeed. While most people probably do not like taking tests, Sophie believes that preparing for the IELTS exam can be both interesting and fun. She loves language and structure and enjoys exploring both with her students to help them achieve their aims.

More about the author

filter tags

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Rafael-Test-Takers-Perspective
TopTips
A test-taker's perspective: easier said than done

Rafael, a past IELTS test taker (and now an English Teacher!), shares his experience of taking IELTS. It helped him to understand the test from his students' perspective and what's needed to prepare and pass the test to achieve band score 9.    Listening Practice: Listen to Emma read a test-taker's perspective: easier said than done     Why did you take the IELTS test? I’ve always wanted to be an English teacher. I didn’t have to take IELTS but it would help me to better prepare my students and become familiar with the exam.  How did you manage your study time? The first thing I did was to become as familiar with the exam as possible. I took a lot of IELTS practice tests and read everything I could about the exam.  Which tools and/or products helped you pass?  A book that helped me when preparing was “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time'' by Mark Haddon. Sounds strange but I’ll tell you why… It’s the story of a boy with Asperger syndrome who struggled to make sense of the world around him. Little did I know that the book would eventually win the 2003 Whitbread Book Awards for Best Novel and became a brilliant play. I believe IELTS test takers should read this book for two reasons. Firstly, because it has a riveting plot and makes for good entertainment. Secondly, the main character of the book struggles to understand the world around him. He has a hard time reading emotions and feelings. He doesn’t seem to grasp sarcasm, for instance. When we learn another language, we may find ourselves in the same situation. Usually A2/B1 students may fail to see the finer points of a listening passage or a text.  The book can help you not only to improve vocabulary and grammar but also to learn to thrive even with limitations.    What techniques did you learn along the way? While preparing for IELTS I realized that most essays follow a pattern. Although you don’t have to, it makes it easier if you follow a structure. This structure has worked for students I’ve taught and helped me to reach my target band score: First paragraph – paraphrase the rubrics (set of instructions) and write about what you’re going to write. Let the examiner know that you have fully understood the task and that you are on your way to tackle it. Second paragraph - try to support one side of the argument. Come up with reasons for everything you say. Write short well linked sentences. Third paragraph - support the other side of the argument. Contrast the ideas from the previous paragraph. Develop your thoughts.  Fourth and final paragraph (remember you only have 40 minutes) - state your opinion and come up with a conclusion.   Linking expressions will also help you to achieve a higher band score, Sophie explains this further here. I know what you’re thinking; it’s easier said than done. You’re right! That’s why in addition to this you should also use very good and reliable preparation material so that you know exactly what you are up against. I personally recommend the Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS.   What do you use your English for now?    Nowadays I use English for everything as I work in an English speaking country; I teach and study it everyday. Most importantly, I used my knowledge of the English language to write this blog for you! Hope you found this useful! Rafael

IELTS Test Taker

4 June, 2020

A test-taker's perspective: easier said than done

Rafael-Test-Takers-Perspective

Rafael, a past IELTS test taker (and now an English Teacher!), shares his experience of taking IELTS. It helped him to understand the test from his students' perspective and what's needed to prepare and pass the test to achieve band score 9.

 

Listening Icon Listening Practice: Listen to Emma read a test-taker's perspective: easier said than done

 

 

Why did you take the IELTS test?
I’ve always wanted to be an English teacher. I didn’t have to take IELTS but it would help me to better prepare my students and become familiar with the exam.

How did you manage your study time?
The first thing I did was to become as familiar with the exam as possible. I took a lot of IELTS practice tests and read everything I could about the exam.

Which tools and/or products helped you pass? 
A book that helped me when preparing was “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time'' by Mark Haddon. Sounds strange but I’ll tell you why… It’s the story of a boy with Asperger syndrome who struggled to make sense of the world around him. Little did I know that the book would eventually win the 2003 Whitbread Book Awards for Best Novel and became a brilliant play.

I believe IELTS test takers should read this book for two reasons. Firstly, because it has a riveting plot and makes for good entertainment. Secondly, the main character of the book struggles to understand the world around him. He has a hard time reading emotions and feelings. He doesn’t seem to grasp sarcasm, for instance. When we learn another language, we may find ourselves in the same situation. Usually A2/B1 students may fail to see the finer points of a listening passage or a text.

The book can help you not only to improve vocabulary and grammar but also to learn to thrive even with limitations.  

What techniques did you learn along the way?
While preparing for IELTS I realized that most essays follow a pattern. Although you don’t have to, it makes it easier if you follow a structure. This structure has worked for students I’ve taught and helped me to reach my target band score:

  • First paragraph – paraphrase the rubrics (set of instructions) and write about what you’re going to write. Let the examiner know that you have fully understood the task and that you are on your way to tackle it.
  • Second paragraph - try to support one side of the argument. Come up with reasons for everything you say. Write short well linked sentences.
  • Third paragraph - support the other side of the argument. Contrast the ideas from the previous paragraph. Develop your thoughts.
  • Fourth and final paragraph (remember you only have 40 minutes) - state your opinion and come up with a conclusion.
Top Tip from Rafael

 

Linking expressions will also help you to achieve a higher band score, Sophie explains this further here.

I know what you’re thinking; it’s easier said than done. You’re right! That’s why in addition to this you should also use very good and reliable preparation material so that you know exactly what you are up against. I personally recommend the Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS.

What do you use your English for now?

Nowadays I use English for everything as I work in an English speaking country; I teach and study it everyday. Most importantly, I used my knowledge of the English language to write this blog for you!

Hope you found this useful!

Rafael

IELTS Test Taker

Hear from past IELTS test takers as they share their experience of taking IELTS. They will cover what’s needed to prepare, pass the test and achieve your target band score.

More about the author

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Recommended For You

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Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS

This all-in-one study guide provides comprehensive preparation for IELTS Academic and General Training and is packed with activities, practice tests and tips to help you maximise your IELTS score. It covers the language and skills you need to perform with confidence. Organised by skill, you can study from start to finish or focus on areas that you need most help with. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

Set SMART Goals
TopTips
Set SMART goals

For many students, gaining their required grade in the IELTS test isn't easy and it can be really hard to stay motivated and positive every day. A couple of months ago, I posted a blog on creating a goals board in order to help you stay focussed on what you want to achieve and break down your big goal(s) into smaller goals to create a study routine.  Today, I’d like to look at how you can make sure you reach these smaller goals successfully every day, so that you make quick progress towards your IELTS goal.    In the business world, we often talk about setting SMART goals and we can apply this very easily to your IELTS studies. No, that is not smart in the British sense of the word meaning stylish or elegant. It is also not really in the American sense that the goal has to be clever. Having said that, setting SMART goals for your IELTS studies is probably a really clever idea. So, what does SMART stand for?  S: Specific Instead of saying ‘study vocabulary’, set a goal like this: Study vocabulary to do with the workplace. Or, even better: Study p. 90-93 in IELTS Vocabulary up to Band 6. If your goal isn’t specific, it’s really easy to get demotivated and lost in the sheer amount of work you still have to do. If you have a specific goal, however small, there’ll be a moment when you’ve achieved it and when you can celebrate completing this step of your journey.  M: Measurable This means that you need to have a clear marker that tells you when you have achieved your goal. (e.g. ‘when I can remember 80% of the words from the exercise’, or, ‘when I can spell 100% of the words from the exercise correctly.’) Sadly, completing a test or exercise in a book isn’t a measurement of having learnt anything, so think about what you want to be able to do at the end.  A: Attainable Attainable means that something is possible to achieve. So, ‘A’ could also stand for ‘Achievable’. Remember that your goals need to be small enough so they’re realistic. If you got an IELTS 5.5 in your most recent Writing test, it’s not a good idea to set an IELTS 7 as your goal. Of course, given enough time and practice, achieving a 7 is possible, but the goal is really too distant to be SMART. Instead, think like this: ‘In my most recent practice writing, I made 8 mistakes with active passive. In my next writing, I want to make no more than 2 mistakes with active/passive. In order to do so, I will study Unit 22 in IELTS Grammar for Bands 6.5 and above and then make sure I proofread carefully for active/passive mistakes in my next practice test.’ This way you have a much better chance of achieving your goal, which should help you stay motivated for your next goal. R: Relevant Make sure that the goal you set is really focused on what you need to study to achieve your goal. For example, studying informal English can be fun and help you stay motivated, but if you have booked your exam and you have not worked on you spelling for expressions used in the first part of the Writing test, the latter would be a much better goal to set.   T: Time-bound This one is especially important when you study independently: Set yourself a deadline. Write down when you want to complete a particular goal by and remember to be realistic. Some goals need a later deadline because they involve more work, others benefit from having a tight deadline to motivate you to just get it done.  You are now ready to make a list of SMART goals, but do make sure it is not too long. Whenever you complete one item on your list, you can add another. When deciding which goals to start with, decide which ones are most relevant to your overall goal at the moment and don’t forget to celebrate each success by doing something you enjoy and by telling yourself: Well done.  Sophie

Sophie Hodgson

7 May, 2020

Set SMART goals

Set SMART Goals

For many students, gaining their required grade in the IELTS test isn't easy and it can be really hard to stay motivated and positive every day. A couple of months ago, I posted a blog on creating a goals board in order to help you stay focussed on what you want to achieve and break down your big goal(s) into smaller goals to create a study routine.
Today, I’d like to look at how you can make sure you reach these smaller goals successfully every day, so that you make quick progress towards your IELTS goal.

 

In the business world, we often talk about setting SMART goals and we can apply this very easily to your IELTS studies. No, that is not smart in the British sense of the word meaning stylish or elegant. It is also not really in the American sense that the goal has to be clever. Having said that, setting SMART goals for your IELTS studies is probably a really clever idea.

So, what does SMART stand for?

S: Specific

Instead of saying ‘study vocabulary’, set a goal like this: Study vocabulary to do with the workplace. Or, even better: Study p. 90-93 in IELTS Vocabulary up to Band 6. If your goal isn’t specific, it’s really easy to get demotivated and lost in the sheer amount of work you still have to do. If you have a specific goal, however small, there’ll be a moment when you’ve achieved it and when you can celebrate completing this step of your journey.

M: Measurable

This means that you need to have a clear marker that tells you when you have achieved your goal. (e.g. ‘when I can remember 80% of the words from the exercise’, or, ‘when I can spell 100% of the words from the exercise correctly.’) Sadly, completing a test or exercise in a book isn’t a measurement of having learnt anything, so think about what you want to be able to do at the end.

A: Attainable

Attainable means that something is possible to achieve. So, ‘A’ could also stand for ‘Achievable’. Remember that your goals need to be small enough so they’re realistic. If you got an IELTS 5.5 in your most recent Writing test, it’s not a good idea to set an IELTS 7 as your goal. Of course, given enough time and practice, achieving a 7 is possible, but the goal is really too distant to be SMART. Instead, think like this: ‘In my most recent practice writing, I made 8 mistakes with active passive. In my next writing, I want to make no more than 2 mistakes with active/passive. In order to do so, I will study Unit 22 in IELTS Grammar for Bands 6.5 and above and then make sure I proofread carefully for active/passive mistakes in my next practice test.’ This way you have a much better chance of achieving your goal, which should help you stay motivated for your next goal.

R: Relevant

Make sure that the goal you set is really focused on what you need to study to achieve your goal. For example, studying informal English can be fun and help you stay motivated, but if you have booked your exam and you have not worked on you spelling for expressions used in the first part of the Writing test, the latter would be a much better goal to set.


T: Time-bound

This one is especially important when you study independently: Set yourself a deadline. Write down when you want to complete a particular goal by and remember to be realistic. Some goals need a later deadline because they involve more work, others benefit from having a tight deadline to motivate you to just get it done.

You are now ready to make a list of SMART goals, but do make sure it is not too long. Whenever you complete one item on your list, you can add another. When deciding which goals to start with, decide which ones are most relevant to your overall goal at the moment and don’t forget to celebrate each success by doing something you enjoy and by telling yourself: Well done.

Sophie

Sophie Hodgson

Sophie has been supporting students on their IELTS journey since 2003 and feels privileged to have watched them succeed. While most people probably do not like taking tests, Sophie believes that preparing for the IELTS exam can be both interesting and fun. She loves language and structure and enjoys exploring both with her students to help them achieve their aims.

More about the author

filter tags

Recommended For You

recommended book image
IELTS Grammar for Bands 6.5 and above

IELTS Grammar for Bands 6.5 and above provides clear explanations and extensive practice of all the grammar you need for IELTS. Grammar is presented through listening material, so your listening skills will also develop while you study. It includes a wide range of tasks from IELTS Academic and General Training Reading, Writing and Listening sections. Previous title Cambridge Grammar for IELTS *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

Study Group
TopTips
Join or create a study group

Are you finding it difficult to stay motivated in studying for IELTS? Do you sometimes lack self-discipline? One really good way to stay on track is working with others in a study group. A study group is a group of people who meet regularly, to encourage and support each other. This may be particularly helpful if you are easily distracted or if you don’t enjoy working on your own.  There are a few things to consider when organising an IELTS study group: Make sure the group is relatively small, so meetings are easy to organise and each member gets plenty of time to contribute.   Make sure you have a suitable online space to meet (Zoom is a great option). Agree on the length of the session in advance. A fixed end-time helps everybody stay focussed and motivated.  Make sure the session starts on time. Show respect to your group members and to your own studies by treating each session as an important appointment.  Make session time a social media-free zone. Put away your phones and focus on your studies.  Have plenty of breaks to chat and relax. This is especially important for longer study sessions. However, make sure you agree on the length of the break in advance.  Agree the date and time for the next session at the end of each meeting.  Identify a clear goal for each session. Find suitable materials to use for each session in advance.  Set ‘homework’ for members to complete in preparation for the next session.  Keep a list of goals you want to achieve with the group.  Celebrate your successes and reward yourselves.  It’s a good idea to appoint a session leader for each session in advance. Their job is to ensure that you stick to the rules above and to lead discussions, making sure all group members get to contribute. Then, they clearly communicate what the group has decided, e.g. the aim for the next session and the preparation to be done. They may, for example, send an email summary to everyone after their session. Session leaders will also be the one in charge of finding materials and activities for their session.  This could include some of the following activities:    Do you have any good ideas for study groups? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know.  If it’s well-organised, a study group is a great tool in helping you progress towards your IELTS goal and, if you remember to keep it positive and fun, you may even make some really good friends.  In my next blog in this series, I’ll be looking at setting SMART goals to help you stay motivated, so make sure to look out for it. Sophie PS. If you can’t find enough people to form a group, why not just work with a study buddy?  

Sophie Hodgson

29 April, 2020

Join or create a study group

Study Group

Are you finding it difficult to stay motivated in studying for IELTS? Do you sometimes lack self-discipline? One really good way to stay on track is working with others in a study group. A study group is a group of people who meet regularly, to encourage and support each other. This may be particularly helpful if you are easily distracted or if you don’t enjoy working on your own.

There are a few things to consider when organising an IELTS study group:

Make sure the group is relatively small, so meetings are easy to organise and each member gets plenty of time to contribute.

  • Make sure you have a suitable online space to meet (Zoom is a great option).
  • Agree on the length of the session in advance. A fixed end-time helps everybody stay focussed and motivated.
  • Make sure the session starts on time. Show respect to your group members and to your own studies by treating each session as an important appointment.
  • Make session time a social media-free zone. Put away your phones and focus on your studies.
  • Have plenty of breaks to chat and relax. This is especially important for longer study sessions. However, make sure you agree on the length of the break in advance.
  • Agree the date and time for the next session at the end of each meeting.
  • Identify a clear goal for each session.
  • Find suitable materials to use for each session in advance.
  • Set ‘homework’ for members to complete in preparation for the next session.
  • Keep a list of goals you want to achieve with the group.
  • Celebrate your successes and reward yourselves.

It’s a good idea to appoint a session leader for each session in advance. Their job is to ensure that you stick to the rules above and to lead discussions, making sure all group members get to contribute. Then, they clearly communicate what the group has decided, e.g. the aim for the next session and the preparation to be done. They may, for example, send an email summary to everyone after their session. Session leaders will also be the one in charge of finding materials and activities for their session.

This could include some of the following activities:

Study Group Tips - We Love IELTS

 

Do you have any good ideas for study groups? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know.

If it’s well-organised, a study group is a great tool in helping you progress towards your IELTS goal and, if you remember to keep it positive and fun, you may even make some really good friends.

In my next blog in this series, I’ll be looking at setting SMART goals to help you stay motivated, so make sure to look out for it.

Sophie


PS. If you can’t find enough people to form a group, why not just work with a study buddy?

top-tip

Don’t forget, the preparation materials and content on We Love IELTS can be used as a guide for your study group!

Sophie Hodgson

Sophie has been supporting students on their IELTS journey since 2003 and feels privileged to have watched them succeed. While most people probably do not like taking tests, Sophie believes that preparing for the IELTS exam can be both interesting and fun. She loves language and structure and enjoys exploring both with her students to help them achieve their aims.

More about the author

filter tags

Recommended For You

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Top Tips for IELTS Academic

This pocket-sized revision guide gives you essential advice for each part of the IELTS Academic test. It includes clear examples and explanations to show you exactly what each tip means, general tips for each paper, and sections on how to revise and what to do on test day. It also comes with an interactive IELTS practice test on CD-ROM. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

FAQS-Product
TopTips
Find the right preparation materials for you

With so many websites and books offering IELTS preparation materials out there it's difficult to know where to find reliable, authentic resources. We get a lot of questions about our bestselling authentic resources, so today I will try to answer some of them.    Listening Practice: Listen to Emma read find the right preparation materials for you     1. What’s the difference between IELTS 10 and IELTS 15?  Both books are from a series of Authentic Practice Tests (books that feature tests that are exactly like the real exam). A new edition is published every year and IELTS 15 is the latest edition. Older versions, like IELTS  12 and 13 are still available to buy and there is no reason why you shouldn’t use them. Each of the books has 4 full practice tests, complete with answers to check your work. Find out more about IELTS 15 here. 2. I have 5 months until my test and I am not sure what to use to help me prepare? The most comprehensive preparation book is the Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS. This study guide covers all areas of the test with in-depth skills practice, grammar and vocabulary exercises, test strategies and lots of tips and advice.  It also has practice tests so, if you’re only looking to get one book this is a great option.  If you’re not sure what is available then why not use our Resource Finder. It will help you to find the right preparation materials for you, all you need to do is answer five quick questions to find out what the best resources are to boost your preparation. Try it today! 3. I don’t know what practice tests I should use, what is the difference? Let’s break down our three most popular practice tests so you can find which one is best for you. IELTS Trainer 2 IELTS Trainer 2 provides practice tests AND guidance. First, you can build your confidence by following the step-by-step guidance, tips and strategies in the training and exam practice exercises in the first two tests. Then, you can apply what you’ve learned and develop your exam technique with the final four tests. This book comes with downloadable audio, audio scripts and answers with detailed explanations.  This is great if you want some guidance and tips as well as practice tests. IELTS 14 (IELTS 15 is now available) IELTS 14 contains four practice tests EXACTLY like the real exam. It comes with audio scripts, answer keys and sample Writing answers so you can check your own strengths and weaknesses. This book gives you an excellent opportunity to familiarise yourself with the test format and practise exam techniques using real-to-life test material written by the test makers (Cambridge Assessment English).  This one is perfect for test practice, and understanding where you might need to focus your study time. Official Practice Materials 2  This book contains practice test material covering all four skills and is suitable for both IELTS Academic and General Training modules. It comes with a DVD with the Listening test audio and three sample Speaking test answers. Examiner comments for Writing and Speaking sample answers will help you improve your score.  This one is the quickest to work through, so might be good if you have very limited study time 4. I already have IELTS materials to prepare but is there anything else you recommend to get my target band score? If you're struggling to reach your target band score then you might need to work on your general English. Some students make the mistake of  doing practice tests all the time and get frustrated when they don’t see any progress.  Remember that IELTS is a test of your English language level. Here on the We Love IELTS website we have a range of blog posts which include vocabulary, grammar and how to build your English language level. If you prefer to have a book to work from then the Grammar for IELTS and Vocabulary for IELTS books are both excellent self-study choices.  Best of luck with your preparation! Emma

Emma Cosgrave

21 April, 2020

Find the right preparation materials for you

FAQS-Product

With so many websites and books offering IELTS preparation materials out there it's difficult to know where to find reliable, authentic resources. We get a lot of questions about our bestselling authentic resources, so today I will try to answer some of them.

 

Listening Icon Listening Practice: Listen to Emma read find the right preparation materials for you

 

 

1. What’s the difference between IELTS 10 and IELTS 15? 

Both books are from a series of Authentic Practice Tests (books that feature tests that are exactly like the real exam). A new edition is published every year and IELTS 15 is the latest edition. Older versions, like IELTS 12 and 13 are still available to buy and there is no reason why you shouldn’t use them. Each of the books has 4 full practice tests, complete with answers to check your work. Find out more about IELTS 15 here.

2. I have 5 months until my test and I am not sure what to use to help me prepare?

The most comprehensive preparation book is the Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS. This study guide covers all areas of the test with in-depth skills practice, grammar and vocabulary exercises, test strategies and lots of tips and advice. It also has practice tests so, if you’re only looking to get one book this is a great option.

If you’re not sure what is available then why not use our Resource Finder. It will help you to find the right preparation materials for you, all you need to do is answer five quick questions to find out what the best resources are to boost your preparation. Try it today!

3. I don’t know what practice tests I should use, what is the difference?

Let’s break down our three most popular practice tests so you can find which one is best for you.

IELTS Trainer 2

IELTS Trainer 2 provides practice tests AND guidance. First, you can build your confidence by following the step-by-step guidance, tips and strategies in the training and exam practice exercises in the first two tests. Then, you can apply what you’ve learned and develop your exam technique with the final four tests. This book comes with downloadable audio, audio scripts and answers with detailed explanations.

This is great if you want some guidance and tips as well as practice tests.

IELTS 14 (IELTS 15 is now available)

IELTS 14 contains four practice tests EXACTLY like the real exam. It comes with audio scripts, answer keys and sample Writing answers so you can check your own strengths and weaknesses.

This book gives you an excellent opportunity to familiarise yourself with the test format and practise exam techniques using real-to-life test material written by the test makers (Cambridge Assessment English).

This one is perfect for test practice, and understanding where you might need to focus your study time.

Official Practice Materials 2

This book contains practice test material covering all four skills and is suitable for both IELTS Academic and General Training modules. It comes with a DVD with the Listening test audio and three sample Speaking test answers. Examiner comments for Writing and Speaking sample answers will help you improve your score.

This one is the quickest to work through, so might be good if you have very limited study time

4. I already have IELTS materials to prepare but is there anything else you recommend to get my target band score?

If you're struggling to reach your target band score then you might need to work on your general English. Some students make the mistake of doing practice tests all the time and get frustrated when they don’t see any progress.

Remember that IELTS is a test of your English language level. Here on the We Love IELTS website we have a range of blog posts which include vocabulary, grammar and how to build your English language level. If you prefer to have a book to work from then the Grammar for IELTS and Vocabulary for IELTS books are both excellent self-study choices.

Best of luck with your preparation!

Emma

Emma Cosgrave

Emma has been teaching IELTS for 20 years. She enjoys helping people to develop both their language skills and confidence.

More about the author

filter tags

Recommended For You

recommended book image
IELTS Trainer 2 Academic

IELTS Trainer 2 provides practice tests AND guidance. First, build your confidence by following the step-by-step guidance, tips and strategies in the training and exam practice exercises in the first two tests. Then apply what you’ve learned and develop your exam technique with the final four tests. This book contains six full practice tests with downloadable audio, audioscripts and answers with detailed explanations. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

Studying at home
TopTips
Simple ways to study for IELTS at home

Are you wondering how to stay focused on your English if your IELTS classes have stopped? We Love IELTS is here to help! Here are some simple things that you can do from home to maintain your general English level.  1. Test yourself with practice questions Alternate between doing timed practices and allowing yourself as long as you need to really understand the questions and texts. If you have any of the IELTS Authentic Practice Tests, there are model answers and examiner comments to help you analyse your own work. If you don’t have access to the Cambridge IELTS practice tests series don’t worry, you can find official IELTS sample test questions on the IELTS website. 2. Record yourself doing an IELTS Speaking test If you have a friend who can practise with you, either at home or online, why not take turns being the examiner and the candidate. Listen back and evaluate your own performance. You could also try to note down everything you said, like a transcript, this will help you to identify any mistakes that you made. If you want to understand the IELTS Speaking test do read my recent blog. 3. Test out computer delivered IELTS Even if you have no intention of taking a computer-delivered IELTS test there are some really helpful practice materials available on the internet. The test is the same whether you take it on a computer or on paper so these activities will be useful to you. Perhaps you will decide that you would actually prefer to take your IELTS test on a computer.  Testbank-i is our official online practice test for IELTS, it's the perfect preparation for computer-delivered IELTS. Try in ‘Practice Mode’ multiple times with tips, feedback and answers. Then try in ‘Test Mode’ to see how you perform in exam-like conditions. Use code “PROMOIELTS” for 30% discount. ACADEMIC | GENERAL TRAINING 4. Check your bookshelf Have a look on your bookshelves and see what old textbooks you have. Now might be the perfect time to finally work through that grammar book you got when you were 16 and didn’t ever complete! If you have test preparation materials then why not do the questions. Even if you’ve already completed a reading comprehension task, the text itself is a really valuable resource which will be full of vocabulary that you can learn.  5. Take some time to learn all about the IELTS test Download the Official Guide for Candidates and make sure you read through carefully. Find out more about each skills: Reading Writing Listening  Speaking 6. Join in as much as you can online Write comments, answer and ask questions, do tasks and get feedback or just feel like part of a wider community of learners. You may even find some new friends along the way. On our Facebook page we are offering a range of live sessions, please do join or check back for recordings. 7. Keep your general English level up Do some fun stuff and don’t just focus on IELTS. If you want some ideas of what you could be doing, check out my blog post about ways to work on your general English at home.  8. The Academic Wordlist It was developed by Averil Coxhead at the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The list contains 570 word families which were selected because they appear with great frequency in a broad range of academic texts. The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) have a great, free resource that you can access to learn these important vocabulary items. 9. Sign up to our newsletter We’re working hard to make great content for you and the best way to find out about what we’re doing is to sign up for our newsletter. Keep checking this website for new blog posts and other materials. Don’t forget to like our Facebook page as well as our Instagram and YouTube channels so that you don’t miss any updates. 10. Stay positive Last but not least, in these uncertain times when nothing seems to be normal, we hope you are able to stay safe, stay strong and stay positive. Watch my Facebook Live on how to maintain or even improve your English: {"preview_thumbnail":"/sites/default/files/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/PLjYwRjd1QKGBtLKgpXDxfbqsXenWyVkBy.jpg?itok=cLgBf3ea","video_url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RybbyBuQ4CU&list=PLjYwRjd1QKGBtLKgpXDxfbqsXenWyVkBy","settings":{"responsive":1,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":1},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (Responsive, autoplaying)."]}   Bye for now, Emma

Emma Cosgrave

23 March, 2020

Simple ways to study for IELTS at home

Studying at home

Are you wondering how to stay focused on your English if your IELTS classes have stopped? We Love IELTS is here to help!

Here are some simple things that you can do from home to maintain your general English level.

1. Test yourself with practice questions

Alternate between doing timed practices and allowing yourself as long as you need to really understand the questions and texts. If you have any of the IELTS Authentic Practice Tests, there are model answers and examiner comments to help you analyse your own work.

If you don’t have access to the Cambridge IELTS practice tests series don’t worry, you can find official IELTS sample test questions on the IELTS website.

2. Record yourself doing an IELTS Speaking test

If you have a friend who can practise with you, either at home or online, why not take turns being the examiner and the candidate. Listen back and evaluate your own performance. You could also try to note down everything you said, like a transcript, this will help you to identify any mistakes that you made. If you want to understand the IELTS Speaking test do read my recent blog.

3. Test out computer delivered IELTS

Even if you have no intention of taking a computer-delivered IELTS test there are some really helpful practice materials available on the internet. The test is the same whether you take it on a computer or on paper so these activities will be useful to you. Perhaps you will decide that you would actually prefer to take your IELTS test on a computer.

Testbank-i is our official online practice test for IELTS, it's the perfect preparation for computer-delivered IELTS. Try in ‘Practice Mode’ multiple times with tips, feedback and answers. Then try in ‘Test Mode’ to see how you perform in exam-like conditions. Use code “PROMOIELTS” for 30% discount.

ACADEMIC | GENERAL TRAINING

4. Check your bookshelf

Have a look on your bookshelves and see what old textbooks you have. Now might be the perfect time to finally work through that grammar book you got when you were 16 and didn’t ever complete! If you have test preparation materials then why not do the questions. Even if you’ve already completed a reading comprehension task, the text itself is a really valuable resource which will be full of vocabulary that you can learn.

5. Take some time to learn all about the IELTS test

Download the Official Guide for Candidates and make sure you read through carefully.

Find out more about each skills:

6. Join in as much as you can online

Write comments, answer and ask questions, do tasks and get feedback or just feel like part of a wider community of learners. You may even find some new friends along the way. On our Facebook page we are offering a range of live sessions, please do join or check back for recordings.

7. Keep your general English level up

Do some fun stuff and don’t just focus on IELTS. If you want some ideas of what you could be doing, check out my blog post about ways to work on your general English at home.

8. The Academic Wordlist

It was developed by Averil Coxhead at the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The list contains 570 word families which were selected because they appear with great frequency in a broad range of academic texts. The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) have a great, free resource that you can access to learn these important vocabulary items.

9. Sign up to our newsletter

We’re working hard to make great content for you and the best way to find out about what we’re doing is to sign up for our newsletter. Keep checking this website for new blog posts and other materials. Don’t forget to like our Facebook page as well as our Instagram and YouTube channels so that you don’t miss any updates.

10. Stay positive

Last but not least, in these uncertain times when nothing seems to be normal, we hope you are able to stay safe, stay strong and stay positive.

Watch my Facebook Live on how to maintain or even improve your English:

 

Bye for now,

Emma

Emma Cosgrave

Emma has been teaching IELTS for 20 years. She enjoys helping people to develop both their language skills and confidence.

More about the author

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Recommended For You

recommended book image
Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS

This all-in-one study guide provides comprehensive preparation for IELTS Academic and General Training and is packed with activities, practice tests and tips to help you maximise your IELTS score. It covers the language and skills you need to perform with confidence. Organised by skill, you can study from start to finish or focus on areas that you need most help with. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

Learning at home
TopTips
5 ways to keep learning from home

Are you stuck at home, wondering how to stay focussed on your English when all classes have stopped? We Love IELTS is here to help! Here are 5 simple things that you can do from the comfort of your own home without spending a lot of money to maintain your general English level.  1. Watch something in English Take notes, look up words, pause and repeat phrases that you like. Rather than just relaxing with your usual films or box sets try to watch documentaries. Choose a wide variety of topics so that you can improve your vocabulary in different fields. If you have a Netflix or similar subscription, great, you have a lot of options. Remember, you can change the language of many shows and also the language of the subtitles. Language Learning with Netflix is a Google Chrome extension that could be useful for you too. You don’t need to have a paid for TV subscription to watch English language documentaries, YouTube has plenty to offer too for free. Some of my favourite channels are National Geographic, Natural History Museum and Discovery Channel.  2. Surround yourself with English Some quick and easy ways to do this are: change your phone to English read English language news sites set your email to English  read magazines about the things you love to do in English listen to something in English while you do your everyday tasks - podcasts, audiobooks, radio plays, English language songs. BBC world service news review is just one example I suggest to my students. Join our social channels (Facebook & Instagram) to talk to fellow English and IELTS learners and take part in fun daily exercises! 3. Have some fun each day There are lots of ways you can improve your vocabulary without swallowing a dictionary. One of my favourite games to play is Freerice. You can choose to work on English vocabulary or grammar and if you’re feeling confident you could have a go at a different category e.g. literature. You’re even helping the World Food Program by playing this game!  4. Teach what you know If you’re at home with young children or relatives who don’t speak any English, you could teach them. Teaching someone is a great way to review what you already know. Basic vocabulary and grammar, simple conversations and so on. You can find plenty of websites that have activities for beginners. Who knows, you might find that you love teaching and it becomes a new lifelong passion. 5. Write in English Don’t only write in English for your IELTS practice questions, try writing  a diary in English, or why not start a short story? Everyday take 20 minutes to write, not for an examiner, simply to use the language that you have worked so hard to learn. Everything is easier with practise so keep trying, even if it is hard.  I hope that some of these ideas will help you. I’m going to write my next post about 5 things you can do to study for IELTS whilst you’re at home. Check back soon to read it.  Watch my Facebook Live on how to maintain or even improve your English: {"preview_thumbnail":"/sites/default/files/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/PLjYwRjd1QKGBtLKgpXDxfbqsXenWyVkBy.jpg?itok=cLgBf3ea","video_url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RybbyBuQ4CU&list=PLjYwRjd1QKGBtLKgpXDxfbqsXenWyVkBy","settings":{"responsive":1,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":1},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (Responsive, autoplaying)."]}   Bye for now, stay safe and study hard. Emma

Emma Cosgrave

20 March, 2020

5 ways to keep learning from home

Learning at home

Are you stuck at home, wondering how to stay focussed on your English when all classes have stopped? We Love IELTS is here to help!

Here are 5 simple things that you can do from the comfort of your own home without spending a lot of money to maintain your general English level.

1. Watch something in English

Take notes, look up words, pause and repeat phrases that you like. Rather than just relaxing with your usual films or box sets try to watch documentaries. Choose a wide variety of topics so that you can improve your vocabulary in different fields. If you have a Netflix or similar subscription, great, you have a lot of options. Remember, you can change the language of many shows and also the language of the subtitles. Language Learning with Netflix is a Google Chrome extension that could be useful for you too.

You don’t need to have a paid for TV subscription to watch English language documentaries, YouTube has plenty to offer too for free. Some of my favourite channels are National Geographic, Natural History Museum and Discovery Channel.

2. Surround yourself with English

Some quick and easy ways to do this are:

  • change your phone to English
  • read English language news sites
  • set your email to English
  • read magazines about the things you love to do in English
  • listen to something in English while you do your everyday tasks - podcasts, audiobooks, radio plays, English language songs. BBC world service news review is just one example I suggest to my students.
  • Join our social channels (Facebook & Instagram) to talk to fellow English and IELTS learners and take part in fun daily exercises!

3. Have some fun each day

There are lots of ways you can improve your vocabulary without swallowing a dictionary. One of my favourite games to play is Freerice. You can choose to work on English vocabulary or grammar and if you’re feeling confident you could have a go at a different category e.g. literature. You’re even helping the World Food Program by playing this game!

4. Teach what you know

If you’re at home with young children or relatives who don’t speak any English, you could teach them. Teaching someone is a great way to review what you already know. Basic vocabulary and grammar, simple conversations and so on. You can find plenty of websites that have activities for beginners. Who knows, you might find that you love teaching and it becomes a new lifelong passion.

5. Write in English

Don’t only write in English for your IELTS practice questions, try writing a diary in English, or why not start a short story? Everyday take 20 minutes to write, not for an examiner, simply to use the language that you have worked so hard to learn. Everything is easier with practise so keep trying, even if it is hard.

I hope that some of these ideas will help you. I’m going to write my next post about 5 things you can do to study for IELTS whilst you’re at home. Check back soon to read it.

Watch my Facebook Live on how to maintain or even improve your English:

 

Bye for now, stay safe and study hard.

Emma

Emma Cosgrave

Emma has been teaching IELTS for 20 years. She enjoys helping people to develop both their language skills and confidence.

More about the author

filter tags

Recommended For You

recommended book image
Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS

This all-in-one study guide provides comprehensive preparation for IELTS Academic and General Training and is packed with activities, practice tests and tips to help you maximise your IELTS score. It covers the language and skills you need to perform with confidence. Organised by skill, you can study from start to finish or focus on areas that you need most help with. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

words
TopTips
Words, words, words – here’s a challenge for you

Do you enjoy a challenge? Do you want to push yourself to see how many words you know in English? Here’s a game I use in the classroom with my students. It works because a) it’s a game (who doesn’t like a game?) b) it’s played with a partner which makes it competitive (everybody loves a bit of competition, don’t they?) c) it makes you really think about the words you know, but don’t use (activating your passive vocabulary), d) … the list goes on. Let’s start. The objective is to make as many words as possible. First, you need to create a large square and divide it equally with the same amount of squares on each side. Then add a letter into each square. For example: There are a few rules to remember:       So, where does the competition come in? I always divide my class into teams (any number is good but not more than four people in a team is recommended). Here are the steps: Divide into teams (you could also just play this with one friend). Set the timer – everyone has 3 minutes to make as many words as possible. At the end of 3 minutes everyone stops.  Next, one person from each team slowly reads out their list of words. If someone on another team has the same word, that word is crossed out and nobody gets any points. If no other team has the same word, points are awarded. When one team finishes, another team reads out their words. Again, if someone from another team has the same word, nobody gets any points. The winner is the team with the most points. (See points table below) Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 sad 0 points lot 1 point lots 2 points sadly 3 points sad 0 points day 1 point fade 2 points fades 3 points sad 0 points told 2 points fast 2 points fastly 0 points (not a correct word) So, Team 1 is the winner with 7 points. The scores are as follows: 3-letter word = 1 point 4-letter word = 2 points 5-letter word = 3 points 6 + letters = 4 points You can adapt this to add more squares and more letters. You could even put in a secret word which is worth 5 points if no one guesses it. For example: The secret word in this example is ‘tourism’. If no team guesses the word in the round above, you could give everybody an extra minute to find the secret word. You could give them the first letter ‘t’ to start with and tell them how many letters there are in the word. The first team to find the word is awarded the extra 5 points. Or why not play it alone and on your phone? There are some online boggle games you could play while waiting for your train. Happy boggling! Liz

Liz Marqueiro

20 March, 2020

Words, words, words – here’s a challenge for you

words

Do you enjoy a challenge? Do you want to push yourself to see how many words you know in English?

Here’s a game I use in the classroom with my students. It works because a) it’s a game (who doesn’t like a game?) b) it’s played with a partner which makes it competitive (everybody loves a bit of competition, don’t they?) c) it makes you really think about the words you know, but don’t use (activating your passive vocabulary), d) … the list goes on.

Let’s start.

The objective is to make as many words as possible.

First, you need to create a large square and divide it equally with the same amount of squares on each side. Then add a letter into each square. For example:

Boggle 1

There are a few rules to remember:

Boggle Rules

 

Boggle Rule 2

 

Boggle Rule 2

 

So, where does the competition come in? I always divide my class into teams (any number is good but not more than four people in a team is recommended).

Here are the steps:

  1. Divide into teams (you could also just play this with one friend).
  2. Set the timer – everyone has 3 minutes to make as many words as possible.
  3. At the end of 3 minutes everyone stops.
  4. Next, one person from each team slowly reads out their list of words. If someone on another team has the same word, that word is crossed out and nobody gets any points. If no other team has the same word, points are awarded.
  5. When one team finishes, another team reads out their words. Again, if someone from another team has the same word, nobody gets any points.
  6. The winner is the team with the most points. (See points table below)
Team 1 Team 2 Team 3
sad 0 points lot 1 point lots 2 points
sadly 3 points sad 0 points day 1 point
fade 2 points fades 3 points sad 0 points
told 2 points fast 2 points fastly 0 points (not a correct word)

So, Team 1 is the winner with 7 points.

The scores are as follows:

  • 3-letter word = 1 point
  • 4-letter word = 2 points
  • 5-letter word = 3 points
  • 6 + letters = 4 points

You can adapt this to add more squares and more letters. You could even put in a secret word which is worth 5 points if no one guesses it.

For example:

Boggle 4

The secret word in this example is ‘tourism’. If no team guesses the word in the round above, you could give everybody an extra minute to find the secret word. You could give them the first letter ‘t’ to start with and tell them how many letters there are in the word. The first team to find the word is awarded the extra 5 points.

Or why not play it alone and on your phone? There are some online boggle games you could play while waiting for your train. Happy boggling!

Liz

Liz Marqueiro

Liz has been teaching IELTS around the world for over 25 years.

More about the author

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IELTS Vocabulary up to Band 6

Learn all the vocabulary you need to achieve up to band 6 in IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. It includes useful tips on how to learn vocabulary and covers tricky areas such as the language needed to describe data and processes. This book also includes practice exercises for each skill, regular progress checks and tips on how to avoid typical errors. Previous title Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Also available for Bands 6.5 and above *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

emma header 2
TopTips
5 top tips for test day

Prepare for test day with answers to five of the most frequently asked IELTS test day questions. I hope these help you in preparing for test day. 1. What ID do I need to take with me to my IELTS test? You must bring the same identity document that you used in your application. If you’re taking the test outside your own country then you need to use a passport. If you’re in your home country then check with the test centre what forms of ID are accepted. If you don’t have the correct ID with you on the day you will not be allowed to take the IELTS test and you won’t be able to get a refund or transfer either. You’ll need to show this document when you check in for your test in the morning and again at the start of the IELTS Speaking test.  If there are any changes to your document between completing the IELTS application form and your test day then you must inform the test centre before the test date.  For more information see ielts.org 2.    What time should I get to the test centre? You should have written confirmation from your test centre of the time and date of your test. But you should aim to arrive at the test centre early because there are a few things you'll have to do before the test begins. This includes registering for the test, verifying your ID, storing your belongings and having your photograph taken.  If you arrive late you will not be allowed to take the test.  3.    Do I take all parts of the test on the same day? The Listening, Reading and Writing sections of the test are always completed immediately after each other and with no break. (That is a long morning so be sure to eat a good breakfast before you start!) Many test takers also sit the Speaking test on the same day, but it may be scheduled up to 7 days either before or after the test date. If you take computer-delivered IELTS, the Speaking test will be on the same day. 4.    Can I leave the room during the test? You’re not allowed to leave the test room during the first or last 10 minutes of any of the test sections. If you need to leave the test room to go to the bathroom at any other time, raise your hand and ask an invigilator. Do not leave your seat unless you have permission to do so.  When the test is finished, you must not leave your seat until all materials have been collected and you have been told you can go. If you have a problem (for example, you cannot hear the instructions, or you feel ill) raise your hand to attract the attention of the invigilator. Remember that the invigilators will not provide any explanation of the questions. 5.    Can I take my bag into the test room? The only items you may bring into the test room are your approved identity document, standard pen(s), pencil(s) and eraser(s), and a bottle of water (label-free). If you forget to bring a pencil, the test centre will be able to provide you with one. You must leave all other personal belongings in the designated belongings area. All electronic devices and watches must be switched off and left in the belongings area.  If you have any other questions, ask us on Instagram or Facebook. Emma

Emma Cosgrave

29 February, 2020

5 top tips for test day

emma header 2

Prepare for test day with answers to five of the most frequently asked IELTS test day questions. I hope these help you in preparing for test day.

1. What ID do I need to take with me to my IELTS test?

You must bring the same identity document that you used in your application. If you’re taking the test outside your own country then you need to use a passport. If you’re in your home country then check with the test centre what forms of ID are accepted. If you don’t have the correct ID with you on the day you will not be allowed to take the IELTS test and you won’t be able to get a refund or transfer either. You’ll need to show this document when you check in for your test in the morning and again at the start of the IELTS Speaking test.

If there are any changes to your document between completing the IELTS application form and your test day then you must inform the test centre before the test date.

For more information see ielts.org

2.   What time should I get to the test centre?

You should have written confirmation from your test centre of the time and date of your test. But you should aim to arrive at the test centre early because there are a few things you'll have to do before the test begins. This includes registering for the test, verifying your ID, storing your belongings and having your photograph taken.

If you arrive late you will not be allowed to take the test.

3.   Do I take all parts of the test on the same day?

The Listening, Reading and Writing sections of the test are always completed immediately after each other and with no break. (That is a long morning so be sure to eat a good breakfast before you start!) Many test takers also sit the Speaking test on the same day, but it may be scheduled up to 7 days either before or after the test date. If you take computer-delivered IELTS, the Speaking test will be on the same day.

4.   Can I leave the room during the test?

You’re not allowed to leave the test room during the first or last 10 minutes of any of the test sections. If you need to leave the test room to go to the bathroom at any other time, raise your hand and ask an invigilator. Do not leave your seat unless you have permission to do so.

When the test is finished, you must not leave your seat until all materials have been collected and you have been told you can go.

If you have a problem (for example, you cannot hear the instructions, or you feel ill) raise your hand to attract the attention of the invigilator. Remember that the invigilators will not provide any explanation of the questions.

5.   Can I take my bag into the test room?

The only items you may bring into the test room are your approved identity document, standard pen(s), pencil(s) and eraser(s), and a bottle of water (label-free). If you forget to bring a pencil, the test centre will be able to provide you with one.

You must leave all other personal belongings in the designated belongings area. All electronic devices and watches must be switched off and left in the belongings area.

If you have any other questions, ask us on Instagram or Facebook.

Emma

Emma Cosgrave

Emma has been teaching IELTS for 20 years. She enjoys helping people to develop both their language skills and confidence.

More about the author

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Top Tips for IELTS Academic

This pocket-sized revision guide gives you essential advice for each part of the IELTS Academic test. It includes clear examples and explanations to show you exactly what each tip means, general tips for each paper, and sections on how to revise and what to do on test day. It also comes with an interactive IELTS practice test on CD-ROM. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

motivation
TopTips
Creating a motivational goals board

As part of our Top Tips series, we'll explore the importance of motivation. Find out how you can keep your goals at the forefront of your mind through creating a goals board. For the vast majority of test takers, IELTS is a means to an end rather than a goal in itself. This means that they study towards the test to achieve other goals in their life such as gaining citizenship of another country or studying abroad. These goals are, in turn, often stepping stones  towards other goals, such as becoming an engineer, or taking over the family business and beyond that’s often another set of goals, such as providing for one’s family or one day owning a nice house and a great car. Whatever your goals are, it’s really important to keep them at the forefront of your mind to keep motivation levels high. Goals boards are a great way to keep goals alive in our minds as we work hard towards achieving our dreams. They can also help us break down our ultimate goals into more achievable steps. Take a look at this example: (Click on image to enlarge) When you create YOUR own goals board, remember: Make it your own: There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Some people like to see pictures of their goals and others prefer to write about them. Some people like to use sticky notes, newspaper cuttings or even draw pictures while others prefer to use online apps.   Invest time in the dream: The more time you spend on mapping out your goals, the more motivated you’ll be to achieve them. Be specific: Rather than say ‘read a lot’, plan exactly what you’re going to read, how much and, if possible, when. That way you’ll know when you’ve achieved this goal. Track your progress: Once you’ve achieved a goal, move it to a different section on your goals board (or cross it out). This is really satisfying and will give your motivation a boost every time. Be realistic: It’s better to do more than you expected than to disappoint yourself by not achieving your targets. Start small and add activities to your daily and weekly goals as you go along and have a better idea of what you can cope with. Reward yourself: It’s really important to celebrate achieving all your goals. Depending on the size of your goal, set little rewards for each one. For example, you could reward yourself with a nice cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate for having completed your grammar exercises. You could give yourself an evening of playing computer games or a trip to the cinema for completing all your weekly targets and have something really nice in place for completing the IELTS test. These rewards do not have to be expensive: guilt-free time to do the things we like is often the best reward.    Have fun creating your goals board! Why not share your goals board with us on Instagram. We’ll be covering more top tips in later blogs so please come back for more. Sophie

Sophie Hodgson

27 February, 2020

Creating a motivational goals board

motivation

As part of our Top Tips series, we'll explore the importance of motivation. Find out how you can keep your goals at the forefront of your mind through creating a goals board.

For the vast majority of test takers, IELTS is a means to an end rather than a goal in itself. This means that they study towards the test to achieve other goals in their life such as gaining citizenship of another country or studying abroad.

These goals are, in turn, often stepping stones towards other goals, such as becoming an engineer, or taking over the family business and beyond that’s often another set of goals, such as providing for one’s family or one day owning a nice house and a great car. Whatever your goals are, it’s really important to keep them at the forefront of your mind to keep motivation levels high.

Goals boards are a great way to keep goals alive in our minds as we work hard towards achieving our dreams. They can also help us break down our ultimate goals into more achievable steps. Take a look at this example:

Example Trello Motivational Goals Board

(Click on image to enlarge)

When you create YOUR own goals board, remember:

  • Make it your own: There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Some people like to see pictures of their goals and others prefer to write about them. Some people like to use sticky notes, newspaper cuttings or even draw pictures while others prefer to use online apps.
  • Invest time in the dream: The more time you spend on mapping out your goals, the more motivated you’ll be to achieve them.
  • Be specific: Rather than say ‘read a lot’, plan exactly what you’re going to read, how much and, if possible, when. That way you’ll know when you’ve achieved this goal.
  • Track your progress: Once you’ve achieved a goal, move it to a different section on your goals board (or cross it out). This is really satisfying and will give your motivation a boost every time.
  • Be realistic: It’s better to do more than you expected than to disappoint yourself by not achieving your targets. Start small and add activities to your daily and weekly goals as you go along and have a better idea of what you can cope with.
  • Reward yourself: It’s really important to celebrate achieving all your goals. Depending on the size of your goal, set little rewards for each one. For example, you could reward yourself with a nice cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate for having completed your grammar exercises. You could give yourself an evening of playing computer games or a trip to the cinema for completing all your weekly targets and have something really nice in place for completing the IELTS test. These rewards do not have to be expensive: guilt-free time to do the things we like is often the best reward.  

Have fun creating your goals board! Why not share your goals board with us on Instagram. We’ll be covering more top tips in later blogs so please come back for more.

Sophie

Sophie Hodgson

Sophie has been supporting students on their IELTS journey since 2003 and feels privileged to have watched them succeed. While most people probably do not like taking tests, Sophie believes that preparing for the IELTS exam can be both interesting and fun. She loves language and structure and enjoys exploring both with her students to help them achieve their aims.

More about the author

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Top Tips for IELTS Academic

This pocket-sized revision guide gives you essential advice for each part of the IELTS Academic test. It includes clear examples and explanations to show you exactly what each tip means, general tips for each paper, and sections on how to revise and what to do on test day. It also comes with an interactive IELTS practice test on CD-ROM. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

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In this first episode of our second series, IELTS expert Pete Jones shares some tips on how to reduce any anxiety you might have regarding the IELTS test to help you make the most of your preparation time and perform better in the test.


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Episode 4: Prepare for IELTS Speaking Part 3

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