The side view of a head with a red saw in it sits on a great background with a thunder and lightning cloud about it signifies IELTS Speaking Tips - 5 things no IELTS examiner wants to hear

IELTS Speaking Tips: 5 Things No Examiner Wants to Hear Hey! Believe it or not, your IELTS speaking examiner is hoping that you will do well in the exam. Seriously, nothing is easier than assessing a student who performs well in the test. Unfortunately, not every student performs as well as they can on test day (often because they have been given some “IELTS Speaking Tips” that are just plain wrong!). In fact, there are some words that every examiner dreads hearing. What are they? Let’s find out!

A microphone with a play symbol sits on a yellow background sandwiched with the words top ten to signify that this is a blog about top ten Podcasts for IELTS

My Top Five Podcasts for IELTS Hey! My name is Shelly, and I’m a podcast-aholic. I’m not joking. I spend around 2 – 3 hours EVERY DAY listening to podcasts and, if you ever meet me in person, I bet it will take me less than five minutes to tell you something interesting that I have heard in one.  However, podcasts are not just a great way to pass the time. I strongly believe that they are one of the best free resources that IELTS students can use to improve both their listening skills AND their ideas for the speaking and writing tests. If you are not using podcasts for IELTS now, you are really missing out!

5 Common IELTS Lexical Resource Mistakes Hey! Today I want to complete my series of “common IELTS mistakes” by looking at Lexical Resource. If you haven’t already read my previous posts on Task Response, Coherence and Cohesion, or Grammar, I recommend that you have a look at those lessons too. You will find that the four blog posts together, offer you a powerful insight into the main problem areas that most examiners see as they mark. However, there is a reason why I have left IELTS Lexical Resource until the end – for me, it is the hardest part of the IELTS test to teach. So, before we move on to the common errors, let’s spend a couple of moments looking at[…]

The words statement and opinion sit next to the words agree or disagree to show that there are different want to write an IELTS To What Extent Essay introduction

IELTS To What Extent Essay Introductions Hey! When students prepare for IELTS writing, they often learn “chunks” of language – these are groups of words or certain sentence structures that can be used in any essay. I encourage this. For example, I tell my students to always use an “although” sentence in the conclusion of an Advantages / Disadvantages essay as this is the best way to summarise both sides. In the same way, it can be great to use a cleft sentence when you are writing topic sentences for an IELTS To What Extent Essay, or to use a “while” sentence in the introduction of a Discuss Both Sides essay. Using these “chunks” will help you to write more[…]

IELTS Preparation: What type of IELTS learner are you? Hey! Did you know that there are two totally different groups of students studying for IELTS? Two groups who have totally different needs and, therefore, face completely different challenges. If you are just starting your IELTS journey, then your first job should be to understand which group you belong to and how it will affect your IELTS preparation. Trust me, not every IELTS student faces the same challenge!

A cartoon version of a Cambridge IELTS books sits on a wide background

3 Most Difficult Questions in the Cambridge IELTS Books Hey! Almost every student uses Cambridge IELTS books 1 – 14 to prepare for the exam as these books offer students the chance to prepare with genuine past exam papers. However, while all of the questions in these books are from past tests, I don’t think that all the questions are equally difficult. In fact, it has become clear to me over the years that some questions are definitely trickier than others! So, having marked more than 3,000 essays in the past 12 months, I am ready to reveal what I think are the three most difficult essay questions in the Cambridge IELTS books. I’ll tell you why they are difficult,[…]

A digital watch with the tim3 60 minutes shows that this blog post is about IELTS time management

IELTS Time Management in the Writing Test Hey! A lot of students tell me that they have problems with time management in the IELTS writing test. If you don’t finish both Task 1 and Task 2 in 60 minutes, you are going to find it very hard to achieve a high score (even if your writing is great!).  So, in this week’s blog, I want to show you two steps that will help you to analyse your writing to find out where exactly your IELTS time management problems lie.

A circular image of a stock market chart sits on a purple background to illustrate that the blog post is about 5 Simple Grammar Tricks to go from 6 to 7 in IELTS writing

5 Simple Grammar Tricks to go from 6 to 7 in IELTS writing Hey! My philosophy as a teacher is that the only way to increase your IELTS score is to work hard on improving your language skills and academic techniques. But, I would be lying if I said that I haven’t learned a few shortcuts over the last 17 years that can help students to quickly move from 6 to 7 in IELTS writing! So, in today’s blog post, I want to share my 5 IELTS Grammar Tricks.

The word depends sits next to a blank space to indicate what dependent prepositions are

IELTS Grammar: Dependent Prepositions Learning to use prepositions correctly is one of the most difficult tasks facing English language learners. In fact, along with articles it is usually the final thing that a student masters before becoming 100% proficient. The problem is that we use prepositions in so many different ways. We use them to show place (The cat is under the table), time (I will meet you on Sunday), and to help create phrasal verbs (I ran out of time in the exam). In fact, there are so many different preposition rules that it would be impossible for me to teach them all in one blog post. So, today, I want to focus on just one type: dependent prepositions. We’ll start with[…]

A signpost sits pointing to the words 'remark" or "quit" to signify the decision students have to make when the failed the ielts test

I failed the IELTS test, so what do I do now? Every student who sits the IELTS test hopes to pass. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that not everybody does (at least not first time). So, what do you do when you don’t get the band scores you need? Well, there is no magic answer, but hopefully this short survival guide can offer some help and support to anybody in this position. Here are my 5 Steps To Recovery if you have failed the IELTS test.