A podcast front cover that says The IELTS Speaking band descriptors

Understanding the IELTS Speaking Band Descriptors Hey! In your speaking test, the examiner will use the IELTS speaking band descriptors to give you a score in 4 areas: Fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy, and Pronunciation. But, what exactly is the examiner looking for in your speaking performance to give you a 6, 7, or 8 in each of these areas? Today, Nick and I use our experience as ex-speaking examiners to explain each of the marking criteria in detail and point out where many students “go wrong”. If you are new to IELTS and want an introduction to the test, then maybe listen to our IELTS Speaking 101 lesson first!

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Five IELTS 2020 essay questions explained Hey! In today’s episode Nick and I look at five recently reported essay questions from the 2020 Academic and General Training IELTS tests. Obviously, we cannot be 100% sure that the wording of these questions is totally accurate, but they are based on the information provided to me by my students (who I trust with my life). Even though it is very unlikely that you will have exactly the same questions in your test, hopefully by the end of today’s lesson you will have a much better understanding of how to analyse questions and decide how to approach them. After all, IELTS 2020 essay questions can be on almost ANY topic! Below, you can[…]

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IELTS Speaking Part 1 – Six Common Mistakes Although the first part of the IELTS speaking test should be the easiest as you are asked questions all about yourself, you still want to make sure that you get off to a strong start. So, today, Nick and I look at six common errors that students make in IELTS Speaking Part 1 and how you can avoid them. Below, you can find a summary of the episode. This includes all of the links to useful materials and the times of each part of the discussion (so you can go directly to the part you want to listen to). You can also find every episode of the podcast here 🚀 Subscribe to My IELTS Classroom podcast[…]

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What makes a good IELTS teacher? Hey! Over the last couple of years, I have noticed that many teachers have taken my ideas and introduced them into their own classes. Usually, I do not mind this. In fact, I encourage it. As far as I am concerned, the more people who are teaching high-quality IELTS classes the better – it will make my job easier when students come to me needing specialist help as I won’t have to “un-teach” them so much bad information. However, this week, I discovered that somebody had taken “borrowing” from me a step too far. This made me realise that I really need to teach my students how to know the difference between a good[…]

IELTS Listening Part 3 Many students find IELTS Listening Part 3 difficult. There are a number of reasons for this, which you hopefully remember from our IELTS Listening 101 episode: there are more than two voices, the questions usually focus on the outcome of a discussion in which many views are offered, and you may also be asked to locate a person’s feelings (and we all know that feelings are much harder to find than facts!).

IELTS Indicator – the new online IELTS test This week the new IELTS Indicator test went live. However, is this new online test from IELTS suitable for every test-taker? Definitely not! Today, Nick and I explain exactly what you should consider before you apply for the test (and there is a lot!). If you haven’t already read my introduction post to IELTS Indicator, I strongly recommend that you do so now. I wrote it before we knew many of the specific details that we discuss in today’s episode, but it will give you a great introduction to the test. Below, you can find a summary of the episode, which includes all of the links to useful materials and the times[…]

The podcast thumbnail for My IELTS Classroom Podcast sits on the left of the picture, next to the words "Why are so many students stuck at a 6.5 for IELTS writing?"

Why are students stuck at a 6.5 for IELTS writing? Welcome to My IELTS Classroom podcast. Today, Nick and I discuss one of the most important IELTS questions – why are so many students stuck at a 6.5 for IELTS writing? Is it because there is a conspiracy to trick test-takers, or are there other less sinister reasons? 

IELTS Truth or Myth? One of the most difficult things for IELTS test-takers is knowing which information about the exam to trust. While online learning platforms are fantastic because they allow people to prepare at home, sites like Facebook and YouTube are also full of “facts” that are just not true. So, in today’s episode, Nick and I play a game of IELTS Truth or Myth! Yes, we will answer 15 questions from our viewers that start with the expression “Is it true that…” so you can start to feel confident about which IELTS rumours are true and which are pure invention!

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Introduction to IELTS Writing Test Welcome to the fifth and final lesson in our IELTS 101 series – an introduction to IELTS Writing. Academic writing has been my on true love since I started teaching English for Academic Purposes at the University of Newcastle 15 years ago, so this is the episode that I have been looking forward to most! The good news is that Nick loves writing just as much as me, so this is a cracking episode of My IELTS Classroom Podcast!

The podcast thumbnail for My IELTS Classroom Podcast sits on the left of the picture, next to the words IELTS 101: An Introduction to IELTS Reading

Introduction to the IELTS Reading Test Hey! Welcome to the fourth lesson in our IELTS 101 series – an Introduction to IELTS reading. Today, Nick and I will talk you through the basic facts of the IELTS reading test, such as how long it lasts, the type of texts you can expect to find in each part, and the type of questions you will have to answer. Then, we will have a more detailed discussion about the different types of reading skills that the IELTS test targets and how you should approach each question (spoiler – scanning does not work for every question!).