The word Grammatical Range and Accuracy sit on a pink background. Some of the letters are falling off the page to illustrate that this blog post will discuss the 10 most common IELTS grammar mistakes

10 Most Common IELTS Grammar Mistakes Your IELTS grammar score is calculated using two broad criteria – range and accuracy. Very simply, this means that to achieve a high score, you will need to show the examiner that you can write a number of different types of complex sentences (so not just the same one again and again) and that you can produce them accurately (so you can write sentences that are error-free). Every year I mark literally thousands of IELTS writing scripts, and it is amazing how often I see the same mistakes again and again, no matter what the nationality of the writer. So, in today’s post, I want to show you the 10 most common IELTS grammar[…]

A white speech bubble and pink speech bubble sit in a yellow circle sit on a blue background to symbolise the top 5 IELTS speaking tips

Top 5 Tips for the IELTS Speaking Exam The IELTS speaking test can often seem like the most difficult 14 minutes of a students’ life. But, you can definitely maximise your chance of achieving a high score if you can master good test-technique. After examining hundreds of students, these are my top 5 IELTS speaking tips. 

Two men look at a number one the floor. The man on the left says "6" as this is what it looks like to him. The man on the right says "9" as this is what the same number looks like to him. This picture signifies how different examiners can give different scores in the IELTS speaking and writing exam, and will help students understand if they should got for an IELTS remark or not

Should I request an IELTS remark? Every candidate has the chance to apply for an IELTS remark if they feel that their scores do not reflect their true exam performance. However, NOT every candidate who doesn’t get the band scores they need should do this! There are many factors that you should take into account before deciding on applying for an enquiry into your results – and a couple might surprise you! So, in today’s blog, we are going to look at the SEVEN QUESTIONS that any student considering a remark should ask themselves (and answer honestly!) before spending money on one. But, before we get into those, let’s start by looking at some…

The outline of two heads lit up in neon constantly point at each other in anger. The picture is used to symbolise how a student feels when the examiner interrupts them in the IELTS exam by an examiner

Why did the IELTS examiner interrupt me in the Speaking Test? This is a question that I see time and time again in Facebook groups. Well, actually, it’s not usually a question, but a complaint. An angry complaint that accuses the examiner of ruining the student’s speaking performance.

A red and white cartoon alarm clock sits on a dark grey background. The image conveys that the post will discuss how long you should talk for in IELTS Speaking Part 1

How long should your answers be in IELTS Speaking Part 1? IELTS Speaking Part 1 lasts between 4 and 5 minutes, during which the examiner should ask you between 7 and 11 questions. Think about that – 5 minutes for 11 questions. That works out at about 27 seconds per question (including the time it takes the examiner to ask them!). It’s not a great deal of time, but it’s such a short amount either. (I mean – it’s a quarter of your cue card time!) Now, I have seen a lot of sites that tells students to answer each Part 1 question in 2 or 3 sentences. In general, I think that this is great advice. 💥 IN GENERAL! 💥

Never run out of things to say in IELTS Speaking Part 2 I think that nothing that fills an IELTS test-taker with fear as much as the idea of being handed a Speaking Part 2 cue card and having NO IDEAS. In fact, just the idea of sitting there for 60 seconds with nothing  but the the sound of your own beating heart in your head and the taste of panic in your mouth is the stuff of nightmares 💀. But, fear not, in today’s blog, I want to show you six techniques that you can use to make sure that you ALWAYS have something to say in your two-minute talk.

An image of an eye looks though a magnifying glass. Below the eye there is a stop watch. The photo symbolises how you have to add details in IELTS Speaking Part 2 in order to be able to speak or 2 minutes.

The importance of adding details to your IELTS Cue Card I want to start this post by telling you something that you might find a bit shocking. Are you ready? In IELTS Speaking Part 1, you don’t need to address all of the bullet points on the IELTS cue card. That’s right, there is no penalty for missing one, or two or even three!  😲

A cartoon of the earth at night sits on a background of stars to represent how it is important to think in general in IELTS Speaking Part 3.

Think global for success in IELTS Speaking Part 3 In IELTS Speaking Part 3, you move from the personal to the general. While Part 1 and Part 2 ask you to answer questions based on your life experiences, in Part 3 you are asked to comment about abstract topics. And for me, this this is the part of the test where the examiner really gets to test your language and academic skills.

A turquoise pause button sits on a bright pink background to symbolise that in the IELTS speaking exam you should try to paraphrase rather than pause.

Don’t pause in the IELTS Speaking Exam – paraphrase! Imagine this. It’s part two of the speaking test. You have been given a cue card that asks you to describe a memorable journey, and you are talking about a road trip you took with some friends across Europe. 🚗 It’s a good story. You have lots to say, and are about to get to the best part of the story – the bit that describes how you got stopped by the police because you ran over a traffic cone….. 🚓. But then you realise, you don’t know the word for “traffic cone” in English…….

When IELTS Speaking Part 1 gets strange The first section of the IELTS speaking test should be the easiest for all test-takers because the questions are all about YOU 😎, so hopefully you will never have to struggle to find an answer! However, as many test-takers have discovered over the years, the topics in IELTS Speaking Part 1 can sometimes be, well, strange! So, in today’s blog, I want to talk about how to prepare for the questions you can predict, and then ones that you definitely can’t! But first, let’s start with the THE FACTS 🗒