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 bar chart sits on a pink background to signify how to find IELTS Change Chart Overview

How to find the main key feature for an IELTS Change Chart Overview Hey! If you are an Academic IELTS student, you should know that you cannot get more than a 6.0 for Task Achievement if you don’t have an overview that summarises the general trends of the chart. Now, there is usually more than one key feature in a chart, but there is almost always one that summarises all of the items on the chart. I call this the “main key feature” as it is the most important and the most valuable in terms of points. I teach my students how to find this main key feature on the first day of class. Obviously, it will depend on the type of chart[…]

The words coherence and cohesion sit on a blue background. Some of the letters are falling down the page to signal that this lesson is about the 5 most common IELTS Coherence & Cohesion errors

5 Common IELTS Coherence & Cohesion Mistakes Even though coherence and cohesion makes up 25% of a student’s score for Writing Task 1 and Task 2, it is probably the area that most IELTS test-takers overlook in their preparation. Quite honestly, I am sure that 50% of students aren’t even sure what the two words mean, let alone how they affect their band score! So, in today’s post, I want to look at the 5 most common IELTS Coherence & Cohesion mistakes and show you how to avoid them.

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[…]

The word parallelism sites on a yellow background and is reflected below to show

IELTS Grammar: Parallelism Hey! In today’s blog I want to look at a grammar point that is not discussed very often but can make a big difference to your Grammatical Range and Accuracy score: parallelism. This is particularly true for high-level students who often make mistakes in this area. So, let’s start with the obvious question: What is parallelism? 🤔

A computer sits on a purple background next to a piece of paper and a pencil. Between them are the letters vs, to signify versus and to show that the blog will compare the IELTS computer-based test and the paper-based test

IELTS Computer-Based Test vs Paper Test The introduction of the new IELTS computer-based test has given students a new option in terms of the way that they sit the test. However, it has also raised the question, which test is right for YOU? Many articles have appeared that outline simple differences between the tests (“it is quicker to type” and “good for people with bad handwriting” are the most common comments!) But today I want to take deeper look from a pedagogical perspective into which is the best format for test-takers. First though, let’s get some basic facts about the CB test out of the way:

A screenshot of a Microsoft word count counter showing 249 words signifies changes to IELTS Word Count Rules

New IELTS Word Count Rules In the past, you automatically lost points from your Task Achievement / Response score if you wrote an under-length essay, report or letter. However, from mid-2018 the automatic IELTS word count penalty was removed. There has been no official announcement of this change and the information was supposed to be sensitive. However, as many people are now discussing this on various social media platforms, I thought it was time I addresses this issue to ensure students understand what this change means. 

A rocket on a space background symbolises the importance of practicing with these authentic 100 IELTS essay topics

100 IELTS Essay Topics for IELTS Writing Let me start by saying that by far the best resource for authentic IELTS essay topics are the Cambridge 1 – 13 books. These are real past IELTS exam papers and, therefore, provide students with the highest quality questions for all parts of the test. However, what do you do if you have finished the Cambridge books? Or you struggle with one particular type of question and want a lot of that specific type of practise?

A yellow 7776 and an equals sign sit on a orange background next to a question mark to signify that nobody knows hoe your overall IELTS writing band score is calculated

How is your overall IELTS writing band score calculated? Hey! Today I want to give you a short guide to how your overall IELTS writing band score is calculated. You might think that this is obvious, but you will be surprised how many people misunderstand the scoring system and, therefore,  think that they are performing better than they are! 

A boxing glove punches a comma to signify the importance of commas in IELTS punctuation

Hey! I’m going to be honest with you – ask a native speaker where you have to use commas in a sentence, and most will look back at you with a blank face! Why? Well, most native speakers don’t care that much about them! Some sprinkle commas all over their writing, others use none at all – and most of the time, it doesn’t make a huge difference because English speakers are rarely judged by their comma use! But, in the IELTS exam, a mis-placed comma can make a BIG difference to your GRA score – particularly if you are aiming for a 7.0+. So, in today’s blog post, I want to go through the rules of where you definitely should,[…]