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 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,[…]

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 words Task Response appear in crimson on a yellow background. However, the final K of "task" and the "S" in response are slightly out of position to signify that the blog post will discuss 5 common mistakes with Task Response

Every week I mark dozens of IELTS essays, and each student has their own unique problems stopping them achieving a high score. Some struggle with subject/verb agreement, others have problems using joining their ideas, and many use unsuitable vocabulary . However, despite these differences, it never fails to amaze me that students make the same FIVE mistakes with Task Response, no matter which country they are from or what their level. So, in today’s blog post, I want to go through the 5 most common IELTS Task Response mistakes, and how you can avoid them 🚀

A thumbs up and thumbs down sit either side of a question marks. The picture depicts the uncertainty of whether or not I should include my opinion in the introduction to an IELTS Discuss Both Sides essay

Do I need to include my opinion in the introduction to an IELTS Discuss Both Sides essay? This is the question I see most often on social media, and the one that shows me that IELTS students are focussing their preparation in the wrong place! So, in today’s blog, I won’t just answer this question – I’ll explain the logic behind my answer, so you can clear your confusion forever and never need to ask it again! First, let’s spend a couple of minutes thinking about what good introductions to essays need to do.

The symbols e dot g dot which are used to denote an example are used to illustrate that the text is about how to add good examples in your IELTS essay, for example essay

Using good examples in IELTS essays Every IELTS essay question ends with the same instruction: Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from you own knowledge or experience Write at least 250 words Include relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. Mmm – this instruction seems clear enough, but what does is actually mean? What are “good examples in IELTS essays? Can I give personal examples from my own life? Should I invent statistics to cite in my essays? Do I need an example in every paragraph? Well, these are the questions we’re going to answer in today’s blog. Plus, we’ll look at FIVE nice ways to add examples to your body paragraphs. But before we look[…]

The side view a human head, with many cogs turning to symbolise the problem of generating ideas for your IELTS essay

How can you develop ideas for your IELTS essay? So, you are sitting in the exam room feeling confident. You have prepared well. You know how to organise all the possible types of essay. You can use distancing, and referencing, and hedging. Your use of transition signals is superb. Everything is good in the world. But then, the exam starts, you open the question booklet, read the task and……………….Nothing 😯…………… You don’t have a single idea 🙄………. Not one 💀……… Your head is totally empty 🤔 ………………….. There’s just you, the question, and a growing sense of panic.😱 What do you do? How can you brainstorm ideas for your IELTS essay when inspiration fails you? 😰