Can you pass my IELTS Grammar Quiz? We know that to get a high score in IELTS writing  you need to be able to produce 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 challenge you to complete my IELTS grammar quiz to see if your current knowledge is up to the mark or not!

IELTS Examples: Where should you put them in a paragraph? Hey! We all know that every IELTS essay needs at least ONE clear example to satisfy the band descriptors. But, where are you putting that example in your essay? Did you know that examples have to support the sentence DIRECTLY before them? If not, read on to save your Coherence and Cohesion score in your next essay!

A small fish on the left is next to an arrow that leads to a shark to show that students often exaggerate in IELTS Cause Effect Essays

IELTS Cause Effect Essays: Stop exaggerating your arguments A lot of IELTS teachers tell students that their “ideas don’t matter”, but this is simply NOT true. Yes, you are free to agree or disagree with any question (so there is no “right” opinion) but if you need a high IELTS score, then it is extremely important that your ideas are both relevant and convincing. In this week’s blog, I want to show you how to drastically improve the quality of the arguments in your essay by giving ideas that are less dramatic, which can be a real problem in IELTS Cause Effect essays in particular!

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[…]