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,[…]
Every candidate has the chance to apply for an IELTS re-mark 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 re-mark should ask themselves (and answer honestly!) before spending money on one. But, before we get into those, let’s start by looking at some…
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 🚀
Do I need to include my opinion in the introduction to an IELTS Discuss Both Sides essay? This is probably the most asked IELTS question on social media, and the one that shows me that most students are focussing their preparation in the wrong place! So, in today’s blog, I won’t just tell you the best way to introduce Discuss Both Sides essays, but I’ll explain the logic behind my belief, AND show you some better areas that you can focus your attention on now that you know the answer! But first, let’s spend a couple of minutes thinking about what a good introduction to an essay needs to do.
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? 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 at some good examples, why don’t we examine three examples of bad examples![…]
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? 😰
When you open your exam paper and see the instruction Discuss both views and give your own opinion, it’s obvious that you HAVE TO give equal space to both opinions in your essay to fully address all parts of the task. But, what happens when the instruction asks you To what extent do you agree or disagree? Is it still important to discuss both “sides” of an argument, or are you free to have a “strong” position? And, if you do consider the other position, how and where can you do this in your essay so that your position remains clear? I mean, how can you show “balance” when arguing your own opinion? Well, these are the complex questions I am going to be[…]
So, if I was allowed to give one ONE tip to an IELTS test-taker before they sat their writing exam, it wouldn’t be to learn how to organise all of the different types of essay, it wouldn’t be make sure they included lots of complex sentences in their work, it wouldn’t even be to make sure they directly answer the question! No, it would be BE CAREFUL OF PARAPHRASING!
Imagine this – there’s five minutes left in the exam and you are only halfway through your second body paragraph! What do you do?! WRITE A CONCLUSION!
OK, you are a IELTS General Training student sitting in the writing exam. The invigilator tells you that you can open your test paper and begin. You look at the prompt for the letter. What are you hoping to see? An informal letter, a formal letter, or a semi-formal letter? In my experience, most test-takers would say informal. I mean, writing a letter to a friend is easy, right? WRONG! 🙅♀️ And that’s because 99% of the informal letters that I mark are MIXED TONE.💀