A skull and crossbones inside a dark grey circle sit on a pink background. The images symbolises the dangers of paraphrasing when writing an IELTS essay

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!

A beautifully half-sketched horse is completed with a rough outline of a head. The picture is used to symbolise what to do if you run out of time in the IELTS writing exam.

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!

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

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! 💥

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.

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 cue card. That’s right, there is no penalty for missing one, or two or even three!  😲

A black background is covered with question marks and red false, yellow Not Given and blue True words. The picture symbolise the difficulty of T/F/NG questions and the necessity for high-level reading skills

We learned A LOT ​in my first post about True / False / Not Give questions. We learned how to identify keywords (even in difficult passages); what the difference between true, false, and not given REALLY is; and how important it is to go back to the beginning of a sentence (or even a paragraph) when you are reading in detail for the answer. ​But, here’s the thing, even after learning these skills and practicing them for hours, many students still find that they have problems answering T/F/NG questions, and they don’t know WHY. And so, they reach a road block and get stuck 🚧🚧🚧. I mean, if you don’t know the REASON for your problem, how are you ever going to fix it? 🛠 So, in today’s blog,[…]

A pair of headphones with red earphones sit on a dar grey background with a heart floating above to symbolise my love of podcasts when studying IELTS

Podcasts are my favourite way for students to practise their listening skills outside of the classroom. In fact, if you join me in My IELTS Classroom, you will soon get bored of me recommending episodes to listen to! But, why do I love podcasts so much? ❤Well, there isn’t one answer to that question, there are 6 REASONS WHY I LOVE PODCASTS

Different shades of blue fan from the the left of the screen to the right to mimic winds in the sky. The picture symbolises the need to stay calm in the IELTS exam

We all know the IELTS exam is a high-stakes exam: it’s often the only barrier that stands between a student and their new life. Test-takers spend a lot of time and effort preparing for the exam and, as a result, exam day can feel very high-pressure. Plus, IELTS is expensive! Nobody wants to pay those fees more than once! But, one of the most important things you can do on exam day is to TRY TO STAY CALM🧘‍♀️.

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.

In Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking test, 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.

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…….