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

5 Most Common IELTS Task Response Mistakes 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? 😰

A hand holds a pair of scales to signify the importance of adding balance in an IELTS agree/disagree essay

How can I add balance to my IELTS agree/disagree essay? 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,[…]

The yellow M of Mcdonalds sits on a red background to show that IELTS is a franchise and to assess the question British Council vs IDP?

British Council vs IDP? Many students who are just starting their IELTS journey ask the question:  IDP or the British Council, which one is better? And, I understand why, I mean, it’s logical – there has to be SOME difference between them, right? There can’t be two organisations offering exactly the same service to people, can there? Well, yes, there can! 😲

A cartoon image of 2 hands shaking inside a pink circle on a light blue background symbolise the importance of Subject / Verb Agreement in IELTS essays

IELTS Grammar: Subject / Verb Agreement So, you’ve finished writing your essay but there’s 2 minutes left in the exam – what do you check for first? ⏱ Well, there are lots of mistakes that students make in their essays – articles, unnecessary passives, fragments, bad use of contrast clauses, etc –  but perhaps none are as costly as  💀 NOT having subject / verb agreement 💀 So, in today’s post I want start by looking at what subject / verb agreement is, and how you can avoid the most common errors made by many IELTS test-takers.

The outline of two heads lit up in neon constantly point at each other in anger. The picture is used to symbolise how a student feels when the examiner interrupts them in the IELTS exam by an examiner

Why did the IELTS examiner interrupt me in the Speaking Test? This is a question that I see time and time again in Facebook groups. Well, actually, it’s not usually a question, but a complaint. An angry complaint that accuses the examiner of ruining the student’s speaking performance.

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

The dangers of paraphrasing in IELTS essays 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.

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!