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…….

Hey! If you are a General Training test-taker, do you ever get the feeling of deja-vu when you do multiple practice exams? The feeling that even though the texts have changed, the questions you are being asked seem to be the same? Well, if you have, WELL DONE 🎉. You’re right – the same words are used again and again. And, that’s what I want to look at in today’s blog: the words that most commonly tested in Sections 1 and 2. But, before we start THE FACTS 🗂

The first section of the IELTS speaking test should be the easiest for all test-takers because the questions are all about YOU 😎, so hopefully you will never have to struggle to find an answer! However, as many test-takers have discovered over the years, the topics in Part 1 an sometimes be, well, strange! So, in today’s blog, I want to talk about how to prepare for the questions you can predict, and then ones that you definitely can’t! But first, let’s start with the THE FACTS 🗒

A cartoon tortoise with a rocket on its back denotes how different skills such as scanning can help you read faster in the IELTS exam.

If there was no time limit in the IELTS Reading exam, would you get more answers correct? ⏰ I imagine so. Because if there is one comment I read again and again its that students struggle to finish the 40 questions in 60 minutes. So, what is the key to reading more quickly? Is it scanning and skimming? Is it increasing your vocabulary? Or is it simply being able to process words more quickly in your brain? Well, that’s what we are going to be discussing in today’s blog. Why don’t we start by a quick reminder of the THREE TYPES OF READING 📚

2 red and blue jigsaw puzzle pieces are linked together on a yellow background to signify IELTS Information Match Questions

 Hey. In today’s blog, we will be continuing our in-depth look at the most problematic types of IELTS reading questions. Today, it’s Information Match Questions. And, although at first glance these questions might seem every different to the Headings Match Questions we looked at last week, as you will soon see, they are actually very similar. Plus, just like Headings Match Questions, the method that is often given to solve these test items is totally wrong. But, before we start looking at technique, let’s start by going through  THE FACTS 🗂

The shadow of two heads a placed on a green background. In one head there is a white spiral, which loops and connected to a scribbled mess inside the head opposite. The picture symbolises how an IELTS test-taker might not understand the functions they are asked to discuss in the in the speaking exam.

In are recent post, I spoke about how important it was in Speaking Part 3 to speak in GENERAL. However, even more important than this is making sure that you directly answer the examiners question. But, what if you can’t work out what the examiner is asking you to talk about?! Or, more importantly, what if you can’t recognise the type of language they are asking you to produce? Well, my top-tip for this is DON’T WAIT FOR WORDS THAT SHOW FUNCTIONS!

Black and grey lines to denote a paragraph sit on a red background. A row of question marks stand above to show how most students find it difficult to complete IELTS Heading Match Questions. Two small gremlins sit either side of the paragraph to symbolise the difficulty of the task

Hey. In this week’s blog, we are taking a detailed look at Headings Match Questions, and it’s a long one! In the first half, I’ll play detective 🕵️‍♀️ to prove why the common “method” people follow to answer these questions is the reason they are failing. Then, in the second half, I’ll put on my teacher’s hat 👩‍🏫to show you a way that DOES work, and TWO techniques that you can use to improve your performance. But first, let’s look at  THE FACTS 🗂

A red heart filled with smaller icons sits on a yellow background. The images inside the heart represent the common topic that students are asked to discuss in IELTS speaking Part 2. In particular, questions that start with the expression "Describe your favourite".

Hey! One of the most common types of Speaking Part 2 topics is talking about your favourite something. On the face of it, it should be easy, so why so many test-takers struggle with these questions? THEY ARE HARD TO CHOOSE!