The previous IELTS Listening tip gave you some very important general advice and recommended doing both casual listening everyday and focused listening practice several times a week. In your focused listening sessions, you should focus on improving the specific skills strong listeners use to achieve high scores. The most important of these arepredicting, summarizing, note-taking, identify general ideas & specific details, and recognizing “signpost” expressions.
This tip looks at the first of these skills, predicting.
The Listening section has one very helpful feature - you always have time to read the questions before the recording starts. This is usually around 30 seconds.
Good listeners use this time to analyse the questions, begin thinking about the topic of the conversation or speech and predicting possible answers. This type of prediction helps you determine the type of information you’ll need to listen for in the recording.
For example, if the question is a gap fill exercise, you should predict which type of information you will need. In other words, does the blank space require a number, a person’s name, a place, a date or time, or another word?
Very good test-takers also start to think of similar words to those on the test paper. Remember that understanding paraphrases is a key factor in succeeding on the IELTS!
Understanding spoken English can be difficult at times, particularly when you are in a stressful exam. The IELTS test requires you to understand both general and academic English when spoken by one person and in two-person conversations. This make the Listening section a massive challenge! So, how can you prepare effectively?
First, and most importantly, you should listen to English regularly – everyday if possible! It is a great idea to approach your listening practice in two ways.
First, do some casual listening every day. Try to find something you enjoy listening to for at least 10-15 minutes a day. For example, phone applications allow you to listen to radio stations from all over the world. Listening to an English or Australian radio show can be very entertaining, and it will help you become familiar with these accents. There is such a wide variety of podcasts and websites, such as Youtube, you can enjoy.
Second, you will need to do some focused listening practice a few times every week. Each practice session should be around an hour. During these sessions, you should occasionally practice doing previous IELTS listening tests. This will help you get accustomed to the types of questions you need to answer when you take the test. However, don’t just focus on these tests! You need to practice listening to a variety of authentic material.
Most importantly, you need to practice the skills necessary to become a great listener: predicting, summarizing, note-taking, identify general ideas & specific details, and recognizing “signpost” expressions.
The next IELTS tip will explain these skills in more detail and give you advice on how to improve each one.
The tips IELTS writing exam are usually separated into Task 1 or Task 2. This is because each task is unique and requires you to use specific techniques to write strong responses. However, this tip focuses on some general advice that will help you avoid losing marks.
In the IELTS test, markers award you points depending on how well you answer the question, and how smoothly you organize your response, and the level and accuracy of your English,.
However, you can also lose points. Markers will give you a penalty if:
#1. You don’t write enough words. You need to write 150 words for Task 1 and 250 for Task 2. If you write less than that, you will lose points. You should aim to write a little more than the word count to be safe (e.g. 160 -180 words for task 1).
#2.Your handwriting is messy. If the examiner has difficulty reading your handwriting, your band score can be seriously affected.
#3. You memorize an answer. If you try to memorize an answer word for word, you will do poorly on the test. A memorized answer is easy to recognize because it will not answer the question correctly. You might even get a 0 band score.
#4. You only answer part of the question. For example, if a Task 2 question asks you to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of an issue, but you only write about the advantages, you will not be able to score higher than band score 5.
So, what should you do to make sure you avoid these penalties?
You should also work on your handwriting skills. Under time pressure, you writing may become messy and difficult to read. The best way to avoid this is to practice writing with a time limit. You will get used to writing quickly and neatly.
Finally, read the questions carefully and make sure your answer each part. Don’t try to memorize answers or write only about a point you feel comfortable discussing.
This advice should help you avoid getting any penalties so you can achieve the highest score possible. Good luck and remember to ask if you have any question about improving your IELTS band score.
Many students ask, “What do I have to do to get a band 6 score in the IELTS speaking test?” The main difference between a score of 4-5 and 6+ is how fluently you can communicate. In other words, the interviewer wants to hear you speak comfortably - not just correctly. Of course, you do not need to sound like a native speaker to get a band 6 score, but you will need to show that you can continue speaking without too many long pauses.
One essential way to demonstrate fluency in part 2 is to add details to your answer.
First, let’s review. In Part 2, you are given a card that asks you a question and provides some prompts (ideas) on the type of information you should include in your response. You are expected to speak for between 1 and 2 minutes. A typical card is shown below:
________________________________________________ Describe a place you have enjoyed visiting recently.
You should say: where this place is what this place is like what you did there and explain why you liked visiting this place. ________________________________________________
Now remember, fluency is a key factor in determining your score. A student scoring band 5 or higher should have no problem speaking for the full 2 minutes. If you rush through each point and only give short specific answers, you will finish your answer in around 1 minute or less! On the other hand, adding details will make your answer much more impressive and will fill the two minutes.
To add details, try this simple technique:
For each point on the question card, say 1) a fact, and 2) an opinion or personal comment.
This technique will make your answer longer and more complete. And the great thing is it also encourages you to naturally use a variety of vocabulary and sentence structures – both important things that the interviewer is listening for. Compare the following responses.
Response A: Last week, I went to Busan. It is in South Korea..um.. It is quite a big city. It is a fun city. So, ..ah..I went to the beach and did some shopping. I also did a bit of sightseeing. And I went to a very old palace. I liked visiting there because it was a lot of fun. I ate a lot of great food and had a good time with my friend.
Response B: I’m going to tell you about a place that I visited recently. Last week, I went to Busan. It is a city on the southern coast of South Korea. We can fly there directly from Sapporo, so it took only 2 hours to get there. Um…what’s it like? It is quite a big city,…maybe 2 or 3 million people.So, there’s plenty of fun things to do.I think it is famous for its hot springs, beaches and temples. I thought it was a lively city and the people were friendly, too. While I was there, I went to the beaches and did some shopping. The beaches were more beautiful than the ones here in Sapporo. And there are some great bars next to the beach, too. The shopping was pretty good too…maybe a bit cheaper than in Japan. I also did a bit of sightseeing. We went to a very old palace near the city, which I thought was really amazing. So, um yeah, basically, I enjoyed visiting there because I could spend a whole week having fun with my best friend.And I could experience another country for a short time.
Response B is much better because it includes many details and opinions to support the facts from the first Response A. The extra details have been underlined for you. There is also:
a strong introduction sentence (I’m going to tell you about a place that I visited recently), and
some sentences to move between points (what’s it like?; While I was there, …), and
a clear concluding sentence (So, um yeah, basically…)
Hopefully, this example helps you understand what it takes to get a high band score. To help you understand further how details and comments can improve your answers, you may wish to click on the link below. This link gives you some great examples responses that were scored as band 7.
In the previous tip for IELTS writing task 1, you learned important information about the different parts you should include your answer: an introduction, an overview, specific details, and a summary statement.
Now, let’s look at an example answer so you can understand more clearly. Key points are provided next to each section, but you may wish to look back at the previous tip for more information.
You should spend 20 minutes on this task.
The line graph shows changes in the amount of three types of fast food consumed by New Zealand teenagers from 1975 to 2000.
Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.
Write at least 150 words.
This is a nice paraphrase of the title, and it includes the time period shown in the graph.
The line graph compares the fast food consumption of teenagers in New Zealand over a 25-year period, from 1975 to 2000.
The main trend is identified. There are no specific details/data.
Overall, the amount of fish and chips consumed between 1975 and 2000 fell while the number of pizza and hamburgers eaten increased.
Body – Specific details
The information is much more specific. Data and figures from the graph are included to support the statements.
Each paragraph focuses on a different pattern.
In 1975, the preferred fast food with New Zealand teenagers was fish and chips, which they ate 110 times a year. This was far higher than pizza and hamburgers, which were consumed approximately 10 and 5 times a year, respectively. However, over the following 25 years, the consumption of fish and chips steadily declined to finish at just under 40 in 2000.
On the other hand, teenagers consumed considerably more of the other two fast foods. The amount of pizza consumed gradually increased, and by 1995, had overtaken the amount of fish and chips eaten. It then leveled off from 1995 to 2000, being consumed 80 times per year. Hamburgers recorded the biggest increase. From 1975 to 1985, consumption sharply rose and had exceeded that of fish and chips by 1990. It finished at the highest level of the three types of fast food, with consumption at 100 times a year.
Highlights the main points. Does not offer an explanation for the data.
In short, pizza and hamburgers became a more common choice over the period whereas fish and chips were consumed less.
Task 1 in the IELTS writing test can cause a lot of trouble for students. This is because they have had little or no practice with this type of writing. Basically, Task 1 in the writing section asks you to write 150 words (or more) about some data that has been presented visually – that means it could be shown in a line graph, bar chart, pie chart, table or diagram.
The good news is that with a little practice, you can learn the structure that is required to complete this task well. This is actually great news because, in this section, markers focus a lot on structure.
There are three basic parts that you need to include in your response to a task 1 question:
An introduction to the graph/table/chart etc.
*4. A summary statement（Not needed if you have already written an overview）
Give specific details
Your first paragraph should state what the data shows. You can get that information from the title and from the graph. Please note that it is very important that you paraphrase (Use different words)! If there is a time period, you should include it. Your introduction paragraph in Task 1 should only be 1 or 2 sentences.
Here you will need to state the main trend or trends shown in the graph. You should just say what is happening overall. Ask yourself, “What stands out?” Save details and data for later.
Sometimes people will put this overview at the end of their response. In truth, it does not matter if you put it at the end (in the conclusion) or early in the response (in the introduction). However, to get a high score, you need to provide an overview in one of these places.
In the second paragraph(s), or body, you should give more specific details. This must include information and data from the graph (or table).
The key to getting a high score in Task 1 is organizing your body paragraphs effectively. The best way to do is to find patterns in the data and group them together. A great way to find patterns is to look for similarities and differences. Use a separate paragraph for each pattern you identify.
*4. A summary statement
Your conclusion or summary statement should highlight the main point(s) of the graph (or table etc.). It should not offer an explanation for the results. This is not required for the question, and in fact, you will lose points if you include one.
You can begin your summary statement with phrases such as Overall, or In short,
This is an overview of the structure you need to use to achieve a high score. Remember that this is an academic task, so you need to use academic language in your response.
You will also need to practice a lot to develop the skills and language necessary to complete this type of task successfully. Good luck!
The best way to achieve a high score is to be prepared. And this means knowing what your interviewer is looking during your interview. Understanding the marking guide will help you prepare better and perform to your best.
An important thing to know about the IELTS Reading test is this: you have to read a lot of words. Around 1000 actually, and the idea of having to read so much and answer 40 questions as well may seem impossible. However, please don’t despair. There are some study techniques that can help make this challenging part of the test a bit easier.
“I couldn’t finish the reading,” is a comment often said by students after they take the IELTS test. Of course, it is difficult to get a high score if you do not finish the tasks, so it is very important to improve your reading speed. In other words, you need to read faster.
Why do I read so slowly? It is natural to read carefully (and slowly) when you are reading a foreign language. You may be unsure of the meaning of some words, or worried about missing details. And there are times when reading slowly is necessary. However, in general reading very slowly is a problem because you will get a low score if you do not finish the test, you may start to panic about time during the test, and you may not be able to understand the main idea of an article.
What am I doing wrong? Many people read too slowly because they sound out each word in the mind (or speak softly) as they read, stop when they see an unknown word, re-read sentences to completely understand the meaning before continuing, and several other habits.
So what should I do? Learning to read faster, or speed read, is a key to success in the IELTS test. When you read faster you will have more time to think about the answer choices, and you will have a better understanding of the overall meaning of an article. Before the test, you will be able to read more which will help you improve your vocabulary. In short, all of these things will give you have more confidence.
So, how do I learn to read faster? Good readers read in “chunks”. Chunks are groups of words that our brain can deal with as one unit. Or in other words, you need to stop reading one word at a time.
Look at the previous paragraph again. Reading each word separately looks something like this:
So. how. do. I. learn. to. read. faster? Chunks. You. need. to. read. in. “chunks”. Chunks. are. groups. of. words. that. our. brain. can. deal. with. as. one. unit. Or. in. other. words. you. need. to. stop. reading. one. word. at. a. time.
Slow, isn’t it?! Now let’s try reading it in chunks.
(So, how do I learn) (to read faster?) (Chunks.) (You need to read in “chunks”.) (Chunks are groups of words) (that our brain) (can deal with as one unit). (Or, in other words,) (you need to stop) (reading one word at a time.)
It will probably feel very strange to read in this way at first, but please keep practicing. With some regular practice every day (say, 10 to 20 minutes), you will soon be comfortable reading in chunks. This will increase your reading speed so that you can finish the IELTS Reading test. It will also benefit your writing and speaking, too because you will start to notice how words are put together in English.
It is a good idea to record your reading speed. That way, you will be able to see how much faster you are reading. Simply read an article and time yourself. Divide the number of words by the time to get your reading speed in words per minute.
For example: 360 words / 2 minutes = 180 words per minute
Average readers read at around 250 words per minute, and good readers read at around 350 words per minute
You will need to make sure that the reading is not too easy – it should be similar to the IELTS Reading test. There is some great reading material in the Wordwise library and online. Please ask for advice if you are interested in starting regular speed reading practice.
Speed reading really will help you achieve the scores you want.
The Listening test is the same for both Academic and General Training versions of the IELTS tests. There are 4 sections, each with 10 questions for a total of 40 questions. The total time is around 30 minutes. During the test, you will write your responses on the question paper. At the end of the test, you will have 10 minutes to transfer these answers to the official answer sheet. Be careful that you transfer answers correctly – spelling errors are marked as an incorrect answer.
The four sections differ in difficulty and kind of listening task. Section one is the easiest, and section four is the most difficult. The questions are in the same order as the information in the listening – that is, the answer to Q1 comes before the answer to Q2, which is before Q3 and so on.
Sections 1 and 2 focus on everyday situations. In section 1 you will hear a conversation between two people. It often involves a daily task, such as making an appointment or making a reservation. Section 2 has only one speaker; such as a tour guide giving information.
Sections 3 and 4 focus on academic and training situation. Section 3 has a recording of two (or more) speakers. A good example of this type of recording is two students discussing an assignment in class. Section 4 is typically one speaker giving an academic-style lecture.
You will have some time (~30 sec) between each section. It is best to use this time to look at the next set of questions.
You will hear the recordings only once. In addition, the speakers are from England, Australia, New Zealand and North America, so you will need to be familiar with a variety of accents.
Within the four sections, there are several different types of questions. Each question type requires test-takers to use a different strategy. You will need to become familiar with answering the following types of questions:
- Multiple Choice - Matching - Form/note/ table completion - Labeling a diagram or map - Sentence completion - Short answers
An IELTS essay is a shortened version of a typical academic essay. You only have 40 minutes to plan, write and check your essay, so it is essential that you structure your essay well. This way, your ideas can be clearly explained and understood.
The three essential components of any essay are: 1. Introduction 2. Body paragraphs 3. Conclusion
Let’s work through each section of a sample essay to help you understand how to write a high-scoring response for an opinion-style essay. This style of essay is the most commonly required in the IELTS test.
Let’s use the following example question: 下記の例題と、３つのパートそれぞれの書き方、そのエッセイの例をご覧ください。