How to take your IELTS test during lock-down

Due to the Coronavirus lock-down all IELTS English tests have been suspended in the UK.

The new online IELTS Indicator test is a good way for you to test yourself during this period and some academic institutions may allow you to enroll in your course if you pass the test this way. Please check with your university if the IELTS Indicator test is acceptable.

Just like the normal IELTS test there are four parts to it. You will be tested on your Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The speaking part will be conducted using Skype, Zoom or Teams.

The timings of each part are as follows:

Listening is 30 minutes and has 40 questions. Reading is 60 minutes and has 40 questions. Writing is 60 minutes and has 2 parts. Listening is 11 to 14 minutes and has 3 parts.

If you need any help with IELTS preparation visit the courses page here.

Top 10 IELTS essay writing mistakes

Here is a list of the most common mistakes students make when writing an essay. Remember to leave enough time to check for these errors when you have completed your Task 1 essay or Task 2 essay.

  1. Use of the word ‘the’

We use the:

  • when there is only one of something in a particular area: the government, the police, the bridge, the river, the hospital
  • when there is only one in the entire world: the internet, the environment, the ozone layer, the atmosphere
  • with cardinal numbers: the first, the second, the third
  • with superlatives: the worst, the shortest, the lowest, the most beautiful, the least impressive
  • with places where the name refers to a group of islands or states: the USA, the UK, the Maldives, the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates
  • before nouns which describe general things: exercise is good for the bodythe motorbike is the most common form of transport in Asia, the role of the teacher has changed in recent years
  • before abstract nouns used to describe a situation, process, quality or a change: over the years the development of the town accelerated, the frequency of violent crime decreased over the period, the improvement in living standards 

We don’t use the 

  • to talk generally we drop the word ‘the’ and use the plural: dogs don’t like cats, people with dyslexia have reading problems, Japanese cars are very reliable, German products are very high quality. 
  • with a single place or country: Ireland, China, Vietnam, Europe, South America

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The future of IELTS in the land of Brexit …

The International English Language Testing System or IELTS for short, is the pre-eminent English exam for non-native speakers looking to emigrate to the UK, Canada or Australia. This is called The General IELTS exam. The Academic form of the IELTS exam is accepted for non-native speakers for university entry and further career advancement globally, including the US.

This site was created as a guide for English Language learners following the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum that took place on June 23rd 2016.

By a small majority, the country voted to leave the European Union and this decision will have major ramifications for the future of both European citizens planning to move to Britain and citizens that are already living here.

What impact will the decision have on European citizens’ English language requirements? Will there be more stringent testing? Will the IELTS band score 7 be changed in the light of Brexit? There has been talk of a new test being implemented similar to the Life In The UK test used for spouse visas.

The NMC has acknowledged  that the Band score 7 or higher is far too high for some healthcare professionals to get. With this in mind, the writing part has been lowered to 6.5 as long as the remaining parts reach a Band score 7.

Use the contact details on this site for any inquiries about IELTS exam preparation. We are here to help, so feel free to ask any questions you have about the IELTS exam.

Are you a nurse looking for a tutor to pass the IELTS exam?

Find out more

 

Confusion, conquest & contemplation: A Dubai Diary by Seb Duncan.

When you live in a city for long enough as an expat, you end up feeling so part of it that you can lose sight of the adventure that drove you there in the first place; what was once alien becomes familiar, what was at first challenging, becomes routine. This retrospective diary is an attempt to explain the experience of being an expat in three stages: confusion, conquest and… contemplation.

Continue reading “Confusion, conquest & contemplation: A Dubai Diary by Seb Duncan.”

Causes and Solutions IELTS Writing Task 2 question

Some IELTS Writing Task 2 questions require you to think of the reason for something as well as coming up with solutions for it.

These questions are called Causes and Solution questions. They are also a type of two part question.

Here is an example of one.

Causes/Problem and Solution
Example: Crime rates tend to be higher in cities than in smaller towns. Explain some possible reasons for this problem and suggest some solutions.

Get help with your IELTS writing task

For a real model answer that would get a Band 7 score in this Writing Task 2 question, just email [email protected]

Short IELTS writing questions – The Stinger

Most IELTS Writing Tasks 2 essay questions ask you to discuss an opinion or a topic. In a lot of cases the question will give you a context to help you answer the question.
An example of a standard Agree or Disagree question is shown below.

Some people think that scientists experimenting with animals in a laboratory is the only way we can guarantee new products will be safe for human use. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

Continue reading “Short IELTS writing questions – The Stinger”

Answering the wrong IELTS essay question

The IELTS Task 2 writing question can be very challenging. Not only is it a test of your grammar and vocabulary, it also tests your ability to analyze and answer the RIGHT question.

Students can sometimes write well on a topic but get a low score. This is usually because they are answering the WRONG question within the topic presented to them.

This is a real example from an essay a student gave me before we started his course.

Question
Using a computer can have more negative effects than positive effects on your children. Do you agree or disagree ?

2nd para
Some people believe that it is antisocial to be seen using your computer every day by your children. It is thought that this attitude can rub off on children and for them to copy a parent’s actions as they grow up.
 
Can you spot the mistake?
 

Critical Thinking for Essay Writing

Many students ask me how to write an essay. They say “I don’t know what to write!!!” or “I know what to write but it doesn’t come out the way I mean to!!!.”

A key part of how to improve these skills is called critical thinking. Critical thinking, according to The Oxford Dictionary is “The objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.”

The ability to assess and make a balanced judgement AND write about it clearly is a key life skill and an important element when tackling an essay question such as the Task 2 IELTS essay question.

I can help you to think of ideas for your essay and how to organise those ideas into a coherent piece of writing.

See the courses section within this website or email [email protected]

Do you need  help with brainstorming when you are writing an IELTS essay? Visit the courses page for all the tips you need

How to write an IELTS Task 2 essay. Planning is everything.

The IELTS Task 2 essay is a 250 word discursive writing test.

As well as testing your level of English, it assesses your general knowledge and ability to clearly argue, discuss and express an opinion about a given topic.

Examiners will give high scores to a well argued and above all, well organized essay. If your essay is well organized your point of view will be clearer. If your point of view is clearer it will get  higher band score.

I emphasize the importance of planning when writing a Task 2 IELTS essay and it works! Whether it’s a case of raising your score if you have already taken the exam, or if you are taking the test for the first time.

For help with writing your IELTS Task 2 essay or to get a higher band score for the writing test overall email [email protected]

For tips on how to improve Cohesion and Coherence in your IELTS essay visit the courses page here