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Sunday, December 09, 2012


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1) Studying rules of exam
2) Adjusting your habits to this rules, e.g. do in time and within target scope (word count)
2) Finding you own weak sides
3) Figure out how to address it
4) Filling gaps in knowledge base
5) A few iterations of 2-5


can i ask what do "preparation" include?

Definately agree with your statement.
For the "Preparation" area I'd list next items:
- vocabulary
- grammar studing
- listening and reading skills improvement(watching news or listening some podcasts for example)

Thank you so much Simon, your lessons are always useful.
I implement some features of preparation out of practise:
Vocabulary: You need to have a wide range of words.
Spelling: This is very important for both listening and speaking skills.
Grammar: To serve for writing
Skills: Skills that are used to combat with the exams.
Afterthat, you need to practice to master your skills and revise vocabulary.

dear simon,

first of all, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge on the tremendous blog!

i just attended the exam last saturday, but it was a pity that i could not finish my writing section in time. the reason should be the lack of practice!

I agree that the preparation including practice! i will take another 1 month to prepare ielts. and the following would be my preparation plan:
writing: for each topic (such as education, culture, crime and so on), i will search for the related topic using google,select useful imformation and try to be familiar with their expressions. finaly, i will try to write one essay and one report using the expression i have memorised.
The similar method is used in speaking.
listening: i am going to do the practices in your website, and memorise the listening vocabulary, the key is to reflect the word immediately when you hear it!
reading: the vocabulary and skills!

when i find any mistake that i make frequently,i need to figure it out!

Hi, not sure why my last comment went missing.

Just wanted to say thank you very much for this site, it's helped tremendously.

I was asking about any advice you might have for a native English speaker who unfortunately has been forced to sit for this exam. I don't plan on being over confident as it's an exam format I'm not familiar with.
Have you noticed common mistakes made by native English speakers in this exam? Any help at all would be much appreciated. Thanks again :)

Hi, Dear Simon:

Thank you for your helpful web site and hope you are well!

I hope you can answer my question as I saw others have similar confusion posted in other comments.

For the writing task2, if the topic is "Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?".

On your post on
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
IELTS Writing Task 2: when to give your opinion, you said "It is called discussion + opinion questions. Discuss both sides and make your opinion clear too."

But on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, you posted:
IELTS Writing Task 2: both sides or one side? You said, "by giving both sides or by supporting only one side, depending on the view that you express in your introduction."

So which suggestion should I follow? Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best Regards


Some good suggestions in the above comments about what preparation involves!


Hi Sal,

I'm glad you like the site. The main thing for native speakers is to know what to expect. If you're following my lessons and you do a few practice tests, you should be ok.


Hi Jimmy,

The 2 pieces of advice you mentioned are for 2 different types of essay question.

The first is about 'discussion' questions which ask you to 'discuss both views' (you have no choice - you must discuss both), whereas the second is about 'opinion' questions which ask whether you 'agree or disagree' (you can either agree, disagree, or partly agree - so you can choose whether to write about one side or both sides).

Hi, Dear Simon:

Thank you for your prompt response. But it seems that you didn't quite follow me. Sorry for the confusion if caused by me.

My question is about how we should write to answer this specific question:Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

In one of your post, you said we should write both side, and give our opinions. But in another post, you said we can either do that, OR just write one side and give our opinion. So my question is, for this specific kind of question, should we write one side or two sides?

Best Regards

Thank u Simon,
I finally achieved my score 7 in each at 8th attempt. So everyone don't stop working hard

Hi Jimmy,

I would discuss both sides and give my opinion for that type of question. Sorry if some of my advice was confusing.


Congratulations Mona! Your persistence paid off!

I can't believe I found this amazing website. I need to get a 7 in all categories and I am struggling with reading, I have written the academic test 3 times and my overall score is good but only achieve a 6 for reading. Mona you made my day I see that if I do persist I will eventually get there. Congratulations. Christine

Hi Simon,

I had a score of 7 overall for my test. Both listening and reading were 7.5 but writing and speaking were 6.5 and 6 respectively.

I cannot agree more with you on preparation and practice being different.

I did practice before my exam but I did not prepare at all! As a result I had a bad score.

I am sitting for the second time shortly and I am very fortunate and grateful at the same time for coming across your site!

Each day I am doing what you have suggested on each test item.

I must admit that I thought I would ace the exam but as it turned out I needed to be prepare.

Now I feel a whole lot better and I know that I can improve on my score.

So thank you for your excellent advices! I wish I had a teacher like you!

I can't wait to buy your ebook for all your ideas!

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