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Saturday, September 28, 2013


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please answer me what is the difference between an essay of 7 and a piece of writing marked 8 in ielts, with some examples if you have time.

Hello, I absolutely agree with what you said.
I understand that instead of using complex sentence, it is better to write error-free sentence. This at least reduce the chance for the examiner to see your mistakes.
I try to write those kind of sentence in my essay but I cannot maintain the "flow" of my paragraph. I just simply put ideas into the same paragraph and it seems that the main argument is not clear. Do you have any advice for me?

In fact, I have taken the IELTS test for four times.
I only aim to get an overall score of 7 with minimum score not lower than 6.5 in the sub test. Considering all my previous tests, my highest scores in the four parts are:
Listening: 7.5
Reading: 7
Writing: 6.5
Speaking: 6.5

I think I got the idea of what I should say in speaking and what to write in writing, and I have confidence to get satisfactory results in listening and reading. But the main problem is that the scores of my writing and speaking seem to fluctuate between 6.0 and 6.5.
I really got no idea what should I do.
I try to follow your blog to do a little more everyday.
Should you have any advice please inform me :-|

What I want is just to secure that I can get a minimum score of 6.5 in writing and speaking.
But most importantly, I find that I often cannot expand my answers when I deal with one task. I follow your blog and I really find it useful to ask myself "Why" and "How" as well as giving example. But I often get stuck in thinking how to elaborate out.
It seems that it is too long, but please give me an advice if possible.

Best regards,

Hi all, I have just had my exam here in Manchester. Reading was beyond my understanding. However, writing task was "parents tell their children stories. Some people say from modern technology, children should be taught stories from television
Discuss both sides with examples.

Dear Simon,
I have heard that an examiner cannot write the correction of mistakes while he is checking the essay. He just make his impression of the whole essay in his mind. The question is who counts the mistakes in the essay then. May be this is being done by the second examiner?

Hi Simon,

I got the result of my test last week. Although my speaking score was a quite disappointing 6.5, I scored 9 in both reading and listening, and most importantly, I got 7.5 in writing for the first time. In my previous attempts the best score I achieved in the writing test was 6.5.

I'd like to thank you for the wonderful lessons in your blog. Before my last test I read every tutorial on writing in your blog. The most important thing I learned is that sticking to a clearly defined method is absolutely essential to the IELTS writing test. I tried to use the same method during my practice writing, and eventually I found that it became much easier to finish the essay within the time frame. I also took your suggested structures of the task 1 report and task 2 essay. They make the writing much more clear and save a lot of time during the planning stage.

So thanks again for the great work. I hope more fellow IELTS test takers would find the right way to do this thing.

Hi every one
congratulation Joe can you please tell me
what you do and how you prepare for reading
and listening tests to got this fantastic score
I need 7in each part and I stuck with score
6 in both in my 4 exams please help me
.Any body have experience with ielts
and got a high score please give me advice
and tell me how to prepared before the exam.

Hi Khairia,

I actually didn't do anything specifically for listening and reading tests. I have a habit of watching American TV series, so I have no problem in listening. For me, the key to getting a good score in the listening test is to focus, and try not to panic and stick to the current question if one or two key phrases are missed. I am also a regular reader of several English websites and blogs, and I like to read English books when I have time, so reading is the easy part for me too. Adopting a strategy for the test helps as well. Normally for every article I will go over the questions really quickly, then I will read the article to get a good understanding of what it says. Normally that will take me 5 minutes or so. And during the first round of reading, I would circle all the phrases that I think are important. Chances are that during the first round, I can answer one or two really easy questions without thinking or spending time looking for the answers. Then I will go through the questions again and answer them one by one. That's when the keywords marking and circling greatly help me identify the relevant information.

IELTS is a test to evaluate how well a test taker can understand or use English. So while a good strategy can help you get a reasonable score, in the end it's up to the level of your command of the language. That's what I have learned after several attempts of the test. So if you are not getting the score you want, it's either that you don't have a right method, or your English is not good enough. For the later, a good amount of practice will help. In my case, I do find my writing improved a lot after writing about ten essays for practice.

Hi Khairia, I think I could give you some advice here. I was also able to get 9 for both Reading and Listening sections previously.

I think the keys to getting a high score in these sections are practicing and understanding the questions.

For listening, I guess watching British shows or documentaries would definitely help a lot, just to get used to the accent, since most of my listening tests included British dialogues. Underlining key words while reading the questions helps you to concentrate on the missing information hence pick them up when the tapes are being played. There is also a little trick that I use, that I don't spend time for reading as I was told by the tape. Usually the degree of difficulty increases throughout the test, so I would quickly scan the questions in the first part then move on to read the following questions. What you find is if you leave only enough time like being told by the tape for the last two sections, you may run into the risk of not finishing reading the questions and underlining the key words.

For the reading parts, the most important factor I find myself is recognizing the types of questions, such as True/False, yes/no, matching the titles and paragraphs, etc. Then you would be able to scan the questions to find the keywords that match the questions accordingly. I usually read the questions first, then go find the answers in the texts later, which I think is quite strategic because not all information on the text brings any value.

I hope this helps.

Hi Henry and Joe,

Congratulation on your excellent score for listening and reading.

I am about to give my IELTS exam on 21 Nov 2013 and would like to have some idea of marking for band 7.

In order to achieve band 7, what percentage of correct answers one normally required. In practice, I am getting 33-35 (approx. 85%) in listening and reading. Is it enough for band 7 ?

Awaiting for your kind reply.

Thanks and Best Regards,

Dear siamon. i had already participated IELTS exam two times but i got same score 5.5 writing would you suggest me how i can improve my writing score

Hi Simon
i need band 7 in writing and as you said all my sentences have small grammatical mistakes pertaining to articles THE in particular. usually grammar books mentioned rare condition which is not very useful for IELTS writing. how can i solve this problem, is there a thorough source for it. thanks

The first time I got L/R/W/S: 9/8.5/7/6. The second time I get 8/7.5/6/6, while actually I aimed for 8/8/7/7. My strategy was to use complicated sentences to impress the examiner. After read your suggestion, I think I have found the problem and I will try it again with simple but error-free sentenses.
Thanks Simon.

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