Why the “copy and paste” method won’t work in the IELTS test

If you are familiar with the IELTS, you will understand that the test is quite topic-based. If you are currently my student, you will understand by now, how to go about preparing for this test effectively and how not to. One no-no is blindly memorising words and phrases and using them in your own essay. The “copy and […]

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Using cohesive devices correctly in IELTS Writing

Many IELTS candidates are already familiar with the importance of using cohesive devices in IELTS Writing, as this is an area that their description and essay will be assessed on, under the Coherence and Cohesion (Organisation) criterion. However, how many of them know how to use these properly? Remember, this constitutes 25% of your assessment in […]

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How to avoid repeating the same words in IELTS Writing

In one of our writing classes, a student has asked me this important question: “What can I do if I don’t want to repeat the same words in my writing?” This question arose as we were discussing the importance of referencing when it comes to the criterion of Coherence and Cohesion (or Organisation) in IELTS Writing […]

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4 Types of Sentences in IELTS Writing and Speaking

Grammatical Range and Accuracy accounts for 25% of your total writing and speaking scores, and because of this, IELTS candidates need to be familiar with the types of sentences assessors are looking for when marking exam scripts or interviewing test takers. Basically, there are 4 types of English sentences: 1) Simple A simple sentence contains only […]

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Can I use formulaic expressions in IELTS Writing and Speaking?

When marking IELTS papers, I have often come across certain expressions that you can commonly find in model answers. For example, introductions that typically begin like these ones here: People have always argued on whether …. (Really? Who are these people?) Although there are some advantages to this, I believe that the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. […]

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Using linkers appropriately in IELTS Writing

Under test pressure, some IELTS candidates tend to feel compelled to use certain words and expressions for the sake of passing a test. Unfortunately, this may be harmful than good, as doing something for the sake of having to do it without giving it much thought may lead to errors that can cost the test taker the precious […]

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Are you taking “smart” pills for the IELTS?

Many candidates probably wish that there is a ‘magic’ pill somewhere that would enable them to solve all their exam problems. Apparently, here is one such pill. Easily obtainable online. Anything is possible on the internet these days. Try the activity below to check your understanding of the discussion: How many students were asked about […]

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How to create ideas for the IELTS Test

“I have no idea of what to write about or what to say on certain topics.” This is something I occasionally hear from students who experience a “mental block” when it comes to writing an answer to an IELTS essay topic or respond to an IELTS interview. One mistake students quite often make is relying on the teacher to […]

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Why IELTS students should avoid electronic dictionaries or translators

While training one of my students to use complex vocabulary in IELTS Speaking, I have noticed that she was relying quite heavily on using an electronic dictionary/translator to come up with various sentences. Unfortunately, much of what she was saying was rather confusing, as she had translated without considering whether or not the expressions used were appropriate to the […]

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How is my IELTS Writing assessed?

Quite often, when IELTS candidates do some self-studying, their main source of knowledge and reference is usually the internet, mainly Professor Google. This shows a sense of resourcefulness on the student’s part when it comes to gathering study material for their IELTS preparations. Unfortunately, some of the information that is floating on the internet is […]

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