No more spelling mistakes

Spellings are very important in the IELTS exams. Here are my TOP 5 ways of checking your spellings.

1. Read backwards

When we read a text, we read from left to right and top to bottom. However, we almost always read to understand (or extract meaning) from the text. Therefore, our brains are programmed to focus on meaning when we read from left to right, top to bottom. When you’re checking the text for spelling errors, read the text backwards i.e. bottom to top, right to left. Let’s take an example. Look at the text below. Read it backwards, starting with the last word  “future”. (more…)

IELTS Writing Task 2: Advantages / disadvantages

When asked to discuss advantages and disadvantages (or benefits and drawbacks) in IELTS Writing Task 2, follow the following structure to organize your essays:

You can use this four-paragraph framework with most Task 2 essays.


Improve your IELTS Writing: Use a thesaurus

Ditch the dictionary. Use a thesaurus.

Thesau-what? A thesaurus is a dictionary of synonyms.

One of the most important tips for IELTS Writing is ‘don’t repeat the same words, use synonyms instead’. But even native speakers find it hard to come up with just the right synonyms to use while writing. Enter the thesaurus.

I am a literature major, and I love writing. And so do most of my friends. And we love the thesaurus. To be a good writer, and not just for the IELTS, it’s important to be able to describe things using different words so that your writing doesn’t sound boring. Consider the following Task 2 question and the first paragraph of a sample answer:


In the last 20 years there have been significant developments in the field of information technology (IT), for example the World Wide Web and communication by email. However, future developments in IT are likely to have more negative effects than positive.

To what extent do you agree or disagree. Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience or knowledge. You should write at least 250 words.


Read FT, NY Times news articles for free!

A lot of permium websites have started charging for content. Most offer up to ten articles for free every month, after which one must subscribe to the site to continue reading articles. However, there is a way of reading these premium articles for free. And here’s how:

1. Go to your favorite news website: NY Times, FT, or Economist.

2. Choose a story you want to read. Copy the headline.


How to answer IELTS Speaking Part 2 questions

What happens in the IELTS Speaking Part 2?

In Part 2, the examiner gives you a cue card with written questions.
You have one minute to think about your answer. You can make notes on paper.
Then you have up to two minutes to speak and answer all the questions on your cue card.
At the end, the examiner will ask you one or two follow-up questions on the same topic.

What should I do first?

Read the cue card very carefully, making a mental note of the main questions you have to answer.

How can I use the one-minute thinking time effectively? (more…)

IELTS Study Tips

A lot of students leave the exam hall having answered less than half the questions. Apart from speaking and writing exams, there is room for making educated guesses.


In the Reading section, give yourself 2-3 minutes at the end to guess answers for all the questions you haven’t found answers to. In the Listening section, you have ten minutes at the end to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. After you have transfered all your answers, fill in any blanks with logical guesses.



IELTS Study Tips

A very large percentage of students don’t read the question carefully. Therefore, they either don’t understand what the examiner wants or only answer half the question.


As you’re reading the question, underline or circle the keywords so you don’t miss anything. Don’t worry about fancy, colorful highlighters – you will only be wasting time switching from pencil to highlighter and back again.