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June, 2011:

IELTS writing : model answers

It’s pointless learning model answers before the IELTS writing exam in the hope that you can use them word for word. The chances are, you won’t answer the question properly and you won’t get the IELTS grade that you deserve. Read about this here.

Paragraphs rule!!

Make sure that you write in paragraphs. A good basic model is to write one paragraph for each point or idea. If you don’t write in paragraphs, your writing will be difficult to follow and you will lose marks. You can make this much easier by planning your writing : Read this.

Don’t leave any blanks

It’s important not to leave any blanks in the IELTS listening exam. If you leave an answer blank, it’s impossible to get a mark for it. Sometimes you won’t be certain about an answer to a question but you must remember to put something. You never know, your “guess” might be right.

Pronunciation is important

IELTS candidates should be aware that 99% of English language learners need to work on their pronunciation. This pronunciation practice is not something that should be done just before the IELTS exam – it should be started months before!! Poor pronunciation in the IELTS speaking exam might ruin your chances of getting the highest IELTS band score you can.
When you learn a new item of vocabulary, you should learn more than its meaning. You should also try to learn how to say it. This is not difficult, even if you don’t have “access” to a native speaker. Many students ignore the phonetic transcription of words in dictionaries. They read the definition and then move on. A good dictionary will explain how to pronounce a word by using a phonetic transcription e.g. /ˈɪŋglɪʃ/. Students need to understand this system of transcription to understand the pronunciation of a word but good dictionaries provide a key to help. It is well-worth the effort becoming familiar with this system. When you learn a word, you can easily learn how to pronounce it right from the beginning. A simple chart to help you can be found here.

Many students find it useful to hear a new word pronounced and the Internet provides many resources for this. A great site for pronunciation help is You can type in a word and hear it said. This provides a great opportunity to repeat the word. You can even translate the word into your language so you can be sure of the meaning.

It’s important to remember that in the IELTS speaking exam, you aren’t penalised for having an accent. We all have an accent when speaking English. IELTS candidates should try to avoid pronunciation errors that might stop easy understanding of what you are saying. These errors are usually mispronounced words and words that most people from your country pronounce incorrectly when speaking English. This is why learning the pronunciation of new words is so important.

Read about using Google to help your IELTS studies.

Play some games

The game of hangman is a great way to test your vocabulary. It’s also a fantastic way to test your spelling. If you have never played hangman before, here are the rules. Make sure you have understood the rules in English before you play hangman. Don’t forget that reading the rules in English is great reading practice for the IELTS exam. The rules can be summarised like this: (more…)