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5 ways to improve your IELTS writing

One of the most common questions that I am asked is this:

“How can I improve my IELTS writing from a 6 to a 7 band score?”


Dictation listening exercise for IELTS : the transcript

It was great to get such positive feedback for this simple dictation exercise. The students that emailed me what they wrote did really well and they managed to identify language that they could use in their own writing.

Here’s a transcript of the free IELTS listening dictation: (more…)

Only and its position in a sentence

Only comes before the word it qualifies. If you change the position of only, you change the meaning of the sentence.

Read this post about the position of adverbs in English. It’s very useful for the IELTS exam. Make sure that you understand what the different adverb types are in English and what their position should be in a sentence. Remember, sometimes there will be a change of meaning when an adverb changes postions. This could be important in the IELTS reading exam and you need to be careful with adverbs in your writing and speaking.

Look at this sentence :

I spoke to his teacher.

How many positions do you think that only could go in? How would putting only in different positions change the meaning of the sentence?

Only I spoke to his brother.
This means that you were the only person to speak to his brother.

I only spoke to his brother
This means that you only talked. You didn’t write a letter.

I spoke only to his brother.
You didn’t speak to anybody else.

I spoke to his only brother.
He only has one brother and I spoke to him.

Look out for the use of only in IELTS reading papers and be careful when you use it!!

It’s time for a spelling test

IELTS candidates should pay special attention to their spelling. Your IELTS writing will be much improved if words are spelt correctly. Keep a list of words that you spell incorrectly and test yourself on their spelling regularly.

When you have finished a piece of writing, edit it carefully and check for any spelling errors.

Read this post about editing your written work.

Here is a short recorded spelling test. There are five commonly misspelled words. Press play and try to write down the words immediately. You can press “pause” between the words if you need to. Listen to the recording as many times as you want to.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

When you have finished, you can check your answers here.

Even more listening practice

There’s lots of free listening material on the Internet. Read this post to read about some online resources already written about on this site. It’s easy to find free listening material using Google and good search terms.

This test is a free one on the Internet. It provides an opportunity for you to do some listening practice. Don’t worry about the fact that it’s not specifically for the IELTS exam. All listening practice is good listening practice for the IELTS exam. (more…)