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speaking

Count the words – the answers

Make sure that you have listened to the recorded sentences here. Did you manage to count the words? Was it easy? Perhaps you found it difficult? Remember that this exercise is extremely good for your listening skills practice. If you can identify all of the words, it shows that you are on your way to being able to fully understand what is being said. This is very important in the IELTS listening exam and in the IELTS speaking exam. Have you tried repeating the sentences aloud? What about recording yourself saying the sentences and listening to yourself? How good is your pronunciation? (more…)

Listen and count the words

Listening can be really difficult. In the IELTS listening exam, you are expected to listen, understand and answer questions. In the IELTS speaking exam, you have to listen to the examiner carefully and answer the questions you are asked.

Many IELTS students say that they find listening difficult because they haven’t had enough practice. Let’s face it, it can be really difficult to improve your listening skills if all you are doing is listening to recordings and answering questions. It’s important that all IELTS students try to identify their listening weaknesses and to improve their listening skills. (more…)

The speaking exam – the first part.

The first part of the IELTS speaking exam only takes between 4 and 5 minutes. That’s not a lot of time – unless you have nothing to say. Read this post to find out how to give yourself time to think of what to say.
One thing that you can do before the exam is learn vocabulary and expressions relating to the different subjects that you might be asked about in this part of the exam. Make lists of the vocabulary and expressions you learn and try to use them in conversation with other English speakers. Don’t do this the night before your IELTS exam : it will be too late then. (more…)

Thinking on your feet

When you are having a conversation, you don’t always know the answers to questions and sometimes, you might not know what to say next. In lots of conversations, you will have to pause for a moment to collect your thoughts and plan your next words. This is perfectly normal and natural in your own language but it can cause IELTS candidates to panic. They think they are in danger of getting a lower IELTS band score for their speaking exam because they don’t answer all questions immediately. (more…)

Google is your IELTS friend

Looking up definitions in an English – English dictionary forces you to understand meanings in English. Sometimes, translation is quick and easy but can miss out vital information: information which will increase your English knowledge and help you to get the IELTS band score you need. A good dictionary should give a word definition, pronunciation and word type. Other information is a bonus.
Google Dictionary is a fantastic online dictionary. Simply type in the word that you don’t know and you’ll get instant results that are easy to understand and follow

1 Pronunciation: a phonetic transcription of the target word is given and this can be played over your headphones or speakers. The transcription is for American English but pronunciation variations are often highlighted.

2 Synonyms: a list of synonyms is given. This is particularly useful as it breaks these down into word type e.g. Google Dictionary gives synonyms for “paddle” as both a verb and a noun.

3 Definition: the definitions given are comprehensive and clear.

4 Grammar: the different forms of verbs are displayed. You can spot any irregular verbs easily. The verb sing shows the following:
sang past tense; sings 3rd person singular present; sung past participle; singing present participle

5 Related Phrases: this is very interesting to a learner of English. It helps to extend the understanding and use of the target word. The related phrases are linked to their own definitions. The word study is linked to case study and study group. There are other related phrases.

6 Usage examples: these link to external sources. This provides lots of extra reading practice for your before your IELTS exam.

7 Web definitions: these offer alternative definitions of your target words.

All in all, Google Dictionary is a great study tool. It has a clean, simple interface and is always available when you are online. It is a fantastic complement to your book-based study dictionary.

Bookmark the address: www.google.com/dictionary. Try to use this fabulous tool regularly.
Read about pronunciation for the IELTS exam here.