Idiom for IELTS

Drive someone up the wall

This is when we irritate someone or really annoy them.

His constant coughing drives me up the wall.

Remember that you won’t do yourself any favours if you simply throw these idioms into conversation during your IELTS interview. You must practice using them appropriately before the exam.

Idiom for IELTS

A Piece of Cake
A task or job that is accomplished very easily.

I found the writing paper hard in the IELTS practice exam but the reading paper seemed like a piece of cake.

Try to use this idiomatic expression in conversation over the next few days.

IELTS vocabulary: something to that effect

When we quote someone, we might use something to that effect to show that our quote might not be exact. What we say is intended to have the same meaning.

He told her that he was going to resign or something to that effect.

We can use words to that effect in the same way.

She told me that it was pointless applying for that job – or words to that effect.

IELTS vocabulary: in effect

In effect means for all practical purposes that something is true. It means that something is virtually true.

Her poor exam results showed in effect that she hadn’t really studied very hard for the exam.

There have been some dramatic tax increases. In effect, we are now all a little poorer.

IELTS vocabulary: affect vs effect

Many students confuse affect and effect. Do you know the difference? Which on is a verb and which one is a noun?

Affect is a regular verb. It usually means to influence or change something.

The cold weather really affects my concentration.

His injury affected the result of the football match.

Effect is a noun. It is a result of something.

One effect of the cold is that I lose concentration.

His injury had no effect on the result of the football match.

Be careful because effect can also be used as a regular verb! It is not commonly used in this way but it can be. It means to produce a result or to make something happen.

The dramatic tax cuts were designed to effect spending change in the economy.

Effective is an adjective which tells us that something is good for its purpose.

Her teaching methods were very effective and we all got a grade 7 in the IELTS exam.

Three little wishes

Using wish in your IELTS exam

Ricardo came to me after his IELTS exam and explained that he suddenly understood the value of actually using new language before the exam. He told me that he had sometimes been “bored” during my classes when I made the students focus on a point of grammar and use it, even though he felt he already really understood it. Actually being in the IELTS interview brought home to him the value of practice and that the time to experiment is not during the actual exam. Basically, Ricardo had tried to use wish and realised that he wasn’t sure which form to use to say what he wanted to say. We had covered wish quite extensively in class and Ricardo admitted that he had “switched off” a little during practice.

“I really thought that I understood the grammar and would be able to use it when I needed it. I know now that I should have practised more so that I was used to actually using the language.”

Ricardo is a good student but he sometimes is guilty of wanting to move on too quickly. He now understands the need to practice and use all new language. I am sure his mistake (if he really did make one) won’t affect his final IELTS grade too much.

Here’s a refresher in wish for Ricardo. Other IELTS candidates might find it useful too.

wish + past simple (or continuous)

I wish I were taller.
Sam wishes he lived closer to his mother.

This wish expresses an unrealistic desire for the present to be different. Something might change in the future but we want now to be different. We accept that we can’t change what is true right now. Just becaus e the past is in this construction doesn’t mean it is about the past. This is an example of an unreal past tense in English. Notice that I is followed by were in the example. This might seem strange but it is correct. It is also possible to use was instead. The same rule applies to he, she and it.

I wish I were better at arithmetic.
I wish I was better at arithmetic.
He wishes he were a faster runner.
He wishes he was a faster runner.

wish + past perfect simple

I wish I had studied harder at university.
Jayne wishes she hadn’t eaten so many cakes. She feels sick now.

This wish expresses an impossible desire for the past to be different. We accept that we can’t change the past. We just look back at past actions, often with regret, and wish they were different. We can’t travel back in time to change past actions (unless we are Marty McFly in Back to the Future.)

wish + would

I wish you would stop taking my pens.
He wishes it would stop raining.

In this wish, we want there to be a change, either now or in the future. We hope that the change might happen and it is a possibility. The change depends on an outside force and not on the actions of the person making the wish. We never use this form with I because you can make changes yourself.

We don’t say :

I wish I would study harder.

You can make the decision to study harder if you want to.

In many cases, wish used this way expresses irritation on the part of the speaker.

I wish he would stop talking. He’s giving me a headache.

In Ricardo’s case, he was talking about his education and education in his country. He felt that he hadn’t been pushed enough in his English studies. What he should have said (and I hope he did say!!) is:

I wish they had made me work harder in English at school.

Go back to all of the example sentences above and make sure that you can see why they are appropriate for each situation (you might need to read the grammar explanation again.)

It seems as though it has been raining here in England for months. Actually, it has been raining for months. It’s supposed to be summer!! Grrrrrr! I could say any of the following sentences in relation to the rain. Can you see why they all mean something different but they are all correct?

I wish it wasn’t raining.

I wish it hadn’t started raining.

I wish it would stop raining.

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analysis vs analyse

Make sure that you know the difference between analyse and analysis.

Analyse is a regular verb. It means to study something in great detail.

We analysed his results and found that they contained errors.

Analysis is a noun. It is the results of the verb to analyse.

Our analyisof the results showed that they contained errors.

Please remember that in American English, analyse is spelled with a z – analyze.