4 ways to get in trouble with your IELTS Writing tasks

If you have an IELTS exam this weekend, this post can literally save your score. Many people get in trouble with their IELTS Writing tasks for no reason, just because they don’t realize some things are not acceptable in IELTS letters, essays or reports. Here is a number of ways you can get in trouble with your IELTS writing tasks:

1. Using informal English in the IELTS Writing tasks.

Informal English is OK for your Speaking test – it is not OK for your Writing test. Even though not every informal word gets penalized, the more formal your style is, the better your score will be. To demonstrate the difference, informal expressions such as “loads of / tons of” should be replaced with “many” or “much”; “fed up with” should be replaced with “lost his patience”, etc.

2. Using contractions.

Contractions are “it’s” instead of “it is”, “I’ve” instead of “I have”, “we’re” instead of “we are” (these are only a few examples). Contractions are a bad, bad thing to use in your essay, they don’t save you much time and can cost you marks. Do me a favor and forget about contractions in your IELTS writing. Write “should not” instead of “shouldn’t”, “could not” instead of “couldn’t”, “would not” instead of “wouldn’t”. You get the idea.

3. Using slang.

You can use slang any time talking to your friends, but this is the only place where it belongs, in a conversation between friends. Keep it out of your IELTS essays, letters or reports. You can’t write “dunno” instead of “don’t know”, “wanna” instead of “want to” or “gonna” instead of “going to”.

4. SMS-like spelling.

We all are typing SMS messages, chatting on Skype and the like, and there is a bunch of shorter ways to write longer words. We type “u” instead of “you”, “c” instead of “see”, “IMHO” instead of “in my humble opinion”. None of these can appear in your IELTS exam, unless you are specifically trying to mess up and get a lower score than you deserve. You need to write the full word and spell it correctly, period.

I hope this post has caught you in time to prevent any of the above mistakes. Good luck with your exam!

IELTS Speaking questions from the UK and Pakistan – October 2009

Today I have 2 sets of IELTS Speaking questions for you, shared by people from the UK and Pakistan (thanks you, S. and S., we appreciate your kindness!).

Speaking test 1

– What is your name?
– Profession (student or working)?
– What are your duties at work?
– Are you happy with them?
– Why are you / aren’t you happy?
– Will you continue your job? Why?
– In the future what kind of job would you prefer?

Cue Card
Talk about the vehicle you would like to buy in the future, you should say:
– What kind of vehicle would it be?
– What is the best thing about it?
– When did you first see it and where?

– What are the two major drawbacks of enormous traffic?
– What measures can reduce it?
– How can we reduce the traffic?
– In what way a good transportation system can be beneficial for reducing traffic problems?

Speaking test 2

– Introduce yourself.
– Where do you live?
– Is it an apartment or a house?
– Which part of your house do you like the most? Why?
– If you would improve any part of your house, which part would it be?

Cue card

Talk about a historical place you have visited earlier, you should say:
– Whom did you go there with?
– What do you know about it?
– Why is it special?
– Would you recommend your friends to visit this place?

– Do you think people are keen on visiting historical places?
– How much money are they willing to spend on it?
– What are the sources of information regarding historical places?



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