Important news about ‘Target Band 7’ and ‘Ace the IELTS’ books

Hello everyone, Simone here, and today I am excited to announce the release of new, third editions of my books ‘Target Band 7‘ (Academic) and ‘Ace the IELTS‘ (General Training)!

Ace the IELTS, Target Band 7, third editionThe new editions are now available on our website in digital (e-book) version and on in print, and a free trial can be downloaded here.

Anything involving new book releases often takes quite a bit of time, because we want to make sure we’ve done the best job possible, improved and added useful content. This new edition wasn’t an exception, but hopefully it was worth waiting for – because following feedback from you, our lovely readers, we made some changes you’ll like.

The biggest change is that we added a complete IELTS-like practice test, we made it part of the books. The practice test is brand new, has been prepared especially for, and isn’t available anywhere else. ‘Ace the IELTS‘ now includes the General Training practice test and ‘Target Band 7‘ has the Academic test (with answers of course).

The test consists of the usual 4 sub-tests (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking), there is a Listening recording and its transcript has the answers underlined in sentences. Anyone who has trouble following the recording can use the transcript to understand parts they missed, and also to see the exact location of every question’s answer.

There is also a recording of a real student taking the Speaking test, and it comes with a transcript and an examiner’s commentary explaining the reasons for the student’s band score. This is a great opportunity to “take a peek” at what happens in the real test before it’s your turn to enter the examination room. Another helpful part of the practice test is model responses for Writing Task 1 and Task 2, that will show you what high-level writing looks like.

One more important change is we added new content to ‘Target Band 7′. There is a (quite rare) type of Academic Writing Task 1 which requires you to write about a plan (such as a floor plan of a building) or a map, before and after some changes were made. We added specific tips for this type of task, a model response and a practice exercise for you to do, so you will be prepared in case this uncommon task lands on your desk in a real exam.

There were other changes to both books’ content, but let’s not overload you with information. The important thing is you are getting the most updated books for your IELTS preparation that will maximize your score.

So be there first and take advantage of our special offer, and you will get more practice tests and other free bonuses with your books.

Have a great week, and good luck with your exam preparation!

IELTS Life Skills – a new IELTS test

Announcement of IELTS Life Skills test

This is exciting news: a new IELTS test called IELTS Life Skills is going to be available from April 2015. Candidates will be able to register and pay for their test from late March 2015. As this test is brand new and has been just announced one day ago, there isn’t much information available yet. We did our best to prepare a summary for you, and will update it as soon as more details come out.

What is IELTS Life Skills test?

IELTS Life Skills test is different from the General Training IELTS and from the Academic IELTS, it only tests two skills, Listening and Speaking. It is intended mainly for people wanting to immigrate to the UK. At the time of writing this (21 February 2015) the new test was announced at the same time as changes to UK immigration requirements and on the official IELTS website it is linked specifically to the UK immigration, but in the future other countries might add the IELTS Life Skills test to their visa requirements.

Skills tested

IELTS Life Skills will be testing Speaking and Listening at CEFR Level A1 and CEFR Level B1 (read more on CEFR here). Why just two skills? Because it was designed to meet specific immigration requirements for which applicants only need to prove their speaking and listening skills.

Test format

There are 3 people in the examination room: two test takers and one examiner. The examiner is assessing each of the two test takers. At times the two test takers are required to interact with each other. There is no break between the Speaking and Listening assessments.

Note: the performance of one test taker is not supposed to affect the score of the other test taker.

Assessment process

There are four criteria each test taker is being assessed for:

1. Obtaining information
2. Conveying information
3. Speaking to communicate
4. Engaging in discussion

At times during the test candidates are allowed to take notes to prepare their answers. The examiner will not mark those notes – only the candidates’ speaking and listening skills are marked during the test.

There are two main parts to IELTS Life Skills test:

Part 1

In Part 1 candidates are expected to ask and answer questions on familiar topics.

Part 2

In Part 2 listening and speaking skills are tested at the same time.

A1 and B1 levels: candidates will listen to a task played on a CD. Completing the task allows them to show ability to listen for both the general meaning and detail.

Candidates need to say their answers (not write them down), although they can make notes on paper while listening to the CD.

Then there will be a discussion on a topic related to what candidates have listened to on the CD.

B1 level only: in addition to the tasks above there is also another task where one candidate plans an activity with the other candidate.

Note: the reason one candidate has to interact with the other is, IELTS Life Skills tests how well people can communicate with others in everyday English. The best way to test these skills is to put two test takers at a similar level of ability in a situation that allows them to show how well they can speak English to communicate and engage in discussion with others.

Test scores (results)

In this test you can get only one of two results: ‘pass’ or ‘below pass’ (which basically means fail). If you receive ‘below pass’ your result won’t allow you to proceed with your visa application.

Test duration

Compared to a standard IELTS test this is a quick test:

  • IELTS Life Skills at CEFR Level A1 takes only 16-18 minutes.
  • IELTS Life Skills at Level B1 takes 22 minutes.

Test dates and locations

The test dates and locations aren’t available at the time of writing this post, as soon as they are announced and registration begins, we will update this announcement.

Test Results

Test results are available within 6 days of the test.

Test Sample papers

Level A1

Level B1

UK visa-specific information

You can find more information about whether you need to take IELTS Life Skills test and what level you need to achieve on this website.

Official IELTS website advises:

“If you take IELTS on or before 5 April 2015 you may be able to use it for your application up to 5 November 2015. You should confirm this with UKVI before making your application.

From 6 April 2015 you must take the test at an IELTS test centre authorised by UKVI to run IELTS tests for UK visa and immigration purposes and you must confirm at the time of registration that you wish to use your test for UK Visas and Immigration.

Note: candidates applying for undergraduate and postgraduate courses at UK universities and colleges should contact those institutions as different requirements may apply.”

Acknowledgement: we would like to thank the following websites for information that was used in this summary:, wikipedia, and



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