In today’s video lesson Adam (our own ex-IELTS examiner with 10 years of experience) will show you how to approach the Academic Writing Task 1 that many consider the most challenging – a table. The reason test takers have a hard time describing tables is because there is a lot of information, and trying to include all of it would take too long. It would also be the opposite of what the examiner wants you to do!
With a table you need to decide what you will be comparing, and be selective about the data you are mentioning. In this video Adam shows you the things you should pay attention to and gives you a method how to approach a table.
One important thing about the table is ‘When?‘. When are you comparing? Is it the past, the present or the future? It is important to think about the time and choose the verb tense according to that, because it will give you a higher score.
Another important thing about the table is its Totals. If you draw a line showing whether the numbers went up or down, visualising this will help you write your report. In the video you can see how Adam did it, and you can do the same in your test.
Giving a score to the categories (cars, buses & coaches, pedal cycles, etc.) to show which had the highest numbers will also help you. You can then group categories with the highest and the lowest scores together, to avoid describing each of them separately. Watch Adam do it in the video and do the same on your table.
Marking the categories that went up over the years with an arrow pointing up, and categories that went down with an arrow pointing down can also be a helpful visual tool. It is important to include that information in your report.
And this is just a taste of what’s in the video – so make sure to watch it in full, because an IELTS examiner is the best person to show you how to write high-scoring IELTS reports!
Adam doesn’t give you a model response in this lesson, because he would like you to have a go and write your own. But if you’d like to see a Band 9 sample, check out our High Scorer’s Choice IELTS practice tests. This particular topic can be found in Package 2 and we also provide a model response for it, as well as all the other writing tasks.
In this video you will watch Aleks take a mock Speaking Test – it shows you what happens on the test day in the real examination room. Due to COVID19 precautions there may be a plexiglass screen between you and the examiner, and you may be required to wear a face mask for your Speaking test. It is a good idea to ask your IELTS test centre about this, so that you know what to expect.
In Part 1 the examiner asks personal questions on everyday topics, such as your job or studies, your home, your family or friends, your habits, likes and dislikes.
Part 2 is different, because there is no discussion in it. Instead, you receive a topic card (cue card) to talk about for 1 to 2 minutes, with 4 bullet points you should cover in your talk. Part 2 is the only part of the Speaking test where you get 1 minute preparation time and you can write down some ideas to talk about. This doesn’t happen in Part 1 or Part 3.
In Part 3 the examiner asks you questions related to Part 2 topic. You are expected to give longer, more elaborate answers and talk in-depth about the topics your examiner brings up.
How can you make the most of this Speaking test video?
1. Get familiar with everything that happens in the Speaking test. It will help you feel prepared when it’s your turn.
2. Listen to the questions the examiner asks and note how Aleks answers them. Then think about what YOU would say in response to these questions.
3. Spot Aleks’ mistakes and avoid them when you speak.
4. Go over Examiner’s Feedback below to learn how he rated Aleks’ performance and why (he also points out some of his mistakes!)
5. You can even use this as a Listening exercise, and switch on subtitles on YouTube to understand every word on the recording.
This section shows you what goes on in the examiner’s mind when he rates a Speaking test. Make sure you read this before looking at the scores he gave Aleks in every criterion, because this explains the reasons he got those scores.
Aleks was pretty fluent and coherent. He answered all the questions capably, but he didn’t often use longer and developed sentences, which I would have preferred. His vocabulary range was good and he had no problem accessing the right language for what he wanted to say. Aleks’ grammar was very accurate, though not without error, i.e. saying “less bicycles” instead of “fewer bicycles”. Aleks had a small accent, but this did not affect communication in any way.
Describe a successful businessman/businesswoman that you know. You should say:
– who he/she is and how you know him/her – what his/her business is – how you think this person’s business will do in the future – and explain why you think he/she is successful
Aleks’ section 2 was fine, though he struggled a little to keep going and he was often a bit generalised and vague. There was a pause at the start and there were a number of pauses through his speech. Again, his sentences were also not often really well developed. So, although Aleks provided enough speech, his fluency and coherence was a bit fragmented at times. Aleks’ lexical choices were good, though he did not show much range and repeated “thing” too much. Aleks’ grammar was good, though again there was not a great range of structure. There was only some very minor error, i.e. “until he can” right at the end. Aleks’ pronunciation was again very good.
Aleks gave a nice section 3. The more complex questions allowed him to develop his sentences in a better way, though there were some pauses again, especially in the second half as Aleks considered answers and sometimes tried to access language. In general, I felt his fluency and coherence were a little better. Aleks’ vocabulary was good and he showed some more high-level language, i.e. “tangible”, while giving his nice answer on motivation. There were also some awkward vocabulary moments, i.e. “convert to”. There were the same occasional awkward moments with grammar (i.e. “an eye contact” and “improve on being”) and again some lack of grammatical range, but there were few errors. Aleks’ accent was again slight and did not affect communication in any way.
Aleks’ IELTS Speaking score
The marking of the IELTS Speaking Test is done in 4 parts.
Fluency and Coherence 7 Lexical Resource 7 Grammatical Range and Accuracy 7 Pronunciation 8