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IELTS Preparation tips

The best ways to study for the four IELTS sub-tests: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking

IELTS Speaking – what to expect (Interview)

It’s been a while since I wrote about Speaking, so this post is about how to do well in the IELTS Speaking test. It doesn’t matter what module of IELTS you are taking, General or Academic – the Speaking part is the same in both.

As you know, there are 3 parts in the Speaking sub-test: the Interview, Speech (Cue card) and Discussion, read the details about it here in one of my previous posts.

Now to the Interview: you can and should be prepared to questions they will ask you.

The questions are predictable, you can go through the recent exams to have a look click here and note navigation links at the bottom.

If you speak well, just go over the questions and prepare an answer in your head for every question. If you have someone to practice with – do it, if you don’t – I suggest that you record yourself. You can do that using your computer, a voice recorder on your phone, or our IELTS App.

To get the feeling of a real IELTS Speaking test you can listen to the sample of test here, look at the questions here and the transcript of the recording is here.

Best advice for those who know that speaking is their weakness:

1. Write your answers on a piece of paper.

2. Memorize them.

3. Speak to yourself – ask questions and answer according to whatever you wrote. It will improve your pronunciation and make you more confident. This is how you overcome the initial shock of speaking English.

4) Practice a lot with your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend, at first you may look at your paper, but after a while stop doing that – test your memory.

I prepared my students this way and it helped them a lot.

A little clarification – memorizing can help you at the beginning while you’re developing your Speaking skills, but don’t rely on it in the real exam. The examiners are trained to spot people who speak in memorized sentences. The good news is if you practice enough, you won’t have to use memorized answers to pass the Speaking test.

One more important thing – in Speaking you can also receive half-bands, such as 5.5 or 6.5.

I will continue and prepare more Reading tips for you in my next post.

More Writing tips for the IELTS General module

Let’s continue with the Writing tips, because I have more of them for you.

By the way, for those of you who can’t wait to read “Ace The IELTS” book – it is coming, I will release it very soon. In the meantime – you’ll have to settle for these tips :).

In the Writing Task 2 you will receive a topic and you will have to write an essay of 250 words.
This task has more weight than the Writing task 1. It also takes longer – 40 minutes, whereas Writing task 1 takes only 20 minutes.

The topic of an essay can be one of 3 possible types: a description of an opinion, an argument or a social problem.

Any essay you write on any topic must have structure – you can receive (or lose :() points for it. Structure means having at least 4 paragraphs (5 is better). The first paragraph is introductory, the next two or three are the actual essay body, and the last one is the conclusion.

The first thing to do is to understand what kind of topic is before you.


  • for an argument – you need to explain both sides and agree with one of them
  • for an opinion – you need to present another point of view and say which one you agree with and why
  • for a problem – you need to explain it, discuss and offer a solution and discuss it too.
  • No matter what type of essay you are writing, you must provide some facts, evidence and information. When you explain the problem – evaluate it; say when/where/who for it is especially difficult. If you present an idea of solution – discuss it; say what its good and bad sides are. Add examples from your own experience to support what you’re saying.

    In any essay the logical sequence of information is very important. Jumping from one idea to another is very bad for you score, all ideas must be connected logically. Another important thing is “smart” words – try to use them as much as you can, because this also affects your score. Punctuation is important too. Take a look at some Examples Of Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2 here. This file is from the IELTS official site – it can be trusted.

    That’s all for today – keep up the good work!