Tips by an IELTS examiner

I was fortunate to have met a very special person, a former IELTS examiner. He sent me an email and it was filled with GREAT tips, real insider information and, of course, I wasn’t going to keep all of that to myself :).

IELTS Writing tips

It is better to write in regular, not very sophisticated English, than to use phrases or structures you don’t fully understand.

If you need Band 6 – no need for complex sentence structure. If your goal is Band 7 – then show advanced sentence structure, language and vocabulary.

Don’t write more than 260-265 words in IELTS Writing 2 task. Why? Not because you will get a lower mark, but because of these 2 reasons:

1) It takes more time
2) More words = more mistakes

If you are told to cover specific points in your essay/letter – cover every point, examiners do actually count them.

Don’t overuse connecting words (like However, Furthermore, Moreover, etc) – examiners are watching for you to do that.

IELTS Speaking – interview tips

Speak until they stop you, don’t just answer the question and stop. Display you best English. Behave as if it was a driving test – keep going straight until told to turn right, left or park.

It is quite possible that you have to speak about something you have never heard of, or have no opinion of. If you don’t know the subject – tell the examiner immediately, so he could ask you another question. If you don’t tell him and start trying to speak, he might think that it is not a knowledge problem, but a language problem.

The IELTS Writing Task 2 explained

I said this many times and I will repeat it again – “to write a good IELTS essay, you need to get into your examiner’s head”. You’ve got to understand what makes you gain or lose marks, because once you do – you can’t go wrong. What I am about to reveal here can be found in the IELTS official site, but I am explaining it in simple English.

This is how they grade your essay: you receive points for Task Response, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy. Looks heavy? Never mind, here comes the simple English version:

“Task Response” means that your essay shows that you understood and covered the topic from all its sides, aspects, etc. Let’s take this topic for example – “Internet: connecting or isolating people?”. Those who chose to write about how Internet connects people – lose marks, those who chose to write about how Internet isolates people – lose marks, those who compare and contrast both sides of the Internet and give arguments for and against – gain marks.

“Coherence and Cohesion” means how well you connected the paragraphs and sentences inside each paragraph. You see, all of your paragraphs need to be logically connected. For example, if paragraph 1 explains the advantages of the Internet, and paragraph 2 explains its disadvantages, then paragraph 1 should have a last sentence saying something like this: “In spite of Internet being such a help in communication, its drawbacks can not be overlooked”. This sentence creates the connection between 1st and 2nd paragraphs. If it wasn’t there, the examiner could have thought that you jumped from advantages to disadvantages without a reason. The same rule applies to sentences inside the paragraph. Every sentence should lead to the next one.

“Lexical Resource” means vocabulary and different types of sentences, simple and complex. You should be able to use words and their synonyms.

“Grammatical Range and Accuracy” means spelling and grammar of sentences. You should be able to spell the words correctly, do not forget the articles “a/an” and “the”, the punctuation is also important, and so on – you get the picture, don’t you?

One more important thing to know: the four criteria are equally weighted. It means that if you forgot about the “Coherence and Cohesion” in your essay, you will lose 1/4 of your essay points.

It is quite possible that after reading this explanation you still couldn’t write a good IELTS essay. This is where “Ace The IELTS” book comes in. It has a full chapter dedicated to IELTS essays, which explains from A to Z the whole process of essay writing and makes it so easy that a child could do it.

There are topics of essays for you to practice on and our teachers are waiting to check your essays and make sure you are ready for the real IELTS test. And, of course, I am here to answer your questions, solve your problems and support you every step of the way, write me to simone@IELTS-Blog.com

 

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