IELTS Grammar: Conditional sentences.

How to use zero, 1st, 2nd and 3rd conditionals (if sentences)

There are four kinds of conditional sentences. The zero conditional describes real or specific situations, while unreal Conditionals describe unreal, imaginary situations or hopes for the future. With unreal conditionals there is a difference in the likelihood of them happening, however, they don’t refer to the past. The 3rd conditional is for past regret, how something could be different or a past hypothetical situation.

Conditional sentences are very useful structures in IELTS as they are seen by the examiner as complex sentences and are often included in a natural conversation. This comes in very handy in the IELTS speaking section when talking about your daily life, talking about possibilities and expressing regret or a hypothetical past.

Read moreIELTS Grammar: Conditional sentences.

9 Tricky IELTS Part 2 Speaking topics

Tips and ideas for difficult IELTS Speaking part 2 topics.

Sometimes in IELTS speaking you will get a tricky topic to answer in part 2. It can cause anxiety if you go into the exam and get presented with one of these. The important thing here is to use your imagination if you cannot think of a story.

Be prepared with a few ideas beforehand as that will go a long way to easing your nerves. I haven’t given any model answers here because there are so many variations on how you could answer these. Click the blue buttons to see the tips and ideas.

Read more9 Tricky IELTS Part 2 Speaking topics

Writing task 1: Recycling aluminium process diagram

ielts process diagramModel answer for a process diagram on recycling drinks cans.

Process diagrams are some of the easiest tasks in IELTS Academic writing task 1 as you are logically explaining a process using sequencers and passive grammar. The data is obviously static so there are no trends to report on, it is pretty straightforward with enough practice.


Read moreWriting task 1: Recycling aluminium process diagram

IELTS General writing task 1: Letter to a friend

informal writing ieltsModel answer for a letter to a friend about exercise.

In the general version of IELTS writing task 1, there are 2 types of letters, Informal and formal. Some teachers say there is a third semi-formal style but if the task is a letter to a friend it is informal, while everything else would be formal.

Read moreIELTS General writing task 1: Letter to a friend

7 things that could lower your IELTS writing score

Words and phrases to avoid in IELTS essays.

The essay writing section of IELTS is formal. This is the same for the academic writing task 1 reports, so you must use the right register. You could lose marks in vocabulary or grammar if you are writing in an informal way, using idioms, or using memorised stock phrases.

In IELTS general writing task 1 you will sometimes get an ‘informal’ letter to write, so obviously in that specific case, you will write the letter in an informal register.

You may not lose a band score if you are doing just one of these things below but if you are making a combination of errors then it could be the cause of being stuck at band 6 or 6.5.

Read more7 things that could lower your IELTS writing score

Paraphrasing and Synonyms in IELTS reading

An exercise to test your synonyms and paraphrasing in IELTS reading.

A key skill for a high score is your ability to understand paraphrasing in IELTS reading.

Paraphrasing is also a crucial skill for the writing section as you need to change the wording of the task question. It is also very useful in speaking and it shows up in the reading and listening sections. Paraphrasing is when the wording changes but the same meaning is retained. It can be done with synonyms, changing the grammatical structure and the use of set phrases.

Read moreParaphrasing and Synonyms in IELTS reading

How to write an IELTS opinion essay

ielts word countIELTS opinion essay: structure, model answer and analysis.

There are 5 types of essay in IELTS writing task 2 and a common one is an opinion essay.

So how do you know if it is an opinion essay?. You will need to study the instruction words. These words tell you what you should write about. This should be the first step to take before you even begin to plan. Analyse the task and especially the instruction words so you do not go off topic or write another essay altogether.

Here are 2 essay tasks below, which one do you think is the opinion essay?

Read moreHow to write an IELTS opinion essay

What’s the difference between ‘affect’ and ‘effect’?

In IELTS, using vocabulary precisely is very important for getting a high score in lexical resource. Affect and effect are often used incorrectly even by native speakers!

Let’s look at the difference between these and how can they be used in a sentence accurately.

They are not exactly synonyms, they are homophones, which means they sound the same but are spelt differently. There are some exceptions when affect can be used as a verb or effect used as a noun, but generally speaking, these are the rules below:

Affect is a verb   –   Effect is a noun

Read moreWhat’s the difference between ‘affect’ and ‘effect’?

IELTS Writing Task 1: Using prepositions correctly

How to use prepositions in IELTS writing task 1 academic.

It is very important to get prepositions right in this part of the exam. I often see prepositions mistakes when I am marking task 1 reports and this is a particular issue when describing dynamic data.

Read moreIELTS Writing Task 1: Using prepositions correctly

Word count for IELTS writing tasks

ielts word countWhat is the ideal word count for IELTS writing?

This is a common question many IELTS candidates have but there seems to be misinformation out on the internet about word count in the IELTS writing section.

In fact, you can actually lose marks if the writing is under word count. Here are some examples of what I have heard about the word count in IELTS essays and writing task 1.

Read moreWord count for IELTS writing tasks

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