Learning New Vocabulary

Tips and points to consider for learning new vocabulary in IELTS.

I often get asked about the best way to learn new words that can be used in IELTS essays or the speaking section. I have not given any word lists on my website because I believe that vocabulary building is your responsibility, it is something that you will have to work on over a period of time.

One of the worst things you could ever do when studying IELTS is to just memorise lists of words and then randomly put those words into your writing, the same goes for speaking.

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IELTS Writing: Keeping it simple

Being concise and keeping it simple.

If someone asked me for my advice about the IELTS essay tasks, I would say keep it simple and concise. I correct a lot of IELTS essays, but the one thing that stands out is that so many IELTS students are trying too hard to use  ‘complex sentences’ and completely miss the point and end up using ‘complicated sentences’. Some students may also memorise lists of words and then just put those into the essay without actually knowing fully what the word means.

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Personal Pronouns in IELTS Essays

Can you use personal pronouns in IELTS Essays?

This is a question I have been asked a few times and there is some confusion even among IELTS teachers about this. The quick answer is that it is fine to use personal pronouns in IELTS essays. There is nothing in the marking criteria that says you should not use them either. As long as they are kept to a minimum that is ok.

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Using Collocations in IELTS

IELTS collocationsLearning collocations are highly recommended.

Some of the most important vocabulary needed for IELTS writing are collocations. These are essential when expanding your vocabulary. Basically, collocations are 2 or 3 words that commonly go together and sound just right to a native speaker. For some tips on building your vocabulary take a look at this blog post here. If you do not know how to use collocations then they will sound or look ‘wrong’ to a native speaker .

For example if you go shopping, ‘use money’ sounds strange. The correct word is to ‘spend money‘ or if someone speaks in a loud way I can’t say he has a ‘big voice‘ I need to say he has a ‘loud voice’ or maybe he has a ‘big mouth‘ to describe him as arrogant , not a ‘large mouth‘. When I want to relax in the evening I wouldn’t ‘look at a movie‘ I would ‘watch a movie‘….

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How to use Cohesive Devices effectively

Guide to Linking and Cohesion in IELTS.

One of the most important skills for getting a good score in the IELTS writing exam, is the way cohesive devices or linking devices are used. In the marking criteria for task 2 essays and Writing task 1 reports, Coherence and Cohesion accounts for 25% of your marks, therefore it is important to have an essay that flows naturally and is easy for the reader to understand. A key component of this is cohesive devices, however, use them correctly and sparingly.

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IELTS Grammar: How to use complex sentences

Writing Complex Sentences in IELTS

It is important to use some complex sentences in IELTS writing task 2 otherwise you are unlikely to get a band 6.5 or above. Remember that grammar accounts for 25% of your marks in the writing tasks, however there is some confusion about the best way to write these kinds of sentences.

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IELTS Reading: Guessing meaning from context

Learn about the most important skill in IELTS reading.

In the IELTS reading exam you can’t look up words in a dictionary, and you don’t have the time to understand every word. This is where guessing meaning from context becomes very important.

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Grammar Lesson: Instead / Instead of / Rather than

Mini Grammar lesson: How to use instead / instead of / rather than.

When writing essays in IELTS task 2 (It also comes in handy for the speaking test) , we often need to use “instead” or “rather than” to show preference, changing trends, opinions or facts. Here are some sentences based on the topic of technology and internet use.

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IELTS Writing task 1: Line graph with a future trend

IELTS graph future trendsWriting about graphs with future trends.

Something that sometimes comes up in IELTS academic Writing task 1 are graphs with predictions and future trends. In this case you need to use the future tense with some specific academic phrases for graphs with a future trend. Lets have a look at the grammar needed for this kind of graph here. Note that the data in this task is dynamic, that means it changes over time.

Static and Dynamic graphs

Static data means that the chart or graph displays one period of time. Dynamic data shows two or more periods of time. It also shows how trends change over a period of time.

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British and American English in IELTS

British or American English in IELTS, which is better?

Some people are confused about either using British or American English in the IELTS test. The answer is that both types are fine to use, the IELTS listening test has various accents from English speaking countries around the world.

If you prefer to use American English spelling or vocabulary then stick to that when doing the exam, don’t suddenly switch to using British English spelling or vocabulary and vice versa.

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