IELTS vocabulary: Crime and Punishment

IELTS vocabulary crime

In IELTS writing task 2 there are various topics that come up, such as The Environment, Family, Society, Work, Technology, Robotics, Education, Food and Diet, Health, Sports and sometimes Crime. The topic of crime is difficult for many students as there is so much vocabulary surrounding this.

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

Using vocabulary precisely in IELTS 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

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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.

I quite often get essays that contain ‘flowery’ or convoluted sentences and vocabulary which makes it hard to understand what point is being made. My advice here is to keep your wording simple, direct to the point and concise.

It seems that many students try too hard to use  ‘complex sentences’ or ‘high level’ vocabulary and completely miss the point of communication, so in the end the reader (the examiner in this case) has trouble understanding.

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

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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 for a higher score. 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‘…. and so on…

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How to use Cohesive Devices effectively

A guide to linking and cohesion in IELTS writing.

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. So 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. However, not all of your sentences have to be  ‘complex’ you need to use simple sentences too.

Remember that grammar accounts for 25% of your marks in the writing tasks but there is some confusion in IELTS about what a ‘complex sentence’ actually is.

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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 won’t be able to understand every word. In addition, you shouldn’t read the whole text as you just won’t have the time.

Understanding where to find the answers and spotting how words are paraphrased is a crucial skill. The reading section is really about vocabulary, so it is incredibly important that you work on developing your vocabulary.

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IELTS Grammar: Instead / Instead of / Rather than

How to use instead / instead of / rather than.

When writing essays in IELTS task 2 (it also comes in handy for the speaking test) you will 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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