How to Improve IELTS

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Managing IELTS Writing

Continuing the theme of time, I want to say something this week about IELTS Writing. This is the other area where many students are up against the clock and this can cause some stress and worry. Like the reading, it doesn’t have to be like this and students who get band 7 or above in writing can generally complete everything – including planning and checking in 60 minutes easily.

There are strategies that will help you to do this and as with everything, the more you practise these strategies the better you will accomplish the task.

As with the reading there are three things you need to do in your practice and doing ALL THREE will help you manage the time more efficiently.

  • Improve your vocabulary and sentence structure
  • Practise, practise, practise
  • Get it checked

Improve your vocabulary and sentence structure

The examiner expects to see certain things (you can find out what these are in the Band Descriptors). 50% of these relate to actual language ability – spelling, punctuation, grammar and vocabulary – the others are related to the question and organisation of your essay. All of these are important but managing the organisation of your task and interpreting the question are quicker to learn than the language and no matter how many model essays you use to write your practice tasks, if you have fundamental errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation or limited vocabulary, you are unlikely to reach band 7. A student asked me recently if spelling errors would lose any marks in the writing – of course they will, this is a test of the application of English language to various tasks and the language has to be correct and bad spelling is bad English just as bad grammar and punctuation are bad English.

So, check the models, look at the vocabulary and structures and then learn how to use them correctly.

Preparation is everything

A good student of English should have a good grammar book and a good dictionary – make sure you have access to both of these to learn and check.

Practise, practise, practise

This goes without saying. My mantra, which I am certain you’ve heard me say a thousand times, is; “Just knowing about a strategy, technique or particular sentence structure is not enough, you have to practise to improve”.

All of these things are skills based and so the more you practise them the better your skill will be. With writing there is one note of caution, try to have each piece of writing checked for errors before you do the next one – this is the best way to improve. If you write 6 tasks all at once they are likely to all have exactly the same errors.

Get it checked

Getting someone to check is vital – it is almost impossible to correct your own writing. It doesn’t have to be a teacher – someone with a really good knowledge of English could help you to eliminate some of the mistakes and the fewer you have the better.

Clearly an experienced IELTS teacher is the best as they will be able to explain why you have made the mistake so you can avoid this in the future and they will also be able to adjust your vocabulary and introduce you to better sentence structures so you can improve your writing more quickly and effectively.

Manage the Time

Managing the Time

I haven’t mentioned this much yet but there are also three things that are vital to maintaining accuracy as well as speed when you actually write the tasks and especially in the exam itself. These are:

  • Planning
  • Having a good Framework for your tasks
  • Checking

Learning how to do all of these makes your IELTS writing practice effective and saves you a lot of time in the exam.


This step in the writing process is critical and helps you not only write far more quickly but also control every part of the task. A good plan will give you a strong outline for your essay – it will be the ‘bones’ upon which you will add the ‘flesh’. This means that your essay will not digress from the question, it will be well-organised, it will be faster to write and you will be able to manage the grammar, spelling, punctuation and vocabulary as you write. All this adds up to better writing. A good plan also forces you to choose your ideas at the very beginning so that as you are writing you are ONLY thinking about your English language and style.

In task 1 your planning will be more about organising the data into paragraphs and deciding what to put where. Again once you have decided this then you can focus on language.

The exam is an opportunity to showcase what you can do

Your Unique Framework

In the IELTS exam there are factors such as nerves, the impact of the completed listening and reading tests which you may be worrying about, thinking about the speaking and the fact that this is now the real thing! All of these can have an effect on your writing. It is essential therefore that your writing tasks are not being done absolutely from scratch. By this I mean that you should , when you go to the exam, already have a good idea about how you will write the tasks. What vocabulary you will use, which sentence structures you will use and any language devices you will write to create your tasks. As soon as you see the task, be it Task 1 or Task 2, you should go into automatic pilot. If you have prepared well then this is what will happen. This is a result of practice, knowing what sentences you can write well and without error and which ones you cannot and should probably avoid using.

Most of my students who have been successful at IELTS knew exactly how they were going to write the tasks before the exam and were able to adapt the language they  had in their ‘language bank’ to the questions. This ‘framework’ or ‘skeleton’ means that you can write much faster and more accurately.

Checking your Work

Mistakes in writing are easily made. A forgotten article, the wrong preposition, a silly spelling error, I make errors myself and they are annoying and I’m sure when your teacher points this out to you, you are annoyed too – you know this stuff! So if you check your work you will be able to find these ‘silly’ mistakes and stop them from going to the examiner. So, why do most people not check? It makes no sense. Not having enough time is not a good excuse – it’s important. Make it part of your practice.

The good news is that if you follow the advice on planning and having a framework of what you intend to write before you go into the exam, you will have time to check and will be able to stop the examiner seeing these mistakes – and that’s great because it will help your band!

Manage IELTS Reading

Completing the IELTS reading test within the time allocated is very important if you want to score band 7 or 8. Unless you complete all questions, you are reducing your total possible score. So, for example, if you fail to complete the last 5 questions (something many students report to me) or simply guess them then your final score is now out of a possible 35 or so as the final passage is the most challenging and the chances of guessing correctly are reduced. Therefore to achieve band 7 in Academic Reading you cannot afford to make more than 5 errors and in General Training the situation is even more precarious – as you can only make 1 error!

Not managing your time well is a high-risk game and one that won’t really serve you. 

How can you complete the reading test within the time?

Easily, but there are three things you need:

  1. Reading ability
  2. Strategy
  3. Practice

Those students who, in my experience, get high scores consistently can complete the test in around 50 minutes and 55 minutes for a more difficult test and they all utilise these three things.

  • Reading Ability

Reading for Fun


For the vast majority of students who require band 7 and 8 that I meet and work with, reading and writing are the two areas which most often fall below band 7 and 8. However, a handful of students are actually already achieving a high score in their reading and all of them seem to have one thing in common – they are readers. They enjoy reading as a hobby and for pleasure; sometimes in English but more importantly in their own language.

Being a reader gives you a head-start in the reading test as you will have instincts about the reading process which will help you to understand how the texts are organised and how they work. This instinct works regardless of the topic or subject matter and also despite any unknown vocabulary or difficult-to-understand ideas.

In fact whenever a student meets me for the first time and has high reading scores they invariably tell me how they find the reading test easy – because they enjoy reading.

Another fact I can report is that quite often when I meet students who are struggling with the reading test – they tell me how they hate IELTS reading and how it makes them panic when they can’t find the answer. Once we have worked together for a little while they begin, in almost all cases, to enjoy the reading and find the passages interesting and informative. This shift in attitude really helps to improve skills and almost all go on to score high bands; 7.5. 8, 8.5 and even 9, in reading.

So the willingness to engage with reading generally helps to improve scores and timing dramatically.

  • Strategy

Use Good Strategies


Speed Reading is a useful skill and not one I myself possess. I am actually a ‘slowish’ reader as I like to check the detail and enjoy savouring all the words and phrases – so this is not a good strategy for IELTS. Many other students I work with tell me also that they can’t read very fast. Well, the good news is that you don’t especially need to speed read. You can use techniques that cut down the amount of reading you actually do so that you are ONLY reading for the answers.

The first strategy you need is the ability to skim and scan. These are two distinct skills: skimming is reading quickly to get the overall information and gist of what the passage or paragraph is about. Scanning is moving your eyes down the page to find a specific word, number or name. There is NO POINT in scanning unless you have something specific to find.



Skim the first paragraph at the beginning of each passage to get an overview of the topic.

Skim each paragraph also for the headings questions


Scan for all the key words you identify in the questions – once you find the right key words (and there will be 3 or 4) then you read in detail to find the actual answer.

That is all you really need to do with skimming and scanning.

The next strategy you need is to limit the time for each question. You only have around a minute per question so you have to be strict about this and keep moving.

1 Minute per Question

Students are often too scared to move on and leave a question but there is no choice – you simply have to.

If you can’t find an answer within a minute or so then leave the question and move on – you can decide provisionally on the most likely answer, make some kind of mark so you know which question to come back to and then move on to the next question. There are 3 times to come back and look again:

  1. At the end of that bank of questions
  2. At the end of that passage
  3. At the end of the test

What tends to happen if you are not vigorously searching for the question is that you stop panicking and may actually find the answer as you look for the other questions. You wouldn’t believe how many times when I am working with students on reading, they suddenly see the answer VERY clearly when they are not searching for it!!

So with this 1-minute-per-question strategy you will find (with practice) that you can complete the whole test more quickly and have time to go back and check questions you are not certain about.

  • Practice

Practice Makes Perfect

I cannot stress enough how the most important thing you do in IELTS is practice. Also, how knowing about something is just NOT ENOUGH – it is only through practice that this knowledge will improve your scores. This is true of every part of IELTS.

When I work with IELTS students it is the constant practice – followed by my correction – followed by their correction – followed by even more practice, that gets them to band 7 or 8 or 8.5. I am a hard task master!! I know that language development, like any other skill, will only improve with practice and practice of the right things – practice of the wrong things will also help improve the wrong skills and this can have a negative effect on your IELTS score.


So please make sure:

  1. That you are doing the right things to help you improve
  2. Once you see that they are the correct techniques (if they don’t improve your scores then maybe they are not), then practise them over and over
  3. You take your time to practise them – things will not happen overnight
  4. Don’t abandon them in the test – you’d be amazed how many students panic in the exam and go back to old techniques and get low scores again

In fact if you are relying on your comfort zone you are probably not doing what it will take to get you to the band that you want. You need to push yourself a little more 🙂


Time is the Enemy



  • “I don’t have time to practise!” I hear this over and over again and I get it, I really do. Life takes over, work takes over, responsibilities take over 🙁
  • “I can’t do the reading and writing in the time” – this is another ‘time refrain’ that I hear a lot – it’s true, there is a lot to complete in a short space of time 🙁
  • “I must have my result in 3 weeks or I will lose my offer” – again I hear this over and over and this is the biggest problem facing many IELTS students.




Yes, it seems time is the number one enemy.

The problem, in a nutshell, is this:

You don’t have enough time to practise so you aren’t able to establish strong techniques to overcome the time pressures in the exam and as a result, you cannot make sure that you are ready when your exam date comes.

The solution is actually quite easy – make the time.

  1. Make sure that you start long before your exam date – or better don’t book the exam before you are ready.
  2. Can you reach the required score by the imposed deadline? If not then maybe you need to apply later – IELTS is often a barrier to taking the next step so don’t rush into applying if you can’t get the required IELTS score.
  3. See how best you can make time during your busy week for IELTS – ideally you need to do something every day – even if it is just 20 minutes (you can complete one reading passage or a task 1 in this time).
  4. If your time really is limited then don’t try to plough through test after test – do something that will improve your skill – focus on 1 question type or revise a grammar point that is causing a problem.
  5. Track your progress – unless you do this you won’t know where you are in relation to the exam or even if you are improving!
  6. Expose yourself to English every day – read the news, watch a TV programme, write something and have a conversation – these are the best ways to improve your English.
  7. The better your English skills the easier the IELTS exam and the less time it will take to complete the questions.
  8. The more you can control the time the higher your score will be because you’ll have time to check.
  9. Just as lack of time can snowball into disaster, so managing time can snowball in the opposite direction to give you success. Practice does make perfect.
  10. Finally and this is from my long experience in teaching IELTS students – when you make the time to practise well you will find that the exam seems easier and you actually will have plenty of time to do everything in the exam and do it well! Once you are in this position – you’ll get your band 7 or 8 without too much difficulty.

What is your experience with IELTS and time? Put your comments below.

If you want to get my help with your IELTS then tell me something about your exam and I’ll tell you how I can support you.

Crossing fingers is a poor strategy for IELTS

I have been speaking to lots of IELTS students over the past two weeks and I have been very surprised by how many of them trust their IELTS result to fate. They go into the exam hoping that this time it will be ‘their turn’ to get their band. As strategies go this is probably among the worst you can use as there is no strategy – just a blind hopefulness and hope is rarely a good strategy without at least some certainty. Furthermore, repeating the same thing over and over will yield the same results (and is, according to Einstein, the definition of madness!).

I spoke to Mohamed who has taken the test 4 times and always got the same result of Band 6. I asked him about his preparation and he told me that he had just been doing the same things for this test that he had done for the past 4 so, by the law of averages, he will most likely get the same result. I also spoke to Marie, she took the exam 2 months ago and got band 5.5. She needs at least Band 7 and would prefer Band 8 to achieve her dream of moving to Australia. To move from Band 5.5 to Band 8 will take much, much longer than 2 months yet she believes that this time will be her lucky chance. Words like ‘hope’ and ‘luck’ should not really be in your IELTS vocabulary. These beliefs will not get you to your band score. To get a high band like 7 or 8 what you need most is skill. Skill in English language and skill in applying those language skills to the tasks in the exam. So in my discussions with these two students I discovered that Mohamed had really good skills in English but he was not applying these well to the IELTS test and so needed to understand exactly how to use his

Don’t waste Time and Money

language correctly to fulfill all the requirements of the IELTS Test. In a nutshell, he needed to do more dedicated IELTS practice and learn some IELTS strategies. Marie, on the other hand, was lacking basic language skills especially in speaking and writing. She made lots of grammar errors and her sentence structures were not wholly correct. She also had problems with pronunciation and speaking fluently. For her the remedy was to improve her general English skills through more speaking and general language practice before trying the exam again.

IELTS students don’t like to hear this but it’s tough love. To keep taking the exam using a strategy or’hope’ and ‘crossed fingers’ is a route to wasting money and despondency and I meet many students in this state. Money and time can both run out and I am certain that you don’t want to lose your chance to get your IELTS Band and move on to your new life just because you rushed into the exam too fast and too often.

So what is the solution to this?

Success Ladder


Firstly, understand that your study and preparation are far more important to passing the exam than the actual exam itself. The exam doesn’t lie – what you get is generally where you are (very occasionally examiners can make a mistake – they are only human after all – but be assured that this is in the minority of cases and most re-marked scripts remain at the same band).

Secondly, be prepared to invest time and money in your preparation – for your university and professional exams you would expect to study and also pay for those teachers to support you. Achieving IELTS Band 7 or 8 is not a ‘walk in the park’ – you have to study and practise. Practising in the wrong direction will not help you to succeed so get some help.

Finally don’t book the exam until you know that you are ready for it. If you can’t get band 7 in your practice then you won’t get it in the exam. If you can only get band 7 if you spend 2 hours on reading then you are not ready to get band 7 in the exam. If you don’t know whether your writing is at band 7 or not then you have no guarantee that you will get this band in the exam. It is common sense – why waste the exam fee if you are not certain?

Get Advice

Get Support for your IELTS exam

I speak to students almost every day about their IELTS on Skype. I know exactly what the problems are and also how to solve them and I give this advice to the students I speak to. I also work with students, training them to get to Band 7 and 8. Not all students I speak to are able to work with me or even ready to but this is something we explore together in our conversation. If you want to get my advice and look at the possibility of getting some support then I would love to speak to you.

All I ask is that you complete a questionnaire – so that on the call I already understand something about your situation and what you have done in IELTS. This helps me to give you the very best advice.

The questionnaire is very short – just a few simple questions and you can find it here:

Give me some information about your IELTS

After that you will be invited to choose a time to book a call with me – the call is free an there is no obligation.

One final point – praying to God for success, if this is something you do, is a good thing – we all need  that sort of guidance. We have a saying in English ‘God helps those who help themselves’ so pray by all means, expect miracles but make sure you put in the right amount and type of good practice and preparation as well.

Twelve Top Tips for IELTS

Today is the twelfth day of Christmas and the celebration of Twelfth Night. In the past this was a very big celebration with people feasting and partying well into the night. In other countries in Europe twelfth night and tomorrow January 6th (the feast of the 3 Kings) are big festivals but in the UK we have largely sacrificed this for Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Tomorrow is the day to take the Christmas tree and all the other Christmas decorations down. Failure to do this results in bad luck for the year (so the tradition goes). So we are now at the end of Christmas for another year and after all the celebrations we settle down to our shiny New Year and begin all the great plans we have.

I hope that you have begun your great plans too and I’m sure that these will include your IELTS exam – is this the year to get the score you want and move on with your dreams?

On this, the twelfth and last day of Christmas I want to share my final tip of this Christmas series – something about the exam as a whole.

I hope that over the past 12 days you have learned something about the skills you need to perfect in order to gain a high IELTS band score in each part of the test. To be honest during these twelve days I have only been able to scratch the surface of the skills that you can work on to make sure that your IELTS is on track for bands 7 and 8. We haven’t talked about vocabulary or grammar, for example, which are also important.

My final piece of advice is don’t go it alone. Get some help and support. This could be from me and my team and I would love it if you can come and work with us online – if this isn’t for you then get another teacher or at least find a group of people who are also doing IELTS at your level  to work with. Doing it by yourself is a lonely journey; you have no-one to check things with, to ask questions from or to share your highs and lows as you prepare for the exam.

So to get help and support for your IELTS this January I am offering you a free IELTS Exam Support Skype call. In this call we can look at your IELTS, see what needs to happen to get you to your band score and then talk about how you can get this support if that is appropriate.

To get a call with me you must complete this questionnaire:


I will also be giving a special IELTS Christmas gift to everyone who completes the form and books a call.


I hope you have enjoyed this little journey through the Christmas Season. I can’t wait to speaking with you soon and find out more about you and your IELTS.


Berni xx

Twelve Top Tips for IELTS

Just two days left of the Christmas Season – it’s all gone so fast! Today is tinged with sadness as the festival that we prepared so long for, that we looked forward to for several weeks is now almost over and we will have to wait another whole year for it to come around again (some will be happy about this :-))! We make our last batch of mince pies, take a last look at the tree and its lights and baubles. Tomorrow will be the very last day to celebrate, then we will put it all away.

Still, we can continue to enjoy a relaxing day with Christmas food, friends and family and even more Christmas TV!! Perhaps tomorrow is a working day and then we will be packing up everything until next year or, for some, Twelfth Night parties will be held today or tomorrow.

Today is the eleventh day of Christmas; here is another thing you need to do to achieve a good mark in the speaking exam.

When working with students on IELTS speaking I usually find that Part 2 is the part that will make or break the final score. This a chance for you to speak without interruption and really make an impression on the examiner.

You need to make sure your ‘little talk’ is organised (this is why you are given a series of questions – to help you create a beginning, middle and end) and also that it is interesting, fluent and uses good language. Unlike the writing your speaking is spontaneous and there is only a little time to prepare. If you think too much you won’t be fluent, if you search for words you won’t communicate well so your focus MUST be on the story you are telling and not on things like vocabulary and grammar. Tell your story and trust that the language will come. If your speaking is around band 7 then this will probably happen -if it isn’t then it’s really important to get your speaking up to the band first or you will struggle to perform well.

This is where the right practice comes in – like everything else in IELTS knowing about isn’t enough – language skills can ONLY be improved by practice. You wouldn’t try to drive a car after just reading a manual and this is the same – skills need first to be learned and then practised and the more you practise the better you will become. BUT, if you don’t practise correctly you will not be able to achieve a good level.

As a former examiner I have examined on many speaking tests and I know what you have to do to maximise your score. Now I want to help you to improve your speaking and other IELTS skills.

To do this I need to know more about your IELTS and so I am setting aside some time in January and I would love you to take one of these calls so I can help you see how you can be supported in your IELTS practice.

To get one of these calls you have to complete the questionnaire below


I will be giving a special IELTS Christmas gift to everyone who completes the questionnaire and books a Skype call.


Twelve Top Tips for IELTS

We’re coming towards the end of our Christmas season now. Today is the tenth day of Christmas we’re into the new year yet still a little in party mood. Some people will most likely start to take down their Christmas decorations today although others may want to stretch the Christmas season as much as they can and squeeze even more brilliance out of it. Many people start to think about the over-indulgence that has happened and go to the gym or take long walks in the countryside. A long country walk and a stop at a pub for lunch is a lovely activity on a cold winter’s day especially if there is a warm fire and still some Christmas cheer around.

The next two months are often bleak so we love to enjoy as much as we can of the Christmas season before facing the dark cold days of January and February.

Today is the tenth day of Christmas; now we’ll look at the speaking exam.

Speaking is the one part of the test that is entirely in your hands (writing is too but that is not as immediate). Speaking is all about communication – this is the main focus. If you communicate well on the topics even if you make a few errors in grammar and vocabulary you should get a good band. But, it is important that you give the examiner enough of your language to enable them to give you a good mark.

I remember when I was an examiner sometimes students would speak quite well but only say very little. In this case I couldn’t give them bands 7 and 8 even though I suspected that they could achieve these bands – the examiner can only mark what you give them and if you don’t answer fully then that is not good communication. So it’s important to maximise the time you have to speak without the whole thing becoming a monologue. Communication is two-way and you have to remember this.

Getting the balance right is a skill you need to learn and this is something we work on in the speaking part of our courses. How much is enough and how much is rambling or not enough. You need to understand this so you can perform at your best.

I’d love to help you with this.

I’m setting up Exam Support calls at the beginning of January where you can meet me on Skype and look at the possibility of working with me and my team in 2018 to make sure you get really ready for your IELTS high band score when you take your exam.

To get one of these Skype appointments you need to complete this questionnaire:


I also have a special Christmas gift – but you have to complete the questionnaire and book one of the Skype calls.


Berni xx

Twelve Top Tips for IELTS

Today is the ninth day of Christmas. Celebrations are now going on and many people also take the time today to consider their New Year resolutions. I’ve made one about helping even more people in 2018 to get the IELTS result they want. I have written several IELTS programmes and the results so far are excellent – so if you want your high bands in 2018 read on – it will be useful to you.


Today is the ninth day of Christmas; I want to share one final piece of advice about the IELTS writing exam that you need to consider if you want a high band.

When you make your New Year resolutions this year and if getting IELTS is one of them – make your resolutions more specific. Getting your IELTS is not really compelling enough; you need to break it down. Look at the areas in IELTS that are still not at the right level and make resolutions around them. This could be increasing your score in reading and listening by 3 points for example and then look at what steps you need to take to be able to do this. Or it might be finding speaking partners to practise on Skype with – how can you do this?(I might be able to help) One of the best things you can do for your IELTS writing is to perfect your planning.

Many students just don’t plan – they let the ideas flow. If you use this method then I have to tell you that it really doesn’t work. You cannot focus on ideas and really good language at the same time unless you are a native, or almost native, speaker and even then I doubt whether it would work well. If I write a model task I will spend some time planning this so that it fits the IELTS criteria.

Planning does three things that will transform your writing:

  1. It helps to get your ideas out of the way before you begin to write so you can focus on language (remember IELTS is a test of English language)
  2. It helps you to write more accurately and grammatically paying attention to your vocabulary, sentence structure and linking words without being distracted by ideas
  3. It helps you write more efficiently and quickly leaving you time at the end to check

IELTS writing is not creative in fact it is quite formulaic and to create this formula you need to have a good outline.

Planning is the best thing you can do for your writing and I know how to do this and can teach you how to do it easily and effectively.

Conquer your IELTS writing ‘once and for all’ in 2018! I want to offer you the chance to work with me and my team in January.

I am setting aside some days during the beginning of 2018 to speak to you about getting the help you need to get the IELTS score you want.

To get one of these Skype appointments you need to complete this questionnaire:


I will be giving a special IELTS Christmas gift for all those who complete the questionnaire and request a Skype call.


Happy New Year 2018!!

Twelve Top Tips for IELTS

Ring out the old ring in the new J I wish you all a prosperous and successful 2018. I really hope that I might be able to support you in that success. I am certain that you will be away celebrating today and may not read this until tomorrow or the day after. Enjoy your celebrations, have fun and relax – forget about IELTS for a few days and re-charge your batteries.


On this New Year’s Day, the eighth day of Christmas, I want to share something that you really should do for your writing in order to be sure you can get a high band score.

When it comes to IELTS writing students can be very neglectful. This is the one area that is almost impossible to improve alone. In fact trying to do this alone can be not only counter-productive but also dangerous to your score.

If you don’t know what mistakes you are making and if you don’t know exactly how to write a band 7 or 8 task and yet continue to practise alone you can actually learn mistakes that will become so ingrained in your writing that they will be very hard to eliminate. I see this, on a daily basis in students’ writing and I know that it is going to take a long time to unravel the errors.

If you use a teacher for nothing else use them to correct your writing. And, a native speaker who is not a trained teacher may not be able to help you with this either as although they will certainly know where your mistakes are they won’t necessarily be able to help you prevent them in future writing. Even general English language teachers only have limited skill when it comes to IELTS writing and many of them cannot show you exactly what you need to do to improve.

This is one area of IELTS that I feel really strongly about – I would say that the majority of my students are struggling to get their band in writing. Sometimes the other scores can be band 7.5 and 8 and even 9 yet the writing is still coming out at band 6 and 6.5.

The good news is that I can help you with this – ‘the last hurdle’ as one of my students put it.

To find out how I can help you I am inviting you to have a Skype call with me in January. In this call we can look at your IELTS and see what support you need to get the band that you want.

To get one of these Skype appointments you need to complete this questionnaire:


I also have a special Christmas gift to offer – but you have to complete the questionnaire and book for one of these Skype calls.



Twelve Top Tips for IELTS

Today is New Year’s Eve, the very last day of the year and one which is celebrated all across the world. Here in the UK people celebrate in different ways. For the people of Scotland they have a huge celebration – more important than Christmas – called Hogmanay. Others prefer to celebrate in clubs or pubs with friends and some at home with family. Whatever the celebration chosen you can be sure it will go on well into the early morning. One tradition that is common here in the north of England is called ‘first footing’. The first person to enter a house in the New Year is believed to bring the fortune of that house for the rest of the year. Usually it should be a man – tall and dark haired. To avoid any mistakes in this, the tallest and darkest man in the New Year celebration (in our house it will usually be my husband) goes outside just before midnight and will knock on the door on the strike of midnight and enter with a piece of coal. He is then given a drink of whisky in return. The coal is to guarantee heat in the home and he usually needs the whisky to get warm again!! This act secures luck for the coming year. One year our red-haired dog got in first and it was one of the worst years we ever had!!

On this seventh day of Christmas, I want to share something that you must do in writing in order to be sure you can get a high band score.

I have written a story above about a New Year’s Eve celebration. Stories are nice, they are interesting and they can be fun – BUT they are not suitable for IELTS writing.

IELTS writing must be more formal (in academic language – except for the GT letter), objective and clear. Stories are the opposite they are subjective, creative and paint pictures and they use lots of tenses. If you are writing stories in your IELTS tasks then you are stopping yourself from getting a high score.

I know how to teach you to write an objective, academic task. I also know what the examiner is looking for because I used to be an examiner myself. I have great skill in this area. One thing I can tell you and it’s important – writing takes time to develop so you have to be patient but it will develop a lot faster if you know what you have to write to secure your high band.

I want to help you achieve this important writing skill and give you the chance to work with me and my team in January and February to make sure your IELTS is ready for band 7 and 8.

I am setting aside time during early January to speak to you about getting the help you need to get the IELTS score you want.

To get one of these Skype appointments you need to complete this questionnaire:


I’m giving a special IELTS Christmas gift also – but you have to complete the questionnaire and qualify for one of these Skype calls.


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