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IELTS is qualification that is often required for residency or academic entrance exams to universities or higher education institutes. 

If you have a good level of English, you can do much of the preparation for the IELTS yourself.

There are some links at the end of this page that you can use to prepare.

If you would like some personal tuition and some help with your preparation, you can book a session with a tutor.  You will need at least one hour for each activity: listening, speaking, reading, writing.  After that, depending on your level and your ability, you can plan your preparation either on your own, using the resources below, or with your instructor.  :o)

Speaking - 3 sections - 12 to 15 minutes


Section 1: Talking about yourself / 5 minutes of conversation

Section 2: Subject on card / 1 minute to prepare / 1-2 minutes to talk about the subject

Section 3: General questions / 5 minutes

Section 1

"Hallo, my name is Karen.  It's nice to meet you."

Where are you from, where did you grow up, what do you do, your hobbies, your family, your likes.

Pronunciation - Can the examiner understand you?  Accents are not important if you speak clearly and confidently.

Fluency and coherence - No hesitation, clear, normal speed.  Use structured language: firstly, secondly, finally...

Vocabulary - I like --> I love, I really like, I am passionate about ...  Have a range of adjectives to describe the things you do regularly.

Grammar and Accuracy - You are expected to make mistakes! Can you use tenses correctly.

Sit up straight - Make eye contact - Breathe - Speak with enthusiasm - Be formal but smile and be friendly.

Give full answers ... and expand your answers ... if you don't have an answer, make one up!  Be confident.


I really love swimming but I prefer basketball because it is a team sport and I like the interaction.  Swimming is more individual.  

Yes, I have a family, there are four people in my family, my husband Michel, my daughter Lucy and my son Charlie.

Try to use real life examples to make your answers relevant.

Try to structure your answer .. divide your answer ... first of all..   secondly ... / use explanation .. because ... therefore .. 

Try to include different tenses and modals: could, may, might, should, would .. 

Do not repeat the question - either in the speaking or writing part of the test.

Don't memorize answers.

Section 2 - Speak for 2 minutes on a particular subject

Tips on Part 2:


Get a clock and set yourself 60 second limit to prepare and 120 seconds to speak.  Film yourself.  Watch yourself.

Remember to plan:  What, Where, When, Who, How 

Intro - "I'm going to talk about ... "

Use transitions:  "First ....     then ....     after that ... next ....    finally"  

Practise these topics:


IELTS full test -

IELTS full test -

You can find lots of examples on YouTube.  Listen to the examples and make notes of the types of phrases that the speakers use. You can also make note of the types of questions that the examiners pose, as there is often a theme. 

IELTS Writing  - 2 Sections - 60 minutes

Task 1 -  General - Write a letter 150 words - 20 minutes - 33% of the marks

Outline the subject of the letter : I am writing to / with regard to  ... 

Main purpose of the letter/basic problem: 3-4 sentences

Call to action/link to final idea/what we want: 3-4 sentences

Example Task 1 General Answer :

Task 1 - Academic - Write about an infographic - 15 words - 20 minutes - 33% of the marks

What to write:


Task 2 - Write an essay of 250 words - 40 minutes - 67% of the marks

Plan - 5 mins

Introduction - "Paraphrase"  5 mins

Paragraph 1 Construct an argument - Develop a discussion "Task response" 25% 10 mins 5 sentences

Paragraph 2 Use a range of vocab & grammar.  Link ideas "coherently" 25% 10 mins 5 sentences

Conclusion - 5 mins

Check - 5 mins

Task 2 Intro


1 - What to write

2 - Paraphrasing


Task 2 Paragraph 1 & Paragraph 2


Coherence!!  ONE IDEA for each paragraph.  Keep it simple.


Next ... use the book that I gave you to practice Task 1 and Task 2

TIME yourself.

Make sure you PLAN

Plan what you are going to say - use mind mapping

This is formal language.  No slang.  No contractions (I didn't X I did not YES).

Keep it simple.  

The following resources on the web are really useful:   An excellent site with some practise tests and subjects (IELTS)  Another excellent resource.  Very good presentations about how to do well in the IELTS exam. - Amy Cuddy - How to be confident (

Finally ... good luck!!

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