A weekly talk-through of IELTS topics and tests to help you learn about the issues, vocabulary, tips and strategies you need to prepare for your test day. Follow me onwww.facebook.com/ieltsetc and join the Members Academy for all the downloads, step-by-step online courses and support to get you a Band 7+ in the #ielts test.www.members.ieltsetc.com/academy/
This is a really really useful passage to read because of how it can help your WRITING.
The passage itself is not difficult, but it is jam-packed full of excellent examples of Formal Academic Writing so if you have this reading at home, go through it carefully.
- 'PEEL' paragraphs
- Linking words
- Noun forms
- Critical Thinking
Want to say thanks?
This is an extremely difficult Academic Reading Passage 3.
It took me 30 minutes to find the answers even with the answer sheet in front of me.
What can we learn from a text like this?
Background knowledge and vocabulary will aid understanding
Strategies such as locating the researchers' names will speed up your responses
Every little helps - 2 of my recent daily tasks from the Writing Challenge will help you break down the dense text
1) affect vs effect
2) factor vs reason
Add these synonyms to your list:
managers need to know = it is beneficial for hotel managers to understand
to increase employee retention = to encourage staff to remain
employees feel obligated to stay = staff feel they shouldn't move
little is done = undeveloped practices
employee development = improve their skills
if cooperation is encouraged = if managers encourage employees to work together
research has shown = evidence exists to support this hypothesis
staff have a tendency to = employees have a predisposition to
to dislike their workplace = to view their work environment negatively
they conducted a study = they carried out research
to fit with company goals = to align with organisational goals
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In this lesson you'll learn the 9 main ways of hedging - an essential feature of sophisticated academic writing.
Get the full lesson and more practice on the blog:
This is Day 17 of the Advent Challenge - catch up on anything you've missed by going to this page:
Enjoying the podcasts, challenges, lessons and videos?
Help support my work by buying me a coffee here:
No time to do my Advent Challenge? This podcast (watch the video version on www.YouTube.com/fionawattam) talks you through the past 12 days, so you'll get up and running really quickly!
It's never too late to start - just go to my website:
and open the windows which will take you through to all the links.
Come and post your sentences on Facebook, where I will check them every day:
If you'd like to say thanks and contribute to the costs of running the free challenge, you are very welcome to do so here on my 'Buy Me A Coffee' page:
In return, I will send you a copy of my A-Z of IELTS Advent when it's ready in the New Year.
Many thanks in advance - your donations help me pay for the cost of the website, graphics, advent page and podcast, so you'll be helping me to help others.
Is this Listening more difficult than usual? I got a special request from Elango in my Members Academy, and yes I think it is a tricky one!
I had to read the tapescript very carefully to figure out the answer to Question 27, and it even required a bit of background knowledge (possibly true of Question 28 too!).
Apart from that, this is a really good one to practise listening for:
- Signals and Signposts:
- Synonyms (fascinating = interesting; amazed = surprised; type = genre)
- Grammar (not many = few)
- Language of hedging (comics can serve a really useful purpose = comics have the potential for being useful)
- Pronunciation of key words (ballet)
Catch up on the Free Writing Task 2 Challenge here:
This is Day 1 of the November Writing Task 2 Challenge.
Join us in the Facebook group:
And on YouTube (this is the first video)
And on my website
I had a special request from Isabella on Instagram today 👋🇧🇷. She asked me to look at a really difficult text (yes, this one's 9/10!).
It's an Academic Passage 3 and it follows the Reading Type 2 structure (discursive) which goes like this -
Title: asks a question (Why? The answer is not what everyone thinks).
1. Old theory: Everyone thinks fairy tales have endured because the STORIES give us WARNINGS about life e.g. Little Red Riding Hood.
2. New theory: Everyone is wrong. There's another reason.
3. Test to prove the old theory is wrong: Is the STORY important? 'NO'. Is the WARNING important? Answer: 'NO'.
4. Results of the test: The reason why fairy tales have endured is just that people enjoy scary stories.
5. Althernative theory (instantly proved wrong): The stories remain relevant because they're about women as victims.
6. Conclusion: Everyone likes scary stories because they build up our resistance to negative emotions, so the first theory is probably right.
You can find similar 'discursive' structures here:
What destroyed the civilisation of Easter Island?
Is there anybody out there? The search for extra-terrestrial intelligence.
Autumn Leaves Canadian writer Jay Ingram investigates the mystery of why leaves turn red in the fall.
My updated guide to Time Management in the Reading Test gives you 8 techniques to help you improve your Reading Speed for the #ielts test.
Do you have a bike-sharing scheme where you live? In London there are the so-called 'Boris bikes' (named after Boris Johnson, who launched them in 2010 after being inspired by the success of a similar scheme in Paris, which is mentioned in this reading).
This is a Section 2 Academic Text with 3 types of questions: Matching Statements, Choosing from a List and Gapfill.
So whenever there's a lot to do, the text is slightly easier. This is a chronological text (in order of time) and is suitable for General Training practice too.
It has some fantastic language that you can use in your writing e.g.
urban bike-sharing scheme
an answer to the threats of air pollution and consumerism.
The police were opposed to the initiatives
The council rejected ('turned down') the plan.
'The bicycle belongs to the past'
That mentality has totally changed.
By 1999, people had become more environmentally conscious.
The system, however, was prone to vandalism and theft.
The Parisian bike-sharing programme now boasts more than 20000 bicycles.
Amsterdam is regarded as one of the two most cycle-friendly captials in the world.
Today everybody longs for cities that are not dominated by cars.
Get all my 10-minute lessons on my website www.ieltsetc.com.
Join the Members Academy www.members.ieltsetc.com/academy/.
See you next weekend,
All the best
This is a difficult Section 4, but if you listen to my podcast regularly, you will be very familiar with this common IELTS topic!
It's about marine archaeology, the use of technology to find ancient shipwrecks and building under the sea, and the lessons researchers can learn about how ancient civilisations lived.
In this episode I refer to similar IELTS Reading/Listening texts, so you can see how important it is to learn the vocabulary that is relevant to so many IELTS texts.
Find the Modals of Deduction Grammar here [e.g. Atlit-Yam MAY HAVE BEEN DESTROYED by a tsunami, climate change MAY HAVE CAUSED glaciers to melt.
Find the Reading about the Lapita [Beyond the Blue Horizon] here.
Get all my lessons in one place in the Members Academy.
Both texts are gapfill summaries.
The first one gives you practice with summary Flow Charts (IELTS 28-Day Planner Day 12) and the second covers the common topic of how to deal with absence in the workplace (good practice if you never usually read this kind of document).
Get more General Training Reading tips on my website.
Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily practice.
#ielts #ieltstest #ieltscourse
Listen out for the 5 most common gapfill types in this Part 4 gapfill on the very common topics of Agriculture and Water (28-Day Planner Week 1).
Practise these topics on my website:
Watch my YouTube 5-minute Vocab review of Agriculture here:
And here's the Honeybee Listening I mentioned:
Get the 28-Day Planner here - do NOT let it get lost in your computer. Print it off. Use it every day.
Listen to another Part 4 about agriculture in Africa here:
Get lots more help on my website:
This is an Academic Reading Part 1 (so it's good for GT too).
The structure is chronological (in order of time) which helps you locate the answers more easily.
It's also very similar to a text on my website: The Story Of Silk, which you can find here:
and I refer to last week's podcast about The Eucalyptus Tree to show you how similar they are in terms of the gapfill answers.
Check out my blog relating to the grammar in this reading here:
If you've taken my IELTS Progress Predictor Test, you may be wanting to know a bit more about how it works and what it means for your IELTS Preparation.
This podcast talks you through how to make the most of your assets and build a mindset that will help you prove the test wrong! Get the quiz and full blog here https://ieltsetc.com/2020/07/how-long-will-it-take-to-increase-my-ielts-score/
IELTS GT Reading Part 3 - gapfill summary, multiple choice and choosing from a list.
Find a similar reading with the vocab you need to know about animals here:
Listening about a dinosaur museum and how to spot distractors:
This is a Section 3 (dialogue between 2 students) with lots of vocab related to the environment:
- urban planning
- coastal cities
- pollutants are discharged into rivers
- to protect against flooding
- global warming
- sea levels are rising
- they need to consider the whole ecosystem
A long and difficult but FASCINATING text with SO MUCH useful vocabulary which I list at the end.
- Matching Information with paragraphs
- Choosing from a list
- Gapfill summary
It's a KEY TOPIC (see similar texts on my website - https://ieltsetc.com/2019/01/ielts-reading-doctoring-sales/ and https://ieltsetc.com/2018/10/ielts-gt-reading-snake-oil/) and I also talk about how parts of the text help us with Writing.
This passage has an academic, theoretical structure rather than a factual, chronological one.
Watch the video on YouTube to see how it looks:
This video will show you how to use the structure to get answers even when the content doesn't make much sense!
Finding a roommate, the best fitness apps, How to Delegate and Choosing the right CV Format. Find the word formation booklet here: https://ieltsetc.com/2018/04/how-a-knowledge-of-word-forms-can-increase-your-score/
This video looks at Section 2 of the IELTS Listening Test, which often includes a MAP in the second half.
Watch the video on YouTube if you would like to practice with the real test.
The first part is Multiple Choice and this video shows you how to recognise distractors: 'rather than' and 'instead of' are CLUES which tell you that you should choose the correct answer RATHER THAN/INSTEAD OF the trick!
I break the Listening up into more manageable parts, so this is a LEARNING video rather than a test, but you can pause the video to test yourself too.
I also point out the useful vocabulary that you can extract from the listening to help you with Writing Task 1 (Academic - describe changes to a building; General Training - tell your friend about your new home) Here is an extra Listening to help you describe changes to maps:
So sorry for the delay - I'm back now! Been working on the daily YouTube lives during Lockdown. Did you miss them? Just go to my YouTube channel (I'll add this podcast as a video if you prefer to read the text and try it for yourself).
This is a difficult Academic Passage 3 with Matching Headings, Gapfill and TFNG.
Get more Reading practice on my website.
In this podcast (also on YouTube) I ask my boss Max to give us his insider tips about #IELTS (it's exactly the same as what I say but people actually listen to him!).
Watch the video here:
This week I've been working really hard on preparing full lessons for my free YouTube Writing Workshops, and I wanted to give you a taste of what happens in the workshops. They are very interactive - I ask you questions and you give me your examples so I can check them. I also take requests!
This lesson followed on from 'Although' and 'whereas', so we covered a lot of advanced linking words in 2 days.
If you'd like to take part in the sessions, join me every day on my YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/fionawattam and in the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/ieltsAtoZ/.
This was the first day of my Live IELTS Writing Workshops on YouTube, so I wanted to give you a taste of what happens in the workshop.
You post a question on my special website page for the workshops https://ieltsetc.com/2020/03/ielts-writing-workouts/
I prepare a lesson based on your question
You join the live session on YouTube https://youtu.be/g9YNTvtMTR8
I give you some practice sentences and you write your own examples in the comments
I give you feedback on your comments
Repeat every day until the lockdown is over!
Catch the video on my channel if you missed it (also on the webiste page above and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/ieltsAtoZ/)
Come and join us!
Today we practiced 'Reduced Adverbials' (complex, but simple to use when you know how).
Need to read faster in the test? In this video and podcast, I'll take you through a Reading test and show you what you can do at each stage to answer the questions more quickly.
The text is called 'The Birdmen' and you can watch the video and try it yourself on YouTube:
This podcast is taken from my YouTube Video (watch this to see the text).
I take you through the first part of a Computer-Delivered #IELTS General Training Reading Test and look at the benefits of taking the test online (as well as the drawbacks!).
The first reading is horrendous - the second is much easier, so skip forward if you don't like the first one!
This is the practice test I used:
Test 1 Part 1: Difficulty rating 8/10 😣
Test 1 Part 2: Difficulty rating 3/10 😄
And here's my FULL analysis of the Computer-Delivered test https://ieltsetc.com/2020/02/ielts-paper-computer/
Do you rely on a teacher to correct your writing mistakes for the IELTS Test? Is this the most effective way?
In this podcast I look at some research that's been done about the best way to learn from your mistakes - and the answers may surprise you!
Here is the YouTube video, where you can see all the texts that I mention:
You can find out more about the award I won from EnglishUK and CambridgeESOL for my research on error correction here:
Here are some of the tools you can use to correct your own writing:
I also talk about times when a teacher is essential for helping students meet the criteria of the IELTS test.
I made this as a YouTube video so you can watch it here if you'd like to see the text at the same time:
It's a Part 4 gap-fill Listening and I would give it a difficulty rating of 9/10!
What do you think?
This week I interview the creator of the marvellous Vocab Victor app, Dr Heidi Brumbaugh.
Dr Heidi realised that my 28-Days of IELTS Word List would be a perfect match for her app, so now you can practise the essential words that you need to learn for IELTS in a fun and motivating way.
In the interview, we talked about:
the problems students have when they try to learn intermediate vocabulary (and how Vocab Victor solves this problem)
how vocabulary is more important than grammar when you're trying to increase your band score
the best ways to learn vocabulary and retain new words
the benefits of learning from carefully-chosen word lists
the importance of reviewing words in different contexts (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking which are included in every day of my 28-Day IELTS Vocabulary Booster Course and Challenge).
On top of that, this episode is GREAT listening practice! (Nice to have an American accent for a change!).
Find out more about Vocab Victor and how it works with my IELTS word lists on Dr Heidi's page:
Get the Vocab Victor app in the app store:
Get more information about my 28-Day Intensive Vocabulary Course here:
This week on the podcast I was very happy to invite Jessica Beck from All Ears English and the IELTS Energy Podcast to talk about the pros and cons of the Computer Delivered IELTS Test (amongst other things!).
Jess actually took the test herself, and in the interview she tells us what she thinks is great about doing the test on a computer.
Here's the link to my blog about the podcast:
Find Jess's fantastic IELTS Podcast here:
And there are lots of IELTS tips on their IELTS Preparation page here:
Part 4 IELTS Listening on the topic of Civilisation (again! See my YouTube video about this). Vocab Victor is the app where you can develop your IELTS vocab with my 28 days of Vocab wordlists.
YouTube video about Civilisation:
NEW!Vocab Victor App with all my IELTS Vocabulary wordlists from the 28-Day Vocabulary Course and Challenge!
Join the course:
Multiple Choice and Matching in a Part 3 (student and tutor).
Watch my YouTube video about how to recognise signals in Part 3 Listening:
The Reading I mentioned is called Henry Perkins - the man who invented synthetic dyes, and I did a podcast about it with all the questions on Instagram. https://anchor.fm/ieltsetc/episodes/IELTS-Reading-last-one--The-man-who-invented-purple-e17bnl/a-a2p95f
GT Reading is not always as easy as it looks in Part 1. Yes, the texts are shorter but you have to do 2 of them in 20 mins and you need a good level of Vocab to get the answers quickly and not fall for the tricks! Here we look at Matching Info and TFNG.
Listening Part 3 (Book 8 Test 1). Looking at signals, multiple choice and gap fill. Get more help with Part 3 here https://ieltsetc.com/2019/09/ielts-listening-how-to-recognise-signals-and-signposts/ and watch my video about the Answer Sheet here https://youtu.be/iVM_uRkWpm4. Join my A-Z of IELTS challenge here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvkiACElwBjPMqV7c3kRiwxxY8AmTEc3a
Today's podcast focuses on using Reported Speech and Reporting verbs in Letters of Complaint to tell the reader what you've been told (e.g. by a shop assistant or landlord) so that you can complain about something that hasn't been done. e.g. if the landlord says 'I'll fix it!' you might need to report what he said. There are lots of rules about this: here are the 3 main ones.
1. You said you would fix it.
2. You promised to fix it.
3. You promised me that you would fix it.
I did today's podcast live on YouTube, so you can watch it there for more information.
I'm going to go live on YouTube all through January 2020, so make sure you subscribe!
I spend half my life telling students to write more formally, and half my life telling students the opposite. There is a huge gulf between the two styles, and it’s probably affecting your score and costing you money. But there are simple solutions. This podcast looks at a few of them. I hope it will help the 77% of my followers who don’t know that they have a problem. Sorry to sound harsh but I’m honestly trying to help.
Get all the tips from the episode here:
Have you hit a plateau with IELTS? Are you stuck at the same band despite studying really hard? I’ve done some research and condensed it into this 40-minute episode so that you can push yourself to the next level.
An example of a Band 9 essay that breaks some of the essay-writing ‘rules’, but answers the question perfectly with plenty of expressions that you can use and adapt to suit many other IELTS essay topics. I also rant on a bit about what kind of Vocab you should learn, how you should learn it, and why my Vocabulary Course answers both of those questions, saving you time, hassle and money! Www.members.ieltsetc.com/mayday/ Get the full essay here
Ok this one is pretty tedious BUT! it covers 4 question of the WORST types (Matching Headings, YNNG, Sentence completion and Q40) so it’s well worth a listen. There are also some fab collocations at the end.
Last week I outlined the 10 signals and signposts that lead you to the answer in the Listening Test (see my blog for more details and a YouTube video). This week I’m showing you an almost identical example so that you can see exactly how these patterns work in other tests and you can apply the same principles to all your tests. https://ieltsetc.com/2019/09/ielts-listening-how-to-recognise-signals-and-signposts/
Listening Part 3 is a very carefully structured dialogue full of signals like ‘So!’ ‘’Well!’ ‘’Now!’, emphatic structures (‘What I decided to do was....’), negative tones (‘But I’m afraid I didn’t manage to...’) and advice structures (‘If I were you I’d...’ ‘I think you should...’ ‘You really do need to...’).
10 simple ways to make your sentences more complex for #ielts writing and speaking. If you’re short on time, watch my video on YouTube - find this and all the examples on my blog: https://www.ieltsetc.com/2019/07/ielts-complex-sentences/
Looking at 2 model essays from the General Training test (slightly less formal then the Academic Test). Focusing on developing your points using my 'PEGS' method. Finish with a quick TFNG on the same topic 😊
Academic passage 1 (good for GT too) all about how cinema developed. Good to learn about this topic (there's a listening about it here https://www.ieltsetc.com/2019/01/ielts-listening-history-moving-pictures/)!
This is a REALLY interesting Passage 1 Academic (good for GT too). Great for vocab topics (Water and Buildings) and speed-reading practice (just find the dates and names - ignore the rest). Please check on my website soon for the full text. www.ieltsetc.com
Find out how my mindmaps can help you get over 70% of these answers correct! This #ielts listening Part 4 (Book 10 Test 4) will help you with multiple choice and gap-fill. Find out how to sponsor me and get all the worksheets with a special bonus for the first 100 people to sign up at https://www.patreon.com/fionawattam Thank you for your continued support 🙏🏾
How to match headings quickly using only first lines. See the video on YouTube and get the full text on my website 👽 https://www.ieltsetc.com/2019/02/ielts-reading-match-headings-first-lines/ 👽 https://youtu.be/OWorhQ_nw1A #ielts
To celebrate #motherlanguageday, this difficult Academic Passage 3 gives you some easy ways of filling gaps and recognising 'Not Given'. Find the full text here and please let me know what you think about the new style layout 😊 https://www.ieltsetc.com/2019/02/ielts-reading-benefits-being-bilingual/
A tough Passage 2 from #ielts Book 10 Test 3, with matching statements, True/False/Not Given and Gapfill. Get the full Reading on my website https://www.ieltsetc.com/2018/12/ielts-reading-autumn-leaves/
Also a 5-minute review of when and when not to sound the 'r' in words like 'leaRn', 'teacheR' and 'ManchesteR aiRpoRt' (see the Advent Adventure, December 18th 2018 for more information. Full course coming soon).
Academic Reading Passage 3.
Multiple choice, gap-fill and Yes/Not/Not Given.
Full Reading now on my website https://www.ieltsetc.com/2018/12/ielts-reading-beyond-blue-horizon/
Downloadable PDF with essential vocabulary in the Members Academy. www.members.ieltsetc.com/academy/
A special request from the Speaking Challenge WhatsApp group! Use the structure of a descriptive/factual/chronological text to help you find the answers quickly.
I also mentioned 'How The Pyramids Were Built'. Sorry this isn't on the website yet but will be soon!
On a scale of 1 - 10 in terms of difficulty, this is a 10 sorry 😐!! So if you’re aiming for a 7/8 it’s worth a listen, but please don’t feel discouraged by it! Focus on the strategy rather than the answers in this example. The questions are perfectly divided according to the text structure (‘problem’/‘solutions’) (problem = no-one knows; solution = lots of theories).
Quick tips to help you with the Speaking Challenge followed by a Reading Passage 2 about the tool-making abilities of crows (and what we have in common with them). True/False/Not Given. Get the full reading here https://www.ieltsetc.com/2018/11/ielts-reading-two-wings-toolkit/
It's the first week of the November Speaking Challenge and in this podcast I explain the benefits of taking part, speaking every day, recording yourself and joining the Facebook group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/321358865317293/
It's never too late to start the Challenge - get your Progress Log on my website or click on this link http://eepurl.com/dL6rPk
As for the Reading, this week it's a tricky General Training, with lots of True/False/Not Given questions (it also gives a lot of useful real-life tips on how to get a pay rise!) Get the full Reading on my website https://www.ieltsetc.com/2018/11/ielts-gt-reading-pay-rise/
This reading gives you practice with matching statements, and it recycles key IELTS vocabulary related to renewable energy.
Find the full test and explanations here: https://www.ieltsetc.com/2018/10/ielts-reading-tidal-power/