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Dear Ryan,
Thanks to your guidance, I was able to increase my writing score from 6.5 to 7.5, and then to 8.5! I really don't believe I could have done it without you.
-Imam Mohamed

Hi Ryan,
I am so happy to inform you that I scored 7.5 in writing!
-Sunish Manalody

Hi Ryan,
Thanks for your help, I’ve scored band 8 in writing.
-Vladan Martinovic

Hi Ryan,
I prepared just by looking at your videos and scored 7.5! Thank you!
-Rahul Paldiwal

Hi Ryan,
I would like to thank you for your very helpful lessons. I finally got 7 in all modules and can now start residency processing for New Zealand!
-Kiran Kiccha

Hi Ryan,
I obtained a writing score of 8.5. Your videos were instrumental in helping me achieving this score. Thanks, mate!
-Carlos Flores

Hi Ryan,
Thank you for my 8.0 writing score. You ebook played a pivotal role in my success!
-Awais Butt

Hi Ryan,
I read your blog every day and scored 7.5 in writing!
-Vikrant Mahajan

I went from band 6.0 to 7.5 following Ryan’s coaching!
-Viacheslav Porotikov

Four common mistakes candidates make in IELTS Writing

Posted on October 29, 2011 by - 11 Comments

In this brief article, I would like to share the 5 most common mistakes I see in the IELTS essays I correct for students online:

Common mistake 1 – Misunderstanding the instruction portion of the essay question

All IELTS essay questions include a sentence that tells the student precisely what they are expected to do in their written response.  Typically, this sentence will include words like discuss, analyze, argue, support or refute and the student is expected to respond accordingly.

Let’s look at an example IELTS essay question to illustrate.  I will highlight the instruction sentence in blue:

The Internet is replacing many traditional forms of communication.  This brings with it more negative than positive ramifications for humanity.  Discuss this and state your opinion.

Here, you can see the instruction sentence is directly telling the student how they are expected to formulate a response.  The problem many students run into is that they misinterpret what this instruction sentence is really asking them, and this in turn causes the overall relevance of their essay response to suffer.

If you have found this is a problem for you, let’s go over a few sample instruction sentences and state clearly what they are asking:

Discuss both sides of this argument.  (Phrases like this ask students to analyze the opinions of others.  Thus, students would be best to follow a discussion essay format and analyze the merits, or lack thereof, of the topic or position presented in their essay question.)

What is your opinion on the subject?  (Here, the essay question is asking you to respond directly with your opinion.  The most effective way to do this is by responding in an argument essay format.)

What is your opinion on the subject?  Analyze both sides in your essay.  (Now we are being faced with 2 instruction sentences.  Here, we would respond in a discussion essay format, sharing our personal opinion at the end.)

Do you agree or disagree?  Share personal examples to support your response.  (This question instructs the student to include examples from their life while arguing one side of a particular position.  Thus, responding in an argument styled essay would be best.)

(If you are unfamiliar with how to properly write an argument or discussion essay, please refer to the videos available here.)

Common mistake 2 – Writing a thesis that does not respond directly to the essay question

In the event you are given an IELTS question that requires a response written in an argument essay style, it is imperative you compose a clear and relevant thesis.  Nothing ruins an argument essay faster than a problematic thesis.

Don’t be afraid to repeat words that appear in your essay question in your thesis.  All too often, students try to paraphrase important keywords and phrases from their question in their thesis and this typically alters the original meaning to a certain degree.  Repeating words from your question will help ensure your examiner sees a direct link between it and your essay.

Thus, an essay question that reads:

Do you agree or disagree that students should be required to study a language in high school?

…could be responded to with the thesis:

I agree that students should be required to study a language in high school.

Common mistake 3 – Using ambiguous examples in your IELTS essay

It is important to remember that when including an example in your IELTS essay, you want to use something that can show your argument in action.  This is best done by referring to a real-life event, person, company or place.  Thus, a student who writes:

For example, GDP growth in China has led to the improving of living standards throughout the country.

…is setting the stage for a much stronger argument than a student who writes:

For example, income growth among developing countries has the led to the improving of living standards in many areas.

As you can see, the second example’s broadness makes the example seem less tangible and thus lowers its overall quality.

Common mistake 4 – Writing with grammatical accuracy

The last mistake in our list is basic grammatical accuracy.  The most common errors I see in the essays I correct are sentence fragments, run-on sentences, improper preposition usage, verb tense issues and mistakes in a student’s lexical selection.  The best tip I can offer those students struggling with nagging grammar issues is to compose your essay entirely of short, concise sentences and to link these sentences with cohesive phrases.  Having a writing coach can also be immensely helpful.

Here is how to respond when you are asked to write about ‘technology’ on your IELTS…

Posted on October 25, 2011 by - 5 Comments

In this video, we look at how to respond to IELTS questions involving ‘technology’ as a central theme.

(Model essay) Academic exam question seen in Western Australia in September 2011

Posted on October 20, 2011 by - 2 Comments

(This question taken with permission from IELTS-blog.com.)

A country’s future depends on its young people. Therefore, a country should invest heavily in its youth. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

The youth of a nation play a critical role in a country’s future. Thus, the manner in which young people are raised is intrinsically tied to the capabilities of new generations of workers. I agree that a country should invest considerably in its youth for the sake of its future. This will be shown by analysing how such a practice can lead a nation to international competitiveness and how it can lead people to more charitable lives.

Firstly, a state’s ability to compete in the modern world is only as strong as its citizens’ capabilities. Take the Japanese education system as an example. Despite its weak economic position following the Second World War, Japan’s focus on education and the nurturing of academia helped it grow to become the second largest economy in the world. This phenomenon would never have been possible without investing in the education of its young people. Thus, it is clear that a country’s commitment to its young people has direct ramifications on its future.

Secondly, people who grow up with opportunities for education are more capable of helping others, and this is good for the societal strength of a nation. For instance, Canada is a state that provides young people with government sponsored opportunities to hone several different facets of their education. Such a system allows people of any economic background to become versed in scientific, artistic and linguistic topics, which allows the overall discourse and education level of the country to be heightened. This boost to a country’s collective global understanding makes it clear that nations benefit greatly when they invest in their youth.

After analysing how a country’s focus on its young people can lead to economical strength and domestic social benefits, the link between investment in youth and a nation’s future can clearly be seen.  Thus, the committing of national resources to youths is a practice that should be employed around the world.

(Model letter) General Task 1 question as seen in Australia and the Philippines in early October

Posted on October 18, 2011 by - 1 Comment

Your local community newspaper has announced a competition to acknowledge a person who has greatly contributed to your town or city. Write a letter to the editor about a person you know who deserves the award. In your letter include:

  • what his/her personal qualifications are
  • how you know the person
  • how he/she contributed to the community

To the editor of the Highland Local Times,

I am writing in response to your request for nominations of individuals that have made significant contributions to our home of Highland. The person I would like to nominate is Doctor Alan Charlsby. Allow me to highlight why I believe he is deserving of this award.

I had the pleasure of meeting of meeting Doctor Charlsby during our preliminary medical studies 30 years ago and we have remained professional colleagues since. Doctor Charlsby, currently heading the medical studies department of Highland Medical School, is a model citizen whose life has been devoted to hard work, perseverance and charity. Despite being offered higher paying positions in larger cities, he has committed his life to education and has helped our community’s young scholars achieve excellence in their medical studies. Today, Highland Medical School is considered among the best institutions for medicine in the country, and I do not believe this would have been possible without the efforts of Doctor Charlsby.

As you can see, Doctor Alan Charlsby has brought both prestige and opportunity to our Highland community. I hope you agree that he is the right choice to receive your award.

Good luck with the selection process,

Ryan

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First model essay of 2017! I make up all of the examples!

Some people feel raising the age limit required for obtaining a driver’s licence can enhance road safety. Would this be an effective strategy in your country?

The age at which a person is legally able to drive is a very important consideration. In my home country of Canada, successful test takers can drive independently at the age of 16, an age that I feel is too young. I thus agree that raising the driving age limit in my country would enhance road safety. To prove this, I will look at a driver’s maturity and the motivators behind their decision to drive.

Firstly, the experimental nature of the adolescent growth stage makes it a dangerous time at which to drive. Adolescent men, for example, are scientifically reported to have heightened levels of aggression, a trait that statistically diminishes by the time they are 20 years old. Thus, removing people prone to these more immature emotions can clearly have real ramifications on the overall safety of driving in Canada. Increasing the driving age should therefore be supported.

This position is further exemplified when looking at motivators behind a person’s decision to drive. For 16 year olds in Canada, these motivators tend to be social in nature, such as using a car to meet friends. Although many would argue this is a sign of healthy social development in a human being, it is a driving arrangement that sets up scenarios that can be very distracting for an inexperienced driver. In Canada, for example, traffic accidents are reportedly higher among 16 to 18 year olds travelling in cars with several passengers. Because motivators become less social as a person enters their twenties, these statistics suggest Canadian roads would be safer were the age limit of drivers raised and their motivations for driving evolved.

As the above shows, raising the age at which a person can drive would increase the safety of roads in my country. It is my hope that Canada does indeed take steps to put this new restriction on driving in place.

My Task 2 ebook has been updated for 2017!

I’m very proud to present to you the 2017 version of my Task 2 ebook!


The 5th version of my popular Task 2 ebook is finally ready for download! As always, it is completely free to those of you that have purchased an earlier version!

(Existing customers: email your receipt to ryan@ieltsielts.com to receive the free update!)

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Buy it now and receive free updates for life!

CLICK HERE TO BUY IT NOW!
$15 USD

(The price is going up to $19 USD in 2017!)
Payment also possible using WeChat:

What’s in the updated version?
Here is what’s new in the 2017 version of Ryan’s ebook:

-89 pages of step-by-step IELTS advice! ✓✓

-All model responses have been read by an examiner and unofficially gauged Band 9! ✓✓

-There are new sections on applying argument and discussion essay structure to (1) advantage/disadvantage, (2) cause and effect, (3) problem and solution, and (4) double action Task 2 question types! ✓✓

-Learn how to concede points in your argument essay while remaining faithful to your thesis! ✓✓

-New discussion that will help you understand the IELTS Writing rubric and how the breadths influence each other! ✓✓

-A section outlining subtle language patterns in Task 2 questions that are often misread by candidates! ✓✓

-The perfect companion text to Ryan’s videos! ✓✓

Here is the table of contents:

table-of-contents

I’ve been updating this popular ebook for over five years! Buy it today and receive all future updates free of charge!

Academic and General Task 1 updates coming in January!

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