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Don’t stop at 7. Go and get that 9!

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

Are you having trouble with your pronunciation? Check out this interview with a speech therapist!

Posted on August 31, 2012 by - 4 Comments

I like to keep up with what’s happening in the online IELTS world, but somehow this gem of an interview slipped under my radar.  Ben of IELTSPodcast.com recently spoke with Esther Bruhl of speakmoreclearly.com about what an IELTS student can do to improve the quality of their speaking.  Esther shares a number of great tips for honing the clarity of your voice.  Here is a little excerpt from the interview to whet your appetite:

 Ben: What should a student do to communicate more clearly?

Esther: For non-English speaking background languages, the key is to move your mouth more.  Many languages tend to be spoken with a more closed mouth because that is what the language demands.  When we speak English, we actually drop our jaw more and move our mouth more.  Doing this will immediately make your pronunciation clearer.  Listen, repeat, pretend and mimic, too.  One of the keys to pronouncing and speaking more clearly is to listen to native English speakers using headphones.  Doing this allows the listener to stimulate the auditory nerve in a much stronger fashion.  Listening to the BBC is great without headphones is great, but to improve your speaking a student really needs to copy and mimic speech patterns.

Listen to the entire interview by clicking here!

Essay response to an IELTS Task 2 question seen in Paris, France

Posted on August 24, 2012 by - 7 Comments

There are many things that motivate a person to work, but money is the most compelling.  In your opinion, how influential is the power of money?

People the world over come from different circumstances and work for different reasons.  Although many may have alternative sources of motivation for the work that they do, money is thought to be among the most stimulating forces in the world.  This will be proven by looking at how financial gain can force a person to engage in professions that are both unpleasant and, in some instances, fundamentally irrational.

For one, many people around the world engage in jobs they do not enjoy simply because they want money.  For example, hundreds of millions of people do manufacturing work across the developing world.  As this kind of labour is often tiring, dangerous and even degrading in some circumstances, it is easy to see that the only thing motivating these people to engage in this work is monetary compensation.  As this shows, the power and influence of money is difficult to underestimate.

In addition to this, monetary reward can even compel people to do jobs that are irrational and self-defeating.  For example, the decisions made by individuals working in the American financial district prior to the crisis of 2008 were damaging to the world’s economic stability.  Were personal financial gain to be taken away from the overall equation, it is doubtful any of these same devastating financial decisions would have been made.  Thus, the extreme motivational power of money can be seen.

As the above shows, money holds an authority over the decisions and career directions of most people.  It therefore must be concluded that money acts as one of the world’s most influential forces, and this is a phenomenon that is not expected to change anytime soon.

 

Want to improve your IELTS mark rapidly? Find English role models speaking on subjects you enjoy!

Posted on August 22, 2012 by - 4 Comments

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Afnan, a Bangladeshi IELTS student now in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  In our conversation, Afnan and I talk about her success and how she engaged the exam.  Listen to our conversation by clicking here!  Afnan also shared with me a quality online IELTS resource I had not heard of: Best IELTS Online.

For those of you waiting for new writing examples, they are coming!  I am working on an entirely new website design and finalizing an ebook for Task 1 of the General exam, so this is where the majority of my time has been going.  But rest assured I haven’t forgotten what most people come to this website for.

Please also consider giving me a few review stars in iTunes by clicking here.  Doing this really helps my podcast audience grow.  Thanks!

Don’t write long essays! Prashant scores band 8 with only 263 words.

Posted on August 15, 2012 by - 13 Comments

Did you think you needed to write more than 300 words to score well on Task 2 of your writing exam?  Think again!  Prashant hit band 8 with only 263 words, and he argues that being concise is the key.  Listen to my chat with him by clicking here.

Background on this episode: Prashant and I had been working together online for several weeks prior to his exam.  He is a very talented writer but was held back by little grammatical and lexical issues.  After cleaning these areas up, he rocketed from band 6.5 to 8!  What a success story!

Are you feeling nice?  Please leave me a review in iTunes.  Click here and then click ‘View in iTunes‘ to open your iTunes browser.  Reviews help my work immensely.

Go get those 9s!

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Academic and General Task 2: How to write at a 9 level

An eBook describing everything necessary to compose a successful essay.

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How to get full marks for Task Achievement

The essay in this video was written by IELTS Examiner C. This question was seen recently in Sydney:

These days many people prefer to rent rather than buy their own house. Why is this this so? Discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of renting or buying, and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and examples from your personal experience where appropriate.

Here is the essay as it appears in the video:

In most major cities in the west, people are opting to rent a home instead of buy. This is mostly because house prices have increased dramatically while personal income has not, a trend that means mortgage repayments now account for a much larger share of income than in the past. Renters have more disposable income every week than buyers and this is a big attraction. However, in my opinion, this is a false economy and in the long run I believe that the advantages of buying a property greatly outweigh the short-term savings to be made by renting.

While it is certainly cheaper week-by-week to rent than pay a mortgage, the renter misses out on the large capital gains to be made when buying a home. When I took out my own mortgage on my two-bedroom apartment, my repayments on a $400,000 loan were about $600 a week, compared with $500 for rental value on a similar property. However, over the past three years my apartment has appreciated by more than $250,000, greatly outweighing the $15,000 I would have saved by renting. In addition to this, my mortgage payments secured an acquisition of property that will remain valuable for my family into the future. Financial growth of this sort is not possible through renting.

Renters do not only lose out on capital gains, they also lose in terms of security and peace of mind. The roof over their heads once their lease is over is always at the mercy of the landlord, who might at any time decide to sell the property. The landlord can also put up the rent when they feel the market warrants it. Further, unless the renter invests their savings judiciously, the money they save will be frittered on day-to-day life, leaving them very much poorer than the buyer once retirement looms.

In conclusion, while a first mortgage will cost more each week than renting, the advantages of buying, including capital appreciation and housing security, greatly outweigh the short-term savings to be made by renting.

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Just 60 minutes to better IELTS Speaking!

Click here to download an MP3 copy of the conversation.

Buy Ryan’s Task 2 ebook (2017 version!) Click the Table of Contents to see what’s inside:
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Did you know I have ebooks for both modules of IELTS Writing? Have a look: http://ieltsielts.com/study-with-ryan/

Band 9 writing under an X-ray!

Thanks to ‘Examiner C’ for this model. Here is the essay as it appears in the video:

Many people think that public celebrations (like national holidays, festivals, etc.) are a waste of money and that the government should spend these funds in a better way.

Do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and examples from personal experience where appropriate.

National holidays cost countries and their governments a lot of money. Wages need to be paid to employees despite their absence from work, and a national loss in productivity is experienced. For these reasons, some people suggest governments do away with holidays and instead spend the money on worthy projects. While this might seem at first to be a practical suggestion, I disagree strongly for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it is axiomatic that a country’s production of goods declines when workers are not working; however, this is a tiny part of a much larger economic picture. Productivity is a function not only of hours worked but also of energy, drive, and morale. Thus, national holidays, which give workers a chance to relax and to celebrate aspects of their country and their lives, make for a happier and more productive workforce. In Australia, for example, the long weekend is a tradition that helps to unify society by making all feel rewarded and valued in a common enterprise and identity. It is for these reasons that labelling public celebrations ‘a waste of money’ cannot be supported.

Further, having the financial means to start new national projects is a good thing, but the question of apportioning funds in a manner that an entire society agrees is ‘a better way’ is simply unrealistic. A further consideration is the ramifications of pressure put on workers to work 52 straight weeks a year, a policy that could lead to stress-related illnesses and serious social problems. As this shows, the cancelling of public holidays and redirection of funds is an implausible suggestion.

In conclusion, I must affirm that while it is tempting to realise the short-term increase in productivity and savings that would result from abolishing public holidays, the overall cost greatly outweighs the gains.

Buy Ryan’s Task 2 ebook (2017 version!) Click the Table of Contents to see what’s inside:
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Did you know I have ebooks for both modules of IELTS Writing? Have a look: http://ieltsielts.com/study-with-ryan/

A former examiner wrote this band 9 essay…

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Watch a second video like the above here: https://www.patreon.com/ieltsryan

Here is the essay as it appears in the video:

Many people believe that a large proportion of a country’s health budget should be diverted from treatment to spending on health education and preventative measures. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? Give examples from personal experience where appropriate.

Modern medicine has evolved along two lines: prevention and cure. Many believe that too much emphasis is placed on the latter and that the balance of national health spending should shift to prevention. I am inclined to agree; however, my support is with the stipulation that an imbalance in the other direction should be avoided.

Many modern diseases that require pharmaceutical or surgical intervention, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, are induced by poor lifestyle choices. There is an abundance of evidence that these conditions are brought on by such factors as smoking, excessive dietary fat and sugar, and a lack of physical exercise. I have myself lost several family members to cancers and heart disease caused by smoking. Because the cost of treating these diseases is very high, and the prognosis uncertain, the need for preventative intervention is clear.

Fulfilling this need could be exercised in a number of ways. For one, the government could provide more health and fitness centres, and mount a public awareness campaign to encourage people to use them. In addition to this, taxes could be placed on excessive salt or sugar in processed foods, and special taxes could be added to tobacco products to discourage their use. I believe that measures such as these will in the long term dramatically reduce the incidence of certain deadly diseases.

However, it should be remembered that not all examples of modern disease are preventable or predictable, and it is critical to maintain research into cures for all diseases. Thus, in diverting health spending from treatment to preventative measures, countries should encourage a balanced approach to help extend lifespans and maximise quality of life. Prevention may be better than cure, but it can never wholly replace it.

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