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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

Anyone from Pune? Rahul nabs 8.5 in Reading and Listening using alternative study methods!

Posted on December 10, 2012 by - 5 Comments

I recently had a great chat with Rahul about his experiences with the IELTS exam.  Rahul’s approach to General Reading is interesting, as he approaches passages 1 and 2 differently from passage 3.  As you will hear in the interview, Rahul has found that this strategy allowed him to accelerate the speed with which he worked through the readings.  What this meant was more time to check over his answers.  His 8.5 reflects that this strategy works.

Tune in to our conversation and hear Rahul explain this and other strategies in his own words.  You can download the entire interview here.  (If you find these videos motivating, please consider leaving me a 5 star rating in iTunes.)

Attention:  I am looking for more successful IELTS students to interview.  I know from reading your comments on my YouTube page that many of you have scored band 7 and higher.  Please consider sparing 30 minutes of your time to share your exam strategies with the world.  Contact me at

Prepositions are frustrating! How well do you know yours?

Posted on December 5, 2012 by - 5 Comments

No access to YouTube?  Download the video by clicking here.

Your friend visited your home recently.  They forgot something.  Write a letter to your friend about this situation.  In your letter include:

-what your friend forgot

-where the item is now

-a proposed arrangement to return the item

Dear Jose,

I am writing for/on/to two reasons.  Firstly, my wife and I would like to thank you for your visit last night.  You and Sharon are great company.  Secondly, I wanted to let you know that you forgot your laptop when you left.  Allow me to elaborate.

I imagine that upon arriving home you realized it was missing, but on/about/in the event you did not I wanted to write this letter to tell you.  The laptop is still sitting where you left it at/between/on the coffee table in/at/around our living room.  My wife and I have appreciated having your library of music to tap into.  However, I should point out that I could not track down the computer’s carrying case, so I hope this is on/among/around your things.

I suppose we will have to arrange a time to meet.  I am free any day this week, aside from Sunday.  What day and time suit you?  We could either drive it your direction, or you could come our way to pick it up.

Your friend,


Many high school students take part time jobs.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

At/Among/To many cultures, adolescents are encouraged to work part time.  But this is a phenomenon that is not universally encouraged, as many people feel such an arrangement has drawbacks.  This essay will look at the advantages and disadvantages associated among/to/with working high school students.

On the one hand, students who work part time gain business exposure and learn to handle money.  For example, companies like McDonald’s often hire high school students to work their front cash registers.  For these young adults, they are learning both how to deal among/below/with people in a professional way and how to transact money.  As these sorts of hands on abilities are not taught in schools, it is clear that several advantages derive from/to/towards students working part time.

However, on the other hand, students who choose to work during their high school years spend time away from their studies and may be exposed to dangerous situations.  For instance, I remember as a student once working by/within/in a restaurant in an underdeveloped part of my city.  The clientele often had serious personal problems, such as drug and alcohol addiction.  To make matters worse, I worked so many weekly hours at this restaurant that my school grades started to suffer.  As this experience shows, there are several disadvantages that can befall working students.

Following this look, it can be concluded that part time work among students should be engaged on/for/by a case-by-case basis.  So long as a working arrangement does not infringe upon a student’s safety or their grades, it is recommended that part time work be pursued by/from/to all adolescent people

Are you an IELTS student in China? Listen to Ying Jun as she explains the strategies that led her to band 8!

Posted on December 4, 2012 by - 3 Comments

Having lived in China for almost 5 years, I know how difficult it is for Chinese students to prepare for their exam.  IELTS classrooms in China can be several hundred students large, making it impossible for students to have direct feedback from their instructor on their progress.  To make matters worse, blocked websites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter restrict a Chinese person’s ability to interact in English with the outside world.  This is arguably part of the reason why China’s average band on the Academic exam is among the lowest in the world.  (To see how your country scores, visit IELTS Test Taker Performance 2011.)

This is what makes my conversation with Ying Jun so interesting.  Despite facing these obstacles, Ying Jun managed to score an overall band 8 on her exam and is well on her way to realizing her dream of becoming a non-native IELTS examiner.  In this episode, Ying Jun shares specific tips to help Chinese students better their marks on the exam.  Click here to listen to my talk with Ying Jun!

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You construct a band 9 essay by the end of this video!

IELTS Academic and General Task 2 - How to write at a band 9 level

Buy Ryan’s Task 2 ebook here:

Have Ryan personally assess five of your Task 1 or 2 samples:

Here is the essay as it appears in the video:

Nowadays, all new town planning should include public parks, shopping malls and sports facilities. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Designing the layout of a new town is an extremely intricate process. The question of what should and should not be included sets the foundation of the town’s identity forever. In my opinion, the addition of public parks, shopping malls and sports facilities is essential to the incubation of community and the encouragement of healthy lifestyles. I thus agree that these items should be included when a new town is being planned, and I will share examples to prove this.

Firstly, public parks and shopping centres help new towns foster a sense of community. For example, my small Canadian town has a very nice park near its centre. At weekends, the open context of the park environment makes it possible for people to meet each other and create friendships. This sort of organic community building is seen in my hometown’s shopping mall, too. Shopping malls encourage interaction, and thus they are great forums within which people can mingle and have experiences that could evolve into friendships. Thus, the helpful role public parks and shopping malls play in the establishing of a new town is clear.

Secondly, sports facilities catalyse positive lifestyle choices among townsfolk. For instance, the central location of my small town’s football pitch is a regular reminder to people passing by that exercise is important. Children in the town are visually aware that sport is accessible to them, and thus they engage in physical activity regularly. This is a clear advantage to town designs that include sports facilities.

As the above shows, public parks, shopping malls and sports facilities are helpful in many ways to the establishment of a town. Their inclusion in the planning of new towns is thus highly recommended.

You choose the prepositions!


The essay as it appears in the video:

What are some alternatives to fossil fuels? Do you feel the world will ever stop using them?

Global dependence on fossil fuels continues to be a pressing problem in the modern world. Although environmentally friendly energy sources are available, market prices make these alternatives prohibitively expensive for most people. I argue that humanity will indeed stop using fossil fuels in the future, but this will only happen when the price of cleaner energy sources falls to a point of competition. This will be proved by looking specifically at current trends within solar energy and biodiesel consumption.

Firstly, the increased availability of solar water heaters has made solar energy prices competitive with fossil fuels in some parts of the world. For example, the mass production of solar water heaters in China has led to their adoption as a cheap alternative to water heated using coal. Because this trend comes as a direct result of financial incentive, it is logical to conclude that market shifts will eventually cause green energy to take the place of fossil fuels.

This phenomenon is further exemplified by alternative fuel types such as biodiesel. For instance, although still slightly more expensive than energy sources derived from fossil fuels, biodiesel’s steady decline in price over the past 20 years coincides directly with a rise in its sales in most parts of the world. As most experts argue, a massive shift to biodiesel consumption will occur when prices remain consistently below fossil fuels. Thus, worldwide dependence on fossil fuels can be expected to erode as alternatives become more economical.

As evidenced by these trends in solar energy and biodiesel consumption, humanity is gradually shifting itself from fossil fuels to more environmentally friendly energy sources, and I hope this development continues.

IELTS Academic and General Task 2 - How to write at a band 9 level

Buy Ryan’s Task 2 ebook here:

Have Ryan personally assess five of your Task 1 or 2 samples:

Do the advantages trump the disadvantages in this IELTS essay?

[Note: The word ‘phenomenons’ appears in this video. This should be ‘phenomena’, as it is with reference to the scientific plural.]

More and more students are going to another country for higher education. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

It is very common today for students to go abroad to complete their college or university education. However, this trend presents both advantages and disadvantages to the students and the institutions involved. These items will be analysed in this essay before a position is declared.

The advantages of rising foreign student numbers are numerous. For one, this trend encourages human collaboration and the exchanging of ideas. For example, a Canadian engineering student attending a Japanese university would bring ideas and perspectives different to those of their classmates, a phenomenon that enriches the university’s program and level of discussion as a whole. In addition to this, having studied outside their home country, this student would take valuable international understanding with them, an important second benefit that promotes peace and international friendship. As this example shows, students and the world at large benefit when higher studies are engaged outside the home country.

However, many would argue the globalising of higher education does have certain disadvantages. For many young adults, foreign students may represent a threat to both professional opportunities after school and the overall workforce of their country. In the US, for example, companies scout talent on university campuses, and at select times this means offering employment to a foreign student instead of a local student. Although this scenario does occur, its impact on local graduates and their employment opportunities has been sensationalised by the media and large personalities like President Trump. Moreover, it should be remembered that attracting the world’s most talented students increases opportunities for important phenomena like scientific discoveries. Thus, the disadvantages of students going abroad for higher education are difficult to define.

As the above discussion reveals, the advantages of globalised higher education much outweigh the disadvantages, and I strongly hope countries continue to encourage the growth of their foreign student bodies.

IELTS Academic and General Task 2 - How to write at a band 9 level

Buy Ryan’s Task 2 ebook here:

Have Ryan personally assess five of your Task 1 or 2 samples:

CAN YOU WRITE IN ALL CAPS ON THE IELTS?! (…and other questions!)

In this video, we use the Information for Candidates PDF to answer a few questions. Download your own copy of this document at:

(Is that link not working? Google ‘IELTS info for candidates’.)

IELTS Academic and General Task 2 - How to write at a band 9 level

Buy Ryan’s Task 2 ebook here:

Have Ryan personally assess five of your Task 1 or 2 samples:

How does Ryan’s IELTS writing service work?

IELTS Academic and General Task 2 - How to write at a band 9 level

Buy Ryan’s Task 2 ebook here:

Have Ryan personally assess five of your Task 1 or 2 samples:

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