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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.
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I am so happy to inform you that I scored 7.5 in writing!
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Thanks for your help, I’ve scored band 8 in writing.
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I went from band 6.0 to 7.5 following Ryan’s coaching!
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9 academic words that will help you score band 9!

Posted on January 24, 2014 by - 1 Comment

In this video, I describe precisely how you can use these nine words in the speaking and writing sections of your IELTS. Scroll down for a list of the words and suggested phrases from the video. Be sure to practice these words with us at IELTS Network by clicking this link.

1. precursor

  • · (S)“My interest in geography was the precursor to my studies in cartography.”
  • · (W)“Thus, this example makes it clear that a university education acts as a precursor to career growth.”

2. catalyze

  • · (S)“The people I meet at business networking evenings in my city often catalyze professional opportunities.”
  • · (W) “Firstly, uniforms act as a catalyst for better classroom behaviour among students.”

3. linear

  • · (S) “My plans for the future are fairly linear. I’m completing my undergraduate degree now and intend to follow this with a master’s. Education is, therefore, in my foreseeable future.”
  • · (W) “The trend depicted between the months of February and June shows linear growth from 20 XYZ to 75 XYZ.”
  • · (W) “Thus, the progression from an educated background to a high level of business success is often linear.”

4. correlate

  • · (S)“Actually, the career progression of my sister positively correlates with mine. After she left our hometown, she also experienced a significant growth in employment opportunities.”
  • · (W) “The rise in automobile prices in 2008 is negatively correlated with automobile sales for the same year.”

5. avenue

  • · (S) “My father encouraged me to study languages, and this has opened up certain avenues for friendship I would not have otherwise had. For example, I have several close Japanese-speaking friends.”
  • · (W) “Firstly, studying a foreign language opens avenues for employment. For instance, …”

6. afford

  • · (S) “My university grades afforded me the opportunity to study abroad.”
  • · (W) “For example, the Chinese economic system has afforded the PRC unprecedented financial growth over the past three decades.”

7. actionable

  • · (S) “My university professor gave me several actionable pieces of advice. But most noteworthy was his suggestion that I focus my studies on North African history, as I was both interested in it and am of Tunisian ancestry.”
  • · (W) “Firstly, the actionable nature of the skills learned at university is clear. For instance, humanities programs like philosophy, English literature and history push students to exhibit logical progression in their thinking and writing. As these organized thought patterns are often the basis of success in business, it is clear that a link exists between the skills learned at university and the ability one has to accomplish a professional goal.”

8. embody

  • · (S) “My father is an embodiment of a traditional military upbringing. He does everything by routine.”
  • · (W) “Firstly, technology in the classroom has undeniable links to academic performance. The use of tablets in Korean classrooms embodies this idea perfectly.”

9. fortify

  • · (S) “I’m taking courses in the evening after work to fortify my professional skills.”
  • · (W) “Thus, the fact that successful attempts are being made by other developing countries to replicate China’s growth fortifies the argument that the Chinese economic model is one that accelerates the elimination of poverty in undeveloped nations.”

Vita from Russia explains how she scored band 8!

Posted on January 24, 2014 by - Comments are off

Vita’s story is an interesting one. Only a week after she found out she needed to take the IELTS, she managed to perform at a band 8 level. Listen to my interview in this video to find out how she did it:

Body language and the IELTS – Listen to my interview with band 8 candidate, Shakir!

Posted on January 11, 2014 by - Comments are off

I had the pleasure of talking to Shakir yesterday about his IELTS speaking success. I think you’ll appreciate what Shakir has to share about the importance of body language:

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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

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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

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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:

How to start sentences in your IELTS essay!

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 5 of your Task 1 or 2 samples:

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