Free IELTS resources to help you maximize your score.
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

(Article) Are you studying for your IELTS exam online? Increase your productivity with these FREE online tools!

Posted on April 16, 2012 by

Thank you to those of you who came out last night to chat with Ben (of http://www.ieltspodcast.com) and I about your IELTS exam questions. I think we all walked away from the evening with several helpful insights into how to prepare for the exam. If you missed the session, you can download a PDF copy of the entire conversation by clicking here.

After I logged out and was getting ready for bed (it was about 11 pm here in Shanghai at the time), I was struck by a realization: we had spent almost two hours talking about how to prepare for the IELTS exam and NO ONE mentioned using a textbook! I think it is safe to say that electronic media make up the core of any modern IELTS exam student’s study resources.

So in this article, I want to summarize and recap some of the resources that were shared over the course of our evening together. I hope they turn out to be helpful to you and that you make them a part of your daily IELTS routine. I’ll break this article up by exam section to make it a little more organized:

Reading

Ben’s advice was to learn to speed read, and he supplied a link you can use to help train yourself how to do this. Zap Reader is a program that takes any text and presents it to you word-by-word at a speed that you can adjust (by WPM, or ‘words per minute’). Using this tool, you can train yourself to read faster. I suggest you find a sample IELTS reading on the Internet, stick it into Zap Reader and see how much of it you can understand at varying speeds. Perhaps consider trying to do two articles a day for the next few weeks and monitor how your reading speed improves (please leave a comment to tell us by what degree your reading speed has developed).

For students who are at around a reading band 5 or lower, you may be interested to try the reading exercises available online from Pearson Longman (http://www.pearsonlongman.com/ae/marketing/sfesl/practicereading.html). There are several graded articles that provide you with online multiple choice questions to test your comprehension. For those of you higher than band 5, try the exercises available at ExamEnglish.com (http://www.examenglish.com/FCE/f​ce_reading.htm) for quick feedback on your comprehension level.

Most students wanted to know the answer to the question, ‘What strategy should I follow for True/False/Not Given question types?’ Ben and I concluded that if this is an area you are having difficulty with on the exam, it is most likely that you need to bolster your lexical resources. It is important to remember that question vocabulary often differs from the vocabulary you see in the passage. This tricks you into choosing ‘Not Given’ when in fact the answer is given, but worded in a manner you are not familiar with.

Listening

Last night, Ben stated that he feels people learn to listen best when they listen to something they enjoy, and I completely agree. So to strengthen your listening, consider listening to English podcasts on topics you find stimulating. Personally, I like to listen to podcasts on the following topics (perhaps these are of interest to you, too):

A History of the World in 100 Objects – I personally really enjoy listening to this podcast, and I guarantee it will introduce you to a plethora of new vocabulary.

Russian Rulers History Podcast – I find this show very interesting. The host has an American accent (which may not be the most helpful accent for you to study), but I think you will still pick up on a wide variety of English colloquialisms and academic vocabulary.

BBC World Update Daily Commute – This podcast is a digested version of world news that streams daily to your iTunes. Most episodes are only thirty minutes long and perfect for your trip to work in the morning.

If you are unfamiliar with podcasts or how to use them, you need to download iTunes and read this guide. As Ben pointed out, search for podcasts on topics you love: sports, economic news, history, the arts, or whatever you fancy. Doing this will make the daily chore of practicing IELTS listening much more enjoyable.

When you are ready to try some real listenings in the format you will see on the exam, engage the BBC’s Learn English section (http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservic​e/learningenglish/).

Writing

During the evening, we talked a bit about the good and bad sides of memorising cohesive phrases. Ben and I agreed that memorising phrases is alright in the beginning, but you’ve got to practice using these phrases over and over again until they become natural sounding.

What do I mean by ‘cohesive phrases’?

I am talking about those little parts of a language that link one idea to another idea. Some examples of cohesive phrases include:

It is obvious from this that… / On the other hand… / As is apparent… / What is clear from this is… / However, this is not the case when… / Following this trend is…

These are the sorts of phrases that make your writing sound fluent and will help to convince your examiner that you are a master of the language.

I also suggested that students write their own dictionary. This basically involves getting a notebook and jotting down all new words you see and the context in which you see them. Before long, you will have a very extensive list of vocabulary words that you can review to keep your skills sharp.

Speaking

Many students last night shared that they do not have access to native English speakers and thus practicing their speaking was a challenge. To these students, I suggest you listen to the interview Ben did on IELTS Podcast with Berni, an ex-IELTS examiner in this interview, Berni shares a number of very helpful tips on how a student can increase their ability to speak.

In addition to these resources, while chatting last night I shared a few of my online favourites:

Rachel (of http://www.rachelsenglish.com) is a great website you can use to hone your pronunciation abilities. She explains in detail exactly how to shape your mouth to perform certain English pronunciation patterns.

Jennifer (of http://www.englishwithjennifer.com) is an old friend of mine with a huge library of videos on everything ESL related. You may find many of her videos cater to more basic students, but I think even advanced IELTS students can benefit from her pronunciation-focused material.

Hope to see you at our next online chat session!

eBooks eBooks

eBooks
Academic Task 1: How to write at a 9 level

This eBook groups all information the student needs to know to perform well on Task 1 of their Academic exam.

Buy Now
eBooks
General Task 1: How to write at a 9 level

Learn to write the 6 letter types that appear on the General exam.

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

An eBook describing everything necessary to compose a successful essay.

Buy Now

Ryan's Recent Posts Posts

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!)

Don’t have a copy?

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!

Read All Posts