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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

Ryan’s Reading Posts

Having problems with the reading section of the exam? Tune in to hear how Denis scored band 8!

Posted on September 27, 2012 by - 3 Comments

Listen to the great insight Denis shares regarding the way he approaches the exam.  In this conversation, we touch on specific testing strategies for Academic and General exam takers and specific preparation tips for the reading section of the exam.  Click here to listen now!

IELTSCast Episode 5 – Harris scores 8.5 in reading! (High quality recording!)

Posted on July 4, 2012 by - 8 Comments

A few months ago, I had the privilege of speaking with Harris, a student who managed to score 8.5 in the reading section of his IELTS!  How did he do it?  Click here to listen to the entire interview!

The Task 2 question Harris faced on his exam was the subject of a contest I held a few months ago.  Click here to have a look.

During the interview, Harris and I refer to the IELTS Band Descriptors charts.  To get free copies of these for yourself and to watch a video describing the differences between bands 6, 7 and 8, click here.

To subscribe to IELTSCast and have these interviews automatically sync to your mobile device through iTunes, click here.  If you do not use iTunes, you can access former episodes here.

Have you scored band 7 or higher?  Contact me and consider sharing your IELTS related study and testing tips with the world through a recorded interview!  Don’t be shy.  The information you supply will help IELTS students in all corners of the globe.  

Email: ryanthiggins@gmail.com

 

IELTS reading secrets! Here are a list of test strategies shared by an IELTS guru!

Posted on May 14, 2012 by - 2 Comments

Patrick and I met with a very small group of you last night on IELTS Chat.  I think everyone will agree that the wisdom Patrick shared with us regarding the reading exam was extremely valuable.  (For a full transcript of the conversation, click here.)  Be sure to visit Patrick’s website at IELTS Test Online.

Here are some of the points I took away from the evening:

  • -When engaging the reading exam, you don’t have enough time to read all passages in detail.  It is vital that a student learns how to skim and scan.  Skimming involves reading to find out the general gist of a passage.  Scanning involves reading to find a specific bit of information.
  • -Patrick outlined two strategies for engaging the reading portion of the exam: (1) read the questions in detail, note keywords, then scan the passage for the answers to those questions (2) skim the passage, note the topics, then read the questions in detail and answer them.  Patrick said there is no ‘right’ way to engage the questions, the key is for students to experiment as they are studying and find out which strategy works best for them.
  • -Patrick’s advice for vocabulary building is for students to make the new words they learn relevant for them.  Instead of creating long, boring lists of vocabulary words, students should be writing the words they learn down in the context they see them.  So if ‘triumph’ is a new word and you see the word in a passage about your favourite football team, you should be noting the word down in a sentence that reminds you of the passage you read.  Doing this will help jolt your memory when you come back to review the new words you’ve learned.
  • -If you come across an unknown word on the exam, Patrick suggests following these 6 steps: (1) checking the context of the word, (2) contrast the word with another word or sentence in the paragraph, (3) looking for explanation of the word’s meaning in the sentence or paragraph itself, (4) breaking the word apart into its more basic form (if it has one), (5) logic and finally (6) simply guessing what the word means.
  • -T/F/NG questions always appear in the order of the text.  So if you’ve found the answer for the first T/F/NG question in the third paragraph of the text, you know that the second T/F/NG question’s answer will not be in the first or second paragraph.  This can save you valuable time on the exam!  The same phenomenon is true for sentence completion questions.
  • -T/F/NG questions can be tricky, particularly knowing when to mark a question ‘N’ and when to mark it ‘NG’.  The key is that you need to have definitive evidence that a piece of data is a ‘No’.  If you cannot find this evidence, the answer is ‘Not Given’.  If you are not sure about a question, leave it blank until the end of your exam.  Use the last few minutes to answer this question.  If you are still unsure, chances are the answer is NG.
  • -Matching type questions must be read very closely.  If you’ve skimmed the passage already, certain questions should be clear to you right away.  Do these questions first.
  • -If you face the headings question type, it is important to remember that the heading represents the entire paragraph, not just a section of it.  So you need to be sure that you have an understanding of what the entire paragraph is saying.  Do the easier headings first, then attempt the harder ones.
  • -If you are having trouble with time, remember to allot yourself no more than 1.5 minutes per question.  If you cannot find the answer within 1.5 minutes, skip this question and move on.  You can come back after you complete the easier questions and try to find the answer.
  • -Another great time saving tip: when you start the exam, first look at the question types.  Choose the question type that you find the easiest and read its corresponding passage first.  You do not need to complete the passages in the order you see them.
  • -Patrick recommends training yourself to read at at least 200 words per minute.

Tonight! IELTS guru Patrick Bourne will be in ielts-chat.com to answer your questions about IELTS reading

Posted on May 13, 2012 by - Comments are off

Do you have a nagging question about the reading portion of the exam that you just can’t seem to find the answer to?

Tonight is your chance!  Patrick Bourne of IELTS Test Online is going to be in IELTS Chat answering every question you can shoot at him within a one hour period of time.  Ask him about study strategies, practice materials, test-taking tricks … anything!  Don’t miss this chance to better your performance on the IELTS exam!

The evening is open to all.  You do not need a login to access the chatroom, just type in a username and hit ‘Go chat!’.

Please check for your local time:

Auckland (where Patrick is): 9-10 pm

Melbourne (where many of you are): 7-8 pm

Shanghai (where I am): 5-6 pm

Dubai: 1-2 pm

Toronto: 5-6 am (I don’t think we’ll see too many of you, unfortunately!)

Hope to see you tonight!

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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.

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General Task 1: How to write at a 9 level

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

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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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Ryan's Recent Posts Posts

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: https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?i=929957&c=single&cl=166811

Have Ryan personally assess five of your Task 1 or 2 samples: https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?i=930041&c=single&cl=166811

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: https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?i=929957&c=single&cl=166811

Have Ryan personally assess five of your Task 1 or 2 samples: https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?i=930041&c=single&cl=166811

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: https://gumroad.com/l/fWPb

Have Ryan personally assess five of your Task 1 or 2 samples: http://tinyurl.com/zkr9w2r

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: https://www.ielts.org/~/media/publications/information-for-candidates/ielts-information-for-candidates-2015-english-uk.ashx

(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: https://gumroad.com/l/fWPb

Have Ryan personally assess five of your Task 1 or 2 samples: http://tinyurl.com/zkr9w2r

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: https://gumroad.com/l/fWPb

Have Ryan personally assess five of your Task 1 or 2 samples: http://tinyurl.com/zkr9w2r

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