IELTS Writing students do this because it works…

This video will improve the syntax in your writing! For more help with your writing, don’t forget to also pick up my Task 2 guide:

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Every sentence in this IELTS essay has an error!

Here is the error-free version of the essay:

It is difficult to experience a country fully as a tourist in a hotel. To appreciate and understand a country, a person needs to live there. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

People are travelling more today than ever before. However, short term visitors simply do not have the time needed to fully understand a country. I agree that to truly experience and appreciate a country a person needs to live there for a period longer than that of the typical tourist. This will be shown by looking at how knowledge of a country’s customs and language, two cornerstones to understanding any nation in depth, requires time to be developed.

For one, to understand a country’s values and beliefs, a person must be exposed to its customs, a process that demands time. For example, while living in the UAE, I had the privilege of attending a local wedding, a traditional camel race, and a birthday with my Emirati friend. In the cool of the late evening at each of these events, guests were served spiced camel meat and medjool dates, staple foods that sustained generations of people in such barren landscape. Had I only been visiting the UAE as a tourist, I would not have had the time needed to have such insights into Emirati cuisine and lifestyle. Thus, living in a country is a necessary precursor to fully experiencing it.

Language is yet another avenue through which so much understanding can be derived. While living in China, for instance, I managed to pick up the basics of the Chinese language. Among other things, this allowed me to see that Chinese culture puts extreme emphasis on face. For instance, in China it is the custom to refuse a gift several times before accepting. As I could only make this fundamental observation after committing time to learning the language, it is clear that a country really does need to be lived in to be fully appreciated.

To conclude, although tourists receive a basic introduction to a region and its peoples, thorough understanding of a country is best achieved when one commits to living there.

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How to write the very first sentence in your IELTS essay…

Here are the Task 2 openers suggested in the video:

  1. __________ continue to __________, and this is causing __________.
  2. __________ is an unfortunate reality in the world today.
  3. Choosing __________ to __________ is an extremely important question for __________.
  4. __________ is one of the major challenges in the modern world.
  5. Over the past several years, __________ has been steadily increasing.
  6. The __________ has proved to be a serious question for humanity in modern times.
  7. An often contested subject is __________.
  8. __________ are important considerations __________.
  9. __________ is an often debated topic.
  10. The growing presence of __________ is a pressing concern today.
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Igor explains how he scored band 8.5

This is an old episode of IELTSCast, but the strategies presented in it are still very relevant. In this episode, Igor, an IELTS instructor in Kazakhstan, details how he managed to score band 8.5. The resources Igor suggests are:

The book ‘Listening Strategies for the IELTS’ published by Beijing University Press

The website, a Chinese social networking site with well established IELTS communities

Former examiner Chris Green’s work at

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