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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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Hi Ryan,
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 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

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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

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

Posted on May 14, 2012 by

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.

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IELTS study hacks (and other Q&A!)

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This way to band 9…

The essay in this video was written by a practicing IELTS examiner.

This question was seen last year in Moscow:

Some people contend that all young people should attend university after high school, while others maintain that this is not always the best option. Discuss both views and give your opinion. Give reasons for your answer and include examples from your own experience where appropriate.

Some feel that all young people should attend university, while others point out this may not be a suitable path for everyone. I am of the latter view. I believe that career training in other areas may serve the interests of many young people far better than undergraduate studies.

On the one hand, there is convincing support for university education for all. Firstly, a liberal education encourages the broadening of the mind. For example, students of history, art and literature tend to be tolerant and thoughtful and fulfil useful service careers in teaching, journalism, public relations and politics. Encouraging everyone to enrol in university would also push people towards lucrative professional roles, such as those held by doctors and lawyers, positions that also bring great social prestige.

However, despite these benefits, universal tertiary education would be problematic at both the societal and personal levels. It should be noted that the building of houses and offices, the transporting of goods, and the production of furniture and appliances are essential to society and require skilled manual workers and tradespeople. Further, many young men and women naturally excel when working with their hands. Forcing them to study disciplines of abstract thought would clearly be a waste of their time and potential. Thus, encouraging people to choose a path that allows them to invest in their natural strengths is better for both the individual and society as a whole.

Overall, it can be seen that although pursuing a university education has many merits, it may be more of a hindrance than a help to some people. In my own case, being very bad with my hands but quite handy with words, university was the right option for me. As this essay has shown, everyone is different and no one course in life fits all.

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How to get full marks for Task Achievement

The essay in this video was written by IELTS Examiner C. This question was seen recently in Sydney:

These days many people prefer to rent rather than buy their own house. Why is this this so? Discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of renting or buying, and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and examples from your personal experience where appropriate.

Here is the essay as it appears in the video:

In most major cities in the west, people are opting to rent a home instead of buy. This is mostly because house prices have increased dramatically while personal income has not, a trend that means mortgage repayments now account for a much larger share of income than in the past. Renters have more disposable income every week than buyers and this is a big attraction. However, in my opinion, this is a false economy and in the long run I believe that the advantages of buying a property greatly outweigh the short-term savings to be made by renting.

While it is certainly cheaper week-by-week to rent than pay a mortgage, the renter misses out on the large capital gains to be made when buying a home. When I took out my own mortgage on my two-bedroom apartment, my repayments on a $400,000 loan were about $600 a week, compared with $500 for rental value on a similar property. However, over the past three years my apartment has appreciated by more than $250,000, greatly outweighing the $15,000 I would have saved by renting. In addition to this, my mortgage payments secured an acquisition of property that will remain valuable for my family into the future. Financial growth of this sort is not possible through renting.

Renters do not only lose out on capital gains, they also lose in terms of security and peace of mind. The roof over their heads once their lease is over is always at the mercy of the landlord, who might at any time decide to sell the property. The landlord can also put up the rent when they feel the market warrants it. Further, unless the renter invests their savings judiciously, the money they save will be frittered on day-to-day life, leaving them very much poorer than the buyer once retirement looms.

In conclusion, while a first mortgage will cost more each week than renting, the advantages of buying, including capital appreciation and housing security, greatly outweigh the short-term savings to be made by renting.

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