IELTS General Writing Task 1 Tips and Samples

IELTS General Writing

About the IELTS General Writing test

The writing test is different for IELTS Academic and IELTS General candidates.

General Writing

2 pieces of writing, 60 minutes
  1. In Task 1, candidates are presented with a situation and are asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
  2. In Task 2, candidates are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be slightly more personal in style than the Academic Writing Task 2 essay

IELTS General Training Writing test

The topics used in the IELTS General Training Writing test are of general interest. In Task 1 you will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. You can write the letter in a personal, semi-formal or formal style. In Task 2 you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. You can use a fairly personal style.

1 General Writing Sample Task 1

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
You play a team sport with some friends. Last week a member of the team had an accident and wasn’t able to play with you at the weekend. You decide to write to him in hospital, telling him about the match. Write a letter to your friend. In your letter,
  • tell him which team won
  • describe the conditions on the day
  • say how you felt about the match
Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.


You do not have time to write a detailed plan for your letter so think about drafting (writing in rough) the opening line of each of the sections: 1) Opening 2) Main paragraphs 3) Closing with notes on one or two main points. This will give your writing a sense of direction.

 Sample Band 9 answer

Dear Frank, I was so sorry to hear about your accident! I hope you’re feeling a lot better today and that it’s not too boring in hospital. (Expresses sympathy and asks about the reader’s health.) The match on Saturday was disappointing. The score was 2 all, probably because you weren’t there to score that extra goal! The awful thing was that we were winning until 10 minutes before the end, when suddenly they scored another goal. I was so shocked when I saw the ball hit the back of the net. (Tells him the score and briefly describes how you felt about the match.) I think the weather was to blame. It was a really wet day and the pitch was very muddy. By the end of the game you could hardly see the grass and we were sliding around in the mud. Everyone was exhausted. (Mentions the weather and conditions.) Let us know when you’re going home and we’ll arrange for someone to bring you to watch the next game. The rest of the team send their regards and we all wish you a speedy recovery. (Finishes with good wishes.) Best wishes, Charlie (161 words)

2 General Writing Sample Task 1

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
You are studying a short course in another country. Your accommodation was arranged by the course provider. There is a major problem with the accommodation. Write a letter to the course provider. In your letter,
  • say what the problem is
  • describe the accommodation you thought you were getting
  • ask the provider to solve the problem
Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.


A common problem in GT Task 1 is that candidates use a strange mix of formal and informal language. In formal letters, they may include inappropriate informalities; in informal letters they may suddenly be too formal, usually including a memorised chunk. This mix confuses the reader and affects the candidate’s score in Task Fulfilment.

 Model answer

Dear Mr Watterson, My name is Andrew Fish, and I am taking an eight-week intensive English course at Oxford House College. My company is paying for my tuition, and I am using my summer vacation to study. It is expected I will pass an English Proficiency Test as a result, and be transferred abroad. Therefore, it is rather important to me that I am able to study in the best environment. I am staying in Phoenix Hostel on campus. While my room is pleasant and the facilities are very good, the hostel is extremely noisy. When I organised my accommodation, I was assured I would be staying only with post-graduate or intensive-course students. However, most of the people in this hostel are doing summer-school courses due to academic failure, and they are all under 22. It seems to me they are enjoying one long party: certainly no one observes light out or turns down music despite being asked to. I wonder if I may be moved to a hostel which is more conducive to serious study, or I may use the remainder of my accommodation fee to go towards payment for a hotel. I look forward to hearing from you. Yours sincerely, Andrew Fish (204 words)

3 General Writing Sample Task 1

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task. You have just spent a weekend at a friend’s house. When you returned home, you discovered you have left a coat containing some belongings in his house. Write a letter to your friend telling him that you left the coat. Tell him what the coat looks like, where you think you left it and what was inside it. Make some suggestions about how to get it back. You should write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write your own address. Begin your letter as follows: Dear John,

Model answer

Dear John, I‛m back at home now after that great weekend at your house. Thanks very much for putting me up. I hope you‛ll be able to come and stay with me some time soon as well. Unfortunately I left my new coat at your house. Do you remember the dark brown one that I wore when we went walking on Saturday afternoon? It is a New Look coat that goes down to mid-thigh level. It has a black collar, dark brown buttons and large pockets on both sides. I think I left it on the hooks behind your front door. Do you remember we hung up our coats there when we got back from our walk? It‛s quite important for me as I have my wallet in the inside breast pocket and my diary in the right outside pocket. I have a friend who is driving through your town on Thursday and he will be quite near your office. Could he please collect it from there? I have given him your office phone number and he will call you on Thursday morning. Give me a call if this is not possible. Anyway, thanks again for a great weekend and I hope to see you soon. Regards, Phillip (208 words)]]>

IELTS General-Academic Differences and Similarities

IELTS Training[/caption]

IELTS General-Academic Differences and Similarities

Test takers who understand the format of IELTS are at an advantage. Make sure you’re familiar with how IELTS testing works.

There are two versions of the test, IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Both tests are graded in exactly the same way. You’ll take the first three parts of the test on the same day, in the following order:
  • Listening*
  • Reading
  • Writing
There are no breaks between these tests. Your Speaking test will be held either on the same day or 7 days before or after that, depending on local arrangements. *Remember that in the Listening test, there will be a range of native-speaker accents (North American, Australian, New Zealand and British). All standard varieties of English are accepted during the test.
IELTS Academic IELTS General Training
IELTS Academic measures English language proficiency needed for an academic, higher learning environment. The tasks and tests are accessible to all test takers, irrespective of their subject focus. IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The tasks and tests reflect both workplace and social situations.
Listening* (30 minutes, plus 10 minutes extra to transfer your answer to your answer sheet) Four recorded monologues and conversations. Listening* (30 minutes, plus 10 minutes extra to transfer your answer to your answer sheet) Four recorded monologues and conversations.
Reading (60 minutes)
  • Three long reading passages with tasks
  • Texts range from descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical
  • Includes non-verbal material such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations
  • Texts are authentic (e.g. taken from books, journals and newspapers)
Reading (60 minutes)
  • Three reading passages with tasks
  • Section 1 contains two or three short factual texts
  • Section 2 includes two short, work-related, factual texts
  • Section 3 contains one longer text on a topic of general interest
  • Texts are authentic (e.g. taken from books, journals and newspapers)
Writing (60 minutes)
  • Writing task of at least 150 words where the test taker must summarise, describe or explain a table, graph, chart or diagram
  • Short essay task of at least 250 words
Writing (60 minutes)
  • Letter writing task of at least 150 words
  • Short essay task of at least 250 words
Speaking* (11 to 14 minutes)
  • Face-to-face interview
  • Includes short questions, speaking at length about a familiar topic and a structured decision
Speaking* (11 to 14 minutes)
  • Face-to-face interview
  • Includes short questions, speaking at length about a familiar topic and a structured decision
* Listening and Speaking sections are the same for both versions of the test

IELTS Writing: Key Expressions for Boosting Score in IELTS Writing Task 2

Key Expressions for Boosting Score in IELTS Writing Task 2

By learning to use common phrases and set expressions, you can add variety and interest to your writing. You will also be able to write more quickly and effectively during exams, when time is limited.

Useful Phrase 1 – best for introductions

“This essay will analyse this issue using the examples from…” “to demonstrate points and support arguments.” You will need to supply the examples in accordance with your particular topic. For instance: “This essay will analyse this issue using the examples from wartime countries and conflict zones to demonstrate points and support arguments.” and “This essay will analyse this issue using the examples from Canada, Australia and Rwanda to demonstrate points and support arguments.” It is undeniable that ___(insert problem from question)___ is one of the most challenging issues in the western world.

Useful Phrase 2 – best for body paragraphs (opinions)

2.) When injecting an opposing thought, instead of using only “However,” you can use: “However, it should not be forgotten (that)…” and add the opposing point.

Useful Phrase 3 – best for body paragraphs (examples)

Cite examples from research or studies made, using the phrase, “For example, a recent study by _________ showed…” There are also studies being performed on a global level to discover the source of these important problems. One solution proposed by the _(insert global organisation)___ is to_________. For instance: For example, a recent study by the WTO (or U.K. government) showed…” then supply the details of the findings.

Useful Phrase 4 – best for body paragraphs

It is fairly easy to comprehend the arguments as to why this proposal has been made. There would be at least two facets to this proposal. There is also, however, a strong argument not to implement this proposal. The issue of __X__ in western / African countries has grown in importance over the past few decades. The issue of __X__ in most continents has fallen in importance over the past few years.

Useful Phrase 5 – best for supporting sentences

Instead of saying “There is proof that…” you can say, instead: “There is ample evidence to suggest that…” For instance: “There is ample evidence to suggest that scientists will promptly discover…” and “There is ample evidence to suggest that local governments will be implementing …”

Useful Phrase 6 – best for supporting sentences

Give your findings a supportive introduction using the phrase: “Numerous studies have consistently found that …” then provide your conclusion, for instance: Numerous studies have consistently found that children from economically advancedcountries…” and “Numerous studies have consistently found that students who learn 3 languages have areduced chance of contracting Alzheimer’s.”

Useful Phrase 7 – best for strengthening an argument by being specific

Instead of generalising, enumerate or cite samples.  For instance: Replace “Recent electronic gadgets have…” with “Electronic gadgets such as the smartphone, the laptop, and the 3D printer have drastically increased worker productivity.” Replace “Serious diseases are a recurring matter…” with “Serious diseases such as Malaria,Ebola and Dengue Fever bring about a considerable amount of expenses.”

Useful Phrase 8 – to change the person

However, in my view this solution is rather controversial and other solutions need to be found. However, from a general viewpoint this solution is rather impractical and other solutions need to be found. These may be little additions of 3-9 words per phrase but many little phrases go a long way toward a 250 word goal.

Warning! When using these useful phrases for IELTS writing task two..

  • Make sure you have adapted them to your specific essay topic
  • To improve your grammatical range and accuracy experiment with these same structures but using different verbs and nouns.
  • You can find more structures by reading academic material and copying phrases you think you could adapt in your essays.
Now you need to take notes and exercise using the phrases in your own sentences for better retention. Note that these phrases need not necessarily be copied.  Merely copying can cause you trouble.  You must make sure that the way you use the phrases that fit your essay perfectly to maintain coherence in thought and correct grammatical structures. As I’ve always said, “The important thing is to take action, do something every day, and little by little, you will get there.”

An example of an essay map

To show you what I mean, take a look at this outline of an essay. It contains 125 words: that is half of all the words you need for an IELTS essay.
One of the most controversial issues today relates to . ……………. In this essay, I am going to examine this question from both points of view On one side of the argument there are people who argue that the benefits of considerably outweigh its disadvantages. The main reason for believing this is that …………………. It is also possible to say that …….One good illustration of this is …………. On the other hand, it is also possible to make the opposing case. It is often argued that in fact ……….. People often have this opinion because …………… A second point is that ………..A particularly good example here is………….. As we have seen, there are no easy answers to this question. On balance, however, I tend to believe that …

General explaining

Let’s start by looking at language for general explanations of complex points.

1. In order to

Usage: “In order to” can be used to introduce an explanation for the purpose of an argument. Example: “In order to understand X, we need first to understand Y.”

2. In other words

Usage: Use “in other words” when you want to express something in a different way (more simply), to make it easier to understand, or to emphasise or expand on a point. Example: “Frogs are amphibians. In other words, they live on the land and in the water.”

3. To put it another way

Usage: This phrase is another way of saying “in other words”, and can be used in particularly complex points, when you feel that an alternative way of wording a problem may help the reader achieve a better understanding of its significance. Example: “Plants rely on photosynthesis. To put it another way, they will die without the sun.”

4. That is to say

Usage: “That is” and “that is to say” can be used to add further detail to your explanation, or to be more precise. Example: “Whales are mammals. That is to say, they must breathe air.”

5. To that end

Usage: Use “to that end” or “to this end” in a similar way to “in order to” or “so”. Example: “Zoologists have long sought to understand how animals communicate with each other. To that end, a new study has been launched that looks at elephant sounds and their possible meanings.”

Adding additional information to support a point

Students often make the mistake of using synonyms of “and” each time they want to add further information in support of a point they’re making, or to build an argument. Here are some cleverer ways of doing this.

6. Moreover

Usage: Employ “moreover” at the start of a sentence to add extra information in support of a point you’re making. Example: “Moreover, the results of a recent piece of research provide compelling evidence in support of…”

7. Furthermore

Usage:This is also generally used at the start of a sentence, to add extra information. Example: “Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that…”

8. What’s more

Usage: This is used in the same way as “moreover” and “furthermore”. Example: “What’s more, this isn’t the only evidence that supports this hypothesis.”

9. Likewise

Usage: Use “likewise” when you want to talk about something that agrees with what you’ve just mentioned. Example: “Scholar A believes X. Likewise, Scholar B argues compellingly in favour of this point of view.”

10. Similarly

Usage: Use “similarly” in the same way as “likewise”. Example: “Audiences at the time reacted with shock to Beethoven’s new work, because it was very different to what they were used to. Similarly, we have a tendency to react with surprise to the unfamiliar.”

11. Another key thing to remember

Usage: Use the phrase “another key point to remember” or “another key fact to remember” to introduce additional facts without using the word “also”. Example: “As a Romantic, Blake was a proponent of a closer relationship between humans and nature. Another key point to remember is that Blake was writing during the Industrial Revolution, which had a major impact on the world around him.”

12. As well as

Usage: Use “as well as” instead of “also” or “and”. Example: “Scholar A argued that this was due to X, as well as Y.”

13. Not only… but also

Usage: This wording is used to add an extra piece of information, often something that’s in some way more surprising or unexpected than the first piece of information. Example: “Not only did Edmund Hillary have the honour of being the first to reach the summit of Everest, but he was also appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.”

14. Coupled with

Usage: Used when considering two or more arguments at a time. Example: “Coupled with the literary evidence, the statistics paint a compelling view of…”

15. Firstly, secondly, thirdly…

Usage: This can be used to structure an argument, presenting facts clearly one after the other. Example: “There are many points in support of this view. Firstly, X. Secondly, Y. And thirdly, Z.

16. Not to mention/to say nothing of

Usage: “Not to mention” and “to say nothing of” can be used to add extra information with a bit of emphasis. Example: “The war caused unprecedented suffering to millions of people, not to mention its impact on the country’s economy.”

Words and phrases for demonstrating contrast

When you’re developing an argument, you will often need to present contrasting or opposing opinions or evidence – “it could show this, but it could also show this”, or “X says this, but Y disagrees”. This section covers words you can use instead of the “but” in these examples, to make your writing sound more intelligent and interesting.

17. However

Usage: Use “however” to introduce a point that disagrees with what you’ve just said. Example: “Scholar A thinks this. However, Scholar B reached a different conclusion.”

18. On the other hand

Usage: Usage of this phrase includes introducing a contrasting interpretation of the same piece of evidence, a different piece of evidence that suggests something else, or an opposing opinion. Example: “The historical evidence appears to suggest a clear-cut situation. On the other hand, the archaeological evidence presents a somewhat less straightforward picture of what happened that day.”

19. Having said that

Usage: Used in a similar manner to “on the other hand” or “but”. Example: “The historians are unanimous in telling us X, an agreement that suggests that this version of events must be an accurate account. Having said that, the archaeology tells a different story.”

20. By contrast/in comparison

Usage: Use “by contrast” or “in comparison” when you’re comparing and contrasting pieces of evidence. Example: “Scholar A’s opinion, then, is based on insufficient evidence. By contrast, Scholar B’s opinion seems more plausible.”

21. Then again

Usage: Use this to cast doubt on an assertion. Example: “Writer A asserts that this was the reason for what happened. Then again, it’s possible that he was being paid to say this.”

22. That said

Usage: This is used in the same way as “then again”. Example: “The evidence ostensibly appears to point to this conclusion. That said, much of the evidence is unreliable at best.”

23. Yet

Usage: Use this when you want to introduce a contrasting idea. Example: “Much of scholarship has focused on this evidence. Yet not everyone agrees that this is the most important aspect of the situation.”

Adding a proviso or acknowledging reservations

Sometimes, you may need to acknowledge a shortfalling in a piece of evidence, or add a proviso. Here are some ways of doing so.

24. Despite this

Usage: Use “despite this” or “in spite of this” when you want to outline a point that stands regardless of a shortfalling in the evidence. Example: “The sample size was small, but the results were important despite this.”

25. With this in mind

Usage: Use this when you want your reader to consider a point in the knowledge of something else. Example: “We’ve seen that the methods used in the 19th century study did not always live up to the rigorous standards expected in scientific research today, which makes it difficult to draw definite conclusions. With this in mind, let’s look at a more recent study to see how the results compare.”

26. Provided that

Usage: This means “on condition that”. You can also say “providing that” or just “providing” to mean the same thing. Example: “We may use this as evidence to support our argument, provided that we bear in mind the limitations of the methods used to obtain it.”

27. In view of/in light of

Usage: These phrases are used when something has shed light on something else. Example: “In light of the evidence from the 2013 study, we have a better understanding of…”

28. Nonetheless

Usage: This is similar to “despite this”. Example: “The study had its limitations, but it was nonetheless groundbreaking for its day.”

29. Nevertheless

Usage: This is the same as “nonetheless”. Example: “The study was flawed, but it was important nevertheless.”

30. Notwithstanding

Usage: This is another way of saying “nonetheless”. Example: “Notwithstanding the limitations of the methodology used, it was an important study in the development of how we view the workings of the human mind.”

Giving examples

Good essays always back up points with examples, but it’s going to get boring if you use the expression “for example” every time. Here are a couple of other ways of saying the same thing.

31. For instance

Example: “Some birds migrate to avoid harsher winter climates. Swallows, for instance, leave the UK in early winter and fly south…”

32. To give an illustration

Example: “To give an illustration of what I mean, let’s look at the case of…”

Signifying importance

When you want to demonstrate that a point is particularly important, there are several ways of highlighting it as such.

33. Significantly

Usage: Used to introduce a point that is loaded with meaning that might not be immediately apparent. Example: “Significantly, Tacitus omits to tell us the kind of gossip prevalent in Suetonius’ accounts of the same period.”

34. Notably

Usage: This can be used to mean “significantly” (as above), and it can also be used interchangeably with “in particular” (the example below demonstrates the first of these ways of using it). Example: “Actual figures are notably absent from Scholar A’s analysis.”

35. Importantly

Usage: Use “importantly” interchangeably with “significantly”. Example: “Importantly, Scholar A was being employed by X when he wrote this work, and was presumably therefore under pressure to portray the situation more favourably than he perhaps might otherwise have done.”


You’ve almost made it to the end of the essay, but your work isn’t over yet. You need to end by wrapping up everything you’ve talked about, showing that you’ve considered the arguments on both sides and reached the most likely conclusion. Here are some words and phrases to help you.

36. In conclusion

Usage: Typically used to introduce the concluding paragraph or sentence of an essay, summarising what you’ve discussed in a broad overview. Example: “In conclusion, the evidence points almost exclusively to Argument A.”

37. Above all

Usage: Used to signify what you believe to be the most significant point, and the main takeaway from the essay. Example: “Above all, it seems pertinent to remember that…”

38. Persuasive

Usage: This is a useful word to use when summarising which argument you find most convincing. Example: “Scholar A’s point – that Constanze Mozart was motivated by financial gain – seems to me to be the most persuasive argument for her actions following Mozart’s death.”

39. Compelling

Usage: Use in the same way as “persuasive” above. Example: “The most compelling argument is presented by Scholar A.”

40. All things considered

Usage: This means “taking everything into account”. Example: “All things considered, it seems reasonable to assume that…” How many of these words and phrases will you get into your next essay? And are any of your favourite essay terms missing from our list? Let us know in the comments below!

IELTS Training: General Writing Task 1

IELTS General Sample Letters (IELTS Writing Task 1)

The purpose of this section is to help you with the Writing Task 1 of the IELTS General test. In Task 1, candidates are asked to respond to a given problem with a letter requesting information or explaining a situation. It is suggested that about 20 minutes is spent on Task 1, which requires candidates to write at least 150 words. Depending on the task suggested, candidates are assessed on their ability to:
  • engage in personal correspondence
  • elicit and provide general factual information
  • express needs, wants, likes and dislikes
  • express opinions (views, complaints etc.)

 IELTS Writing Sample Letters

In Task 1 of the IELTS General Writingsection, you must write a letter about a given situation. This letter will be one of the following types:

Style Characteristics Opening Ending
Formal To someone you have not met, whose name you don’t know Dear Sir / Madam Yours faithfully
Semi-formal To someone you may or may not have met, whose last name you know & use Dear Mr Brown, Dear Ms Stone Yours sincerely
Informal To someone you know well, whose first name you know and use Dear John Dear Anita Best regards Warm wishes
Each kind of letter requires a different style of writing, a specific beginning and ending salutation, formal or informal expressions and varying types of grammatical forms. As you read through the sample IELTS letters below, take note of how they vary depending on the level of familiarity with the person being written to. Practice writing your own letters from sample letter topics, until you can produce all three kinds of letters easily and quickly. Then, you will be able to complete this task effectively and easily on the day of your IELTS exam. Also, every General IELTS Writing Task 1 includes three bulleted points which you need to mention in your letter. Make sure you include these three points or else you will not get high marks, no matter how well you write. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

Complaining to a Hotel

Below is a sample letter response to Task 1 of the General IELTS Writing Section. It is a formal letter, which can be identified in several ways:
  • the tone, which is official, business-like and serious
  • the use of Dear Sir / Madam
  • the absence of contractions
  • the use of formal expressions (I am writing in connection with…)
  • the closing salutation ( “Yours faithfully” instead of the more informal “Yours sincerely” or “Best regards”)
Sample Letter 1 You should spend about 20 minutes on this task. You recently stayed in a hotel in a large city. The weather was very unusual for the time of year and the heating / cooling system in the hotel was quite inadequate. Write a letter to the manager of the hotel. In your letter:
  • give details of what went wrong
  • explain what you had to do to overcome the problem at the time
  • say what action you would like the manager to take
You should write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write your own address. Begin your letter as follows: Dear __________   Dear Sir / Madam I am writing in connection with my recent stay at the Four Seasons in London, England. Unfortunately, due to a malfunctioning heater in my room, I spent three miserable nights at your hotel from April 26 � 29, 2010. When I arrived in London, there was an unexpected snowstorm. I understand it does not usually snow inApril; however, when I got to my room, there was no heat. After complaining, a technician was sent up, who informed me they had to install a new heating unit. When I asked to be moved to another room, I was told the hotel was completely booked. Unfortunately, each night after work I returned to discover the problem had not been rectified. Eventually, I spent three horribly uncomfortable nights, wearing my coat to bed, wearing socks around the room and ending up with a bad cold from the unheated room. I had no time to complain as I had to catch a flight home right after my conference. I am shocked by this terrible service. This is not what anyone expects for $400 a night! To compensate me for this tremendous inconvenience, I ask that you refund my money right away and offer me a free, more comfortable stay in one of your finer suites in the future. If not, I am prepared to take my complaint to a higher authority. I look forward to hearing from you at the earliest, Yours faithfully, Mr John McFee (236 words) Sample Letter 2 You live in a room in college which you share with another student. You find it very difficult to work there because he or she always has friends visiting. They have parties in the room and sometimes borrow your things without asking you. Write a letter to the Accommodation Officer at the college and ask for a new room next term. You would prefer a single room. Explain your reasons. You should write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write your own address. Begin your letter as follows: Dear Sir/Madam,

Model answer 1

Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with my room-mate. As your know we share one room, I can not study in the room at all any more if I still stay there. She always has friend visiting and has parties in the room. They make lots of noise and switch on the radio very loudly, for me this environment is very difficult to study and I need a quiet room. Even borrows my things without asking, it is very impolite. I request you can give me a new room next term because I have been asked her has parties in other place many times they still have parties in the room. I really can not stay in the same room with her. I would be grateful if you could change me a single room.
Band 5 “The answer is below the word limit and there is some repetition of the task rubric. (Length is a common problem in General Training scripts). Answers that are short lose marks because there is insufficient material in the answer for the examiner to give credit for accuracy and coherence. Despite these problems, the introduction to the letter is appropriate and the purpose of the writer is clear. The points are not always linked together well and punctuation is sometimes faulty. The sentences are kept quite simple and mistakes occur as soon as more complex structures are attempted.”

Model answer 2

Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing you to express my dissatisfaction with my roommate and request for another accommodation next term. My main problem is that I cannot study in my room because my roommate always has friends visiting. He also has parties which usually end early in the morning, several times a week. Furthermore, he often borrows my things without asking me. I cannot accept this situation any longer. Especially because I have very important exams next term and I really must study hard. This is why I would be very grateful if I could have another room next term. It would be most convenient for me not having to share my room with someone else. I am looking forward to hearing from you soon. Your faithfully, Ivan Sidorov
Band 7 “The answer is also short. Although ideas are often provided in the task rubric, candidates are at liberty to include some of their own ideas in their answers. In this case, the candidate has attempted to incorporate some original material. The answer reads quite fluently, is well organised and there is good use of conjunctions to link points. There are some grammatical errors but these do not affect the reader greatly and there is evidence of some more complex sentence structures.”
General Training Writing Task 1 Sample 1

You would like to participate in a work-related seminar in another country.

Write a letter to the person in charge of the seminar and ask for detailed information regarding the dates, program, accommodation and cost.
Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any address. Model Answer 1: Dear Sir / Madam, My name is Rona Lyn Olivar. I am currently working as an ICU Nurse (Intensive Care Unit) in a tertiary level and private hospital called the Urdaneta City Sacred Heart Hospital which is situated in the province of Pangasinan here in the Philippines. I have learned in our ICU Department that your expert team will be conducted an EKG (Electrocardiogram) thorough training in Singapore. I am writing to you today because I would also like to attend and ask about specific information regarding the seminar schedules, about the program, accommodation and the cost. Firstly, with regards to dates and time, I would like to ask when will be the seminar held. How many days will it take and how many hours in a day will we have to engage. What time would the training be started and ended? Secondly, I would also want to know what would be the topic outline of the program, the things we are required to bring something in and what would be the benefits for us Registered nurses who will be attending the seminar. And finally, I would also like to know about the accommodation and the cost. Since I am living here in the Philippines, and Singapore is about 3 1/2 hours from my country and I have no any relatives or friends in that country. Will you be helping us to settle our staying place or do we need to have a booking in a hotel? And also because it is my first time to travel abroad, I do not know how much will I be needing to spend with it. I am looking forward to hearing from you soon regarding my concerns. Yours faithfully, R.Olivar Model Answer 2: Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing to request information regarding the conference that is being arranged by your organisation in the next month, advertised in the local newspaper. I was wondering if I could acquire detailed information about the program beforehand then it would be worthwhile to plan the trip appropriately. Mainly, I’d like to receive details about below points: • I heard the symposium is three days long but exact dates are expected to sanction the leaves from work. • Expected a basic level of course knowledge before actually attending the conclave. • Venue details with navigational maps, if possible. • Sitting arrangements available, auditorium or a hotel boutique, for instance, with sitting capacity. • If a laptop and other stationary items are required or not. • Accommodation type half board or full board. • The total price of the entire program with early bird discount if bookings are done well in advance for three persons. I’m hoping to receive this information for above points no later than one week before the scheduled starting date of the seminar. You could send the information via Fax or can send an email on……… Your help and time will be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance. Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Sincerely yours, Dev. Model Answer 3: Dear Sir / Madam, I am writing to ask you some questions about the seminar which will be held in London about new techniques of production management. I am working as a production manager in the biggest home appliances company in Iran for five years and I think this seminar would be suitable for me as it can help me to learn some new approaches of managing workers and manufactured line. I always have tried to update my profession knowledge and participating in this seminar would be essential for me to find that which management manners and styles are more efficient in home appliances manufactured industry. As I didn’t obtain some information over your advertisement, I would appreciate your help if you let me know in which date the seminar would be held. Also, I need to know what kind of accommodation you would prepare for participations. And as the last question, how much is the cost of registering for this seminar and is there any website which I can pay the cost online? I look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Yours faithfully Milad Rahimi Model Answer 4: Dear Sir / Madam, I am keen to receive information about the Enterprise Architecture Seminar scheduled to happen next month. This is Raj Muthuraman, working as a Senior Architect in BT Financial Group, presenting a paper on ‘Failure more and recovery of technical orchestration’ in the seminar. I am excited to present my research paper at the seminar. The invitation I received for the event did not confirm the dates as they were still being finalised. Can you confirm the dates of the event and provide an agenda for the event so that I can plan ahead. Also, can you suggest some good hotels in the area with an indicative cost that will help me in planning my travel, accommodation and financial aspects of the trip? It would be great if you can send me the requested details at the earliest date preferably by the end of this week by fax or mail. Looking forward to hearing from you. Yours Faithfully, Raj Muthuraman [ Written by – Rajaganapathy ]

Model Answer 5:

Dear Sir, With due respect, I would like to participate in the seminar which is going to be organised by your well-reputed company. I came to know about the seminar while I was surfing the web in search of such a seminar that will help me to understand and work better in my current job. As I am residing in Bangladesh which is in another continent, I would like to know detailed information regarding the dates and program schedule so that I can prepare myself according to the schedule because there are various facts connected to the schedule like arranging visa and buying ticket according to the schedule for travelling to your country. In addition to that, I would also request you to provide details about accommodation during the program whether the arrangement to be made by the host or I need to arrange of my own. I would also like to know about the total cost of attending the seminar and other expenditure like accommodation, meals, fares etc. Therefore, I request you to provide the details as I stated above so that I can complete the arrangement well ahead of time to avoid any unnecessary situation. Yours faithfully, Safayet Ullah [ Written by – Safayet Ullah ] Model Answer 6: Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing this letter in connection with the upcoming seminar on “Automation testing – Tips for beginners” to be held in Toronto, Canada in June 2016. I am currently employed as a Software manual tester and I have been performing this role for the last 5 years. I have always had a keen interest in learning testing automation tools and use automated testing in addition to manual testing to increase my scope of testing. By getting myself acquainted to automation testing, I can accomplish my daily tasks comparatively faster. I learnt about the Automation testing workshop while it was broadcasted on local radio station. As the advertisement was being announced, I was driving and was unable to catch most of the information like the date and venue details as well as the accommodation and cost. I will be highly obliged if you can write back to me the program schedule of the symposium along with the dates and venue details. Also, I would like to be informed about how the visa and accommodation arrangements will be done. Awaiting your quick response. Thanking you in anticipation. Larissa. [ Written by – Larissa ]

Model Answer 7:

Dear Sir/ Madam, I am very excited about the upcoming seminar on “Risk management in Financial Industry” that will be organised by you. However, I am a bit worried because the information I received does not have the dates, program, accommodation plan and the cost. I currently work in a financial institution and have spent over 5 years in the Risk Management sector, thus the seminar will be of immense benefit to me in facing current risk management issues. Firstly, please provide me with the actual date the seminar will commence and the duration of it. Also, I will want to know the schedule of the seminar and the exact timing of it on each day. Secondly, please provide me with the program structure, whether it will take the form of a paper presentation or not. Also, inform me the type of materials I will need to participate in it. Lastly, in the area of accommodation, will you handle the booking for International participants and what will the cost be. Thank you in advance. Looking forward to hearing from you. Yours faithfully, Cyril Chinkata  



Sample 1
In Academic Task 1 of the Writing module, you are expected to write a short descriptive report based on visual information or data. This visual information is most commonly presented as line and bar graphs, pie charts or tables. You might be asked to describe two graphs or charts. If this is the case, you need to compare and contrast the information and make connections between the two. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.   The diagram below shows the number of landline telephones per 1000 people in different countries over a five-year period. Write a report for a university lecturer describing the information shown below. Write at least 150 words. Ielts Writing Task 1

model answer:

The graph shows the number of telephones owned per thousand of the population in different countries over a five-year period. Overall, the number of phone owners per thousand of the population varied considerably. However, numbers tended to fall in countries with the highest level of phone ownership, whereas numbers generally rose in countries which had fewer phone owners in 2000. By far the highest level of phone ownership was in Singapore, where just under 430 people per thousand were owners in 2004. This figure is slightly lower than the 2000 figure of around 460 per thousand. In Brunei Darussalam the second highest levels of phone ownership were recorded, and the numbers fluctuated around the 250 per thousand level across the five years. Countries like Cambodia and Vietnam had much lower levels of phone ownership and these increased up to 2004, rather than decreasing. In the remaining countries, the number of landline phone owners remained below the 100 per thousand level between 2000 and 2004. (164 words)


Sample 2

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The bar chart shows the number of overseas students enrolled in a third year Computer Science course at a Canadian college.

Summarise the information by selecting and report in the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Write at least 150 words

Ielts Writing Task 1

model answer:

According to the bar chart, students from four Asian countries (China, Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka) and one European country (France) are taking Computer Science at the collage. Some students are enrolled in the Database core option; the others are taking Networking.

Overall, the China has the largest number of enrolled students (17) and France has the smallest (5). Singapore and Sri Lanka both have 12 students; Malaysia has 11. It is noticeable that Singapore and Sri Lanka have similar profiles.

Students from all five countries are enrolled in Database, but more males are taking this option than females (21 and 9 respectively). For each nationality, the males taking Database outnumber the females, except in the case of French students with 3 females to only 1 male. The China has the most students studying Database (9); Sri Lanka is next with 7, while Singapore has 6. Malaysia and France have 4 Database students each.

As for Networking option, more females than males are enrolled from every country except France. In fact, no female French students are taking Networking. Only 1 male from each country is enrolled in Networking, except for 2 males from Sri Lanka.


Sample 3

The bar chart below shows the percentage participation of men in senior development in three companies between 1980 and the year 2010.

Summarise the information by selecting and report in the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Write at least 150 words

Ielts Writing Task 1

model answer:

The bar chart shows the percentage of men in senior development position in three companies from 1980 to 2010.

While more men were in senior positions at Apple than other two companies in 1980 at 15%, the trend was fairly erratic with a 2% drop to 13% in 1985, followed by a rise of 1% five years later. In 1995, men held 7% more top development jobs than in 1990. After a slight drop back to 19% in 2000, by 2010 25% of top posts were filled by men.

By contrast, at IBM men fared much better. In 1980, 2% of senior posts were occupied by men with no change five years on. By 1990, the figure had increased to 13%, doubling to 26 per cent in 1995. Five years afterwards, there was a 6% increase in male senior development jobs with a near twofold jump in 2010 to stand at 63%, the highest for the three companies.

The situation was less remarkable at Microsoft than the other two firms except for the year 2010. In 1980, the percentage of senior posts held by men was 8% climbing at the rate of 2% in each subsequent period until 2000, after which it leapt to 45%. From the data, it is clear that men dominated senior posts at IBM by 2010.


Sample 4

The graph below presents the employment patterns in the USA between 1930 and 2010.

Summarise the information by selecting and report in the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Write at least 150 words

Ielts Writing Task 1

model answer:

In 1930, 75% of the labour force in the USA was employed in farming, fishing and foresting while only 10% worked in sales and office and trade. At the same time both the Industrial sector and the technical sector constituted just 2% of the workforce each. This situation changed only very gradually over the next 20 years, except for the technical workforce, which increased more than threefold.

However by 1980 there had been a significant change in the pattern of employment. While the farming, fishing and foresting employees had declined in number to 40% of the workforce, Industrial employees as well as technical had increased their share to 13% and 10% respectively.

Similarly the sales and office sectors did not increase until 1980. The most dramatic change could be seen by 2000, when the proportion of farming, fishing and foresting works reduced to just 10% while the three other major sectors had all increased to over 20% of the workforce.

(160 words)

Test tip1:  spend time studying the information first. The title given may help you with your first sentence, but try to use different words and don’t just copy words from the question paper. Try to identify key areas in the data. Do not miss out any important details in your description and make sure you stick to the time limit so that you leave enough time to answer task 2. Test tip2: Writing about Graphs, Tables and Diagrams, Similarity can be shown by using:
similarly likewise equally
in the same way the same in a similar way I fashion
both…. and…. as well as not only… but also
also too like x, y….
as…. as…. just as x, y… just as x, so y….


Sample 5

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting description of the correlation of the table that follow.

Write at least 150 words.

Alcohol-Related Deaths 2005 beers consumption per capita, 2002 (litres)
Total Male Female
Lithuania 125,000 112,000 13,000 91
Ireland 582,000 413,000 169,000 104
Czech Republic 1,369,000 900,000 469,000 132
Canada 580,000 505,000 75,000 86
Estonia 383,000 332,000 51,000 98
Germany 1,185,000 986,000 200,000 107
Austria 913,000 783,000 130,000 106

model answer:

There is a clear correlation between the litres of beer consumed per capita and number of alcohol related deaths. The table shows that the greatest beer consumption in 2002 was to be found in Czech Republic, Germany and Austria, and that each of these regions also had by far the largest litres of alcohol related deaths in 2005. Czech Republic, with the greatest beer consumption per litre, namely over hundred and thirty for 2002, also experienced well over one million litres alcohol-related deaths by 2005. The region with the second highest beer consumption was Germany, with nearly 107 litres, and it also recorded the second highest number of alcohol-related deaths, namely 1.185 million.

In all regions except Canada it can be seen that the higher beer consumption, the higher the alcohol-related mortality rate. It is interesting that in Canada, with the lowest level of beer consumption, at 86 per capita, the mortality rate was the high as in Ireland, namely 0.58 million, although in the latter the consumption level was high. Clearly other health or economic factors must be involved. It is also interesting to note that in each case the number of female death was significantly lower than that of males, which seems to be a reflection of the fact that in general far fewer women than men drink.

(220 words)

Test tip: There is no special vocabulary to be used for describing correlated graphs and tables. There are two grammatical forms which are more likely to occur in this context: the superlatives of quantity such as the greatest number, the lowest incidence/occurrence etc. and the comparative form: the greater the… the greater the…,etc.

IELTS Writing Test Band 9.0 Sample Essays

IELTS Writing Test Band 9.0 Sample Essays Parents often give children everything they ask for and do what they like. Is it good for children? What are the consequences when they grow up? Sample 1 : 9 Band Indulging children has been a common parenting problem in many modern families. From my perspective, this practice exerts some immediate adverse impacts on children and also results in long-term consequences for them. In the short term, it is possible that over-indulgence causes some delay to the process in which children learn important life skills. This can be seen in a variety of age groups, ranging from toddlers to teenagers. For example, many over-caring parents spoon-feed their children until they are five or six, the developmental stage in which they should have already been able to eat independently. There is also a common practice that parents assist their pre-adolescent children in taking a bath or a shower. As a result, children may fail to acquire basic personal hygiene skills at the right time. In the long run, the consequences are even direr as over-indulged children grow up. If parents unconditionally satisfy all the needs of their children, they may have inadvertently made their children become over-dependent on other people. When these children enter adulthood, the inability to live independently can cause some difficulties for them to maintain their overall well-being, for instance, they may be unaware of what to do when they catch a fever. Furthermore, it is a norm that over-indulgent parents are lenient and do not require children to face the consequences of their misbehaviour. In general, this deprives children ofthe opportunities to learn from mistakes, which may cause their problem solving skills to be severely lacking in the future. From the issues outlined above, one can conclude that over-indulgence may produce a number of unfavourable effects on children, including the delay in gaining crucial life skills such as self-feeding and the long-term consequence of lacking the ability to cope withproblems as adults in the future.

Useful Vocabulary, Collocations & Expressions for IELTS Writing

Parenting (adj) the raising of a child by its parents Exert negative/adverse impact/influence on (phrase) have a bad effect on Result in (verb) lead to In the short term (phrase) during the period of time that is not very far into the future Over-indulgence (n) to allow someone to do or have whatever they want Life skills (n) skills that are needed to deal effectively with the challenges of everyday life, at school, at work and in personal relationships Spoon-feed (phrase)  Development stages (phrase)  theoretical milestones of child development In the long run (phrase) during the period of time that is far into the future Inadvertently (adv) not deliberately, and without realizing what you are doing Lenient (adj) permissive, merciful, or tolerant Deprive of (verb) if you deprive someone of something, you take it away from them or preventthem from having it

Band 9.0 Sample 2

Today, there is a growing trend among parents towards trying to accommodate their children’s every demand and giving them more personal freedom. In this essay, I am going to demonstrate how this child-rearing practice is detrimental to children before arguing that its repercussions may reverberate in their adulthood. Parents may wean their kids on an over-reliant lifestyle by fulfilling all of their wishes.Kids who are granted every request typically develop a habit of pestering and relying on their parents for everything. This dependence may deprive them of the motivation to strive in life, which may take a heavy toll on their school performance, for example. As these children become grown-ups, the inability to lead an independent lifestyle will cause them to struggle in many facets of life. For instance, people who are given generous allowances when they are small are unlikely to be able to budget and manage their personal finances. This is an example of the adverse impacts that parents’ over-indulgence may have on small kids. In addition to spoiling children, entitling them to too much personal freedom may also result in dire consequences. People’s personality is shaped at an early age, and without parents’ close supervision, children may be vulnerable to negative influences and adopt harmful habits. For example, many children use profanities from as early as primary school because their parents allow them to play video games at Internet shops where cussing is the norm. This type of behaviors, which often incites disobedience and recklessness, may be the precursor to an adulthood of crime. In fact, it has been shown that many criminals began rebelling and committing illegal acts from a young age as a result of their parents’ negligence. This is a testament to how an unsupervised childhood may cause small kids to suffer serious consequences as they become adults. In conclusion, granting children all of their wishes may do serious harm to their personal development, and thus this practice should be rejected to ensure a healthy lifestyle for their kids.

Useful Vocabulary, Collocations & Expressions for IELTS Writing

A growing trend towards (phrase) to move gradually toward something Accommodate one’s demand  (phrase) making an adjustment to suit a particular demand Child-rearing (adj) parenting Repercussion (n) a bad effect that something has, usually lasting for a long time Reverberate (verb)  to have an effect that spreads over a wide area or lasts for a long time Wean someone on something to make someone get used to something when they are young Have/develop a habit of (doing) something Pester (verb) to keep annoying someone, especially by asking them for something or asking them to do something Take a heavy toll on (phrase) have an adverse effect on something Vulnerable to something (adj)  able to be easily physically, emotionally, or mentally  influenced Profanity (noun) a word or language that is offensive because it is rude Recklessness (noun) not thinking about the possible bad effects of your actions Precursor (noun) something that exists before something else, and is related to it or influences its development Testament (noun) something that serves as a sign or evidence of a specified fact ]]>

Academic IELTS Writing Task 2 & Band 8.5 Discursive Essay

Academic IELTS Writing Task 2 & Band 8.5 Discursive Essay Many developing countries require aid from international organisations to develop. Many people think that this aid should be financial, while others think that practical aid and advice are more useful. Discuss both views and give your own opinion. Sample Band 8.5 People have different views about the kind of support that wealthy nations should provide for poorer ones. Although some say that non-financial support is beneficial for poor countries, my own view is that international aid should be in the form of financial assistance. There are several reasons to believe that practical assistance and advice are what developing countries need. Firstly, an effective education system is a key factor in the growth of a country, so advice on how to build such a system should be given to less wealthy countries. For example, since the [your country name] school curriculum focuses heavily on theories, students cannot apply what they learn into practice and come up with creative ideas, which is why the country fails to make technological and economic progress. Advice and instructions from developed countries are therefore expected to help [your country name] improve their education system. Secondly, foreign assistance can also be given in terms of providing human resources. By having an additional number of well-educated and knowledgeable individuals work in their nations, hopefully less developed countries can escape from poverty.  However, I believe that financial support would be more useful for poorer nations. One argument is that even valuable ideas for education reform may be irrelevant if a country is financially disadvantaged. In the aforementioned example about [your country name], while it seems beneficial to re-organise the education system, this cannot happen in the short runbecause there are a variety of costs associated with education reform, such as purchasing learning tools and training teachers. Furthermore, financial resources provided by rich countries may help poorer ones invest in medical and scientific research. If a sufficient amount of money is spent on these areas, technological advances are significantly more likely to be made, and such innovations can help improve the economic growth of a nation. In conclusion, while some people argue that foreign aid given to poor countries should be non-financial, it seems to me that it is financial support that helps these nations escape from poverty. ]]>

Business English: Linking Arguements

Word List on Linking Arguments

Linking Arguments
First of all, I think …
Not only that, but I also think that …
Not only are they …, they are also …
They are not …, nor are they …
There are various/several/many reasons for this.
First, … / Firstly, …
Second, … / Secondly, …
Moreover, … / Furthermore, … / In addition, …
Another significant point is that …
Finally, …
On the one hand, … On the other hand, …
In contrast to this is …
Because of …
That is why …
After all, …
The reason is that …
In that respect …
The result of this is that …
Another aspect/point is that …
It is because …
Although it is true that … it would be wrong to claim that …
That may sometimes be true, but …
One could argue that …, but …
Providing Examples
Take for example (the case of) …
Look at …
For instance … / For example …
Let me give you an example.
Additions and Conclusion
Most probably …
It appears to be …
It is important to mention that…
As I already indicated …
In other words, …
I am most concerned about …
I should like to repeat once again that …
I should like to emphasise that …
I would (just) like to add …
So all in all I believe that…
(In) summing up it can be said that …
Weighing the pros and cons, I come to the conclusion that …

Strategies and Tips for IELTS Listening

Strategies and Tips for IELTS Listening Strategies and Tips for IELTS Listening

IELTS Listening Tips

  1. Predict the topic – it helps you to listen if you know what kind of conversation is taking place so you can picture it in your head. So look through each section in the time you are given and make sure you have an idea of who is speaking to who and what the context is.
  2. Predict the questions – you should also try and have an idea of what kind of information you are listening out for. For example, in section one you often have to listen for names, numbers and addresses. Have a look at the questions in the time you are given and work out what needs to go in the space. A name? Number? An address? You are more likely to catch it then when the answer arises.
  3. Use a minute to look through each section – you are given 30 seconds at the end of each section to check your answers. You are then told to turn over and look at the next section for 30 seconds. Although some IELTS listening tips will tell you to check what you have written, there is little you can check for the previous section as you can’t hear the listening again. So instead, turn straight to the next section. You will then have one minute (instead of 30 seconds) to look through the next section. This is time better spent.
  4. Careful with question order – often you have a table to complete, and sometimes a diagram or chart. The questions will not necessarily go from left to right, so check the progression carefully otherwise you will get lost and confused.
  5. Look at two questions at once – there are two reasons for doing this. Firstly, some questions may have the answers close together in one sentence so you could miss one if you only look at one question at a time. Also, it is possible that you will miss an answer – if you are just looking at one, you may not know that you missed it. If you are also looking at the next, you’ll see that it has moved on.
  6. Move on if you miss an answer – if you do realise you have missed an answer, quickly forget about it and concentrate on the next ones. There is nothing you can do, and you can also guess when you transfer your answers to the answer sheet at the end. The same applies if you realise you missed two or three answers. Don’t panic and just move on as there is nothing you can do. A few questions missed may not necessarily affect your band score.
  7. Watch others if you’re completely lost – if you completely lose where you are, then watch when the other candidates turn over their exam papers. You’ll know then that you are back in the right place.
  8. Look out for paraphrasing – remember that what you hear will most likely not be exactly the same as is written on the exam paper as that would be too easy. The question and the question stems use such things as synonyms so you must listen carefully for these.
  1. Ignore words you don’t know – don’t worry or panic if you hear a word that you do not know. It may not be necessary to know it anyway, or you can take a guess.
  2. Underline key words – when you look through the questions first, particularly in the more difficult parts 3 and 4, underline key words (such as names, places and dates) in the question stems to help you hear the answer. Remember though, as explained above, synonyms are often used.
  3. Take care with spelling and grammar – your answer will be marked wrong if it is spelt incorrectly or the grammar does not fit. So when you transfer your answers at the end, double check these. The sentence on the exam paper may help you with the grammar – does it fit grammatically? Should it be a verb, noun, adjective?
  4. Use British or American spelling – this is what is says on the official IELTS website: ”IELTS recognises both British and American English in terms of spelling, grammar and choice of words”. So you can use either in your answers
  5. Don’t worry about what you write on the exam sheet – in practice tests, it is common to see students rubbing or crossing things out on the exam paper. Remember that nobody sees or marks what you write here. Don’t waste time getting the spelling correct or anything else. If you do this you’ll get lost – you need to be listening. So just write down what you hear then move on. When you transfer the answers at the end to the answer sheet, you can make sure you have the correct spelling.
  6. Read the instructions – an IELTS listening tip that is an important tip for any part of the test is to always read the instructions carefully. They will tell you how many words to use. If it asks for no more than two words and you use three, it will be wrong. And you must only put in the words asked for. For example, if there is a gap of “at …… pm” and you write “at 5pm” on the answer sheet, it will be wrong. You should only write what is missing i.e. “5”.
  7. Use upper or lower case letters – a question often asked is whether you can use upper case letters. This is what it says on the official British Council Website: “You may write your answers in lower case or capital letters”. So you can write all your answers in capital letters if you like. This statement from the British Council suggests, therefore, that you will not be penalised if you write ‘paris’ for example, instead of ‘Paris’ because it says you can use lower case letters. However, it is recommended that you try and use capitalisation correctly to be on the safe side. If you are not sure if the first letter needs capitalisation, then capitalise the whole word.
  8. Get used to the British accent – a good IELTS listening tip is to be prepared to hear all accents as you may hear Australian, American, Canadian, New Zealand and a mix of European countries. However, although there are a mix of accents in the test, the majority tend to be British (unlike TOEFL which tends to be American). So make sure you are used to the British accent.
  9. Practice the pronunciation of letter and numbers – often words are spelt out in the test by a speaker and numbers are read out, so make sure you can recognise how different letters sound in different accents, not just words.
  10. Careful with what you write down – speakers in the test will often give an answer but then correct themselves. So the first answer that looks right may actually be wrong.
  11. Don’t leave answers blank – you will not get penalised for writing the wrong answer (as opposed to nothing if you are not sure what it is) so guess if that is possible.
  12. Transfer your answers to the answer sheet carefully – if you put correct answers in the wrong place on the answer sheet it will be wrong, so make sure you put the answer in the correct place. It is easy to do this if you leave an answer blank on the exam sheet. You may then fill that one in with the wrong answer when you transfer them across. So put in a guess for any you do not know and leave no blanks.
  13. Check your answers – make sure you recheck your spelling and grammar too when you transfer your answers at the end.
  14. Listen very carefully – listen very very carefully throughout the test. Zone in and focus. Don’t be distracted by anything around you, and don’t panic if you think you having missed any answers or that you are getting them wrong. All this will do is distract you from listening.
  15. Practice listening – of all the IELTS listening tips, this is one of the most important. Make sure you practice listening as much as you can! You can practice with sample IELTS listening tests but you should also expose yourself to as much English as you can. Target it at the level you are currently at. There is no point in listening to BBC World if you don’t understand any of it. Find resources on the internet that suit your level and gradually increase difficulty. And don’t worry if they are not exams or specifically for IELTS, any kind of listening helps. Try to make listening fun and listen to things you like. You can move on to more difficult things as you improve.
  16. Listen to lectures – remember that the last part is a lecture, so practice listening to lectures and taking notes. Lectures often follow certain patterns, such as an introduction to tell you the topic and main points, and they have sign-posts to tell you if they are comparing e.g. “although”, or moving onto a new main points e.g. “Now I’ll discuss….”. So listening to lectures will help you with this section. You can find lectures online if you do a search. TED lectures may be useful as they provide a transcription so you can check your notes. .
  17. Learn to listen and write together – practicing your listening skills is important, but remember in the test you have to write and listen. So you should practice this too. One way to do this is with practice tests but you can also try listening to audios and taking notes at the same time. This will improve your ability to do both skills at the same time.

50 Popular English Idioms for Fluency

50 Popular English Idioms for Fluency

To understand English as it is spoken in real life, you have to be familiar with idioms. They are used so much in everyday English that it is important to be aware of them. You need to learn what they mean, and how to use them to become an ‘insider’. This blog post will show you some of the most popular English idioms currently in use. Remember, knowledge is power.

50 Popular English Idioms

1. CRUNCH TIME: the period of time just before a project has to be completed and everyone has to work hard
  • I’m not getting enough sleep these days. It’s crunch time at work.
2. LET YOUR FREAK FLAG FLY: to let others see your uniqueness
  • My colleagues were surprised at the Christmas party- I let my freak flag fly and showed them a break dance routine.
3. GET OUT OF HAND: when you lose control of things, they get out of hand
  • The party got out of hand and the guests started to throw bottles at each other.
4. GET YOUR HEAD AROUND IT: to understand something
  • I just can’t get my head around the fact that Joe is leaving us.
5. DIG IN YOUR HEELS / STICK TO YOUR GUNS: to refuse to compromise or change your mind
  • My parents wanted me to give up writing, but I dug in my heels and went on to become a famous writer.
  • My parents wanted me to give up writing, but I stuck to my guns and went on to become a famous writer.
6. POUND THE PAVEMENT: to walk the streets looking for a job
  • I’d been pounding the pavement for months before I found a job in a fast food restaurant.
  7. PULL A RABBIT OUT OF A HAT: to do something unexpected that may have seemed impossible
  • I thought we were going bankrupt, but my partner pulled a rabbit out of his hat and we landed a major contract.
8. LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED: to do everything you can to achieve your goal
  • I’ll leave no stone unturned until I find out who did this.
9. GET IT OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM: to do something you’ve wanted to do for a long time and don’t want to postpone any longer
  • I wasn’t sure how she was going to react, but I had to get it out of my system, so I told her I had found another woman.
10. STEP UP YOUR GAME: to start performing better
  • If you want to win this competition, you’ll have to step up your game.
11. PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER: to calm down and behave normally
  • I understand you’ve had a bad day, but pull yourself together and get on with your job, will you?
12. SHAPE UP OR SHIP OUT: either start performing better or leave
  • This is the last time I’m telling you to arrive on time. Shape up or ship out.
13. CUT SOMEBODY SOME SLACK: to give somebody a break/ not to judge somebody severely
  • I was extremely busy last week. Cut me some slack and I’ll finish the report by tomorrow morning.
  14. BY THE SKIN OF YOUR TEETH: when you do something by the skin of your teeth, you only just succeed/ nearly fail
  • I hadn’t studied much, but passed the test by the skin of my teeth.
15. ONCE IN A BLUE MOON: when something rarely ever happens
  • We used to see him all the time, but now he just visits us once in a blue moon.
16. GO DOWN IN FLAMES: to end or fail suddenly and spectacularly
  • She’d wanted to become Managing Director, but her career went down in flames when they found out she’d been leaking information to our competitors.
17. TAR SOMEONE WITH THE SAME BRUSH: to believe that someone has the same bad qualities as others in a group
  • I don’t think much of that band, but the singer shouldn’t be tarred with the same brush. She’s got a fantastic voice.
18. COME OUT SWINGING: to be confrontational and strongly defend yourself at the beginning of a debate
  • Our local MP came out swinging against the current leadership and demanded that the government resign.
50 Popular English Idioms for Fluency 19. HANG IN THERE: wait and be patient
  • I know you’d really like to call him, but I don’t think that’s the right thing to do now. Just hang in there and he will call you.
20. SHOOT FROM THE HIP: to speak directly
  • If you want to get on well with your boss, try not to shoot from the hip next time. You don’t want to offend him, do you?
21. GO THE EXTRA MILE: to make a special effort/try very hard to achieve your goal
  • If you want to become proficient in English, you’ll have to go the extra mile and start learning idioms.
  • My English class was great, we learnt so much because our teacher was the best, she always went the extra mile for us.
22. RUNNING ON FUMES: to continue to stay awake when feeling exhausted
  • I’m sorry, but I’ve got to go home now. I haven’t slept for twenty hours and I’m running on fumes.
23. SOLD ME OUT: to snitch on someone, or let their secret out
  • I asked you to keep it to yourself! I can’t believe you sold me out, I trusted you!
24. YOU SOLD ME (ON SOMETHING): you convinced me of something, because you were persuasive
  • OK, you’ve sold me. I’ll go to the match with you.
25. BLEW ME AWAY: when something blows you away, you’re extremely impressed by it
  • The exhibition just blew me away. I’d never seen so many beautiful paintings before.
26. BLOW SMOKE: to exaggerate or say things that aren’t true to make you seem better/ more knowledgeable than in reality
  • I’m not blowing smoke. I have honestly read War and Peace by Tolstoy.
  27. CRY WOLF: to call for help when you don’t need it
  • Do you think Peter is in trouble or is he just crying wolf?
28. COULDN’T CARE LESS: used to express total lack of interest in something
  • That man stole a bottle of wine from the shop.
  • Oh, really? I couldn’t care less.
29. BE CHUFFED TO BITS: to be pleased and happy
  • Hey, thanks for the present! I’m chuffed to bits.30. FEELING UNDER THE WEATHER: to be ill or unable to do regular activities
  • I think I’m going to have to take the day off work. I feel quite under the weather today.
31. BE TICKLED PINK: to be excited and happy
  • She was tickled pink by all the compliments she’d received.
50 Popular English Idioms for Fluency   32. A BAKER’S DOZEN: thirteen
  • Check out our baker’s dozen language learning tips.
33. COMFORT FOOD: food that makes you feel better, because it reminds you of your childhood
  • After a tiring day, it’s so nice to make some comfort food and settle down with a good book.
34. SKELETON CREW: the minimum number of people needed to keep a service/office operating
  • Can you come back after the holidays? We’re operating with a skeleton crew at the moment.
  35. LET THE CHIPS FALL WHERE THEY MAY: to let something happen, no matter what happens next
  • I must tell John how I feel about him, let the chips fall where they may.
36. NO-BRAINER: an easy decision
  • Do you think I should propose to Judy?
  • Come on, it’s a no-brainer. She’s such a fantastic woman!
37. A STONE’S THROW: very near
  • The hotel  was a stone’s throw from the beach. I loved it.
38. HEAR ON THE GRAPEVINE: to hear a rumour or unconfirmed story
  • I heard on the grapevine that Charlie and Sarah are dating at the moment.
39. SIT ON THE FENCE: to stay neutral and not take sides
  • Well don’t you think I’m right, he’s been acting differently hasn’t he?
  • I’m sitting on the fence with this one, you’re both my good friends.0. TAKE WHAT SOMEONE SAYS WITH A PINCH OF SALT: regard something as exaggerated, or only believe a part of something
  • Did you hear what Tina said happened in the office yesterday?
  • Oh, I would take anything she says with a pinch of salt.
41. FREAK OUT: to become very angry, scared or excited
  • Mum, don’t freak out! I married a guy in Las Vegas.
2. BE A CATCH: be someone worth marrying/having
  • John is taking me out tonight. He’s such a catch, I hope he’ll propose.
43. PIECE OF CAKE: when something is extremely easy to do
  • Do you think you could beat him in a race?
  • Yeah, piece of cake. I’m definitely a lot faster than him.
44. HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD: used if something someone says, is precisely correct
  • My doctor hit the nail on the head. He knew exactly what was wrong with me!
45. COSTS AN ARM AND A LEG: when something is very expensive
  • My son wants that mountain bike for his birthday, but it’ll cost an arm and a leg!
50 Popular English Idioms for Fluency 46. HIT THE BOOKS: to study very hard
  • Do you want to go for lunch somewhere nice?
  • No thanks, I’m going to hit the books. I have an exam coming up soon.
47. BITE OFF MORE THAN YOU CAN CHEW: to take on something that is too much for you to handle
  • He recently got promoted and took on some new responsibilities, but he’s just too busy. He bit off more than he could chew, and I don’t think he can handle it anymore.  48. WHEN PIGS FLY: this means that something will never happen
  • Aren’t you going to buy that dream house you told me about?
  • Ugh, I will when pigs fly. It’s just so expensive, I don’t think it’ll happen.
49. DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER: this means don’t make a decision based on a brief impression or outward appearance
  • I don’t like our new neighbours very much, they’re quite strange.
  • Hey, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Give them a chance, I think they’re just a bit quirky but really nice!
50. YOU ROCK: you are great
  • Thanks for the tickets, Rob. You rock!
51. MISS THE BOAT: when someone has missed their opportunity to do something
  • Have you applied for that job yet?
  • No, I think I may have missed the boat. I should’ve done it last week.

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