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Common Errors on the IELTS that prevent you from getting higher band scores

Common Misconceptions  IELTS

is easier than TOEFL  “I’m in level 4 (or lower) and I need a 7 on the IELTS.”  IELTS is accepted at every university in the US  “My writing teacher taught us…”  Calling it “I-LETS” 

General Errors  Not

reading instructions  Not practicing with official answer sheets  Freaking out!

Listening  What

is the #1 mistake on the Listening section of the IELTS Exam?


SPELLING QUIZ           

government environment their different believe percentage society until definitely which nowadays

Commonly misspelled words            

According to the Cambridge corpus: government environment their different believe percentage society until definitely which nowadays

Other Commonly Misspelled Words  Months

of the year…  Especially: February, September, October November, April

Other Listening Errors  Writing

too many words  Writing the first word you hear -sometimes the speaker corrects -with multiple choice, you will hear all the choices  Listening back, not forward

Other Listening Errors  Not

studying the questions  Choosing an answer because the words are the same  Not using the 30 seconds at the end to check grammar, plurals etc.  Leaving blanks

A few tips Pay attention if:  they are spelling something. It is often an answer.  they repeat something. It is often the answer. Use shorthand to write your answers while you’re listening. Write the whole word on the answer sheet.

Common Errors in Reading  Not

leaving enough time to complete the answer sheet.  Reading the whole article first.  Spending too much time on one question.  Not reading the instructions. - yes / no / not given is not the same as true / false / not given -writing too many words

Reading Errors continued…  Trying

to figure out every word in the reading and wasting time.  Choosing an answer because it has the same word in the article.  Not reading titles.  Not knowing the question types.  Not checking grammar in answers (usually plurals).

Some tips for reading  If

you can’t figure out a sentence: -Find the subject(s) and verb(s). -Ignore adjectives. -Ignore most adverbs. -Don’t ignore frequency words (usually, sometimes, always). -Don’t ignore negatives or negative-like words (almost, nearly, seldom, rarely, hardly ever, neither, nothing)

Some tips for Reading  Most

(but not all) answers come in order.  Learn the types of questions and how to find the answers quickly.  Read the questions first and underline the word(s) that answer this question: What am I looking for? Then look just for that.

Try This Tip Finding the heading for a paragraph. 1. First read the _______________. 2. Then read the first paragraph. 3. Reread all the choices in the question. 4. Choose the best one. 5. If you can’t decide, choose more than one. 6. Now read the second paragraph. 7. Do steps 3, 4, and 5. Do this for all paragraphs. Let’s try it.

Read the headings  HEADINGS: i. ii. iii.

Population figures for China Assessing China’s farmland Global population and the future

Now read one paragraph The population of the world is forecast to reach 7.5 billion by 2020, and growing prosperity, especially in China, is fueling a rising appetite for meat and cereals. Yet it is becoming harder to find new farmland, water is increasingly scarce, and crop yield is slowing. Already, 167 million children are starving. Are hungry times ahead?

Common Errors in BOTH Writing Tasks Not

writing enough words Overuse and misuse of transitions. Not using cohesive devices. Not answering the question or questions.

Common Errors in BOTH Writing Tasks Not

using complex structures. Making errors with complex structures. Reusing the same words over and over. Thinking longer is better.

Find the error 1.

Kids need direction in life, they can’t make decisions without education.


Although women don’t generally enjoy sports, but many watch the World Cup.


I strongly agree that the government should have safety laws. Because they save lives.

Find the error, continued‌ 4.

Despite they are young, they should be allowed to make their own mistakes.


There is a lot of devastation in the Philippines. Many people have no food or shelter. Moreover, the US is trying to help.


The graph shows the rate of men smokers between 1960 and 2000. The rate of men smokers went up until 1995. Then, the rate of men smokers dropped.

#1 Mistake Task 1 Writing ď‚›What

is the #1 mistake on Task 1 Writing? ď‚›Answer: not writing an overall trend.

Other Task 1 Errors  Not

spending time studying the graphic.  Not understanding the graphic.  Not having language to describe data.  Describing the graph not the data.  No analysis or summary (mechanical reporting)  No relationship between 2 data sets

The diagrams below show UK students' responses to the question of to what extent would they describe themselves as financially organised. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant. Source:

Very organised %

All students


Age up to 22 years


Age 23-25 years


Age over 26 years


Common Errors on Task 2 Writing  Not

using paragraphs.  Not expressing your opinion clearly.  Not exploring both views if required.  Giving examples that don’t really add anything. “In my country, I had a friend who got hurt because he wasn’t wearing a hard hat.”

Tips for Good Writing  Take

time to read your writing at the end.  Know how long 150 / 250 words is on the page.  Study the graphic / questions.  Organize your writing before you start.  Be aware of time.

Tip for #1 Error

#1 Mistake on Speaking  What

is the #1 mistake on the Speaking section?  Answer: Not talking for 2 minutes in part 2 ‘The Long Turn’

Common Errors with Speaking  Not

asking for clarification.  Not using the minute to think of words, ideas.  Not referring to your notes.

Common Errors with Speaking  Hesitating

and pausing.

 Silence.  Wrong

tense (especially simple for past).  Simple structure only.

Some tips for Speaking  Breathe!  Have

emergency language

Tips for Speaking  Be

ready with an answer to this question: Do you work or study?  Practice talking to yourself. On the street. In the shower.

Try This Activity ď‚› Partner

A: Describe a time you worked really hard for something and reached your goal. Talk for two minutes.

ď‚› Partner

B: Describe a time you worked really hard for something and you did not reach your goal.

Resources  

cademicwordlist/  http://www.academivocabularyexercises .com  Action Plan for the IELTS (Cambridge)  New Insights into IELTS (Cambridge)

Are you ready to UNLOCK…THE WORLD?

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