How Nilay Scored IELTS 8.5 Overall

Nilay scored 8.5 Overall in the IELTS Academic test this month. Below are his tips for his great score in IELTS.

Nilay’s Scores: Overall 8.5

  • Listening: 9
  • Reading: 9
  • Writing: 8
  • Speaking: 8

Nilay’s Tips for IELTS 8.5

Nilay here. I am an orthopedic surgeon from India and currently trying to specialize in spine surgery. I appeared for the IELTS to register with the Canadian medical boards for which I needed minimum 7 in each of the four categories. This was the academic version.

To summarize the prep, I gave it around 12-14 days part time. I had been aware of your videos and thought to just concentrate on that during last 3 to 4 days and I attribute a large part of my writing score to your tips. I didn’t opt for paid tutorials but I feel that the content you generously provide is more than enough in most cases. Having said that, I was planning to get your paid tutorials if I couldn’t cross the required threshold of 7/9 in writing; I was reasonably certain I would cross 7 in RW and S. My tips are summarized here.
Reading Tips- As a compulsive reader, I was a bit overconfident when I started out the prep and expected to score a perfect 9 each time. My behind was handed back to me promptly by the No/Not Given dilemma. Your tips on that cleared out the webs and I highly recommend that video to polish the reading score. One thing I realized in the exam is that the reading paragraphs can be difficult and must not be underestimated even if you are good at reading to begin with. I consider myself a very fast reader and still had only 8-10 mins left at the end. I would advise underlining key words and phrases as it makes it easier to fish out the answers.  I wrote in all caps as advised.
Listening Tips – Tricky proposition. I feel that IELTS listening section doesn’t evaluate your listening capability but rather evaluates your presence of mind and multi-tasking ability to listen, note and paraphrase at the same time. I am very well versed with major accents and still made mistakes in answers due to missing plurals, not catching the exact words and sometimes missing paraphrases at the end of tests. I would really advise going through Cambridge practice tests to refine this. They are the real counterparts to the exam. I can’t stress enough on scanning the questions in advance, predicting answers and using the 30 seconds given to go over your last batch of answers to scan the questions ahead instead.  Presence of mind is really important or you would make a mess of it. Also, all caps again.
Speaking Tips –  Didn’t prepare much for it except for going through your tips and speaking to a local instructor I knew. I am fluent but I speak too fast and maybe that reflected on what I consider a lower score on my speaking test. Also, this is a live interaction test and your score will depend upon your rapport with and impression upon the examiner even if they are trained to disregard those factors. I more or less had  a friendly conversation and was asked questions about skilled and unskilled jobs in last part. I think the trick here is to fill up the time allotted and keep on speaking. I attribute the shavings in my score to speed and my roundabout answer to a bizarre question about soft and hard skills. I could have done better here.
Writing Tips – Last but not the least. I have BAD handwriting which live up to all the cliches about illegibility of doctors. This was a big issue for me with IELTS being a written exam. I realized that all my writing skills would be for naught if it looked like someone dipped ants in ink pot and let them loose on the paper. So I ditched the cursive, zoomed in the fonts and increased the space between words and made several people go through it till their satisfaction. I was confident about my vocabulary and grammar, so that helped but this exam is all about sticking to the format.  I can not stress enough how helpful your writing section videos are. I stuck to the outline stressed upon by you for both the tasks and I was rewarded. I made sure to follow the cite-support-example format for body paragraphs on task two; it really eased the though organization process. Task one is straightforward but it’s important not to get mired into details and just focus on major trends and data points. I didn’t have problem with time and word count. But even if you do, I really suggest taking 2 minutes to read the task and then a minute or so to jot down writing points on paper; paragraph wise. Also keep a minute or two at the end to go over your writing. Do not try to correct or improve large sections of a sentence but concentrate on spell check, grammatical gaffes and punctuation marks.
  To conclude [the format ,the format!], I am satisfied with my result and would thank you for your generous online help. I really stress upon test takers to go through your videos which I consider the best resource available online for this test. I hope my experience helps future test takers. Best of luck to you all!
Nilay 
Message to Nilay: Thanks so much for sharing your tips! I know students will be inspired by your results and also grateful for the experiences you have shared. Well done again with your excellent score 🙂

Essay Questions for February

Hi guys,

I have added the list of essay questions for February to my list on this page, click here: Jan & Feb Topics for IELTS WT2.

Please remember that I am still on holiday until May and won’t be answering questions.

Thanks

Liz

IELTS Liz Website Feb Mar & Apr 2018

Hi guys,

This is to let you know that I am taking a break from my website in February, March and April. I will resume posting lessons for IELTS preparation in May. My break starts today until May.

During my break, I will keep up-dating the Recent Questions Page and also the Post Results Page. All other pages will remain open for your use. Please remember I will NOT be answering your questions during my break.

I will post old lessons on my Facebook Page during my break. This will be useful for you all. They will include my video lessons and model answers etc. Please follow my FB page to get them, IELTS Liz FB Page.

For tips, topics , model answers and lessons, go to the RED BAR at the top of the website and select the part of the test you want to learn about. You can also access the Main Pages of this website at the bottom of each page. There are over 300 pages of free tips and lessons on my site. I also offer advanced writing task 2 lessons which can be purchased if you need more help: Advanced Writing Task 2

I wish you all lots of luck in your test! Make sure you read the On the day test tips and also the Test Information Page. Good luck 🙂

See you in May 🙂

All the best

Liz

 

Answers to Reading Practice Caral City

Below are the answers to the reading practice lessons about the ancient city of Caral. If you have not completed this reading lesson, please finish it before looking at the questions below. Click here to complete the lesson: Reading Lesson Caral City

Questions: Are the following statements True False or Not Given based on the passage above?

  1. There were many monuments in Caral city.
  2. The city did not include housing for its citizens.
  3. As far as the eye could see, the landscape was arid.
  4. The largest pyramid is 60 feet in height in Caral.
  5. Caral had a bigger population than most cities at that time.
  6. Caral is thought to have provided a prototype for subsequent civilisations.

Answers

  1. NOT GIVEN
    1. This question is testing your understanding of vocabulary. The passage says “monumental architecture”. The word “monumental” is used as an adjective meaning huge or great. The passage does not mention if there were monuments or not.
  2. FALSE
    1. The passage clearly states there were “residential areas”. This means areas for citizens to live = housing.
  3. FALSE
    1. It does not matter where the person is in the city to view the surroundings. The passage shows that the city was “overlooking” a “lush valley”. This means a green, fertile valley was visible from the city. Arid means “dry” so the passage shows the opposite.
  4. TRUE
    1. “six large pyramids (platform mounds) …. The largest of the mounds … is 60 feet high”
  5. NOT GIVEN
    1. There is no information in the passage that compares the population of Caral with other cities.
  6. TRUE
    1. “Researchers believe the model of the city was used by many civilizations that came after the Norte Chico.”.

I hope you found this reading lesson useful. For more reading lessons, click here: IELTS Reading Main Page

All the best

Liz

Reading Practice: Ancient City Caral

True False and Not Given reading practice for IELTS students based on a topic that was reported by students in their reading test in January 2018. To see all my reading lessons, click here: Main Reading Page. Other main pages are accessed through the red bar at the top of the website.

Passage: Pyramid City Caral

The Norte Chico civilization of Supe, Peru, was the first known civilisation of the Americas. Their capital was the Sacred City of Caral – a 5,000-year-old metropolis complete with complex agricultural practices, rich culture, and monumental architecture, including six large pyramidal structures, stone and earthen platform mounds, temples, amphitheatre,  sunken circular plazas, and residential areas.

Caral is situated on a dry desert terrace overlooking the lush valley of the Supe River. Exceptionally well-preserved, the site is impressive in terms of its design and the complexity of its architecture. The city’s plan and some of its features, including pyramidal structures and residences of the elite, show clear evidence of ceremonial functions, signifying a powerful religious ideology.

The centre of the Caral complex consists of a central public area with six large pyramids (platform mounds) arranged around a huge plaza. The largest of the mounds, located in a dominating position within the urban plan of Caral, is 60 feet high and measures 450 x 500 feet at the base, covering an area nearly the size of four football fields. From the top of the great pyramid, the rulers of Caral would have been able to monitor the entire city. In total, it is estimated that Caral was home to a population of about 3,000 people. Researchers believe the model of the city was used by many civilizations that came after the Norte Chico. In 2001, the Sacred City of Caral in Supe was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Notice: This passage has been adapted from the website ancient-origins.net. You can read the full passage here: Pyramid City of Caral. The picture above is also from the same article.

Questions: Are the following statements True False or Not Given based on the passage above?

  1. There were many monuments in Caral city.
  2. The city did not include housing for its citizens.
  3. As far as the eye could see, the landscape was arid.
  4. The largest pyramid is 60 feet in height in Caral.
  5. Caral had a bigger population than most cities at that time.
  6. Caral is thought to have provided a prototype for subsequent civilisations.

Notice from Liz: I will be taking a break from posting lessons in Feb, Mar and Apr. I will post a notice when my holiday begins. Some pages will be kept open during my break.

Answers

The answers to this lesson are now available:

Click here for the answers: Answers to Caral Reading Lesson

All the best

Liz

 

IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topics Jan to Apr 2018

IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topics January to April 2018

Below you will find some IELTS speaking part 2 topics that students have posted so far this month. These topics will probably continue to be used for the next few months: January, February, March and possibly April.

Notice for all students using ieltsliz.com

  1. I do NOT offer a question/answer service on this website. I sometimes answer questions when I have time – you can’t demand this service. Most questions will NOT be answered.
  2. Most questions have been answered before, read the comments boxes.
  3. There are over 300 pages of tips on this site – all tips accessed through the RED BAR at the top of the website (or in the right hand side column)
  4. I will be on holiday for Feb, Mar and Apr. I will post a notice when I start my hols 🙂

Using IELTS Speaking Topics

This topics are not predictions – they are reported topics. I will continue to up-date this page over the next few months as students report their topics to me.

  1. Will you get one of these topics?
    1. It is not possible to predict topics. However, current topics are frequently repeated in the IELTS speaking test. You need to prepare both current topics and common topics for IELTS speaking. It is not possible to do more. Below are current topics and here is a link to common topics: IELTS Speaking Page
  2. How can I use this list of topics?
    1. You can use the list to prepare ideas for your talk. DO NOT MEMORISE A FULL TALK OR A FULL ANSWER. If the examiner thinks you have actually memorised a talk, line by line, you will be given a different topic. IELTS do not accept memorised answers. So, use this list to develop your ideas and plan some words to use but not to memorise full sentences and answers.

IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topics List Jan-Apr 2018

  1. A recreational center that could be started in your town
  2. A day that cost you nothing (think of activities that are free to do)
  3. Something you bought recently that made you very happy
  4. An activity for health living
  5. A, interesting school subject
  6. A difficult decision
  7. A car journey
  8. A country you would like to work or live in
  9. A historical event
  10. A exciting book
  11. A good parent
  12. A good service from a shop or company
  13. Furniture you like
  14. A useful device (not a computer)
  15. Traditional clothing in your country
  16. A public place you visited
  17. An interesting foreign person
  18. A time when you helped an old person
  19. A time you taught someone something
  20. An unusual meal
  21. A school rule you didn’t like
  22. A season you enjoy
  23. A facility you would like to have in your town
  24. A time you saved money
  25. An occasion a visitor came to your house
  26. A popular person you know
  27. A time someone took a nice photo of you (see model answer link below)
  28. An area of water in your country (lake, river etc)
  29. A perfect holiday
  30. A traditional product of your country
  31. A toy from your childhood
  32. A time you had to be polite
  33. A good story you have been told
  34. A time you were glad you had your mobile phone
  35. An important letter
  36. Your biggest achievement
  37. A time you went out with friends
  38. A TV show
  39. A recent development in the place where you live
  40. A successful business person
  41. A special occasion in your life

You can find a model answer for topic number 27: Model Answer Nice Photo of you

For IELTS speaking tips, model answers and free videos, click here: MAIN IELTS SPEAKING PAGE. Use the RED BAR at the top of the website to find your tips and lessons 🙂

All the best

Liz

Comments to IELTS Liz 2018

Hi guys,

Please read this full page, particularly the thank you message for my supportive students at the bottom of the post.

As you know, I post regular lessons to help you prepare for your IELTS test. It is something I enjoy and I try to do this once or twice a week. My lessons are usually well designed and aimed to develop awareness of specific skills or to provide vital test information. These regular lessons are all free. I have also written over 300 pages of tips etc which are all free for you and are accessible through the red bar at the top of the website. You should all read those pages before asking questions.

Recently I have been receiving some angry responses from students who demand I answer their questions.

Let me make things clear: I do NOT offer a free answer/question service.  

  • So far, I have responded to over 20,000 comments. I cannot respond to ALL comments.
  • I currently have around 9,000 comments waiting in moderation (unpublished). I can’t answer them all – most will be deleted.
  • Ask a question, but realise you might not get a reply.
  • Do NOT demand free individual support.
  • I also do NOT offer a free marking service for writing.
  • Check the answers I have already given to other students – most questions have been answered before.

Holiday: For health reasons, I will be taking an extended break from this website in Feb, Mar and Apr. I will post a notice when I start my hols. It means I won’t be answering questions or posting lessons but I will keep certain pages open for up-dates.

I hope you all appreciate the work I do and the support I offer students. My website contains more replies to comments than any other IELTS website in existence. Let me give you four idioms relating to this issue:

  1. Give an inch and they take a mile.
    1. This means if you give one thing to someone, they demand more and more. Let’s avoid this.
  2. Respect is a two way street.
    1. This means you respect me and I will respect you.
  3. Pick someone’s brains.
    1. This means to get information or ideas from someone. I know you would all like to pick my brains, but I am only one person – take it easy on me 🙂
  4. Great minds think alike.
    1. This is used when people have similar ideas to each other. I hope, from this point onwards, we will all have similar understanding 🙂

The majority of students on my site are polite, kind and supportive – to you, I wish to say thank you. It is your support and encouragement that helps me continue 🙂

USEFUL LINKS for IELTS

Read this carefully:

  1. All main pages for IELTS (which contain 300 pages of free materials, tips etc) are accessed through the RED BAR at the top of the website. You MUST visit those main pages for the tips and lessons: Click on the Red Bar
  2. There are excellent, vital pages linked in the right hand side column of each page. Read them.
  3. Also read the comments boxes which contain thousands of extra tips and pieces of advice. Most questions have already be asked and answered before.
  4. For basic test information (using pens, pencils, handwriting, answer sheets etc), see the Test Information page.
  5. Again, let me repeat – there are over 300 pages of tips, model answers and lessons – all free. Use them to find your answers and use them to learn IELTS.

I wish you all good luck with your tests 🙂

All the best

Liz

 

Answers to Villa Listening Lesson

Below you can find the transcript and answers to the villa listening lesson.  I have also posted the audio again so you can listen and read the transcript at the same time. This is a good way to improve your speaking skills and pronunciation.

If you haven’t done this listening lesson, please do it now before you look at the answers. Click here: Villa Listening Lesson

Transcript

This spacious 3 bedroom villa in the south of France contains not only an infinity pool but also a sauna and gym. The gardens are quite extensive and are well managed by a gardener. It is situated on the outskirts of a small town but within easy walking distance of both shops and restaurants. On offer in the area is skiing in the winter, while in summer there are plenty of cycle paths, lake swimming and canoeing, as well as horse riding. And don’t forget that this area is also famous for its top quality golf courses. This would be a perfect villa for a family aiming to escape from the hustle and bustle but also have plenty of outdoor activities on offer. The only downside is that it can’t be rented by the week. It is on offer as a long term rental property with a minimum of a one month stay.

Audio

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Answers

  1. INFINITY POOL
    1. You can’t have the answer “pool” only because the article in the sentence is “an” which means the next word starts with a vowel. Always check your grammar!
    2. You can’t have “garden” because this list is about facilities.
    3. Look at the picture on the listening page to see what an infinite pool looks like – there is no visible edge to it.
  2. (EASY) WALKING DISTANCE
    1. What do brackets means? This means you can use the word or not. Both answers are fine: easy walking distance and walking distance.
    2. You can’t use brackets in your test. They are used in books only. One student used brackets – their answers would be marked wrong.
    3. You can’t have the word “outskirts”. The sentence does not allow for this word to be used. The sentence must be grammatically correct. So, you are choosing answers not only for meaning but also grammar.
  3. CANOEING
    1. The spelling must be correct.
    2. Horse riding is wrong because this is about lake activities.
  4. HUSTLE AND BUSTLE
    1. You need all three words and they must be spelled correctly.
  5. 1 MONTH
    1. You can write the number 1 as a word if you want because it is possible to have up to three words in your answer.
    2. You can’t have the word “stay” in your answer because it would make the sentence wrong.

Answers have been written using all capital letters – it is not a requirement but I highly recommend it.

I hope this lesson was useful.

All the best

Liz