Get rules of using brackets in listening

Hi guys,

Yesterday, I posted a notice about using (brackets) for IELTS listening. I’ve not put up information about this on the original page. Click here to read all about it: IELTS Listening Using Brackets for Answers

 

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IELTS Listening Using (Brackets) for Answers

In some IELTS books, the listening answers are written using brackets. Many students ask me what the brackets mean and if they can do the same in their test.

Here is an example of some answers using brackets:

  1. charity (work)
  2. detail(s)
  3. (a) reception (room)

Questions 

  1. What do these brackets mean?
  2. Can you do this in your IELTS listening test?

Answers

The brackets are used in the answer keys of books to show different possible answers for one question.

For example:

  • charity / charity work (both answers are correct)
  • detail / details (both answers are correct)
  • reception / a reception / reception room / a reception room (all 4 answers are correct)

In the IELTS listening test, there might be only one possible answer or there might be others. So, books use brackets to show the options.

Can you do this in your test?

NO. Definitely NOT. This is a language test. You must choose one answer only. It is either correct or not correct. If the answer is plural and you write singular, the answer is wrong.

You can learn more about IELTS listening by clicking on this link: Liz’s IELTS Listening tips

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How I Increased my IELTS Score in 4 Months

An IELTS student increased her scores in each part of the IELTS test in 4 months. Her name is Priscilla. Below you can learn some of her tips for increasing your IELTS score.

Priscilla’s Results

April: L8, R7.5, W6.5, S7 (OBS 7.5)

August: L9, R8.5, W7, S7.5 (OBS 8)

Her certificate April:

Her certificate: August

Priscilla’s Experience in 2 IELTS Tests

April 20th IELTS preparation and examination evaluation
I was too excite and too confident mainly because I felt that since I spoke English from cradle, the exam should not be a big deal thus I practiced less.During the exam, I lacked understanding of the writing task 2 question. Generally I lacked structure, I just started writing and wrote too many words and even collected an extra sheet. In reading, because i lacked method, i took a lot of time for passages 1 and 2 which resulted to less time for 3. In listening, I got worried when I missed some points and i kept thinking about it. In speaking, I was nervous and i tried to impress the examiner. I was not generally natural, I used learned phrases too.
August 3rd IELTS preparation and examination evaluation  
I was calmer and took corrections. I learnt planning for writing task 2 and i wrote average words in the two tasks using only the sheets provided, no extras. I had extra time to go over my work. For reading, I found a method that worked for me and I held on to it. I solved the first two passages faster and had more time for the third passage still checked my answers. In listening, I anticipated answers, did not dwell on missed points and followed the conversation by tracing the questions with my pencil. While speaking, I spoke more naturally (no forming of intonation). I avoided impressing the examiner, i did not look for big words to use  and I answered the questions mostly sincerely as if my information would be verified; this prevented me from overthinking.

Priscilla’s Tips to Increase your Score

These are some tips that i think helped me. First, observe how calm Liz is when she teaches. Adopt that nature at least for the exam!

  • Don’t be too excited
  • Don’t try to impress the examiner
  • Read and Follow instructions
  • Understand Questions

In Listening: (9.0)
*Listen carefully and move on when u miss an answer.
*Sometime predict answers (this helped me a lot)
*Use your pencil to follow the conversions (it kept me on track)

Reading: (8.5)
My method:

  1. read questions fully
  2. read passage fully but fast
  3. then answer questions
  4. I finished passages 1 & 2 in 30 mins then 3 in 25 mins. Used 5 mins to go over questions and answers

Writing (7.0)
I practised sensibly. I learnt planning for my writing. This works like magic. I finished task 2 within 30 mins
Went over the two tasks and made error corrections.

Speaking: (7.5) I never believed I’d get this mark!
I was less excited, I spoke naturally. I wasn’t thinking of any big words to use.
I don’t know if this will work for another but I answered the questions truthfully as if I was in a non-English exam interview. I added details to short answers too.

http://www.ieltsliz.com is perfect for learning. Don’t be in a hurry. Just give yourself practice time. I now tell my friends, study everything on LIZ first, then do practice tests a lot.

Message to Priscilla: Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It truly shows students that it is possible to increase their scores with the right techniques and practice. Well done to you for your great achievement !! Liz

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How I got IELTS Band Score 9 Overall

Overall IELTS 9: A student’s Tips

Learn how Gokul, an IELTS student, got overall band score 9 in IELTS this year. He shares his useful tips and experience with you in order to help and inspire you to achieve your best in your IELTS test.

IELTS Test Results: Band 9

Date – 15th July, 2017
Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka.

  • Overall Band Score 9
  • Listening: 9
  • Reading: 9
  • Writing: 8
  • Speaking 9

Gokul’s Tips for IELTS Overall Band Score 9

This was my first ever IELTS attempt. I had never thought that I’d be required specifically to do IELTS, since my studies have only ever been in English. Even the university that I’d applied for my Masters seemed happy enough to accept me without an IELTS requirement. However, I was told by my destination country’s embassy that they can only issue a visa given that I show an IELTS grade of 7 overall or above.

I had barely 10 days to prepare and do the test, since the results would take roughly 2 weeks to be released.

I’m listing some of the things that I followed, and I hope that you find it useful in your own preparation.

IELTS Listening Band Score 9 Tips

I’d say that the listening test is all about practice. I did about 8 practice tests, and I as I was doing them I was able to see that I was getting better at picking up the points needed for the answer the more I practiced.

In my own test, I had a woman who spoke in a Scottish accent, and I’d say that this is one of the accents that people outside of the UK seldom come across. This is why I recommend that it’s imperative that you try out some practice tests by yourselves. This would enable you to get used to the formats as well as the intonation and accents used by the people that you hear in the recording. Liz has a number of excellent practice lessens on the blog at the IELTS Listening page.

You might sometimes find that you’ve missed the answer to a given question. If this happens – don’t worry! Panicking will only reduce your concentration and might cause you to lose more answers.

I also also recommend writing the answer in capital letters so that the examiner would find it easier to read what you’ve written.

Finally, make good use of the extra 10 minutes that you’re allowed at the end of the test. This can be used for filling out any answers that you may have missed.

IELTS Reading Band Score 9 Tips

I found the reading exam the easiest of the lot. You can read the passages on your own pace as opposed to following a preset sequence of events as in the listening test. I finished the test in about 40 minutes and had time to go through my answers again to check them for errors.

While there are some that say reading the entire passage is not worth it, I would still suggest that you at least skim the passages to get the gist of the content before you start. I recommend this in particular to people whose reading speed is high. This way, when you encounter a question, you’d have an inkling of where in the passage you saw the answer point.

Another point that I can’t stress enough is that you should never overthink the question. This was my biggest problem in the reading practice tests. Over-analysing the statement will often lead to incorrect answers. For YES/NO/NOT GIVEN type questions, if the passage explicitly agrees with the statement, say YES, and if it explicitly contradicts the statement, say NO. In all other cases, say NOT GIVEN.

Again, Liz has a set of excellent tips as well as practice questions in the IELTS Reading page.

IELTS Writing Band Score 8 Tips

My writing test for Task 1 involved a bar chart which compared bottled water vs. soda consumption in some western countries, while for task 2 I had the following:

Most countries want to improve the standard of living through economic development, however, others think the social value is lost as a result. Do you think the advantages of economic development outweigh the disadvantages?

I followed Liz’s tips on writing task 1writing task 2 to the letter and found that having a strategy helped me immensely. If you’re just starting out answering the tasks without a plan, it would likely end up costing you more time. As Liz rightly states, time management is vitally important in the writing test. I’d also recommend that you go through the answers you’ve written as well, which will help spot any errors that you may have made. A quick once-over may help you save points that you’d have lost if you’d misspelled any word.

IELTS Speaking Band Score 9 Tips

My speaking test went very well, and I almost felt as if I’d had a pleasant chat with the examiner as opposed to being graded.

My speaking part 1 was mostly about work/life balance (probably because I’d said that I was working full-time).

Then, for part 2, I was asked to speak about an important historical event and how it had helped shape the present. I picked the Assassination of Julius Caesar and it went without a hitch.

Part 3 then followed up on history and why it’s important to learn it.

For part 2, I took some short notes on the notepad given to me, which helped me marshal my thought before the test itself. You can also structure your own flow which would enable you to showcase your language skills without being held up by lack of content. This is important because pauses due to language limitations will negatively impact your score.

It’s also worth noting that what’s being tested is your language level and not the content you’re presenting. Hence, if you don’t have an answer, you can say no and take it as an opportunity to display your proficiency. For instance, I was asked whether I had any pets, and I said something along the lines of “No, I’ve never really had the chance, but my neighbour has a beautiful Labrador that I enjoy playing with..” and so on.

Be clear and confident, and you’d do fine.

Closing thoughts from Gokul

Lastly, though you’re probably here to prepare for your exams, I’d urge that you develop an interest in the English Language in general. Not only would you find that it provides you with new opportunities, it would also help you enjoy some of the finest literature ever produced.

Liz – I can’t thank you enough for your collection of resources and materials for prospective test-takers. They were invaluable to me, and doubtless to countless others as well. Keep up the good work.

Message from Liz: Thanks for sharing your tips and your experience, Gokul. You’ve done amazingly well and clearly understand IELTS. I hope this will inspire students to learn more about their test before taking it.

High IELTS Band Score Tips

Click below to read more success stories about students:

How I got band 9 in IELTS speaking

How I got overall band score 8.5

How I scores band score 9 in reading

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Subscribe for free to get my new IELTS lessons sent to your email inbox.

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Is Band 9 possible in IELTS?

Hi guys,

Share your thoughts…

  1. Do you think it is possible to get an overall band score of 9 in IELTS?
  2. Have you ever known someone get band 9 overall?

Post your answers in the comments box below.

Liz

 

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Answers for Listening Answer Exercise

Hi guys,

Here are your answers to yesterday’s listening exercise about choosing the correct answers.

Questions:

Answer using no more than three words and/or a number.

  1. John can’t have  ……………or …………….
  2. Mary will need  to buy …………… for the car park.
  3. The car park will close at ………………………

Possible Answers:

Choose below which are the correct answers for these questions

**  You can choose more than one correct answer. In some cases, there might be two or three correct answers. **

Answer to Q1:   a) milk or butter         b) milk, butter           c) milk  / butter      d) milk  butter

Answer to Q2   a) ticket      b) a ticket     c) the ticket        d) car park ticket

Answer to Q3   a) at 9.30pm     b) at 9:30pm     c) 9.30pm     d)9:30pm

Answers

Click below to reveal the answers:

Answers

Q1 = You could choose b, c or d. All three were correct. Answer a was wrong. The word “or” was already given in the question and shouldn’t be used again.

Tips: When you have two words as an answer for one question, it is best to just leave a space between the words. For example, “milk   butter”. You can separate the words if you want using punctuation but it isn’t necessary.,

Q2 = You could choose b. The other answers were wrong.  The sentence must be grammatically correct to be marked right. So, you needed to write “a ticket” as your answer.

Q3 = You could choose c or d. Both of them are right. The answers a and b are wrong. The word “at” was given in the sentence so you should not repeat it.

Tips: When you write the time, there is no set rule for this. You could write 9.30pm or 9:30pm. As long as the person marking understands, it will be marked right. 

 

 

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Student Tips for Getting IELTS Band 8.5 Overall

My Tips for IELTS Overall 8.5

This page gives you my tips for how I got IELTS band score 8.5 overall in 3 steps. And also my tips for getting band 8 in IELTS writing and band score 9 in IELTS speaking.

by Deeksha

My IELTS Test Results

24th June; United States; First Attempt. I just received my IELTS score:

  • Listening – 7.5
  • Reading – 8.5
  • Writing – 8.0
  • Speaking – 9.0
  • Overall – 8.5

I barely had 5 days to prepare. 70% of my preparation included watching the videos on your blog, answering your sample questions, and going through your tips! For the rest 30%, I printed some of the full-fledged tests and
sample answer sheets from the Cambridge IELTS books and just practised using those.

For anyone of you who has a very little time to prepare, I hope that the process I followed can help you lay out a basic schedule.

My 3 Step Tips for IELTS Band Score 8.5

See my 3 steps:

Step -1 (Know the test)

– Go through the test format.
– Spend some time and understand the question patterns in each segment.
– Keep in mind the time limit for every segment.
– Do an initial sample test (download from IELTS official website) just to see where you stand.

Links:

Step-2 (Prepare using Liz’s blog)

– Go through every one of the 4 segments (L, R, W, S) in this blog, one after the other. Links: Listening Tips, /Reading / Writing T1 /  Writing T2 / Speaking
– In each segment, read every tip and watch every video.
– Make notes of the points that you would like to keep in mind.
– Try and answer every sample question that Liz has laid out there. She has specified at least one sample question for every possible pattern that could appear on the test.
– Look at the answers and compare with yours. Figure out what you got wrong and more importantly, “analyze why you got them wrong.” This helps you understand how you approached the question, and how you should have.

Step-3 (Practice)

– Download all the versions of Cambridge IELTS books (you can just google them out).
– From these books, print out the full-fledged tests and sample answer sheets.
– Take these tests using a clock and write your answers in the sample answer sheets.
– Grade your tests and find out your weak areas.
– Make notes of your analysis and try to keep it in mind during the following tests.

In addition, go through the comments in this blog and find out what the recent test takers said about their tests. Know about the tips that helped them, learn from their experiences and be prepared.

Writing Tips for Band Score 8

On my test:

  1. Write a letter to your friend who is going to stay in your apartment during the next month while you are away on vacation
  2. Tell your friend where to get the keys
  3. Tell your friend about the equipment in your apartment
  4. Tell your friend about some places to visit in the area
  5. Advancement of technology has obliterated libraries and hard copies of books. Do you agree or disagree?

–          Apart from your writing skills and the topic at hand, it may help to do this section in a way that encompasses all the elements that the examiner is looking for. Liz’s writing section mentions specific guidelines for content organization, format, tone, logical reasoning, titles, signatures and many other tips. Go through them and try to follow all those tips as you write. In other words, you will have a shell prepared in your mind even before you know what the questions are. Click here: IELTS GT Letter Tips 

–          I didn’t have time to practice this section at all so I had a bit of an issue managing time on the test. If you have very little time to prepare for IELTS, make sure you squeeze in at least a few writing tests and see where you stand with the time limit.

Speaking Tips for Band Score 9

On my test (to the best of my recollection):

  • –          Where are you from?
  • –          Do you work or study?
  • –          Is there anything significant about the place you were born in?
  • –          Do you enjoy it?
  • –          What is special about it?
  • –          Do you have any challenges at work/school? How do you resolve them?
  • –          Where do you live?
  • –          Where would you like to live in the future?
  • –          Do you usually shop online?
  • –          How is it better than shopping in the stores?
  • –          Is there any difference between living in rural and urban areas?
  • –          How do you cope up with the challenges of urban life?
  • –          What do you do on your birthdays?
  • –          Are your birthdays the same as they were when you were a child?
  • –          Is any specific birthday considered significant in your country?
  • –          Do you have a favorite rock star?
  • –          Would you enjoy meeting your favorite rock star?

Cue card:

  • –          Talk about a crowded place that you visited recently.
  • –          Did you or did you not like it? Why?
  • –          Would you revisit it again in the future?

Go through Liz’s list of sample topics, sample answers (Liz’s Speaking Page), comments from recent test takers (Recent Topics) on this blog and questions from IELTS Cambridge speaking tests. Try to answer them. These should be more than enough to help you familiarize with the test pattern and to understand what to expect on the test. From the comments, I also found out that most of these questions are being repeated so make sure you go through them. Almost all the questions that my examiner (whose name was coincidentally Liz) asked me were also from the above lot.

As Liz mentioned, they expect you to be casual and test you only for your language and not for your knowledge on the topic at hand. Think about this segment like you just bumped into a fan who would like to know some of your opinions and experiences. Well, you don’t simply meet a fan every day, so this is your chance – talk her ear off! J Be casual, funny, and confident and you’ll do just fine.

Try to book your test in a test center that does not use hallway speakers to play the audio in the listening section. There is a definite distinction in terms of quality compared to headphones. There is always a possibility of noise and distraction. I didn’t know about this while booking my test and I certainly experienced the difference.

Thanks,

Deeksha.

Good Luck!

Liz – Thanks again for the effort you are putting in, to assist so many test-takers all over the world, each with their own questions and training needs. It must feel incredible to know that most of these people credit their success to you. Keep up the good work!

Deeksha.

Message from Liz

Deeksha, you’ve done exceedingly well. Congratulations!! I love your tips! They are logical and very helpful for all IELTS students. Tackling IELTS methodically is essential and Deeksha has really hit the nail on the head !!! 🙂

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July 20th IELTS Writing Task 2 Question

Today (July 20th) the IELTS writing task 2 question was reported. Below you can see the essay question.

 

IELTS Essay Question: July 20th 2017

Billions of dollars are spent on space research. This is a waste of money. More money must be spent on improving the problems of people on earth .To what extent do you agree or disagree.

The topic of Space Exploration and Space Travel is for Academic students only. It is not an easy topic to write about so make sure you prepare ideas for this topic.

 

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