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Answers to Yesterday’s TFNG Reading

The answers to yesterday’s TFNG reading lesson are now available.

I’ve posted them on the lesson page.

Please visit the lesson page to see the answers: Yesterday’s TFNG reading lesson

Message from Liz:

I hope you did well 🙂 If you didn’t get them correct, I hope you will understand why when you read the answers and explanation. IELTS is all about learning and improving your technique 🙂



Answer to yesterday’s lesson

Yesterday I posted a lesson about how to write your answers for listening and reading. Make sure you complete the lesson before checking the answers: How to write Answer for Listening & Reading


  1. a (the $ sign is already given so you don’t need to repeat it.)
  2. a ( you can’t paraphrase the answer in listening or reading. You must write the exact word from the passage. The word “access” isn’t in the passage and would be marked wrong.
  3. d (you can write the time in any way as long as it is clear to read. You can also write it in words if the word count allows)
    1. For question 3, I want you to pay attention to the instructions. The instructions do not say “no more than three words and/or  a number”. The word number is plural = numbers. It is essential that you notice if you can have one number or more than one number. However, for the answer to this question the times given are actually counted as one number anyway – so no problem.

I hope you found that lesson useful 🙂


IELTS can be Emotional

IELTS can be emotional for many people for various reasons. In this post, I want to discuss why emotions can bubble over before and during the IELTS test.

The reason I am writing this test to to reassure students that it is normal for emotions to run high in the test. Below are three common problems with emotions and crying in the IELTS test.

1) IELTS is Important for your Future

For many students, the IELTS test is the key to their future. Without a good score, many students are unable to take the next step towards creating a better life for themselves. For this reason, emotions can run high when it comes to IELTS.

However, you should not tackle IELTS with emotions. This is a specific language test with specific rules and specific requirements. You need to tackle IELTS logically and calmly. You must ensure you are fully prepared before you walk into the exam room.

Here are some steps to prepare for IELTS:

  1. Have a realistic goal. Don’t aim for band 7 if your English contains so many mistakes.
  2. Learn as much as you can about the test. What can take into the test room? How does the examiner mark writing task 1? Learn as much as you can:
    1. IELTS Test Information
    2. IELTS Band Scores Explained
  3. Practice each type of question for L, R, W & Sp.
  4. Review model answers for IELTS speaking and writing .
  5. Prepare common topics for speaking and writing.
    1. IELTS Listening Practise & Tips
    2. IELTS Reading Practise & tips
    3. IELTS Writing Task 1 Practise, Tips & Model Answers
    4. IELTS Writing Task 2 Practise, Tips & Model Answers
    5. IELTS Speaking Practise, Tips & Model Answers
    6.  Recent IELTS Exam Questions
  6. Watch my free video: How to Prepare for IELTS (click to open)
  7. Don’t keep taking the test again and again. Review your techniques, review your English and work on your weaknesses before taking the test again.  Make sure the next time you take the test, you have improved.
    Quote Einstein: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

2) Crying in the Speaking Test

I have known students cry in their IELTS speaking test. The most common reason is that they start talking about painful memories which upset them.

This is a language test and a chance to showcase your English. You must think in this way when you enter the test room. All students will be nervous in the test and also emotional to some extent. Students feel pressure to perform and feel the pressure to get good results. This can make you emotional.

In part 2, if the question is about a person you admire, don’t choose to talk about someone who recently died and who you loved. It will distract you from thinking about your English and bring up painful emotions. If you cry in the IELTS test, the examiner CANNOT give you more time. So, be wise in your choices and choose to talk about someone else. Avoid talking about sad memories or difficult personal issues.

If you get emotional in the test, take a deep breathe and hear my words “This is your test! Take control of your test! Take control of your future! Say to the examiner “I’m ready to continue” and then focus on the question – you can do it !!!” I want you to hear my voice, relax and ace your test! My best wishes will always be with you.

3) Problems in L, R, & W

The most common problem in the IELTS listening test is losing your place. This is because students try to understand everything rather than listen for answers and follow key words.

In IELTS reading, I have heard of students crying because they didn’t write their answers directly on the answer sheet. You DO NOT get an extra 10 mins to transfer your answers.

In IELTS writing, the most common reason students get upset is because they didn’t mange their time and failed to complete both tasks. There is a clock in the room and you should keep checking the time. The examiner DOES NOT tell you when to move from task 1 to task 2. You must manage your time for both tasks in the hour provided.

Share your Experiences

Feel free to write a comment and share your experiences of the IELTS test with other students.

  Thanks, Liz

Summing Up Emotions

  1. Be realistic about your expectations in IELTS. If your English is only intermediate level, don’t expect to get band score 7 or 8. This is a language test, tips will only take you to your own personal maximum – not above.
  2. Don’t get over tired. Pace yourself, schedule your practise.
  3. Before the speaking test, get plenty of rest.
  4. In the speaking test, don’t talk about emotional issues or sad memories. This is a language test, make the right decisions so that you can showcase your English.
  5. The examiner can’t give you extra time if you cry in the speaking test. Try to calm down and focus on the next question. Say to the examiner “I’m fine to continue” or “Sorry, I can continue now.”
  6. In LR&W, go to the toilet before the test – you will miss answers and lose time if you go to the toilet during the test.
  7. In the listening test, pay attention to key words and be ready to move to the next question so you don’t lose your place. Always check if there are questions on the next page.
  8. In reading, don’t forget you DON’T get extra time to transfer your answers!! Don’t forget this!
  9. In writing, keep your eye on the clock! Don’t spend more than 20 mins in task 1 and don’t spend more than 40 mins on task 2.  Always write an overview for task 1 and a conclusion for task 2.

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IELTS Spelling: US or UK?

Does IELTS accept UK or US spelling? Can you write “colour” or “color” in your IELTS test? Will you lose marks if you use US vocabulary?

What is IELTS?

IELTS means “International English Language Testing System”. This means that it is not a UK English test, it is an International English Language test.

US or UK Spelling in IELTS?

As IELTS is international, it means that you can choose either UK or US spelling. So, if you write “specialized” or “specialised”, both are accepted.

Can I use UK and US spelling in my writing?

No, you can’t mix your spell. You must choose all US spelling or all UK spelling. You can’t write some words with American spelling and other words with British spelling. Choose your language and stick to it.

US / UK Vocabulary List

See this list of vocabulary with both spelling: US UK Vocabulary Spelling List (this is from a different website).

More IELTS Test Information

If you want to learn more about the IELTS test – get rules and tips, see my IELTS Information Page

If you want model answers, tips and free video lessons, see the main pages below:

Main IELTS Pages

Develop your IELTS skills with tips, lessons, free videos and more.

Get my free lessons by email

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


IELTS Tops Scores Feb 2017: Band Score 9

Hi guys,

I thought you would like to see some of the top scores that some students have achieved last month (Feb 2017). I want you all to know that top scores in IELTS are possible.

Below you can also find useful IELTS preparation tips 🙂

Overall Band Score 9

Two students achieved OVERALL BAND SCORE 9  !!!

ielts band score 9 top results

See their results below:

  1. Saif: L 8.5, R 8.5, W 9 and S 9 = overall band 9.  His personal details have been removed from the certificate. He mentioned in his email:

“You can also mention that I only used your videos as study material for test preparation. I watched around ten of your videos and that was good enough to get an understanding of the test layout.” 

  • Below are links to my videos and tips

Student Band Score 9


2. Niharika: L 9, R 9, W 8.5 and S 8.5 = overall band 9

“I already shared my scores on your blog post about the test results (N G CST is the username). Please feel free to share my results/experience with others. Reading others’ experiences helped me tremendously and I think sharing my experience will definitely be useful.  I resat for IELTS exam on 11 February 2017 in Saint Paul, USA.” Her speaking score went from 7.5 to band 8.5 after taking the test again. You can see her scores posted on my Post Results Page

Below are some of the tips for speaking I gave her:

Part 1 – Listen for the grammar in the question. Past tense question = past tense answer. Second conditional question = 2nd conditional answer. This is an English language test – show the accuracy of your language. For example:
Q: Can you swim?
A: Yes, I can but I wish you could do better and had more time to practice.
This demonstrates the right grammatical answer “can you = I can” and also future forms by adding hopes.
You will know the topics in part 1 because the examiner will say “Lets talk about sport” – then you know you will get 3 or 4 questions about sport. Or “moving on to weather” – now the topic has changed to weather. Listen for the topic and give examples of topic vocab.
Part 2
This is a chance for you to control the language you produce. A chance for you to show you deserve a high score by giving examples of great English.
Showcase your skills. You can add any information and change the prompts – but stick to the topic and pay attention to grammar tenses. Because you can add anything, it means you should be speaking for 2 mins. There is no reason to stop – you can say anything!!!!! So, show the examiner you have no problem to speak at length – fluency!!
Part 3
Discussion. This is chance to you to explain your ideas and develop ideas. It is not because you are marked on ideas, it is because you can show higher level language. The examiner doesn’t care what you think – only what your English is like. So, explain in depth and use higher level English.

Overall Band Score 8.5

6 students got an IELTS overall band score of 8.5 this month.
  • Gurinda = L 8, R 9, W 7.5 and S 8.5
  • Kristine = L 9, R 8.5, W 7.5 and S 9
  • Rohan =  L 8.5, R 9, W 7.5 and S 8.5
  • Patricia = L 9, R 9, W 8.5 and S 8.5
  • M Harris = L 9, R 8.5, W 7.5 and S 8.5
  • Ajuraj = L 8.5, R 8.5, W 9 and S 7

Overall Band Score 8 or 7.5

  • 11 students got an overall score of 8
  • 13 students got an overall score of 7.5

IELTS Preparation Tips

Nobody finds IELTS very easy. Even band score 9 students need to prepare and develop the right skills for the test. Here are a couple of tips for your preparation. Click the links to open useful pages:
  1. Learn everything you can about the test. Learn the rules. Learn what is allowed and not allowed.  See my IELTS Information page to learn as much as you can about the IELTS Test.
  2. Develop your English. For speaking and writing, you need to avoid making errors in vocabulary and grammar. Find some Useful Websites to help you.
  3. Learn tips to ensure you use the right techniques, practice and FREE VIDEO LESSONS. Click below to open page:
    1. IELTS Listening Tips
    2. IELTS Reading Tips
    3. IELTS Writing Task 1 Tips
    4. IELTS Writing task 2 Tips
    5. IELTS Speaking
  4. Start learning Ideas for IELTS Topics and also Vocabulary for IELTS Topics
  5. Never do your IELTS test until you have practiced a real IELTS test at home under the time limit. You need to get the IELTS Cambridge Test books

You can buy Advanced IELTS Writing Task 2 Lessons from my online shop, if you want high band score training:

Liz’s Advanced Writing Task 2 Lessons

Well done to all of you who have done so well in your tests!!!

And good luck to all of you about to take your test!!


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kids or children / teens or teenagers

A lot of students have a problem knowing what type of vocabulary to use in their IELTS test. Below are two examples:

Which words to use?

kids or children?

teens or teenagers?


You can find the answer to this here: Answer to Kids or Children


Answers to word count questions

Yesterday I posted a list of words and numbers. I asked you to decide how they were counted by IELTS. Check the answers below.

You can also find useful links about word count information in IELTS using the links below.

How are words counted – Answers

The answers below show how these words and numbers are counted in IELTS writing and IELTS listening. The reading test uses the same system as the listening test.

  1. fair-haired
    1.  This is counted as one word. It is a compound noun but it is connected by a hyphen to make one word.
  2. 55%
    1. This is counted as one word in writing and as one number in listening. The
  3. 1960’s
    1. This is counted as one word in writing and one number in listening.
  4. 21st July
    1. This is counted as two words in writing and in listening is it one number and one word.
  5. can’t
    1. This is counted as one word in writing and listening. Although it has a meaning of two words, the words are contracted to make one word.
  6. blackboard
    1. This is counted as one word only.
  7. 9am
    1. This is counted as one word in writing. In listening, it is counted as one number only. The “am” does not count as a word on its own.
  8. up-to-date
    1. This is counted as one word because it is a compound noun joined with hyphens.
  9. at school
    1. This is counted as two words.
  10. $19.17
    1. This is counted as one word in writing and in listening it is counted as one number. Symbols do not count at all.

Useful Links to Learn more about IELTS

Learn how all words are counted in IELTS

Learn about how many words to write for your essay

IELTS Test Information & Tips: over 100 questions answered

Main IELTS Pages

Develop your IELTS skills with tips, lessons, free videos and more.

Get my free lessons by email

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




Do you understand how words are counted in IELTS?

Many students don’t understand how words and numbers are counted in IELTS.

Below is a list of answers. Are they counted as:

  • one word?
  • one word and one number?
  • two words?
  • two words and a number?
  • three words?

Answers are found in the link below.

How are words counted?

How are the following answers counted in IELTS?

  1. fair-haired
  2. 55%
  3. 1960’s
  4. 21st July
  5. can’t
  6. blackboard
  7. 9am
  8. up-to-date
  9. at school
  10. $19.17


To see the answers and explanation for the above, click on this link: Answers to how words are counted