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Did you read this word list? Environmental Problems

Hi guys,

I want to check that you have read my vocabulary and listening page for the topic of Environmental Problems?

It’s a useful page that contains all the key environmental problems with useful vocabulary.

Click here: Top 10 Environmental Problems

All the best


Questions for you about Overviews

Hi guys,

I want to check how much you understand about Overviews in IELTS writing task 1 for the academic paper. There are six kinds of writing task 1:

  • bar charts
  • pie charts
  • line graphs
  • tables
  • maps
  • diagrams (processes)

Questions to You

  1. Do you think all types of writing task 1 above require an Overview?
  2. Do you think the Overview is very important?


The answers are now available.

Click below to see the answers, get tips and free video lessons:

Answers about Overview in IELTS Writing Task 1

All the best


Answers for Salt Listening Paraphrases

Below you will find:

  • the questions
  • the audio recording
  • the transcript
  • the answers

to the listening for paraphrases exercise about Salt.

Try listening to the recording again and read the transcript at the same time. If you can speak out loud by following my voice, it will help your speaking skills and pronunciation 🙂


Write down the paraphrases in the recording for the following words:

  1. acquired
  2. familiar with
  3. thousands of years
  4. animal skins
  5. limited
  6. originates
  7. world



Early human hunters obtained their salt from eating animal meat. As they turned to agriculture and their diet changed, they found that salt (maybe as sea water) gave vegetables the same salty flavour they were accustomed to with meat. Over many millennia, they learned how salt helped to preserve food, heal wounds and also cure hides.  Nomadic bands would have carried salt with them and traded it with other bands for different goods. In Ancient Rome, salt was a scarce and expensive commodity, and soldiers were even partly paid in salt which is where the word “salary” comes from. The history of salt can be seen to have had a great impact on many aspects of life and culture across the globe.

Source: Adapted from http://www.saltassociation.co.uk/education/salt-history/


  1. acquired = obtained
  2. familiar with = accustomed to
  3. thousands of years = millennia
  4. animal skins = hides
  5. limited = scarce
  6. originates = comes from
  7. world = globe

Comments from Liz

I’m glad you found this lesson useful. The lesson had easy answers and also difficult answers, such as the word “hides”. I hope through these exercises, you will improve your ability to hear paraphrases and also develop your vocabulary. I will make more of these lessons for you 🙂


I Scored IELTS Band 9 Overall: My Tips

Mania achieved band score 9 overall in her IELTS test (academic).

You will see that IELTS Band Score 9 is possible!!!

Below she shares her tips for how she scored band 9.

Mania’s IELTS Results: Overall Band 9

  • Listening: 9
  • Reading: 8.5
  • Writing: 9
  • Speaking: 9

My test center was in San Francisco, CA, and I took the academic module.
Given that my English was already at a good level, it took me 5 days to study for the test, while working full-time. Please keep in mind I speak/write in English in my daily life, and had also acquired plenty of English degrees / certifications as a high school student; therefore there was no type of question in IELTS that I had never seen before.

IELTS Band Score 9 Tips

My tips for other individuals in my position are the following:

Listening: Probably the easiest part for all good language users. Your time should mostly be spent identifying the different question styles you might encounter. I took 1 practice test and looked at a couple more.

Reading: Remember that T/F/Not Given questions refer to what the text actually says, not what you think. The rest of the questions should be again very easy to handle for good language users. Again, I mostly spent time looking at question styles, rather than taking tests (only took 2 practice tests, mainly for the T/F/NG questions).

Speaking: My biggest fear was that the few minutes/seconds I had for each answer would not be enough to actually make a point (I talk A LOT). However, the examiner interacted with me to lead the discussion accordingly, which actually made it feel like an every day discussion. Fun fact: she kept me an extra 15 minutes after the recording for an actual conversation! In terms of practising, I looked at a few topics just to get an idea of what to expect, and then I just let the generic ones (hometown, family, profession etc) brew in my mind the days before the exam. Again, remember I speak English every day, and it does make a difference.

Writing: Of course, the fear for even the greatest language users is time. You might be able to compose your essays very fast, but in my opinion there is a risk of overthinking things, wanting to give more arguments and/or expand on sophisticated ideas the topic might trigger in your brain, which will actually cause you to lose valuable time. On the day of my exam, I met another woman who was an excellent speaker and had been living in the US for years – even had a green card. After the exam, she told me she ran out of time in the Writing section, what a pity! In a nutshell, look at Liz’s sample essays and identify how your ideal structure should be. When developing arguments, I prefer to stick to 2 arguments for each side of the topic, as I am able to expand on each one of them (it was actually impossible for me to stay under 300 words for Writing Task 2). The instructions Liz gives are super clear, just stick to the “approved” recipe! They don’t actually care how much of a thinker you are. Needless to say the Writing section is the one I focused my studying on. I wrote a total of 4 essays for each Writing task (not much more I could do in a week full of work!), and I self-corrected them in terms of how they could be more concise. After writing the first one and seeing I should write less, I studied the model essays provided here and then wrote the rest of my own; the improvement was significant.

Good luck to everyone! Once again, thank you, Liz!

Comments from Liz

Very well done Mania!! Band 9 is a Fantastic Result!

I agree very much with your preparation for listening and reading. Of course, it is important to do practice tests at home, but you also need to focus on question types. There are many different types of questions that involve different techniques and have different challenges – you need to be prepared for them all. Speaking is all about being ready for general topics and using ideas in a fluid way with different topics. The examiner is not marking your ideas, so you need to prepare your own memories and stories, and also think of your own opinions. Mania, you are spot on for writing 🙂

IELTS Speaking: Should I use Sir or Madam

Hi guys,

Here are some tips about how to address the examiner. I asked you if you should use Sir or Madam when speaking to the examiner in your IELTS speaking test. You all had very different opinions about that. Let me explain.

Using Sir or Madam Tips


The IELTS speaking test is informal. This means you speak to the examiner in a friendly manner as through you were chatting to a friend. Yes, you should be polite, but you do not use Sir or Madam.

Referring to the Examiner

The only questions you might ask in the test are:

  • Could you repeat that please?
  • Could you explain what you mean please? (only in part 3)

When you ask these questions you do NOT use Sir or Madam. It is actually incorrect to do so. The word “please” is the polite way of asking, no titles are needed.

When is Sir or Madam Used?

Sir and Madam are mainly used:

  1. in the hospitality industry when you are working in a hotel, for example, and you speak to a customer
  2. in formal letter writing when you do not know the name of the person you are writing to.

You do not refer to people in the street or doctors or teachers or anyone else as Sir or Madam. You should not refer to me as Madam.

Using the Examiner’s Name

The examiner will introduce their name. You can use it or not use it – it’s up to you. It is certainly not necessary to use their name. If you use their name, then you will use their first name. For example, if the examiner’s name is Sarah Biggins, you will call the examiner Sarah.


You should NOT use Sir or Madam in the IELTS speaking test. Your politeness to the examiner is by smiling, looking them in the eye when they are talking to you and when you talk to them, and saying “please” when you ask a question.


I wish to make it clear again.  I DO NOT OFFER A QUESTION/ANSWER SERVICE.

Always remember when you post a comment that I do not offer an answer service. I am sorry that many students will not receive a reply to their comments, but I work alone and cannot possibly reply to everyone. Always read comments written to other students in the past – you might find your answer there. This is not a conspiracy on my part, this is life – I can’t answer 2500 comments every month. Please do not get upset if your comment is not answered.

IELTS Liz website is to give you access to over 300 pages of lessons, tips, model answers and free video lessons. The materials on this site are extensive and you can learn a lot from them – this is the sole purpose of my site – to provide you access to my lessons. It is not my aim to provide an answer service.

Please enjoy the using and learning from my lessons and tips.

All the best




Hi guys,

I thought some of you would like to see this video about Overview or Conclusion I made a while ago. It is found on the main page for writing task 1 which you can access through the red bar at the top of the website.

Hope you find the lesson useful 🙂

All the best


How I Scored IELTS Band 8

Learn how Dr Jabril scored an overall band 8 in IELTS. His tips and experiences are very insightful.

IELTS Results

Overall Band 8
  • Listening 9
  • Reading 8.5
  • Writing 7
  • Speaking 7.5

My IELTS Tips for Band 8

Good day, I wrote UKVI academic IELTS on the 24th of February, 2017 and got band score 8 overall.
First of all, I want to appreciate your efforts in making the whole exam process easy for me and others around the world, your lessons really helped a lot.
IELTS Writing 
I’ll start off with my weaknesses. My weakest section was writing, I “hated” it with passion. I don’t enjoy any exam that requires me to write an essay, either short or long, and since this is unavoidable, I always try to find out alternatives/shortcut to the essay writing. Also, I had a very busy work schedule and would get home in the evenings, very tired to read or practice. This is where your tutorials came in, I found it easy to follow, and the way you presented your examples and explained how the essays were marked gave me some confidence in approaching it.
I’ll also say this was one section where I followed your instructions totally, especially in task 2, which I believe helped me to crawl to that 7.0 I got there. I downloaded the sample answer booklet and practiced with the little time I had as you suggested, which made me know the number of lines I needed to get to the required number of words.
The task 1 on the other hand was another issue. The only type of question I did not practice was what we were asked to describe, the maps/diagram description and comparison. I didn’t have enough time to go through all the types and had to select the ones I felt were high yield. This I believed translated to a poor task response and organization which dragged my score in writing down.
 IELTS Speaking
The other section I dreaded was the speaking section, I have this phobia for oral examinations and tend to get nervous about it. Though I went through most of your tips on speaking, I didn’t practice by recording and evaluating my answers, and this affected me in the exam. I don’t think I started well because I was using “sir” for the examiner in the first few minutes and jumbling up my answers, but when I eventually settled in, things began to go smoothly. I believe that early period of nervousness caused me to lose some points, hence the 7.5 for speaking.
 IELTS Listening and Reading
Now to my strong sections, the reading and listening. I love reading a lot and I’ve found IELTS reading passages a lot of fun to read. It provides lots of new information and interesting facts, and I even sometimes just read the passages without answering follow up questions. Despite this though, I didn’t want to take the exam a second time so I still went ahead and watched your video tutorials and followed all your instructions. I wrote my answers in capital letters for both sections, I also practised more of both sections than the writing and speaking, and I found it more convenient to read passages before answering questions.
I need to say here though that it was not all sweet for me during practice as I remembered a listening practice test I did where I scored 26. I just blacked out and lost focus while listening to the tape and missed a lot of answers, this jolted me up and made me realize that the exam was not going to be as simple as I thought.
To cap it all up, I’ll advice anyone preparing for the test to first if all identify a pattern that suits them, work well on perfecting it and do lots of practice questions. It also helps to simulate exam conditions as this goes a long way in calming the nerves on the day of exam. The most important advice though is to listen to Liz 100%. I listened to get 85% and got an overall score of 8, I wonder what would have happened if I had listened to her 100%.
PS: you might be wondering how someone who hates writing was able to write all the above, well, it’s because I want to show appreciation to a wonderful teacher.
Message to Jubril: Thank you so much for sharing your tips and experience of the IELTS test. Very well done with your results 🙂 From Liz

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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.