IELTS: Using a Pen or Pencil?

Should you use a pen or a pencil in your IELTS test? Learn the IELTS rules for using pens and pencils and get tips.

Pen or Pencil in IELTS?

In IELTS listening and reading, you MUST use a pencil for filling in the answer sheet. This means you should also take an eraser into the test with you so you can erase mistakes.

In the IELTS writing test, you can choose if you want to use either a pencil or a pen.

Tips on Using Pens and Pencils

Pens:

  • Your answers can look messy if you need to delete mistakes.
  • Don’t just put a thin line through mistakes, put many lines through mistakes to delete the word completely. This will make it easier for the examiner to see which words are mistakes and which are not.
  • Make sure your pen doesn’t run out. Don’t use a very old pen.A

Pencils

  • Make sure your pencil is sharp and not too light in colour. It must be easy to read.
  • Don’t use a pencil that is easy to break as you can miss answers in your listening test, while you sort it out.
  • When you erase a word, make sure it is completely erased so that the new word is clear.

Good Handwriting Tips

You can use any style of hand writing you want  in IELTS and you can delete mistakes without losing marks. However, if your handwriting or words are difficult to read, it will reduce your score. If the examiner can’t read it, it’s wrong.

If you wish to put another word into a sentence in your IELTS writing test, you can use the ^ sign. However, make sure the word is easy to read.

You should practice writing your answers on the official answer sheets for listening and reading before your test. You should also practice writing your essays on the official writing paper. See this page for tips on using the official writing paper and to download it for free: Using the Official Writing Paper. Follow these links to get the listening and reading answer sheets: Listening Answer Sheet and IELTS Reading Answer Sheet

Know more about IELTS

  • Capital letters?
  • Wearing a watch?
  • Writing on the question paper?
  • Writing T instead of True?
  • Indenting your paragraphs ?

Check the pen and pencil rules on the BC website: IELTS Listening Test Rules. You will find links on that page to the reading, writing and speaking test rules.

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Liz’s Notice until Autumn 2016

Dear IELTS Students,

I will not be available to answer your questions until Autumn due to personal reasons. However, my blog will continue to be up-dated over the Spring and Summer to ensure current information about IELTS.

How this will affect my blog?

  1. I will not be available to answer your questions.
  2. However, my blog will continue to run as normal and I will continue to post your recent IELTS exam questions and also your results.

Will I continue to offer any free lessons?

  1. Yes, I will post a lesson once a month. It might be a video or a written lesson or tips. Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss them.

What happens if you have a question about IELTS?

You can probably find your answer on this page: IELTS Test Info. It contains tips and interesting information about the test with over 100 questions answered. You can also find answers to many concerns if you read the comments I have already answered on many other pages.

Advanced IELTS Lessons

To purchase Advanced IELTS writing task 2 lessons, please see my online store: Liz’s Advanced Lessons

I wish you all the very best of luck with your IELTS studies.

See you next year!!

Liz

Main IELTS Pages

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

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IELTS Test Tips & Advice On the day

Below are some tips for the day of your IELTS exam. This tips are to guide you before your IELTS test and also during your test. These tips are for both GT and Academic tests.

On the Day IELTS Exam Tips:

Be prepared for your IELTS exam by making sure you know exactly what will happen in the day of your test. Check all tips and rules below.

  1. Sleep & Eat Well
    1. The IELTS test is long. It takes 2 hours and 40 mins to do the listening, reading and writing test. There is no break between the tests. Make sure you are well rested and have eaten in order to keep your concentration during your test.
  2. Clothes
    1. Wear comfortable clothing. You are not marked on your appearance for any part of the test. So, wear something that you are comfortable in and that gives you confidence.
  3. Drink
    1. You can take a drink into the exam room as long as it is in a transparent bottle.
  4. Arrive Early.
    1. Make sure you know how long it takes to get to your IELTS test center and exactly where your test will be held. Don’t be late or you won’t be allowed to enter the exam room. You will need to check in so make sure you arrive with plenty of time to spare.
  5. Toilet
    1. The listening, reading and writing tests take 2 hours and 40 mins. There is no break so make sure you go to the toilet before you enter the exam room. If you need the toilet during the test, put your hand up and the invigilator will let you go. But you will lose valuable time by doing this and it could affect your score.
  6. No Phones
    1. You will not be allowed to take your phone or any other electronic items into the test room.
  7. Pen, Pencil & Eraser
    1.  You can take pens, pencils and erasers into your test. You can’t take a dictionary or extra paper into the test room. For your speaking test, you can take nothing into the room except your ID.
  8. ID
    1. Check with your test center exactly what ID you need to take with you. Don’t forget it.
  9. Listen to Instructions
    1. Listen carefully to all instructions given before your test starts.
  10. Clock
    1. There will be a clock on the exam room. Make sure you know where it is before your test starts so you can keep checking it in your reading and writing test. You can’t take your watch into the exam room.
  11. Disability
    1. If you have any form is disability that will affect your test, you must speak to the test center well before your test date.
  12. Focus & Be Calm
    1. Make sure you go into your test with a clear aim and an understanding of the techniques you need to use. Be calm and confident at all time.

Don’t 

  • Don’t cheat
    • This is an international test and cheating or copying is not allowed.
  • No dictionary
    • You are not allowed to use any form of learning aid in your test.
  • Don’t take the test paper home
    • You are not allowed to take any part of the question paper home with you.

IELTS Test Tips During your Test

The following IELTS test tips for each part of the IELTS exam will help you focus on the right things during your test. Don’t lose marks by not being prepared.

IELTS Listening Exam Tips

  1.  Make sure your headphones are working. Raise your hand if you have a problem.
  2. If no headphones are used, make sure you can hear the recording. If you need the volume increasing, raise your hand immediately and someone will come to ask what the problem is. Explain that you need the volume increasing.
  3. Use the time given to prepare the questions. Always read through all questions before the recording starts. You should practice doing this at home.
  4. Focus on listening for answers rather than trying to understand everything.
  5. Write your answers on your question paper while you listen.
  6. Make sure you notice how many words you can have for each answer.
  7. You will be given 10 mins after the recording has ended to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. Always check your spelling and grammar.

IELTS Reading Exam Tips

  • Read the instructions carefully and make a note of how many words you can use for your answer.
  • Don’t waste time trying to find one answer. Just move on to the next question.
  • Keep your eye on the clock.
  • Write your answers directly on to your answer sheet. There is no extra time for transferring later.
  • Always spend time analysing the questions before looking for an answer.
  • Look out for paraphrasing.

IELTS Writing Exam Tips

  • Don’t spend more than 20 mins on task 1. Keep checking the time so you don’t make this mistake. You need 40 mins for task 2.
  • Always write over 150 words for task 1 and over 250 words for task 2. See this lesson about the recommended word count.
  • Don’t count the number of words, count the lines and estimate your word count. See this lesson to learn about using the official IELTS writing answer sheet properly.
  • You can plan your essay on the question paper. No extra paper is given for planning. The examiner will not look at your planning, only at your essay.
  • Always write a clear overview for task 1 academic. See here about the conclusion/overview issue. For GT task 1, make sure you cover all points requested in your letter.
  • Always write your conclusion for task 2. Never miss it out.
  • Always organise your writing for both tasks into body paragraphs.
  • Check your spelling. You can use either American or British spelling.
  • Keep all information focused and relevant. More does not mean better.
  • If you run out of paper, put up your hand and you can get more.
  • Do not remove any paper from the exam room.

IELTS Speaking Exam Tips

  • Practice speaking English before your test.
  • Be confident and ready to chat. This is not a formal interview.
  • Listen to the question and answer it directly.
  • Add more information to all answers.
  • Don’t focus only on vocabulary. Vocabulary is only 25% of your marks.
  • You can wear anything you want. This is not a job interview. Clothing does not affect your score.
  • Use a range of grammar tenses in your test.
  • American or British English pronunciation can be used.
  • Ask the examiner to repeat the question if you need it. See this lesson about asking the examiner questions.
  • The examiner will provide a pen and paper to prepare your talk for part 2. The examiner will not look at your plans and will only mark your talk.

IELTS Exam Tips: One Week Before

  • Full IELTS Practice Tests
    • Make sure you have completed at least one or two complete IELTS practice tests before your real test. See my useful websites page for links to free IELTS practice tests.
  • Practice using the Official IELTS Writing paper : a free download link is given under the video.
  • Review common topics for IELTS speaking and IELTS Writing.
  • If you are worried about your test, consider booking two tests. You can use the best score from any test.

The exam tips above  are summarised from the official IELTS sites:

Always check with official sources in case of any changes in rules.

Main IELTS Pages

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IELTS Adv & Disadv Essays: Advanced Lesson Now Available

Dear all,

I am pleased to inform you that my advanced lesson for the advantages / disadvantages essay for IELTS writing task 2  is now available to purchase. See my online store: IELTS Liz’s Advanced Lessons

This lesson includes:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages?
  • Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?
  • Detailed explanations of high band score techniques
  • Highlights of linking methods
  • Band 9 Models
  • Tips

All the best

Liz

 

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Insect Blog: Develop your vocabulary and reading

Hi guys,

I’d like to introduce you to a new blog about insects. It’s written by a guy called Chris who is an entomologist, which is a person who studies insects.

As you know insects is a topic that has appeared in IELTS reading quite a few times and is very difficult because of the academic vocabulary involved. So, this blog can help you become more familiar with this topic. Some of the posts  on Chris’s blog are very high level with a lot of technical language for other entomologists. However, other posts are written for people without knowledge of insects and are very interesting to read, particularly for band score 7, 8 and 9 level students.

The aim of his blog is to share information and teach people about insects that pollinate and insects that are pests. Here’s a link: pests and pollinators by Chris

Liz

 

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IELTS Writing Task 1 Reported 19 Sept 2015

Below is an IELTS writing task 1 table and 3 pie charts reported last week on 19th Sept. I will post a model answer later this week. Follow the link to see a model of the task 1 below: table with 3 pie charts.

IELTS Writing Task 1 Table 3 Pie Charts 2015

Main IELTS Pages

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Post Your IELTS Test Results

After your test, share your IELTS results. It would also help other students if you could share your tips and experiences of the test as well.

Post your IELTS test results in the comments box below. 

Unfortunately, not all results can be displayed due to the high number of posts.

If your results have been delayed, follow this link to learn why your results are withheld.

Tops Scores: If you scored band score 8.5 or 9 overall, email me a copy of your certificate and I will post it on this site for other students to see: ieltsliz789@gmail.com

I hope you did well. Liz

If you would like information about the IELTS Test and Results, click here.

If you would like information about the Band Scores, click here.

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Communication: Practice Exercise

This is a common topic for IELTS speaking part 3. How good is your vocabulary for the topic of body language which is one part of communication?

Fill the gaps of these sentences with the suitable words:

1. I had no idea what she was talking about. Then suddenly she asked a question that I couldn’t understand so I just ………….. my shoulders and walked away.

2. My boss always tells tall stories. Yesterday he came to work with another unbelievable story but the only response I could give was to ……….. my eyebrows.

3. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s being late. Once I was in a really long meeting at work and by the time we finished I was late to meet my friend. During the meeting, I could feel myself getting impatient and my foot started ……………. on the floor.

4. I can’t stand watching films at the cinema because you can’t relax like you can in private, particularly when watching an action movie full of surprises and shocks. When there is a really sudden unexpected scene, my eyes ………. and my mouth ……… open which I find really embarrassing in public.

5. I remember once I was late for an appointment. When I arrived, which was over 1 hour late, I ………….  deep red and stammered an apology.

What words would you use to fill in the gaps above?

Answers: Follow this link for the answers: Body Language Vocabulary

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