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:

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IELTS GT Letter 2017 with Model Answer

The IELTS General Training letter below was reported in the IELTS test this year. It is a typical formal letter that can appear in IELTS GT writing task 1.
IELTS General Training writing task 1 is a letter which you must write in 20 mins with over 150 words. You can find useful tips on this page: Essential Tips for IELTS GT Letter Writing. For more useful links, see below.

IELTS General Training Letter 2017

You recently read an article in newspaper about someone you know personally. You found some information is wrong. Write a letter to editor to inform him about it. Use following points:
  • What is the article about?
  • What is the error?
  • What you expect an editor to do?

IELTS GT Letter Model Answer

Dear Sir,
I am writing to you regarding the recent article you published about Sir David Markham last week, April 2nd , in The Times newspaper.
The article gives a breif biography of Sir David’s life and then continues to focus on his work and the impact it has had. The biography starts with his birth in Edinburgh and his later move in 1962 to Durham University. From there, it focuses on his work with the UN.
I would like to point out an error in your article. Documentation shows that Sir David did not go directly from Edinburgh to the University of Durham, in 1961. In fact he took a gap year in Europe working with a volunteer program and then went to University in 1962.  I know this as I worked with him in Europe and became friends with him. His year abroad, which is absent from your article, created the foundation of his philosophy of life which guided him through his work in later years.
I hope you will publish this correction in the newspaper. Sir David’s work is still of immense importance and people should know the importance of that gap year in his life.
Looking forward to a positive reply.
Yours sincerely,
Jane Frankland
Comments: Band score 8. The task has been completed but there are a couple of issues which prevent it getting a higher score. 
1) Second Paragraph: breif = brief
2) Your sincerely = Your faithfully
3) Signing off the name without a title

IELTS General Training Useful Links:

 Click links below to open …
IELTS GT Model Letter: Complaint Model Letter
IELTS GT Model Letter: Invitation Model Letter
For IELTS speaking and listening, all students take the same test. See the main pages below:

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IELTS Writing Task 1 Answer 2017

Below is an IELTS writing task 1 answer for 2017. The bar charts were reported by a student in February 2017 and recreated as accurately as possible.

You can find links to more model answers for writing task 1 on this page: IELTS Writing Task 1, model answers & tips

IELTS Writing Task 1 Bar charts 2017

Download the above writing task 1 as pdf: IELTS 2017 Writing Task 1

IELTS Writing Task 1 Answer 2017

The two bar charts illustrate the population growth as well as the birth and death rates in England and Wales between 1700 and 2000. The population is given in millions, while the birth and death rates are per 1000 people.

Overall, there was a dramatic increase in the population of England and Wales over the 400 years. The birth and death rates initially witnessed a growth but then steadily declined over the period given. The birth rate was constantly higher than the death rate over the period given.

The population of England and Wales stood at under 10 million in 1700 which then doubled to around 15 million in 1800. By 2000, the figure had reached a high of almost 50 million, almost 5 times that of the population in 1700.

The birth rate was just under 10 per 1000 in 1700 and rose dramatically to peak at over 20 per 1000 in 1800 before dropping to slightly over 10 in the final century. The death rate showed a similar trend but was between 5 and 10 per 1000 less than the birth rate at all times.

187 words (I have put the word count for you. You shouldn’t do this in the test.)

Would you like to see more model answers for writing task 1? See the main pages below and click on IELTS Writing Task 1

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Writing Skills: Spotting Mistakes 3

Mistakes in grammar or vocabulary can affect your score in IELTS writing. Learning to proof read your essay will help reduce the errors and improve your score. There are links to more practice lessons below.

Spot the Mistakes

The following sentences contain mistakes (one or more). Can you spot them?

  1. Research into space explorations can lead to new cutting edge technology.
  2. Handwriting skills is still essential even in todays modern world.
  3. The best way to tackle problem of littering is to have more bins available.
  4. Working long hours is a problem which can lead to increase levels of stress.
  5. Government should spend more money on the arts for order to protect cultural identity.

If you are aiming for band score 7, you should be able to spot 6 out of 7 mistakes.

Answers

Click below to reveal the answers:

Answers
  1. space exploration = uncountable
    1. Research into space exploration can lead to new cutting edge technology.
  2. noun verb agreement = are  /  today = today’s
    1. Handwriting skills are still essential even in today’s modern world.
  3. problem = it needs an article
    1. The best way to tackle the problem of littering is to have more bins available.
  4. working long hours = this is a noun phrase starting with a gerund = singular verb is correct  /  increase = increased
    1. Working long hours is a problem which can lead to increased levels of stress.
    2. Working long hours is a problem which can lead to an increase in the levels of stress.
  5. government = article needed  /  for order to = in order to
    1. The government should spend more money on the arts in order to protect cultural identity.

 

More IELTS Essay Writing Lessons 

If you would like more lessons, tips and see some model essays, please see this page: IELTS Writing Task 2 Main Page

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How I Scored 9 in IELTS Speaking

Nouman got Band Score 9 in IELTS Speaking this year, 2017. Below he shares his experience and tips of how he got 9 in IELTS speaking. You can find useful links for IELTS at the end of this article.

All students taking GT or Academic IELTS will take the same speaking test. There is only one speaking test for all students.

Band Score 9 in IELTS Speaking

How I scored Band 9 in IELTS Speaking

I believe I managed to score a 9 with continuous practice and being myself in the test. The best thing is not to feel shy when you speak about any particular topic. Do not think that your thoughts might be too little or simple to express.  Some of us may believe that if we are not full of knowledge, we may not be able to impress the examiner.  In speaking module however, knowledge of the topic is not a big deal. The thoughts presented may just be of a lay man and do not need to reflect an in-depth understanding of the subject.

I never crammed any specific topics however; I did gather my thoughts for topics which I would have found difficult to talk about. For example, I have not been visiting many historical places in the past. The one or two that I have visited, I made sure that I gather sufficient thoughts about those places to talk about. Important thing is that those thoughts were purely my own and not learnt from a book or Wikipedia. Gathering own thoughts in your own words is important.

Well done to you, Nouman, and thanks so much for sharing your tips!!! Liz

Liz’s Comments and Summary:

Nouman’s band score 9 advice is excellent. Here are his points in a list with some extra tips for IELTS Speaking:

  • don’t be shy
  • enjoy the chat with the examiner
  • your ideas are not important – your knowledge is not being tested
  • say your ideas with confidence and showcase your language skills
  • simple ideas explained using excellent English can get you band score 9
  • review topics
  • think of your experiences relating to the topics
  • if the topic is a museum, think of museums you have been to or would like to go to
  • remember your past experiences
  • speak from the heart – your English is better when you do that
  • learn to express yourself using your own language
  • imagine talking about your experienced and your views

Scoring 9 in Reading

Learn how one student scored band score 9 in IELTS reading: How I Scored 9 in Reading

Useful Links for IELTS Speaking

Click on the links to open them:

  1. Tips: Should I speaking fast or slow?
  2. How to start your talk in IELTS speaking part 2
  3. Asking the examiner questions
  4. Tips & Answers: All IELTS Speaking Model Answers & Tips

Main IELTS Pages

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Listening Practice for English Names

These two listening practices focuses on listening for English names. This practice is important for students preparing for their IELTS test as well as other students studying English or planning to move to the UK.

Below are TWO LISTENING PRACTICE EXERCISES FOR NAMES.

You will find more useful tips for IELTS listening, after the practice exercise, lower on this page.

Instructions for Listening Practice

You should listen to the recordings and write down the names you hear.

Before you listen, please make sure you watch English Names Tips for Listening Video.

  • Don’t forget to listen for titles. Some will have titles and other won’t. If there is a title, you must write it.
  • Write down the complete name given.
  • Some names will be spelled and others will not.
  • You can learn some common English names here: Boys Name and Girls Names
  • All free listening practice and tips: IELTS Listening Main Page

Listening Practice for Names 1

You will hear 10 names. Listen and write down what you hear.

 

Answers

Click below to reveal the answers:

Answers
  1. David Darwin
  2. Mrs Alice Smith
  3. Balthazar Jones
  4. Sara Bartholomew
  5. Sean Bean
  6. Mr Frank Allenson
  7. A R Beevers
  8. James Chichester
  9. Mary Schooling
  10. Sir Paul McKellen

Capital letters are not needed and are not marked so don’t worry if you use them or not. See this page: IELTS Exam FAQ

 

Listening Practice for Names 2

You now have a chance to listen again to 10 new names. Think about the mistakes you made in the previous practice and see if you can improve.

 

Answers

Click below to reveal the answers:

Answers
  • Dr Davis
  • Richard Chamberlain
  • Miss Victoria Halley
  • Mr C J Billings
  • Robert Powers
  • Emily Jackson
  • Nora Ingalls
  • Mrs Caroline Castle
  • Charles Pringle
  • Emma Ford

Capital letters are not needed and are not marked so don’t worry if you use them or not. See this page: IELTS Exam FAQ

 

More IELTS Listening Practice

To get more tips and also free listening practice. See my MAIN IELTS LISTENING PAGE

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What Tense to Use in IELTS Writing Task 1

It is essential to use the right tense in IELTS writing task 1, both academic and GT. This page will explain which tenses to use. The academic test will be explained first and lower down the page you will find grammar tips for GT letters.

Also find writing task 1 tips further down the page.

Academic Writing Task 1 Tenses to Use

For IELTS writing task 1, you may be given a map, a diagram, a bar chart, a line graph, a table or a pie chart in the academic test. The IELTS examiner will mark you on the following (each worth 25% of task 1)

  • Task Achievement: information, overview, accurate of data
  • Coherence & Cohesion: Paragraphing, Linking Words
  • Vocabulary: Collocations, Spelling and Accuracy
  • Grammar: Sentence structure, tenses, punctuation, grammar range and accuracy

So, you can see that using the right tense is important in IELTS writing task 1 because it falls into the marking criterion of Grammar.

Dates and Tenses

On your IELTS graph, chart, map, diagram or table, you might find dates. These will tell you what tense to use. See the list below:

  • No Dates = present tense
  • Dates in the Past = Past Tense
  • Dates in the Future = Future Forms
  • Dates spanning both Past and Future = both Past Tense and Future Forms

Using Passive Voice in IELTS Writing Task 1

There are students who seem to think they will get a high score if they use passive voice. This is not true. You can only use passive voice when it is appropriate and correct to do so. Most writing task 1 will not give you this opportunity. However, if you get a diagram, they are usually a combination of passive and active voice.

Mixing both Past Tense and Future Forms

Here is a sample sentence using both tenses:

In 2010, the number of sales stood at 2 million and is forecast to rise to a peak of 10 million by 2050.

You can see past simple “stood” and future forms of prediction “is forecast to”

IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 Tenses

The examiner will mark you using the same criteria as the AC test, but with one difference in Task Achievement. The IELTS examiner will mark you on the following (each worth 25% of task 1). See below:

    • Task Achievement: Purpose, tone and expanding points
    • Coherence & Cohesion: Paragraphing, Linking Words
    • Vocabulary: Collocations, Spelling and Accuracy
    • Grammar: Sentence structure, tenses, punctuation, grammar range and accuracy

For students taking the General Training test. You will use a range of tenses in your letter depending on the aims and purpose. Below are some sample sentences:

  • I am writing to …. (present continuous)
  • I visited your store … (past simple)
  • …the poor service I have received (present perfect)
  • I hope the problem will be resolved … (future form and future passive)
  • I had hoped that … (past perfect)

Tips for IELTS Writing Task 1

Academic writing task 1 tips, click below:

All Tips, Model Answers, Free Video Lessons & Practice for IELTS writing task 1

GT writing task 1 tips, click below:

Essential 10 tips

Differences between GT and Academic Writing Task 1

Main IELTS Pages

Develop your IELTS skills with tips, lessons, free videos and more. Click below to find the main pages for IELTS on my website:

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How I Scored 9 in IELTS Reading

“How I got Band 9 in IELTS Reading.”
Manal got band score 9 in IELTS reading with band score 8.5 overall.  Learn how she did it …
Below are her tips for a high score in GT reading:
 Getting 9 in IELTS reading
Manal’s Story and Tips for Band 9 in Reading
Oh I couldn’t believe in my wildest dreams that I scored a 9.0 in Reading. Reading was one of my weakest areas. After I gave the test, I had a gut feeling telling me that probably I scored a 9.0 in Reading. I even got to check all my answers in Listening as well as Reading.
 I re-took the General test. The first time I attempted this test was in October – that time I scored an overall band score of 8.0 with L – 8.5, Reading – 7.0, W – 8.0, S – 9.0. I retook the test specifically to improve my Reading score so obviously I relentlessly practiced tests from the General section of Cambridge IELTS books. I was aiming for a minimum of 8.0 in reading.
 ————————————————–
Tips for Getting Band Score 9 in IELTS Reading
Here are some tips and strategies which you could post. Please feel free to make any editions necessary. I like to explain things in detail, otherwise I do not feel satisfied. You can make them more brief and concise.
Tip 1
Effective time management I can’t stress enough about it. One thing which I meticulously practiced when I did the reading tests was to enforce a strict time division for each section of Reading. Even though in the cambridge books, it states to keep a minimum of 20 minutes for each section. I’d suggest to keep 15 minutes OR less in Section 1 and 2 and to rely solely on skimming and scanning (I mastered to finish Section 1 and 2 in less than 15 minutes leaving me with ample time to solve Section 3 questions). Keep 30 minutes or more for Section 3- where you will need to do a little bit more than skimming and scanning. I usually managed to have 5-10 minutes for revision.
Tip 2
Do not bother reading the passages. It’s a waste of time.
 
 First, read the questions and circle the keywords and then try to look for those keywords or a synonym / paraphased text in the passage. For Section 1 and 2  – skimming and scanning will be your best friends. 
 I didn’t even waste time reading Section 3. I just read the text associated with the questions. 
 
Tip 3
One strategy that worked for me best was “not to overthink” when you are solving the reading questions and to go with your gut instincts – there is no time to think during the 60 minutes of tackling reading questions. Especially this applies to me, because I tend to overthink and over analyze a lot when I am stressed. I struggled a lot with the true false questions. But as I trained myself not to overthink, if the text is there either it will be the same meaning as the question or opposite. If text is not there – not given. 
Tip 4
For paragraph heading questions, only read the first and last sentence of each paragraph. A synonym or a related keyword in the heading title should be there. I also sometimes to be on the safe side for some questions read the second sentence as well.
Tip 5
Although, you will keep hearing from people practice and practice. I personally believe practice is inefficient if you do not learn from your incorrect answers. So it really helps to look at your mistakes and compare with the correct answers in the answer key and to reflect on where you made the mistake. I feel that way – you learn more efficiently.
Hope that helps.
Manal
Comments from IELTS Liz
Thanks so much for sharing your tips, Manal. I think many students will benefit from this and also be inspired to keep aiming for the higher scores 🙂
Anyone who would like to add more tips, please post them in the comments box below 🙂
Useful Links for IELTS Reading:

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