Read This Before Your IELTS Test

Hi guys,

I want to give you a link to “On the day” IELTS test tips. The page covers basic tips to prepare the day before and the morning of the test. It also covers last minute tips for listening, reading, writing and speaking. It is one of the most important pages to read before your test.

Click here: IELTS Test Tips On the Day

Good luck!


Answers: Choose a Title Coffee

Hi guys,

I’ve posted the answer below. If you have not completed this reading lesson, please do so before looking at the answers. Click here to complete the lesson: IELTS Reading Choose a Title


The correct answer is A

The opening paragraph and closing line both stress the same point which is about the popularity of coffee. While the first line alone or the last line alone might not themselves indicate aim, to have them both stressing the same point with so much detail in the first paragraph is something you can’t ignore.

There are no fixed rules about choosing a title. But you must remember that information for all options will be given in the passage. So, your aim is not to match information, but to decide what the whole aim of the passage is. You need to ask yourself – Why did this author write the passage? What was the aim of writing the passage? What was the key message that the author wanted to deliver?

So in this lesson, information about the producers and consumers was just extra information given in the passage for interest. But the main aim was to explain the popularity.

I hope you found this useful 🙂

For more reading lessons, go to the main reading section on this site – you access this through the RED BAR at the top of the website.

All the best


Answers for Synonyms Practice: Birds & Dinosaurs

Hi guys,

Below are the answers for the synonyms practice based on the reading passage about Birds and Dinosaurs. If you haven’t completed the lesson, please do that before looking at the answers – click here: Synonyms Practice Lesson

I hope you found the practice lesson useful. Being able to spot paraphrases and synonyms is really important in IELTS reading.


  1. meat-eating = carnivorous
  2. a group / set = a suite
  3. stance / position = pose / posture
  4. resemblance = similarity
  5. persuasive = compelling
  6. feathers = plumage
  7. ancestor = predecessor
    1. Another answer in terms of meaning could be “forebears” – but note that it does come after the answer to number 8. 
  8. characteristic / quality = attribute
    1. “features” is another possible answer in terms of meaning, but please note it comes before the answer to number 7.

If you would like more reading practice lessons, click here: IELTS Reading Tips & Lessons

Number 6 above was the most difficult. If you are aiming for band 7, you should have got the rest correct.

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Synonym Practice

Below is a reading exercise to practise synonyms. As you know, being able to spot paraphrases and synonyms is essential in IELTS reading.

Reading Passage: Did Birds Evolve from Dinosaurs?

Evidence that birds evolved from, dinosaurs, the carnivorous predators that ruled the Mesozoic ecosystems, is plentiful. Traditionally, the prime source of evidence in support of this scientific view was the similar shape of the bones of birds but spectacular new discoveries have added other lines of evidence to the table. One of these involves a suite of features from the eggs of these dinosaurs. A host of fossils have shown that not only did maniraptoran dinosaurs resemble birds in the way they laid their eggs but that these eggs also looked like the eggs of birds. Another line of evidence involves fossils of animals in a brooding pose or in a resting postures also show a startling similarity with the behaviours we see among living birds. Yet, perhaps the most compelling new line of evidence comes from the discovery of soft tissues associated with the skeletons of these predatory dinosaurs, many fossils of these creatures are now known to have been covered by plumage. All this evidence has highlighted the fact that many features that were previously thought to be exclusively avian – from feathers to a wishbone – have now been discovered in the immediate dinosaur predecessor of birds. Even flight is likely to have been an attribute inherited by birds from their dinosaurian forebears! If the new wealth of fossils has clarified the old controversy of the origin of birds, many other fossils have provided a vivid testimony of the early phases of avian evolution. Hidden in these fossils are the clues to how birds perfected their flying abilities and how they evolved warm bloodedness.

Source: Article adapted from Natural History Museum

Questions 1-8: Find the following synonyms in the passage above. Answers come in order.

  1. meat-eating
  2. a group / set
  3. stance / position
  4. resemblance
  5. persuasive
  6. feathers
  7. ancestor
  8. characteristic / quality


The answers are available on the following page: click here Answers to Synonyms Practice Lesson

All the best


Note: This type of question does NOT come in the IELTS reading test. This is a practice lesson to help you review your knowledge of synonyms.

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Can you let me know…

Hi guys,

I’m just checking if you are getting my new posts. Can you let me know if you receive this post in your email. I think something might be wrong with my subscription and emailing system.

Also check my latest lesson to practice synonyms. Click here: Synonym Practice

All the best, Liz

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IELTS Speaking Topics May-Aug 2019

Topics for IELTS speaking from May to August 2019. The topics listed below cover both part 1 and part 2 of IELTS speaking. Part 3 questions are a follow on from your part 2 topic.

These topics are not predictions. They are topics that have been reported by IELTS candidates in their recent test. On this page, you will find:

  1. Speaking Part 1 Topics 
  2. Speaking part 2 Topics
  3. Speaking Part 3 Basic Review

IELTS Speaking Part 1 Topics

  1. Home
  2. Hometown
  3. Work/Study 
  4. Music
  5. Colour
  6. Perfume
  7. Movies & Actors
  8. Emails
  9. Maths
  10. Weather
  11. Bottled Water
  12. Sleep
  13. Smiling
  14. Paintings
  15. Rubbish & Recycling
  16. Sharing
  17. Shops
  18. Social Media
  19. Travel
  20. Nature
  21. Tea & Coffee
  22. Festivals
  23. Crowded Places
  24. Pets
  25. Patience

Tips for Speaking Part 1

  1. Q) Will I definitely get these topics in my speaking test? A) No, it is not guaranteed. You might get these topics or other topics. You should prepare topics from this page and also from the list of common topics and from Jan-Apr topics. You can find them on this page: IELTS Speaking Tips & Lessons
  2. Q) What types of things will the examiner ask me about in part 1? A) your childhood memories, your own personal likes/dislikes, your daily/weekly routine & habits, your own personal opinions, your future plans and common opinions in your country.
  3. How long should my answer be? Aim for between 1 long sentence and 2 sentences. Never answer in just a few words. Talk until you are interrupted. Let the examiner decide the length of your answers.
  4. I want to learn more about IELTS speaking = see my model answers, tips, videos and other lessons on this page: IELTS Speaking Tips & Lessons

IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topics

  1. An exciting sport from your childhood
  2. A time you gave advice to someone
  3. A meal at a special event
  4. A success your friend has had that was successful
  5. An important decision you made with someone’s help
  6. A bad service you received
  7. A person who has encouraged you recently
  8. An outdoor sport you would like to try
  9. An old person you met who has inspired you
  10. Your ideal house
  11. A time you saw someone you didn’t know talking on a mobile phone
  12. A tree, plant or bush grown in your country
  13. A TV advert you have never forgotten
  14. A time you invited a friend to eat a meal with you 
  15. A souvenir you bought
  16. A party you recently attended
  17. An item you lost that was found
  18. A singer or music band
  19. A time you answered an anonymous phone call
  20. An occasion you had to get up early in the morning
  21. Recent good news you read
  22. An item you bought but haven’t used much
  23. An activity you do alone in your free time
  24. A famous person from another country you would like to meet
  25. A successful friend


  • These are not all the topics the examiner can use. You must prepare all the common topics for part 2 as well. See the main speaking page: IELTS Speaking
  • NEVER memorise your talk. IELTS do not accept memorised answers. Just plan a few ideas for each topic and then speak naturally in your test.
  • Use your 1 min preparation wisely. Choose a non-emotional subject and plan how to extend it with descriptions etc.
  • Fill your informal talk with lots of examples, personal memories, personal dreams, personal opinions etc.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

These questions are a continuation of the topic you get in part 2. They cover broader world issues, comparisons, evaluations, speculations etc.

For example: An outdoor sport

  1. Do you think men and women enjoy the same kinds of sports? (comparison)
  2. Do you think it is good for people to participate in sports? (evaluation)
  3. Do you think more people will do sport in the future? (speculation)
  4. Do you think the government should pay for people’s injuries when they do dangerous sports? (opinion)
  5. Why do you think people do dangerous sports? (explanation)
  6. What are the benefits of international sports events? (evaluation)

Part 3 is your chance to speak about people in general rather than about yourself, your family or your friends. Explain your ideas in detail until you are asked another question.

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Ideas for IELTS Essay Topics E-book

My “Ideas for IELTS Essay Topics” E-book will become available in September. I will post a notice when it is available to purchase again. 

The e-book covers ideas for over 150 key essay topics that frequently appear in IELTS writing task 2. The ideas are presented as vocabulary exercises. The e-book comes in pdf form and also comes with a free introduction video helping you understand more about using ideas in your essay.

Below is a link to a sample chapter.

Download Sample Chapter

The sample chapter below is for the topic of Family in IELTS writing task 2. Each section of this topic is based on typical IELTS essay questions.

Download: Ebook Ideas for Topics Sample Chapter

Answer Key for Sample Chapter

Click below to reveal the answers to this sample chapter:


Parents or Teachers Should Discipline Children

1 obedience

2 to lack discipline

3 to reward sb

4 well-behaved

The Family is Smaller than Before

1 f        2 a       3 d       4 e       5 b       6 c

Women Having Children Later in Life

1 c       2 e       3 d       4 b       5 a

Childless Marriages

1 responsibilities

2 burden

3 devoted

4 revolve

5 abnormal


Children are unsure of who they might live with afterwards. This is an argument against divorce.

Each parent can devote quality time to their children rather than quantity. This is an argument for divorce.

1 d       2 e       3 b       4 c       5 a

Single Parent Families

1 emotional distress

2 (a) role model

3 dysfunctional

4 upbringing

5 financial strain

Children Spending More Time with Grandparents

1 b       2 d       3 c       4 a

1 For    2 Against        3 For    4 Against

More Ideas for this topic:

For Against
·     Children can gain a sense of security from knowing an extended family.

·     Children can learn about past skills and lifestyles.

·     Children can learn to appreciate family values.

·     A grandparent’s values might differ from that of the parents.

·     Children might not value their grandparents if they see them too often.

·     Grandparents might not have the energy to make the time with their grandchildren enjoyable.

Both Parents Working

1 and

2 of

3 a

4 a

5 it

Care of the Elderly: Families should be Responsible

1 (-)       2 (+)      3 (+)      4 (+)      5 (+)      6 (-)       7 (-)       8 (+)      9 (-)       10 (-)      11 (+)      12 (-)
Researching Family History

1 b       2 a       3 c       4 c       5 b       6 a       7 b      


All the best


Sujata’s Tips for IELTS Band 8.5 (GT)

Hi guys,

Below are the personal tips from Sujata who scored overall band 8.5 in the IELTS test.

People taking the academic IELTS test can still benefit from these tips. The listening and speaking test is the same for all candidates.

Sujata’s IELTS Results

  • Listening = 9
  • Reading = 9
  • Writing = 7.5
  • Speaking = 7.5

My Personal Tips for IELTS Band 8.5

I practised a lot of tests for almost 3 months and that was very helpful. I could understand the pattern of questions clearly and knew what to expect on the test day.- Underlining the key points in the questions really helps to predict the answer before even hearing the recording.- While doing practice tests, one should mark oneself strictly to get an idea about one’s actual score rather than ignoring small mistakes and becoming falsely optimistic about their scores.- Practice tests should be timed like the IELTS in order to get real scores and also to prevent anxiety during the actual test.

I practised a lot of reading tests as well but I restricted myself to doing General tests only because I was going to take GT test.- I frequently used the dictionary and thesaurus to look up the words that I didn’t understand while doing the passage, even if there was no question related to the word. It immediately improved my vocabulary and it undoubtedly helped me in achieving the perfect score.- Timing oneself is equally important in this section as well.

Though I did not get a perfect score in this part, I was able to achieve a decent score because I practised writing letters and essays from your website and that too while timing myself. While writing the exam I felt that time was the limiting factor as opposed to lack of ideas and paraphrasing, as many students say. If I had more than an hour, I could have written a better letter and essay on the same topic. So for me, the most challenging part about writing was the time limit. – I did not go through a lot of sample letters and essays as I felt that they limited my ideas, which would be counter-intuitive in the long run. However, I went through one type of sample letter and essay for each question type on your website to get a general idea but that was all.- I can’t stress enough how important paragraphing is while writing task 1 and 2. Liz’s website provides clear information in that regard and one should follow the instructions to the t.

For me, the speaking part was fun and I remember walking out of the exam like I had just had an informal discussion with a new friend. I hesitated a bit while speaking in the second part which was probably why I did not get a better score.- I had practiced recording some of my answers to time myself and realized that I was giving too long answers to most questions. So I would suggest that one should record themselves to evaluate one’s answers and also the check for grammatical mistakes.

“I came to in the first place because it came first when I searched for IELTS exam preparation on google. I must confess that although I had referred to other websites for tips on cracking the IELTS exam, yours was the one I kept coming back to. I think the reason is that you provide a purely informative interface as opposed to other sites which give a lot of irrelevant information as well. Also, the information in your website is clearly demarcated and easy to follow. A person who wishes to learn about the intricacies of the listening part only can go straight to the listening page without being distracted by tips about the other parts of the exam. “

Hope these tips help other aspirants.

Message to Sujata: Very well done with your results!! And thank you for sharing your tips and experience with everyone. I’m sure it will inspire many people 🙂

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