Study Tips

Top Ten Questions for an IELTS Teacher

Ten of the best questions submitted to Ask an IELTS Teacher this year:

Question from Kyaw in Myanmar: I don’t know how to handle “other” in line graph caption. What does “other” mean?

Answer: This is a very good question, thank you. First of all, you don’t need to speculate about what’s meant by ‘other’. Often the ‘other’ category will account for only a very small percentage of results, so it may not even be necessary to mention it in your answer.

Question from Hoda in Iran: Is it true that while taking the IELTS Speaking test part 2, the test taker can ask the examiner to change the cue card if he doe not have no clue to talk about the topic? Will he lose any points for that change?

Answer: I’ve never heard of this before so I don’t recommend trying it. The topic in Part 2 is always designed so that anyone can talk about it. If it seems difficult, explain why it’s difficult. You are assessed on the language you produce, not your ability to answer the question. Good luck!

Question from Surya in India: Can we write all listening answers in capital letters?? For example if the answer is “a monsoon”, can we write like this “A MONSOON” and “reduce tension” as “REDUCE TENSION”??

Answer: Writing your answers in capital letters is absolutely fine and will not affect your score. Good luck!

Question from Amelie in France: I would need to know where to find materials/books with samples about IELTS writing tasks 1 and 2. I need to score band 8. I am requested to. Do you know where I can find good samples of writing tasks band 8 and possibly 9? I need to study them carefully and in depth. Thank you so so much!!

Answer: Wow, that’s a high requirement! May I ask which school or organisation requests Band 8? In answer to your question, I do not know of any textbook specifically designed to help you achieve bands 8 or 9, but the Objective IELTS Advanced Self-study Student’s Book includes many answers of the type you’re looking for. Don’t forget to read my article How to Get a Band 8 Score in Academic IELTS and look at the IELTS Writing answers on this site, many of which are Band 8 or above.

Question from Angel in Indonesia: How come to deal with IELTS interview?? Yesterday, I had my first interview… I was so nervous. Actually, I’m a shy person. So, how to resolve it for the next time if I follow the next interview??

Answer: Remember that the examiner is your friend. The examiner wants you to do well. Practice speaking with an older stranger in your own language first to overcome shyness. And good luck!

Question from Len in Viet Nam: Hello teacher! I’m Len and from Viet Nam, I will take IELTS on December 15, 2012. I’m a bit confused about writing task 2. I should or should not give examples in this task.

Answer: You should definitely include examples as they add vital extra support to your main ideas. However, always be aware of time constraints. Two sentences should be enough for any example: one sentence to state the example, and the second sentence to explain it. Good luck!

Question from Amin in Iran: Hi. There are several things that I need to know about the task 1 in writing. First, How to give a good introduction. Then if there are 2 graphs, should I compare them in the body paragraphs or in the introduction. Finally, in conclusion, which is really overwhelming, again what are the most points that I must mention in the conclusion.Thank you very much.

Answer: I suggest you check the following page which should answer your questions: IELTS Writing Task 1: How to Organise Your Answer

Question from Meet in India: Could u tell me what can I say in a topic of “Describe your attitude”?

Answer: “Describe your attitude” means, in other words, “What is your view of?” or “What do you think of?” It’s simply asking for an opinion so you’d reply “Well, in my view…” or “For me, it’s…”

Question from Min in Viet Nam: I’m always get confused when it comes to IELTS Writing task 1, which contains more than 1 graphs. I dont know where to start and what to write. Can you give me advice on this? Thanks a lot.

Answer: Describe each graph in a separate paragraph and then write about the connection between the graphs in your conclusion. Simple!

Question from Amal in Oman: I want to ask you about the academic writing task one. Every time I take IELTS I got band 5 in writing and I don’t know what was my mistake. Can you please give me types of questions that come in task 1 and how can I answer them and get higher score. 

Answer: There are plenty of sample Task 1 questions with model answers on this website. Good luck!

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