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Predicting and anticipating in the IELTS listening test

Predicting and anticipating in the IELTS listening test

Predicting and anticipating in the IELTS listening testAs the listening begins, you hear a voice on the recording telling you what section you are about to complete, as well as the question numbers. Then you are given a short amount of time to read the questions (more about timing here).


During this preparation time, it is important that you read the questions, thinking about some of the language you might hear so that you can predict the approximate type of answer.

Here is a typical set of questions for a Section 1  recording:


NAME: Mary ________(1)
ADDRESS: _______(2), Lansdale Street, Meldon, Warwickshire
TELEPHONE NUMBER: ______________(3)
REQUIRED MEMBERSHIP TIME: ___________________(4)
HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT US? ____________________(6)

Using the time you are given before the speakers begin, you should be able to logically predict or anticipate the following information:

General: the title of the questions says application form, so this is someone who is joining or enrolling in something. Question 5 refers to a gym so logically it is a gym enrolment form. It is likely to be for new members, not a renewal of membership because it is asking for basic personal questions.

Question 1: The answer here is likely to be a family name. Listening for ‘Mary’ will also be a useful indicator, as generally people in English speaking countries state their first name followed by their last name (in some cultures, it is common to use the family name first).

Question 2: This is likely to be a number (e.g. 14) or a number and a letter (e.g. 14 A), because the street address is given afterwards, followed by the suburb and the county.


Question 3: This is highly likely to be a string of numbers, possibly including an area code.

Question 4: The answers here are given – it will be FULL, GYM AND SWIMMING or GYM ONLY

Question 5: Looking at this logically, the answer is likely to be something like ‘From a newspaper’, ‘On the internet’, ‘From a friend’ or something similar.

Important note: KEEP AN OPEN MIND!

Although it is essential to use the time you are given to predict or anticipate some of the answers, it is very important that you listen closely for the unexpected. For example, it is possible that for TELEPHONE NUMBER, the person may not have a telephone, meaning that the answer could be ‘NONE’.

Test yourself

Look at the following form and predict as much as you can. Remember that you will have a limit on the number of words, so think of possible answers that do not go beyond the limit.
Complete the following using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS OR A NUMBER.
Evening Classes for Adults

a Courses will run for _____ .
b Maximum of _____ students per class.
c Cost will depend on _____
d Those interested should contact _____ Edwards on 263-8147.
e Evening courses will be held at the _____ .

Now listen to the recording and fill in the missing information USING NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND / OR A NUMBER

Predicting and anticipating

Predicting and anticipating for pictures / diagrams

Predicting and anticipating in the listening is also useful when you have to select a picture or diagram in a multiple-choice question. Look at the pictures below – they have the same context but there are obvious differences, and spending a few seconds thinking of those differences can help you identify the correct answer.


Click here to see some of the points you could have noted.

Legs – straight in picture A, left leg bent in pictures B and C

Head – faces straight down in picture A, to the side in pictures B and C and forward in picture D

Golf club – vertical to the floor in picture A and C, horizontal above the head in picture B and behind the back in picture D.



IELTS writing model answer

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 011

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 11

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:

Teenagers are spending an increasing amount of time on the Internet, and this is having a negative effect on their social skills.

Do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 11It is not uncommon these days for younger people to spend an hour or more a day online, and although this does detract from time spent taking to family members, it is not necessarily affecting their social development as will now be discussed.

The primary reason to disagree with the statement is that a considerable amount of time that youngsters are on the internet is actually spent on social networking sites such as Facebook. As these sites are specifically designed for social purposes, the argument that social skills are declining would appear to be invalid. It is only when the time online is spent playing single player games or generally surfing for entertainment without interacting with others online that this could be considered unsociable.

In addition, an increasing dependence on the internet for a broad range of tasks from completing homework and studies to checking bank balances and searching for employment means that being online is often simply an alternative manner of working or completing necessary chores, and should not be considered related to social skills at all.

Admittedly, if too much time is spent online playing games or looking at websites, then there is the potential for surfers to become less able to interact with people directly. However, this can be negated by ensuring that time online is limited to a reasonable amount, and can even be controlled by using technology that actively records the amount of time online.

To sum up, it is not that the internet is causing us to become less sociable, it is simply that the nature of social interaction is changing.

(267 words)

IELTS grammar: conditional sentences exercises

IELTS grammar: conditional sentences exercises

IELTS grammar: conditional sentences exercisesHave you read the information page on conditional sentences? Click here to read it before you try the conditional sentences exercises.

Remember to register to get email updates.


Complete the conditional sentences exercises below to test your knowledge of conditionals.

1st conditional example:

If he __________________ (get) the job, he ___________ (be) very happy .

If he gets the job, he will be very happy.


Conditional sentences exercises – zero conditional

Complete the conditional sentences exercises below using the zero conditional form.

1. If you _____________ (heat) water to 100 degrees Celsius, it _____________ (boil).

click here to see the answer
If you heat water to 100 degrees Celsius, it boils.


2. If I _____________ (ask) my dog to sit, he _____________ (obey) me.

click here to see the answer
If I ask my dog to sit, he obeys me.


3. You _____________ (need) travel insurance if you _____________ (go) on holiday overseas.

click here to see the answer
You need travel insurance if you go on holiday overseas.


4. If people _____________ (not exercise), they _____________ (become) unfit.

click here to see the answer
If people don’t exercise, they become unfit.


5. I _____________ (feel) better if I _____________ (eat) well, .

click here to see the answer
I feel better if I eat well.


Conditional sentences exercises – first conditional

Complete the conditional sentences exercises below using the first conditional form.

6. If I _____________ (find) her phone number, I _____________ (send) it to you.

click here to see the answer
If I find her phone number, I will send it to you.


7. He _____________ (feel) ill if he _____________ (eat) all those sweets!

click here to see the answer
He will feel ill if he eats all those sweets!


8. If you _____________ (talk) to him, he _____________ (understand) your problem.

click here to see the answer
If you talk to him, he will understand your problem.


9. I _____________ (visit) you if I _____________ (come) to your hometown next year.

click here to see the answer
I will visit you if I come to your hometown next year.


10. If she _____________ (finish) work late, she _____________ (meet) us at the restaurant.

click here to see the answer
If she finishes work late, she will meet us at the restaurant.


Conditional sentences exercises – second conditional

Complete the conditional sentences exercises below using the second conditional form.

11. If I _____________ (know) how to contact him, I _____________ (tell) him the news.

click here to see the answer
If I knew how to contact him, I would tell him the news.


12. If he _____________ (ask) her to marry him, she _____________ (say) ‘yes’.

click here to see the answer
If he asked her to marry him, she would say ‘yes’.


13. He _____________ (not make) so many mistakes if he _____________ (listen) to instructions.

click here to see the answer
He would not make so many mistakes if he listened to instructions.


14. I _____________ (buy) a boat if I _____________ (have) more money.

click here to see the answer
I would buy a boat if I had more money.


15. If he _____________ (try) it, he _____________ (like) it!

click here to see the answer
If he tried it, he would like it!


Conditional sentences exercises – third conditional

Complete the conditional sentences exercises below using the third conditional form.

16. If I _____________ (see) him last week, I _____________ (invite) him.

click here to see the answer
If I had seen him last week, I would have invited him.


17. If I _____________ (know) you were in trouble, I _____________ (help) you.

click here to see the answer
If I had known you were in trouble, I would have helped you.


18. I _____________ (never met) you if _____________ (not go) to that party!

click here to see the answer
I would never have met you if I hadn’t gone to that party!


19. If I _____________ (take) my car for a service, it _____________ (not break down) last night.

click here to see the answer
If I had taken my car for a service, it would not have broken down last night.


20. She _____________ (not gone) there if I _____________ (warn) her.

click here to see the answer
She wouldn’t have gone there if I had warned her.


IELTS Academic Task 1 Writing model answer 009

IELTS Academic Task 1 Writing model answer 9

IELTS Academic Task 1 Writing model answer 9You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The line graph shows the average temperature during the hottest part of the day in Australia in 2007.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.
Write at least 150 words.

The line graph shows changes in median highest temperatures in 5 cities in Australia in different seasons in 2007.

Throughout the graph, Darwin was always the hottest place, with an average temperature of 34 degrees Celsius in summer. Darwin was also notable in that the fall in temperature between summer and autumn was the smallest decrease between seasons of any of the cities that year, sinking to only about 33 degrees.

Cairns and Perth were the next warmest cities shown, although Perth was markedly cooler than Perth in autumn and winter, falling to approximately 19 degrees in the coolest season.

Sydney and Adelaide had similar temperatures in summer and autumn, with only a degree between them, but in winter, Adelaide fell below Sydney to become the coldest place illustrated. Sydney, Adelaide and Perth all had comparable temperatures in spring.

Overall, it can be seen that in 2007, temperatures in these cities in Australia ranged from approximately 34 degrees to 15 degrees at their average hottest point.

(166 words)



IELTS band scores converter

IELTS band scores converter

Your IELTS result is given as a result from 0 to 9.0, increasing by 0.5 bands at a time (e.g. 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 6.5). The result is calculated depending on your score for the four skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking.

For example, if you get 6.0 for writing, 6.5 for speaking, 5.5 for reading and 6.0 for listening, your overall result is 6.0+6.5+5.5+6.0 = 24, divided by 4 = 6.0.

How many correct answers are needed for what IELTS band scores?

The figures below are approximate and will vary depending on the difficulty of the test.

Listening (the same results for Academic and General Training):

2.5 4-5
3 6-7
3.5 8-10
4 10-12
4.5 13-15
5 16-17
5.5 18-22
6 23-25
6.5 26-29
7 30-31
7.5 32-34
8 35-36
8.5 37-38
9 39-40


General Training Module reading:

2.5 6-8
3 9-11
3.5 12-14
4 15-18
4.5 19-22
5 23-26
5.5 27-29
6 30-31
6.5 32-33
7 34-35
7.5 36
8 37-38
8.5 39
9 40


Academic Module reading:

2.5 4-5
3 6-7
3.5 8-9
4 10-12
4.5 13-14
5 15-18
5.5 19-22
6 23-26
6.5 27-29
7 30-32
7.5 33-34
8 35-36
8.5 37-38
9 39-40


So what do the scores mean?

Band Score Skill Level Description
Band 9 Expert user has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
Band 8 Very good user has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
Band 7 Good user has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
Band 6 Competent user has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
Band 5 Modest user has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.
Band 4 Limited user basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
Band 3 Extremely limited user conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
Band 2 Intermittent user no real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
Band 1 Non-user essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
Band 0 Did not attempt the test No assessable information provided.
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IELTS writing model answer

IELTS General Training Task 1 Writing model answer 008

IELTS General Training Task 1 Writing model answer 8

IELTS General Training Task 1 Writing model answer 8You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

You recently ordered an item that was advertised as having a discount from the normal price, but you have found that when you paid, you did not get the discount. Write to the company. In your letter

  • Explain that you did not get the discount
  • Tell them where you saw the discount advertised
  • Tell them what you would like them to do about the situation


You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Write at least 150 words.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing with some concern about an item I recently purchased from your company. It was a new digital camera from the Nokia range, model number SL452. The item was ordered using your telephone ordering system and I read my credit card number to the sales person on the other end of the line.

I was persuaded to buy the item based on a 20% reduction that was advertised, but I was surprised to find that when my credit card statement arrived, I was charged the full price. I saw the reduced price offer in our local newspaper, in which your company had taken a full page advertisement with all items on the page discounted.

I am very satisfied with the camera itself, and do not wish to return it, but I would like the advertised 20% of the cost of the item refunded to my credit card. If this is not possible, then I would regretfully send the item back as I can obtain it for a cheaper price in other stores.


R G Peterson

(180 words)



IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 010

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 10

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:

In some countries, people who are unemployed receive a sum of money each week in the form of a benefit. While some support this, other people believe that this money should not be given.

Discuss both points of view and give your own point of view.


Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 10The payment of a benefit for those who are out of work is a sensitive issue with strong opinions for and against. This essay will now examine both sides of the argument and present a final conclusion.

Those in favour of this financial support argue that in some cases, it is not the fault of the unemployed person, and that the assistance is needed for them to survive while they continue to look for work. Without this, there is the potential concern that crime would increase due to a lack of alternatives. To illustrate, if a parent with dependent children could not find work and had no other help, they would have little option but to resort to theft to prevent their children from going hungry.

On the other hand, there are those that argue that paying someone who does not work simply encourages people to remain unemployed, especially when the alternative could be a relatively low paid job. There are situations where people are simply not interested in finding a position of employment as it offers very little additional money compared to doing nothing at home and receiving free handouts. This situation could escalate as people who are on a low income may resent paying a portion of their tax payments to support those who make little or no effort to find employment.

Considering both points of view, it seems that a compromise may be the best solution. Payment of the unemployment benefit should be limited to a short period of time, after which the amount received should be progressively reduced. This would encourage those receiving the benefit to be more proactive when looking for work.

(277 words)

IELTS vocabulary for a city infrastructure


IELTS vocabulary for a city infrastructure

See also: IELTS vocabulary for city people and IELTS vocabulary for a city environment

Essential IELTS vocabulary split into common IELTS topics and subsections. In this lesson, we are focusing on vocabulary used to describe cities, particularly the city environment  – the places, buildings and locations that you can refer to when talking or writing about cities.

IELTS vocabulary for a city infrastructureTake a look at the list below. How many words do you know? If there are any words you are not familiar with, we strongly recommend that you look them up in a dictionary. Once you have looked through the list, try the vocabulary exercise that follows.

Public transportation:

  • subway/underground/train/metro/light rail/ferry/Tube (UK English)
  • mass transit/queue


  • landfill
  • waste disposal


  • electricity
  • sewage
  • water
  • power
  • telecommunications


  • parks/libraries/clubs/zoos
  • megacentres/malls/boutiques
  • theatres/cinema complex/galleries/botanical gardens

Roads and traffic

  • traffic jam(s)
  • (heavy) traffic congestion
  • motorway  (UK English)
  • freeway (US English)
  • highway
  • lane/road/street/boulevard/avenue


  • noise pollution
  • light pollution
  • Smog


1)   The basic, and essential, facilities and services of a city such as bridges, roads and power supplies 

Show answer

2)   Slow-moving traffic, because of too many vehicles

Show answer
Traffic jam OR traffic congestion

3)   Waste water that needs to be safely removed from housing areas and cleaned

Show answer

4) Where rubbish is buried in a hole and then eventually covered with earth

Show answer

5) In many cities, the residents cannot see the night sky clearly because streets lamps and other factors cause too much

Show answer
Light pollution

6) The British English word for a train service, often underground, that helps commute get around a city  (most commonly in London)

Show answer
The Tube

7) A thick layer of pollution that hangs over a city, often looking like bad weather / grey sky

Show answer


Tips for better spelling

Tips for better spelling

better_spelling-300x224Improving your spelling is a very important factor in getting a good result in the IELTS writing, reading and listening tests. Incorrectly spelled words in reading and listening can mean that your answer is marked as incorrect, and in the writing it can mean lost points for the vocabulary section of your grade.

Modern technology, although very useful, has made poor spelling increasingly common even amongst native speakers – autocorrect on phones and computers has often corrected our errors, so when we come to write them on paper the error has become the natural way of spelling.

On this page we have gathered some useful hints to help you get better spelling skills, not just for IELTS but also for life in general.

Tip #1 for better spelling: write it down

It is a scientifically proven fact that the more you write a word using a pen and paper (not a computer) the more chance you have of remembering the spelling. Our brains process the word as an image, which is why sometimes a misspelled word can simply ‘look’ wrong even before you have identified the actual error.

Doing this to or three times a day for a few days in a row will help you get used to the shape of the word with correct spelling, making it easier to repeat under exam pressure.

Tip #2 for better spelling: find your weaknesses

Very often, people find particular words difficult to spell. Work through the vocabulary section of these pages, and practice spelling the words without looking to find which words you find difficult, then add them to your own notebook. Whenever you have a spare minute, simply write the word repeatedly (as recommended in Tip #1).

Tip #3 for better spelling: have realistic expectations

Limit the number of new words that you are trying to learn to spell, and write them in your notebook. Don’t write every word you have problems with – just work on 5 at a time, repeatedly writing them down then checking over a period of a few days or more. Once you are sure you have remembered the spelling, add some new words. Adding too many words at one time becomes confusing, and spelling and meaning are often only partly or incorrectly remembered.

Tip #4 for better spelling: use memory techniques

This can often help in situations where you repeatedly spell a word incorrectly. For example, is the correct spelling SEPARATE or SEPERATE? One way to help you remember is that this word always has a rat in the middle, so the correct answer is SEPARATE.

Another memory technique is to spell a phrase or sentence from the letters of the word you are having trouble with. For example, take the word NECESSARY – this could be remembered as ‘Never Eat Crisps, Eat Salad Sandwiches And Remain Young’.

Tip #5 for better spelling: learn some of the rules that will help you

Spelling rules in English 1

1. Using i before e

The rule: ‘use i before e, except after c

Examples (no c directly before):

believe, chief, niece, piece, thief

Examples (after c):

deceive, receive, ceiling

OR when the word has an “eh” sound

Examples (with ‘aye’ sound)

weigh, freight, neighbour

Remember that there are ALWAYS exceptions to spelling rules in English!

Common exceptions: efficient, weird, height, neither, ancient, caffeine, foreign.

Spelling rules in English 2

2. Spelling words with -ible and –able

Not sure whether to spell a word with ‘-ible’ or ‘-able’? One general spelling rule is that if you take the end of the word away and you are still left with a complete word, you can usually (but not always!) use -able. If not, use -ible.

For example:

  • dependable = depend + able
  • adorable + adore + able
  • possible =poss + ible

Spelling rules in English – more examples of words that end in -able

adaptable; amiable; believable; capable; changeable; comfortable; conceivable; debatable; desirable; disposable; durable; excitable; excusable; fashionable; impressionable; justifiable; knowledgeable; laughable; likeable; lovable; manageable; measurable; noticeable; objectionable; operable; payable; peaceable; pleasurable; preferable; reliable; serviceable; sizeable; suitable; tolerable; transferable.

Remember that there are ALWAYS exceptions to spelling rules in English!

Note the differences, where some words, e.g. knowledgeable ‘keep’ the ‘e’ from the complete word knowledge, but others ‘drop’ the ‘e’, e.g. believable – no ‘e’ from the ‘complete’ word believe.

Spelling rules in English – more examples of words that end in -ible

illegible; responsible; eligible; incredible; reversible; invincible; suggestible; contemptible; feasible; negligible; susceptible; convertible; flexible; ostensible; tangible; gullible; terrible; horrible; plausible.

Remember that there are ALWAYS exceptions to spelling rules in English! Some of the words in the list above do not follow the rules…. You just need to learn them.

Spelling rules in English 3

3. Spelling words with -ance and –ence

The endings -ance and -ence are used to change the verb form of a word into a noun form, or to turn an adjective into a noun.

For example:

  • perform (verb) becomes performance (noun)
  • intelligent (adjective) becomes intelligence (noun)

You will mostly just need to learn which words are spelled in which way; however, there are a couple of spelling rules in English that can help you with spelling words ending in -ance and -ence correctly.

a. If the word is formed from a verb that ends in -y, -ure, -ear or –ate then according to the general rule the ending will usually be  -ance.

For example:

  • comply (verb ending in -y) becomes compliance (noun)
  • endure (verb ending in -ure) becomes endurance (noun)
  • appear (verb ending in -ear) becomes appearance (noun)
  • tolerate (verb ending in -ate) becomes tolerance (noun)

Spelling rules in English – more examples of words to learn that end in -ance

acceptance; allowance; appliance; assistance; attendance; balance; circumstance; clearance; distance; disturbance; dominance; fragrance; grievance; guidance; ignorance; importance; instance; insurance; maintenance; nuisance; relevance; resemblance; substance.

b. If the word is formed from a verb that ends in ere then according to the general rule the ending will usually be  -ence.

For example:

  • adhere (verb ending in -ere) becomes adherence (noun)
  • cohere (verb ending in -ere) becomes coherence (noun)

Remember that there are ALWAYS exceptions to spelling rules in English!

Example of exception: perseverance (from verb persevere)

Spelling rules in English – more examples of words to learn that end in -ence

absence; affluence; audience; coincidence; conference; confidence; consequence; convenience; difference; essence; evidence; existence; experience; influence; innocence; insistence; patience; preference;  presence; recurrence; reference; sentence; sequence; silence.


Writing a conclusion to a Task 2 essay

Writing a conclusion to a Task 2 essay

In Task II, your concluding sentence should summarise your argument as presented in the essay, but ideally should also end with either a speculation or a recommendation.

A speculation is when you estimate what may happen in the future. For example:

Unless more job opportunities are provided, the rate of unemployment will continue to rise.

A recommendation is something you think should happen. For example:

It would perhaps be better to enforce an early retirement age so that younger people have more job opportunities.

Here are two possible endings to the Task II essay that follows:

Writing a conclusion to a Task 2 essayFor many people, the main purpose of education is to provide the necessary knowledge and training to obtain a job, yet there are also people who hold that any further education can be said to have potential in the job market. Agreeing with this latter view, this opinion will now be supported.

   Primarily, there is the difficulty in knowing exactly which course of study would have clear employment possibilities. For those students opting to study arts subjects such as English literature, there is no direct path; potential opportunities could include becoming a librarian, author or teacher, but none of these can be said to be direct. Yet there is undeniable value in studying these subjects, as they allow for a more open-minded view of the world, an attitude which would later be useful in a business setting.

   Another point to consider is the job market itself. With many industries in a constant state of evolution, studying for a particular path of employment may be redundant as the industry could well have changed direction by the time of graduation, as can be seen by looking at the information technology industry. Moreover, at the time of entering university, the majority of people do not have a clear career path laid out and thus study courses which appeal to them rather than offer a clear future.

(212 words so far)


To sum up, if any course of education which has no clear path to employment is to be abandoned, it would first need to be decided which courses had a definite purpose. This would almost certainly lead to argument, and would undeniably have a detrimental effect on the culture of a country that opted to drop its arts related subjects.


To sum up, perhaps the best solution would be to adopt a more developed system of apprenticeship and work training, so that students can be moulded alongside changes in the industry, while those students with unfocussed or general employment plans can continue with the current system.