FREE IELTS Review Materials

download free materials for your IELTS training

IELTS Apps Review

comprehensive review of various android/iOS apps for the IELTS

IELTS Books Reviews

dissecting various IELTS books

IELTS Speaking Topics Compilation

practice your speaking skills with these topics

IELTS Test Schedule 2014

2014 test schedules for the IELTS in the Philippines

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tips and Techniques on the Rules of Grammar

Many non-native English speakers admit that they have a hard time studying the English language. First, the English language has a very broad vocabulary. Words can be synonymous to one another but should be used appropriately in sentences. Second, the sentence structure is different. Finally, the grammar rules are quite a handful that it will take years for one to understand each rule. Indeed, learning English can be tough and challenging. People spend months and even years to be very well at it.

Here is a guide on non-native English speakers on how they can improve their skills in the English language through studying the English grammar.


 
1. Know the 8 parts of speech. Each part of speech plays a vital role in creating logical sentences. You have to know which word modifies which word to make a grammatically correct sentence. As a review, the eight parts of speech include the following: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections.

2. Study the five basic sentence patterns. Good sentences are constructed through these patterns. Remember the verbs that need an object and those who do not. The 5 basic English patterns are:

  • Subject – Verb
  • Subject – Verb – Complement
  • Subject – Verb – Object
  • Subject – Verb – Indirect Object – Direct Object
  • Subject – Verb – Object – Object Complement

3. Use pronouns correctly. They should agree in number, case, and gender. Always remember to have their antecedents in the sentences to avoid confusion.

4. Tenses are very important. You have to know the time when the action happens, happened or will happen. The consistency of the tenses is a huge factor in your responses.

5. Use the active and the passive voices correctly. Do not stick to one voice of verb in your responses. Create sentences that utilizes both and you will see the big difference.

6. Be careful with run-on sentences. Make sure that you make compound sentences with a comma and a coordinating conjunction (for, and, not, but, or, yet, so).

7. Fragments should be avoided both in speaking and writing. Write full sentences with a subject and a verb.

8. Misplaced modifiers are usual mistakes. Modifiers should be placed near the noun or words that they modify.

9. Dangling modifiers happen if there is no noun to be modified. Check sentences making sure that modifiers have their nouns being modified.

10. There are a lot of prepositions in the English language. It could be pretty hard to memorize all the rules; however, one trick is to be familiar with their usage.

11. Punctuations should be used accordingly. Commas and periods are the most commonly used punctuations; hence, learners of the English language should know the rules on these two.

12. Tag questions are usually used in speaking. Anyone should remember that a positive sentence gets a negative and vice versa.

13. Phrasal verbs are a combination of verbs and prepositions that create a different meaning when used together. For example, take off can mean remove something or a plane starting to ascend. They have a number of meanings, so knowing them will come in handy in writing and speaking responses.

14. Parallelism is commonly overlooked in making sentences. Unparallel sentences sound okay, but they are generally wrong for not being balanced. This is needed to be revised in essays or any writing output.

15. Subject and verb agreement. Always bear in mind that a singular subject takes a singular verb. Be sure to find the subject in the sentence. Know if it’s singular or plural, then creating a verb for that will not be that difficult.

The English grammar may seem complicated if a student’s mind is prejudiced with its complexity. Learners should understand that English is easy with the right knowledge and constant application of the rules in grammar.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

How to Get a High Score in the IELTS Speaking Test

Speaking in English is common to many Filipinos. It has been a part of our daily conversation. This has been influenced since English has been used in schools and offices. Moreover, Filipinos are fond of watching English movies and following American TV series. Thus, it is not surprising why most Filipinos can speak the English language. Because of this, a lot of foreign nationals expect Filipinos to be great in communicating in English. 
 

In applying for work, study or immigrant visa in English speaking countries, an English proficiency examination is a requirement. Filipinos have to take the IELTS or the International English Language Testing System examination. The test has four sections and the speaking test is where most Filipinos feel anxious. Taking the IELTS speaking test feels more pressure because of the standard score set by the companies and academic institutions overseas. It is important to any candidate to hit the target score to be able to lodge their applications. How can one get a high score in the IELTS speaking test?

· Understand the different tasks of the test

There are three different tasks in the test. As a candidate, it is much better to know what each task asks you to do and the way on how to make appropriate responses.

· Be familiar with the questions

The first task of the speaking test is an introduction. The examiner will be asking some familiar questions on familiar topics like work, study, hobbies, family and personal background. There are a lot of these questions online that are for free.

· Improve your pronunciation

People have the tendency to speak very fast when they are nervous. Speaking fast causes words to come out not very clearly. When this happens, the examiner will not be able to understand your response. When they fail to understand the response, you will eventually lose some points.

· Use new vocabulary

Choose words that will best express your ideas. Using new vocabulary will not only showcase the strength of your vocabulary bank but also avoids redundancy on the words you are using.

· Grammar check

A good response has correct grammar and well-constructed sentences. Be consistent with the verb tenses.

· Practice

Find someone who can help you practice speaking. Someone who can evaluate your responses and give comments that can develop not only your speaking skills but also your confidence in using the English language. IELTS review centers have speaking coaches that are professional in addressing problems in speaking.

Getting a high score in the IELTS speaking is possible with the right practice and guidance from IELTS speaking coaches.

Friday, November 14, 2014

How Many Months Does the IELTS Review Take?

Studying is a tedious yet important part of being a student. A lot of students complain of studying for long hours just to review for a final examination. College students would spend about two weeks to prepare for a midterm examination, and even would go for a month to be ready for the finals. Since getting a high score in exams is the aim of these students, they do not mind studying in the library for hours and staying up late at night to review their notes. Is this style of studying applicable in reviewing for the International English Language Testing System examination or the IELTS?

Test takers for the IELTS test prepare for months before taking the examination. It is not a simple English comprehension test with a multiple choice or true or false type of question. Different types of questions are involved in the different tasks in the examination. Moreover, since there are four sections in the examination: reading, listening, speaking and writing, skills are needed to successfully respond to the different questions.
 


When taking the IELTS, it is recommended for candidates to be in IELTS review centers. Most IELTS review centers have two different kinds of programs: the unlimited review and the intensive review. In the unlimited review program, students can review in the center for a year. They are given the opportunity to study with their teachers until they are ready for the IELTS examination. Though this is an unlimited review program, most candidates take about two to three months before taking the real test. Within this time, candidates are introduced about the IELTS, the sections and the tasks in each section. Skills will be developed within the given time and mock tests are administered to evaluate their progress.

The intensive program is a two-week program that focuses more on mock tests and coaching for the real test. The candidates will be given intensive activities to hone their skills for the IELTS. Most candidates who enroll for this program are those who have already taken the test and want to take a refresher course for the IELTS.

Candidates should bear in mind that reviewing for the IELTS should be taken seriously. The coaches are there to guide and help build the necessary skills; hence, it is important for these candidates to attend classes every day and participate in every classroom discussion.

It may take a few months to be prepared for the test, but it is much better than to take the test with a little knowledge on how to make responses to the tasks. Learning about the IELTS is not possible in one night. Time and effort should be put into it as well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Types of Mistakes You Need to Avoid in the IELTS Reading Test

The IELTS or the International English Language Testing System examination is taken every month in the Philippines. The number of test takers has been increasing over time making this test a demand to any Filipino who wish to work, study, or migrate in English speaking countries overseas. The weight of one’s IELTS score is very important as lodging of the application depends on how well the applicant hit the set score requirements. Hence, preparing well for the exam should be done seriously. 
 

Among the four sections of the examination, reading poses a great challenge on the individual’s comprehension skills. The readings are composed of texts, which could be lengthy, that range from simple to complex in terms of difficulty. Some people who are fond of reading do not have a hard time with the test. To those who do not, it could be pretty hard. For any test takers of the test, it is best to know the types of mistake that are commonly done that should be avoided in the IELTS reading test.

1. Do not write more than the number or words or answers required.

Say for example that there are two choices that you think are both correct in a specific answer. You wrote them down thinking that it will still get a point. The truth is it will be considered incorrect. Choose one to write on your answer sheet. Further, if you are asked to write for at least three words, do so. Though you have the right answer but it exceeded the number of words, it will be incorrect. Stick to the instruction to avoid getting this kind of mistake.

2. Do not panic if you do not know about the topic.

Some people give up on reading a certain reading passage because they are clueless about the topic. The test will note evaluate your prior knowledge but on how well you can understand the passage given. The answers are all in the passage. All you have to do is read and get the gist of it.

3. Write answers clearly.

Make sure your handwriting is legible. If examiners cannot understand what you have written, they will automatically put an x mark on it. Transfer your answers and make sure you write them clearly.

4. Check for any mistakes.

Double check on the grammar, spelling and any errors. Most candidates overlook this that they end up getting mistakes.

Reading is much easier when you know what to do while answering the questions. Always read instructions and take note on key words to be found while reading. Doing this makes looking for answers easier and much faster.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

October 2014 IELTS Test Topics

In preparation for an upcoming test, examiners review their notes to remember the lessons. A lot of students even allot long hours studying in libraries or meeting with study groups. Getting a good score is really important most especially for students who are achievers in class. The same preparation for review is done by test takers of an English proficiency exam like the IELTS or the International English Language Testing System exam.

Test takers are very eager to review for the IELTS exam. All of these candidates are getting ready to apply for a job, a slot in a university or for an immigrant visa in English speaking countries. To be able to get a good score for the exam, one must strive hard in reviewing and developing their English skills. One way of getting familiar and even ready for the examination is getting information of the topics used for the examination. This will help candidates know which topics to focus on and to anticipate for the test.

Here are some topics used in the October 2014 IELTS test:

Speaking Questions

 
 
 

Task 1

  • How is the area you live?
  • Do you know many people around?
  • Is it good place to live for families?
  • What kind of weather do you prefer?
  • Does weather change the mood?
  • Do you prefer to live in extremely hot or cold weather?
  • Do you ever discuss weather with your friend?
  • What kind of shoes do you like?
  • How often do you buy new shoes?

Task 2

  • Describe what you do to keep you healthy.
  • When do you do it? How it improves your health?
  • Talk about a good law in your country
  • What is it?
  • How do you know it?
  • What does this does?
  • Why do you think this is good law?


Task 3

  • Do you think doctors should educate people for health?
  • What kind of activities can keep good health?
  • Do you think the media influence our health?
  • How should schools keep children healthy?
  • Do people like this law?
  • How popular is police job in your country?
  • What are the qualities of a police officer?
  • Do you think police job is better than any other professions?


Writing Questions

  • It is not necessary to travel to other places to learn about the other culture. We can learn as much as from books, films and internet. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
  • People's shopping habits depend more on the age group they belong to than any other factors. Do you agree or disagree?
  • Recently you attended a conference. Write a letter to your manager for preparing a presentation for the colleagues.
  • Why it is required for colleagues?
  • Are they interested in the presentation?
  • Young people are getting more influenced by friends than parents or teachers.

 
For IELTS candidates, enrolling in an IELTS review center can give them a lot of advantages compared to those who do self-review. With IELTS review centers, one can get training and get feedbacks from coaches on how to improve and build their English skills.

Monday, October 27, 2014

2015 IELTS Test Dates Philippines - British Council & IDP




British Council:


January 2015

January 10 - Saturday - Academic and General Training
January 17 - Saturday - Academic
January 29 - Thursday -  Academic and General Training
January 31 - Saturday - Academic


February 2015

February 7 - Saturday - Academic and General Training
February 12 - Thursday - Academic
February 14 - Saturday -  Academic
February 28 - Saturday - Academic and General Training

March 2015

March 12 - Thursday- Academic
March 14 - Saturday - Academic and General Training
March 21 - Saturday -  Academic
March 28 - Saturday - Academic and General Training

April 2015

April 11 - Saturday -  Academic
April 18 - Saturday - Academic and General Training
April 25- Saturday -  Academic
April 30 - Thursday - Academic and General Training

May 2015

May 9 - Saturday - Academic and General Training
May 16 - Saturday - Academic and General Training
May 21 - Thursday- Academic
May 30 - Saturday - Academic and General Training

June 2015

June 6 - Saturday - Academic
June 13 - Saturday - Academic and General Training
June 18 - Thursday- Academic
June 27 - Saturday - Academic and General Training

 July 2015

July 4 - Saturday - Academic
July 11 - Saturday - Academic and General Training
July 23 - Thursday- Academic and General Training
July 25 - Saturday - Academic

August 2015
 
August 1- Saturday - Academic and General Training
August 8 - Saturday - Academic
August 13 - Thursday- Academic
August 29- Saturday - Academic and General Training

September 2015

September 3- Thursday - Academic
September 12 - Saturday - Academic and General Training
September 19 - Saturday- Academic
September 26 - Saturday - Academic and General Training

October 2015

October 8- Thursday - Academic and General Training
October 10 - Saturday - Academic
October 24 - Saturday- Academic and General Training
October 31 - Saturday - Academic and General Training


November 2015

November 7 - Saturday- Academic and General Training
November 14 - Saturday - Academic
November 19 - Thursday - Academic
November 21 - Saturday - Academic and General Training

December 2015


December 3 - Thursday - Academic
December 5 - Saturday - Academic and General Training
December 12 - Saturday- Academic and General Training
December 19 - Saturday - Academic

IDP:

IELTS Test Schedule For The Year 2015
Date Venue  Module



10 Jan Manila / Baguio / Bacolod / Cagayan de Oro / Cebu                                                       Academic / General Training
17 Jan Manila Academic
29 Jan Manila / Cebu / Davao / Dipolog / Laguna Academic / General Training
07 Feb Manila / Baguio / Iloilo / Cagayan de Oro / Cebu Academic / General Training
14 Feb
Manila / Cebu Academic
28 Feb
Manila / Cebu / Davao / Naga / Lipa Academic / General Training
14 Mar Manila / Baguio / Bacolod / Iloilo / Cagayan de Oro / Cebu Academic / General Training
21 Mar Manila / Cebu Academic
28 Mar Manila / Cebu / Davao / Dipolog / Pampanga Academic / General Training
11 Apr Manila / Cebu Academic 
18 Apr
Manila / Baguio / Iloilo / Cagayan de Oro / Cebu / Naga Academic / General Training
30 Apr
Manila / Cebu / Davao / Cabanatuan / Tagaytay Academic / General Training
09 May  Manila / Baguio / Bacolod / Iloilo / Cagayan de Oro / Cebu Academic / General Training
16 May  Manila / Cebu Academic
30 May  Manila / Cebu / Davao / Dipolog / Lipa / Laguna Academic / General Training
 13 Jun  Manila / Baguio / Iloilo / Cagayan de Oro / Cebu  Academic / General Training
 18 Jun  Manila / Cebu  Academic
 27 Jun  Manila / Cebu / Davao / Naga / Pampanga  Academic / General Training

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What is the Difference of Graph and Diagram for the IELTS Writing Interpretation?

Known to be a very difficult writing task, the International English Language Testing System exam’s writing section is dreaded by most of its candidates. As all IELTS test takers know, the test is divided into two modules: the Academic and the General Training. The most difficult writing tasks are in the Academic Module.

The first task in the Academic module is an interpretation of either a graph or a diagram. People who would experience this task will surely be surprised. Writing an essay is already difficult, what’s more if it is a data interpretation?

Graphs and Diagrams are very different. Let us have an example and outline the things a candidate needs to write in his or her own essay.

GRAPH

The graphs can be pie graph, bar graph or line graph. There is only one graph to for the first task. However, it is best for a candidate to practice on different kinds of graphs to be familiar with the style in writing. For this, let us use a bar chart. Let us have an example:

Source: http://www.ieltsbuddy.com/bar-chart.html

How can one write an essay? Here are some guide questions for your essay.

  • What is the graph all about?
  • Which has the highest reading? The lowest?
  • Is there any significant increase or decrease in the years?
  • Can you see the average percentage in this chart?
  • Are there any exceptions?

Diagram

In diagrams, process diagrams are commonly used. Process diagrams show a step-by-step process of something. This is actually much easier to interpret as what most candidates say. They have said this due to the fact that the flow of the process is easy to follow and all you have to do is choose the right words in describing the diagram. Let us look an example:
 


Source: http://www.ieltsbuddy.com/task-1-process.html

Here are guide questions for the chart:

  • What process is shown in the diagram?
  • What is the vocabulary needed to describe those objects?
  • What happened first? Second? Next?
  • What materials or equipment is involved in the process?
  • What is output?

Looking at it, the two diagrams differ on how you will interpret them. The graph will be more focused on highlighting the increase and decrease of numbers in the data. Transition words to show increase and decrease will be utilized in the essay. On the other hand, the diagram will be concentrated on showing how a product becomes or is developed through its process. Transition words to show flow or step-by-step procedures are needed.

Though they are different, candidates have to consider the flow of ideas in the sentences. It is best that candidates create an outline first before starting to write the essay. In this way, the candidate will be able to make sure that the ideas are organized according to the importance in mentioning in the essay.

To improve writing skills, one must practice a lot. Further, one should ask help from writing mentors such as those in IELTS review centers. Not only writing skills are important but also the correct usage of grammar. Review on grammar and sentence construction to have the best writing possible in the IELTs writing test.