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, July 28, 2014

Grammar Practice Quiz for the IELTS (Are You Ready?)

Take the quiz below and know how good you are with your grammar skills.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

List of Words That Are Useful When Interpreting Data in the IELTS Test

A sneak peek of the words in the slide:


Monday, July 21, 2014

Can You Reschedule an IELTS Test If You Have Already Registered for the Exam?

"I registered for the IELTS examination a couple of weeks ago, and I just found out that the day of my examination is also the day of my finals in my university. I cannot afford to be absent from my finals since I need to get a good score for the scholarship I am applying for in Australia. Is it possible for me to reschedule my examination?" Georgina, 18, Business-Management Student

Candidates for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination have always been reminded to register to the examination months before the desired date of the examination. Slots for the IELTS examination can easily be filled up – both in IDP and British Council – as the number of Filipino test takers has been growing every month. Early registration can be an advantage for the candidates as they can have enough time to practice their skills and attend review programs for the IELTS examination. In addition, registering months before the target test date is also beneficial once candidates have decided to reschedule their examinations.

Rescheduling the IELTS examination is possible. However, candidates have to be reminded that request for test day transfer should be done 5 weeks prior to the first choice of test date. This means that a candidate filing a reschedule of his or her exam in less than five weeks will be considered as a cancellation of the examination. Additionally, the candidate will not receive any refunds and he or she must reapply for another seating in the examination. An administration fee is charged in rescheduling.

A refund is given to those who have rescheduled their examination if they have given enough proof that they are not able to take that examination on that day. Here are some cases that are considered:
  • Death of a close family member: provided with a death certificate
  • Illness – hospital admission or to be on a medical treatment provided with a medical certificate
  • Victim of a crime or serious trauma
  • Military service for those people whose country requires men to undergo such training like Korea
  • Loss of visa or ID to be presented on the test day (government issued IDs)
  • Visa cancellation
Candidates have to complete and send the Request for Refund or Test Date Transfer Form and attach the necessary proof or documents. Visit the IELTS website – both IDP and British Council – to download forms and instructions for this application.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Essay in the IELTS Test

Brainstorming ideas for an essay is not a simple thing to do. During brainstorming, you have to think of a lot of ideas related to the topic given on an essay. Additionally, you have to group ideas according to their category and eliminate those which are irrelevant in developing your essay. Writing is tiresome and a boring activity; hence, writing essays for an English proficiency examination such as the International English Language Test System examination or the IELTS will need a lot of training.

The writing examination in the IELTS is different depending on which module the candidate is taking – the Academic or the General Training. Both have different tasks to be completed by the candidate and these tasks are not that easy.

Academic Task 1

In the first task of the academic writing, the candidate is given a graph to be described. Here is an example below:

  • Make sure to highlight the highest and lowest points in the graph.
  • Be sure to use appropriate vocabulary to show the rise and fall of the figures.
  • Make use of transition words to guide the reader that you are presenting another idea.
  • Make sure to write a clear introduction to present the case of the graph.
  • Use punctuations properly.

Academic Task 2

In the second task of the Academic writing, the candidate is given a statement wherein his or her opinion is needed. Here is an example below:

General Training Task 2

It is almost the same with the second task of the Academic. Topics in the General training, however, are much lighter and simpler.

  • In this task, make sure you stick to one idea – to agree or disagree.
  • State clearly in the introduction your stand.
  • Provide at least two body paragraphs explaining your reason. Support your ideas with examples and detailed reasoning.
  • Make a conclusion. This can be a paraphrase of your introduction.
  • Make sure your points are not too specific or too broad.
  • Writing will be easier through constant practice. Practice keeping a journal to improve your writing skills. Just write anything in your journal. The stereotype of writing being tiring and boring can be eliminated once you start doing a little of it day by day.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

IDP Philippines to Host the Australia & New Zealand Education Exhibition 2014 in Manila, Cebu, and Davao in August

IDP Philippines, one of the accredited testing centers for the IELTS in the country, will be hosting a seminar about opportunities in studying in some colleges and universities in Australia and New Zealand. The seminar will be held in three key cities of the Philippines - Manila, Cebu, and Davao. The schedules are below:

Manila - August 9, 2014 at Dusit Thani, Makati (11AM-5PM)

Cebu - August 10, 2014 at Radisson Blu Hotel (11AM-5PM)

Davao - August 11, 2014 at Marco Polo Hotel (11AM-5PM)

The seminar will be of free admission. Attendees are requested to bring the following:
  • Passport
  • IELTS results
  • Transcript of records

For more information, please visit IDP's official website at or contact them via the following telephone numbers:

  • Manila - (02) 8160755 loc 116
  • Cebu - (032) 236-2758

Dusit Thani Makati

Radisson Blu Cebu

Marco Polo Davao

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

IELTS Grammar: When to Use Whether and If? What's the Difference Between the Two?

“Drop a message whether you are going to my birthday party.”

“Drop a message if you are going to my birthday party.”

Do these sentences mean the same? Can you point out what the difference between these two?

Most people might say that the two sentences are different but has difficulty expressing how they differ. In the English language, some sentences may sound the same but totally mean the opposite. With the two sentences above, the usage of “whether” and “if” makes a whole difference. Let us find out how these two are used in sentences appropriately.

Whether is used on sentences to show choices or alternatives. In using whether, one should pair it with or/or not. When using this in the sentence, the choices could be a yes or a no and can have a positive or negative possibility. Presenting these two choices does not show any condition in the action.


  • The lifeguard was very irresponsible. He did not care whether the swimmer sink or swim in the pool.
  • I would like to know whether you want wine or beer.

IF is a conditional – meaning to say, the result of the action actually depends on a specific condition. There are three types of conditionals in the English language.

a. Type I Conditional – Present Real Conditional

This conditional shows that when this action happens, the other action is the most possible result.


If you turn this switch on, it will set off an alarm.

The kids will be very disappointed if you do not bring any cake.

b. Type II Conditional – Present Unreal Conditional

This conditional is used when we want to emphasized on present imagined situations. This action would happen on a certain unreal condition.


  • If I had a lot of money, I would spend my summer in the Bali.
  • She would be very upset if he did not call.

c. Type III Conditional – Past Unreal Conditional

A certain action happened in the past. You think about it and imagined it in a different situation. The third conditional is used for imagined situations in the past. It often shows regret on the action done.


If I had known about the test, I should have studied for it last night.

I did not know that there was a test. I did not study last night.

She could have been hurt if you did not protect her.

I protected her so she was not hurt.

Now, let us compare sentences with whether and if.

Call me if you are going to cook dinner tonight.

Call me whether you are going to cook dinner tonight.

In the first sentence, it shows that the person should only talk to the speaker if you are cooking, if not, then do not call. On the other hand, the second sentence tells us that the person should tell the person whether she is doing the cooking or not.

Grammar seems to be very difficult once you do not practice making sentences applying the rules. To be familiar with the rules, practice more and do a lot of exercises. Whether you want it or not, English grammar will always be part of your journey in learning English.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Transitional Phrases in the IELTS Test

“My speaking coach tells me that my responses are very dry and she gets lost with my ideas. It is also the same with my essays. I really do not know how to make my responses better and much more interesting.” – Mellisa, 25, Nurse

When your speaking responses and essays have a good content but lacks good flow, then your score will surely be compromised. In the International English Language Testing System examination (IELTS), content of responses are important but candidates have to consider if they are presenting these responses effectively. Some are just too boring and even to the point of confusion as shifts of ideas are made without proper transitions. Hence, it is important for any candidate of English proficiency examinations such as the IELTS to use transition words or others call it transitional phrases.

Transitional phrases are groups of words that are used in essay writing to guide the reader on the change or shifts of ideas in the writing. These transitional phrases can signal agreement or addition of idea, contrast, or even result when used in a paragraph. Here are some transitional phrases one should be familiar with for the IELTS test.

To show agreement or additional detail

1. In addition

- The meeting was cancelled due to the heavy rain. In addition, the CEO was not around for the presentation.

- In addition to what Mike said, the company needs new interns to help with the launch of the new brand.

2. For instance

- There are a lot of reasons why people quit their jobs. For instance, they could be tired of doing the same thing.

- We should tell them to change the rules, for instance, the one about wearing heels at work.

3. Generally speaking

- Generally speaking, they should reconsider the request.

- The board was not listening to me. Generally speaking, they were all being rude during my presentation.

To show contrast

4. In contrast

- In contrast with what he said, the product will be released only in East Asia.

- In contrast with the previous note, parents should be allowed to visit their children in school.

5. On the other hand

- He was such a good violinist. On the other hand, his brother was a superb soccer player.

- There was a drastic decrease on the number of people eating menthol candy. On the other hand, a sudden increase was seen for those who are enjoying chocolate bars.

6. Sadly

- Sadly, not all of us understood the essence of having a day care in the office,

- Sadly, the students were not given a chance to defend themselves during the meeting.

To show result

7. As a result

- As a result of her negligence, the child was taken from her.

- The bottle of red wine was spilled on the floor. As a result, the carpet got some stains.

8. As a consequence

- The product launch was a disaster. As a consequence, everybody was reprimanded by the marketing manager.

- I failed my test. As a consequence, I lost my scholarship.

9. Hence

- He speaks English well; hence, he became a teacher.

- The library was closed. Hence, students were seen crowding in the hallway.

10. Over all

- It was a failure. Over all, not a single experiment was a success.

- Over all, results showed that this month’s sale increased by 80%.

Transitional phrases can be used interchangeably in sentences. However, it is still best to use the appropriate ones to effectively deliver your ideas to the reader. Make writing more interesting with transitional phrases.