An IELTS Coach – Wise Choices, Dangerous Choices

An IELTS Coach – Wise Choices, Dangerous Choices

Your IELTS* exam date is set. You have been studying hard. But there is one aspect that you are still worrying about. It could be your weak spelling or your limited vocabulary. Perhaps you know that pronunciation needs urgent attention. You need help – one-to-one help. You need help now.

You have native English-speaking friends and work-mates. One of them will probably be prepared to spend some time with you in the lead up to the IELTS exam. But what KIND of person should you approach to ask for help?

Here are five criteria to look for in your potential coach. And I will warn you about two types of people not to approach.

First, the five important traits to look for:

1. Someone cheerful. Your ideal coach is someone with a sense of humour and a cheerful outlook on life. Look for someone who will not take things too seriously or become irritated with your requests for help.

2. A native speaker of English or someone well-educated in English. Choose someone who is confident and competent in the language. The most cheerful, positive person in your workplace might in fact lack thebasic English education to be able to help you. If you ask someone to help you with your English spelling and if they tell you that their own spelling is hopeless, just have a laugh about it together and let that person withdraw. The best thing now is to move on to your next prospect.

3. Someone positive. Choose someone who has a positive attitude to his or her work, who enjoys taking on a project and seeing it through to completion.

4. Someone patient. Notice people who are patient with their customers and their subordinates. If they are thoughtful and courteous to other people in your workplace, this is the kind of person who may be prepared to make the effort to help with your IELTS preparation.

5. Someone busy. Does this sound strange? Often the busiest person is the one who is the most organized, and, strange as it might seem, the one who will be most generous with his or her help. So don’t eliminate someone from your list of prospects just because she seems “too busy”!

But there are two categories of potential IELTS coach that I would urge you to approach with extreme caution.

1. The first is a professional teacher of English. Don’t get me wrong. If you have the time to join an IELTS class, or if you are ready to pay for professional coaching, this is absolutely a valuable investment of your time and money. Do not hesitate. Get the help you need. My warning is this: do not, as a friend, approach a professional teacher and ask for this kind of one-to-one coaching, free of charge, as a personal favour.

Try to see it from your friend’s point of view. If your friend is an English language teacher, she is spending most of her day in front of a class. In her free time, probably the last thing she will want to do is provide more English language teaching. She might agree to your request, but she will, at some level, begin to resent your taking advantage of her good nature.

2. The second “proceed with extreme caution” category is this: I refer to your husband or wife, your boyfriend or girlfriend. The lead-up time to an important exam like IELTS can be a nerve-stretching time both for you and for the people you are living with. Asking your partner to act as your IELTS coach can add an additional level of stress to the relationship. It is a similar scenario to having your wife or husband teach you to drive a car or play golf – a situation full of pitfalls. I have sometimes seen it cause damage to a once-strong relationship. Avoid this scenario if you possibly can. Find your helper at work or in one of your other social circles.

So now, having taken on my two words of caution, you should have a clear psychological profile of the kind of person you’re looking for to help coach you through your IELTS exam preparation weeks. Someone

· cheerful

· educated

· positive

· patient

· and busy!

Happy hunting, and good luck with that IELTS exam!

*IELTS – International English Language Teaching System is the world’s leading test of English for higher education, immigration and employment.

There are hundreds of courses and professional resources available for people preparing for the IELTS exam. But what if you don’t have the time or the opportunity to attend a class? Barbara Takase has had more than 20 years working with IELTS teachers and candidates. For free practical ideas and sources of help to prepare for the exam, visit Barbara’s IELTS Help Today blog. Available on

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Ielts Twenty20 – Ace The Ielts Exam And Achieve Your Dreams

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Online IELTS Preparation – Why Does It Make Sense?

Online IELTS Preparation – Why Does It Make Sense?

Because IELTS is a difficult test. While most agree that IELTS is a reasonable test, it is generally regarded as one of the most challenging tests of its type.
Because IELTS has question types peculiar to it. Among the ten or so question types IELTS commonly uses, about half are used only by it or in ways unique to it. In particular, the Reading Task questions about identifying the writer’s point of view is unique to IELTS and particularly challenging, since it requires
“reading between the lines,” a skill that usually has to be taught.
Because IELTS uses familiar question types in unique ways. IELTS short answer questions, for example, are asked in three different ways. In all cases, at least at most testing centers, the unwritten rule is that the answers must be no longer than three words each. So, even if you have the write answer but have
expressed it in more than three words, your answer will be
counted as wrong.
Because IELTS sometimes asks even familiar question types in
deliberately tricky ways. IELTS may, for example, provide a
statement expressed in positive language as a true-or-false
question when the answer in the Listening or Reading exercise
appears in negative terms that have the same meaning as the
positive words in the question. IELTS also may ask questions
that require candidates to combine information from different
places to arrive at the correct answer. In the Listening test,
IELTS sometimes asks questions at the end of a section that
require candidates to have been keeping track throughout the
exercise; so, if the candidate has not read the question first,
he or she may not be prepared to answer.
Because IELTS has specific formats it wants followed. It’s not enough merely to write or speak well, for the IELTS Writing and Speaking tasks, it is critical that candidates answer in the
ways IELTS expects them to. That means following often detailed
formats that can be learned only in IELTS Preparation courses.
In particular, there are rules about the Speaking task – and
particular its middle section, during which candidates speak on
their own – that are not explained to candidates in advance.
Because IELTS penalizes candidates as much as whole band point for not answering questions as asked. For example, if the Writing Task 2 question asks a candidate his or her opinion on a topic and the candidate writes about the various opinions pro and con with respect to that topic, there will be a penalty of an entire band point no matter how well the candidate writes.

There is no substitute for good, solid English skills. They are what IELTS measures. But without an in-depth introduction to the many things that are either specific to the IELTS test or the particular ways IELTS expects common tasks to be performed, it is unlikely that a candidate will earn the highest possible score.

Svend Nelson is a university lecturer and internet entrepreneur. He is director of UniRoute Limited, a Hong Kong based company with offices in Bangkok and London providing IELTS Online Preparation, a study abroad program and other web-based courses for university preparation. Svend lived and worked in various countries across Latin America, Europe and Asia before settling in Thailand.

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Effective IELTS Preparation Online – What Should You Expect?

Effective IELTS Preparation Online – What Should You Expect?

The IELTS exam is a difficult test but not an impossible one. It tests the English-language skills that students actually need to succeed in graduate programmes, and its assessments are rigorous and thorough.

That said, IELTS also expects each of the four tasks – listening, reading, writing and speaking – to be done in a particular way. It doesn’t necessarily specify what that way is. Consequently, many ILTS candidates with high English language skills score more poorly than they might if they knew the “rules.”

The prime criterion of a good IELTS preparation course is that it trains candidates in the ways IELTS wants to see things done. Also, because IELTS often asks tricky questions, it is imperative that anyone who wishes to achieve a high score learn the tricks, how to spot them, and how to overcome them.

To decide whether a particular IELTS preparation course is fully adequate, look for specific guidance in the following aspects of each of the four tasks:


Check to see that the different demands of each of the four sections of the Listening Test is explained.

Then make sure that there is a good explanation of the question types that are most often encountered in Listening. Although any of the question types used in the Reading Test can also be used in Listening, the Listening Test is more likely to focus on form-filling, summary gap-filling, short-answer, true-and-false and fact-and-opinion questions. You should find instruction not only on those question types and how they work,
but also on the indirect ways IELTS often asks questions, the way it relies on rewordings of things that are spoken – so that you have to understand the same idea expressed in two different ways – and words before and after key ideas that change the meaning of words supplied in questions.

There also should be tips on how to anticipate answers before you hear them.


Make sure that there is thorough explanations of all the IELTS question types, how they work, how IELTS sometimes asks them, and how you should answer them.

Check that there are at least three readings of appropriate IELTS length and difficulty, so you can learn to time yourself to read a passage and answer 13 questions in 20 minutes.

Look to see if there are useful tips on how to read quickly and with the single purpose of answering questions correctly. Normal advice about “speed reading” is not enough, because the issue is not how fast you read or even how much of the passage you understand – just how many questions you answer correctly.

Writing Task 1

Look to see that there are complete explanations about how to comprehend information presented in graphic formats such as graphs, bar charts, pie charts and diagrams. You must know how to “read” all six types of graphic data correctly, or you will make inaccurate observations that are the fatal flaw of Writing Task 1.

Make sure there is a complete, sentence-by-sentence explanation of the report form. No matter what data you are
asked to describe, the report format is the same and must be understood completely and thoroughly.

Check to see that all the vocabulary you need to describe information precisely is provided. There should be appropriate vocabulary lists, indications of how to combine words, and clear explanations of the different kinds of vocabulary different features of graphic information require.

Writing Task 2

Make sure that the IELTS preparation materials teach you what kind of essay – opinion, explanation, or discussion – is required to answer the IELTS question properly. Writing the wrong kind of essay, no matter how well, could cost you as much as a whole band point.

Check that the formats for all three essay types are presented in full, with the names and functions of each of the sentence types precisely described. Following the expected format is key to writing a good essay.

Look to see that the preparation materials include ample exercises. Most students need practice to learn how to write the different kinds of sentences – from hooks to thesis statements to supporting sentences – that work together to make a successful essay. Make sure that the course you take includes plenty
of exercises so you can get the practice you need.


The Speaking task has three distinct parts. Make sure the nature and function of all three is clearly explained.

Check to see that there is clear explanation of the “Long Turn,” the central section in which you must speak by yourself without any help from the examiner. There should be clear directions about how to give your answer to that critically important question shape and form.

Look to see that the preparation material gives you concrete tips on how to turn question-answering into real communication and natural conversation.

Make sure that there are explanations of more than just proper verbal language. Good, appropriate body language
can be almost as important in this task, which is the only one that puts candidates face-to-face with the examiner.

Svend Nelson is a university lecturer and internet entrepreneur. He is director of UniRoute Limited, a Hong Kong based company with offices in Bangkok and London providing IELTS online preparation, a study abroad program and other web-based courses for online university preparation. Svend lived and worked in various countries across Latin America, Europe and Asia before settling in Thailand.

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How to Select the Best Coaching Center For IELTS Exam Training?

How to Select the Best Coaching Center For IELTS Exam Training?

With IELTS exam becoming popular all over the world as a recognized authority for English language testing, coaching centers started mushrooming all around the globe. These coaching centers claim high success rates through advertisements to lure potential candidates. But there are no central agencies to control the growth and maintain quality of these IELTS coaching centers. Many coaching centers ask hefty fees from the students for unplanned and substandard coaching; others spend time in teaching unscrupulous ways to candidates appearing for IELTS exam . The recent incidents of candidates caught in impersonation at Chandigarh, India is an example for these increasing coaching center centric crimes for getting high IELTS scores.

Competitiveness among IELTS coaching centers has increased multifold and success rates in IELTS exam is one of the main criteria for attracting students. On the flip side students got more choices for selecting a good coaching center. Here is a list of main points to identify and select the best coaching center near your place. This will help you in starting you’re coaching in a good institution and come out in IELTS exam with flying colors.

1) An institution with training for multiple related exams. A institution which conducts training for TOEFL, GMAT, GRE etc. has an upper hand in giving candidates a good training for IELTS exam . IELTS exam is similar to TOEFL and related to GMAT and GRE. The only difference is that IELTS exam focuses on communicative English and does not cover aptitude testing. So you have chances for getting good and trained faculty for IELTS coaching.

2) Quality of Students studying in the institution. If the students who join for coaching are working professionals in multinational companies or from famous universities, then its an added advantage. They will communicate mostly English. It will help you in improving your English standard and give you a chance to interact with them very frequently and correct your English grammar.

3) Good Study materials. Ensure that coaching center gives the students lot of home works and assignments. If the institution sells study materials to students enrolled in distant education, then you have more chances of getting good quality study material, which is more important for a student preparing for IELTS exam .

4) Duration of coaching classes: The minimum time for a coaching class should be 2 hours of effective training. Any thing less than that will compromise the quality of training.

5) Teaching by foreign born English speaking staff: This will accelerate your quality of English. You can learn and understand their accent and pronunciation. They will teach to use simple English in speaking, listening and writing. So select a coaching center frequently visited by English speaking foreigners.

6) Strength of a class and type of pedagogy: The strength of the class matters most. The attention given to each student decreases with increased student strength in a class. You can verify it with a ratio of number of students with teaching staff. The best ratio is one teacher for every 6 students. Ensure that you are counting only the teachers or tutors and not the administrative staff. The type of pedagogy can be found by the overview of the course and through discussion with the students studying in the respective coaching center.

So next time, before enrolling into a coaching center for IELTS exam preparation, Spend some time in research and about the coaching center you planned to join. Wish you all the success.


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Watch this lesson to get a better score on Task 1 of the academic IELTS. Panicked about the writing section of the IELTS? Or do you work in a field that requ…

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Understanding the IELTS and IELTS Coaching

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What is the IELTS?

IELTS stands for “International English Language Testing System”. It is an internationally accepted standardised test of English language proficiency, divided into listening, reading, writing and speaking sections. Most Australian, British, Canadian, Irish, New Zealand and South African academic institutions accept it as a measure of ability with the English language, and it is also a requirement for immigration to Australia, Canada and New Zealand. It is the world’s most popular English language test for university admissions and immigration.

How does IELTS coaching differ from ESL classes?

IELTS coaching is not an English class. If you don’t already know how to read, speak or write in English, then IELTS coaching will not be of any great assistance to you.

IELTS coaching is intended for people who already have some ability with the English language to achieve a better IELTS band score, by giving them techniques and strategies to perform better in the exam.

Do you need coaching?

Coaching is not at all necessary before taking the IELTS exam. It is, however, highly beneficial should you wish to get the best score that you can. Depending on the reason you are taking the IELTS test, IELTS coaching might make the difference in achieving a band score that will allow you a visa to the country you wish to immigrate to, or admission to the college or university you wish to study at.

Different kinds of coaching

There are different ways to approach IELTS coaching.

If money is no object then you may look for individual or one-to-one coaching sessions. This way your tutor can give you direct and immediate feedback on how you are performing. Assuming that the tutor is competent and experienced in the IELTS test, then this is likely to be the most expensive way to prepare for the IELTS test. Individual tutoring is no guarantee of the best results – if your choice is between group coaching from a tutor who really knows their stuff, and individual tutoring from somebody who perhaps doesn’t, then you might be better off with the group coaching.

Group sessions offer a good balance of affordability and individual attention. Size matters. With too many people in the room, the particulars of your own situation will receive little attention or feedback from the tutor and you might as well just be reviewing material online. Class sizes greater than 15 definitely dilute the value of the tutoring.

You can also look at online coaching. There is an abundance of material on the internet that you can review for little or no cost. The downside of this approach is that you don’t get any feedback on your own individual situation. A real life flesh and blood tutor is able to draw particular attention to the specific areas that might be holding you back, whereas online materials have to be written for everyone. You may find these offer a great supplement to other tutoring options, rather than a complete replacement.

Daniel Squire is an Australian author with a long standing interest in IELTS Preparation services.

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