Important change! Please read:

I have decided to create a new blog and will no longer be updating this one. Please visit my new and improved IELTS blog at:

EnglishRyan's IELTS Blog

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

My brand new blog at

After a few years of blogger, I've finally succumbed to the WordPress world of blogging and have created a dedicated blog space at If you subscribe to this feed through FeedBurner, you've got nothing to worry about as I will still be streaming my material through that account. For everyone else, please follow me at to see the latest IELTS related stuff I'm working on.



Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Spoken performance enhancers

Here is a nice little video series pointing out how to respond correctly on your spoken examination. (Note: I was not able to find all videos in this series, so what you see here is just parts 4, 5 and 7.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Spot the mistakes in this student's speaking response

This student makes a number of mistakes in here response. Can you spot a few areas?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

IELTS Speaking - Can you spot a few areas where this student could improve?

Take a look at this video. This student performs pretty well, but there are some areas in need of improvement.

-very few hesitations
-no bad pauses
-no short answers or unnecessarily long answers
-very natural use of English idioms and phrases

-a few grammatical errors
-she gets tongue-tied at moments

Friday, November 26, 2010

Qualifying words

For those of you looking to improve your writing and reading, take note of some of these alternative ways to describe the quality of something.

Time/Rate of occurrence

Never, rarely, seldomly, once in a blue moon, occasionally, sometimes, often, next to always, always, without fail


Only, except, if, on the condition that, provided that


Before, after, first, second, third, final, last


Women, men, male, female, professional


Non-, un-, not, no


Surpassing, over, under, few, too much, too little, not enough


Anti-, but, yet, however, on the other hand, with this, in favour of


May, might, could, potentially, possibly, probably, must, certainly


Necessary to, need to, ought to, have to


More ... than, bigger, smaller

Additional info

Further, in addition, also, as well

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Two common mistakes made by IELTS exam takers (speaking section)

I can't tell you how many times I've seen IELTS students use sentences like:

"He told me you are smart."

Please don't become a victim of bad spoken grammar habits.

My hat goes off to Rebecca, who makes a very nice summary of reported speech here. I've also included another video of hers regarding speaking about future events. Commit these two tips to memory and practice them daily as you train.

What is IELTS?

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an exam that assesses the English abilities of those who wish to work or study in an English speaking country.

(The following is taken directly from

International Recognition

IELTS is recognised for course admission by universities in many countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, the UK and increasingly in Germany and wider Europe.

In the USA the IELTS Test is now recognised by more than 1000 institutions and new ones are constantly added to the list, of which you will always find the latest version here.

IELTS is also required as proof of your language abilities for immigration to Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

What appears on the test?

The test checks the applicant's strengths in the areas of speaking, reading, listening and writing and is separated into two test types - Academic and General.

What is the difference between the Academic IELTS Module and the General Training IELTS Module?

IELTS Academic Training is a course and test designed to prepare and assess those wishing to attend institutes of higher education in English speaking countries. The listening and speaking portions of the two tests are identical, but the reading and writing portions are not. The General Module test asks the candidate to complete two writing tasks. The first is a letter (minimum 150 words). The second is an essay (minimum 250 words). The Academic Module test, however, is different. For this test, the candidate must write one piece describing factual information that is presented to them (for example, a bar graph or list of statistics). Using this information, the candidate must accurately depict in words the information presented by the images (minimum 150 words). The second task is to write an essay on a given topic (minimum 250 words).