Top Tips for IELTS

A little but often

Each of the sites you find here are excellent “little but often” sites. By this I mean they are sites you can come back to regularly and find new learning material.

BBC Learning English

The whole site is excellent, but my favourite IELTS resource is:

BBC Learning English – Words in the News

This is a wonderful reading and listening resource for IELTS. You get 3 new articles each week which you can read and/or listen to. An added bonus is that the key vocabulary is highlighted for you. There is also an archive of over 1000 stories since 1999.

Macmillan Online Dictionary

Build your academic vocabulary

The academic word list is a selection of the most used general English words used in academic texts. For me the best place to access it on the internet is the University of Nottingham site. Their site gives you interactive exercises to practise the word lists:

Academic Word List

This is my brief video tutorial on using this site:

You can also try my own Daily Word exercises.

Build your general vocabulary

Flo Joe:

This exam English site is updated 5 times a week. I highly recommend the word bank exercises for collocation and word formation. Done regularly this is the quickest way to improve your vocabulary – by looking at words you already know and learning them better. There are 3 levels:

FCE – around level 6 IELTs

CAE – around level 7 IELTS

CPE – around level 8 IELTS

Verbalearn allows you to build your own vocabulary list and test yourself daily.

Improve your grammar

Cloze maker

This site allows you to check your grammar and specific reading skills. All you have to do is find a text you have read and then you can create your own grammar exercise to check whatever piece of grammar you wish. Here is my brief video tutorial:

Read the news in a focussed way – using RSS feeds

Newspapers are an excellent resource for IELTS. But what is much more efficient is if you focus your reading on the key topics. This post allows you to do just that by using RSS feeds

A little but often – RSS feeds

Google News Timeline

Practising your speed reading skills

One skill you need to master for IELTS is reading a text quickly to get its general meaning – skimming. One great tool to do this is Cueprompter. Here is my brief video tutorial:


Improve your spoken idiom

Splendid speaking is another extremely professional exam site updated 5 times a week. This site gives you spoken expressions that can be used in the speaking exam. One excellent aspect of this site is that it gives you 3 different exercises for each piece of language – this way you are much more likely to really learn the language.

Splendid Speaking

Practise your charts and graphs

Charts and graphs can be hard to track down. The Economist website publishes one every day and they are ideal for IELTS preparation. Here’s the link

Daily Chart from The Economist

You may also want to check this brief video tutorial out.

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