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I wonder how good IELTS is as a predictive indicator for my forthcoming journey of studying overseas? That is, if I have a pretty good IELTS score, say 8.0, does that mean I should experience little difficulty, at least in terms of the language barriers, once I start my journey in the U.S.? What would be the average score if a number of native speakers were to take the test? Thank you in advance.

Kishore:   That's a very interesting question! I think if you got an IELTS score around 8 that would mean you are well set from a language point of view for overseas study, yes. Remember there are other factors to living and studying overseas that can make life difficult though - it is a different culture, so there may be cultural misunderstandings sometimes linked to communication. Also, the approach to study is often very difficult overseas, so this can demand more from you in your communication skills. Be patient, remember cultural differences, and I am sure you will have a positive experience!


Hi Kishore, I find it difficulty to write over 150 words in first writing task in IELTS, and so it is in second writing task. My sentence is too short.Could you give some advice?

Kishore:   Remember 150 words is the minimum length for the first writing task in IELTS. You do not need to write significantly more than this. You do of course get penalised if you write less. I think the key to writing quickly is planning properly before you start writing. Make sure you know what you want to write BEFORE you start, organise your ideas into paragraphs. This makes writing much easier and more efficient. This will improve with practice. If sentences are short you need to combine sentences to make more complex sentences. Try to do this by using puncutation (especially commas) and linking words (and, so, because etc), to join more ideas into single sentences.


Although I have memorised a lot of good vocabulary, I can not still remember them and use them when I speak.What can I do about it?

Kishore:   I do not think memorising vocabulary is an ideal approach - as you say this does not help you know when to use them, and it is difficult to remember them all. For speaking, the best thing is to practice. I'd suggest you learn vocabulary in themes, like sports, music, movies etc. Also remember to note how the new vocabulary is to be used, that is which words does it combine with frequently (remember we 'make phone calls' we do not 'do phone calls'). Then practice speaking on these themes. You can practice speaking, even by yourself, on different topics. Talk for one minute, then make it 2 minutes, then increase again and again. There is no magic approach to improving your speaking, it takes time and practice. This way you will use the vocabulary more naturally.


Dear Mr.Kishore, I have taken IELTS twice but my speaking test part only got 5.5. I find it is because I lack examples, especially in part 2.It always takes a long time for me to work out.Moreover, I have little content in my answer. Can you give me some advice?Thanks a lot! Yours sincerely, Evian

Kishore:   Hi Evian (that’s a cool name!). Make sure you understand all the assessment criteria used in speaking – these videos can help you to do that: http://www.chinaielts.org/guide/band_descriptors_speaking.shtml It is important you develop your answers – the more you say, the more you demonstrate your fluency, and automatically the more you demonstrate your vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. Remember you can practice speaking, even by yourself, on different topics. Talk for one minute, then make it 2 minutes, then increase again and again. There is no magic approach to improving your speaking, it takes time and practice.

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In writting task 2, question like "What are the advantages and disadvantages relates to this topic", do you have to state your own opinion in the essay?? Thanks

Kishore:   Simple answer - yes, you are expected to state your opinion. For example, you could say that, in your opinion, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, or the opposite, or that they two are equal.


hi, kishore,nice to meet you here.I just graduated from high school and i want to go abroad for futher study.I stareted perparing the IELTS Test these days.My targer is to get a band of 7 to 8.Can you give me some advice on improving my speaking and writing please?It's hard to find opportunities to practice my spoken English in our university .How can i make progress in the two aspects with a relatively tight schdule? I feel it difficult to strike a balance between my regular courses and IELTS Test preparation.Do you have any suggestions?I also need some advice on expanding my range of vocabulary.


The first time I took part in the exam,I got 6 in written work.But the second time I got5.5 in writing.I don't know why,because the method I prepare it is the same as the first time.I want to know what I should do and how I take exercise now to prepare my third time exam in October 26.

Kishore:   Hi. The slight difference in those writing scores can happen - there could be any number of reasons, perhaps your ideas and arguments were not quite as strong in the second exam, perhaps you made a few more grammatical or vocabulary-related mistakes. I cannot say for sure. In terms of preparation, I suggest you look through all the videos here to understand precisely what is expected in the writing test, and also learn the tips that are suggested ?http://www.iqiyi.com/v_19rrhtfbv4.html. Also look at the writing section on Road to IELTS where you will have the chance to practice some techniques. Good luck!


I am very confused about how to use "-"symbol. For example, "low-risk investment". Will I loose mark if I write "low risk investment "?

Kishore:   You would not lose any marks for this specific example. It is difficult to generalise so I cannot say this will always happen in all cases.

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i will have the speaking exam this sunday and i am very afriad of being asked a difficult question in part2.help!TAT

Colin:   Just remember that the IELTS speaking test is about communicating. It’s okay to pause, hesitate, start again, make small mistakes… Just focus on communicating YOUR ideas to the examiner. Best of luck!


How can I improve my listening ability?

Colin:   If you can work with a good teacher the following might be easier…the different task types assess different listening skills such as listening for main ideas and listening for detail. Find out what you are already good at and what you need to improve in. There are a variety of different listening sub-skills so it’s good to find out which are your strengths and areas for development… oh of course you need to practice listening too! Visit learnEnglish.britishcouncil.org.cn for different listening activities.


Hi colin, m I late? Can you help me with my writing problem? I feel blank when dealing with writing task 2..it is really difficult for me to generate a 150 words...I don't know what to start ,how should I expand my answer? Help me please

Colin:   Hello! You need to spend some time brainstorming ideas. So the fact that you are thinking about generating ideas is good thing! First thing to do is read the topic and then understand it. Then on a piece of paper or the question paper, make notes about any ideas that come to mind. You can increase your ideas by looking at the question from different perspectives…what might an older or very young person say? What ideas are there from a(n) economic/environmental/political/society perspective etc.? When you have some ideas you need to organise them. You need to practise generating and organising your ideas. Practice is important. Look at our online prep course www.roadtoIELTS.com for more ideas on generating ideas.


Hi colin, from your opinion, what kind of key facts I need to be ware of for the preparation of IELTS listening test? I found i can easily get lost during the test...not easy to concentrate on the content for me....

Colin:   Hello! You need to remember that the test is designed with lots of places to start again (section 1, section 2 etc.). Also remember that the test is designed so that you can answer question 5 without knowing the answer to question 4, for example. Spend the silent time, reading the tasks and doing two things: predicting possible answers (and then listening to check or reconfirm your ideas); predicting possible paraphrases of the words in the question. If you are getting lost it helps to listen for paraphrases (similar words) that are used in the questions. And try to relax… if you are getting stressed or anxious, you won’t be able to listen as well as you can… keep breathing!

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