23rd May 2019

I am often asked about scoring and whether the examiner will give half bands for each criteria in the writing and speaking test. I assume people ask this because they are hoping that 4 scores of 6.5 could then be ’rounded up’ to make an overall writing or speaking score of band 7.  I am…

18th April 2019

This post will clarify what I mean when I advise band 6.5 candidates to ‘discuss both sides’, and help you to understand when and where to write a counter-argument. I often find my advice about ‘discussing both sides’ being misunderstood or misinterpreted. Some people mistakenly believe that when I say that ‘you must always discuss…

18th March 2019

Common problem: People often tell me they don’t know what to write about in writing task 2 and they find it hard to get ideas. When candidates don’t know what to write about, the result is often at least one paragraph where the same idea is repeated over and over. This type of writing will…

29th January 2019

Many native speakers have to take IELTS for immigration purposes. Their writing is judged in exactly the same way as that of non-native speakers, because not all native speakers reach the same level of literacy. Many professionals rarely write in their day-to-day life. In fact, many may not have had to write in any formal…

11th January 2019

People often ask me to review their writing a day or two before their test date.  With only a few days to go before a test, there is not a lot you can change in your writing. However, there are key changes you can make to the way you approach the test on the day…

IELTS Author Pauline Cullen

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