First of all, let me apologise: IELTS is supposed to be boring. Sometimes I can’t resist making an interesting lesson about IELTS.
In this post, you’re going to do some practice and learn some tips for IELTS speaking, listening, reading, and writing (while talking about The Avengers).
For speaking, we are going to learn about Part 2 with two different sample answers.
For listening, we are going to focus on Part 1 of IELTS listening and writing down names and letters.
For reading, I’ll show you how to deal with True/False/Not Given questions.
Finally, we will take a look at a possible Writing Task 2 question and writing your main ideas for it.
Let’s go! Here is the full video – watch it and then read the analysis below:
In the speaking I focused on Part 2 Speaking.
The question was:
Talk about a superhero you admire. You should say:
Who it is
Why you admire him/her
Other heroes you admire
Here is my full answer:
The superhero that I want to talk about is Batman and the reason that I admire Batman is because he doesn’t have any superpowers. So in the last movie he was in was the Justice League – he has to come together to protect the world to bat– there’s a battle between good and evil – a threat has come out and they have to try to fight it together. So he needs needs Wonder Woman’s help and he has to go get all these other superheroes to work together to fight the evil threat and again the reason I admire him is cuz he has no superpowers – he’s just a normal kind of crazy, angry, violent man but really amazing because all the other heroes they’re fighting and they’re not gonna die – they’re fine you know, even if they lose they won’t die – just all the people in the world will die but for Batman it’s different he could actually die – all the other superheroes it’s like it doesn’t really matter. Worst case scenario: the other people die, the whole world dies but least they are okay. But Batman it could actually be him who dies.
admire (verb): look up to or respect. “I admire Elon Musk because he dates a lot of celebrities.”
come together (verb): work as part of a team. “If we come together on this, we can accomplish anything.”
a battle between good and evil (noun phrase): a fight between the good guys and the bad guys. “Every Hollywood movie basically boils down to a battle before good and evil.”
threat (noun): Something that could harm or hurt you. “The threat of prison prevents most people from committing crimes.”
work together (verb): work as part of a team (same as above). “If we work as part of a team, we can accomplish anything.”
actually (adverb): in fact or really. “I’m not into superhero movies. Actually, I hate them.”
doesn’t really matter (expression): it is not important. “It doesn’t really matter how long you practice, you’re going to end up with the same score.”
worst case scenario (expression): the worst thing that could possibly happen. “Worst case scenario we will have to find a new place to work.”
I also gave a second example answer for the same question:
I want to talk about another superhero from the Marvel movies and his name is Captain America. Now I’m an American – that isn’t the reason why I like Captain America but it doesn’t hurt. So I like Captain America because in fact actually before the last Avengers movie I didn’t like Captain America he was my least favorite and that was because he’s always on his high horse – he always thinks he’s the best and he’s so self-righteous. He thinks he’s such a good guy and I always hate characters like that. I like characters more like the polar opposite – like a Tony Stark Iron Man – guys who are full of themselves and arrogant and fun but in the last movie I did feel that the actor who plays him – his character – because he’s got so much conviction he believes what he says so much that that I started to respect his character – I even liked his character more than the other characters.
on his high horse (idiom): feels superior/smarter/more ethical that everyone else. “Don’t get on your high horse with me.”
self-righteous (adjective): consider yourself to be right all the time. “Don’t get that self-righteous attitude with me.”
polar opposite (noun): completely different, 100% opposite. “We’re polar opposites – we can’t agree on anything!”
full of themselves (verb phrase): thinking very highly of yourself, arrogant. “My boss is so full of himself – I can’t stand him!”
arrogant (adjective): thinking very highly of yourself, full of yourself. “I’m not arrogant – I’m very humble!”
conviction (noun): believing strongly in something. “One of the key qualities of a leader is conviction.”
I recommend that you take the time to record, write down, and keep practicing your part 2 speaking answers until they get better!
You can also try practicing with my answers to build up your confidence.
In part 1 of the listening test, you are being tested on 1 simple things: you ability to listen and write.
The vocabulary is simple so it won’t be a big problem in this part. There also aren’t many distractors or synonyms (which you will find in listening parts 2, 3, and 4(.
If you are trying to get above band 6, you probably need to get all the questions in part 1 correct.
Luckily, it is the easiest section to practice for! Just practice listening and writing.
Here are some ideas for how to practice:
1. Use the video above. Listen and write down the names that I spell out. Remember that the key to listening is repetition.
2. Find another video on YouTube (I recommend BBC One Minute World News). Listen and write down the key words. Listen repeatedly. Or listen and write all the nouns or verbs. Try different ways – just make sure you are listening and writing something.
3. Use an IELTS practice test – but don’t do the whole test! Listen to section 1 again and again. Then read and listen to the tapescript. Focus on the ones that were hard or you got wrong. Figure out why you got it wrong and then practice that. For example, if you always miss the letter ‘s’, listen to a YouTube video and write down all the words with ‘s’.
In my experience as a teacher and IELTS examiner, students struggle the most with True/False/Not Given questions (actually, even native English speakers struggle with them!).
Here’s the same example from the video above:
Avenger’s 4’s first weekend at the box office was the highest grossing for any film ever.
1. Avenger’s 4 made more money than any other superhero movie in its first weekend.
2. Avengers 4 is a popular film.
3. Avengers 4 has made more money than any other film.
The answers are:
3. Not Given
The first one is true because if it made more money that ANY film, that also includes other superhero movies, even though it didn’t mention other superhero movies you can infer this logically.
The second one is true because if a movie makes a ton of money then it has to be popular. This is also logical (common sense).
The third one is not given because even thought it may become true later, it is only talking about the opening weekend – not the total amount of money made.
For True/False/Not Given you need to be careful of: questions that are almost true – but not quite. Those are going to be not given.
Let’s try one more example of a question that is ALMOST true – but not quite:
Dave was an IELTS examiner.
1. Dave worked for the IELTS department at either BC or IDP.
2. Dave is still a current IELTS examiner.
3. Dave also teachers IELTS.
Number 1 is true because BC and IDP are the only two places where you can take IELTS and to do IELTS you obviously have to work for the IELTS department.
Number 2 is false because it says that I was in the past. If it was still true it would say ‘Dave has been an IELTS examiner for years.’
Number 3 is not given. You can assume it is true but it doesn’t actually say it – so false. These are the ones you have to be most careful of – that ones that are ALMOST true.
Here is the question from the video above:
Some people think that governments should have authority over superheroes. To what extent do you agree?
Based on the movie Captain America: Civil War, there are two main sides – what Iron Man (Tony Stark) thinks and Captain America (Steve Rogers).
If Iron Man were taking IELTS he would agree 100% because he thinks governments are elected by the people and the people should have power of the decisions of superheroes.
If Captain America were taking IELTS he would completely disagree because he doesn’t think governments can be trusted and superheroes are more responsible and ethical.
If you were doing it – well why don’t you tell me!
Write your own sample answer in the comments below (using my main ideas or your own). I will give band scores for free for anyone who comments a full sample answer!