The newest IELTS Cambridge 15 book of practice tests and sample answers/essays has just been released and I have some tips, strategies and sample answers to help guide you through it!
First of all, you can purchase the book here.
Please do not download it illegally – that is morally wrong.
IELTS Cambridge 15 Sample Answers/Essays
Here are my sample answers based on the questions and topics from the book:
Writing Task 1 Tests 1-4:
Writing Task 2 Tests 1-4
The Wrong Way to Study with IELTS Cambridge 15
There are a lot of students who study with the Cambridge IELTS books the wrong way.
The wrong way is to do practice test after practice test without any other practice.
These practice tests have two purposes:
- They help you to feel familiar/comfortable with the exam.
- They give you an idea of your current IELTS score and English ability.
You should use them to feel comfortable with the format and understand where your skills are now.
Do not use them to improve your English.
You might improve slightly – learn a few new words – but they are not designed to improve your English.
Some students think that they can just do test after test, book after book and their IELTS score will rise.
Your IELTS score only rises when your English ability rises (and you understanding of the test is good).
Those students are wasting their time and it leads to the feared plateau – staying at the same level for months or years.
If you want to avoid getting stuck in the same trap that gets most students read below for the proper way to use these books and some useful activities that can help your to actually improve your English, save time, and understand IELTS better!
The Right Way to Study with IELTS Cambridge 15
If you just want to have an idea of your score, it is simple: do a timed test.
Do all parts and check your answers for listening and reading.
It is harder to know about your speaking and writing scores (there’s no answer key) so you can sign up for my writing corrections or my online courses to know exactly what your scores are: writing corrections and online courses.
If you just want more sample answers from me at an affordable price, consider supporting me on Patreon.com/howtodoielts
What about if you want to become more comfortable with the IELTS exam?
Then you should do the same thing – do a test but…
You must also take time to analyse the test.
After you finish a listening test, circle the answers you got wrong.
Why did you get them wrong? Couldn’t hear the word? A vocabulary problem? Grammar?
Then listen and read to the tapescript to understand the listening better.
Underline the synonyms/paraphrases and circle the distractors.
Your awareness of IELTS is rising and it will help, for sure, on the real exam!
For reading – do the same. Focus on the questions that you got wrong.
Why did you get them wrong?
Find the synonyms/paraphrases and the little tricks. Work on the most difficult questions over and over.
For writing, check with my sample answers above and do all the practice – do the listening, the vocabulary and so on.
Commit hard to studying one answer until you understand it fully and are ready to move on.
Be sure to review whatever work you did so that you don’t forget a few days later.
Speaking is trickier, but you can try some of my ideas here for practicing without a partner.
Useful Study Activities
Once you figure out your weak areas, it is important to vary the activities you do when studying.
If you do the same activities over and over again then you will just get good at doing the activity – and not really improve your English – you’ll end up stuck at the same English level!
Try some of these activities to avoid that for each skill:
Listening Activities with Cambridge IELTS 15
- Focus on a section: Listen to section 1 (or 2 or 3 or 4) of the listening over and over again. The more times you listen, the more your listening improves. Afterwards read the tapescript carefully.
- Listen and pause: This will improve your concentration skills when listening. Start to listen and pause the recording every 30 seconds. Predict what they are going to say next then listen and check. Don’t worry about the listening questions. This way you must pay very close and attention and think critically.
- Before you listen: Usually you only get 30 seconds before you listen. When practicing, it can be helpful to take more time and try to write down a synonym/paraphrase for all the key words in the questions. Take your time. This activity will help with understanding paraphrasing and understanding how the test works.
Reading Activities with Cambridge IELTS 15
- Read and summarise: A lot of students struggle with matching heading questions and this activity can really help. After each paragraph take some time to write a title/short summary for the paragraph. Reread and make your summary/title more detailed.
- Write your own questions: If you really want to understand IELTS, this is one of the best ways. Write your own questions! Do easy ones first – like fill in the blanks. Then later write harder ones like True/False/Not Given.
- Synonyms/Paraphrases: Just like with listening, take some time to just analyse the questions without the reading. Write all the keywords on a separate piece of paper. Then write a synonym/paraphrase for each one. Then do the reading and check if you had anything similar.
Writing Activities with Cambridge IELTS 15
- Examples: For most students examples are the key to IELTS writing. Instead of writing a fully sample answer just focus on the important skill and write examples for each question. Make each example 2-3 sentences long, fully developed and specific.
- Marking an essay: Look in the back of the book at the sample essays but hide the score and the examiner’s report. Look at the IELTS band descriptors online and try to figure out the score for the essay. Then check with the examiner’s report. You’ll really understand what you need to do after this activity!
- Redrafting: A lot of students move on too quickly. Write an essay, get feedback from me, then write it again and again until it is perfect. Then move on to new essays with greater understand.
Speaking Activities with Cambridge IELTS 15
- Stuck on repeat: Try answering the same question but with different answers each time. This will help improve your fluency and focus your mindset on long, detailed answers. You can see an example below:
- Focus on pron: Record yourself and then play your answer back for Siri or Google Voice search or Google Docs. If the words do not come out clearly, then you need to work on them more. Keep a list of the toughest words and practice them everyday until they are perfect!
- Write your own questions: Just like with reading, write new questions and answer them to understand the test better. For part 1 speaking, write personal questions. For part 2, they can be personal or a little more general. For part 3, they should not be personal questions – write general ones about other people or the world. Practice answers them.
Best of luck and comment any questions you have below!