FCE Writing

The Writing paper has two parts. Part 1 has one compulsory question and involves writing an essay. In Part 2, candidates are given three options and are asked to write one of the following using between 140 and 190 words: an article, email/letter, report, or review.

How long is preparation for IELTS exam?


IELTS which stands for the International English Language Testing System is the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration.

Over 10,000 organisations worldwide trust IELTS results. When you take the test you can be confident that it is recognised by educational institutions, employers, governments and professional bodies around the world.


IELTS result, expressed as a band (from band 1- the lowest to band 9- the highest) allows your university or employer to determine your English level and whether your language proficiency is sufficient. An interesting fact about the IELTS exam is that you can’t fail it. If your aim is to get band 7.0, because your dream university requires that, and you score band 6.5, you may still secure a place at a university, not your dream one though. 

How long is the preparation for the IELTS exam?

The length of the preparation depends on your current level of English. Here’s a list of levels, hours and weeks you need to study to prepare for your IELTS exam and score IELTS band 7.0


Current Level 

IELTS score equivalent

Number of study hours needed to achieve band 7.0

Number of weeks needed (when you study 30 hours a week) 

IELTS score 

A1 elementary Band 0-1 850 hours 29-33 weeks Band 7.0
A2 pre-intermediate  Band 2-3 700 hours 26-30 weeks  Band 7.0
B1 intermediate Band 4-4.5 400 hours 14-16 weeks Band 7.0
B2 upper- intermediate Band 5-6.5 300 hours 10-14 weeks Band 7.0
C1 advanced Band 7-8 200 hours 4-7 weeks Band 7.0-8.0


Here’s a list of English language levels and their IELTS equivalent together with a general description of language skills.


Current Level 

IELTS score equivalent   

Skill level   


A1 elementary Band 0-1       Non-user  Band 0-1 You lack the ability to use the language except a few isolated words.

You have great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.

A2 pre-intermediate   Band 2.0-3    Extremely limited user            Band 2-3 You convey and understand only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.
B1 intermediate   Band 4.0-4.5                   Limited user  Band 4.0- 4.5 Your basic competence is limited to familiar situations. You frequently show problems in understanding and expression. You are not able to use complex language.
B2 upper- intermediate   Band 5.0-6.5 Modest to competent user  Band 5 You have a partial command of the language, and cope with overall meaning in most situations, although you are likely to make many mistakes. You should be able to handle basic communication in your own field.

Band 6 Generally you have an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. You can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.

C1 advanced Band 7.0-8.0  Good user to very good user  Band 7 You have an operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally you handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.

Band 8 You have a fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. You may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. You handle complex detailed argumentation well.

C2 proficient  Band 8.5-9.0 Expert user Band 9.0 You have a full operational command of the language. Your use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and you show complete understanding.


How much time does it take to study and move from 6.5 to 7.0 in IELTS? 

If you’ve taken the IELTS exam and you missed 0.5 points overall, you will need to study additional 4-6 weeks to score 7.0. It’s recommended that you attend an IELTS preparation course and participate in 20-25 hours of lessons in class plus about 5-8 hours of self-study a week. During the IELTS course you will learn the strategies and methods how to effectively approach each exam task, as each task is different and requires from you a unique approach. The self-study will help you rehearse each approach so that it becomes your second nature and you can effortlessly implement the strategy during the exam. 

How can you improve your speaking score in the IELTS exam?

Writing and speaking parts of the IELTS exam have proven to be the most problematic sections of the IELTS exam for many test-takers.. Sometimes the score of these two parts differs by a whole point with each test students take. If you scored 6.5 and need 7.0 in your IELTS speaking part, you will need to study further 4-6 weeks to score 7.0. You could potentially half the study time with private IELTS tuition. A 1-to-1 IELTS teacher will help you identify your speaking mistakes and work with you to improve them. Private IELTS lessons will allow your teacher to create a tailor-made programme to match your needs. And although the hourly rate of a private class is higher than a group course, you don’t need to book as many private lessons. What’s more, you will have an undivided attention from your teacher, who can answer any questions you have and practise speaking with you throughout the whole lesson. It is rather difficult to improve speaking on your own, so having a private tutor is your best option. That said, don’t think that attending private lessons is enough to move 0.5 point, it’s not. You will have to devote your time to study alone to memorise vocabulary or practise various grammar structures. 

Some more creative test-takers don’t feel that spending money on private tuition is justified. So instead they record their speaking tasks’ answers and send them to an IELTS teacher. The teacher listens to the answers and writes a detailed description of ways to improve student’s speaking skills. This is a very innovative and cost effective way to improve your Speaking without attending IELTS lessons.

You can find online IELTS teachers on Preply


How much time does it take to study and move from 6.5 to 7.0 in IELTS writing?

If you miss 0.5 in your IELTS writing part, you will need to study further 4-6 weeks (80-170 hours) to score 7.0. You can half the study time by starting private lessons with a dedicated IELTS teacher. A one-to-one IELTS teacher will help you identify your writing flaws and errors and work with you to improve them. Private IELTS writing lessons are tailor made to your needs, so you don’t spend time on the topics you are already familiar with, instead your teacher focuses on the areas that YOU need to improve. The hourly rate of a private writing class is higher than a group course, but you don’t need to book as many private lessons. Unlike an IELTS preparation course where you learn with other people all four sections of the exam, private lessons allow you to be very precise with regards to your lesson structure and learning objectives. During private lessons your teacher will focus on your writing style, grammar you need to use and vocabulary that collectively help you score a higher band in the IELTS writing task. Unline reading or listening, improving your writing is not easy to do on your own, as you need someone who can check your writing task and mark it against the IELTS writing score criteria, not every English language teacher is familiar with them. So if you’re looking for an IELTS teacher, make sure s/he has the right experience preparing students for the IELTS exam. 


Some test-takers don’t feel that spending money on private tuition is justified. So instead they collect some of the recent writing tasks and send them to the teacher, who then checks and marks the writing. This type of consultation service is a very innovative and effective way to improve for IELTS.

You can find online IELTS writing teachers on Preply.


How much time does it take to study and move from 5.5 to 7.0 in IELTS? 

If you’ve recently passed the IELTS exam and scored 5.5 but your goal is 7.0, you will need to study for additional 12-14 weeks to achieve band 7.0. The jump from 5.5 to 7.0 is significant, hence you need to improve English in general, studying and perfecting grammar structures, expanding your vocabulary further and improving your writing and speaking skills. If you scored 5.5 in your IELTS test you will have to join a General English course at B2 – upper-intermediate level and study 30 hours a week for about 8 weeks and then proceed to further 4-6 weeks of IELTS exam preparation course. When joining the IELTS preparation course you need to study about 20-30 hours in class with additional 5-10 hours of quality self-study time (completing your homework tasks) a week. 


Why do you need to join a General English course before the IELTS preparation course? 

If your current level of English is low or if you scored low in your IELTS exam you need to improve your English in general by attending General English classes. When preparing for the IELTS it’s not only the exam strategies and methods that you need to know but also the more elaborate grammar structures, advanced vocabulary, more difficult texts and recordings, which you can be exposed to and learn during a General English course. Don’t think that if you attend a General English course you are not preparing for the IELTS, it’s quite the opposite. You are still learning towards the IELTS by improving your English proficiency. The IELTS course is most useful if your level of English is relatively high or you miss 0.5 to get your desired band.


How can you check your current English level and IELTS band without taking the exam? 

One of the most effective ways to check your current level of English is to reach out to a language school that provides an IELTS course in your area. When talking to the school’s representative or a teacher, explain that you are thinking of taking the IELTS exam and want to know your current level and how long it’ll take to prepare for the exam and achieve band 7.0. The school will be more than happy to assist you as they will see you as a potential student. The free of charge level test that the English school should be able to provide will usually last from 30-45 minutes and very often it’ll either be an oral assessment during which the teacher asks you various questions to determine or a combination of written and oral test, usually called a placement test.  


What type of an English language course do you need to prepare for the IELTS exam? 

There are a variety of English group courses to choose from, depending on your level you might have to start a General English course and then proceed to an IELTS preparation course. 

Here’s your IELTS learning journey depending on your level of English: 


Current Level 

General English Course 

Number of weeks

IELTS course 

Number of weeks

IELTS score 

A1 elementary Yes 29 weeks Yes  4-6 weeks Band 7.0
A2 pre-intermediate  Yes  26 weeks Yes 4-6 weeks Band 7.0
B1 intermediate Yes 14 weeks Yes 4-6 weeks Band 7.0
B2 upper- intermediate Yes 10 weeks Yes 4-6 weeks Band 7.0
C1 advanced No No Yes 4-7 weeks Band 7.0-8.0


If you decide to study English alone or with a private tutor the length of preparation time for IELTS might either extend or shorten. The above timescale is a suggested indication of the length of time needed to score band 7.0 in the IELTS exam. 


How is the IELTS score calculated? 

The IELTS exam consists of four parts: Speaking, Writing, Listening and Reading. The average of each of the four component scores is taken into account when calculating the Overall Band Score. The component scores are equal in weight and they are rounded to the nearest whole or half. 


In a situation when average components end in .25, the Overall Band Score is rounded up to the next half band. Whereas, if it ends in .75, the Overall Band Score is rounded up to the next whole band. 


Here are a few examples: 


Reading 6.5 + Writing 5 + Speaking 7 + Listening 6.5 = 25

Divide 25 by 4 = 6.25

Ends in .25 so round up to the next half band

Overall band score = 6.5


Reading 6.5 + Writing 6.5 + Speaking 6.0 + Listening 5.5 = 24.5

Divide 24.5 by 4 = 6.125

Ends with a fraction below .25 so round down to the next whole band

Overall band score = 6.0


Reading 4.0 + Writing 3.5 + Speaking 4.0 + Listening 4.0 = 19.5

Divide 19.5 by 4 = 3.875

Ends with a fraction above .75 so round up to the next whole band

Overall band score = 4.0



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IELTS Task 2 Band 7 E-mail has had a huge impact on professional and social communication but this impact has been negative as well as positive.

E-mail has had a huge impact on professional and social communication but this impact has been negative as well as positive.

Do the disadvantages of using e-mail outweigh the advantages?

It is certainly true that the use of electronic communication has greatly changed the way we communicate with each other at work as well as socially. But it is also true that not all the effects of this innovation have been positive, although there are certainly some advantages.

A common criticism of e-mail in the workplace is that it causes extra work and stress. This is because employees receive more messages than they can answer every day and since e-mail writers expect a prompt response, this further increases pressure on employees. Other objections to e-mail for both social and professional users include the way it encourages people to spend even longer at their computers and also the danger of incoming messages allowing viruses into your computer system.


In spite of these negative effects, however, e-mail has brought important benefits as well. One such advantage of using e-mail is that it is a fast and easy way to communicate with family, friends and work colleagues wherever they are in the world. It not only allows people to stay in touch with each other, but it also allows them to send all kinds of information (such as pictures, photos, diagrams, videos, etc.) very quickly, cheaply and with a very good quality of reproduction. This is a huge advance on earlier communication systems, and the low cost of e-mail means it is very widely used.


To sum up, while there are some obvious drawbacks to using e-mail, this fast and user-friendly technology has greatly improved our ability to communicate both professionally and socially. Therefore, I think e-mail has brought us many more benefits than disadvantages.


IELTS Task 2 – 272 words Band 7


How to build Speaking Fluency for the IELTS Speaking Part and score a higher band in the exam?

The main reason you do not score a higher band in your IELTS Speaking part is because you focus too much on delivering the answer to a task and not enough on fluency. Many of my students realised that it’s not all about the content of the answer but how it’s articulated.


So what strategies do you need to implement to  improve your Speaking Fluency for the IELTS Speaking exam?
  1. Practise speaking in English aloud to yourself when you’re alone

  2. Follow a practice routine

  3. Use native English speakers’ pausing techniques

  4. Relax while speaking which results in more natural speed and rhythm


There’s actually a lot to consider when you’re preparing for the IELTS Speaking test and you might be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of points to bear in mind when answering the topic. Read on and learn strategies to improve your Speaking fluency for the IELTS exam.

  1. Practising speaking in English 

Have a conversation in English either with a fellow student or a native speaker. Sometimes, having someone to talk to in English might not be possible, so equally beneficial and useful is to practise speaking aloud to yourself when you are alone.

  1. Follow a practise routine

An IELTS examiner is looking for Fluency which refers to speaking with accuracy and natural speed. You can build both by working on your:

  • Pronunciation and Intonation (very often neglected by many students)
  • Coherence (rarely achieved by test-takers) 
  • Grammatical correctness (cover at lengths in various IELTS coursebooks)
  • Correct use of vocabulary (cover at lengths in various IELTS coursebooks)
  • Use of a variety of vocabulary(cover at lengths in various IELTS coursebooks)

You can isolate these features and practise them daily. Pay attention to the first two points – Pronunciation & Intonation and Coherence, as these are seldom executed well during the Speaking part. Hence, more information and actionable tips on how to improve your English Pronunciation & Intonation as well as Coherence are included further in this post.

  1. Avoid translating

You won’t achieve a higher band in IELTS if you still translate phrases from your own language into English. This simply prevents you from speaking fluently and naturally. Avoid translating by practising simple and more elaborate phrases in English until you can use them with the same fluency as you can use your own language. Then build up from those phrases to more complex sentences.

  1. Start using pausing techniques

When native English speakers are thinking or are searching for a better way to say something, they use fillers such as uh or um. Using these pausing techniques, will help you sound more natural.

  1. Relax when speaking

Do you think you’re the only one making mistakes when speaking in English? As a matter of fact lots of native English speakers make mistakes, too. They repeat phrases, correct themselves, and hesitate. Don’t let your errors in speaking undermine your confidence and jeopardise your IELTS exam. 

  1. Use natural speed and rhythm to train yourself in fluency

Listen carefully to native English speakers and to use the same speed and rhythms that they do. You can start imitating native English speakers by using audio recordings and listening scripts of the coursebooks you’ve been learning from. Start the recording, mark the pauses, stresses, and intonation patterns that you hear in the recordings. Wait a few seconds and then start repeating what the speaker says.If you have difficulty, listen and repeat the particular words or phrases that are causing you trouble. Then go back to the beginning of the recording and start again as often as necessary. Continue this practice until you can follow the speaker fluently. Any of the listening passages in this text could be used to practise this method.


Improve your Pronunciation & Intonation for the Speaking part for the IELTS exam 

English, like any other language, has certain pronunciation and intonation features that you need to become familiar with and imitate in order to produce speech that sounds like that of a native speaker. The closer you are to achieving this goal, the higher your score will be on the Speaking section of the IELTS exam. The most important speech features that you need to be familiar with are:

Stress patterns

Even if you put all the correct sounds together, you may not be understood unless you use the correct stress patterns. Stress refers to the emphasis you place on certain words in a sentence or on a syllable within a word. A stressed word or syllable is louder, longer, and higher pitched than unstressed words or syllables. Your IELTS examiner will expect you to use appropriate stress and intonation patterns as they indicate a proficient speaker or English.

Every word in English has a stress pattern. Using the wrong stress pattern can cause misunderstandings. In some cases, the stress pattern or a word can determine its part of speech. Look at the following noun-verb pairs of words. They are alike except for the stress pattern. The nouns are stressed on the first syllable and the verbs are stressed on the second. The stressed syllables are shown in CAPITAL letters.

present   PREsent (noun)       a thing given to someone as a gift
preSENT (verb)   formally introduce (someone) to someone else
record  REcord (noun)   a written documentation
reCORD (verb) to make an audio recording
addict  ADDict (noun) a person who is addicted to a particular substance 
addICTed (verb) to cause or become physically or psychologically dependant on an addictive substance
conflict CONflict (noun) a fight, battle or struggle especially a prolonged struggle
conFLICT (verb)       to come into collision or disagreement
increase INcrease (noun) growth or augmentation in numbers, size, strength, quality, etc.
inCREASE (verb)        to make greater, an in number, size, strength or quality
produce PROduce (noun)  something that is produced; agricultural products collectively, especially vegetables or fruit
proDUCE (verb) to bring into existence, give rise to
address ADdress (noun) a place where a person or organisation may be communicated with
adDRESS (verb) to mark directions for delivery
attribute ATtribute (noun) a quality, character or characteristic ascribed to someone or something
atTRIbute (verb) to explain (something) by indicating a cause 
exploit EXploit (noun) a notable, memorable, or heroic act
exPLOIT (verb) to make use of meanly or unfairly for one’s own advantage
subject SUBject (noun) one that is placed under authority or control
subJECT (verb) to cause or force to undergo or endure (something unpleasant)
entrance            ENtrance (noun) power or permission to enter 
enTRANCE (verb)          to put into a trance 

Other noun-verb stress pattern pairs are: 

conduct, console, content, contest, contrast, converse, convert, decrease, default, desert, extract, invalid, import, insult, object, perfect, permit, pervert, project protest, recall, refuse, reject, suspect.


Adding suffixes often changes the stress pattern of a word. Look at the following forms of the word authority.





auTHORity AUthorise auTHORitative auTHORitatively
admiRAtion  adMIre ADmirable ADmirably
aGREEment  aGREE aGREEable aGREEably
appliCAtion aPPLY aPPLIcable aPPLIcably
leGAlity LEgalise LEgal LEgally

The stress pattern of a sentence indicates the main focus of the sentence. A change in the stress pattern of a sentence can change its meaning. Compare these examples:

TOM increased the value of this establishment. (It was Tom – not James – who increased the value of this establishment.)

Tom INCREASED the value of this establishment. (Tom increased the value of this establishment- he did not decrease it.)

Tom increased the value of THIS establishment. (Tom didn’t increase the value of any establishment but this one.)

Tom increased the value of this ESTABLISHMENT. (Tom didn’t increase the value of this car).

Stressing the wrong word in a sentence may cause confusion about the meaning you want to express.


Rhythm patterns

Rhythm refers to the timing patterns of a language, and every language has a different rhythm. In English rhythm patterns  are based on stress. Stressed words or the stressed parts of words occur at regular intervals of time and are given an equal amount of speech time. Unstressed words or parts of words fit in between these intervals. 

Content words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs) are stressed or have a stressed syllable, whereas function words (helping verbs, prepositions, articles, etc.) are usually not stressed. Look at the following sentence:

Tim stormed into the room and closed the door.

The words Tim, stormed, and room are one-syllable content words, and each one is stressed. The words closed and door are also content words with a stressed syllable. The words into, and, and the are function words, hence they are not stressed.

The stressed words and stressed syllables in the example above are all given the same amount of speech time and the unstressed words and syllables are spoken faster, softer, lower pitched, and with relaxed vowel sounds.

To maintain a steady rhythm pattern, speakers often use contractions and relaxed vowels. They reduce words by dropping the final vowels or consonants. They link the end of a word with the beginning of the following word. 

Can you say these sentences? 

  1. Izzi gonna joi nus?
  2. An I’d like ta stay fera while
  3. D’ya wanna go wi thim? 
  4. Alaska. 

Intonation patterns

Intonation patterns involve changes in pitch. When you hear people talking in English you can notice that their voices are going up or down, depending on what they’re saying. Intonation is different from the pitch changes in stressed syllables because it frequently covers longer units of speech, such as clauses or complete sentences. That said, sometimes the pitch change occurs within a single word.

A range of information can be understood through intonation patterns. A falling pitch at the end of a sentence signals that the speaker has completed a statement or an idea. Falling pitch is also used at the end of a wh-question. A rise at the end of a sentence signals that the speaker is asking a yes-no question.

The statement intonation pattern:

Sarah confronted her teacher. (intonation falls at the end of the sentence)

The question intonation patterns:

What happened between Sarah and her teacher? (intonation goes up at the end of the sentence)

Sarah confronted her teacher? (intonation goes up at the end of the sentence)


A rise at the end of a phrase or clause indicates that the speaker has more to say. A drop indicates that the speaker is finished.

Intonation patterns can also signal the speaker’s attitude and emotions. Speakers show their certainty, enthusiasm, anger, excitement, etc., through subtle shifts in intonation. 

Why you should practise with Cohesion before the IELTS Speaking exam?

Cohesion refers to how well the idea in your spoken response fit together. You will sound more fluent and get a higher score on the IELTS speaking tasks if your responses are cohesive. You can achieve cohesion by using the techniques described below.

Organising your ideas

Your listeners will understand your talk better if you organise what you say in a logical sequence or linear pattern. This means that you tell the listeners what you are going to talk about and then go through the points you want to make. The most common pattern of organisation is outlined below:

Introductory statement
Point 1
Point 2
Point 3
Concluding statement


An example of this pattern is shown below:

Becoming a beekeeper has many advantages for the collector
  1. honey made locally from your own bees
  2. pollination
  3. low maintenance
The experience is a learning experience for the collector who helps conserve bees and protect their habitat.


Using transitional expressions to link your ideas

Connecting ideas by using transition words and phrases tells your listeners the relationship of one idea to the next. You can signal to your listener that you are going to put the events in a sequence, add information, or make a comparison. You can signal that you want to emphasize or clarify a point. Using transition words and phrases helps your listener follow the flow of your ideas. Read the following example without transitional expressions: 


In my physics class, we did lots of experiments that helped clarify scientific principles. I understood those principles better by doing those experiments. 

These sentences would flow better if the speaker used transitional expressions as in the following example:

In my physics class, we did lots of experiments that helped clarify scientific principles. As a result, I  understood those principles better.


Here are some great examples of linking words and phrases you should use in your Speaking and Writing part of the IELTS exam.

What words to use to connect ideas between sentences or paragraphs (transition words)?

Transitional expressions can be used to link ideas between sentences or paragraphs. There are a variety of different categories of transition words and phrases, and most of them are listed below. Not all the words in the same category are interchangeable. 


Linking words that signal that additional information will follow: 

first, second, third, etc. not only…but also… in addition moreover 
following this further not to mention indeed further
additionally furthermore equally important in fact
likewise as well, as well as what is more finally
further besides, besides that likewise last, lastly


Linking words that signal that specific examples will be given:

especially on this occasion in this case, in another case in this situation
for example, an example for instance specifically including
notably particularly, in particular take the case of to demonstrate
to illustrate namely as an illustration


Words and phrases that signal that clarify information that has been presented:

I mean under certain circumstances to put it another way in this case
that is to say in other words up to a point


Words that signal that emphasize information which has been presented or will be presented:

extremely surprisingly in any case undoubtedly
forever above all in any event unquestionably
obviously absolutely undeniably definitely
as a matter of fact certainly without a doubt naturally
besides emphatically more importantly without reservation


Words to signal that a cause-and-effect relationship will be presented:

accordingly as, as a result being that due to (the fact that)
for the simple reason that, for this reason hence consequently, as a consequence in view of (the fact that)
owing to (the fact that) seeing that since thus


Words and phrased to signal that the information already presented will be compared or contrasted with new information:

after all although, although this is true on the contrary compared to/with, in comparison, by comparison
nevertheless at the same time on the other hand conversely
nonetheless notwithstanding balanced against similarly
when in fact for all that in contrast whereas
in the same manner/way while this is true likewise yet


Words that signal a time relationship:

after, after a while in the future currently next
afterwards at first, at last, at the same time later finally, in the end
initially in the meantime during first of all, first, second, third, etc.
in the first place last, last but not least, lastly meanwhile formerly
as soon as before, before long, before this eventually previously
simultaneously soon, soon atter immediately before, immediately following subsequently


Word that introduce disagreement or conflict:

Words that make a concession or compromise about a point:

admittedly naturally be that as it may though, even though
albeit although in any event in the event that
given that at least but even so yet
granted that, granting that I admit that in either event still


Word that dismiss a previous statement or argument:

all the same in the event that whatever happens in any event
in any case it may appear that besides regardless
either way in either case, in either event rather even if


Word that point out a contradiction:

conversely but, however when in fact in contrast
despite in spite of by way of contrast instead 


Words that indicate reservations:

notwithstanding, regardless, indeed, nevertheless, nonetheless


Words that indicate a digression to a previous point or resuming after a digression or interruption:

to get back to the point by the way as I was saying incidentally
at any rate  anyway to return to the subject to change the topic


Words that point out conditions:

although, only if, providing that, unless, as/so long as, on (the) condition (that) provided that


Words and phrases that signal that a summary or conclusion will be presented:

given these facts hence as a result as I have shown
accordingly in conclusion, to conclude as I have said, as I stated overall
all in all, all together in short on the whole as indicated above/earlier
since as mentioned, as I mentioned as noted earlier, as has been noted, as I have noted summing up, in summary, to summarize
briefly, in brief, to put it briefly by and large consequently finally


Practise connecting ideas using transitional expressions with these sentences: 

  1. We had to hand in our essays on time. They wouldn’t be marked
  2. I admired my high school history teacher for several reasons. He could explain historical events as if he were telling a story.
  3. The rain poured down for several days. The river banks in the city overflowed.
  4. The rain forest provides us with many products. The forests are being cleared for crops.


Using parallel structures

Your IELTS examiner can understand the flow of your ideas better if you use parallel structures when you speak. Read the following incorrect example:


My teacher gave interesting assignments and motivating the students.


The examiner may be confused because you have mixed different grammatical structures. Do you mean: My teacher gave interesting and motivating assignments to the students?

In this sentence, interesting and motivating are parallel adjectives. Or do you mean: My teacher gave interesting assignments and motivated the students? In this sentence, gave and motivated are parallel verbs. 

Many sentences present information in a list or series. The items in the list or series must have parallel structures. Notice how the words in the following sentences are parallel (use the same word form or phrasing):

Nouns: The children played on the swings, slides, and seesaw.
Gerunds: Reading, writing, and speaking are important skills to learn.
Infinitives: After her accident, Allie had to learn how to speak, to walk, and to write again.
Verbs: We will run, swim, and play at the beach.
Adjectives: Betty is short, stocky, and vivacious.
Adverbs: This car runs efficiently, quietly, and dependably.
Subjects: Vendors selling postcards, artists drawing on the pavement, and folk singers strumming guitars can all be seen at the summer festival in the park.
Phrases: For all her years of triumph and tragedy, of glory and ruin, of hope and despair, the actress was still able to draw a crowd.
Clauses: Creating a map is a compromise of what needs to be shown, what can be shown in terms of map design, and what mapmakers would like to include.

Rephrasing or replacing key words

If you keep repeating a word or phrase in your IELTS Speaking exam, the examiner can get confused. Read the following example:

My teacher wrote the assignment on the chalkboard. The assignment was on the chalkboard until the teacher erased the assignment after we had all done the assignment.


Your ideas would be clearer if the repeated words were replaced with other expressions or with pronouns. Look at the way this example can be improved:


My teacher wrote the assignment on the chalkboard. She erased the board after we had all completed the task.


The word assignment has been replaced with task; the word teacher with she; and the word chalkboard with board. 


Using consistent tense, person, and number

You can confused your IELTS examiner if you are not consistent. Look at the following example:

My teacher brought five paper bags to school one day. He put us into groups and gave each group a bag. You have to take the objects out of the bags in turn and then a person has to tell a story involving the object from the bag.

The examiner might get confused by the change from the past tense to the present tense, and the change from us to you and then to a person. You can also confuse the IELTS examiner by the change from the plural form objects and bags to the singular forms object and bag.

Help your examiner follow your ideas better by providing consistency.

Look at the way this example was improved:

One day my teacher put us into five different groups. He gave each group a bag and told us to take turns pulling out an object and telling the other members of the group a story involving that object.



FCE writing- report examples

Writing a report for the First Certificate exam, here are great examples to read and learn from:

Raport 1: 

A group of students from the UK are going to visit your town or city next month as a part of an exchange programme. Your teacher has asked you to write a report about shopping and dining attractions in your town.

Now write your report for your teacher as outlined above (approximately 200 words). You should use your own words as far as possible.


 Shopping in Naples


This report is to inform and suggest the best shopping and culinary spots British tourists ought to visit in Naples. The data presented in the report was gathered from local citizens as well as former visitors.

Where to find the best souvenirs

According to local residents the best gifts can be found in small shops around Porto Alba Road.  Visitors can find anything from classical gifts as cards or t-shirts to strange and bizarre presents like pasta in various sizes, forms and colours. Moreover, these local shops are rather inexpensive so they are ideal for students on a limited budget. 

Where to eat under a fiver

  • Borini-  famous for its strong coffee, is a tiny coffee shop that everyone has to visit when in Naples
  • La Serbina- the house of greatest pizzas – a typical Italian pizzeria that was featured in a few American blockbusters, hence two hour queues to get in. 
  • Da Mari – a tasty and popular bakery in the heart of Naples- ideal place for anyone with a sweet tooth. 


All things considered, a great number of Napolitan shops and restaurants are rather cheap yet traditional. They are worth visiting especially if one is unable to spend a fortune on souvenirs or food.



Raport 2: 

Your teacher has asked you to recommend a website for students who want to improve writing skills in English. Write a report about a website which you know well saying why it would be helpful and interesting for foreign language students.


The best website to improve writing skills- EnglishExamHelp


The purpose of this report is to show the benefits of a website called EnglishExamHelp. The information presented below was based on the feedback and recommendations collected from the users with membership status.

EnglishExamHelp allows English language learners to:

  • publish a piece of writing and have it corrected by a native speaker or a teacher
  • read detailed comments and explanations about the mistakes and errors a particular learner did in a submitted piece of writing 
  • View example reports, essays and articles and learn the best practice by following tips and guideline notes. 

EnglishExamHelp is an interesting English language learning tool as it allows learners to practise listening, speaking and reading skills. The website is updated regularly with new learning materials and interesting resources written by expert English language teachers.


EnglishExamHelp is probably one of the most interesting websites which could be found on the internet. Its user-friendly interface and fantastic source of learning materials make the website the best learning tool for anyone wanting to improve their writing skills.