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October 05, 2014


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yes!!!! I agree...... let's worry about the language.
whenever i sit to study for my ielts exam ..these kind of unnecessary questions comes to mind, as a consequence, my scores in listening are declining day by day... i m just losing my concentration.

i think my problem is in my voice.May be i am always nervous in speaking section & searching synonymy words.any solution?

Hello Simon,

I just got a quick question for you. If I get a cue card as below -

Describe a sport you like to watch or play.

You should say:

What people wear in this sport?
What equipment used in this sport?
How this sport is played?

and explain why you like this sport?

Then, can I talk about 'chess' for this topic or not? I am bit confused because some say that chess is not a sport but a game.

Does the examiner expect the students to talk about the sport which only involve physical activity as in sports like cricket, football etc?

Please advise me on this.



Hi Simon,

In the Speaking Part 2, does the candidate have to answer ALL the questions given ? or as long as stay on the topic is enough ?


Hi Simon,
I have a question for my speaking test. I got 7 in speaking Dec 2012, but 5.5 in another exam in Jan 2013. I cannot understand the reason why grade gap is so big.


If you want to alter the topic slightly, just say something like: 'I'm not really into physical sports, but I really like chess'. This is something that a native would probably do and would be fine in the test as long as you are not significantly going away from the topic.This also improves your coherency score.


No, you do not have to answer those questions under the topic at all. Just stay on the topic and you will probably answer most of them anyway.


Here are some possible reasons:

1. Your performance was not as good (you made a few more errors, for example)
2. You happened to mispronounce some words which were incomprehensible to the examiner. This can bring your pronunciation score down to 5.
3. The examiner was a bit tougher than the previous one.
4. The topics suited you a bit less - you were more hesitant and you didn't provide enough impressive and relevant vocabulary

However I think the examiner's attitudes while giving the speaking test some how affect learner's performance. A considerate examiner will always encourage the test takers to speak better than a cold one.

Dear Simon,

I did worried about the examiner and got nervous about that in the test.
My result is
L 8.5
R 8.5
W 7
S 6.5
It's my first attempt and too bad I need 7 in all sectors.
I will retake the test in November and hope I'll make it this time.
Just want to say thank you so much sir.
I'll keep practicing =)

@Lan : I agree with you Lan and it happened to me in the test. The tough examiner did scared me and I got all nerve-wrecking although I shouldn't. And Simon's suggesting to not give a care about their attitudes. I'll definitely try it next time to not get influenced by them.

Simon's point is that these things are not in your control. Only worry about things that are in your control.

@sjm: Yes, I just pointed out what I saw from the first paragraph because I worried about the examiner like he said and got all messy. I'll only take 2 things to worry next time. Thanks :)

Dear Simon, I decided to ask this here because it is a ,,worry,, question.in listening, i have a lot of problems with apostrophe.for example , in ielts plus 2 tests 1 and 2 there are some questions with the answers 1),, queen`s park road,, respectively 2),, hills road,, .if i would have put the apostrophe in 2) and not in 1), the response would have been marked as bad?is there any way to distinguish where and where not to put the apostrophe in ielts listening section? Kind regards, Dan

Don't worry about apostrophes Dan. It won't affect your answer if you make a little mistake with one.

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