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Magoosh IELTS

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Listen to the Magoosh IELTS podcast and learn everything you need to know to get a higher IELTS band score.

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  • Magoosh IELTS podcast

    28 - How to study for IELTS during Covid-19

    4:28

    In this episode, Eliot shares a special announcement about how to study for IELTS amid Covid-19 concerns. Episode resources and links:  Magoosh IELTS YouTube Channel What to Do if Your Study Plans Have Been Interrupted by Covid-19 How to study for IELTS during Covid-19  Naomi: Welcome to the Magoosh IELTS Podcast. This is a special announcement from our IELTS expert, Eliot. Take it away! Eliot: Hello, I’m Eliot, the IELTS expert at Magoosh, and I’m speaking for all of us here at Magoosh when I say I hope this message finds you and your loved ones in good health during this time of uncertainty in the world.  We’re reaching out to you as IELTS students, to let you know that Magoosh will be making every effort to keep you informed on how the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 situation is impacting IELTS study plans and test dates. It’s our top priority to provide you with support and the most up-to-date advice regarding the IELTS and COVID-19. IELTS COVID-19 Tips: So you’re probably wondering how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the IELTS. Well, in places that have been impacted by the virus, both paper-based and computer-delivered IELTS exam dates have been postponed–either indefinitely, or until at least mid-April. If you were expecting to take the IELTS this month, chances are you’ll be looking at a later testing date.  Check out the Official IELTS webpage and get in touch with your local testing center to find out more specific information on when you’ll be able to take the exam.  If you were just getting started with your IELTS prep, or you still have a fair amount of time left before you were originally planning on taking the test, your main focus right now will probably be how to adjust your IELTS study plan to make room for any of the big changes we’re all experiencing as a result of COVID-19. With everything that’s been going on in the world, chances are you may have gotten a little bit off-track with your IELTS studies. But don’t worry–you’re not alone! We’ve heard from many students who are feeling overwhelmed and anxious right now, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Falling behind is a common study problem, and it’s pretty much inevitable that most students will have been distracted from their IELTS preparation, considering the impacts COVID-19 is having worldwide. It’s completely okay to take some time before returning to your regular study schedule. When you are ready to move forward with your studies, I’d recommend taking a look at our IELTS Study Plans, and choosing the one that works with your current schedule. But again, don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Due to changing circumstances and accommodations, many students are editing down their prior IELTS study plans.  On the other hand, you may have suddenly found yourself with a whole lot more free time than you had expected. If you do feel comfortable using that time for extra IELTS practice, I’d recommend you use this opportunity to take more full-length IELTS practice tests–practice tests are the best way to experience real test-like conditions and they’re a great way for you to track your progress over time.  If you’re a Magoosh IELTS Premium student–or you’re thinking about signing up–you should know that we are pausing and extending student accounts for free as needed.  We also want you to know that our Student Help Team is here not only to help with your IELTS questions, but also with test anxiety and other concerns. Feel free to reach out through the purple Help button on your dashboard or send an email to help@magoosh.com. Final Words In the meantime, we’ll continue to put out new, up-to-date IELTS content over  on our YouTube channel every week, so visit the Magoosh IELTS channel on YouTube and subscribe to get our latest videos.! I put a link to our channel in the show notes.  We’re following the situation closely and we’ll keep doing our very best to respond to what’s going on, as we continue to help support our IELTS students.  We know this is tough, but we’re here for you. Thanks for tuning in!
  • Magoosh IELTS podcast

    26 - 3 Example Agree-Disagree Questions

    10:39

    In this episode, Eliot and Naomi talk about how to understand and respond to an IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 essay question. They'll cover:  Writing Task 2 requirements Different ways you can write responses to three Task 2 Agree-Disagree example questions Episode resources and links:  IELTS Academic Writing Task 2: The Complete Guide IELTS Writing: To What Extent Do You Agree or Disagree? The Best IELTS Task 2 Writing Template Brainstorming Ideas for the IELTS Task 2 Essay IELTS Paraphrasing Task 2 | Video Post Learn how to improve your IELTS band score with Magoosh! Use coupon code ieltspodcast to save 20% at ielts.magoosh.com   Episode 26 Transcript - 3 Example Agree-Disagree Questions Translations: (Tiếng Việt, فارسی) Intro Welcome to the Magoosh IELTS Podcast! This is Episode 26. In this episode, you’re going to learn how to understand and respond to an IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 essay question that is formatted as an Agree-Disagree question. First Eliot and I will explain the Task 2 requirements, and then we’ll walk you through the different ways you can write responses to three Task 2 Agree-Disagree example questions. And don’t forget to visit us at IELTS.Magoosh.com for more great resources to improve your IELTS band score. Use coupon code “ieltspodcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep! Okay, let’s get started! Part 1: Naomi: Today Eliot and I are discussing IELTS agree-disagree questions.  You may run into this type of essay question in the Academic IELTS Writing Task 2. Eliot: In this episode, we’re going to go over three example agree-disagree question prompts, and show you the ways you could structure your response to each of them. Naomi: Before we get started with the example questions, let’s talk a little more about Academic Writing Task 2. Eliot, what do you think students should know about this section of the IELTS? Eliot: Well, IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 is the second of two writing tasks on the IELTS. In Task 2, you’ll be asked to respond to an open-ended essay prompt. If the prompt ends with the phrase: ‘To what extent do you agree or disagree’, you’re dealing with an agree-disagree essay question. Naomi: Task 1 definitely isn’t easy, but most students find IELTS Writing Task 2 even more challenging. Would you recommend that students spend more time on Task 2 than on Task 1? Eliot: Yes, definitely. You’ll have a total of 60 minutes to complete both tasks. I suggest that you spend only 20 minutes on Task 1 and use the remaining 40 minutes for Task 2. Naomi: Ok, so what makes Task 2 more difficult than Task 1? Eliot: Well, first of all, Task 1 just asks you to transfer information from a visual into writing. But Task 2 requires you to answer an open essay question. There’s no clear or “correct” answer. Naomi: And Task 1 has a lower minimum word count, right? Eliot: Exactly. Task 1 requires that you write 150 words or more, but for Task 2 you will be expected to write at least 250 words. Naomi: So are the two Tasks weighted equally in terms of points? Eliot: That’s a great question, and the answer is no! Task 2 is worth twice as many points as Task 1, so it’s a really good idea to spend a bit more time on Task 2. Naomi: So to recap: you recommend that students spend 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2. How should students break down those 40 minutes? Eliot: Writing speed varies a lot from student to student, so how you’ll want to break down that 40 minutes will depend a lot on how fast you can write. Naomi: Can you give us a rough guideline? Eliot: Sure...I suggest you spend between 2 and 10 minutes planning your essay, 25 to 32 minutes writing, and the remaining 5 (or more) minutes editing your work. Naomi: Great, anything else students should know? Eliot: Well, the more you practice Task 2 responses, the quicker you will become, so don’t worry too much if you're not hitting your timing goals right away. You just need to keep practicing! Naomi: Before we hear the agree-disagree sample questions, let’s pause for a word from Magoosh. Midroll: Kevin: Do you want a great IELTS score? Magoosh can help! Here’s what you’ll get with Magoosh: In-depth video lessons that cover concepts, pitfalls, and shortcuts Over 200 practice questions to help you prepare for your exam 24/7 email access to a team of remote tutors ready to answer your questions Are you ready to improve your score and get into your dream program? Great! We’re ready to help you. Visit us at ielts.magoosh.com and use coupon code “podcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep. Now back to the show! Part 2: Naomi: So Eliot, let’s talk about the agree-disagree essay questions. What are some examples of this type of prompt? Eliot: An agree-disagree prompt would be something like: “The leaders or directors of organizations are often older people. But some people say that young people can also be leaders. To what extent do you agree or disagree?” Naomi: And how would you answer a question like that? Eliot: Before writing anything, you should have a clear point of view. Notice how the question asked “to what extent” do you agree or disagree? Make sure your answer responds to that part of the question. Naomi: What do you mean? Eliot: I would suggest that you choose one of the three following positions: Either, “I completely agree…”, “I completely disagree…”, or “I partly agree and partly disagree…”. Naomi: Oh, I see...So let’s start with the “I completely agree” answer. How would you structure a “completely agree” essay response to the prompt from earlier? Eliot: So remember the prompt was “The leaders or directors of organizations are often older people. But some people say that young people can also be leaders. To what extent do you agree or disagree?” Naomi: Right. Eliot: Begin with an introduction stating that you completely agree that young people can be leaders. Naomi: Okay, sounds like a good start. You’re writing a five-paragraph essay...that means that after the introduction there will be three body paragraphs, followed by a conclusion. What should you write for the body paragraphs? Eliot: Use each of the first two body paragraphs to state one reason why you agree with that young people can be leaders. You can use the third paragraph either to state a third reason why you agree, or to explain why the opposite view is wrong. Naomi: Okay, and what about the conclusion? Eliot: For the concluding paragraph, restate your position one last time, in this case, that you completely agree that young people can be leaders. Naomi: Okay great, thanks Eliot! Let’s look at another example question, and talk about how to respond if you “completely disagree”. Eliot: So here’s our second example question: “Maintaining public libraries is a waste of time since computer technology is now replacing their functions. To what extent do you agree or disagree?” Naomi: Okay, so where should you start? Eliot: It’s really the same format as for our last example. You’ll just be giving arguments as to why you think the view is wrong rather than right. Naomi: Okay, so start with an introductory paragraph stating that you completely disagree that maintaining public libraries is a waste of time? Eliot: Exactly! Then you’ll write your three body paragraphs. And in each one, give one reason that you think that computers aren’t a substitute for public libraries.  Naomi: And then for your conclusion, should you quickly summarize your body paragraphs, and restate that computer technology hasn’t replaced public libraries, and therefore, we should still maintain them? Eliot: Yes, that’s perfect. You see how similar the “completely agree” format is to the “completely disagree” format? Naomi: Yes, it’s the same basic structure. You’re just arguing in the opposite direction. Eliot: Right. But if you decide you’re going to argue for “partly agree and partly disagree”, things will look a little different. Naomi: How so? Eliot: Well let’s look at one more prompt. Here’s the example: “People’s shopping habits depend more on the age group they belong to than any other factor. To what extent do you agree or disagree?”  Naomi: Okay. So how do you answer? Eliot: In the introduction you’ll want to say that you partly agree and partly disagree that age group is the most important factor in determining shopping habits. Then state a few points you agree with and a few points you disagree with. Naomi: Okay, what about the body paragraphs? Eliot: You only really need two body paragraphs, but they’ll be a little longer than the body paragraphs in the “completely agree” or “completely disagree” answers. In the first body paragraph, explain the points you agree with. Then in the second body paragraph, explain the points you disagree with. Naomi: And then in the conclusion you’ll restate your view? Eliot: Exactly! And those are the three examples of how to answer agree-disagree Task 2 questions on the IELTS! Outro: So what did you think? If you need more practice, check out the show notes for a transcript of this episode so that you can follow along and listen again. Oh and by the way! We’re looking for volunteers to help us translate the show transcripts from English to your first language. If you are interested, please email me at naomi@magoosh.com with the subject line “translation,” and let me know what language you can translate into!   Thanks for listening! If you like our show, help us out by leaving a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, it helps people find us! And don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. Until next time! This is Naomi at Magoosh, wishing you happy studying!
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  • Magoosh IELTS podcast

    27 - 6 Useful Sentence Patterns to Improve Your IELTS Writing

    11:17

    In this episode, Eliot and Naomi talk about a very important IELTS Writing skill: sentence construction. They'll cover:  Powerful sentence patterns and; How you can use them to improve your writing Episode resources and links:  Useful Sentence Patterns for IELTS Writing Learn how to improve your IELTS band score with Magoosh! Use coupon code ieltspodcast to save 20% at ielts.magoosh.com  Episode 27 Transcript - 6 Useful Sentence Patterns to Improve Your IELTS Writing Translations: (Tiếng Việt, فارسی) Intro Welcome to the Magoosh IELTS Podcast! This is Episode 27. In this episode, we’ll discuss a very important IELTS Writing skill: sentence construction. Eliot and I will talk about some powerful sentence patterns, and how you can use them to improve your writing. And don’t forget to visit us at IELTS.Magoosh.com for more great resources to improve your IELTS band score. Use coupon code “ieltspodcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep! Okay, let’s get started! Part 1 Naomi: Sentence structure can be so tricky, can’t it Eliot? I mean, there must be thousands of useful sentence patterns in English. Eliot: That is true Naomi. But at the same time, you won’t need to use thousands of sentence patterns in your IELTS Writing Tasks. Naomi: So how many different sentence patterns should our students be thinking about? Eliot: A handful of really good ones should do the trick for IELTS Writing. In fact, I have a short list that could serve a lot of our students well: six simple but powerful sentence patterns. Naomi: Only six? Those sentence types must really pack a punch. Eliot: They do. But what’s really important is that students focus on a small number of sentences they think they can do really well. Trying to master too many sentence patterns can wear you out and waste time. Several good ones is enough. Naomi: I’m excited to hear about your picks, then. What’s the first pattern students should know from Eliot’s “Stupendous 6?” Eliot: Let’s start with “it is” plus adjective, plus “that.” Naomi: (Repeating slowly) “It is + adjective + that.” Eliot: Right. The phrase “it is,” followed by an adjective, followed by the word “that.” It’s a common sentence beginner. It’s great way to start the kinds of smart-sounding academic sentences you’d use in an IELTS Writing Task 2 essay. Naomi: Intriguing! But can you give me an example? Eliot: Yes, let me think of one. OK…. Suppose, for example, that  you get a prompt where you are asked whether or not the Internet has improved people’s lives or made their lives more complicated. To describe some of your thoughts on the topic, you could say: “It is indisputable that the Internet plays an essential role in people’s lives today.” Naomi: Ooh, that’s a good one! But what if there was a different IELTS Writing topic. What about… say...education! Eliot: OK, give me a moment, I have something for this…. “It is undeniable that education offers us opportunities to get higher salaries and a better life.” Naomi: I like it. Let me do one! Hmm…“It is clear that modern technology makes our world more connected and entertaining than ever before.” Eliot: Nice one! OK, shall we look at another sentence pattern? Naomi: Yes, please! Eliot: You can start a sentence with “there is no doubt that….” Naomi: Could you also say “There is no denying that…?” Eliot:  Yes, that’s a good variation on the pattern. So, an example. How about…. “There is no denying that the cost of living is rising higher and higher in big cities.” Naomi: Or… “There is no doubt that child safety is an important concern for parents.” Eliot: You are coming up with such good examples, Naomi. Naomi: Aw, thank you. You too, Eliot. OK, what sentence pattern are we going to try out next? Eliot: Next, let’s look at sentences th at include the phrase “an increasing number.” Or alternatively, “a growing number….” Naomi: “A growing number of experts feel that climate change is the most serious environmental challenge we face today.” Eliot: Good one! OK: “An increasing number of people around the world are using smartphones.” Naomi: I love these. So far though, it seems like all the examples are just for describing situations or making broad statements. Do you have any sentence patterns that serve other purposes? Eliot: Sure thing, Naomi.  I was just about to get to that. Naomi: Before we talk through the rest of Eliot’s “stupendous six” favorite IELTS Writing sentence patterns, let’s pause for a word from Magoosh. Midroll Kevin: Do you want a great IELTS score? Magoosh can help! Here’s what you’ll get with Magoosh: In-depth video lessons that cover concepts, pitfalls, and shortcuts Over 200 practice questions to help you prepare for your exam 24/7 email access to a team of remote tutors ready to answer your questions Are you ready to improve your score and get into your dream program? Great! We’re ready to help you. Visit us at ielts.magoosh.com and use coupon code “podcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep. Now back to the show! Part 2 Eliot: So my next favorite sentence pattern describes cause and effect. This sentence pattern mentions the effect first, and then the cause. You use “The reason why (effect)...” “... is that (cause).” Naomi: Let me make sure I understand this pattern. In this kind of sentence, you would say… “The reason why (something) is that (something).” I think I get it, but I’m not sure. Could you come up with the first example, so I can really understand how this works with cause and effect statements? Eliot: I can do that! We’ll start just with a cause and effect. Let’s say the cause is heavy rain, and the effect is flooding…. Naomi: I’m with you so far. Eliot: Good, good. OK, the sentence pattern could be like this: “The reason there is so much flooding is that there was a very heavy rainfall.” Naomi: I get it! “The reason (effect) is that (cause)!” Eliot: Yes, it’s a little bit of a tricky pattern at first, but once you master that pattern, it’s so useful. So we’ve covered general statements, cause and effect…. Now let’s look at another important writing purpose in IELTS essays: describing a debate over an issue. Naomi: That does come up a lot in IELTS Writing Task 2. So, what pattern do you recommend for framing a debate? Eliot: “There is a hot debate over….” Naomi: “Hot.” I know the most common meaning of “hot.” But “hot” doesn’t mean “high temperature” in this case, does it? Eliot: It really doesn’t. In this context “hot” means “well known,” and “active.” It’s a great way to describe debates about the modern social issues that come up in the second IELTS Writing Task. Naomi: The debate is “hot,” so everyone’s talking about it. I can picture that. And I think I have an example. Want to hear it? Eliot: Sure, go for it! Naomi: There is a hot debate over how much time children should spend playing video games. Eliot: That is a nice, relevant, “hot” debate. Ok, I’ve got another sentence pattern for you, with a new purpose: connecting two qualities. Naomi: OK, what do you mean by connecting qualities? That one is really hard to picture. Eliot: Yes, that particular aspect of IELTS essay writing is hard to describe without giving both a good pattern and an example. I’ll start with the pattern. The pattern uses comparative adjectives, words like “more,” “less,” “greater,” smaller,” “louder,” and so on. And then the comparative adjectives fall into this pattern: “The” plus (comparative adjective)(something)(comma) “the” plus (comparative adjective)(something)” Naomi: (repeating slowly….) The + (comparative adjective describing something), the + (comparative adjective describing something else) OK, I’m still a little lost…. Eliot: We really do need an example for this one, don’t we? OK, how about: “The younger someone is, the more dependent they will be on their parents.” Naomi: OK, now I get it. You’re connecting the qualities of being young and being dependent. OK, let me show a link between two qualities: “The bigger an animal is, the more food it needs to eat.” I’m connecting size with appetite. Eliot: I like that one. Naomi: That’s been six sentence patterns, hasn’t it? Your stupendous six. So beyond those six, what else is out there? Eliot: There are so many good ones to choose from. If you’re taking the IELTS, pick a handful of sentence patterns you really like. Master them, commit them to memory, and you’ll have a handy group of secret weapons when you get to IELTS Writing Task 2. And if anyone wants to learn a little more about IELTS sentence patterns, check out our blog article “Useful Sentence Patterns for IELTS Writing.” That article covers my sic favorite sentence patterns, with a few extra examples, and there’s a seventh bonus sentence pattern that’s useful for writing a conclusion to a paragraph or to a whole essay. Outro So what did you think? If you need to look at these tips again, check out the show notes for a transcript of this episode so that you can follow along and listen again. Oh and by the way! We’re looking for volunteers to help us translate the show transcripts from English to your first language. If you are interested, please email me at naomi@magoosh.com with the subject line “translation,” and let me know what language you can translate into!   Thanks for listening! If you like our show, help us out by leaving a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, it helps people find us! And don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. Until next time! This is Naomi at Magoosh, wishing you happy studying!
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    25 - How to Prepare for IELTS Academic Speaking

    9:58

    In this episode, Eliot and Naomi talk about IELTS Speaking. They'll cover:  What makes IELTS Speaking so different All three parts of the IELTS Speaking section IELTS Speaking scoring categories Episode resources and links:  The Complete Guide to IELTS Speaking Learn how to improve your IELTS band score with Magoosh! Use coupon code ieltspodcast to save 20% at ielts.magoosh.com    Episode 25 Transcript - How to Prepare for IELTS Academic Speaking Translations: (Tiếng Việt, فارسی) Intro Welcome to the Magoosh IELTS Podcast! This is Episode 25. In this episode, we’ll discuss all things IELTS-Speaking. Check the show notes for a complete transcript, and links to the IELTS Speaking resources we discuss. And don’t forget to visit us at IELTS.Magoosh.com for more great resources to improve your IELTS band score. Use coupon code “ieltspodcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep! Okay, let’s get started! Part 1 Eliot: The IELTS Speaking section really is unique. You’re not just sitting there alone in a test center with your exam booklet.   Naomi: It is a real change of pace, isn’t it, Eliot? Can you tell our students more about what makes IELTS Speaking so different?   Eliot: Well, most noticeably, it’s an actual interview, where you talk to a real human being.   Naomi: An interview. That sounds intimidating. Is it stressful, like a job interview?   Eliot: Don’t worry, it’s definitely not structured like a job interview and shouldn’t be nearly as stressful. The interview has different sorts of questions, and comes in three parts….   Naomi: What makes each part different?   Eliot: You can think of them as three different pieces of the same conversation. And each part has a connection to the next. In Part 1, you’re asked a series of questions about your personal life. But nothing that’s deeply personal or embarrassing-- just questions about your hobbies, things you like to do with your family, your hometown, etc…. This part of the interview lasts 4 or 5 minutes.   Naomi: That does sound easier than a job interview. So how does IELTS Speaking Part 1 lead to the second part?   Eliot: For the second part, you’re still talking about something personal from your life. But now you need to give a short solo speech. You’ll be given a topic card, and a minute to prepare a speech based on the topic card. The speech itself will last for 1 to 2 minutes. This is longer than you’ll speak on your own during any other part of the test. So they call the IELTS Speaking Part 2 speech “the long turn.”   Naomi: Does that mean Part 2 is even shorter than Part 1? Is IELTS Speaking Part 2 just 2 or 3 minutes long?   Eliot: No, it still lasts 4-5 minutes. After you give your speech, the interviewer asks you some follow-up questions about how you responded to the topic card.   Naomi: About that topic card. I’m having a little trouble picturing it. What does it look like?   Eliot: It’s a small index card with a detailed question written on it. Actually, why don’t I read a typical IELTS Speaking Part 2 topic card to you?   Naomi: Oh yes, that would be very helpful.   Eliot: OK, here’s one:   Describe an important tradition in your family.   You should say: What the tradition is. How it’s celebrated. When it’s celebrated. And explain why the tradition is important to your family.   Naomi: That really is a lot like the kinds of things you’d discuss in Part 1. So tell me: Does the IELTS set up the Part 1 questions so that they cover the same subject as the Part 2 “long turn”?   Eliot: That would be nice, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, the topics that come up in Part 1 and Part 2 are random, and aren’t guaranteed to be directly related to each other. But here’s the good news: Part 3 does deal with the same subject you see on the Part 2 “long turn” topic card.   Naomi: You don’t have to give another speech, do you?   Eliot: Thankfully, no. Instead, Part 3 is kind of a “wind-down” exercise from Part 2. The interviewer and the student will have a short follow-up conversation about the subject of the speech, or a closely related subject.   Naomi: It sounds like you’re saying that if the subject changes, it won’t change much.   Eliot: Precisely. And the subject in Part 3, if it’s different, won’t be a full change in topic. Instead, it will be a shift to a similar topic. For example, if the long turn talk is about family, the student and teacher will either continue to talk about family, or about something family related, like respect for elders, or the importance of family versus friends.   Naomi: And the last part of the interview-- does that last 4 to 5 minutes as well?   Eliot: Perfect guess! Yes, parts 1, 2, and 3 are each 4 to 5 minutes long.   Naomi: So what should students know as they prepare to give answers that will get them a good score?   Eliot: Sure here are some important preparation tips to get a great score on this section.   Naomi: Before we look at scoring for IELTS Speaking, and what that means for your IELTS Speaking prep, let’s pause for a word from Magoosh.   Midroll Kevin: Do you want a great IELTS score? Magoosh can help!   Here’s what you’ll get with Magoosh: In-depth video lessons that cover concepts, pitfalls, and shortcuts Over 200 practice questions to help you prepare for your exam 24/7 email access to a team of remote tutors ready to answer your questions Are you ready to improve your score and get into your dream program? Great! We’re ready to help you. Visit us at ielts.magoosh.com and use coupon code “podcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep. Now back to the show!   Part 2   Eliot: First and foremost, students should know their interviewer. I don’t mean know the interviewer personally, of course. But students should know what the interviewer is looking for, how the interview’s going to score their response.   Naomi: There must be scoring categories. Kind of like the Writing score categories we talked about in Episode 22? [   Eliot: Kind of like that, yeah. One of the score categories is Fluency and Coherence. That category is about how well you organize your speaking. Do your ideas flow together well? Do you use good transitions when you speak?   Naomi: Transitions… I feel like I know how transitions work in writing. But how do they work in speech?   Eliot: It’s the same concept. Just as you might say “on the other hand” when bringing up a contrasting idea in an essay, you’d use “on the other hand” for that kind of contrast in IELTS Speaking. That’s just one example, of course. And for the Fluency and Coherence category, you’ll also want to have your ideas come out in logical order, using the right words, words that make sense….   Naomi: But you can’t proofread or take a long pause to think about the words you’ll use, like you would in IELTS Writing. What if you make a mistake?   Eliot: Mistakes are a lot more forgivable in IELTS Speaking. Even native English users misspeak all the time. If you make a mistake of any kind in IELTS Speaking, catch it and correct yourself. Often, if you do a smooth self-correction, you don’t lose any points.   Naomi: So Fluency and Coherence…. What else is there?   Eliot: The next two categories are Lexical Resource and Grammatical Range. Lexical Resource refers to having a  good range of vocabulary-- knowing lots of words and using words correctly and appropriately. And grammatical range is about being able to use a lot of different grammatical structures-- all in a correct, well-spoken way, of course. Last but not least, we have the fourth category: pronunciation.   Naomi: So we have three parts to the interview: a warm up conversation, a short speech, and a closing conversation, and these are graded for organization, vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. Did I get that right?   Eliot: I love how well you summed that up, Naomi.   Naomi: I feel like I have a much better idea of how to prepare for the IELTS Speaking test. I know what activities to practice, and what skills to build…. But where can I get the best IELTS Speaking prep materials?   Eliot: The best place to start is The Complete Guide to IELTS Speaking, on the Magoosh IELTS Blog. That guide is a really good resource in and of itself. And it has links to just about any other IELTS Speaking material you’d need. I’ll put a link in the show notes. Outro So what did you think? If you need to look at these tips again, check out the show notes for a transcript of this episode so that you can follow along and listen again. Oh and by the way! We’re looking for volunteers to help us translate the show transcripts from English to your first language. If you are interested, please email me at naomi@magoosh.com with the subject line “translation,” and let me know what language you can translate into!   Thanks for listening! If you like our show, help us out by leaving a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, it helps people find us! And don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. Until next time! This is Naomi at Magoosh, wishing you happy studying!
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    24 - Where to Find IELTS Practice Tests (and How to Use Them!)

    10:13

    In this episode, Eliot and Naomi talk about IELTS practice tests. They'll cover:  Why it’s important to study for the IELTS using practice tests Tips on where to find high quality IELTS practice tests online How you can use practice tests as part of your IELTS study routine   Episode resources and links:  Magoosh’s Free IELTS Practice Test The British Council’s IELTS Practice Online IELTS Sample Tests on IELTS.org Free IELTS Practice Tests From Cambridge IELTS Liz: The Best Unofficial Source For Free Practice Tests Learn how to improve your IELTS band score with Magoosh! Use coupon code ieltspodcast to save 20% at ielts.magoosh.com    Episode 24 Transcript - Where to Find IELTS Practice Tests (and How to Use Them!) Translations: (Tiếng Việt, فارسی) Intro Welcome to the Magoosh IELTS Podcast! This is Episode 24. In this episode, you’re going to learn about IELTS practice tests, including what makes a good IELTS practice test, where to find them, and how to use practice tests as part of your IELTS test preparation. First Eliot and I will discuss why it’s important for students to study for the IELTS using practice tests, then we’ll give you some tips on where to find high quality IELTS practice tests online. We’ll end by talking a little bit about how you can use practice tests as part of your IELTS study routine. Check for a link to the free Magoosh IELTS Practice Test in the show notes. And don’t forget to visit us at IELTS.Magoosh.com for more great resources to improve your IELTS band score. Use coupon code “ieltspodcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep! Okay, let’s get started! Part 1: Naomi: Today we’re going to talk about IELTS practice tests, where to find them, and how to use them. So Eliot, why is it important to take practice tests when preparing for the IELTS? Eliot: On test day, you won’t just do a handful of problems at a time—you’ll have to answer many in a row. Taking practice tests helps you build endurance and get comfortable with the format of the test. Naomi: Okay, that makes sense. When you’re studying for the IELTS, practicing specific skills—like vocabulary—is important…but you won’t know if you’re fully prepared for the exam until you take a full-length IELTS sample test. Eliot: Exactly. Building endurance is an extremely important part of your IELTS exam practice, so practice tests should have a big role your study plan. Naomi: So how many practice tests should students be taking to prepare for the IELTS? Eliot: Ideally you should take one practice test every week. Naomi: That’s sound like a lot of practice tests! Eliot: Yes—it is a lot, but if you stick to this schedule you’ll be extremely well prepared for the real exam. Naomi: So what are some of the benefits of taking practice tests, besides building endurance? Eliot: Taking an IELTS practice test will teach you what to expect on test day. The sample exam can also show you your strengths and weaknesses, so you can focus your studying on the areas you need to improve the most.    Naomi: What about if you’re already in the middle of your IELTS preparation?   Eliot: If you’re in the middle of your IELTS prep, taking an IELTS practice test can show you what’s working in your preparation and what’s not. Naomi: And if the exam is only a few days away? Eliot: If test day is around the corner, taking an IELTS practice test will give you an idea of what score you can expect to get on the real thing—that way you can go into the exam a little more relaxed. Naomi: Sounds great! So where can students find these practice tests? Eliot: Well, a quick Google search will pull up tons of IELTS practice tests. But the trick is to find IELTS sample tests that truly good quality. Naomi: And what makes a practice test high quality? Eliot: Not all IELTS practice tests have questions that are like the ones on the real test. If you take a practice IELTS test that’s not much like the real one, you won’t be prepared for the actual exam. Naomi: Okay, so how can students know the practice test they’re using is realistic? Eliot: The best IELTS online tests are the ones from the official IELTS websites. Every website offers a free IELTS practice test PDF, or rather multiple IELTS practice test PDFs. Naomi: Doesn’t Magoosh also offer a free IELTS practice test? Eliot: Yes! We recently put out a high quality, full-length practice test, which is available on our website. It’s a PDF you can download and print out. Inside this PDF you’ll find questions that reflect exactly what you’ll see on test day. Naomi: So the PDF includes an IELTS Reading sample test, an IELTS Listening practice test, and also IELTS Speaking practice and IELTS Writing practice? Eliot: Yes, just like the real thing! Naomi: Awesome! Naomi: Before we find out how to take an IELTS practice test, let’s pause for a word from Magoosh. Midroll: Kevin: Do you want a great IELTS score? Magoosh can help! Here’s what you’ll get with Magoosh: In-depth video lessons that cover concepts, pitfalls, and shortcuts Over 200 practice questions to help you prepare for your exam 24/7 email access to a team of remote tutors ready to answer your questions Are you ready to improve your score and get into your dream program? Great! We’re ready to help you. Visit us at ielts.magoosh.com and use coupon code “podcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep. Now back to the show!  Part 2: Naomi: So Eliot, do you have any advice on how students should use practice tests in their IELTS study routines? Eliot: Yes. You’ll need to take the practice tests under the same conditions as the real IELTS exam. Naomi: So you’re saying students should act as though they’re actually taking the real IELTS exam every time they take a practice test. Eliot: Exactly. Start by making sure you’re taking the test in the right order. First complete the Listening section, followed by the Reading section. Then complete your two IELTS Writing tasks. And end with the IELTS Speaking interview. Naomi: What about breaks in between sections? Eliot: There are no breaks during the first three sections of the IELTS test.  Naomi: So for a truly IELTS-like practice test, you should go straight from Listening to your IELTS practice test Reading section, and then straight from Reading to the IELTS Writing section? Eliot: Right. And then there will usually be a break between IELTS Speaking and the rest of the exam. To know how long that break will be, check with the exam center where you’ll sit your IELTS. Then use the correct break time in your own IELTS sample tests. Naomi: Good idea. And it’s also important that you time yourself, right? Eliot: Yes, you absolutely must take your practice tests according to the real IELTS schedule. During your practice tests, keep a clock or a timer app (such as Google Timer) in plain view. Naomi: So if you’re using a timer you would set it to 30 minutes for Listening, 10 minutes for transferring Listening answers to the answer sheet, 60 minutes for your IELTS mock test Reading section, and so on? Eliot: Right. Learn to monitor your own time, without glancing at the clock too frequently. With enough practice, you’ll get a strong sense of the IELTS time limits. By test day, you may not even need the proctor’s guidance at all. Naomi: Ok, so you’ll take your practice test with a timer…but there’s more to time management than just watching the clock, right? Eliot: Absolutely. You should also practice pacing skills. This means making the best use of the time you’re given for a section or task and learning how to work quickly enough to finish all the questions on time, without rushing and making mistakes. Naomi: How can students work on their pacing? Eliot: When you first start doing IELTS practice tests, don’t stop when your time is up. Instead, take as long as you need. This allows you to focus on accuracy—the most important IELTS skill—first. Naomi: Then what? Eliot: As you get more comfortable with the IELTS questions and tasks, you’ll also get faster. Soon, you’ll be ready to hold yourself to the time limits.  Naomi: But you don’t need to follow them at first? Eliot: Right. The most important thing is that you complete all the questions and keep learning from your mistakes. As you get more comfortable with the test, you’ll get faster. Naomi: So the bottom line is: take a lot of realistic IELTS practice tests? Eliot: That’s it! And you can get started right now with Magoosh’s free IELTS practice test PDF. Just make sure to set aside approximately three hours of uninterrupted time to take the test. Naomi: After the test, check your answers and make note of any questions you missed! Outro: So what did you think? If you need more practice, check out the show notes for a transcript of this episode so that you can follow along and listen again. Oh and by the way! We’re looking for volunteers to help us translate the show transcripts from English to your first language. If you are interested, please email me at naomi@magoosh.com with the subject line “translation,” and let me know what language you can translate into!   Thanks for listening! If you like our show, help us out by leaving a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, it helps people find us! And don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. Until next time! This is Naomi at Magoosh, wishing you happy studying!
  • Magoosh IELTS podcast

    23 - How to Study for the IELTS in One Month

    9:14

    In this episode, Eliot and Naomi talk about how to study for the IELTS in one month. They'll cover:  What you should study How much time you should spend studying Our 1-month study plan Episode resources and links:  One month IELTS study plan The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS IELTS.org  The British Council’s IELTS page IELTS vocabulary flashcards EnglishVocabularyExercises.com Learn how to improve your IELTS band score with Magoosh! Use coupon code ieltspodcast to save 20% at ielts.magoosh.com    Episode 23 Transcript - How to Study for the IELTS in One Month Translations: (Tiếng Việt) Intro Welcome to the Magoosh IELTS Podcast! This is Episode 23. In this episode, we’re going to tell you how to study for the IELTS in one month. Afterward, you can check the show notes for direct links to Magoosh’s one month IELTS study plan, and links to recommended IELTS prep materials. Don’t forget to visit us at IELTS.Magoosh.com for more great resources to improve your IELTS band score. Use coupon code “ieltspodcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep! Okay, let’s get started! Part 1 Eliot: If you need to study for the IELTS, you may wonder exactly what you should study, and how much time you should spend studying.   Naomi: That really can be tricky. I mean, obviously, you want to practice for all four sections of the test. But is there anything else students should focus on, Eliot?   Eliot: Well, Naomi, studying IELTS Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking does cover a lot of the bases. But yes, there are a few other general things students should study. Vocabulary is a big one. A good English vocabulary will help you in every section of the test. And it’s good to study skills that are test specific.   Naomi: Now, what do you mean by test-specific? Can you give me some examples?   Eliot: Sure. Let’s take pacing, the skill of finishing your tasks at the right speed. This skill is really specific to timed exams like the IELTS. But it’s not specific to any one section. It’s not really even a language skill, per se. As another example, it helps to understand the question types you’ll see in each section.   Naomi: It sounds like you’re saying IELTS Prep should focus on language skills, but also include some test-taking skills?   Eliot: You got it!   Naomi: So what does that balance look like? How much time should be spent on language lessons versus skills lessons?   Eliot: Well now, that’s a tricky question. You really do need to strike a careful balance between  language learning and skills building. It helps to have a good plan.   Naomi: But how can students put together a really good study plan? It sounds like making a study timetable is a difficult task in and of itself.   Eliot: It really can be tricky. I know this first hand, because I actually wrote some study plans for our blog. That way, students don’t have to put in that kind of hard work, and can focus more on their actual test prep They can use one of the Magoosh IELTS study plans. Our one month IELTS study plan is especially popular.   Naomi: I’ve seen that plan on the blog. So that one month timetable-- it tells tells students how much to study vocabulary, and how much time to spend on each language and testing skill?   Eliot: That’s right. And in addition to covering the kinds of things  you need to study, our one month study plan includes a checklist of the resources you should use--the right books, websites, and apps for the perfect 4 weeks of IELTS prep.   Naomi: So what materials do the students need for this plan?   Eliot: It’s a surprisingly simple list, actually. Almost everything comes from just one of two sources: the official makers of the test, or Magoosh. For official stuff, the plan requires The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS, and two official IELTS websites: IELTS.org and the British Council’s IELTS page. From Magoosh IELTS, students use our video lessons, practice questions, IELTS vocabulary flashcards, and blog posts. Oh, and one resource that’s not from us for from the people who make the test: EnglishVocabularyExercises.com.   Naomi: I’ve been to EnglishVocabularyExercises.com. I didn’t see the IELTS mentioned on the site, though. Are you sure this is a really good source of IELTS prep?   Eliot: Oh, definitely. You’re right that the website doesn’t really deal with the IELTS directly. But this site is all about intermediate to advanced English vocabulary. And that’s the exact level of vocabulary you’ll see on the exam.   Naomi: That makes sense. So to do this study plan, the students need the official guide for the IELTS, the official IELTS websites, the Magoosh IELTS video lessons, flashcards, and blog, and that English vocabulary website.   Eliot: That’s it in a nutshell. And once they have those materials, they can follow our detailed four week planner for IELTS Prep.   Naomi: I feel like I understand the materials and activities now. But how does the actual schedule incorporate all of that? If I recall, you get a list of things to do for each of the four weeks?   Eliot: ...   Naomi: Before we look at the structure of Magoosh’s one month IELTS study plan, let’s pause for a word from Magoosh.   Midroll Kevin: Do you want a great IELTS score? Magoosh can help!   Here’s what you’ll get with Magoosh: In-depth video lessons that cover concepts, pitfalls, and shortcuts Over 200 practice questions to help you prepare for your exam 24/7 email access to a team of remote tutors ready to answer your questions Are you ready to improve your score and get into your dream program? Great! We’re ready to help you. Visit us at ielts.magoosh.com and use coupon code “podcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep. Now back to the show!   Part 2 Eliot: In our study plan, you do get a list of what to do each week. And the schedule of study activities is even more detailed than that. We give a day-by-day breakdown of recommended study activities.   Naomi: I can see how this could help a lot of students. So… four weeks, and four sections of the IELTS. Should students focus on a different section each week?   Eliot: I recommend against that, actually. It’s important to remember that the four English skills are used together in real life. So it’s good to study all four skills in a week. Students should also get in some practice with vocab and test skills each week.   Naomi: Wow, that sounds like a lot to cover every week. Will our students really have time for that?   Eliot: Now that is a good question. I set up the study plan so that students need to prep for one or two hours per day, on average. Some days require more study time, though. For example, students should set aside at least three hours on any day where they’re taking a full-length IELTS practice test.   Naomi: That time sounds like it could be manageable. But what if something comes up? What if a student has a really busy day, and they don’t have enough time to do that day’s activities?   Eliot: That definitely happens from time to time. In that case, I encourage students to catch up on those missed activities on another day in the week.   Naomi: That kind of flexibility is good. Are there any other changes students can make to the plans, if they need to?   Eliot: Absolutely. I set up all of the IELTS plans so that students can customize them. Some students, for instance, may be very good at IELTS Reading already, but also really struggle with IELTS Speaking. In that case, they could skip some of the Reading practice and replace it with extra Speaking practice.   Naomi: It sounds like you’re saying the study plan can either be followed closely, or modified?   Eliot: That’s correct. Many students go through our one month study schedule exactly as-is, but I’ve also heard from students who treat this plan as a loose guideline-- a foundation for a personal plan they put together for themselves.   Outro So what did you think? If you need to look at these tips again, check out the show notes for a transcript of this episode so that you can follow along and listen again. Oh and by the way! We’re looking for volunteers to help us translate the show transcripts from English to your first language. If you are interested, please email me at naomi@magoosh.com with the subject line “translation,” and let me know what language you can translate into!   Thanks for listening! If you like our show, help us out by leaving a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, it helps people find us! And don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. Until next time! This is Naomi at Magoosh, wishing you happy studying!
  • Magoosh IELTS podcast

    22 - How to Prepare for IELTS Academic Writing Task 2

    10:07

    In this episode Eliot and Naomi talk about how to prepare for the Academic IELTS Writing Task 2. They'll cover:  organization structure tone example questions scoring Episode resources and links:  IELTS Writing Task 2: Sample Question and Outline Sample IELTS Task 2 Essay  5 IELTS Writing Task 2 Types Improving your IELTS Writing Task 2 Score Learn how to improve your IELTS band score with Magoosh! Use coupon code ieltspodcast to save 20% at ielts.magoosh.com    Episode 22 Transcript: How to Prepare for the IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 Translations: (Tiếng Việt) Intro: Welcome to the Magoosh IELTS Podcast! This is Episode 22. In this episode, you’re going to learn about IELTS Academic Writing Task 2. We’re going to discuss everything you need to know about this second essay, including organization, structure, tone, example questions, and scoring. Don’t forget to visit us at IELTS.Magoosh.com for more great resources to improve your IELTS band score. Use coupon code “ieltspodcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep! And now, for the show! Body Part 1: Eliot: Today Naomi and I will discuss IELTS Writing task 2, and talk about some tips and tricks for writing a really good second IELTS essay. Naomi: Eliot, what would you say is the first thing students should know about this essay? Eliot: They should know that this is a bigger essay-- one that takes more work and time than IELTS Writing Task 1. The IELTS recommends you spend 20 minutes on Writing Task 1, but 40 minutes on Task 2. Naomi: So most of your IELTS Writing section time should be devoted to the second essay? Why is that? Eliot: There are a few different reasons, actually. One of the reasons comes down to scoring. Task 2 makes up two-thirds of your writing score. And you’re expected to write more-- they need to state an opinion and defend it with examples and details. That’s why there’s a 250 word minimum for the second essay versus the 150 word expectation for that first task. Naomi: Wow! How can students write all that in just 40 minutes? Eliot: The key is careful time management for each stage of writing. IELTS Task 2 Essay planning should take 2-10 minutes, then the actual writing should take 25-32 minutes, with 5 minutes left over to go back and proofread. Naomi: So how exactly should you organize things? Eliot: In both your outline and your essay, there are a few rules you should follow. Obviously, you’ll want to start with the introduction. Keep that part fairly short. Just restate the topic, and add your thesis. That’s where you state your position and your main points. After that, you can move straight to the body paragraphs. Body paragraph 1 will give supporting details for thesis main point 1…. Naomi: ...And body paragraph 2 covers thesis main point 2? Eliot: You’re getting the idea! Then, after the body, end with a conclusion, where you restate and review the main points. The conclusion should be short and sweet--like the introduction. Naomi: What about the writing style? Any special words or sentence structures students should use? Eliot: The writing will be academic--formal. So we want sentences that are complete, and sometimes compound and complex. Naomi: So there should be sentence variety. Eliot: Definitely. And you don’t just need sentence variety. Top scoring Task 2 essays also have word variety. Students should avoid using the same words and phrases over and over. Oh, and keep the tone formal and academic. Naomi: OK, I think I can almost picture what a good outline and essay look like. But how can I know for sure that I’m picturing the right thing? Eliot: Well, fortunately for you and our students, Magoosh has some sample materials for that. If you go to our Complete Guide to IELTS Writing Task 2, you’ll see a sample question for the second IELTS essay, and a model outline. Our guide has a model IELTS Writing Task 2 essay as well. We’ll put links in the show notes. Naomi: That’s great. Now that our students know how to outline and write the essay, what else should they know? Eliot: It’s also a good idea to look at the question types, and the way this essay is scored. Naomi: Before we look at IELTS Writing Task 2 question types and scoring, let’s hear from Magoosh. Midroll: Kevin: Do you want a great IELTS score? Magoosh can help! Here’s what you’ll get with Magoosh:             In-depth video lessons that cover concepts, pitfalls, and shortcuts             Over 200 practice questions to help you prepare for your exam             24/7 email access to a team of remote tutors ready to answer your questions Are you ready to improve your score and get into your dream program? Great! We’re ready to help you. Visit us at ielts.magoosh.com and use coupon code “podcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep. Now back to the show!   Body Part 2: Naomi: So you were saying there are different types of questions? How many different types? Eliot: Students will be happy to hear that there are just five question types for IELTS Writing Task 2. There are agree-disagree question types, advantage/disadvantage, cause and solution questions, questions where you discuss both sides of an argument, and thematic questions that focus on a special topic. Naomi: In a lot of these questions, I notice you need to discuss two sides to a debate…. Eliot: Most questions are like that, yes. But there are also “Cause and Solution to a Problem” questions. The students need to propose a solution, but they don’t really have to choose a position in the same way. Naomi: Interesting! I’ll be honest, though. I’m having a little trouble imagining examples of each type of question. Is there a place I can go to see some actual questions? Eliot: Yes! This is another place where Magoosh has you covered. Our complete guide to IELTS Writing Task 2 includes examples of each of the 5 IELTS Writing Task 2 question types. Check the show notes for that link. Naomi: Nice! And the outline and structure you described above--that works for any question type? Eliot: Sure. Essays can be structured the same way no matter what kind of question you get. Naomi: That’s a relief. But what about scoring? If you answer a different kind of question, will your essay be scored in a different way? Eliot: Not to worry, all essays are scored by the exact same standards. But I’m glad you brought that up. It’s really important for students to know exactly how IELTS Writing Task 2 is scored. Knowing the scoring system is a powerful way to aim for the best score. Naomi: So how does the scoring system work, in a nutshell? Eliot: Well, you get points in 4 categories: Task Response, Grammatical Range and Accuracy, Lexical Resource, and Coherence and Cohesion. Naomi: What do these category names really mean? Eliot: Great question! Let’s start with Task Response. Here, the scorers ask themselves “Did this student fully answer the question”? If you follow the structure we talked about earlier-- introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion, you have the best chance of answering the question completely. Naomi: Got it! I think after task response, you mentioned grammatical range and accuracy? That one’s exactly what it sounds like, isn’t it? Eliot: Pretty much, yeah. In the Grammatical range and accuracy category, scorers look for the kind of sentence variety we discussed earlier. The grammar of sentences should be varied, and used correctly. Naomi: OK, and lexical…. Eliot: Lexical resource! “Lexical” means related to words and their meanings. Lexical resource is the use of a good range of vocabulary. It’s the vocabulary variety I mentioned before. With correctly used words, of course! Naomi: That leaves us with coherence and cohesion…. Eliot: That category is all about your ability to present your ideas logically and clearly. You earn points for laying your your ideas in logical order, with clear connections between the information. Naomi: And let me guess… I can see more tips and examples for these scoring categories in Magoosh’s Complete Guide to IELTS Writing Task 2, right? Eliot: That’s right! You can see examples and a lot of extra advice in our Complete Guide to IELTS Writing Task 2. It’s all in the section entitled Improving Your IELTS Writing Task 2 Score (By Scoring Category). Don’t worry, we’ll put links to all of the resources we covered in the show notes. Outro So what did you think? If you need more practice, check out the show notes for a transcript of this episode so that you can follow along and listen again. Oh and by the way! We’re looking for volunteers to help us translate the show transcripts from English to your first language. If you are interested, please email me at naomi@magoosh.com with the subject line “translation,” and let me know what language you can translate into!   Thanks for listening! If you like our show, help us out by leaving a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, it helps people find us! And don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. Until next time! This is Naomi at Magoosh, wishing you happy studying!
  • Magoosh IELTS podcast

    21- What You Need to Know about Requesting an IELTS Rescore

    9:13

    In this episode we’re going to talk about requesting an IELTS rescore. Eliot and I will discuss the rescore process why you might (or might not) want a rescore and your chances of success Episode resources and links:  How to Contest Your IELTS Score Learn how to improve your IELTS band score with Magoosh! Use coupon code ieltspodcast to save 20% at ielts.magoosh.com  Episode 21 Transcript: What You Need to Know about Requesting an IELTS Rescore Translations: (Tiếng Việt) Intro: Welcome to the Magoosh IELTS Podcast! This is Episode 21. In this episode, we’re going to talk about requesting an IELTS rescore. Eliot and I will discuss the rescore process-- how you can ask the IELTS to consider changing your score, and your chances of success. Visit IELTS.Magoosh.com for more great resources to improve your IELTS band score. Use coupon code “ieltspodcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep! Okay let’s get started! Part 1 Naomi: A lot of IELTS students wonder how often rescore requests are successful. But, Eliot--for those who may not be familiar with the rescore process, what is a rescore? Eliot: That is a good place to start, Naomi. A rescore is a process where someone can ask the IELTS to review their score, and possibly change the score. The details on how to request a rescore can be found in the Magoosh IELTS Blog post “How to Contest Your IELTS Score.” I’ll put a link in the show notes. Naomi: Wow! It’s good to have that option, for sure. Now, I know that on many standardized tests, you can only request a rescore for essays or speaking. Are IELTS rescores like that too? Eliot: Yes and no. If  you want an IELTS rescore, you actually can ask them to review your Listening or Reading scores. But it’s really rare for them to change scores in those sections-- it almost never happens. The real focus of the rescore is writing or speech, just like rescores on other tests. Naomi: That makes sense. I mean, Listening and Reading are multiple choice, so…. Eliot: So there isn’t much room for human error in scoring those sections. But Speaking and Writing are scored by a rubric, and sometimes an extra set of eyes and ears can discover a scoring mistake. Naomi: Of course. But how often are rescore requests for IELTS Writing or IELTS Speaking successful? Do students really have much of a shot? Eliot: The majority of rescore requests don’t lead to a higher score, actually. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying… under the right circumstances. In some cases, a student has an especially good chance at a favorable rescore. Naomi: OK, so what are some signs that a student should ask for a rescore? Eliot: Well, rescores are more likely to be helpful if the student needs just a small point increase in IELTS Writing or Speaking. When rescores are successful, they typically raise a section score by half a band, or by one full full band. A bigger score bump is pretty uncommon. Naomi: It sounds like unless a student needs a tiny boost to their score, maybe they shouldn’t bother? Eliot: Maybe, but not necessarily. Remember, rescores are designed to catch scoring mistakes. And sometimes mistakes can be bigger than just a single band. If you’ve taken the test and you really feel like your score should have been a lot higher, you might be right. Let’s say you really felt good about your IELTS Writing tasks. You’d done a lot of practice tasks that were at a 7 or 7.5 level, and you felt like you kept up the good work on your exam. But then you got a score of, let’s say…. Naomi: 5? Eliot: That would be a good example! Imagine you’re a strong writer, and you feel like you brought your usual 7-to-8 level of skill to the test. But to your surprise, you get a 5. Maybe a truly big mistake was made. You just might get a 7 or higher with a rescore. Naomi: I’m starting to get the idea here! There are different reasons you might want to go for a rescore. Eliot: Right! A rescore might help if all you need is a slightly higher score in IELTS Speaking or Writing. But it could also help if you’re pretty sure that the scoring was way off. Naomi: Interesting. Is there anything else students should consider?   Naomi: Before we look at what else students should think about if they’re considering an IELTS rescore, let’s pause for a word from Magoosh. Midroll Kevin: Do you want a great IELTS score? Magoosh can help!   Here’s what you’ll get with Magoosh: In-depth video lessons that cover concepts, pitfalls, and shortcuts Over 200 practice questions to help you prepare for your exam 24/7 email access to a team of remote tutors ready to answer your questions Are you ready to improve your score and get into your dream program? Great! We’re ready to help you. Visit us at ielts.magoosh.com and use coupon code “podcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep. Now back to the show! Part 2 Eliot: We’ve definitely already covered the two most important considerations: how big of a change do you need, and how sure are you that the IELTS really got your score wrong. But there are definitely other things to think about too. The rescore timeline for example. Naomi: The timeline? You mean how long it takes for the IELTS to make a rescore decision? Eliot: Yes. It takes the IELTS 6-8 weeks to review scores. So if the student needs their final IELTS scores sooner than that, there might simply not be time for a rescore. And there’s another time limit of sorts too. The IELTS only allows for rescore requests in the six weeks after you take the test. Naomi: Wait-- I heard it takes two weeks to get your first score report. Does the 6 week deadline start right after you take the test, or after you get your first set of scores? Eliot: It starts right after the test. So in a way, you only have four weeks and one day to make a rescore decision, since it takes 13 days for regular exam scores to come out. But there’s more to consider than just time…. Naomi: What else should students be thinking about, besides timelines? Eliot: Cost! That’s a big one. The fees for rescore vary a lot, and students need to check with their test center to get their exact price. But I can tell you this: the cost is generally high. A rescore can cost about as much as an actual IELTS testing fee. Naomi: Hold on… you’re saying that a retake and a rescore might cost the same thing? Eliot: That is a good way to look at it, Naomi. The cost of a rescore and a retake really can be similar, and it can take a month or more to get new scores either way. And that brings me to the final thing students should consider. Can you guess what it is? Naomi: I’m going to say they should think about rescore versus retake. Did I get that right, Eliot? Eliot: You sure did--I like the way you’re thinking. Basically, a rescore and a retake are the two ways you can improve your IELTS score. Now, if you’re just a point or two shy of the score you need, a rescore might do the trick. But taking a little extra study time and then sitting for the exam again also give you a good chance of boosting your score at least by a little bit. So if you have enough time to study for a retake in the coming weeks, it might be better. Naomi: But maybe if students are too busy to keep studying, a rescore is a good option… because then they could potentially raise their score without having to keep studying and take the test again. Eliot: Exactly! And if a student is really sure they got the wrong score, a rescore is probably better than a retake, since rescores are designed to correct scoring mistakes. Outro So what did you think? If you need to look at these tips again, check out the show notes for a transcript of this episode and links to the resources we mentioned. Oh and by the way! We’re looking for volunteers to help us translate the show transcripts from English to your first language. If you are interested, please email me at naomi@magoosh.com with the subject line “translation,” and let me know what language you can translate into!   Thanks for listening! If you like our show, help us out by leaving a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, it helps people find us! And don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. Until next time! This is Naomi at Magoosh, wishing you happy studying!
  • Magoosh IELTS podcast

    20- Four IELTS Academic Reading Strategies

    9:47

    In this episode, you’re going to learn about the IELTS Reading Section,. We'll cover: Four important Academic IELTS Reading strategies The difference between the Academic and the General Training IELTS Tips for the Academic Reading IELTS What types of questions will be on the test Episode resources and links:  Free IELTS Practice Test Learn how to improve your IELTS band score with Magoosh! Use coupon code ieltspodcast to save 20% at ielts.magoosh.com    Episode 20 Transcript: Four IELTS Academic Reading Strategies Translations: (Tiếng Việt) Intro: Welcome to the Magoosh IELTS Podcast! This is Episode 20. In this episode, you’re going to learn about the IELTS Reading Section, including four important Academic IELTS Reading strategies. First your IELTS teacher Eliot and I will discuss the difference between the Academic and the General Training IELTS, then we’ll give you some tips for the Academic Reading IELTS, and we’ll end by talking a little bit about what types of questions will be on the test. Don’t forget to visit us at IELTS.Magoosh.com for more great resources to improve your IELTS band score. Use coupon code “ieltspodcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep! Okay, let’s get started! Part 1: Naomi: Today we’re discussing some basic information you should know for the IELTS Reading test--including four useful strategies to help you get a good score! Eliot: The first thing to know is the IELTS Reading Test can actually be one of two versions: the Academic version or the General Training version. Naomi: So, there are two versions of the IELTS? Eliot: Yes. Different programs and universities will require one version or the other, so make sure to check which version you should take! Naomi: But both tests evaluate your English reading skills, so they should have a few things in common, right? Eliot: That’s true! The Speaking and Listening sections are exactly the same. The reading and writing selections are really where you’re going to see the important differences between the two tests. Naomi: That makes sense. The Academic version of the IELTS is supposed to show how comfortable you are with jargon and technical language, so the readings they choose will probably use more advanced vocabulary than the General Instruction version, right? Eliot: Exactly. If you plan on taking the Academic version, having a large vocabulary will definitely help you out. You can expect to see sections from academic journals, technical charts and graphs, and textbooks, but also newspapers and magazines. Naomi: And the General Training version is more like what you would encounter in everyday life? Eliot: Yes, think advertisements and short magazine articles at the beginning, then more work-related texts in the second section. The last section will be a little more abstract and academic -- that’s the trickiest part of the General Training version. Naomi: Since these selections are usually from sources like newspapers and magazines, would reading regularly in English help expand your vocabulary? Eliot: Yes that’s a great idea--and we also have practice tests at Magoosh.com to help you prepare for the specific vocabulary you may encounter! Naomi: So Eliot, now we know the differences between the Academic IELTS and the General Training IELTS. What are some strategies students can use for taking these tests? Eliot: The first strategy is to skim each passage for 3 to 5 minutes before looking at the questions. Since you only have sixty minutes to get through the Reading section, pacing is going to be important for staying on track to finish. If you skim the texts before reading the questions, you’ll already have a basic idea of where to look in the text for answers. Naomi: I think it helps to set a framework for how much time you’ll spend on each section -- because the test is sixty minutes long and has three sections, you should try not to spend more than twenty minutes on each one. Eliot: That’s a great idea. You could spend three minutes skimming the test before looking at the questions, so you know where to look in the section for the answers you need. The reading test has 40 questions, and although some are easier or more difficult, they’re all worth one point. It makes sense to move on if you’re having trouble answering one and come back later if you have time. Naomi: Right! Don’t miss out on easy points. Eliot: But you shouldn’t forget to read the directions, either. It’s never a waste of time to make sure you know how to mark the right answer, or the right kind of format to use. Naomi: Exactly! Naomi: Before we find out some other IELTS Reading strategies, let’s pause for a word from Magoosh. Midroll: Kevin: Do you want a great IELTS score? Magoosh can help!   Here’s what you’ll get with Magoosh:             In-depth video lessons that cover concepts, pitfalls, and shortcuts             Over 200 practice questions to help you prepare for your exam             24/7 email access to a team of remote tutors ready to answer your questions Are you ready to improve your score and get into your dream program? Great! We’re ready to help you. Visit us at ielts.magoosh.com and use coupon code “podcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep. Now back to the show!   Part 2: Naomi: So Eliot, what are some other strategies people can use on the IELTS Reading Section? Eliot: We’ve already talked about the basics of skimming. The second strategy is to underline keywords in the text as you skim. Naomi: I try to always look at the title and read the first couple sentences, and underline parts that seem important so I can find them quickly. Eliot: Yeah, make sure not to get caught up in details, and just ignore words you don’t recognize -- they’ll only slow you down. Naomi: Great, so what’s strategy number three? Eliot: It’s very similar to our last tip. Strategy number three is to write short notes as reminders about the passage as you skim. That way you can easily locate different parts of the passage later. Naomi: Good idea! And strategy number four? Eliot: Strategy number four is to find keywords in the questions, and scan the passage to find those keywords, or paraphrases of those keywords, in the text. Naomi: So you’re saying that by identifying keywords in the questions, you can easily go back and find the matching concepts in your notes on passages? Eliot: Yes! For example, if a question asks about a name or date, those should be easy to find in the text. Naomi: Okay, I see those are helpful strategies. So Eliot, are there certain types of questions that show up a lot in the IELTS Reading Section? Eliot: Yes! The IELTS has multiple-choice questions like most other tests, but it has some other, more unusual types of questions too. Naomi: You’re talking about the True/False/Not Given questions, right? Eliot: Yes, those are one example, and they can be really difficult. For True/False/Not Given questions, you’ll need to decide whether a given statement is true or false according to the passage. If the statement is confirmed by something in the passage, mark “true”...if it can contradict something found in the passage, mark “false”. But if the information isn’t in the text at all, you should mark “not given”. Naomi: Okay, so I know there are also “matching” questions on the IELTS. Can you tell us about those? Eliot: Yes, you’ll see questions asking you to match headings, information, features, and sentence endings with different paragraphs from the reading selection. Naomi: Okay, sounds pretty straightforward. What about “sentence completion” and “short answer” questions? Eliot: Sentence Completion questions ask you to fill in blanks from words in the text from the ends of sentences. For Short Answer questions you just need to answer a question using information from the text. Naomi: Okay. And I know there are also “completion questions”…what are those? Eliot: Those are questions that ask you to complete a set of notes, a table, a diagram, or a summary with information from the reading. Naomi: Makes sense…and those are all the types of questions in the Reading Section, right? Eliot: Yes, I think that about sums it up! Just remember to skim the passage before reading the questions, underline and make notes, and don’t waste time on questions you can’t answer! Outro So what did you think? If you need more practice, check out the show notes for a transcript of this episode and links to the resources we mentioned. Oh and by the way! We’re looking for volunteers to help us translate the show transcripts from English to your first language. If you are interested, please email me at naomi@magoosh.com with the subject line “translation,” and let me know what language you can translate into!   Thanks for listening! If you like our show, help us out by leaving a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, it helps people find us! And don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. Until next time! This is Naomi at Magoosh, wishing you happy studying!  
  • Magoosh IELTS podcast

    19- How to Prepare for IELTS Academic Writing Task 1

    8:55

    In this episode we cover: -How to prepare for the IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 -What exactly you’ll be asked to do for the Task 1 section of the Academic IELTS. -Tips on how to analyze the Task 1 visuals -A step-by-step breakdown of how to write a strong Task 1 response Episode resources and links:  The Complete Guide to IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 Learn how to improve your IELTS band score with Magoosh! Use coupon code ieltspodcast to save 20% at ielts.magoosh.com    Episode 19 Transcript: How to Prepare for IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 Translations: (Tiếng Việt) Intro:   Welcome to the Magoosh IELTS Podcast! This is Episode 19. In this episode, you’re going to learn about how to prepare for the IELTS Academic Writing Task 1. Eliot and I will start by discussing what exactly you’ll be asked to do for the Task 1 section of the Academic IELTS. Then we’ll give you some tips on how to analyze the Task 1 visuals, followed by a step-by-step breakdown of how to write a strong Task 1 response. Don’t forget to visit us at IELTS.Magoosh.com for more great resources to improve your IELTS band score. Use coupon code “ieltspodcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep! Okay, let’s get started! Body Part 1: Naomi: Today we’re going to talk about what the IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 is, and how to prepare for it. Eliot: Task 1 will ask you to write a brief report, usually about two visuals. You’ll have twenty minutes to analyze what you see and write 150 words about it. Naomi: That’s not much time -- what strategies can we use to craft an interesting, well-organized response? Eliot: You’re right, it’s not much time...as with the rest of the IELTS, reading instructions closely is critical. Task 1 will ask you to consider two figures, or sometimes maps or flowcharts. What are they explaining? How can you summarize the information presented? Can meaningful comparisons be made? You should be careful to focus on material you think is relevant, not your own opinions on what the graphs or visuals say. Naomi: So it sounds like there are really two parts: interpreting the figure and writing the response. Eliot: I like to think about it that way, too. With only twenty minutes, it helps to think about how you’ll approach it most effectively. Naomi: Since this test is meant to measure your English skills, you won’t be asked to do any difficult math to understand the charts, right? You should just focus on accurately reporting the information in the figures and explaining it fluently. Eliot: Exactly. The first thing to do when gathering your information is read the titles and headings of the graphs. Naomi: Right, titles and headings often act as summaries of the data in the figures, so they’ll help you figure out what’s important. Eliot: Next, you should take a look at the units and categories in the visual. Understand what is being measured and how that measurement is expressed by the visual. Naomi: So it’d be a good idea to ask questions like, “Is the visual dealing with changes over time? Is that in days, months, or years?” Eliot: Yes. The visuals can also show trends, patterns, or sequences. You can make sense of what these have in common by measuring them in similar ways. Naomi: So once you know what you’re looking at, you can start thinking about what the information means? Eliot: Exactly. Think about what kind of story the data tells or what argument it makes. Expressing that story or argument in your answer will show you are able to explain complex ideas in English. Naomi: So you should try to show that you can decide what in the figure is important and what isn’t? Eliot: Definitely. Try to explain what was most interesting about the graph to you, like you would explain it in a presentation in class or at work. Before we find out some other IELTS Writing Task 1 tips, let’s pause for a word from Magoosh. Midroll:Kevin: Do you want a great IELTS score?Well gues what, Magoosh can help!Here’s what you’ll get with Magoosh:             In-depth video lessons that cover concepts, pitfalls, and shortcuts             Over 200 practice questions to help you prepare for your exam             24/7 email access to a team of remote tutors ready to answer your questions Are you ready to improve your score and get into your dream program? Great! We’re ready to help. Visit us at ielts.magoosh.com and use coupon code “podcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep. Now back to the show! Body Part 2: Naomi: Okay so now we’ve talked about how to analyze the visuals, it’s time to start thinking about how to structure and write our response. Eliot: For Task 1, remember you only have twenty minutes to complete your response. That said, the response itself is fairly short: a minimum of 150 words. Naomi: I find that one great way to prepare for a test is by deciding in advance how you’re going to organize your answers. When you sit down to take the test, you’ll already know how to begin and what you want to accomplish. Then, instead of stressing out, you can just focus on following your plan. If you interpreted the figures well and understand them clearly, you have already set yourself up for success! Eliot: Great idea. I also like to break the structure down into the four following categories: introducing the visuals, summarizing the visuals, supporting that summary with key features from the figure, and a conclusion sentence at the end. Naomi: All of these things can, and should, be concise, right? Since you only need to use 150 words, and you have to be finished in 20 minutes. Eliot: Yes, definitely keep things as short as you can, while still covering the information. None of these four sections should be more than two to three sentences, at most. Naomi: The first section, introducing the visuals, seems pretty straightforward. Eliot: Yes. Just explain, generally, what the figures are about. Start by putting the information contained in the visual into your own words. Naomi: Right, and you can refer back to the titles and headings for the most important features to include. Eliot: Once you’ve done that, next you should summarize the main features of the visuals. Naomi: The IELTS asks you to “select and report” the major points of the visuals, so you shouldn’t spend much time on the details, right? Eliot: Right, just pick the features of the data that stood out to you the most, or present an argument about what the data is saying. Naomi: So what’s a good way to highlight the most important things about about the data? Eliot: Choose what things about the visuals were interesting to you -- I call this “your angle on the data”. Sharing your own perspective shows that you are fluent enough in English to be able to understand the information and make connections comfortably. Naomi: What about the concluding sentence? Eliot: If you’re having trouble reaching your word count, a concluding sentence can help you get there. That said, it’s not crucial and won’t necessarily improve your score if you’ve already reached the 150-word minimum. Naomi: But if you do write a concluding sentence, just restate the main concept of the visuals, and what you learned from them, in a single sentence. Eliot: Exactly--and then you’re done with your IELTS Writing Task 1! Outro: So what did you think? If you need more practice, check out the show notes for a transcript of this episode and links to the resources we mentioned. Oh and by the way! We’re looking for volunteers to help us translate the show transcripts from English to your first language. If you are interested, please email me at naomi@magoosh.com with the subject line “translation,” and let me know what language you can translate into!   Thanks for listening! If you like our show, help us out by leaving a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen. This helps people find us! And don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. Until next time! This is Naomi at Magoosh, wishing you happy studying!

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