IELTS Questions and Answers

Here are some questions and answers that we covered in the past. Remember to practice your speaking by clicking, “Student Partner Speaking” in your My Student Account at (Use code A8TW9 to get a 10% discount when you join the Premium Package).

Sammy – In the reading or listening, I gave a two-word answer but in the answer key, the correct answer is just one word; however, the instructions state “no more than three words”. Do I lose the mark?

A: If you provided an unnecessary word, or a word that confuses information, or creates incorrect grammar, you WILL LOSE that mark.
In rare cases, if you have added a correct adjective or adverb, the answer will be counted as correct.
***Importantly, read your fill-in-the-blank questions with your answers to make sure that they are accurate and sensible.

Angelina – If Task 2 asks “to what extent do you agree…” how do I answer this?

A: In most cases, the answer will be,
I completely agree with “point 1” and “point 2”.
I completely disagree because of “point 1” and “point 2”.

***It is advisable for students, academics, and professionals to stay away from “I partially agree” as (idiom, sitting on the fence) does not make for interesting conversation, nor does it lead to development in most cases.
Stagnation – to remain the same without any change for worse or better

I strongly disagree with IELTS materials and teachers that state that you should answer questions in Task 2 which ask, “To what extent do you agree?” with the phrase, “I partly agree” because this leads to boring literature and stagnating information.

Jainil – Are abbreviations acceptable in the listening and reading section

A: Yes, and even more so, I strongly recommend using them because they are faster and there is less chance to make spelling mistakes by accident. ***Importantly, make sure to know correct abbreviations, like “Sat.” and NOT “sat.”

Hassan – How can I proofread my work effectively during the exam in the writing section?

A: Proofreading takes practice, so you MUST do this at home regularly before you sit the test!
Also, keep in mind the most important elements of your essays to get high scores.

  1. The Overview of Task 1 – because it is your very first impression for the examiner marking your work and it will set the tone of your ability.
    (It is also a good idea to leave reviewing/proofing Task 1 until after you finish task 2 because this will give you a greater outside perspective.)
  2. Next, make sure to review your Task 2 Introduction; especially, your thesis! Ask yourself, do I have clear points? Are my points using parallel grammar structure? Is my spelling here correct?
  3. Think of that self-dialogue between your reader and your writer, ask yourself – Is this all clear?

***Keep in mind, that with all the IELTS practice I’ve had writing essays and teaching IELTS, I still proofread my Task 1 and Task 2 before finalizing, and at times I still make a couple of mistakes. ***So save 5 minutes for proofreading before the 60 minutes is up for the writing section, even if you are under the word limit?

Khyber – Can we use stative verbs in continuous form
“I’m loving it!”

A: Yes, you can in speaking but not in writing because it is often done in colloquial speech but not in profession or academic literature.

Khyber – How do I paraphrase the background in Task 2 writing?

A: Usually, this is not needed as you simply write the background. Sometimes, the background is the paraphrase of the question.

Hina – Does mechanical writing like, “firstly, secondly, finally…” reduce my scores.

A: Yes and no, it depends on how you use these.

Q: What kinds of essays usually use accurately the leading expressions, “firstly, secondly, finally…”

A: Expository process essays and diagrams as well as flow-charts – ex. Firstly, the metal is heated in and oven…Secondly, the liquid metal is shaped into long rods which are then transferred to the cutting machine…Next…

***Persuasive essays should avoid “cookie-cutter, mechanical language” It will cost you marks, or better said, you will not get as many marks as you can using better leading expressions and connectives.

Hemant: If I miss questions in the listening, how do I answer them later?

A: Use logic and do your best to infer the answer from context.

Alexander – When do I devote paragraphs to each side of an argument and when do I do so just for one side?

A: If the questions asks you to discuss both sides, or discuss both the advantages and disadvantages then you likely need to devote a paragraph for each. However, if the questions asks which side do you agree with or are the advantages more than the disadvantages then you likely will just do two strong points for one side with one paragraph for each.

Here are some questions and answers that we covered in the past. Remember to practice your speaking by clicking, “Student Partner Speaking” in your My Student Account at (Use code A8TW9 to get a 10% discount when you join the Premium Package).

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