Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Spelling is a huge issue on Listening, Reading and Writing.

It can have a severe impact on the amount of answers you get correct in the first two parts of the IELTS Exam, and errors of this nature can also decrease your Vocabulary score for your essays.

The best way to improve your spelling is by reading a lot- the more often you see words spelled correctly, the more likely you are to remember.

Having said that, there are certain words that many students get wrong all the time. So, learn these key words and minimize your mistakes on test day.

Commonly Mixed Up and Misspelled Words


Through– preposition

Though– contrast linking word

Tough– adjective for ‘strong’ or ‘difficult’


Affect– (verb) to cause a change

Effect– (noun) consequence


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Principle– value, moral; fundamental rule or law

Principal– (noun) head of school; (adjective) foremost, main


Loose– (adjective) not tight

Lose– (verb) not win


These are uncountable nouns and are, thus, incorrect if used with an added ‘s’.

Correct: research/information/advice/knowledge (NO ‘S’!)

Movie/TV show (This is also important for Speaking.)

Movie– 1.5 – 2 hour piece of entertainment, usually released in a cinema

TV show– a series of 30 minute – 1 hour pieces of entertainment, released on TV or streaming online

Do you have any other suggestions to add to the list?

Share your ideas in the comments section below!

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