Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

ielts examiner hurt writing scoreToday we talk to Juliana, a student from our course, who wrote the winning Writing Wizard essay this month.

Nevertheless, despite writing a completely killer essay for the contest, she still had some doubts about her English, and had quite a few interesting questions for me.

Remember, if you want a chance to compete in the contest, you have to be a 3 Keys IELTS student! Join at!

Here are the questions and answers from today’s show, and I know many of you are wondering the same things as Juliana!

Question 1: If I use American slang, will they understand me in Australia?

Let me quell these worries students!

  • You know you have to exhibit the ability to use informal language, such as slang and idioms, in order to get a high IELTS score for Vocabulary on the Speaking exam. Rest assured, the vocabulary from the course and my YouTube videos is not region-specific. Your examiner will understand you!
  • Secondly, with the globalization of English, especially American English, much of our slang universal!

Question 2: Am I allowed to mix British and American English, like spelling ‘color’ and then ‘colour’, on the Writing exam?

Great question!

  • To be honest, mixing like this would only hurt your score if you are aiming for a 9 in Vocabulary. The point is not perfection; it’s clear communication. As long as it is correct in either American or British English, a little mixing will still qualify for you for an 8! (As long as you have excellent paraphrases and vocab. like Juliana!)
  • Again, the globalization helps you here. In fact, I mix the two ‘Englishes’ all the time, in my speaking and writing, after working with British English abroad for so long. Many people mix, and this reflects the current state of the English language.
  • Speaking of English evolution, check out this fascinating article.

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Question 3: Will my horrible handwriting hurt my Writing score?

  • I saw Juliana’s handwriting, and it’s not that bad! IELTS examiners are also teachers, and are accustomed to deciphering even the worst handwriting.
  • Having said that, you want to control what you can and present your best Writing self. So, if it is terrible, work on your handwriting a couple times a week. Slow down when you write, and focus on being clear and legible.

Finally, a great tip from Juliana, a truly great writer. Use to expand your vocabulary!

What questions do you have about IELTS Writing?

Leave us a note in the comments section below!

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