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

Emmas IELTS 8s task 1Today you’ll learn about Emma’s IELTS 8’s and Task 1 troubles, and be able to use this advice for your own improvement.

Emma is a student from our course, and is taking IELTS so she can immigrate with her family.

Her most recent IELTS scores were: Writing 6, Listening 7.5, Reading 8 and Speaking 8.

This was the first time she took the exam. She needs at least a 7 in Writing, however. Why did she get these results?

Factors in an IELTS Speaking 8

Factors in an IELTS Reading 8

  • Due to using 3 Keys’ strategies, she was able to focus throughout the long and challenging reading test.
  • By focusing on step by step approach, she calmly managed her timing on each question.
  • Skimming and scanning saved her on exam day.

Factors in an IELTS Listening 7.5

  • Emma listened to IELTS Energy consistently.


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  • She also used TED Talks often. This is excellent practice for IELTS Listening Section 4.  The podcast, The TED Radio Hour, is another excellent option, as it is delivered without video, just like the exam.

Factors in an IELTS Writing 6

  • Emma wasn’t able to control the word count on Task 1, and this stressed her out for the rest of the Writing Exam.
  • In Academic Task 1, you really cannot go beyond our recommended word limit of 180, because you will end up putting in details that actually bring your Task Achievement score down.
  • Emma had to write about maps in Task 1– the changes in a museum over 2 years.
  • For maps, you need interesting vocabulary for locations, such as In the upper west quadrant, …
    • Even if there is no compass indicating cardinal directions (north, south, east, west), you should always assume that it is laid out in a north-south manner. This is a given on all maps you see- in life and in IELTS. Therefore, you should always use these phrases for maps.
    • You can also paraphrase, such as top left corner.
    • Organize map descriptions logically, such as right and left, or by year. If you have two maps, write about one map in paragraph 2, and the other in paragraph 3. Organize the details within the paragraphs starting at the door and moving around the space in a circle.
  • For Task 2, she felt she was lacking time due to losing focus in Task 1.
  • Emma admits that she didn’t practice the timing for Writing enough before test day.

What did you learn from Emma’s IELTS experience?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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