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

Today you’ll learn how overthinking gets your a Writing 6 on your IELTS Exam.

In the beginning of today’s show, we talk about our favorite ’80’s movies: The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Sixteen Candles. These are classics!

We had a post from a 3 Keys student in our closed Facebook group:

The question was not really straight forward. It was something like causes and solutions, and an opinion essay, with a bit of argument, so I was really confused which type I should write. I remembered your advice: if not sure what to write, write an argument, so I did. At the end, I checked my essay and confirmed that I actually answered all the questions from the task, and I had; however, the results are showing that I did something wrong.

Here was the question:

Money is important in most people’s lives although some people feel it is more important than others.

What do you feel are the right uses for money?

What other factors are important for a good life?

This is a great example of a mixed question type.

If you are more flexible in your writing, this will make it easier to answer any question, such as Leticia recommended. And she got an 8!

Try not to be so strict with the ‘essay type‘, and try to just answer the question.

As long as you know how to organize a solid body paragraph, you can tackle anything.

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Perhaps our student over-complicated the question. Since it is a mixed Task 2 question, simply answer each question in its own paragraph.

Thus, in paragraph 2, talk about your opinion on the uses of money.

Then, in paragraph 3, discuss your beliefs on the factors important for a good life.

When you are of a high level of English, there is a tendency to overthink!

His other questions were:

Was it the right choice to write an argument essay in this case?

No, this structure wouldn’t have addressed the question directly, as noted above.

Be flexible!

Please tell me how I can improve my writing in 2 months. For how long and how often should I practice writing essays with my vocabulary notebook and without it? Should I read model essays?

For one month, don’t worry about timing. Practice writing the best essay you can, using your vocabulary notebook.

Then for the next month, do 2 to 3 timed essays a week. Make sure to proofread!

As to model essays, be careful! Make sure they are written by an IELTS professional, such as Jessica!

What should I do to not forget Listening and Reading skills?

Since he got 8.5 in both of these, he just needs to maintain these skills. Review strategies and keep doing test practice once a week.

For the speaking part, should I listen to IELTS model answers on YouTube? What’s best to improve pronunciation?

He already got a 6.5! To keep improving, yes, watch model answers, but, again, be careful. Make sure they are from an IELTS professional.

For pronunciation, mimic the expressive native speakers you listen to. Also, keep talking to yourself or find more speaking partners!

What do you think of today’s advice?

Leave us a message in the comments section below!

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