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

Today we talk to Ben McBride about Facebook IELTS Writing controversy!

ben mcbride Facebook IELTS writing controversy

Ben McBride is the creatorof the Facebook group IELTS For All, and has a new website,

He began writing practice tests for IELTS, and then got into to the teaching side. He notes that constructing practice tests helped him identify the strategies for Reading and Listening.

When he began his Facebook group about a year ago, he was doing 3 live lessons a week to build the community, and now he still posts 1 live lesson a week.

The group is now almost 20,000 members!

Ben focuses on the idea of using this group as a community, to make online learning less isolating.

He encourages students to post  very specific questions about strategies and grading, regarding IELTS.

IELTS Writing Controversy!

There was an IELTS guru who came out strongly against teaching different kinds of essays, such as Argument and Opinion.


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She said that teachers and textbooks shouldn’t market their templates to students.

However, even native speakers learn essay templates! You have to start with the fundamentals, gain a basic understanding of how information is organized to convey a certain message.

Nevertheless, if you’re aiming for a high score, you need to also employ some flexibility in using these templates, just like our student Leticia who got an 8 for Writing.

Cambridge and IDP have traditionally written question types which perfectly fit a template, be it Argument, Opinion, or Problem-Solution.

However, increasingly, the IELTS Exam is presenting a mixed question type.

That’s why you need flexibility! Just focus on answering the questions as written!

To score highly, you need a clear position which is explored in detail. You don’t have to panic– rely on the outlines you’ve studied, and adjust them to the question.

Furthermore, many curricula in other countries teach writing which is more circular in reasoning, but, on IELTS, you have to directly and plainly answer the question with specific examples, getting to the point immediately.

Basically, students need templates in order to get high IELTS Writing scores in short preparation time!

Do you use IELTS essay templates?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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