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

Today you’ll learn about very recent changes on the IELTS Exam.

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Even though I resigned from being an IELTS Examiner for 14 years, I’m maintaining relationships with other current examiners. Today is the first in a series based on my conversations with these insiders.

The biggest recent change on the exam is that examiners must start the recording as soon as the student walks in the room.

This virtually eliminates any opportunity for relaxed small talk. This may be due to some examiners not following correct procedure on the exam, and IELTS wanting more monitoring.

For you, candidate, this means you should try to engage in small talk with the other students in the waiting room, before your Speaking Exam.

You could just say, “I’m kinda nervous. Do you think you could practice an exam question with me?

You need to try to get out of your head and get warmed up.

You won’t be able to talk once you are waiting outside the exam room when it is your turn.

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My examiner friend also noted that in recent training, another issue was corrected.

Some examiners who teach in university will give IELTS candidates marks that are too low, because they are comparing the candidate to their university students.

If you are 100% sure that your writing score is too low, you can ask for a remark.

Another thing my examiner contact noted was that students with a very high level of English, like Indian candidates, were not getting the highest scores. This is surprising because their English was so good, but they weren’t preparing for the exam well.

For IELTS Task 1, bar graphs are becoming more common. Make sure you are not using Change Over Time vocabulary, because these are Static questions.

However, process diagrams are still very rare, popping up perhaps once a year, even though maps are becoming more common.

What do you think of today’s advice?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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