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

Do you have difficulty recognizing parallel expressions?

You are not alone!

This is a troublesome issue for many IELTS students who are preparing for the exam.

In this episode, Jessica and Aubrey share a fantastic activity you can do right away to start recognizing them more easily.

This will improve your listening skills and help you more easily notice parallel expressions.

Studying for IELTS can be fun!

Games and activities that are fun to play with friends can also be great ways to practice using English.

Aubrey is excited to share ideas for fun activities you can do at home.

Many of these you would do in an ESL or IELTS prep course.

You can also hear about them on our podcast and then do them at home!

What inspired this activity?

Aubrey was taking the Listening Test and ran into a parallel expression.

She missed the next few keywords because she was still looking for the first one!

This is a common pitfall for many students when it comes to the IELTS Exam.

It’s easy to get lost in the listening audio when you’re looking for a keyword that you never see, because the text has a parallel expression instead!

Strategies Created By a Former Examiner

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What do you need for this activity?

You will need a speaking partner.

  • A friend
  • A coworker
  • Someone from the 3 Keys IELTS Facebook page (if you are in our course)

The two of you don’t need to be physically in the same room.

You can do it on the phone or over Skype.

How does this activity work?

1. Partner A chooses a paragraph.

The text should be challenging!

  • New York Times article
  • Scholarly journal
  • Magazine article

2. Partner A circles three words in the text.

  • For the first word, just write down the word you circled in the text.
  • For the second and third words, write down a parallel expression for the words you circled.

3. Partner A tells Partner B the 3 words. These are the words Partner B will listen for.

4. Partner B holds the 3 words in their mind while they listen. This trains you to listen for the next key words to be listening for.

5. Partner A reads the paragraph out loud.

6. When Partner B hears a word or parallel expression for one of those 3 words, they yell “Stop!”

How does this activity train your brain?

Similar to reading, you can’t listen and think about every word you are hearing.

You must train your brain to focus on key words from the question.

The key words or parallels Partner A provides to Partner B are the key words that would be in the question.

It will take practice to get used to looking for multiple keywords while listening to audio clips!

This activity can also be used to practice for the Reading exam!

You can provide your study partner with a paragraph of text and 3 key words or parallel expressions to look for while they read.

Also, you can write your own questions!

This is one of the best ways to learn about the IELTS exam.

When is the free Webclass?

4 Secrets to IELTS 7 or Higher in 30 Days will be held Saturday, Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. EST (New York time)/ 10 a.m. PST (Los Angeles time)

It will be held again Monday, Nov. 25 at 6 p.m. EST (New York time)/ 3 p.m. PST (Los Angeles time)

These will not be recorded, so plan to participate live! Mark your calendar!

For more information and to sign up, click here!

Don’t miss the chance to get tips from a former IELTS Examiner on how to save time!


Everyone who studies for IELTS has difficulty recognizing parallel expressions and listening for multiple key words.

You can train your brain to listen for key words!

The activity explained and modeled by Jessica and Aubrey in this episode is a fun and effective way to practice!

Find a speaking partner and follow the steps for a fun way to practice for the Listening and Reading exams.

All these strategies and more can be found in the 3 Keys IELTS Success System.

Do you have questions about today’s topic?

Let us know in the comments below.

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