Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

How do natives learn how to spell?

English has so many words with weird spellings!

We all need tricks to help us out with these.

Today you’ll learn mnemonic devices to help you remember some of them.

Native English speakers learn these as children.

You can mention them during Speaking to impress the Examiner with your native knowledge.

Why is spelling important?

IELTS Listening tries to trick you!

Exam writers will choose words for summary completions that are difficult to spell.

  • Wednesday
  • February

If you spell the word incorrectly, you lose the point.

Your Writing score also decreases if you have many spelling errors.

How can mnemonic devices help?

These are tricks that can help you remember common words that are difficult to spell.

It is a short phrase that rhymes.

If you remember these, you will remember how to spell the word!

Spelling hack #1: I before E except after C

This is accurate for most words.

  • friend
  • fiend
  • receive
  • deceive

We discussed this trick in Episode 1125 of the All Ears English podcast.

It is a good general rule, but there are many exceptions!

To include some of the exceptions, you now may hear it as:

I before E, except after C, or when sounding like A, as in neighbor and weigh; and also for weird, which is really just weird.

Some exceptions:

  • weird
  • leisure
  • forfeit
  • albeit
  • seize
  • glacier
  • science
  • eight
  • freight
  • weight
  • beige

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Spelling hack #2: Mnemonic devices

  • lieutenant: lie you ten ants!

Remember the you is a U to spell this word correctly.

  • Wednesday: the wedding is on Wednesday

This helps you remember that the ‘d’ comes before the ‘n’.

  • February: R U having trouble spelling February?

For this word, the key is to remember that ‘r’ comes before ‘u’.

Memory tricks to mention on IELTS

ROYGBIV: pronounced Roy G Biv, it’s an acronym for all the colors in order

  • red
  • orange
  • yellow
  • green
  • blue
  • indigo
  • violet

My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas‘ can help you remember the order of the planets.

  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Earth
  • Mars
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Uranus

QWERTY: the letters in the top left corner of keyboards used in the U.S.

We now use this as a word to refer to this type of keyboard.

Mentioning any of these on IELTS will impress the Examiner with your native knowledge!


Spelling is very important on the IELTS exam!

Learn these tricks for spelling common difficult words.

You can also refer to these native mnemonic devices to impress the Examiner.

For more strategies that are guaranteed to boost your IELTS score, join our 3 Keys IELTS study system today!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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