Written  Nov. 7, 2012


An Email from a Student Asking How to Prepare for the Test in Two Months

-- On Tue, 11/6/12, XXXXX> wrote:

To: "gelin3" <>
Date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012, 11:33 PM



   I am your student in the XXXX class. My name is XXXX (XXXXX). I have only 2 months to prepare my ielts test.

And I am really worried about the speaking test. 

Could you give me some advice on how to practise my spoken english? 

Whether I should practise all the topics provided on your website?

 which topics are more important? What I should do everyday?

I will take the exam on 19th Junary in 2013.

It seems that there will be many new topics and questions.

Are these new questions very difficult ?Please give me some suggestions.Thank you very much!




                                        6th November 2012



I thought I explained in class how to prepare for the test. And I thought I explained this on my website.



This is probably the most important thing to study for IELTS students!




Other Things

Yes, there will be a change of topics at the beginning of January. About 1/3 of the topics will change. The topics that will be retired will probably include some of the oldest topics that are in use now but not always! (Look at the  "Topic Usage History" pages to see how some topics have been (temporarily) retired even after just 4 months of use and some topics stay in the test for more than 12 months.)  So you can't really predict what topics will be retired in January. Maybe I forgot to mention in class that the best times to do the test are, a) late November and early or mid-December, b) late March & early or mid-April  and c) late July & early or mid-August because you will have more information about the currents questions at those times.

You do gain some advantage by having more information about the questions being used in the test but this advantage is not as big as you might think. I'm guessing the advantage for most people is probably about 15% of your score. So if you get 5.5 without knowing what questions are in use, you would probably have gotten 6.0 after knowing what questions are being used. [5.5 x 0.15 = 0.825.  5.5 + 0.825 = 6.325 = 6.0). But for a few people the advantage might be 20%. In this case, 5.5 without knowing the questions would give a score of 6.5 after knowing the questions. (5.5 x 0.2 = 1.1. 5.5 + 1.1 = 6.6 = 6.5). On the other hand, some people probably just gain a 10% or even a 5% advantage. Remember, if the examiner clearly sees that you know what questions are in the test, you might lose points, not gain points!

Concerning what topics to practice more and what topics to practice less, I suggest looking at all the current topics but spending a little less time on any topics that will have been in use for a year or more in January 2013. Also, spend more time on the harder topics because many of the easier topics might not need much of your practice it's the harder topics that will hurt your score if you make too many mistakes or can't speak well on those topics.

I don't know if the new topics in January will be difficult or not   some probably will be but others won't be too difficult. Some of the "new" topics in January will actually be repeats of topics that have been used before.

Good luck,