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August 4, 2015 / ielts coach

IELTS: Improve your Pronunciation

Here’s a video from British Council Teacher Trainer on how to improve English and prepare for IELTS Speaking.


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Best of luck on your IELTS Test!

December 12, 2013 / ielts coach

IELTS Speaking Videos We Recommend

IELTS Speaking Tips

IELTS Scoring High

IELTS Speaking Part 1

IELTS Speaking Part 2

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Thanks for dropping by. Good luck on your IELTS exam!

If you need any assistance in Speaking or Writing, do email us at 🙂

April 14, 2013 / ielts coach


JC S. Vargas

Considering the fact that all of us in this system have mixed-ability classes, I’ve borrowed some words from Jana Kirchner & Tracy Inman to help us with our role as classroom teacher cum manager.


Planning: The Need for Preassessment
In order for differentiation to be effective, assessment must be an ongoing part of teaching and learning. Preassessment is especially critical to be able to determine the student’s level of readiness to proceed with the new unit of study. These three questions should guide every lesson:

  • Planning: What do I want students to know and/or to be able to do?
  • Preassessment: Who already knows the information and/or can do it?
  • Differentiation: What can I do for them so they can make continuous progress and extend their learning?

Planning: What Do I Want Students to Know and/or to Be Able to Do?
Those educators following best practice must plan their instructional objectives carefully. These objectives reflect national and state standards, the Core Content, Program of Studies, and Learning Goals. If a teacher has not assessed what she is doing in a unit, then she can certainly not guide her students to those outcomes. He is like the captain who doesn’t chart his course and doesn’t know his destination.

Preassessment; Who Already Knows the Information and/or Can Do It?
Once those objectives are created, the teacher must then ascertain who already knows the information or can already perform the skill. There are myriad ways to preassess. Teachers match the preassessment with their content, their students, and their own teaching styles. Some will use the final assessment as the preassessment. If a child already knows 80% of the material, then there is no need for him to “learn” it all over. He’s already mastered it.

Another strategy that works particularly well with skills is “the five hardest questions” (Winebrenner 1992). In math, for example, ask the five hardest questions in the unit. If a child gets four out of five correct, then she doesn’t need to study that material.

Not all preassessments must be pen and paper. (Although written preassessments provide important documentation.) Teachers can determine what kids already know by a class discussion, a KWL chart (What do you already KNOW? What do you WANT to know? How do you want to LEARN?), or even an oral question/answer session.

If something written is a better match, it still does not have to be the printed preassessment in the teacher’s manual (although those are handy to use and important to document the starting point). It could be that before you begin a new unit on photosynthesis, for instance, you instruct students to jot down what they know about the topic.

A quick skim over the papers helps the teacher put them into three piles; those who write a page with diagrams go in one while those saying “photo-what?” go in another.

The form of the preassessment isn’t nearly as important as its utilization. Not only do educators need to preassess, but they must also use those results in teaching the unit. That’s where differentiation comes in.

Differentiation: What Can I Do for Them So They Can Make Continuous Progress and Extend Their Learning?
Now that a teacher has a strong understanding of who knows or can do what, she plans. He will differentiate the content, process, or product to better meet the needs, abilities, and interests of all kids.

Having read the tips above, perhaps we can ask ourselves:

1.      What have we done to early finishers? to the weak students?

2.      If our students get bored, what do we do? If our students say they don’t want to study, what should we do?

3.      Is it important to teach the lesson as prescribed by the syllabus? Or is it more important to teach our students such lessons?


January 18, 2013 / ielts coach

Teaching Pronunciation Using The International Phonetic Alphabet

January 14, 2013 / ielts coach

IELTS Tutor Video

This is one of the earliest and most comprehensive videos available for both IELTS candidates and teachers. The video covers the WHAT and HOW of IELTS listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Kudos to its makers!

January 12, 2013 / ielts coach

5 Golden Rules: IELTS Reading

Sam McCarter wrote a book called ‘Tips for IELTS’ in 2006. From it I’ve taken my five favorite golden rules for IELTS reading test:

ONE: Answer the questions quickly and accurately. If you can’t do a question quickly, leave it and come back to it later.

This is common sense but, still, many IELTS candidates stress themselves too much on one question, causing unnecessary delay that would eventually jeopardize their performance in the sub-test. Just remember, you only have 90 seconds for every item. This means reading the question, finding the answer in the text and writing it on the answer sheet.

TWO: As the passages are long, you don’t have to read in detail. Skim and scan them to find information. 

This is easier said than done. For many readers, reading a passage several times is a common practice. And that is because sometimes, they feel the need to understand the text completely. This may not be very helpful in IELTS reading though. In this test, you read the text to find the answer. You don’t read it to understand it completely.

THREE: The level, the tests, and the tasks become progressively more difficult. Therefore, do the earlier questions as quickly as possible, to give yourself more time for difficult questions.

As well as in other sub-tests, there is an increasing level of difficulty in the tasks. So when doing them, it is wiser to start with the easiest. Not only does it increase your chance of getting a high score, it also warms up or tunes up your brain for it to work more effectively and efficiently.

FOUR: The questions generally follow the order of the information in the text. However, the questions in once section can overlap another and they may be jumbled.

By ‘generally’, this means ‘not all’ but ‘most’. Now that you know it, you should probably start thinking like this: Once you’ve used the first three paragraphs in finding the answers to questions one to three, the answer to question number four could only be in paragraph four or five- not in paragraph one or two.

FIVE: The questions are usually paraphrases of the text so look for the meaning in the text, not the exact words.

IELTS reading test also measures the range of your vocabulary grammar. Knowledge in paraphrases, synonyms, and word formation in very useful in the reading test. You can’t expect to see the questions stated verbatim in the text. So think of the meaning when finding that part of the text where you base your answer, not the same form.

You see, they are not necessarily rules but I consider them as top tips. Hundreds of students I have worked with in the past 11 years agree with them.

January 2, 2013 / ielts coach

IELTS Tips by BC

Here’s a good list of tips posted by no less than one of the most prestigious institutions administering IELTS tests-the British Council.



Read instructions carefully, don’t just glance at them. They are not always the same as in practice or previous tests.
Try and anticipate what the speaker will say. This requires concentration, easy in your own language, but more difficult in English.
Remember if you want a high score you should aim to get all questions in parts one and two correct. Don’t make any careless mistakes in the easier sections.
Small errors can lead to low scores so be careful with your spelling at all times.
Don’t panic if you think the topic is too difficult or the speaker is too fast. Relax and tune in.
Read, write and listen at the same time. Tricky, but practice well.
Don’t leave blanks


Leave a question if you can’t answer. To spend a long time on one answer is disastrous. Go back later if you have time and guess if you have to.
Don’t panic if you don’t know anything about the subject matter covered in the passage. All the answers are in the passage and you don’t need any specialist knowledge.
Remember you have no extra time to transfer your answers, many candidates think because they have extra time in listening they are able to do this in reading too. You can’t.
Before the exam, read as widely as possible (e.g. newspapers, magazines, journals). Don’t limit yourself to one type of text and read articles with an academic style where possible.
Look at the ways paragraphs are organised.
Try and predict content of paragraphs from the opening sentence.
Give every paragraph you read an imaginary heading.
Don’t concentrate on words you don’t know. It wastes valuable time.
Careless mistakes cost many marks. Copy the answer correctly if it is in the passage.
Check spelling.
Only give one answer if that is all that’s needed.
Be careful with singular/plural.


Highlight/circle key words.
Clearly divide paragraphs.
Don’t repeat ideas in a different way.
Stick to the topic.
Careful with timing – don’t rush Task Two, it’s longer and is worth more points.
Paragraph simply, with one idea in each paragraph.
Avoid informal language.
Learn to recognise how long 150 words looks in your handwriting. You don’t really have time to count.
Get used to always spending several minutes re-reading and correcting your essays.
Don’t memorise model answers, they won’t fit the question and you will make more careless mistakes.


It tests your ability to communicate effectively, not just your grammatical accuracy.
Don’t learn scripts of prepared answers. The examiner is trained to spot this and will change the question.
Develop your answers as much as possible.
Speak more than the examiner.
Ask for clarification if necessary.
Remember it is not a test of knowledge and there is no single answer, but ensure that you give your opinion. Don’t worry if you feel it is not sophisticated enough.
The areas covered are fairly predictable and not infinite so practise at home recording ideas onto a tape recorder.

Here’s the link to the original page. I hope this helps!

June 30, 2012 / ielts coach

IELTS Writing: Health Care

All over the world, life expectancy is increasing. Governments are finding it difficult to provide  money for health care, and some people think that everyone should arrange private insurance to pay for health care.

Should health care be free for everyone, or should people pay for the care they need?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your experience. Write 250 words.

Photo from NBC’s Scrubs.

I. Before you write, answer these questions:

1. Are you going to express a strong opinion or present a balanced argument?

2. Which of these points will you include in the essay?

a. Governments cannot afford to provide free health care for everyone.

b. Everyone should have free education and free health care.

c. Wealthy people should pay for health care.

d. Poorer people should have free health care.

e. How rich you are should not affect the quality of the health care you receive.

f. People who pay for health care should have the best doctors and hospitals.

g. Everyone should have free health care until they are 18.

h. People who smoke or drink a lot of alcohol should pay for their health care.

3. Are there any other important points you want to make?

4. Look at the introduction to the composition that a student has written. Put the sentences into the most logical order. Do you like the introduction?

______In the future, most people might live to be  hundred or more.

______Of course, this is good if people can remain healthy, but most old people need more healthcare and governments are finding it                 difficult to provide the money that is needed.

______People are living longer.

______In some parts of the world, the number of young people is staying the same, while the number of old people is growing all the   time.

5. Write the composition. You can use the introduction above or you can write your own. Remember-you don’t need to include all the points you discussed. Try to write around 250 words.

Source: IELTS 5 by Chris Gough

Email me your answers to the questions for free feedback.

June 16, 2012 / ielts coach

IELTS Essay Task: Computers

Some people believe that computers are more a hindrance than a help in today’s world. Others feel that they are such indispensable tools that they would not be able to live or work without them.

In what ways are computers a hindrance?

What is your opinion?

(Source: IELTS Testbuilber by McCarter & Ash)

Most IELTS candidates may be very familiar with the topic of this essay but getting a high score in the IELTS is not about how much you know about the subject. To guide you in tackling this task, answer the questions below.

1. How many statements are there? Do they support or oppose each other?

2. How many questions? What are the keywords?

3. Which two essay tasks are you expected to do?

a. to cite the advantages and disadvantages of computers;

b. to discuss the disadvantages of computers;

c. to explain why computers are important;

d. to evaluate whether computers bring more good than harm;

e. to suggest ways to solve the problems caused by computers

4. How many paragraphs would be enough?(Excluding Introduction and Conclusion)

a. 2

b. 3

c. 4

Write your answers in the Comment box or email me at for a free advice.Image

June 10, 2012 / ielts coach

Welcome to IELTS Coach

IELTS Coach is your home to hitting your target IELTS Score. With over ten years of teaching IELTS, our pool of coaches are ready to take you to greater heights.

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JC Vargas

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