This is the first in the 'Tricks to Watch Out For' series (TTWOF). I urge you all to read EVERY one of these. It is a depressing fact that there are some tricks being played, and you need to know about them. Here's the first, but before I give it, I'll give an introduction.

So, you go to ‘famous’ IELTS teachers. And of course you read ‘famous’ IELTS books (with names such as ‘The IELTS-Nine Magic book’). And you go to famous IELTS blogs, you check out IELTS ‘expert’ websites. And you reply, ‘Thank you so much for your great help. Now I know how to get an IELTS Nine.’ But do you get an IELTS Nine? Do you even get an IELTS Six? Come on; tell me the truth!

Well, having worked for over 20 years in the IELTS field here, I know the truth. And the statistics (which can be revealed) tell us that the average IELTS score in Taiwan is 6.0, and the average writing score is 5.5. It’s pretty miserable, actually. Of course, the overwhelming majority of people who receive this score (and the very many who receive lower) do not mention it to anyone. You just hear about the few good results. Everyone else stays quiet, and seeks more ‘expert advice’. And it goes on and on, as students jump to the next craze

Sometimes students come to me, saying, 'I've been studying IELTS for over a year, and done the test five times, but I always get 5.5.' I ask these students how they 'studied IELTS', and they tell me of all the 'famous' IELTS sites and sources, people and schools, fads and fashions, and I cringe a little bit (especially when I think of how much money they have spent). Then they show me their writing, and I pause reflectively, thinking about how much time I'll need to spend 'de-programming' the student of all the bad approaches they have been taught. The fact is, the whole teaching of IELTS in this country has some serious problems, and many students are wasting a lot of time and money.

Of course, many people are making a lot of money from all this, and nothing is changing. So, this post is the first of a series designed to educate you all about the danger signs (see above picture); all the 'tricks to watch out for'. Hopefully, in time, you will all become wiser consumers, and the plethora of sneaky tricks being played out there will steadily decline. In this first of the series, I'll look at the ...

'Our IELTS Course is only 12 hours' syndrome.

This sound good, right. Only 12 hours, and you are .... ummm .... 'prepared' for IELTS, right? WRONG! But these courses are cheap, right? WRONGHere's the truth. Very short IELTS Preparation  Courses ...

  1. might seem cheap, but the course can be very costly per hour, and ...
  2. must necessarily provide very limited preparation for the IELTS test.

Yes, short courses are easy to decide to take, quickly and easily completed, and seemingly cheap - but do they do the job? Do they prepare you with the full range of skills necessary in order to be fully prepared for the IELTS Test? Let me tell you the truth - NO WAY! - and you can trust me over this, as an IELTS-preparation teacher with over 20 years experience, author of 6 books on the subject, and highly qualified in this field.

[To be continued in the next post]


Find the meaning of the underlined words, also repeated below.

  • statistics (n)
  • craze (n)
  • fad (n)
  • to cringe (v)
  • overwhelming (adj)
  • plethora (n)
  • sneaky (adj)




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