Instant IELTS ‘experts’ have been regularly emerging, popping up like mushrooms now. Every day there is a new one. Well, you need to be aware of the risks here. You could easily waste a lot of time and money, and send your IELTS mark downwards. In this post, I’ll look at the …

“Hi, I just got IELTS 8, and I’ll show you how to do it” syndrome.

Everyone has a right to proudly mention their success in IELTS. They have a right to speculate about why they got it, but that's all. It is always just speculation. Remember that!

But whatever band score is achieved, it begins to get risky when the student says,

"It's really easy. I just used ...[dubious source] and [dubious source]"

... and it gets even riskier when they start saying,

"You only have to do [strange piece of advice]",

... but when the student or a school starts saying,

"I can teach you all how to do it

... your reply should be simple: it doesn’t make any sense. Whatever IELTS band score anyone gets, you have to think about why they got it. So, let's do that.


Time to think

If I, Teacher Andrew, did the IELTS Test, I’d get IELTS 9 for Speaking, Reading, Listening, and probably for Writing, too. Can this ‘IELTS 9’ rub off onto you? Can I show you how to do it? Did I get this IELTS 9 from a secret ‘method’? A sneaky ‘trick’? A magic ‘key’? A special set of ‘IELTS Vocabulary’? Was it because of some discrete piece of knowledge which someone can easily pass onto you? Think about it. How did I get this IELTS 9? Could I put on my website and all my advertising,

"Teacher Andrew will show you the famous IELTS 9 method"?

Ummm, what was my method? Well, having spent the first 27 year of my life growing up in Australia, studying six years at primary school, six years at high school, and four years at university, probably helped a bit. Then the masters degree, and the predilection of mine to constantly read and study, and the many teacher-training courses I have done over the years probably helped. Of course, over 20 years of working as a teacher with the English language may have assisted just a little. And the eight books I have written (in English) could have had a similar affect.

Let's get anecdotal. I had a Taiwanese female student who had spent two years in Australia on a working holiday, working in some rough sorts of towns. After her time in Australia, she spent about 8 months travelling throughout Europe. She came back to Taiwan thoroughly 'Australianised' - which basically meant she was easy-going, likeable, relaxed, amusing, irreverent, talkative, and highly interesting! She also readily used the 'f' word, naturally and unselfconsciously. For example, when I mentioned 'Norway' in class, she immediately burst out, 'Wow! Y'know, the people there are so f****** rich!" Hey, she had travelled to Norway, and had something to say about it. 

What's my point? Well, this student did the IELTS test twice, and got IELTS 8 for Speaking both times. So, did she have a technique? Was she even thinking of a 'technique' during the Speaking Test? How did she actually get her IELTS 8? Think about it.

[To be continued in the next post]


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

  • syndrome (n)
  • to speculate (v)
  • to rub off on [sb.] (v)
  • sneaky (adj)
  • discrete (adj)
  • predilection (n)
  • anecdotal (adj)
  • anagram (n)
  • irreverent (adj)




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