DiscoverIELTS Made Easier
IELTS Made Easier
Claim Ownership

IELTS Made Easier

Author: Fiona Wattam

Subscribed: 4,312Played: 82,564


A weekly talk-through of IELTS topics and tests to help you learn about the issues, vocabulary, tips and strategies you need to prepare for your test day. Follow me on and join the Members Academy for all the downloads, step-by-step online courses and support to get you a Band 7+ in the #ielts test.
338Β Episodes
I had a special request for this Academic Passage 3 because it's difficult, but honestly, it's a very early test (Book 7) and is just badly-written. I think the reading itself is very useful as an example of academic writing, with lots you can learn from it, but the questions are simply not good - you can guess 3 of them without even needing to understand what they mean (a sure sign of a bad test), and there is too much similar language (very few synonyms required). If you struggled with this one - forget it and move on (but listen for practice 😊.) Learning points: Hedging - listen to an earlier podcast about hedging: and read the blog: --- Send in a voice message:
When you get IELTS Writing feedback from your teacher, you should be able to see why you are not achieving your desired score. But this feedback is only useful if you understand exactly what the teacher is talking about when they are pointing out areas you need to work on. Writing Feedback about LANGUAGE is usually easy to understand – most people know the language related to grammar (e.g. wrong tense, article missing, third person -s), spelling and punctuation. But Writing feedback related to CONTENT and academic STYLE is more difficult, especially if you are not familiar with the demands of academic writing. You need to have a good understanding of the terms that the teacher is using so that you can make the necessary changes. Here is a β€˜glossary of terms’ that I use regularly in my IELTS Writing Feedback Sessions in the Members Academy. See also How to make your writing more formal for Task 2: IELTS Task 2 Structures that strengthen your argument: How to use 'hedging' in IELTS Writing Task 2 #ielts #ieltswriting #ieltsfiona --- Send in a voice message:
This is an Academic Part 1 text. The text and subject matter is difficult but the questions (YNNG) are NOT.Β  In fact, in this episode I will show you how you can mostly guess the answers without reading or understanding very much of the text. Get more help with Yes, No, Not Given questions on my website. If you'd like to contribute to the upkeep of my website and podcast, you can buy me a coffee here: Many thanks Fiona --- Send in a voice message:
Cambridge Book 15 Test 1 Passage 3 --- Send in a voice message:
This is a really useful Part 2 IELTS Listening (Book 15) about a community that closed their road to traffic so that the children could play safely outside. It practises Multiple Choice and Choosing from a list. Useful vocab: 'the idea caught on' = the idea became very popular in other places 'give it a go' = try it Useful grammar: Present Perfect vs Past Simple 'The scheme's been up and running for 3 years' = 'The Street Paly Scheme first took place 3 years ago'. 'Be able to' with conditionals 'We'd love to be able to close our road for longer'. Conditionals 'People can use their cars as long as they drive at under 20kph'. 'They're happy to see children outside - even if it does get quite noisy'. 'Kids are getting fresh air, even if they're not doing anything energetic'. Past Perfect As we'd predicted, air quality was better, but what I hadn't expected was how much quieter it would be. Academic Task 1 Vocabulary 'Sales in the shops went up considerably'. Writing Task 2: talking about benefits/outcomes develop confidence get fresh air get to know people in the street air quality was significantly better/less air pollution much quieter/less noise pollution they felt safer/improved safety #ielts #ieltslistening #ielttutor --- Send in a voice message:
In this podcast lesson, I review an online Band 9 essay and discuss 9 features of this essay which could be improved. For each of the points I mention, I provide an alternative so that you can make changes to your own writing. I'll put this on my website ASAP, but in the meantime, you can watch my YouTube video here, so you can see the essays that I'm discussing: My tips about Coherence and Cohesion (avoiding mechanical linking words) are here: There is a video to go with that lesson too. Find more Band 9 essays and tips on my website: (last week's podcast) #ielts #ieltswriting #ieltstask2 #ieltsband9 --- Send in a voice message:
In this episode, I talk you through a Band 9 Model IELTS Writing Essay covering: - First lines - PEEL paragraphs - Hedging - Common myths - Conclusions Get the full essay on my website: #ielts #ieltswriting #ieltsfiona --- Send in a voice message:
This is a nice and easy Academic Reading Part 1 (great for GT too). It goes in chronological order, so it's easy to find information from dates, names and places, and there are 2 sets of questions (TFNG and gapfill). If you're aiming for 7 and you can get 10/13 correct in less than 20 minutes, you're doing very well. Check your band score here: Get the conditionals review here: Learn about 'willing to' vs 'want to' here: Join the Conditional Bootcamp here: β˜•Buy me a coffee to say thanks here: --- Send in a voice message:
Today's Listening is a 6/10 for difficulty. It's a Part 3 Listening with multiple choice and matching from a list. Useful vocabulary and synonyms: surprising = amazing got cut off = became isolated exact = precise contact = get in touch with make detailed notes = write down all the ideas check timing = make sure we won't overrun add personal opinions = give your own viewpoint Join the Conditionals Bootcamp here. Get the Signals and Signposts lesson here. Buy me a coffee to say thanks here: --- Send in a voice message:
This is a really really useful passage to read because of how it can help your WRITING. The passage itself is not difficult, but it is jam-packed full of excellent examples of Formal Academic Writing so if you have this reading at home, go through it carefully. - 'PEEL' paragraphs - Hedging - Linking words - Noun forms - Conditionals - Critical Thinking Want to say thanks? --- Send in a voice message:
This is an extremely difficult Academic Reading Passage 3. It took me 30 minutes to find the answers even with the answer sheet in front of me. What can we learn from a text like this? Background knowledge and vocabulary will aid understanding Strategies such as locating the researchers' names will speed up your responses Every little helps - 2 of my recent daily tasks from the Writing Challenge will help you break down the dense text 1) affect vs effect 2) factor vs reasonΒ Add these synonyms to your list: managers need to know = it is beneficial for hotel managers to understand to increase employee retention = to encourage staff to remain employees feel obligated to stay = staff feel they shouldn't move little is done = undeveloped practices employee development = improve their skills if cooperation is encouraged = if managers encourage employees to work together research has shown = evidence exists to support this hypothesis staff have a tendency to = employees have a predisposition toΒ  to dislike their workplace = to view their work environment negatively they conducted a study = they carried out research to fit with company goals = to align with organisational goals Want to support my podcast? Please click on the link below: Many thanks Fiona --- Send in a voice message:
In this lesson you'll learn the 9 main ways of hedging - an essential feature of sophisticated academic writing. Get the full lesson and more practice on the blog: This is Day 17 of the Advent Challenge - catch up on anything you've missed by going to this page: Enjoying the podcasts, challenges, lessons and videos? Help support my work by buying me a coffee here: Thanks! --- Send in a voice message:
No time to do my Advent Challenge? This podcast (watch the video version on talks you through the past 12 days, so you'll get up and running really quickly! It's never too late to start - just go to my website: and open the windows which will take you through to all the links. Come and post your sentences on Facebook, where I will check them every day: If you'd like to say thanks and contribute to the costs of running the free challenge, you are very welcome to do so here on my 'Buy Me A Coffee' page: In return, I will send you a copy of my A-Z of IELTS Advent when it's ready in the New Year. Many thanks in advance - your donations help me pay for the cost of the website, graphics, advent page and podcast, so you'll be helping me to help others. Best wishes Fiona --- Send in a voice message:
Is this Listening more difficult than usual? I got a special request from Elango in my Members Academy, and yes I think it is a tricky one! I had to read the tapescript very carefully to figure out the answer to Question 27, and it even required a bit of background knowledge (possibly true of Question 28 too!). Apart from that, this is a really good one to practise listening for: - Signals and Signposts: - Synonyms (fascinating = interesting; amazed = surprised; type = genre) - Grammar (not many = few) - Language of hedging (comics can serve a really useful purpose = comics have the potential for being useful) - Pronunciation of key words (ballet) Catch up on the Free Writing Task 2 Challenge here: --- Send in a voice message:
This is Day 1 of the November Writing Task 2 Challenge. Join us in the Facebook group: And on YouTube (this is the first video) And on my website --- Send in a voice message:
I had a special request from Isabella on Instagram today πŸ‘‹πŸ‡§πŸ‡·. She asked me to look at a really difficult text (yes, this one's 9/10!). It's an Academic Passage 3 and it follows the Reading Type 2 structure (discursive) which goes like this - Title: asks a question (Why? The answer is not what everyone thinks). 1. Old theory: Everyone thinks fairy tales have endured because the STORIES give us WARNINGS about life e.g. Little Red Riding Hood. 2. New theory: Everyone is wrong. There's another reason. 3. Test to prove the old theory is wrong: Is the STORY important? 'NO'. Is the WARNING important? Answer: 'NO'. 4. Results of the test: The reason why fairy tales have endured is just that people enjoy scary stories. 5. Althernative theory (instantly proved wrong): The stories remain relevant because they're about women as victims. 6. Conclusion: Everyone likes scary stories because they build up our resistance to negative emotions, so the first theory is probably right. You can find similar 'discursive' structures here: What destroyed the civilisation of Easter Island? Is there anybody out there? The search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. Autumn Leaves Canadian writer Jay Ingram investigates the mystery of why leaves turn red in the fall. My updated guide to Time Management in the Reading Test gives you 8 techniques to help you improve your Reading Speed for the #ielts test. --- Send in a voice message:
Do you have a bike-sharing scheme where you live? In London there are the so-called 'Boris bikes' (named after Boris Johnson, who launched them in 2010 after being inspired by the success of a similar scheme in Paris, which is mentioned in this reading). This is a Section 2 Academic Text with 3 types of questions: Matching Statements, Choosing from a List and Gapfill. So whenever there's a lot to do, the text is slightly easier. This is a chronological text (in order of time) and is suitable for General Training practice too. It has some fantastic language that you can use in your writing e.g. urban bike-sharing scheme an answer to the threats of air pollution and consumerism. The police were opposed to the initiatives The council rejected ('turned down') the plan. 'The bicycle belongs to the past' That mentality has totally changed. By 1999, people had become more environmentally conscious. The system, however, was prone to vandalism and theft. The Parisian bike-sharing programme now boasts more than 20000 bicycles. Amsterdam is regarded as one of the two most cycle-friendly captials in the world. Today everybody longs for cities that are not dominated by cars. Get all my 10-minute lessons on my website Join the Members Academy See you next weekend, All the best Fiona --- Send in a voice message:
This is a difficult Section 4, but if you listen to my podcast regularly, you will be very familiar with this common IELTS topic! It's about marine archaeology, the use of technology to find ancient shipwrecks and building under the sea, and the lessons researchers can learn about how ancient civilisations lived. In this episode I refer to similar IELTS Reading/Listening texts, so you can see how important it is to learn the vocabulary that is relevant to so many IELTS texts. Find the Modals of Deduction Grammar here [e.g. Atlit-Yam MAY HAVE BEEN DESTROYED by a tsunami, climate change MAY HAVE CAUSED glaciers to melt. Find the Reading about the Lapita [Beyond the Blue Horizon] here. Get all my lessons in one place in the Members Academy. --- Send in a voice message:
Both texts are gapfill summaries. The first one gives you practice with summary Flow Charts (IELTS 28-Day Planner Day 12) and the second covers the common topic of how to deal with absence in the workplace (good practice if you never usually read this kind of document). Get more General Training Reading tips on my website. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily practice. #ielts #ieltstest #ieltscourse --- Send in a voice message:
Listen out for the 5 most common gapfill types in this Part 4 gapfill on the very common topics of Agriculture and Water (28-Day Planner Week 1). Practise these topics on my website: Watch my YouTube 5-minute Vocab review of Agriculture here: And here's the Honeybee Listening I mentioned: Get the 28-Day Planner here - do NOT let it get lost in your computer. Print it off. Use it every day. Listen to another Part 4 about agriculture in Africa here: Get lots more help on my website: --- Send in a voice message:
CommentsΒ (27)

Khatai SuleymanlΔ±

good job

Feb 10th

Donya Bashiri

Sorry i want to know where can I find the passage that you talked about "driverless cars"

Jan 13th
Reply (2)

ΠœΠ°ΠΊΡΠ°Ρ‚ Кондо

Thank you very much!

Aug 9th

Aidin Frdi

absolutely helpful πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Jul 13th

sepideh shirizadeh

I start to follow you.. I like your episodes and I have a recommendation for you.. please use more synonymous words between your helps me to improve my vocabulary tooπŸ€—

Dec 31st
Reply (1)

Marcos Andrade

Reading and Listening.

Nov 18th

Marcos Andrade

How can I contact you to get more information.

Nov 18th
Reply (1)

Dr Hamed

You are amazing teacher and your fantastic podcasts really helped me. Keep going I'm your big fan!

Oct 21st
Reply (2)

adebayo mohammed

Hi Fiona, I am a fan of your IELTS ETC podcast. Since I came across your podcast last Dec, I always try to make sure that I listen to your new episodes. And am still trying to listen to the previous ones. All your podcasts have been really helpful I must confess. Due to my busy schedule, the only convenient way to be abreast of your lessons in via podcast, which am making effort to catch up with all. Please Fiona I am finding IELTS questions on T/F/NG, Y/N/NG a lot more challenging. After listening to your podcast, which turned out to be highly useful, I decided to try some of the Cambridge tests. I can see that I have made a lot of improvement in answering the questions, thanks to your guide. However, I felt highly disappointed in myself when scored 1/6 on some questions I tried recently. I can't get a convincing explanation why the answers were what the book said they are. The questions were from Cambridge IELTS 9, passage 3. Questions 32-37. They were, of course, somewhat tricky I guess. Please would you make some tutorial or a review on the questions and explain the reasons for the answers ? I understand that you have other important activities and might be too busy to attend to my request now. Anytime you are treating questions on T /F/ NG, I would love to see that question be among the ones that you will treat. Thanks.

Jun 15th
Reply (1)

eb rozbeh

good tnx

Jun 4th

Ali Almaliky

Thanks for your efforts. A great podcast I have found so far.

Nov 13th
Reply (1)

farnaz Gbd

I just wanted to thank you for this amazing thing you are doing.I Specially totally appreciate the episodes on writing task 2. Wish you could cover speaking too, but this is already a 5stars pidcast❀️

Sep 3rd
Reply (1)

Lovely Girl

I donvt have a blog. Do you have any idea to create my own blog? And what i shoud i write about?

Aug 21st

Preslava Petrova

Hi. I really like the idea of the Discussion Clock. Do you have a blog post about it?

Aug 8th
Reply (1)

Guramritpal Singh

awesome podcasts. thank you

Jun 23rd
Reply (1)

Noor Musa

Great podcast! Big thanks

Jun 1st
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store