Stating the obvious…

I just wanted to write a quick post today about something that is or should be, pretty obvious. Maybe not as obvious as it ought to be, but really, if you think about it, it's just common sense. I don't mean to be cryptic but I am talking about how some people can't see the [...]

No teacher required! Why you should stay out of the classroom if you want to be a fluent English speaker…

I know that for many people, taking traditional classroom based English courses, whether for IELTS or general English, just doesn't work. Maybe there are too many students in the class, or the methodology used isn't suitable, or for whatever reason people come out of the class being as fluent (or not) as when they went [...]

How to create your own English learning environment online!

Even though, as I have written before, one of the reasons people don't get the score they need for the IELTS is a lack of knowledge about the test, and the techniques they need for each skill, an equally obvious reason is that their English level is simply not good enough. Of course, for some [...]

Why the classroom is a bad place to be…if you want English fluency!…

The question of whether the traditional, language learning classroom actually helps or hinders the learner to be a fluent speaker of English is a question I have been pondering over recently...this latest e-book of mine goes some way to addressing this issue, for me at least, and offers some solutions to this problem. Download it [...]

Create your own English learning environment, for free!…

How to create your own English learning environment! You know, every week I get a request from someone, somewhere in the world asking for advice and free help with their English. I try to help if I can, with resources, links to good websites, etc. I offer advice on Skype when I am not too [...]

How to improve your pronunciation for the Speaking test. Part 1: phonemes and intonation!..

My post for today follows on from my previous posts in the series looking at the Speaking criteria for our favourite test. I haven't written much, if anything, about pronunciation before so it is time to set that straight, and also this is in response to a couple of queries from one or two of [...]

Increase your vocabulary. Keep a Lexical notebook…

Some of the most common questions I am asked about the IELTS is "How do I increase my vocabulary?" and "How do I remember the new words I have learned"? I have written something about this before, but I will say a little more about it again as it is indeed a legitimate concern for many [...]

Practice = confidence = performance, how to get more speaking practice for the IELTS!

I was talking to a couple of students this past week about preparation for the IELTS/ FCE exams and I was making the point that as far as speaking practice goes, they needed a lot more practice than an hour or two a week with me could provide.  I can't remember the times I have told [...]

Dive into English! Why “immersion” works for English learning…

My post today is about how to improve your English in as short as time as possible. I am often asked by students "How can I learn English fast"? This is of course, an interesting question, and one which poses more questions in turn. For instance, why does it have to be "learned" quickly, and [...]