20 episodes

Complete tutorials for IELTS to help you improve faster and pass the exam.

Visit the site for a complete range of online courses and a new improved essay correction service.

IELTS Podcast Ben Worthington

    • Language Learning
    • 4.5, 30 Ratings

Complete tutorials for IELTS to help you improve faster and pass the exam.

Visit the site for a complete range of online courses and a new improved essay correction service.

    During Lockdown He Jumps From 6 to 7.5!

    During Lockdown He Jumps From 6 to 7.5!

    Vinod is based in Hyderabad India:

    * recently under lockdown

    * temporarily without a job

    * test date moved by two months

    What did he do?

    He made the most of the situation, he studied the official IELTS books, did practice test after practice test.

    Then he joined the online IELTS classes we were offering.

    And then started writing essays and getting feedback while on the IELTS online course.

    He made full use of his time and jumped from 6 to 7.5. 

    It’s truly inspiring how feedback and hard work can improve your IELTS band score.

    Trial our essay correction service with this $5 essay service

    You can download or listen to the audio version here:

    |Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud | Transcript |

    • 32 min
    Getting Started with Describing a Pie Chart

    Getting Started with Describing a Pie Chart

    This podcast will help you because 

    * We review the essentials (and explain why going for Band 9 is a bad idea!) * We cover two essential language components to include * We review some authentic native English speaker material * We cover how to find excellent material to use in your prep * We share a solid model for you to follow in your graph description

    Pie charts – Basic guide

    In Task 1, the pie chart is one of the most common ways to present information for you to describe. Pie charts are not difficult to understand but it is a good idea to look at possible problems and the important language we must know to describe them well. 

    The idea of this lesson is to show how we can describe a pie chart in simple terms. We must also think about some possible problems pie charts present and the language we need to be able to describe them. Remember that in the IELTS exam, when pie charts are included, you will see two or more shown for you to make comparisons between data.

      Pie chart essentials

    Two key elements stand out in any pie chart:

    * Percentages: the various parts of the “pie” will always be equal to 100%* Comparisons: the chart gives a simple, clear view of the differences between its parts

    So, the language we need for our description must include ways to write about figures and especially percentages or proportions as well as how to make comparisons. 

    Key language elements 1: percentages

    Pie charts always show percentages. This is the case even where the numbers on the chart may not be expressed in percentages. If you look at these two charts they present the same data in two different ways.

    Taken from : https://chartio.com/learn/charts/pie-chart-complete-guide/ 

    All pie charts present information in percentage terms. To put it simply, the total sum of all the parts will be 100%. But it is    

    possible that numbers are shown in different ways. Look at this for example:

    The UK continues to be Scotland’s largest market for trade.

    Real world examples are a great source  https://www.commerce.gov/news/blog/2018/09/manufacturing-leads-top-sector-foreign-direct-investment-united-states

    Number and percentage language: variations

    It is important to show that you know how to write about numbers and percentages in different ways. This will help to give you a higher grade. The main ways include:

    ·         Proportion

    ·         the amount (uncountable)

    ·         A number (countable)

    ·         Fractions: a half, a third, a quarter, two-thirds a half/third/quarter etc.

    ·         Figures: the numbers themselves

    At the same time, you have to use language to describe the information in the chart. Numbers are important but not enough. Task 1 is asking you to show your ability to write about numbers and what they mean....

    • 36 min


    This tutorial will help you because:

    We will share 2 important elements to Part 1 (you will be surprised by what they are)

    We talk about 2 common types of questions in the speaking exam (and how you can prepare for them)

    We look a the perfect model answers for these questions


    Part 1? No problem. The easy part. It’s just personal questions about what you do or where you live and a couple of other topics.

    Yes, you talk about yourself but, does that make it easy?

    Let’s look at THREE THINGS you can do to make sure your Part 1 is at least a sure 7.0. 

    To begin with:

    * 1. The context

    Let’s remind ourselves the importance of 2 key elements. Timing and the examiner. 

    Part 1 lasts 5minutes. You:

    * Give your name and show your identification. (30 seconds)

    * Answer 4 questions about work or study OR where you live. (1 minute 30 seconds)

    * Answer questions about 2 TOPICS. There will be 4 questions for each topic. (3 minutes)

    That’s 12 questions in 5 minutes. 

    THE EXAMINER wants to know how fluent you are, if your vocabulary is good enough, how correct your grammar is, if your pronunciation is easy to understand. From the first moment, the examiner is thinking of the scores you are going to get, picking up details about your use of English. 

    For the examiner, this can be a routine where most candidates end up with a 6.0 average. Job done. So, how can you stand out from the crowd? 

    Preparation. For the exam and beyond. First, the exam:-

    * • Exam Preparation 

    The test really starts with:

    Let’s talk about what you do. Do you work or are you a student?



    Let’s talk about where you live? In what part of the country are you living?

    NEVER memorise details. It will sound false. Be brief and put it into a context. Something like:-

    Well, I’m a mechanical engineer and I’ve been working for (company) for (3 years). I’m responsible for installing and maintaining air conditioning systems. 


    Because the 3 follow up questions require more complex language giving you the chance to impress!

    What’s more important, the work you do or the people you work with? (comparisons, explanations)

    Do you think you will live in this (house) for a long time? (future, conditionals)

    To prepare for this, of course, watch all those IELTS exams videos. There’s nothing wrong with that but it’s YOU that has to put in the effort. 

    Think and write about work, studies, where you live. Answer What? Where? Why? When? Who? How long?

    Prepare the vocabulary you need, talk in the past, present, future.

    What about the other two topics?

    There’s a wide range including 

    Creativity: (film, television, art, music, photography)

    Learning (history, mathematics, science)

    Communication (emails, contacting friends)

    Technology (computers, smart phones)

    Leisure/celebrations (weekends, birthdays and national holidays, breaks and vacations)

    Styles (jeans, shoes, colours, hairstyles)

    Relationships (friends, family, neighbours, pets, wild animals)

    Environment (weather, the sky).

    The pattern is similar to the work/live format, an “opener” plus 3 more. They’re all about YOU but there will be some we don’t normally talk about or even notice. 

    Let’s talk about pens and pencils. Do you prefer to write with a pen or a pencil?

    At school, did you write with a pen or a pencil?

    How would you feel if someone gave you a pen or a pencil as a gift?

    Do you think you will use a pen or a pencil more or less in the future?

    Always make it as personal as possible.

    • 29 min
    Tips to answer IELTS Speaking Part 1 Questions

    Tips to answer IELTS Speaking Part 1 Questions

    The IELTS Speaking Test lasts 14 minutes and is divided into 3 parts.

    In this tutorial we look at tips to help you successfully pass this section of the exam.

    We find out:

    * What exactly the examiner is listening for during the exam

    * We look at the different questions and topic types

    * We give you some tips to help you prepare yourself for this exam

    * IELTS Speaking Part 1: Overview 

    The IELTS Speaking Test lasts 14 minutes and is divided into 3 parts. Part 1 takes up the first 5 minutes and begins when the examiner greets the candidate with a “Good morning/afternoon. My name is ………. .”

    The time has come for you to speak. This first part is not so demanding. You will be asked about whether you work or study or, alternatively, about where you currently live. Then, the examiner will ask 3 follow-up questions. Then, the examiner will ask you about 2 different topics to talk about. There are 4 questions to answer on each topic. Stop a moment and think about this:

    Total time: 5 minutes (includes about 30 seconds to establish identification at the start)

    4 questions about work/study or where you live.  4 questions each on 2 topics topic.

    Let’s do the arithmetic. A total of 12 questions and answers in around 4 minutes 30 seconds. And, the examiner can ask you to explain answers in more detail with a simple “Why?” as a follow up to many questions.

    What can we learn from those numbers?

    Well, to begin with, that’s a lot of questions in a short space of time. It’s more of an interrogation. And first impressions are rightly or wrongly, important and so you need to show the examiner how good your English is right from the start. When you have to answer a lot of questions in a short time, you do not have time to “think” of what you are going to say. You have to be spontaneous and, of course, sound confident. And to help guarantee that will happen, you need to be extremely well prepared.

    * What is the examiner listening for?

    In Part 1, the examiner is reading the questions from the booklet. If we know what the examiner is looking for, that can help us plan our answers. The questions are designed so that the candidate can begin to show his or her language skills when talking on familiar topics in the four areas the examiner is assessing.

    Fluency: your ability to keep talking without long pauses or hesitations. This includes our ability to re-phrase, to backtrack and say something in a different way.

    Vocabulary: if you have a wide vocabulary of general and specialised words and how you combine words together in familiar patterns (collocations)

    Grammar: your range of structures, that is, of the different verb tenses, modal verbs and conditional sentences as well as correct word order. Someone who only talks in the “present tense” will not receive a high band score.

    Pronunciation/Intonation: you must speak clearly with acceptable pronunciation of individual sounds and use intonation to express meaning, such as the voice rising or falling at the end of an utterance, for example. There is no problem with having an “accent” as long as any native English speaker would not have problems in understanding you.

    All the above are part of your current English level. If you have any weakness in any of these areas, work on it.

    Now, Part 1 topics and the sets of questions on each one, are designed not only to give you the chance to talk about yourself but also for the examiner to find your level in the 4 areas.

    * Topics and question types

    The first question remember is either:

    • 44 min
    How to improve your IELTS Listening

    How to improve your IELTS Listening

    In this week’s tutorial, we take a look at some advice for the IELTS Listening test.

    In this tutorial we will:

    Look at the marking criteria for the test

    Look at some listening strategies you can apply

    Talk about how to prepare and practice for the exam

    IELTS listening: what’s the score?

    You probably won’t be surprised to learn that many well prepared IELTS candidates whose scores in Reading, Speaking and even Writing average at least 7.0 and above, are disappointed with their result in Listening. “I got 6.0. A 6.0 in Listening! After so many years studying English. And I needed to get a 7.0 in all four areas.”

    Yes, it happens. Not to everyone. . But it does and let’s be honest, it really shouldn’t. Now then, I know that there are lots of IELTS practice materials and of course it is very important to practice as much as possible, to do tests and check your score regularly. But, apart from practice, what else can we do to make sure we get the score we deserve? Let’s start from the beginning: the test itself.

    1. Know the test

    You know this but it’s a good idea to go over it again.

    * The test lasts 30 minutes

    * You answer 40 questions

    * There are 4 sections

    * The 4 sections are different

    * There is a variety of question types

    What does this information tell me?

    Well, apart from anything else, that there’s no time to waste in this test. No time to work out what to do. In other words, you need to have your plan in mind before the test begins. Luckily, in (d) and (e), we know what to expect. The 4 sections always follow the same pattern. The types of questions are varied but we can also see repeated patterns. Let’s look at these two aspects in a little more detail.

    2. Know the sections

    Two important things to keep in mind: what general purpose does each section have and how many people speak in each. When I say “purpose”, I mean not just the aim of the spoken communication but what listening skill or skills the exam is testing. It is a good idea to keep this in mind so if, for example, you find it hard to understand everything when 2 or more people are speaking or you find it difficult to follow an academic type talk, then concentrate on improving in those particular areas. Know your strengths. But recognise and work on your weaknesses.

    So, in brief each section aims to:

    Section 1 (questions 1-10): Tests your ability to understand English in everyday situations such as making inquiries. Always 2 speakers.

    Section 2 (questions 11-20): Work or study related talk providing information. You listen for specific details. Just 1 speaker.

    Section 3 (questions 21-30): A small group discussion about studies. At least 2, possibly more speakers.

    Section 4 (questions 31-40): A talk in the style of an academic lecture. Always 1 speaker.

    3. Apply listening strategies from the start

    We are already applying strategies. Knowing what to expect is a strategy. Also, the knowledge that the listening exercises are easier at first but become progressively more difficult. Generally speaking, listening to 3 people talking is more difficult than listening to 1. A university style talk is more difficult than making a hotel reservation. In other words, if Section 1 is the easiest part, then we must get off to a good start. Now, before we look at the types of questions asked and how they relate to each section, take a look at these other general tips.

    4. Use time to read the questions 

    You are given time to look at the questions before you answer each section.

    • 40 min
    How to speak about your hobbies in IELTS Speaking Part 1

    How to speak about your hobbies in IELTS Speaking Part 1

    IELTS Speaking Part 1: Topics

    The IELTS Speaking Test is divided into 3 parts. In Part 1, you will be asked about whether you work or study or, alternatively, about where you currently live. Then, the examiner will ask you about 2 different topics to talk about. There are 4 questions to answer on each topic. As Part 1 lasts for 5 minutes, you have about 1:30 to talk about each of these two topics. You need to show the examiner how good your English is right from the start. When you have to answer a lot of questions in a short time, you do not have time to “think” of what you are going to say. You have to be spontaneous and, of course, sound confident.

    Keeping these points in mind, let’s go on to look at a particular possible Part 1 topic: Hobbies.

    Hobbies as topic

    Part 1 topics are personal. The basic idea is for the candidate to talk about his or her personal experiences and feelings.

    Imagine the examiner begins by saying something like: “Let’s talk about your hobbies” and immediately follow up with the first direct question. Remember here in Part 1, the examiner is just reading from a script and can only follow up any question with a “Why?” if he or she wants you to give more information, so it’s you, the candidate, who will be speaking more.

    There will be 4 questions, excluding any possible “Why?” follow ups. With the Hobbies topic, these could be what you hear.

    What hobbies or interests do you have?

    Do you need to use any special equipment to do this hobby?

    Do you prefer to do your hobby with other people or do you prefer to be alone?

    Why do you think so many people have hobbies?

    Questions are speaking opportunities

    The total amount of time you have to answer these questions will be around one and a half minutes, just 90 seconds.

    How much can you say in 90 seconds?

    We are probably talking about an average of 3 or 4 “sentences” for each question. I know, “sentences” is not the right word. But it will give you an idea. Let’s take an example.

    Hobbies? Yes, I do. I love taking photos and I have this really expensive camera. It’s a Nikon and I’ve had it for about 5 years. In fact, my grandfather gave it to me. He was the one who got me interested in photography. What I like most is taking photos of landscapes. It’s risky walking around with a camera these days so I only take it with me at the weekends when I go out with family or friends.

    I timed myself saying that. It took me 17 seconds. Of course, in a real interview that would be longer. We have to add some natural pauses and the occasional “er..” or “umm”. Let’s give it 22 seconds maximum. That would be reasonable. It may be a little too long in fact if we assume that we will answer each question in the same time. But, of course, some answers might be shorter. Perhaps, question 2, for example:

    No, not really. I mean, I’m not a professional so I don’t have a tripod or anything like that. Everything these days is digital so I don’t have to worry about developing the film. All I need is the camera and then save and store them on my laptop.

    That took me 12 seconds. If we call it 16 seconds, we are up to 38 seconds of candidate speaking time after 2 questions. Add the time it takes for the examiner to ask the questions.

    Timing yourself

    Practising in class, with other students or just by yourself, getting a feel for the timing is important. It’s so easy to time yourself. You don’t want to say too much and you don’t want to say too little. If you go on talking for too long, the examiner will interrupt you anyway. That is nothing to worry about …the examiner is working to a strict time schedule and wants to keep things moving. At the same time, prepare to say something like a minimum of 3,

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
30 Ratings

30 Ratings

CarlosCali ,

Absolutely helpful

Thanks Ben for all the tips and help you give us through this podcast, I find them very helpful...much appreciated.

alljamin ,

Great material with misleading delivery

The podcast is initially the extracted audio from the video materials. In quite a few cases it is quite hard to follow as there are such references: “... as you can see”; and the content of what should the listener “see” is not described, what hugely lowers the value of the delivered material. Perhaps making sure that everything what is displayed on the screen is clearly verbally conveyed can certainly improve the podcast.

Jesoca ,

I'm so happy to have found this podcast

Thanks so much for all the advice given in this podcast. I have only listened to 1 of the episodes and can't wait to keep going.

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