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IELTS with Fiona: expert advice to help you get your best IELTS score.

IELTS with Fiona: expert advice to help you get your best IELTS score.

By IELTS with Fiona - IELTS prep made easy

Join me for a weekly talk-through of IELTS topics to help you learn about the issues, vocabulary, tips and strategies you need to prepare.

Find all my tips on my website 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.
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IELTS Listening 🌋: academic words you need for Part 3

IELTS with Fiona: expert advice to help you get your best IELTS score.Nov 26, 2023

IELTS Listening 🌋: academic words you need for Part 3
Nov 26, 202330:55
IELTS Listening: Elephant translocation 🐘
Oct 22, 202320:17
IELTS Reading: Forest Management 🌳

IELTS Reading: Forest Management 🌳

This is a relatively easy Passage 2 from a Cambridge Past Paper, with 3 sets of questions [Matching Information, Categorising and Gapfill].

Oct 03, 202320:28
IELTS Listening: Victor Hugo
Jul 22, 202325:34
Get some coffee before you do this Reading test 🗽
Jun 27, 202323:37
IELTS Reading: Urban farming

IELTS Reading: Urban farming

Farming and agriculture is my Number 1 Vocabulary topic for IELTS, and I noticed that most of the readings in this new Cambridge Practice Test Book (18) are related either to the environment (Week 1 of my vocab course) or to cities/architecture/buildings (Week 2 in my Vocabulary course - the Man-Made Environment).

So make sure you re-read this text for the useful vocabulary e.g. sustainable, organic, intensive farming.

Members: the video version of this podcast with pdf download is now available for you to watch.

Get my Members Academy Reading package (2 full courses plus all the new lessons over 12 months, plus Members Academy benefits - Private blog, live zoom meetings, private community, daily tips, Writing coaching lessons etc).

As I add more materials and benefits, the price will only increase, so join sooner rather than later so you can get the most of the resources before your test.

Jun 12, 202322:01
IELTS Reading: Stadiums
Jun 01, 202326:46
IELTS Reading: The development of the London underground railway
May 19, 202324:03
IELTS Listening Part 2: Matthews Island Holidays

IELTS Listening Part 2: Matthews Island Holidays

Get the full blog with audio on my website:

In this lesson, I examine the MACRO and MICRO skills you need to get all of the answers right in this Section 2 IELTS Listening about a holiday company.

For example:

  • Background knowledge (what you already know about holiday companies, tour itineraries, travelling/place names in the UK etc etc)
  • Vocabulary (phrasal verbs, synonyms, numbers)
  • Spelling (ea words, al/ol words)
  • Grammar (comparisons, 'used to', perfect modals for guessing)
  • Accents (Northern English 'u')
  • Pronunciation features (meet you)
  • Linking (However...)
  • Signalling (What we do is...)
  • Predicting
  • Remembering

The Members Academy teaches all of these skills in a variety of easy-to-follow short courses with quick video guides and plenty of practice.

Join today

Apr 20, 202328:29
📝 Which is the best (free) online IELTS writing checker?
Mar 23, 202323:14
How many IELTS Reading question types are there? (Tips on how to tackle different questions in the IELTS Reading test)

How many IELTS Reading question types are there? (Tips on how to tackle different questions in the IELTS Reading test)

[Skip the 5-minute introduction if you want to just get to the question types!]

Different websites have different ways of categorising IELTS Reading Question types.

See my latest blog for all the details:

In my online courses, I follow the official guidelines, and I have simplified the types so that you focus more on developing your reading skills. Developing good reading skills will enable you to answer all question types.

The 3 basic categories are:

  1. Matching things (headings, statements, features, sentence endings, dates, people, choosing from a list)
  2. Filling in gaps (summaries, notes, tables, flowcharts, sentences, diagrams)
  3. Choosing from a list (Multiple Choice, True, False, Not Given and Yes, No, Not Given)

In this blog, I examine the official 11 Question Types as outlined on and explain how other teachers and websites might label them.

Mar 10, 202321:35
How to prepare for IELTS in 10 days
Feb 20, 202334:48
Pronunciation for IELTS Listening - how to understand fast speech
Feb 11, 202326:24
IELTS Listening: Hotel Staff Turnover
Jan 26, 202327:53
IELTS New Year Resolutions 2023
Jan 13, 202329:33
IELTS Reading: To catch a king 🤴👑
Dec 16, 202232:54
IELTS Mindset: 😵‍💫 How to deal with 'too much information' (feeling overwhelmed)

IELTS Mindset: 😵‍💫 How to deal with 'too much information' (feeling overwhelmed)

Question: "How do I cope with so much information when I'm preparing for the IELTS test?"
Answer: "Just do as much as you need to do for the Band score that you want."
In all aspects of life, there are different levels of expertise and knowledge.
Deciding what you want to do with your IELTS score will help you manage your time and your learning.
I've carefully programmed this into the Members Academy.
Aiming for Band 6? Just watch the videos.
Need to get Band 7? Watch the videos and do the practice.
Want Band 8/9? Do the EXTRA practice that I include in every lesson.
Enrol today
This podcast talks about managing your learning according to what level of expertise you need to acquire.
I call it the traffic-light system.
GREEN: Band 6 - INTERESTED (do a single course)
YELLOW: Band 7 - COMMITTED (join the Members Academy - do all the courses)
RED: Band 8+ - OBSESSED ("To be the best, you have to be obsessed": do the Coaching Program)
But remember this - what is the opposite of "too much information"?
The opposite is "not enough information".
Not enough info is worse than too much info when it comes to preparing for IELTS because it is not a subject - it's a language and a skill. Can fluent speakers have "too much English knowledge"? I don't think that's possible.
Let me know if you've got any questions.
Nov 13, 202229:48
IELTS Listening: 🇮🇸 The impact of digital technology on the Icelandic language
Nov 04, 202224:59
IELTS Reading: Feathers as decoration in European History

IELTS Reading: Feathers as decoration in European History

A tricky GT Part 3 Reading with Matching Headings, Multiple Choice, and Matching Sentence Endings.
Oct 25, 202229:18
IELTS Mindset Part 3: How to ask SMARTER questions

IELTS Mindset Part 3: How to ask SMARTER questions

I've spoken a lot about Mindset for IELTS in 2 earlier blogs:

1. How to train your mindset for IELTS

2. How to stop making excuses and start making progress

In this (rather long) podcast I talk about asking SMARTER questions to get smarter answers.

S = Specific (Why, What, Why, When, Where?)

M = Measurable (How much? How many?)

A = Achievable

R = Realistic

T = Time-bound

E = Evaluate

R = Revise

Oct 16, 202237:17
IELTS Listening Part 3: Veterinary science students
Sep 26, 202222:14
IELTS Reading: Reducing injuries on the farm
Sep 09, 202223:17
IELTS Writing Task 2: How to write a Band 9 essay [Introductions]
Sep 05, 202220:53
IELTS Writing Task 1: 🐟🍗Consumption of meat and fish.
Sep 04, 202217:42
IELTS Listening Part 1: 🏄‍♀️ Learning to surf
Sep 02, 202217:17
IELTS Reading GT: 🥾The best hiking boots

IELTS Reading GT: 🥾The best hiking boots

This is Day 1 of my free IELTS September Challenge 2022.

Follow the challenge every day on my website (What's new - daily tips):

Get your FREE copy of the planner and work through it with me:

Sep 01, 202216:24
IELTS Listening: 🦋 Buckworth Conservation Group
Aug 26, 202220:39
IELTS Reading GT ⚽️: History of women's football in Britain
Aug 18, 202224:26
IELTS Listening 🍁 Maple Syrup 🇨🇦
Jul 27, 202229:05
IELTS Reading: 🍅 Domesticating the tomato
Jul 18, 202233:00
IELTS Listening: Labyrinths
Jul 09, 202227:04
IELTS Listening: 🧼 Early History of Keeping Clean
Jun 25, 202223:52
⭐️IELTS with Fiona daily tips from February 2022⭐️

⭐️IELTS with Fiona daily tips from February 2022⭐️

Here's my roundup of daily tips from February. Watch the video version on YouTube with this link:

In the podcast we'll review:  

  • - Idioms for IELTS Speaking ('food for thought' 'peckish' 'flagging') 
  • - Formal language ('a high risk of failure') 
  • - How to use inversion (Rarely I have? Or Rarely have I?) 
  • - Tech tools to help you practise Speaking 
  • - Collocations with sports (do, go, play or practise?) 
  • - Can or Should? - Task 1 Graphs: "Temperature AVERAGED 25 degrees") 
  • - Portmanteau terms: breakfast + lunch = ? 
  • - 20 WRONG ways to say 'Although' - Pass a test? Take a test? Sit a test?  
  • - What are 'Mustakes'? - Tuesday, Toosday or Chewsday? 
  • - "It's not everyone's cup of tea" 
  • - IELTS Vocabulary: Physical Health

Read the new blog about vocabulary lists for IELTS here:

Get all the daily tips here:

May 09, 202229:59
⭐️ IELTS tips ⭐️ Jan 19th - 31st (also on YouTube)

⭐️ IELTS tips ⭐️ Jan 19th - 31st (also on YouTube)

Here's my round-up of the weekly tips that you can find on my website ( 

This podcast is also on YouTube/fionawattam: 

In this episode we look at my daily tips from January 19th: 

- when to use the contraction 's' instead of 'is' (Pronunciation)  

- how to start a letter and why you shouldn't use 'maam' (GT Letter Writing) 

- 'claptrap' advice: "elucidate" (Academic Task 1) 

- when to use "Having said that" (Academic Task 2) - when to use 'triple' or 'treble' (Academic Task 1)

- feedback or feedbacks? (Grammar) 

- useful collocations with 'effect' (Vocabulary)

- phrasal verb: "I suppose I'll have to make do with it" (Vocabulary) 

- Spoonerisms (Collocations)

#ielts #ieltstips #ieltspreparation

Apr 17, 202221:17
IELTS Reading: 💃🏽 Could urban engineers learn from dance?
Apr 06, 202226:46
⭐️ IELTS tips ⭐️ podcast Jan 1st - Jan 17th 2022 with YouTube video

⭐️ IELTS tips ⭐️ podcast Jan 1st - Jan 17th 2022 with YouTube video

This podcast talks you through a fortnight of daily tips, with an accompanying YouTube video. Get the daily tips here on my website. In this episode we cover: Pronunciation features - weak sounds e.g Fishnchips How to spot a terrible "Model answer" Free Flashcards for common IELTS topics (Quizlet - Marine Ecosystems) How to use the LABELS in IELTS Task 1 Academic Writing Synonyms for 'houses' in Task 1 A model Task 1 about the construction of houses Banned expressions e.g. "No worries" When to use the ampersand (&) Do you use 'a' or 'an' before abbreviations like "MA" or "FAQ"? Collocations: raise awareness Is it ok to use "and so forth"?
Mar 19, 202220:18
IELTS Reading:🧴Plastic is no longer fantastic

IELTS Reading:🧴Plastic is no longer fantastic

In this IELTS GT Part 3 Reading lesson we'll practise Matching Headings, Multiple Choice and Gapfill summary on the topic of plastic.
Mar 03, 202224:19
IELTS ⭐️Daily tips⭐️from Fiona Dec 9th - 24th 2021

IELTS ⭐️Daily tips⭐️from Fiona Dec 9th - 24th 2021

In today's podcast you'll review my daily tips from my annual advent challenge which you can find on my website under "What's New" and

  • Day 9: "It's not worth + ing"
  • Day 10: Pronunciation - Juncture e.g. Ice-cream/I scream, That stuff/That's tough
  • Day 11: Factor vs reason vs cause
  • Day 12: Linking devices - the present participle
  • Day 13: Modals of deduction (must)
  • Day 14: Not only but also
  • Day 15: Mustn't vs Don't have to 
  • Day 16: Academic Phrasal Verbs
  • Day 17: The grammar of very polite questions
  • Day 18: rise vs raise
  • Day 19: suggest + ing
  • Day 20: Tense review
  • Day 21: damage vs damages
  • Day 22: as well as
  • Day 23: whereby
  • Day 24: a free gift for you

Feb 03, 202225:04
IELTS ⭐️Daily Tips⭐️from Fiona Nov 20 - Dec 8

IELTS ⭐️Daily Tips⭐️from Fiona Nov 20 - Dec 8

In this episode I catch up with the daily tips that you can find on my website under "What's new".

This episode covers:

  • Pronunciation of phrasal nouns vs phrasal verbs (to give someone the go-ahead)
  • The meaning of 'a shambles = shambolic'
  • The real meaning of 'actually'
  • The use of 'tripling' (reduce, reuse, recycle)
  • Inversion (Never have I ever...)
  • 'comfortable' gapfill in the Listening test
  • "You do the math" (UK = maths)
  • can vs be able to
  • despite
  • due to
  • The closer you get, the slower I go (car sticker)
  • Even if
  • Few people vs a few people
  • Good at/in
  • Hyphens

Jan 26, 202229:38
IELTS Reading: Marine ecosystems 🐡
Jan 04, 202229:27
IELTS Reading: Having a laugh

IELTS Reading: Having a laugh

This is an academic Passage 3 about the importance of laughter.
Dec 05, 202128:44
⭐️IELTS tips⭐️ Nov 9th - 20th
Nov 27, 202129:59
⭐️IELTS tips⭐️ Oct 27th - Nov 8th 2021

⭐️IELTS tips⭐️ Oct 27th - Nov 8th 2021

This is my weekly round-up of tips from the "What's New" tab on my free website:

In this episode we look at

  • Pronunciation mazes by Matt Hancock (the 'ou' and 'ow' sounds and spelling),
  • What's the opposite of 'must'?,
  • "It's not worth it",
  • Listening tricks and synonyms "at least" and "a minimum of",
  • Is it ok to use "etc" in formal writing?,
  • Modal verb meanings e.g "That should be ok",
  • fifTEEN versus FIFty (15/50) in the listening test,
  • A GREENhouse vs a green HOUSE (word stress),
  • How important is the introduction in IELTS Writing Task 2?

If you have a question that you'd like me to answer in the Daily Tips, please get in touch.

Nov 24, 202121:49
🏆What's the best online IELTS course?🏆
Nov 15, 202139:07
⭐️IELTS tips⭐️ Oct 17th - 27th
Nov 05, 202128:15
⭐️IELTS tips⭐️: a weekly summary

⭐️IELTS tips⭐️: a weekly summary

I'm trying out a new way of sharing my tips and advice for IELTS.

If you go to the 'What's new' tab on my website, you'll find a daily tip:

You can leave a comment there and ask questions if you need help or if you have any requests.

In this podcast I cover the last 7 days of tips:

Oct 17, 202128:53
Things you need to know before you buy an online IELTS Course 🤑

Things you need to know before you buy an online IELTS Course 🤑

Have you ever been ripped off, conned, scammed, tricked, duped or just misled when buying an online IELTS course?

In this blog and podcast, I've outlined the 10 'red flags' that you need to know about before you decide which course provider to go with.

Here are are some common tactics that you may not even notice, and they range from being simply 'misleading' to illegal.

For more information and examples that I've collected over 5 years, head to my blog, where you might like to leave a comment.

The 10 sales tactics that might trick you into panic-buying an online course.

1. "The course is full" (but suddenly a place became available - buy it quickly before it goes!)

2. "Only 2 spots left!" (in an email to thousands of people, 2 weeks before the course starts)

3. "Totaly value $1999 - buy today for $9.99" (Meaning: it is only worth $9.99)

4. "Normal price $99 - today only $79" (Permanent discount - illegal in some countries)

5. "The world's most successful course" (Says who?)

6. "Lifetime access" (so you can buy it and forget about it)

7. "Unlimited Speaking and Writing" (you mean 24/7? Just write and speak all day?)

8. Affiliate Marketing

9. Testimonials

10. Other red flags - bad spelling and grammar, plagiarism from other sites, stolen watermarked images, Click Funnels.

If someone emails you to tell you that they could charge hundreds of dollars for their time, but they want to help you for free, there are red flags all over the place. Walk away. Find someone that you know, like and TRUST.

Big tutoring companies can afford to lose you because there are plenty more people who will fall for false advertising.

Maybe it's time to consider the smaller business who focus their time on developing quality courses rather than scamming their students.

End of rant.

Sep 20, 202148:31
IELTS Reading: Henry Moore (TFNG Bootcamp Day 1) 🗿

IELTS Reading: Henry Moore (TFNG Bootcamp Day 1) 🗿

The Members Academy Reading Bootcamp started today (you can still join - it's just $28 and includes 28 days of both live and recorded lessons). This week's focus is on True False Not Given questions, so here's a taster of today's lesson.

This is an Academic Passage 1 about a sculptor called Henry Moore.

I try to get my students to make educated guesses about TFNG questions by the way they're written, and this text is a perfect example of how you can follow a hunch to get the right answer pretty quickly and save time. For example

  • NOT GIVEN: turn the statement into a question. If you can’t answer it, it’s NOT GIVEN.
  • NO: there is usually an opposite word (antonym) e.g. similar – different; first – last
  • YES: the answer is usually a synonym or paraphrase e.g complied = did what his father wanted him to do
  • There is a balance in the number of True, False, Not Given (fewer NG).
  • Don’t OVER-THINK the answer. e.g. Q7 doesn’t exactly say ‘more popular’ but it means the same thing.

I also teach my students to quickly divide the text according to the questions, so that they don't waste any time looking in the wrong place. This text is another perfect example of that.

The Bootcamp will run until the end of September, so if you're struggling to get your Reading Score up, come and join us.

Sep 06, 202116:48
IELTS Reading: Attitudes to AI 🤖

IELTS Reading: Attitudes to AI 🤖

This is an Academic Passage 3 Part 3 (Book 16), so it's tough.

In this lesson we'll look at how the language that you learn for Task 2 will help you understand the Reading, and how Reading academic texts like this will help you improve your Writing.

Some of the points I mention include:

- Word formation

- The 'marc' system for pie charts (Makes up, accounts for, represents, consists of)

- Willing to vs want

- Hedging

- Biased, subjective (Task 2 problems)

- How to talk about cause and effect

- The Language of effect

Aug 22, 202144:49
How to use idioms in IELTS
Aug 13, 202125:44