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IELTS Trainer: A review

Is the book IELTS Trainer suitable for you?

IELTS Trainer contains six complete IELTS Academic practice tests with guidance and tips on how to answer the questions in the first two practice tests.

What I like about IELTS Trainer:
  1. IELTS TrainerWhat I like most about this book is that it focuses on exam strategies by giving suggested steps to take when answering different types of IELTS question.
  2. The book includes all of the main types of question in the IELTS Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking tests.
  3. Another feature I like is that (unlike other IELTS practice tests) this book includes advice/tips on answering specific questions and explanations about why particular IELTS Listening and Reading answers are correct or incorrect.
  4. The book highlights some useful language for the Writing and Speaking test, e.g. phrases like ‘For the most part…‘ and ‘In general…‘ for making general statements.
  5. The book also highlights some common mistakes that  IELTS candidates make. One mistake highlighted is missing out the preposition ‘with‘ after the verbs ‘agree‘ and ‘disagree‘, e.g. “I strongly agree the idea that…” instead of “I strongly agree with the idea that…“.
  6. To help you improve your Listening band score, the book includes some practice listening to letters/numbers and explains the different ways that a date may be written as an answer (e.g. 18th February, 18 February, February 18, the 18th of February)

What I don’t like about IELTS Trainer:
  1. I was surprised to see that the book only contains IELTS Academic tests. Since around 25% of IELTS candidates take the General Training test, it would have been great to see one or two General Training Reading and Writing tests included.
  2. In some of the practice tests, there are questions that I think are unfair and that would not be used in a real IELTS test.

An example of a question that I think is unfair is the following Writing Task 2 question:

In some countries it is thought advisable that children begin formal education at four years old, while in others they do not have to start until they are seven or eight.

How far do you agree with either of these views?

In a real IELTS Writing test, you won’t be asked the question ‘How far do you agree with either of these views‘ as it wouldn’t be clear whether you were expected to talk about one or both views in your answer.

This is how the IELTS Writing Task 2 question above would be written in a real IELTS test:

In some countries it is thought advisable that children begin formal education at four years old, while in others they do not have to start until they are seven or eight.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Who IELTS Trainer is suitable for:

Despite some problematic questions, I think that this would be a useful book for you to use if you’re preparing for the IELTS Academic test and want some help with exam strategies. Not only does it provide step-by-step methods for answering IELTS questions that you can follow, it also includes lots of additional advice and tips for answering questions and explains why certain answers are correct or incorrect.

If you’ve already used the book yourself or if you have any questions about the book, let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Pete

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