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How to make fewer IELTS spelling mistakes

3 quick ways to improve your spelling and make fewer mistakes in IELTS Listening, Reading and Writing

Spelling is important in IELTS. If you spell an answer incorrectly in IELTS Listening or Reading, you won’t receive a mark for that answer. The more spelling mistakes you make in IELTS Writing, the less likely you are to get the Writing band score you need.

  • Writing band score 6.0: “Makes some errors in spelling…”
  • Writing band score 7.0: “May produce occasional errors…”
  • Writing band score 8.0: “Produces rare errors in spelling…”

The good news is you can improve your spelling quickly by using the 3 simple techniques below.

1. Practice IELTS spelling with this simple 4-step technique

Once you’ve identified what spelling mistakes you make or when you learn a new word, you can use this quick and simple technique to remember how to spell these words.

LOOK at how the word is spelt.

COVER the word so you can’t see it.

WRITE the word without looking at how it is spelt.

CHECK you have spelt it correctly.

LOOK, COVER, WRITE, CHECK to make fewer IELTS spelling mistakes

If you’ve spelt it correctly using this technique, go through the four steps again as you’re more likely to remember the spelling if you’ve spelt it correctly twice.

You’re more likely to remember the spelling of a word if you’ve spelt it correctly twice using the Look, Cover, Write, Check technique.

If you’ve spelt it incorrectly, look at how the word is spelt and then keep going through the four steps until you’ve spelt the word correctly twice.

I’ve seen IELTS candidates dramatically improve their spelling in a few weeks by using this technique for just 5 minutes a day.

2. Create interesting ways to remember how to spell words

Another way to make fewer IELTS spelling mistakes is to create phrases or sentences, mnemonics, to help you remember difficult to spell words.

I used to forget how many ‘c‘s and ‘s‘s were in the word ‘necessary‘ but, since creating the following phrase, I remember that the word contains one ‘c‘ but two ‘s‘s.

  • one coffee, two sugars (necessary)

This technique is especially useful for remembering the spelling of words with double letters.

3. Turn off autocorrect

How much do you rely on autocorrect when writing emails, SMS or documents?

In many cases, autocorrect will correct your spelling mistakes without you even noticing, which isn’t going to help you make fewer IELTS spelling mistakes.

If you turn off autocorrect on all your devices/apps a few weeks before your IELTS test and start checking your writing for spelling mistakes, this will help you identify which words you don’t know how to spell and encourage you to learn how to spell them.

Here are some instructions for how to turn off autocorrect on your iPhone or Google Keyboard.

Here’s how to turn off autocorrect on Microsoft Word.

If you know any other ways to improve your spelling and make fewer IELTS spelling mistakes, please share them in the comments section below.


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7 comments on “How to make fewer IELTS spelling mistakes

  1. Hi,

    I am inspire your tips and points, actually I am shy person to speak English! I was poor in English speaking, writing, listening. I found the free online course. Thanks sir, please improve myself. Please start the classes from basics to end.

  2. Dear Pete,

    Hello! I am your fan for this IELTS learning blog.
    I have been confused by several listening questions recently.
    Can I have your opinion?

    1.Does it matter if I use upper case instead of lower case ?
    EX: IELTS Cambridge 7 Test 4 Listening NO.29 Embassy or embassy?

    2.Does single or plural form matter?
    EX:IELTS Cambridge 7 Test 4 Listening NO.19 biology lessen or lessens ?

    Thank you in advance!!

    1. Hi Yafang,

      Great to hear that you’re a fan of my IELTS blog.

      In answer to your first question, you can write your answers on the listening answer sheet in either lower case or capitals so in your example both ’embassy’ or ‘Embassy’ are correct.

      In answer to your second question, sometimes both the singular and plural form of a word are acceptable answers in the IELTS Listening test but it depends on the question. In the question you mention, only the plural ‘biology lessons‘ is correct because the speaker in the recording says ‘lessons‘ and means more than one lesson. For question 16 in Test 2 of the same book, however, either the singular ‘view‘ or plural ‘views‘ is correct even though the recording says ‘This is a place where you can sit and enjoy the wonderful views…‘. This is because ‘view‘ and ‘views‘ in this example essentially mean the same thing: what you can see from this place.

      If both the singular and plural are acceptable, it will include them in the answer key like this: view(s).

      My advice is always to write what you hear as long as it fits grammatically in the question. For example, even if you think you hear the plural ‘cultures‘ for question 37 in Test 1 in the same book, you should write ‘culture‘ because ‘cultures‘ would not fit grammatically in the question: ‘To camp on a site may be disrespectful to people from that ________’.

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