It’s great to get different perspectives on online IELTS teaching and Simon from IELTS Simon has been kind enough to answer a few of my questions. Simon has one of the best IELTS blogs on the web and if you haven’t looked at his website yet, you should check it out.
Below are the answers to my questions and there is some great advice to help you with your IELTS preparation. The answers to questions four and six were my favourites.
1. When somebody asks you what you do, what do you normally say?
I usually just say that I’m an English teacher. I only talk about IELTS, my blog or my other teaching projects if people are really interested!
2. How is teaching online different from teaching face-to-face?
For me, the main thing about most types of online teaching is that we can store previous lessons. A teacher might do a really good face-to-face lesson, but then it’s lost forever. The Internet solves this problem.
3. What is the one piece of advice you would give an IELTS candidate?
I tell people that they need to have a method for every part of the test. For example, how many paragraphs are you going to write in your task 2 essay, or how are you going to approach a ‘paragraph headings’ section in the reading test?
Without a method, you’re just hoping that you’ll do well. But if you have a method for everything, you’ll feel confident and ready for the challenge.
4. What is the one thing you believe about IELTS that most students wouldn’t think is true?
That you don’t need to use ‘difficult’ vocabulary or grammar to do well in the writing test. I try to persuade people to focus on answering the question, rather than worrying about big words or complex structures.
5. What is the most common question you get asked?
It’s probably something general about the writing test, like: “How can I improve my writing score?” There’s no easy answer to this question, but the first step is to find out what you’re doing wrong by asking a teacher to check some of your work.
6. What do successful IELTS candidates (those who get the scores they need) have in common?
They realise that there is no shortcut or secret technique that will suddenly boost their scores. They understand that IELTS is a difficult test, but they do the hard work and gradually improve.
7. How can someone use your website to improve?
Start by reading a few of the most recent lessons. If you find my advice useful, try clicking on a category in the menu (e.g. IELTS reading) and going through more of the lessons.
If you have a particular problem, try doing a Google search like this: paragraph headings site:ielts-simon.com OR: environment topic site:ielts-simon.com This will give you Google search results about ‘paragraph headings’ or the ‘environment’ topic from my website only. This is a great way to find information from my older lessons, without having to go back through five or six years of blog posts.
Thank you very much to Simon for taking the time to answer my questions.
Let me know what you think over on the IELTS Advantage Facebook page.