Spelling is very important in the IELTS exam but in Listening and in section 1 in particular, they may ask you to write down a name, an address, a telephone number and all kinds of information. In this case, they are going to spell it out for you, so don’t worry.
For example, let’s just say that the answer you have to write down is “Gloucester Street”. You will hear something like: “I live at Gloucester Street. G – L – O – U – C – E – S – T – E – R”. So, where’s the catch here? You have to know the alphabet very well and how each and every letter is pronounced. My students, for instance, tend to confuse G and J and sometimes H. If you are not sure about the English alphabet and the pronunciation of each letter, now is the right time to sort this thing out by clicking here.
- About telephone numbers: If you have to write down a telephone number, remember that “0” (zero) can also be pronounced as “oh”. For example: 555-25078809: (five-five-five-two-five-oh-seven-double eight-oh-nine) OR: (five-five-five-two-five-zero-seven-double eight-zero-nine). [That is not a real number: I just put random numbers one after the other.]
- About money: if you listen to someone say “eight hundred pounds thirty-five” or “eight hundred and thirty-five pounds”, you should write: ₤ 8, 35. The same goes with dollars and euros: if you hear “one hundred fifty-seven dollars and ninety-eight cents” you should write down $ 157, 98 or if you prefer 157 dollars and 98 cents. If you hear “one thousand seven hundred and forty-one euros”, you should write down € 1.741 euros.
- About dates: All the following are accepted. For example: – 14th May
– May 14th
– 14 May
– May 14.
Remember! They are all considered two words.
- About measurement: (metres, kilometres, centimetres etc). You can either write “metres” or “meters”, for example, 95 metres or 95 meters; they are both correct and accepted. Abbreviations are accepted too, if you prefer: 95 m.
If you know your weaknesses in spelling start working on them today! Last year, for example, I had this student that confused 13 with 30, 14 with 40 and so on so forth. I mean, she would hear 30 (thirty) but she would write down 13 (thirteen) and vice versa. We did exercises; we did everything but she just wouldn’t remember it. So, one day I told her, “Let’s just say that you hear 15 (fifteen) and you hear 50 (fifty). You can hear the difference in pronunciation, right?” She answered “yes”.
So, we have:
|fifteen and fifty|
Which number is more likely to represent each of the above words between 15 and 50?
When we see or hear the ending –teen in a number (thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen) keep in mind that these always refer to the smallest number (13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19 respectively). Why? Because the ending –teen refers to youth: For instance, when we are in these ages we say “I am in my teens”. So, in our example, fifteen corresponds to 15 and fifty corresponds to 50.
She never made this mistake again. Well, of course she made other mistakes because only in this way we learn, but not this one. She achieved an overall bandscore 7 in Academic IELTS and 7 in Listening separately which is pretty great. She now studies in England for an MA degree.
What I am trying to say here is that no matter what your weaknesses are you can definitely overcome them with the right strategies, advice, and preparation. The worst thing to do is to put them aside and pretend they do not exist.
Just invent a game for them; play with your weaknesses and sooner or later you will realize that they are not weaknesses anymore. And that of course goes with everything in life, not only with English and definitely not only with IELTS.
If you prefer watching than reading, check out this video lesson, too: