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IELTS Success Formula Academic e‑book

by Stephen Slater and Simone Braverman

Published 2013 by One Sided Paper, in association with CELUSA and

The ‘all you need’ total test prep. book, ideal for repeat test takers or first-timers

Are you an IELTS snorkeller, or an IELTS deep sea diver?

Do you want to carry on floating around on the surface, or do you really need to go deeply into the IELTS test and learn its hidden secrets?

We believe high IELTS scores are achieved by divers, and that IELTS Success Formula is your diving manual.

This comprehensive book will reward you handsomely, especially if you are a frustrated multiple test taker, or want to spend money on full test preparation wisely rather than frequently.

Hundreds of test takers told us the sort of IELTS book they wanted, and we wrote it for them. This is your book.

Are you ready to descend?

  • Full IELTS preparation lessons for each of the four test skills
  • Nearly 200 IELTS ‘fitness tasks’ offering quick practice in all four parts of IELTS
  • Full exit IELTS practice test
  • Comprehensive ‘deep’ grammar and vocabulary sections for Writing and Speaking
  • Detailed analysis of sample writing tasks and a sample interview
  • Extensive additional material for interview practice
  • Full Answer key, audio transcripts, and all audio recordings

“…the first time I am getting a score this high since I started taking the IELTS exam!”

“The IELTS Success Formula was very helpful to me especially with the skills of writing, reading and speaking. It’s awesome! I noticed a lot of improvement with all the skills. The most helpful part of the book was the Writing chapter. It was so good that the topic I read a few minutes before I started the exam was exactly the writing question in the Task2 essay.

My first IELTS result was [before the book]: Listening 5.5, Reading 6.0, Writing 6.0, Speaking 7.0, Overall Band 6.0

I needed an overall Band 7 score. I got overall Band 7, with 7.5 in Listening and Writing – it’s the first time I am getting a score this high since I started taking the IELTS exam. I got all I needed for IELTS. My result will help me to get my professional certification.

I just want to say “Thank you soooooo much for that book”. It’s simply awesome.”

– Lilian (Canada)

“It has brought me so much closer to the high Writing score I must achieve”

“As Arabic is my first language, writing English effectively and accurately is my greatest need. I have found the Writing section (especially Task 2) of IELTS Success Formula very thorough and helpful. For example, the Task 2 section clearly identifies how many types of task there are. A detailed description of each type is provided with easy examples to follow and learn from. In this way, I have learnt how to analyze any writing task, know which category the task belongs to and thus how to totally organise the structure, which in turn makes the writing part easier to do. So, after reading the question, you will know exactly how to structure your writing – whether the writing task is divided into 3 or 4 paragraphs, how linking sentences could be used in a professional way and how to introduce and conclude your topic smoothly and easily.

I really like the part of the book on the use of sentence linking words. I learnt how to link my sentences using varied linking words rather than just the boring way of listing: firstly, secondly… I loved the alternative options you describe, like, “First and foremost”, “Yet another reason”, etc.

IELTS Success Formula covers just about everything you will need. It has brought me so much closer to the high Writing score I must achieve.

– Georgina (Syria)

“I clearly realized why I scored Band 6 in the previous exam.”

“Writing chapter was a great help. I have not seen such a detailed book that gives a full insight into writing professional responses to both task 1 and 2. So far I have been trying to give more literary quality to my writing responses but now I have learned that professional tone comes from formality. The secret of keeping formal style and professional tone in writing enabled me to get over the fear of the IELTS writing tasks.

I clearly realized why I scored Band 6 in Writing in the previous exam thanks to rated samples presented in the book. I found that lexical resources, especially the formal vocabulary, given in the IELTS Writing Doctor section for both writing tasks are powerful and professional. Tips for how to impress the assessor and step-by-step rating samples (in Writing and Speaking) are a unique feature of this book. However, I think tips in Reading and Listening sections are just as strong and efficient as in TARGET BAND 7. By the way, the list of famously misspelled words is really helpful. My Listening score in the previous exam was 7.5 probably because of misspelling.

My target score is at least Band 8. It will pave my path to Harvard!”

– Bahriddin (Uzbekistan)

“…390 BRILLIANT pages absolutely packed with superb examples and guidance”

“My passion for IELTS germinated in 2007 when I started to appreciate that, for almost all UK university applicants whose first language was not English, an IELTS score was a pre-requisite to entry. Not only that, for medical professionals, achieving a high score of 7.0 in each mode was essential.

Often these students have got as far as scores of 7.0 in most, but not all, parts of the test. Sometimes they have already taken the test five or six times already and they are running out of both money and self-confidence. Furthermore, they have to face the ignominy of being forced to sit the entire whole test again, every time, even if are only below 7.0 in one single section – with the risk that one of their previous scores may deteriorate next time around leaving them no better off than before! What to do here? Has Simone got the answer?

Simone and Stephen’s new book is called IELTS Success Formula and is specifically aimed at my types of students – top end achievers, usually already in possession of a first degree in their own language and or with postgraduate or medical qualifications already under their belts. They only have one, crucial element missing – a high IELTS score. You can tell I was hopeful – and I was not disappointed!

Firstly, IELTS Success Formula consists of 390 pages + the provision of audio recordings and it is presumably the product of professional lifetime of research and collaboration between the two co-authors, Simone Braverman and Stephen Slater. Now length in itself does not signify anything – you could theoretically produce 390 thoroughly bad pages – but my observation of them is that they are 390 BRILLIANT pages absolutely packed with superb examples and guidance and all within a clear and comprehensive framework.

Secondly, the book is well laid out. A bright and cheery blue and yellow cover with a glorious photograph of ecstatically smiling students is followed by a punchy checklist of ticks as to what the book is going to offer, why it is different and what it is going to reveal for the aspiring IELTS student to whom a high score is mandatory. An enthusiastic “HELLO” introduction establishes teamwork and fun and then a choice of journey: plan A crash course preparation or plan B comprehensive preparation. Next, we go on to a clear contents page with neat graphics. Each skill is supported by fitness activities and I particularly liked the section called “Writing Doctor” which begins “grammar can sometimes make you feel a bit sick, right?”

Thirdly there is a wealth of bolt-on features which I liked: all question types are illustrated, there are question and answer sections all the way, there is an excellent famously mis-spelt words list with right and wrong comparisons, the slightly cartoonish drawings are refreshing, the diagrams are clear and the subject matters is topical and evocative. Other striking additions are secrets of how to impress your assessor in Writing task 2 and formal and informal language options.

For an ambitious IELTS student, there is everything you need in this book to give yourself the best chance of success, including unexpected ways of answering questions and how to avoid many typical problems and mistakes. There is detailed feedback on writing tasks and speaking interviews and there is also the impressive offer of five whole full tests practice.


When my students next turn to me, sometimes on limited budgets, and ask me, which one book would you recommend – out of all you know worldwide – will I select IELTS Success Formula as my first book of choice for them?

Yes, I will.

– Alison Featherstone (Liverpool, UK)     In 2013, Alison became the first winner of the IELTS Morgan Terry Memorial Scholarship funded by the IELTS partners (British Council IDP; IELTS Australia and University of Cambridge ESOL examinations)

“…one of the best IELTS preparation text books around”

“As an IELTS assessor and tutor, I would have to say The IELTS Success Formula is one of the best IELTS preparation text books around. It is very user-friendly with clearly set out sections for each part of the IELTS test and very useful tips and reminders throughout, reminding students about common errors made in all four sections as well as comprehensive advice as to how to reach an above average IELTS score. The exercises are easy to follow and there are many opportunities given to consolidate the advice in order to maximise the learning for the students.

I would highly recommend this book for both IELTS candidates and trainers.

– Ariane (France)

“…a solid foundation for my IELTS test prep courses”

“After reviewing IELTS Success Formula Academic, the recent collaboration of authors Stephen Slater and Simone Braverman, I have decided to adopt it as my text for the upcoming spring semester. I find it to be a comprehensive, user friendly resource that will provide a solid foundation for my IELTS test prep courses. It will afford my students maximum opportunity for achieving their desired IELTS band scores.

The text includes many of the effective strategies while expanding them to incorporate a clear and systematic method of instruction and practice, that can be easily adapted for either individual or classroom use.

An impressive feature, the Fitness Activities section, breaks down each part of the test to focus on practice with individual question types. These activities can be individualized to allow students to improve in specific areas of weakness. Other features, such as ‘What if I…’, which addresses problems that have been encountered by past test takers, and the Famously Misspelled Words List critical for the listening section of the test, provide valuable support for increasing students’ band scores.

Additionally, the writing section does an outstanding job of providing a paragraph by paragraph approach to each step of both writing tasks, and uses effective explanations, examples and error analysis. The Rated Sample section, which helps students understand the expectations of different band scores along with the Writing Doctor section of the writing component, contribute to this being the most effectively organized and comprehensive IELTS preparation text I have yet come across!

– Karen Lau, MA TESOL

Intensive English Program, Wilkes University, Pensylvania, USA

“…Listening improved dramatically from 6.5 to 8.5!”

“IELTS Success Formula is generally helping to get better at all tasks and gain understanding of the structure of the exam. I think this book is crucial for good preparation and is the best in the market.

I improved my listening dramatically from 6.5 to 8.5! I think all aspects of the book are very helpful and important. I personally like the fitness activities and IELTS Writing Doctor, I think it is a great idea to include it in the book. The book’s explanations of the tasks are so clear and show common mistakes. I also improved my spelling as well.

When you know what you can expect in the exam and structures of questions are familiar to you, you definitely will feel more confident and as a result your fear and nervousness will disappear, it means you are in a winning position!!!

I, unfortunately, spent hundreds of dollars on useless books and thousands on different courses (offline) before I found the IELTS Success Formula. This book contains everything you need for a good, serious preparation.

After reading IELTS Success Formula I took the IELTS test and my score was:

Listening 8.5, Reading 7.5, Speaking 7.5, Writing 7.

Thank you Simone and Stephen! You published the best IELTS material ever!”

– Natalie (New Zealand)

“…to my surprise, I achieved 7.0 in Writing, 7.5 in Reading and Speaking, and 8.0 in Listening”

“First of all I would like to say a big thanks to you and your team for your great help and guidance. I have taken the IELTS exam many times and I wasn’t getting required band score. Every time I took the test, I got 6.0 or 6.5 in one of the modules. With the help of this book and sample exam questions on your website, I got Band 7 in each module in the Academic IELTS test.

I got my result a few days back and to my surprise, I achieved 7.0 in Writing, 7.5 in Reading and Speaking, and 8.0 in Listening. I am feeling like I am on top of the world now. All thanks to the tips and tricks I learnt from your books.

Thank you so very much for all the support to students like me. You are doing a great job. Keep up the good work and keep inspiring people like me. Directly or indirectly you are the reason for many smiles today.”

– Vaibhavi (Australia)

“…My score is now 7.0 (up from 4.5)”

“IELTS Success Formula helped me improve my Listening skills. Now that I know the all patterns of questions in the Listening test, I can make use of gap time between sections.

The problem this book solved for me is my attitude toward the Speaking Interview. Now I can speak more fluently and with confidence. My score is now 7.0 (up from 4.5).

I am excited to see how helpful your textbook is. IELTS Success Formula is easier to understand than any other books I have ever read.”

– Kawano (Japan)

“Scored 8!”

“I would like to especially thank you and the team at for all the support with my IELTS exam. It is my absolute pleasure to let you know that I have got my IELTS results and scored 8!

I purchased ‘IELTS Success Formula’ only last month (I should have bought it earlier along with your other publication, Target Band 7). After this decision of purchase, it was only a matter of 4 weeks before I got my results. My Writing band score improved from 6.5 to 8. This task couldn’t have been possible to accomplish without those two books and IELTS-Blog’s writing correction services.

My other band scores are 8 in Reading and 8.5 in Listening and Speaking.

The result is well above my required score to win a permanent residency in Australia.

My success obviously came from IELTS-Blog’s entire service offerings, as I have never attended a single IELTS preparation class, I think it is only fair to mention that I should also credit all of my hard work to my success as well.

I have sent your books to my sister who is now a new recruit in the IELTS exams battlefield and also have recommended to my friends your writing correction services.

Thank you Simone and thanks!”

– Nelson (Bangladesh)

“I thought that it was similar to other textbooks… but then, to my surprise, I found so helpful and uncommon hints!”

“Dear teachers, thank you very, very much for your textbook!

I have been preparing for the IELTS exam for 1.5 years. I have had several IELTS tutors via Skype, I have finished IELTS writing courses with a British teacher. I have read several textbooks for IELTS students. Despite this great experience, I was not sure in my knowledge and I couldn’t dare to take my exam before buying your textbook. I bought your book and, at first, I thought that it was similar to other textbooks, so I didn’t read it for about one week. But then I started to open different pages and, to my surprise, I found so helpful and uncommon hints in it!

I noticed that I became more confident about my answers. You explain what examiners would like to see in detail. So, now I can concentrate on these specific details. Before this textbook I couldn’t surely realize what I should do in each part of the exam.

I feel that you tell students: “Pluck up your courage, you can do this for sure! It is not as difficult as you think! Just ‘absorb’ our tips!”

I read many textbooks for the IELTS students. Your book is best! I have already told all my friends about your book and have explained how it is helpful.

Irina (Russia)

“…guaranteed as a very helpful material for those who wish to achieve a better score in the IELTS test.”

“I know Simone and Stephen have been working really hard for many years to make the book possible for us. I really appreciate your huge effort to make it happen.

I think my listening and reading skill have been improved since I followed the instructions, tips and practiced the activities from the book. For example, not only can I achieve higher scores when doing sample tests but I also feel more confident while communicating well with local friends and my trainer in real life. Before the book I only got fewer than 29 correct answers in the listening test, now I normally get 34 or more correct ones.

My reading speed also has improved significantly by practicing “7 fundamental to make your reading test a success” and other tips in the book. I was not able to complete all the questions in the Reading test within 60 minutes before (due to my slow reading), but after applying all the “Techniques for answering reading tasks quickly and accurately” and the 7 fundamentals from the book I am now able to finish the reading test in 60 minutes and get more correct answers as well.

I find the IELTS Writing Doctor and IELTS Top Score Vocabulary very helpful in terms of helping me improving my writing skills for both task 1 and 2. Basically, those sections assist me in learning a wide range of suitable expressions for each task. So I can use a variety of structures and vocabulary fluently and flexibly to convey meanings.

I tried a couple of IELTS books before (such as IELTS Cambridge 5 and 7, Insight into IELTS and so on). To be honest, I prefer to use the IELTS Success Formula as the book is not only a book of tests like other ones I have tried, but also it gives me a lot of very useful and easy to understand techniques and hints in order to complete IELTS tasks successfully.

I would definitely recommend the book to my friends and other students because of 2 following reasons:

1. Based on the fact that the book was written by very experienced and well-known authors who have spent 3 years writing it, so the book would be guaranteed as a very helpful material for those who wish to achieve a better score in the IELTS test.

2. The book provides a lot of valuable and useful techniques and hints for 4 skills as all in one and therefore my friends won’t need to purchase additional books.

Daniel (Australia)

“I have read a lot of IELTS books and none of them were as good, and well organized as the Success Formula”

“The best part of the book is the IELTS writing Doctor. Very well explained and points were clearly stated. It helped me with the proper sentence construction and gave me more ideas for different vocabulary words to be used.

I have read a lot of IELTS books and none of them were as good and well organized as the Success Formula. It is discussing both the wrong way of doing and the appropriate way of doing tasks. I highly recommend this book to other aspiring students like me. I have a friend who is planning to take the same test here in London, and told her how amazing this book is. It will surely help her cope with the stress and boost her confidence while preparing for the exam.

Jacqueline (UK)

“…it gives you exactly what you need”

“I found the Speaking chapter to be the most helpful, because of comparative answers. Also, a problem that the book solved for me was teaching me to plan my writing ideas. I already recommended your book to many friends and colleagues as I found it very useful. The reason is, it gives you exactly what you need, and most important, it gives you examples of incorrect answers, then a better answer and finally the best answer. Most other books are just giving you an answer, which based on my experience, is not the best way.

Arshia (Malaysia)

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