British Council IELTS Award 2020

british council award


Apply for the British Council IELTS Award 2020 and receive up to £10,000 to fund your studies worldwide!

Creating opportunities that can change lives, we established the British Council IELTS Award in order to assist high calibre individuals who have a strong motivation to develop their career and who can demonstrate that they have the potential to contribute to society with their studies.

The award will enable successful applicants to study at an undergraduate or postgraduate level at an institution of higher education anywhere in the world, in an English taught program that accepts IELTS as part of its admission requirements.

The British Council IELTS Award is worth between £3,000 up to £10,000 depending on the tuition fees of the institution chosen by the winner and will go towards the cost of tuition fees of the individual’s selected course. The award applies only to courses in the 2020-21 academic year (i.e. starting August 2020 onwards) and will be paid directly to the institution.

If tuition fees of the successful candidate are below the maximum individual award fund of £10,000, remaining funds may be allocated to support other runners-up.

The successful applicant will demonstrate a commitment to networking within the IELTS community and sharing their experience with other IELTS candidates.

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My new article on online teaching tools for the special edition of ELTA Newsletter appeared first here

Transitioning smoothly to online teaching : easy and free to use online resources

By Vicky Papageorgiou, Metropolitan College, Athens

Keywords : online teaching, face-to-face teaching, Google classroom, Miro’, Kialo, Kahoot, Quizlet, Adobe Acrobat  Reader, Grammarly, Write and improve, ESOL apps

In response to the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus, all in-person courses were suddenly suspended last March in a remarkably big number of countries worldwide and most educators have had, or have been asked, to resort to remote instruction. Teaching remotely is of a different nature from teaching in the classroom. In a lot of cases, this unexpected development has led the educators to panic because there was not enough planning or training and a lot of teachers felt the transition as a kind of an experiment rather than a well-prepared move.

While adapting to any change generally is hard enough, having to deal with such a massive one in such a short time is a great shock to anyone. However, setting realistic expectations is a piece of wise advice, to begin with. Teaching online is quite different from teaching face to face. Different rules apply. However, on such short notice, the best thing we have to do is find practical solutions to cope with this new situation. This is the reason why this short guide has been created. It aims to give ESL teachers easy and free to use online tools that will facilitate their transition to online teaching and will allow them to organize their work easier.

This short guide has been organized depending on the various needs we have in a class. In other words, there are suggestions about apps that can be used instead of a whiteboard or for announcements, apps for quizzes, practical ideas for homework correction, etc.

Whiteboard and announcements

If you are not using a platform with an integrated whiteboard (for example Zoom) but you are using Skype, then you will need a whiteboard perhaps. So, there are some alternatives :

  • Google classroom

You can use it to share announcements and assignments, presentations, create folders, communicate assignment criteria with students, let students ask questions privately and let them create their own digital portfolios of their favourite work. You can also share due dates with them. Access is tracked, which can help you look for patterns in student habits (who accesses assignments immediately, who consistently returns to work and communicate those trends (anonymously) to students to help them build best practices. It can be accessed here:

  • Miro’

Miro is an online collaborative white boarding platform that enables distributed teams to work effectively together, from brainstorming with digital sticky notes to watching presentations and interact with each other. It makes remote collaboration as engaging as face-to-face. Not all of its features are free but the core ones are free forever. It can be accessed here :


  • Kialo

Kialo is an easy to use, yet powerful tool to engage in thoughtful discussion, understand different points of view, and help with collaborative decision-making. Your students can join a pre-existing debate and contribute to the discussion, or they can create a new one and collaborate. It can be used in asynchronous teaching as well. You can find it here :


  • Kahoot

Kahoot is a quiz generator which is fun, although a bit addictive. You can choose between the myriads of kahoots (but go through them before you use them in the classroom because some of them have a lot of mistakes) or just create one. Or (why not?) ask your students to create one and collaborate with their classmates! Check it out here :

  • Quizlet

If you are looking for something more sophisticated , then Quizlet is definitely for you. You can, again, use one of the existing quizzes or make your own one. It can be questions and answers, or words/terminology and their definition. Once you upload your work, the app does the work for you, creates the templates and also several games based on your input. Enjoy!


Marking homework and giving feedback can work easily if you use several tools.

  • Adobe acrobat reader for pdf

If students handwrite their homework, take a photo of their homework and send it to you, then worry not! You can easily transform this into a pdf but make sure you use adobe acrobat reader. When you do so, you can add your comments in sticky notes you can find on the right side. Then you just have to send it back to you with the individualized comments.

You can ask your students to send you their homework typed. You can then upload it on your drive and edit it, correct it, leave comments and feedback. You can give access to your students. P.S. you can also ask them to collaborate together with other classmates to write something together, e.g. a story. They can work in a synchronous or asynchronous way and then edit each other’s pieces. It is extremely handy! Another use Google docs can have is that of a whiteboard! You can invite and give access to your class if you are using Skype, for example, and you can use a Google doc as a whiteboard where you write your comments, rules, etc.


You can choose from a library of professionally created templates, you can upload your own photos or use their image library and then add filters and edit text. There is a free plan which you can use.


If you are setting written homework, which you most definitely are, ask students to install Grammarly since it is a great free online writing assistant which will correct their spelling and grammar and will definitely teach them a lot and improve their writing. Particularly helpful to all struggling students!

This is for self-study but not only! You can have your students practise writing English, submit their work, get a grade for their written work in seconds. They are also given feedback and can make changes to improve! It can help them gain some kind of independence and initiative when they are using such an app. This is created by Cambridge, by the way!

Hopefully, all this information is useful to a lot of teachers currently. Not all of them are new apps/tools, of course, but they are all very easy to use and, above all, they are free. Above all, they have been listed according to their use so that educators can find easily which one to use and for which reason. Finally, it is needless to underline that this is, by no means, an exhaustive list. So, you are free to find and use the one(s) that suit you the most. Good luck and stay safe!


Vicky Papageorgiou is an ESL/EAP instructor  and an art historian with approximately 20 years of experience, mainly with adult learners. She holds an MA in Education (Open University of Cyprus) and an MA in Art (Goldsmiths College, UK) and she was also awarded a PGCE in Technology Enhanced Learning with distinction from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David . She studied in Greece, Italy and the UK but also participated in an international project for the McLuhan program in Culture and Technology for the University of Toronto, Canada. Her fields of interest are Technology enhanced learning, Art in ESL, critical thinking, Inquiry Based learning and teaching adults. She is also the website editor of the Visual Arts Circle. She currently divides her time between Athens (Greece) working as an ESL/EAP instructor and teaching EAP in the UK..

High Ielts score beats ability in quest for academic results

I thought today I might share an interesting read with you about high IELTS scores. The original article appeared at el.gazetteHigh Ielts score beats ability in quest for academic results

High Ielts score beats ability in quest for academic results

Pre-sessional courses don’t boost academic results for weaker test performers, study finds

By: Federica Tedeschi

14443001654_a60a17c32c_b (1).jpg

Why do international students do worse than their native-speaker counterparts academically?

Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency have shown that they gain proportionately fewer first and upper second-class degrees than UK home students


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IELTS ACADEMIC LISTENING TIPS for the multiple choice section


  1. Underline these keywords and as the listening progresses look only at these words and not everything else. Focus your attention on them.
  2. Pay attention to:
  3. synonyms for words that are included in the various options or ideas expressed in a different way
  4. dates or numbers and any other information that could be very specific.
  5. Also, BE CAREFUL! A lot of times details are mentioned from ALL the options. You have to be alert to distinguish clearly which one is the correct one!
  6. Don’t spend too much time trying to think of an answer. Just move on to the next one.
  7. If you are unsure about an answer, you can guess. Or you can take advantage of the 10 minutes given to you to transfer your answers to think or rethink about a tricky question.
  8. Good luck!

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Exam topics (March, 2016 in Greece)

These are the various topics for the IELTS exam in the beginning of March in Greece as our students remember them.
Text 1
Text one was about the cultivation of organic foods and seeds. There was an example of a farm in the US, where a family grows, collects and stores seeds. The text concluded in several surveys conducted by experts, stating that there are dangers, such as famine, in case we do not increase food production and create new cultivation techniques.
Text 2
Text two focused mainly on how science can be affected by social and economical ideas, on how sociologists can disprove some scientific ideas that were taken as a fact and on how some researchers adopted new techniques that take into account modern sociological views and ideas.
Text 3
Text three was about chemicals, such as fluoride, that are mixed in the water in order to keep it clean and also benefit the health of the teeth. There was a debate between people who opposed this technique and people in favor. Scientific opinions were also mentioned.
Task 1
The first picture shows a top plan of an estate as it is now and the second picture, as it is designed to become in the future.
Compare both pictures and highlight the changes that will take place.
 032105D8-51E3-4384-B2EA-2111FC474E470280B1A7-146B-4B2D-A29F-61F69E2F3485 (2)
     FF493B62-C025-4BAF-BDF0-349F5A8E32CEF9337E4D-3E7F-4F67-8280-5943A5917B38 (2)
Task 2
Some people believe that the purpose of school is to shape a child to be a good citizen and a qualified worker, while others believe that school must firstly focus on shaping a balanced individual.
To what extend do you agree or disagree
Justify your opinion and give a personal example if possible
Part 1
1. Which space do you prefer most to spend your time when you are at home.
2. What changes would you make to this space if possible.
Part 2
Describe a meal you had with friends. Please say
What  you ate
What  you talked about
What was worth remembering
Part 3
1. In what situations a family is not able to have dinner altogether?
2. Are there any special foods Greeks enjoy eating during the holidays?
3. Who of the two are bound the most between each other : Colleagues or classmates?

3rd Videographic for IELTS practice

Young and growing: An animated infographic showing how the global population is set to change

Watch the videographic and complete the gaps of the tapescript:

In 1950, —————————— (1) in rich countries in North America, Europe and Oceania was around 30 years old. 

In Asia, Africa and Latin America it was closer to 20 . 

Since then ——————————————————- (2) as people have fewer babies and live longer. But Africa’s different.

It’s high fertility and deaths from war and disease that ————– (3a) the median age ———— (3b). 

Though ———————————– (4) as people live longer, healthier lives. 

In the rich world, ———————————- (5) , while the median age in poor countries ————————— (6). 

A ———————————————– (7) in terms of population numbers. 

In the middle of the 20th century, there were 2.5 billion people. 

In most places, the population ————————————- (8) — and ———————————————– (9) by 2050. 

In Asia, the number of people surged and is forecast to taper off. 

But in Africa, the population ————————————- (10) and this is likely to continue . 

In fact, Africa’s population ——————————————— (11) to almost two and a half billion people by 2050, making the region a growing market.

3rd videographic Answer key

2nd Videographic – for IELTS practice

This is my 2nd videographic activity I have prepared and I hope you will find it as helpful as the first one.


 Meeting of the minds : how sexual equality increases income inequality

Listen to the video and insert the phrases in the correct gap

huge increase  much worse    quarter less    emergence of  swelled   similarly

credentialed   with a             dramatically increasing     about twice   at the same

     economic disparity    most     diploma        a quarter of    with a degree 


In 1960, ———- (1) American men  ——– (2) high school ——– (3) or less married women ——— (4)  education level. Biologists call this ‘assortative mating’ , like ‘Marries like’. Then, only ——– (5)  men ———– (6) married women with one, in part because they weren’t as cpmmon.

It was even fewer if they held a graduate degree. But half a century later with more educated women in the workforce, the situation’s vastly different.

Now, men with a degree are ——- (7)  as likely as they were to marry women with one. With a graduate degree, 40%  of men marry similar women, a ——— (8)  from 13 percent in 1960.

This marks the ———- (9)  power couples. Those with less schooling are less likely to marry their female equivalents, probably because women have better graduation rates. The good news is that women are better-educated and marrying —————- (10)  men, who in the past might have married their secretaries. But the bad news is that power couples earn much more, ——————– (11) income inequality. In 1960, a couple without high school diplomas owned a ————  (12)  than the mean household income. The situation is now ———- (13).

Power couples took home 76% percent more than the average household but it’s ——– (14)  to 120 percent more now.  So a byproduct of women’s equality is greater —————- (15)  and that advantage may be passed down as a birthright to their kids.

answer key

Videographics – for IELTS practice

Have you ever seen a videographic? I’m sure most of you have. Have you ever thought of using them in an IELTS class? Well, they are an excellent choice for IELTS students because a videographic is a video which combines moving images with graphical images on top. (macmillan dictionary) There are several videographics you can find online which are like ‘live’ charts. Everything takes place in front of your eyes. I find them particularly helpful for students starting to work with charts. It’s a great practice.

I have started preparing a short series of such videographics which students can watch and complete a short exercise. The videos are short so they do not have to spend a lot of time on them. In this way, they watch the analysis of a graph/chart, etc. and also learn and/or revise language used when writing a report for IELTS task 1. Teachers can download the video and do the exercise in class or you can ask your students to visit my blog and do the exercise. Whichever is more convenient.

I hope you like them. Remember to leave me feedback so that I know you find them helpful!


Global smart phone shipments

Sales have reached a ———— (1) but with a new cast of companies. In ——— (2) around ———————– (3) smartphones were sold. Nokia shipped— ——– (4) , —————- (5) by Blackberry, Apple, Samsung, HTC and others. The market soared but Samsung and Apple took over the first and second ————- (6) and pulled away. Last year, shipments ———– (7) a billion according to the research firm IDC. Samsung and Apple still dominate but new names make the top 5 : LG of S.Korea and Huawei and Lenovo from China . Nokia left the —————- (8) all together. It’s selling its mobile phone Division to Microsoft. Blackberry and HTC are absent, too. The ———— (9) growth is the cheap android phones especially from China. Today, supplies outside the top 5 ———— —– (10) almost 40% of shipments, ——– (11) the ——- (12) of just 4 years ago.

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ʎǝʞ ɹǝʍsuɐ