Below you will find a very practical list of Ted Talks to help you to pass IELTS. You can listen to the podcast -where I go into much more detail on how to use each talk – and / or you can go to the actual Ted Talk page.
If you are around a Band 5 or 6, go to the Ted Talk page and listen while reading the transcript. You could even make your gap fill exercise, or if you are very determined, transcribe the entire audio, then check your transcription with the Ted Talk official transcription.
Personally, I’d download all the mp3s of the talks, then listen to them, one a day for the next 20 days. Fill your brain with some uplifting positive ideas and stories!
1. Breaking the language barrier | Tim Doner
This is a great video because he shares some powerful techniques for learning a new language.
- Great technique for memorisation. He talks about using the part of the brain employed in directions / spatial awareness, for this method you would tag new words onto an existing route you already know very well. Watch the video from minute 8.41 – Method of loci.
- If you started feeling a lack of motivation while preparing for IELTS it is exactly what you need.
- Lots of practical tips for learning a language and gaining fluency
2. Five techniques to speak any language | Sid Efromovich
- Sid shares why it is important to learn sounds that are not in your native language.
- He also gives you 5 unique techniques that can help finally speak fluently
- You will find out why making mistakes can be good
- Lots of examples and clear explanations
Here is a brief summary of his talk:
3. The first 20 hours — how to learn anything | Josh Kaufman
- Josh shares that you only need 20 hours of practice to gain a skill, however, the caveat is that they have to be 20 high quality focused hours (No Facebook etc etc).
- Within the 20 hours you must include time for feedback and auto-evaluation, this way you can measure how much you are improving by.
- Personally I would use these 20 hours in writing essays and getting them corrected.
- Alternatively you could use these hours in active study, i.e watching tutorials and taking notes from while studying online.
- He recommends doing 45 minutes a day, could you do one Task 2 essay a day for 20 days?
- Click here for some Task 2 questions to get you started.
4. How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed | Daniel Levitin
- This video is great for those who get nervous.
- The video will teach you to identify what could go wrong.
- How to use your memory to stay calm during any situation.
- Adjust the advice to taking IELTS and use the techniques to keep calm.
- You will also understand what happens (biologically) when you get nervous, this will further help you control your nerves.
5. Speaking Confidence Technique
If you get nervous in the exam, you should watch this talk, and then implement the instructions.
Did you know the power posture explained in this video will boost your testosterone levels (boosting your confidence)?
Why not try it (in private) before the exam?
The Ted Talk not only has an inspiring story near the end, it also shares:
- How body language affects how others see us,
- “Power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.
Power Posture for Confidence:
6. Defeat Procrastination and test anxiety!
- Get ideas for fighting procrastination, my favourite is the Pomodoro technique.
- Barbara also shares how to defeat test anxiety, to use this technique you will need some practice tests, available here, (then search for IELTS Practice Tests).
- Understanding is NOT mastery! Don’t be fooled! She shares a great technique to really boost the effectiveness of your studying, recall (great for learning new vocabulary)
7. Memorise New Vocabulary!
The art of memory | Daniel Kilov
How to use this video for IELTS:
- Watch it all, do the easy exercise he explains to learn the order of the planets.
- Then apply this memory technique to learn a big list of vocabulary*
*Make sure you learn the words in context though!
8. Academic Task 1 Help!
This is a great talk for students struggling with Academic Task 1 because:
- You will get to here the phrases and vocabulary you need, and most importantly, you will hear them in context.
- She shares handy tips to help question, interpret and truly understand what the numbers are saying
9. How to get motivated and get speaking English!
Hacking language learning | Benny Lewis
- The speaker will dispel most common myths about learning a language
- You will learn the pros and cons of different approaches and false motivation
- As well as he will talk about his own ways how to motivate yourself
10. Metaphorically speaking
English is not English without metaphors, idioms and fixed expressions
- This video will help you understand and deepen your knowledge of metaphors are how they are made in English
- If you use some metaphors in the speaking part of IELTS it will definitely give you some extra points
- The speaker also suggest how metaphors can subtly influence our decisions
11. Feeling beat up over IELTS?
This video will help you get motivated and shares some powerful techniques to get RE-ENERGISED to take IELTS and study!
Programming your mind for success | Carrie Green
- Learn what obstacles you can face while trying to achieve something
- And learn how to overcome them
- Practical approach how to achieve what you want
12. What do top students do differently?
In this video you will listen to different ideas about successful learning
- The speaker makes it clear what will help if you want to get a high score
- The importance of study-life balance
- And more practical tips
13. This is an interesting video to learn about words, how they are made and how to make new ones.
Go ahead, make up new words! | Erin McKean
- The video will help you understand how new words are created in English
- The speaker will teach you 6 ways how you can make you language brighter
- A firm knowledge of the “parts of speech” is absolutely necessary for all parts of IELTS and this video can help you see the difference and use the words properly
NB: Be careful! Don’t invent words in your IELTS exam!!
14. Need a completely rational method to get motivated for the exam?
This talk eloquently explains how the more options we have, the better quality decisions we can make.
So by taking (and passing IELTS), you can greatly increase your options, because IELTS does give you plenty of options (immigration, higher education etc etc).
15. Learning styles & the importance of critical self-reflection
Adding to the previous video, this one will dispel the myth of different learning styles
- It will help you understand how to remember information better that can be really helpful while preparing for IELTS
- The speaker will also provide interesting examples
- You will learn why meaning is so important while studying something
16. This is your brain on communication
- human communication
- across different languages
- gives confidence to IELTS students
- Tackles how our brains show similar activity, or become “aligned,” when we hear the same idea or story.
- How brain transmits patterns, sharing memories and knowledge.
17. TED’s secret to great public speaking
- a secret ingredient that all the best public speaking have in common
- four ways to make it work for you
- How to share an idea worth spreading
18. 10 ways to have a better conversation
- ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening
- In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations.
19. Four reasons to learn a new language
About learning foreign language
- shares four alluring benefits of learning an unfamiliar tongue
20. Why I keep speaking up, even when people mock my accent
- A good inspiration to people whose mother tongue is not English
- Gives IELTS students confidence in Speaking part
21. What our language habits reveal
- looks at language and how it expresses what goes on in our minds
- how the words we choose communicate much more than we realize