Why Honesty Matters: On IELTS, and in Life

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IELTS honesty

Recently, a shocking case emerged in the IELTS test center where I work.

A candidate entered the test center, gave the finger print, and then somehow switched places with a candidate who looked similar to him.

The candidate he switched with had a very high level of English, and was paid a handsome sum of money for this deception.

This ‘professional’ candidate made it through the Listening, Reading and halfway through the Writing, before a proctor became suspicious.

The proctor had helped check in the real candidate in the morning, and, while walking around checking ID’s during the Writing exam, she took a double take when comparing the student to his passport picture.

She asked him to accompany her to the administrator’s office, and this paid test taker told the truth immediately.

He was afraid of getting in trouble himself.

After all, he didn’t care about the real candidate.

He had already received his payment.

This insane series of events got me thinking about why the ethics of honesty and sincere effort are so important, and how we can bring our ethical life into our IELTS preparation.


1. Be honest about who you’re placing your trust in

This professional candidate, the fake person, did not care about the person who paid him the money.

He confessed right away, preferring to save himself than lie any more for the real candidate.

You, as an IELTS candidate, need to place your trust in an IELTS professional before you take the exam.

A teacher who can not only help you pass the exam, but also greatly improve your English ability at the same time.

Think about it: what if the person had actually gotten away with this crime?

Then, he would go to an English-speaking university, and not understand a thing.

Then, he would fail all of his classes, and still be forced home in disgrace, still having achieved nothing.

When you place your future dreams of immigration or prestigious study in someone else’s hands, make sure they deserve it.

Research the teacher and the course, and don’t be afraid to ask tough questions.

Then, work hard, and make sure you deserve the highest possible grade on the IELTS exam.


2. Be honest about the amount of work it takes to reach your goals

The dishonest student chose the easy way, the short cut, the loser’s way out.

And now that his scheme has been uncovered, he cannot take the IELTS exam again.

Therefore, he may not be able to attend the university of his choice, never get the position he’s hoping for, and never have the pride in himself that he so hoped for in the future.

You are a good person!

You will not make these same mistakes.

As an adult, you have enough life experience to know that there is no magic key to success.

Sure, we may get helped along our path by luck or good timing, but it’s our work ethic that allows us to use this luck and timing along our unique path.

If you need to get a 7+ on IELTS, if you want to create a better life for you and your family, there is no shortcut.

There are many opportunities to waste time, however, and that is why choosing a proven IELTS course with a sound and solid study plan is just the beginning.

The rest is up to you: only by completing all the activities, investing your time according to the study plan, and putting your best effort into the test practice, will you reach your goals.

You can hear how one student used our course to achieve a 7.5 on IELTS here.


3. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and use them!

In our case study of today, the student should have been honest with himself about his lack of English skills, and focused on improving himself.

Instead, he thought his clever plan would be his strength, his savior; however, it only got him into a more dire situation.

Lindsay and I talk exactly about this pitfall in your IELTS test preparation journey in this episode.

You have to be honest with yourself first and foremost.

Are you better at Listening than Speaking?

Then you must force yourself to face your fears, and seek out a speaking partner.

Do you try a practice reading test, fail, and blame the material instead of yourself?


Find a professional who will teach you the strategies you need, such as in our online IELTS course, and practice, practice, practice.


4. On the Speaking exam, be honest about what’s happening with you

Sometimes, we have to admit defeat before we can gather our strength to move on.

Perhaps this is where our poor student went awry.

He tried a practice test, performed abysmally, and tried to lie his way out of his problems.

Being honest is actually one IELTS strategy unique to IELTS Energy and All Ears English.

On this podcast we discuss how you can use your blank and nervous mind to your advantage on the IELTS Speaking test. We have a strategy for everything!


In short, you have to trust in yourself- that your hard work, determination and honesty will not only lead you to the IELTS score you need, but guide you in achieving all that you dream of in the future.

Let’s go!


What do you think about today’s article?

Let us know in the comments below!

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  • HONESTY can stand against all kinds of assault . Don’t let your desire for comfort blind you to value of character / quality . Be true to yourself and others ! Think once , twice and three times before you decide . You can put trust in 3 Keys IELTS System and turn your life dreams into reality . Let Teacher Jessica help you !!!

  • Michael Tatusio

    Sometimes when you’re looking for the words, the sentences lengthen. Without the necessary self-confidence you quickly feel that you’re bored the others 🙁

  • Tais Pitta

    I feel exactly the same way as the listener does. It is quite hard to get into a conversation with native speakers. As I still make many English mistakes, people do not have much pacience. Unfortunately, I still think in Portuguese before speaking, and this is something hard to get rid off. Thank you for the tips. I will definitely try to use them.

  • Yineska Martinez

    I want to learn to do sketchnotes even though I’m not a very good cartoonist

  • eslam ali

    I like your podcasts a lot 🙂

    You rock 😀

  • Marcos

    I still stay in my country in spite of all the obstacles

  • Marcos

    Even though my headache Iam still studying for the next exam

  • Marcos

    I keep on going my diary routine excercises despite my low-back hurt.

  • cissy54

    Wonderful episode! I always wondered why people looked me in a strange way after I said despite…Mystery solved!

    I have a follow-up question. How do we use “though” at the end of a sentence naturally? I’ve heard people say that quite a lot, but don’t know how to myself.

    Thanks a lot, Lindsay and Michelle. You guys are the best!

  • Takashi

    I like Episode 456, which contains a suggestion that we, English learners, need to pay more attention to the character of words – suitable to in verbal communication or written one. The story mainly highlights the difference between “despite” and “in spite of”, though.

    I am Japanese. In the case of English education in my country, the students used to start and end studying English just in reading and writing in classroom. This learning practice creates a problem
    that they speak the words which should be used in written. Lindsay and Michelle agreed in this show that “in spite of” and “despite” were not to be used in conversation, sounding weird if we said in conversation, but “despite” is my frequently pop-up word in my conversation. I had little chance to recognize that there were words which I should avoid to use in conversation.

    Unlike me – 40 or something, the current Japanese pupils luckily begin studying English in conversation thanks to the national teaching programme for foreign language changed. They may make less
    mistake about this than our generation.

    I believe it is helpful for English learners if you could advise us the way to study this point in AEE, like recommending a book that features it.


  • Ahmad Bayuun

    I love AEE and I couldn’t bend my self or stop ✋ listening to it in spite of I’ve to focus on learning Turkish coz I moved there one year ago