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Common Spelling Mistakes in IELTS – Details inside!

Updated on 09 November, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Common Spelling Mistakes in IELTS – Details inside!

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the most popular English language proficiency tests for higher education and immigration overseas. The IELTS examination is of two types, IELTS Academic which is taken for higher education, and IELTS General Training for work and migration purposes in English-speaking countries. The IELTS test has four sections – Writing, Speaking, Reading, and Listening. This English language proficiency test measures the ability of candidates to converse in English. For all the papers in IELTS, vocabulary and spelling are some of the important skills that are tested and evaluated. In this article, we will discuss some common spelling mistakes in IELTS. 

For all the IELTS papers, that is, Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening, vocabulary is allocated 25% of marks. A candidate must know the exact pronunciations as well as the spellings of all the repeated words that come in the IELTS exam. It is very important to know the right spelling to maintain accuracy. Spelling mistakes are an obstacle in fetching a high band. It is important to understand the basics of spelling and the common spelling mistakes in IELTS. This will help the applicants ace the IELTS test. 

Applicants make mistakes with some words as they are quite ambiguous about the complicated and long spellings. Spelling is an important part of the vocabulary, and it helps in examining the English language proficiency among non-native English speakers. Too many spelling mistakes can affect your IELTS band in writing and listening. It is important to understand some very common spelling mistakes that IELTS test takers usually make so that you can learn from them and not commit them in your attempt. 

Some common spelling mistakes in IELTS

The four sections of IELTS should be accurate in terms of vocabulary and spelling. Applicants making spelling errors in IELTS papers often score a low band. Since it is an English language proficiency test, the focus is primarily on vocabulary and spelling. To submit a 100% accurate write-up, applicants must know the common spelling errors in IELTS to avoid them in future attempts:

  1. Single/ Double letters: It is a very common mistake that is seen in the IELTS examination. Applicants get confused in some words as to whether they should put a single letter or double letter. There are common words where there is confusion between single and double letters like ‘Emabarasment’ is incorrect, while ‘Embarrassment’ is correct.

2. Silent letter: In English, there are words where one letter is silent. But when you write that word you cannot ignore that particular letter. While speaking the letter is not pronounced, but while writing you need to write it. Take the example of ‘Handkerchief’, where D is silent and ‘Hankerchief’ is spelt wrong. Some other examples are Autumn, column, government, environment. 

3. Position of I and E: There are various words in the English language that you use regularly but there is confusion in the letters ‘i’ and ‘e’ together. In some words, you use ‘i’ followed by ‘e’ while in others, it is just the reverse. ‘Cheif’ is incorrect, while ‘Chief’’ is the correct spelling. This is one of the most common spelling mistakes that are committed by the applicants.

4. Confusion with ‘er’ and ‘or’: You will find some very common words in the English language that end with ‘or’ e.g. doctor, while you use ‘er’ in some words e.g. gather. It is very likely to get confused in such a case and hence, you need to be careful about these words. For example, ‘Traveler’ is correct and ‘Travellor’ is incorrect. This confusion leads to a lot of spelling mistakes that are used in daily lives. Applicants must be very careful with such spelling errors. 

5. Writing how you speak English: Being a non-native speaker, you will end up borrowing some very common English language words from the local language or speak some words incorrectly with the local accent and will end up writing the English language words with the same accent. The accent is an important thing behind spelling. It is important to speak and say the same thing. For example, the word ‘Modren’ is incorrect and ‘Modern’ is correct. This is one thing that is commonly found among non-native English speakers. This leads to a lot of spelling errors in the IELTS test. It should be addressed by the test takers while preparing. 

6. Doubling letters: Doubling words are a very common reason for making spelling mistakes. It is a common spelling mistake like, ‘Oppinion’ instead of ‘Opinion’. Removing the double consonant in words like in ‘Disappointment’, ‘Tomorrow’, ‘Recommend’, ‘Embarrassed’. 

7. Writing the wrong word: A very common mistake is writing ‘Loose’ instead of ‘Lose’; ‘Prospective’ instead of ‘Perspective’; getting confused between ‘There’ and ‘Their’. 

8. Using the wrong vowel: Writing the wrong vowel: ‘Tirtiary’ instead of ‘Tertiary’. 

9. Confusion between C and S: Expenses, society & service. This happens because the pronunciation of the words is almost the same. 

10. Changing form changes spelling – influence- influential; benefit – beneficial; maintain – maintenance.

11. Forgetting common letters: Forgetting letters like ‘a’ in ‘Literature’ or r in ‘Surprise’.

12. The wrong combination of vowels: Wrong two vowel combinations – writing ‘Dreems’ instead of ‘Dreams’. 

13. Foreign words mistake: Some foreign and English language words have some difficult words from Greek: rhythm, psychology, hierarchy, xenophobia. 

14. French words in English: Words from French used in English like chauffeur, connoisseur, rendezvous, silhouette cause some very common spelling mistakes committed in the IELTS examination. 

15. Reversing vowels: The reversing vowels like ‘WEIRD’, not ‘WIERD’; ‘RECEIVE’, not ‘RECIEVE’, are very common spelling mistakes. 

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Vocabulary is an essential part of the IELTS examination. Writing and speaking sections focus on vocabulary and spelling. To test and measure English language proficiency, vocabulary and spelling are given a lot of importance. Applicants must avoid making common spelling mistakes that can lead to a low band. 

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Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Mrinal Mandal is a study abroad expert with a passion for guiding students towards their international education goals. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering, earned in 2018. Since 2021, Mrinal has been working with upGrad Abroad, where he assists aspiring students in realizing their dreams of studying abroad. With his expertise and dedication, he empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of international education, making their aspirations a reality.

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The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.