Month: March 2014

IELTS Study Tips

A very large percentage of students don’t read the question carefully. Therefore, they either don’t understand what the examiner wants or only answer half the question.

READ THE DAMN QUESTION

As you’re reading the question, underline or circle the keywords so you don’t miss anything. Don’t worry about fancy, colorful highlighters – you will only be wasting time switching from pencil to highlighter and back again.

 

 

IELTS Speaking Part 3 – Q.11 – Model answer

Here’s the model answer to the question I posted last week about questionnaires.

Many organizations conduct questionnaires for different reasons. A civil society organization could be engaged in research and activities of that nature. They will conduct questionnaires asking citizens for their opinion on various matters relating to governance, law and public policy. These questionnaires are their source of data which they use to conduct analysis that form the backbone of their work in the spheres of activism. On a broader note, think tanks in general would conduct questionnaires to learn more about the issues their organization works on. (more…)

IELTS Listening – Ted Ed No.8

Here’s a fantastic video exploring the mania that surrounds English teaching and learning. There’s no doubt that English is the official global language of the world now. But when did it become a phenomenon? And when did this phenomenon become a mania? Don’t just watch the video,get the most out of ted-ed – develop your listening skills, note down some useful vocabulary, and answer the questions along with the video.

 

The world’s English mania

Jay Walker talks about the ways in which learning the English language has become a feverish enterprise across the globe.

 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of English as lingua franca? Share your ideas in the comments below.

IELTS Writing Task 2 – Q.9

In the comments below, make notes on how you will structure your response.

 

Several languages are in danger of extinction because they are spoken by very small numbers of people. Some people say that governments should spend public money on saving these languages, while others believe that would be a waste of money.
 Discuss both these views and give your opinion.

 

See here how to answer IELTS writing task 2 questions. I’ll post a model answer soon.

Which is better – An IELTS course or Self-study?

A lot of students ask me this question. Is it better to study at home or join an IELTS course at a local language school.

I’m not going to mince words here and say it depends on a lot of factors. The bottomline is that it is always better to take a course. And here’s why I strongly believe this is the best way to succeed at IELTS:

1. You get a real, live teacher 2-3 times a week who can answer all your questions.

2. Joining a group of people who have the same goal as you is more motivating than studying on your own. (more…)

IELTS Speaking Part 3 – Q.10 – Model answer

Here’s an answer to the question I posted last week. 

A new law I would introduce in my country would be one that lays down a specific deadline for cases to be resolved by.  Despite a number of laws, the justice system in my country is severely lacking because of the time it takes for courts to complete a trial. It is not surprising to hear of cases being continued over a span of a decade or more. The excessive backlog amounts to over 27 million cases pending in the courts all over the country.  While civil courts need to deliver judgments within 30 days of the arguments being closed, no such provisions exist in the criminal law sphere or for the courts at a higher level.

We have one of the world’s lowest ratios of judges to population in the world, with only 13 judges for every million people, compared with 50 in developed nations.  Due to this a vast number of cases are heard daily, which leads to a large number of adjournments, judges passing cases between them, and increasingly long queues of people waiting outside courtrooms waiting for their case to be heard. Lawyers aggravate this issue by using delaying tactics such as routinely appealing against verdicts, saying they are sick or failing to show up in court.

These delays cost the economy, discourage people from pursing action against crime, overcrowding of prisoners without trial and lead to an overall mindset that the justice system is malleable and ineffective. The process of making my country’s legal system more efficient would begin with a law establishing a clear deadline for disposal of case.

IELTS Speaking Part 2 – Q.7 Model answer

Last week’s IELTS Speaking Part 2 question might appear slightly difficult because it is a departure from the usual questions about personal experiences.

However, since this is a factual question, some students actually find it easier to answer. Also, the scope of making grammatical errors is greatly reduced in the case of factual questions since much of the answer needs use of only the present simple. It’s a good idea to look at the wikipedia page of your country’s national animal, bird, dress, festival etc. and make brief notes in order to prepare for such questions. 

Here’s my model answer:

I’m going to talk about the elephant which is the national animal of Thailand.

If I’m not mistaken, the elephant is the largest mammal that lives on land. It is probably around eight or nine feet tall. It has big flappy ears and trunk that brushes the ground. (more…)

IELTS Study Plan: Some Ideas

Your IELTS study plan will depend on several criteria:

1. Your motivation

This is definitely the most crucial of all criteria. Ask yourself why you want / need to take the IELTS. If you can find a good reason, then no amount of distractions will stop you from achieving your aim (hopefully 🙂 )

2. The right materials

There is a lot of information on the internet that can help you prepare for the IELTS exam. But not all of it is useful information. I decided to create this website because I didn’t want my students to waste time trying to find one nugget of useful information in the sea of data available on the web. But this is not the only website I recommend. See my blogroll for other very useful IELTS related websites. Once you’ve found the right materials, it’s time to assemble a plan. (more…)

IELTS Writing Task 2 – Q.8

In the comments below, make notes on how you will structure your response.

 

Some people think that in the modern world we have become more dependent on each other, while others think that people are now more independent. 
Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

 

See here how to answer IELTS writing task 2 questions . I’ll post a model answer soon.

IELTS Listening – Ted Ed No.7

Another great video from our friends at Ted Ed. This one deals with a common topic that comes up in IETLS Writing Task 2 and IELTS Speaking Part 3 – work and employment. Don’t just watch the video, get the most out of ted-ed – develop your listening skills, note down some useful vocabulary, and answer the questions along with the video.

 

What makes us feel good at work?

Dan Ariely explains the driving force behind those who truly enjoy work. And the answer is not money.

 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of giving gendered toys (pink kitchen sets to girls, blue cars to boys) to children? Share your ideas in the comments below.

IELTS Study Tips

My first IELTS study tip is advice I give to all my students on Day One of an IELTS course.

HAVE A PLAN.

What does this mean? Really, this means knowing where you are, where you want to go, and the steps you will take in order to get there.

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 17.32.40 (more…)

IELTS Speaking Part 3 – Q.9 – Model answer

Here is an answer to the question I gave you last week. 

The most important quality for an orator is the ability to capture the attention of your audience. That begins with having confidence because a confident speaker is more likely to impress and captivate others compared to someone who is either unsure of his content or timid. The personality of a person determines largely how they fare as a speaker since people who are more expressive, original and extroverted will be able to charm their listeners. Organizing your ideas in a coherent and smooth flow will ensure better delivery and while a rehearsed speech is good as preparation, it should not come across as mechanical. Also, an often heard tip for public speaking is to establish eye contact with your audience.

The difference between an ordinary speaker and a great one is the level of passion they speak with. When someone is keenly vested in their content, it is obvious to the audience and this in turn makes them more interested in what you are saying. A good speaker knows his target audience and prepares his speech to that effect. An informal setting requires different preparation as opposed to a meeting in office. Talking in a natural tone with appropriate voice modulations helps in engaging the people listening. There are different ways of connecting with your audience such as by telling stories, having an approachable body language, asking questions and being willing to answer questions.

The best speeches are ones that are not excessively long. Such a speaker communicates his point by being concise and supporting his points with stories or facts. We remember speakers who convey sincerity, conviction and enthusiasm for their subject.

IELTS Speaking Part 2 – Q.6 Model answer

Here’s the model answer for last week’s Speaking Part 2 question.

I’m going to talk about the time I helped a friend who was locked out of her house.

She was a student, just like me, at King’s University, and both of us lived in different houses on the same street as paying guests.

It was late at night, so it wasn’t like she could call a locksmith. Her landlord wasn’t answering the phone so there wasn’t much she could do. She called me and I invited her to stay the night.

Even though I didn’t know her very well at the time, I felt like I had to let her stay at my place because who knows, I might very well be in the same situation someday and need a roof over my head.

Here’s the original question from last week:

Q1

What band 7+ vocabulary did you find in the model answer above? Read more about how to answer questions in Speaking Part 2 and how to manage your time effectively.

IELTS Listening – Ted Ed No.6

Here’s a great video I came across the other day. It explores questions of gender, socialization and equality – all three are popular topics in IELTS exams. Don’t just watch the video, get the most out of ted-ed – develop your listening skills, note down some useful vocabulary, and answer the questions along with the video.

 

The history of marriage

Alex Gendler traces the history of marriage back to ancient times, explores how the purpose and meaning of marriage has changed over the years and the different kinds of unions that mean marriage.

 

With the rapid increase in divorce rates, has marriage become obsolete? Share your ideas in the comments below.

IELTS Writing Task 2 – Q.7

In the comments below, make notes on how you will structure your response.

 

Some people believe that studying at university or college is the best route to a successful career, while others believe that it is better to get a job straight after school. Do the benefits of gaining work experience at a young age outweigh the drawbacks?

 

See here how to answer IELTS writing task 2 questions here. I’ll post a model answer soon.

IELTS Speaking Part 3 – Q.8 – Model answer

Here is a sample answer to the question I posted last week on communication. 

Men and women tend to have different patterns of communication. Women are more expressive and use words to communicate what they are thinking or feeling whereas men communicate on a need to know basis and are not as prone to sharing personal information. They talk to share ideas, suggestions and facts. Men prefer taking decisions independently whereas women like to consider inputs and seek advice which then results in men making quicker decisions. Women like to listen to others and are open towards asking for feedback.

The body language of the two are also contrasting such as women use more non verbal communication such as making eye contact, gesturing and animated facial expressions but men have more of a nonchalant and conservative body language. Men talk more at work where they engage in problem solving and women talk more in social settings conveying her personal thoughts in words.  These variations in communication stem from their childhood itself where women pursue friendships in order to build a connection and for this purpose talking is vital. Men have friendships that focus on activities rather than sharing of emotions. These patterns then develop into adulthood as women preferring conversation as a means of bonding while men focus on action and purpose driven communication.

Within these conventional changes though, there can be more differences within each gender in itself like different women can have varied styles of communication so, these conventions cannot said to be applicable to everyone in equal measures. It is modified by your personality and there are not set rules for people in general.

 

IELTS Listening – Ted Ed No.5

Here’s an interesting video related to two very popular IELTS topics – health and advertising. Don’t just watch the video, get the most out of ted-ed – develop your listening skills, note down some useful vocabulary, and answer the questions along with the video.

 

Sugar: Hiding in plain sight

In this enlightening talk, Robert Lustig talks about how sugar creeps into our diets even if we skip dessert.

 

Do you think the government should control how much sugar is used by food manufacturers? Share your ideas in the comments below.

IELTS Writing Task 2 – Q.6

In the comments below, make notes on how you will structure your response.

 

As most people spend a major part of their adult life at work, job satisfaction is an important element of individual well-being. What factors contribute to job satisfaction? How realistic is the expectation of job satisfaction for all workers?

 

See here how to answer IELTS writing task 2 questions. I’ll post a model answer soon.

IELTS Speaking Part 2 – Q.5 Model answer

Hello all, I’m feeling particularly peppy today and hopefully, my model answer will reflect my mood. This one is for the question I posted last week. Here goes:

I’m going to talk about my birthday a couple of months ago.

Actually, my friends threw me a surprise birthday party at a farmhouse a couple of days after my birthday, so it was a real surprise because I thought they weren’t going to do anything. (more…)

IELTS Listening – Ted Ed No.4

Here’s another good video to practice listening skills and learn some excellent vocabulary for a popular IELTS topic. Don’t just watch the video, get the most out of ted-ed – develop your listening skills, note down some useful vocabulary, and answer the questions along with the video.

What adults can learn from kids?

Child prodigy Adora Svitak talks about the things adults forget – creativity, curiosity, and optimism.

 

What do you think adults should learn from children? Share your ideas in the comments below.