Saturday, 13 April 2019

General Tips For The IELTS Test


  •  Study! Study!! Study!!! You must practice a lot in order to do well.
  • Arrive at your test center early enough so you can settle down. 
  • Have adequate rest the day before your test date, as it could be a very hectic day.
  • Eat well before going to the test center as you may not have any break.
If you feel you need private tutoring irrespective of where you live, please go the contact page and call us now.


      A1 GRADE 

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The IELTS Speaking Test






Overview
The speaking test is the same for both the academic and general categories. This part is arguably the easiest among all four tests. This is because the exercise is similar to how you would respond if someone meets you for the first time and is asking you questions about yourself.

It is made up of three parts and lasts for about 15 minutes. You will be with an interviewer who will ask you questions and then what you say will be recorded.

Assessment Criteria
During the speaking test, your examiners will assess you on the following speech qualities.
  • Fluency and coherence: When speaking, your speech should flow like a fluid and they should come quickly. Try as much as possible to avoid mannerisms. Your ideas must be tied to one another i.e. they must connect.
  • Accuracy: Your vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation must be accurate. You should also endeavor to use a wide range of vocabulary. You don't necessarily need to speak in a foreign accent. Whatever accent you have, the key thing is to communicate in clear and correct terms.
Helpful Tips
  • Speak clearly: Please try to be relaxed when speaking.You don't have to be afraid of the examiner. It's not an interrogation session. See your examiner as someone you are meeting for the first time and is getting to know you. In addition, try to speak naturally. Do not be too fast or too slow. Just be yourself. Doing all of these will help you to speak clearly.
  • Speak out loud: I do not mean that you should scream. Rather, you should project your voice in such a way that you will be heard clearly and the recording device can capture your voice.
  • Smile: Do you know one pill that is good for nerves? Smile! Yes, smiling can help you to feel relaxed just in case you are feeling nervous. Before you go in to the examiner, you can say something nice or funny to yourself and when you get in, smile to him.
  • Do not memorize answers in advance: Memorizing answers in advance can make you to sound unnatural and you may even begin to grope for words if you forget any of the memorized words.
  • For questions involving 'Yes' or 'No', don't just say Yes or No. For example, if you are asked: 'Do you like cooking?' Your answer should be Yes and then explain further or you could say No and then give reasons why you say No.
  • Ensure that your answers are based on the question you're asked. Do not answer off point, as that will count against you. So before answering, make sure you understand the question. One thing that can help you in this regard is taking out a few seconds to think about the question.
  • Use delay tactics: In order to ensure that you understand the question well enough before answering, buy out time by using what I call 'delay tactics'.  When asked a question you don't fully comprehend, you can say: "can you please repeat what you said" or "I don't quite understand what you meant by--------------" or "could you please rephrase". This kind of approach can help you to buy out time that you can use to think through the question before answering.
Speaking - Section 1
As mentioned previously, the speaking section is made up of three sections. In the first section, the examiner will ask you questions about yourself. Questions about yourself can be about anything. Below are some examples of questions about yourself.
  • About your job: Examples of questions about yourself are:
               - Do you have a job?
               - Do you like it? Why or why not?
               - What kind of education or training did you need to get this job?
  •  About your free time
               - Describe an activity you enjoy doing in your free time
               - In your free time, do you prefer activities you can do with other people or activities you
                 can do alone. Why?
  • Introductory questions
               - Can we meet you?
               - Let's meet you.
  • Questions about your neighborhood
               - Can you describe your neighborhood?
               - What is an advantage of living there?
               - What is a disadvantage of living there?
  • About sports
               - Talk about a sport you find interesting. What is it? Do you like to play this sport yourself?
                  Do you follow professional teams?
               - Why do you like this sport?


Speaking - Section 2
In the second section, you will be given a task card and be expected to talk on the topic presented on it. The task card looks like what is found below.



Describe a teacher from your past
                 You should say:

what grade you were when this teacher taught you

        what things the teacher taught you

       what the teacher’s special qualities were

and describe why you remember this particular teacher.




How does it work? You will be given 1 minute to study the task card and prepare your answers. So you will need to go in with your writing materials which you will use to write down the answers to the questions. You do not need to write a lengthy note as the 1 minute would not be enough to do that. All you just need to do is write down the answers in bullet points. You can make reference to what you have written when it is time to speak.

After the 1 minute preparation is up, your examiner will ask you to stop and then ask you to begin speaking. You will be given 1 to 2 minutes to do this. As soon as the time is up, the examiner will use another 1 minute to ask you questions based on what you said.

Speaking - Section 3
This part typically lasts between 4 to 5 minutes. During this section, the examiner will ask you questions related to the topic in section 2. Here are some examples of questions relating to section 2 you could be asked.
  • What kind of person makes a good teacher?
  • Why do you think people choose to become teachers?
  • What is more important for a teacher- to be an expert in the subject he teaches or to be very skilled at explaining things and motivating students to learn.



   A1 GRADE 






















Monday, 8 April 2019

The IELTS Listening Test






 
Overview
The listening test is the part that tests your listening ability as well your ability to briefly represent what you hear in writing. It is divided into four sections and you are to answer 40 questions altogether. You will listen to an audio which will play for 30 minutes. You must bear in mind that the audio plays only once. You do not pause, forward or rewind. So you must pay rapt attention when it is playing.

You will be given two answer sheets. One will serve as what I call it the rough sheet, where you will write the answers as the audio is playing. The other sheet is the official booklet where you MUST transfer all your answers to at the end of the 30 minutes audio. In fact, after the first 30 minutes, you will be given 10 more minutes to transfer your answer to the official booklet. If you do not transfer, you will not receive any listening score.

Helpful Tips For The Listening Test
Tip 1: You must be absolutely attentive. Your mind must be 100% there.

Tip 2: Start answering the questions immediately. Don't wait till the end of the audio before answering.

Tip 3: Use your time wisely. Before the audio starts playing, you will be given about 30 seconds to go through a particular set of questions, which you will hear the speaker mention. So use this time to go through those questions only. At the end of a set of questions, you will also be given some time to cross check your answers. You can use this time to either cross check the set of questions you just concluded or use it to study the next set of questions before hand.

Tip 4: Since the audio plays in the order in which the questions are arranged (i.e you will hear the answer to question 1 before that of question 2 and so on), your attention should be on number 1 first. As soon as you are done answering question 1, quickly move your attention to number 2. As soon as you are done with number 2, immediately move your attention to number 3 and so on.

Tip 5: The speakers may be telling lots of stories. Do not get carried away by too much stories. Listen attentively for the answers.

Tip 6: If you miss an answer to a question, please don't get stuck. Move on. If you get stuck to a question, the audio keeps playing and you will miss the answers to the other questions.

Tip 7: Don't bother about the accuracy of your spellings when writing into the rough sheet. Bother about that only when you want to transfer into the official booklet. Let me drive home the point by means of this experience. During a listening practice session with a candidate I was tutoring, she heard the word encyclopaedia. So she started battling with the right spelling while the audio kept playing. At the end of the day, she lost out on the answers to many questions that follow. I am sure you got the point. While your spellings in the official booklet must be correct, do not bother much about the accuracy when you are writing into the rough sheet. Just capture the information as fast as you can, even shortening it. But the most important thing is that you know what you have written so that you can easily write the correct answers in the official booklet.

Tip 8: Pay attention to speakers who correct themselves. For example, two speakers may be talking about the date of an event. The first one says 1950 and later the second corrects him by saying that the date is 1960. You know, in the heat of trying to capture what you hear in writing, you may be tempted to write what you hear first (i.e 1950). But paying close attention would enable you to realize that it's 1960 and not 1950.

Tip 9: You may hear a variety of accents, British, American or Australian. Practice listening to different accents.    

Tip 10: Pay attention to word limits. Like we saw in the reading test, you may be given an instruction to write no more than two or three words. Pay attention to this instruction only when you are transferring to the official booklet. Don't bother about word limit when you are writing into the first answer sheet. Try as much as you can to capture the information.

Please refer to the reading section to learn how to answer questions involving word limits. Answers that exceed a particular word limit are marked as incorrect.

Tip 11: Always read instructions. If the instruction involves word limit, stick to it. If it says you should write letters, please write letters.

Tip 12: Incomplete or shortened answers are marked as incorrect. For example, do not write Dec. for December or Mon. for Monday. Endeavor to spell correctly and fully.






   A1 GRADE 













 

  

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Writing Task 2








Writing Task 2
For the IELTS writing task 2, the format is the same whether you are sitting for the academic or general test. You will be given a topic to write an essay on. In the essay, you will be expected to write on any of the following:
  • suggest solutions to a problem
  • discuss two points of view and give your own
  • agree or disagree on a topic
  • describe the advantages and disadvantages of  a situation
Steps To Take
Step 1:  Determine the task
The very first step to take in order to succeed in any writing task is determining the task. If you do not understand what you are expected to write on, you may write out of point and that will definitely count against you. I am positive you don't want that. So it is vitally important that you understand the task before writing.

Step 2: Form a thesis statement
A thesis statement is a short summary of the main point of an essay. It states what the essay is about. It is very important because it will help you to organize your writing.

Step 3: Organize your writing (or make an outline)
After writing the thesis statement, the next step to take is to support it with main ideas. You can use two or three main ideas to support your thesis. Then use the ideas to form topic sentences. Under each main idea, write two or three supporting ideas.

Step 4: Write an introduction
The introduction of your essay must be able to captivate the attention of your reader. It should tell him how you want to develop your essay. How do you write it? Start with your thesis statement and then summarize the main ideas. The formular is:

INTRODUCTION = THESIS STATEMENT + SUMMARY OF MAIN POINTS

Your introduction can either be weak or strong. A weak introduction is one that contains only the thesis statement without a summary of the main points. It could also be one that contains an inappropriate thesis statement. Whereas a strong introduction is one that contains an appropriate thesis statement as well as a summary of the main points to be discussed.

We shall see examples on these later.

Step 5: Write the body
The essay is made up of different paragraphs. The introduction forms the first paragraph. The next paragraph marks the beginning of the body. Ideally, the number of paragraphs you should have in the body is a function of the number of main ideas you have developed. So if you have two main ideas, your body should have two paragraphs. In the same vain, if you have three main points, the body of your essay should contain three paragraphs and so on.

Each paragraph should contain the topic sentence, which can come at the start, in the middle or at the end of the paragraph. Each topic sentence should be coined from each main idea. Hence, each topic sentence tells what each paragraph is about. It helps your reader to follow your line of reasoning. So it is important to write a good topic sentence.

Step 6: Write the conclusion
The conclusion is the last paragraph of your essay. It should reinforce the content of your essay. A good conclusion should leave a lasting impression in the mind of your reader. It should remind your reader of your intentions.




Practice

Question


Some people believe that success means earning a lot of money
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? Give reasons for your answers and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

You should write at least 250 words.

Solution 
Step 1: Determine the task
The task here is to agree or disagree with the notion that "success means earning a lot of money".

Note that you are to agree or disagree. You must choose one. In deciding whether to agree or disagree, please do not use sentiments, as there are no wrong or right answers. Choose the one you know you have more points to support.

For this example, let's assume we disagree.

Step 2: Write a thesis statement
Remember how to form a thesis statement? It could look like this:

It is a common notion to some people that success is determined by how much money a person earns, but in my candid opinion, I do not agree with that, as success can be measured by different yardsticks.     

Step 3: Organize your point (draw an outline)
  • Main idea 1: A good name is better than riches
              - Supporting idea 1: You become trustworthy
              - Supporting idea 2: You become well respected


  • Main idea 2: Having genuine happiness
               - Happiness from having a good relationship with people
               - Happiness from having a sense of contentment

  • Main idea 3: Having God's approval
                - Prospect for the future
                - earning blessings from God even now

Note: Please add relevant examples from your knowledge or experience (which must not be real).

Step 4: Write the introduction
As already noted, your introduction can be weak or strong. Let's see an example of a weak introduction.

It is a common notion to some people that success is determined by how much money a person earns, but in my candid opinion, I do not  agree with that, as success can be measured by different yardsticks.

This is a weak introduction because it just contains the thesis statement. However, see an example of a strong introduction below.


It is a common notion to some people that success is determined by how much money a person earns, but in my candid opinion, I do not agree with that, as success can be measured by different yardsticks. If a person has a good name, to me that is true success. Genuine happiness, which no amount of money can buy, should also be an invaluable yardstick for measuring success. Besides, success is a function of  God's approval on an individual.

The introduction above is indeed a strong one because it contains an appropriate thesis and a good summary of the main ideas.

Step 5: Write the body
Below is a sample of how the body could look like:

Like the saying goes, " A good name is better than riches", no matter how much money a person has at his disposal, if he does not have a good name, society frowns at him. Someone who has a good name is seen as trustworthy and others would want to entrust valuable things under his care. What is more? Such a man earns the respect of others. An example that comes readily to my mind is my grandfather. Although he was not financially buoyant, the people in the community in which he resided unanimously appointed him as the community ruler even in the presence of  affluent men who were lobbying for the position. That's true success.

In addition, there is something that usually eludes people, especially the rich. That's genuine happiness. A man can be truly happy if he has a good relationship with people, especially his loved ones. This kind of happiness stems from the heart and there is no amount of money a person earns that can bring it. Furthermore, if a person has a sense of contentment, irrespective of how much he earns, he can be truly happy. That's  indeed success.

Next, having the approval of God, in my opinion, is the most reliable indication of success, as every good gift and perfect presents come from Him. If a person has the approval of the Almighty God, he is guaranteed of lots of blessings now and in the future.

Step 6: Write the conclusion
See a sample of the conclusion below

All in all, while earning a lot of money is not wrong in itself, it shouldn't be used as a sole determinant for success. Other factors like having a good name, having genuine happiness and having God's approval are very important in determining how successful a person is.

Now let's put everything together to form a whole.

    
It is a common notion to some people that success is determined by how much money a person earns, but in my candid opinion, I do not agree with that, as success can be measured by different yardsticks. If a person has a good name, to me that is true success. Genuine happiness, which no amount of money can buy, should also be an invaluable yardstick for measuring success. Besides, success is a function of  God's approval on an individual.

Like the saying goes, " A good name is better than riches", no matter how much money a person has at his disposal, if he does not have a good name, society frowns at him. Someone who has a good name is seen as trustworthy and others would want to entrust valuable things under his care. What is more? Such a man earns the respect of others. An example that comes readily to my mind is my grandfather. Although he was not financially buoyant, the people in the community in which he resided unanimously appointed him as the community ruler even in the presence of  affluent men who were lobbying for the position. That's true success.
In addition, there is something that usually eludes people, especially the rich. That's genuine happiness. A man can be truly happy if he has a good relationship with people, especially his loved ones. This kind of happiness stems from the heart and there is no amount of money a person earns that can bring it. Furthermore, if a person has a sense of contentment, irrespective of how much he earns, he can be truly happy. That's  indeed success.

Next, having the approval of God, in my opinion, is the most reliable indication of success, as every good gift and perfect presents come from Him. If a person has the approval of the Almighty God, he is guaranteed of lots of blessings now and in the future.

All in all, while earning a lot of money is not wrong in itself, it shouldn't be used as a sole determinant for success. Other factors like having a good name, having genuine happiness and having God's approval are very important in determining how successful a person is.


Exercise 1


Children today spend more time watching television than they did in the past. Describe some of the advantages and disadvantages of television for children

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

You should write at least 250 words.

Guide
Step 1: Determine the task

_________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________

Step 2: Write a thesis statement
________________________________
________________________________
________________________________
________________________________
________________________________
________________________________
________________________________

Step 3: Draw an outline
  • Main idea 1:________________
          - Supporting idea 1:_____________
          - Supporting idea 2:_____________
          - Supporting idea 3:____(if available)

  • Main idea 2:__________________
            - Supporting idea 1:___________
            - Supporting idea 2:___________
            - Supporting idea 3:____(if available)

  • Main idea 3:__________________
            - Supporting idea 1:___________
            - Supporting idea 2:___________
            - Supporting idea 3_____(if available)

Step 4: Write the introduction
__________________________________
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 Step 5: Write the body
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Step 6: Write the conclusion
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Exercise 2



Families who do not send their children to government financed schools should not be required to pay taxes that support universal education

 To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant example from your own knowledge or experience.

You should write at least 250 words.



Guide
Step 1: Determine the task

__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________

Step 2: Write a thesis statement
__________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
________________________________
_________________________________

Step 3: Draw an outline
  • Main idea 1:__________________
            - Supporting idea 1:___________
            - Supporting idea 2:___________
            - Supporting idea 3:_____(if available)

  • Main idea 2:__________________
            - Supporting idea 1:___________
            - Supporting idea 2:___________
            - Supporting idea 3:______(if available)

  • Main idea 3:__________________
            - Supporting idea 1____________
            - Supporting idea 2____________
            - Supporting idea 3:_______(if available)

Step 4: Write the introduction
__________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________

 Step 5: Write the body
__________________________________
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Step 6: Write the conclusion
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 Exercise 3



As the world becomes technologically advanced, computers are replacing people at more and more jobs

What are some job positions that may be lost because of computers? What are some possible problems that may result from this situation?


 Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant example from your own knowledge or experience.

You should write at least 250 words.



Guide
Step 1: Determine the task

__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________

Step 2: Write a thesis statement
__________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
________________________________
_________________________________

Step 3: Draw an outline
  • Main idea 1:__________________
            - Supporting idea 1:___________
            - Supporting idea 2:___________
            - Supporting idea 3:_____(if available)

  • Main idea 2:__________________
            - Supporting idea 1:___________
            - Supporting idea 2:___________
            - Supporting idea 3:______(if available)

  • Main idea 3:__________________
            - Supporting idea 1____________
            - Supporting idea 2____________
            - Supporting idea 3:_______(if available)

Step 4: Write the introduction
__________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________

 Step 5: Write the body
__________________________________
__________________________________
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__________________________________
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___________________________________
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Step 6: Write the conclusion
__________________________________
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  A1 GRADE