Successful teaching requires us to know what to teach and how to teach it. Each teaching job presents us with a unique set of conditions. It’s those variables that push us to grow and become stronger in our knowledge and more versatile in our performance. When I began working online, I had to figure out […]
Hi, I’m Oli. Welcome to Oxford Online English. In this lesson, you can learn about the IELTS speaking exam. The IELTS speaking test has three parts. In this class, you can learn about part one of the speaking exam in more detail, and how to improve your score. First, let’s review what happens in part one of the IELTS speaking test. After you introduce yourself, the examiner will ask you some simple questions about one or two topics. Some common topics are: where you live, your job, your family, your free time, food, sports, and other simple things like this. Section one of the IELTS speaking test lasts four-five minutes.
The examiner reads questions from a script, so it’s not a discussion—it’s just question and answer. In this video, we’ll look at some sample IELTS speaking test questions and answers, and see what makes a good answer. Part one: The First Questions in IELTS Speaking At the beginning of the exam, the examiner will ask you some basic questions: What’s your name? Where are you from? Can I see some identification, please? These are easy questions, and they are the same in every IELTS exam. Use the start of the exam to get comfortable. You might be nervous at the beginning of your IELTS speaking test. This is normal, but you need to try to relax. If you’re more relaxed, you’ll speak better. So what can you do? Answer the examiner in full sentences. Don’t say, “Berlin,” say, “I’m from Berlin.” Don’t say, “Andrew,” say, “My name’s Andrew Gray.” Speak in a clear, confident voice. Make eye contact with the examiner. Making a strong start will help you to feel more in control. This will help you to feel more confident speaking English in the exam.
Part two: Speaking Fluently and Clearly After the opening questions, the examiner will ask you questions about one of the simple topics we saw earlier. Let’s start with a simple question: “Describe your hometown.” We’re going to look at three different answers. In this section, you can see how you can speak more fluently and clearly. Ready? Answer number one: “I come from Moscow. It’s a big city.” What do you think? Is this a good answer? No, it isn’t. It’s too short, and there aren’t any details. To get a score of 6 or 7 in IELTS, you need to speak at length. You also need to use a wide range of vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation features. If you give a very short answer, you can’t do any of these things. Remember: every question is a chance to show the examiner what you can do in English! Let’s try again! Answer number two: “I’m from Moscow.
As you may know, Moscow is the capital of Russia. I’m really proud of my city and I miss it when I’m not there. In my neighbourhood, there are many cafes and parks where I like to hang out with friends in the evening.” What about this one? It’s better, right? It’s longer and it has lots of details. However, this answer isn’t really answering the question. The answer talks about how you feel about your hometown, and what you like doing there. The question asks you to describe your hometown, not say how you feel about it. This is a common problem. Many IELTS students know that they need to give longer answers, but it’s also important to stay on topic. You do need to develop your ideas. You do need to add details to your answers, but you also need to answer the question which the examiner asked. You can’t just talk about whatever comes into your head! OK, let’s look at answer number three: “I come from Moscow. It’s a very large city, and also the capital, so it’s very busy and crowded.
It’s the kind of place where people always seem to be in a hurry. The centre has a lot of historical buildings and monuments, while out of the centre there are mostly just residential areas.” This is the best answer. It’s clear, detailed, and on-topic. Remember that you can pause the video and review the answers if you want. Part three: Using Vocabulary Effectively in Your Answers Let’s look at another question: “Describe your home.” This time, we’ll look at two sample answers.
Think about how the candidates use vocabulary, and which candidate does a better job. Answer number one: “I live in an apartment in a big building. My apartment has four rooms. There is a bedroom, a living room, and a kitchen. The fourth room is a… Um… I forgot the word in English.” Answer number two: “I live in a mid-sized apartment in a tower block. It has four rooms in total, with a tiny bedroom, an open-plan living room, and a dining area, and a kitchen.
Then there’s a… What’s the word? Like an office, where I do some work or studying sometimes.” Which answer do you think is better? I hope it was obvious: the second answer is much better. What makes this answer better? The use of vocabulary is much better in the second answer. The first candidate lives in a big building.
The second lives in a tower block. This is much more specific. The second candidate also uses a lot of adjectives, like mid-sized, tiny or open-plan, while the first candidate doesn’t add any description. Using a variety of vocabulary can make your answer clearer and more descriptive. This helps your score. Both candidates forget a word, but the second candidate deals with it much better. The first candidate just gives up and says “I don’t know the word” while the second candidate finds a way to explain the word and explain the meaning. You don’t need a perfect vocabulary to get a good score in the IELTS exam. If you don’t know a word, don’t panic, and don’t give up. Try to find other words or phrases which have a similar meaning. When preparing for your IELTS exam, think about the topics which can appear in part one. Learn some more advanced or interesting vocabulary you could use for each topic. For example, learn and practice ten words to describe your home, ten words to describe your hometown, ten words to talk about your hobbies, and so on.
Part four: Improving Your Grammar Score in Part One of the IELTS Speaking Exam Let’s look at our third sample question: “What do you like doing in your free time?” We’ll look at three sample answers. This time, we’re going to focus on grammar. Think about how these candidates use grammar. Answer number one: “I have a lot of different hobbies. What I do depends on my mood. For example, if I’m feeling energetic, I like to play basketball or go jogging. If I want to relax, I read a book or cook something. I find cooking very relaxing.” What do you think? Good answer? Yes, it is. It’s very good. It’s clear, and the candidate has mixed shorter and longer sentences. There aren’t any grammar mistakes. It’s a really good answer. However, most IELTS candidates can’t use grammar perfectly, and make mistakes when they speak. Let’s look at two more answers which might be more realistic for you if you’re planning to take IELTS in the near future.
So, answer number two: “I have lot of hobbies. I’m doing different things depending on what’s my mood. For example, if I am very energy, I will play basketball or go to jogging. If I want to relaxation, I read some books or cook something. Cooking is relaxing to me.” Answer number three: “I have many hobbies. Sometimes I play basketball or go jogging. Sometimes I read or cook. Cooking is relaxing.” Remember, we’re focusing on grammar. Which answer do you think is better? It might surprise you that answer number two is better than number three, even though there are many, many grammar mistakes in the second answer. In the third answer, there are no grammar mistakes. What’s going on? How can an answer with lots of mistakes be better than an answer with no mistakes? First of all, the second candidate at least tries to use more complex sentences. The third candidate uses very short, simple sentences. This is an interesting point: in IELTS, trying and failing, or partly succeeding, is better than not trying at all.
The third candidate is trying to stay safe, by only using grammar which he/she knows, but this is not the best idea. Secondly, the second answer is clear. There are lots of grammar mistakes, but the mistakes don’t make it difficult to understand. This is another important point: in the IELTS exam, mistakes which don’t affect your meaning are not such a big problem. I should say now, this is only true if you are aiming for a score of to 7.0. If you need to get or higher, then you need to speak accurately, without grammar mistakes, like the first candidate. However, this is not true for many IELTS students, especially students I meet. Most people need a score in the 6.0-range. If this is what you need, you don’t need perfect grammar, just like you don’t need perfect vocabulary. You need to use what you know to communicate clearly. That’s much more important.
So, if you know that your grammar is not perfect, it’s better to try to speak fluently and express yourself clearly. You can still get a good score in the IELTS speaking test. Part five: Review Let’s go over what we’ve talked about today. To get a higher score in part one of the IELTS speaking test, you need to: Give longer, more detailed answers without going off-topic. You need to use a range of vocabulary to make your answers more descriptive. You need to find a way to express yourself even if you don’t know a word. You need to try to use some longer, more grammatically complex sentences even if you make some mistakes. Think about the questions we looked at today: “Describe your hometown.” “Describe your home.” “What do you do in your free time?” Think about how you could answer these questions in the IELTS exam.
What details could you add? What vocabulary could you use? If you want, you can leave your answers in the video comments, and we’ll give you feedback. That’s the end of the lesson. Thanks very much for watching! I really hope it was useful for you.. You can see more of our free lessons on our website: Oxford Online English dot com. But that’s all for today. Thanks again. See you next time!
Hi. I’m Rebecca from engVid. If you need to do the IELTS general exam, I’m sure it’s for a very important reason. Perhaps you’re trying to immigrate to another country, or get admission to a college program, or join a professional training program. Whatever your reason, I know you want to get the highest marks possible. Right? Of course. So I’m going to help you to do exactly that in one particular area of the exam, and that’s in your writing section. Now, in the writing section there are two parts, one is a letter and one is an essay. In this lesson we will focus on how you can get the highest marks possible in the letter-writing section.
Okay? The 14 tips that I’m going to give you I promise you, if you apply each one of these things, step by step you’re going to get more and more marks. Okay? So stick with me and we will go through them. Let’s get started. So, the first thing you have to identify when you read the letter-writing task is: What type of letter am I being asked to write? Is it a formal letter, is it a semi-formal letter, or is it an informal letter? Well, how do you know that? Well, you can know it in a few ways and I’m going to explain them, but one of the ways that you can know it is to look at the second point that you need to understand, is to identify the purpose of the letter because some purposes are more formal than other purposes. All right? For example, some formal letters might ask you to request information; or apply for a job; or complain about a product or a service, maybe to an airline, maybe to a store, something like that; or to make a suggestion or a recommendation.
All right? To a shopping mall, to a restaurant, something like that. These are more formal situations. These are when we are writing to people or companies that we don’t know. All right? That’s the clue: You don’t have anybody’s name, you just have the name of the company. All right. Semi-formal letters might include things like this: Complaining to a landlord; or explaining something, a problem or a situation to a neighbour; or asking a professor for permission to miss an exam or to submit your assignment late. Whatever it is. Okay? The details vary. Doesn’t matter. And here, what’s…? What identifies the semi-formal? The semi-formal we know it’s still a kind of a formal situation, but here we usually do know somebody’s name.
You would know the name of your landlord, or your professor, or your neighbour, for example. Right? So that means something in terms of the way that you write the letter, the language, the tone, the style. All of this is affected by whether it’s formal, semi-formal, or informal. And I’ll explain more to you as we go along. Now, examples of informal letters might be where you’re being asked to invite a friend, or thank a friend, or apologize to a friend, or ask for advice from someone that you know. Okay? Here what’s important is that you really know this person well and you’re probably going to call them by first name. So I’m going to explain exactly how all of this translates into the next step, which is how you begin your letter. So the first step was to identify the type of letter. Second step, the purpose. Now the third step is to open and close the letter correctly.
Once you’ve done steps one and two, you will know how to do this step. Because if it’s a formal letter then you start with: “Dear Sir” or “Madam”, and you end with: “Yours faithfully”. Okay? That’s how it is. If it’s a semi-formal letter, you will start with something like: “Dear Mr. Brown” or “Dear Ms. Stone” or “Mrs. Stone”. “Ms.” Is when you don’t know if a woman is married or not, or if she’s just a modern woman. And you end the semi-formal letter with something like: “Yours sincerely”. Okay? What we’re trying to do is to match up the formality of the situation with these terms that we’re using. Okay? The opening and closing salutations they’re called, these are called. All right? Next is the informal one. So here, you know the person really well, it’s your friend or a family member, and so you know… You’re going to call them by first name.
Right? So you might say: “Dear John”, “Dear Susan”, and then because it’s a warm friendship or relationship, you can end in a warmer way by saying: “Best regards” or “Warm wishes”. Now, what makes it a little bit easier for you and this is a clue is that usually in your letter prompt, in the task that the IELTS exam gives you, they will give you the letter situation and then they’ll say: “Start your letter with ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Madam’, or ‘Dear Mr. So-and-so’, or ‘Dear John’.” Now, that helps you a lot because now you know if it’s going to be a formal letter, a semi-formal letter, or an informal letter, and you will know how to end your letter and you’ll also know what to say in your letter and how to say it, which is what we’re going to look at next. Okay, number four: Start the letter appropriately. That means based on whether you decided it was a formal letter, semi-formal, or informal – you need to use appropriate language. Right? Let me give you an example. For formal or informal letters, we could start with something like this: “I am writing to inquire about…” Okay? “I’m writing to inform you that…” whatever the situation is.
Or: “I’m writing in connection with…” Okay? These are some of the standard expressions that we can use when we start formal or semi-formal letters. Look how different that is from the informal ones. Now, what happens in an informal situation? Here we know the people, so first we want to acknowledge the relationship. We don’t start talking about business. Here, these are strangers, we don’t want to waste their time, we don’t want to be friendly here, we just want to get down to business. But here you want to be warm, you want to be friendly because these are people you know.
So you might start with something like this: “I hope you and your family are all well.” Okay? That could be your first sentence. You know what? And in fact in your first paragraph you’re probably just going to talk about nice things, and only in your second paragraph are you going to get down to tell them exactly why you’re writing. Okay? But first you want to say… Tell them… Ask them how they are, and things like that. Another way you could start an informal letter is: “How have you been? It’s been too long since we were last in touch”, and so on.
Okay? This is just to give you some idea. I’m going to later tell you where you can go to refer to sample letters, model letters that you can read so that you really become familiar with the entire format. Okay? All right. Now, number five: Use standard written expressions. What does that mean? Look, the reason it takes you a longer time to write a letter than let’s say someone who has been speaking and writing English all their life is because we have picked up the standard expressions that are used when we write, and you need to try to do that. That will save you a lot of time and it’s very important, of course, on an exam to write as fast as possible.
It’s also important all your life to write email as fast as possible. So, by learning these standard written expressions you will be able to get higher marks and save time and effort. So what are some of these standard expressions? Well, let’s look at one example when we are asked to apologize about something. So if it’s a formal situation, you could say something like: “My sincere apologies for missing the meeting” or “missing the conference”, something like that. Okay? If it was an informal situation and you’re writing to a friend or something like that, you could say: “I’m very sorry for missing your wedding.” Okay? See, you’re still apologizing, but when it’s formal you use certain expressions, and when it’s informal you’re going to use other kinds of expressions.
But these are still expressions which you can learn. And again, you can download a list of these kind of expressions from the resource that I’m going to tell you about. Now, let’s say you are asking for something, you’re making a request, if it’s a formal situation you could say something like: “I’d be grateful” or “I would be grateful if you could please send me the information as soon as possible.” Okay? For example. And if it’s more informal you could say: “Could you please send me the book as fast as you can?” Okay? So you see that the tone varies based on whether it’s formal, informal, or semi-formal. Okay? Let’s look at some other points. Okay, number six: Use correct spelling. Now, you’re going to say to me: “Rebecca, I know that”, and I know you know that, but unfortunately sometimes even on the IELTS students are still making mistakes on words like these which you know you’re very likely to use so you want to make sure that you really know how to spell these words. Of course you can’t know every word you’re going to use, but there are some words you can definitely know will probably be there.
So, for example: “sincerely”, people forget the “e”; “faithfully”, people forget that there’s two l’s; and “connection”, people forget that there are two n’s, that kind of examples. Okay? So just read over… When you read over many sample or model letters you will see and you will find the words which appear very often, and make sure that you know how to spell those words so that you get higher and higher marks which is our goal. Okay, number seven: Divide the letter, your letter into paragraphs.
Now, I know you know that, but let’s just review it. So of course you will have an introduction and you will have a conclusion, and usually IELTS letters in the 20 minutes that you have and in the situation that they’ve asked you to write about, usually IELTS letters have about four paragraphs. Okay? So, introduction, then a second paragraph will be describing the problem or the situation, the third paragraph will move into the solution or what action you’re asking someone to take, and the last one is the conclusion, just the ending. Okay? So make sure you divide your paragraphs… Your letter into paragraphs. Now, when you do that there are two ways to do it. One way is to indent to show that you’re starting a new paragraph.
What does it mean to indent? To start a little bit from the left side. Okay? So don’t start here, start inside. Or you can start every paragraph from the left, what we call flush left, but then you have to leave a line in between to show that this is in fact a different paragraph. Otherwise they… The examiner will think that you’ve written one solid piece of writing in your letter instead of writing in paragraphs. Okay? So make sure you do that. Next: Use clear, legible handwriting. Now, on the IELTS in case you didn’t know, you have to actually write by hand. You can’t use a computer. So you have to make sure that your handwriting is clear and legible. “Legible” means that someone can read it. Don’t write like a doctor, even if you’re a doctor because then the examiner will not be able to understand and won’t be able to give you all the high marks that you want.
So, make sure… Also some people when they’re cursive… For example, when you write with cursive writing-okay?-handwriting which is joined. Right? Some people have difficulty with some of the letters, like “n” and “r”. For example, an “n” or an “r”, if you don’t make it properly it could look like another letter, and then to the examiner that could look like a spelling mistake and then you would lose marks. So make sure your handwriting is clear for this reason that you don’t want the examiner to consider it a spelling mistake, because then they have to reduce your marks.
Okay. Next, you are asked to write and you should write 150 words. How do you know what 150 words is? By practicing and checking lots of times, so practice writing letters. If I had an IELTS exam coming up, I would write a letter and an essay every single day so that I’d feel completely comfortable and confident, I know exactly what I’m going to do, and that’s what you go ahead and do.
And then you will have a feeling and a knowledge of what 150 words is. Okay? Make sure you know. Because if you write less than 150 words, you will lose marks. If you write more than 150 words, you will not lose marks. Okay? So make sure you write at least 150 words. But what’s also important, I said here that if you write more you’ll get… You’ll still be fine, you won’t lose any marks, but you don’t want to spend too much time because you need to finish in about 20 minutes. As I mentioned at the beginning, there are two tasks in your writing section, the letter plus the essay.
The essay is worth twice as many marks, so you want to make sure that you leave enough time, about 40 minutes for your essay. Right? This is also very important. All the marks count. They check… They give you marks separately for the letter and they give you marks separately for your essay, and then they give you a separate score for that, and finally they combine everything. So everything matters, but make sure you finish this part, the letter in 20 minutes. And again, the way to be able to do that is to practice. Practice and practice and practice. So you will write 150 words in 20 minutes and so on.
Okay? With the paragraphs and all the other rules that I told you about. Okay. Now, number 11 tells you to include all three bulleted points. What do I mean by that? If you have looked at some sample letter tasks that appear on the IELTS exam, they give you the situation and then they give you a second section which says: “Include this information in your letter”, and they tell you three points. They’re usually bulleted points. Okay? When they have a little dot like this it means it’s a bullet. And you must do those things. If you don’t do one of these you will definitely lose a lot of marks. So, for example, suppose it was a letter that you’re being asked to write to a landlord. It might say… Or, sorry. You want to write a letter, let’s suppose, to your landlord because the neighbour is making a lot of noise every night and you’re having a lot of problems. So they will say: “In your letter explain the situation”, so you have to make sure you do that. Next: “Describe why it bothers you.” Tell them you’re a student.
I mean, you need to make up a lot of information here. They don’t tell you exactly what to write. Everyone on that… In that examination hall is going to write a different letter, but you have to include certain points. And third, maybe suggest a solution. What are you going to do? So if you leave out one of these, you will lose marks. So don’t do that. Always make sure whatever they have asked you to include, you include, and then include whatever else you have time for that makes sense according to the task you have been given. Okay? And a few more important points which we will cover next. Okay, the last three points, which are also very important for you to get that really high score.
Here we go. We’re going to start from here and go upwards. Okay? There is a reason behind this. Okay, number 12: Understand the scoring criteria. What does that mean? You’re going to get your points, or mark, or grade based on certain things that the IELTS examiners want you to do in this task. So let’s understand what those four things are. Number one is task achievement. That’s a big word which simply means they want you to do everything you’re supposed to do in the letter. Do all. Give a full response. Remember those three points and everything? Make sure you include all the bulleted points, you do what they ask you to do. And that you should write at least 150 words. You will see that in their criteria a lot of the details of it is what I have covered also for you in these 14 points.
All right. Coherence and cohesion. “Coherence” means that you present your ideas logically, it makes sense, you used paragraphs that are structured. Okay? And “cohesion” means that it all goes together in a way that makes sense. For example, your ideas should make sense, they should sort of stick together. And you should use standard expressions that we talked about for apologizing, for thanking, for making a request and so on. Okay? The third point is Lexical resource they call it. What does that mean? That means they want to make sure that you’re using your vocabulary correctly, naturally, fluently. Okay? Lots of varied vocabulary. Not the same words again and again. The last one, they also want to make sure that you use correct spelling. They do minus marks if you get… Make spelling mistakes. Okay? So be careful of that. We’ve talked about it before. And the last one is grammar range and accuracy.
They want you to use varied grammar structures. All right? To write different kinds of sentences; simple sentences, complex sentences, compound sentences. All right? Don’t just write the same kind of sentences. And use correct punctuation and capitalization, which goes with proper English writing. Okay. Now, let’s go upwards. What’s the other really, really important thing that you need to do to get very high marks in this letter-writing section? Write a letter every day. Practice and practice this letter writing. But there’s a second part to that. Practice and get your letters or letter checked by an IELTS teacher. Ideally, an IELTS teacher. Not only an English teacher because not every English teacher has IELTS experience or understands this exam, or the demands of this exam. So the best… Always try to get the best teacher you can get who really knows what you need to do. So, try to get your letters checked by an IELTS teacher because if you keep practicing every day and nobody checks it, that’s tricky. Okay? There are two sections of this exam which you can really cannot prepare for by yourself according to me, and I’ve been teaching for a long time, so they are speaking and writing.
Somebody has to give you feedback. When you get that feedback you will know what you need to improve and correct to get that higher score and also to improve your English. So make sure you get some feedback somewhere along the way so that you know what’s strong and what’s weak. Okay? And last: Read model letters from reliable sources, but don’t memorize them.
Okay? Don’t memorize. Don’t try to memorize the entire letter because you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get. But it will help you a lot to read sample letters and only from reliable sources. For example, I wrote a website called www.goodluckielts.com and there, there are many sample letters, sample letter topics, and you can be sure that the English there is perfect. Unfortunately there are a lot of websites today, and not all of them have perfect English even in their so-called model essays or model letters.
Okay? So make sure whenever you go to a site that it is a site that you can be sure of so that you learn the right things and don’t do any of the wrong things. Okay? So, what do you do now? Well, I suggest these things: Go to our website at www.engvid.com. Why? Because there you can download for free a resource which will contain all 14 of these points-okay?-for you. So in case you didn’t write them down, don’t worry, I’ve written them all down for you clearly. Plus you will get those expressions, those standard expressions that I mentioned you need to use to make your letter writing easier. You also will get sample letter topics so that you get some idea of what is a formal question look like, a semi-formal, an informal. And also sample letters, which I’ve written for you. Okay? So please grab that resource. It’s free and it’s available for you, for anyone who wants to download it.
Okay? And while you’re there also check out our website because we have lots and lots of other resources which can help you, and lots of videos and lessons which can help you do better on your IELTS. And subscribe to my YouTube channel because that will really help you improve your grade in terms of very many aspects that go into making a really good English speaker and English writer. All right? I wish you all the best with your IELTS and with your English. Thanks very much for watching. I know you’re a serious student, and I’m sure you’re going to do well. All the best. Bye..
Hey guys, it’s Steve from Asian Boss. There are a number of internationally recognised tests, that assess English language proficiency for non-native English speakers. One of the most popular tests, is called the international english language testing system, or IELTS Every year more than 2 million people from all around the world, take the IELTS test to either, get into universities, get work experience, or meet the immigration requirements of most English speaking countries. Now given that the test is for non-native English speakers, you would think that they ask fairly simple questions like, where are you from? or do you like cats? So we thought it would be fun to test native English speakers, if they could actually answer some of the questions that we pulled out from the IELTS test. Here is how they went. The following questions were extracted from the writing module of the past IELTS test. Should developing countries concentrate on improving industrial skills for economical gain, or should they promote educational reform first? That’s a tough one. Can you read it to me one more time? Ok, so…
It was like economics vs… It was like more industry or more education in developing countries. Ok, well I agree with you then in the aspect that… F*** the aspect that, That’s fine. no, no, no, in the aspect that um… Safety standards are important when it comes to building people’s homes, who should be responsible for enforcing strict building codes, industrial government bodies or private industry? I really don’t know much about it. Just generally? Do you understand what I’m saying? I understand what your saying, yeah… yeah Is that something you can answer easily? No… not without thought. I’m thinking government bodies, I think as opposed to private? Are you sure? I’m not quite sure, I’m not quite sure on that question. Waste management is becoming an increasingly difficult problem to solve amongst world’s cities, do you think that the current process of landfills should be reformed, or should governments encourage different methods for citizens to increase sustainability? To be honest I don’t really know because I’ve only really been to a few cities, so I don’t really, I can’t say, I’m not a expert on waste disposals, so I don’t know.
OK, to be honest I can’t really remember the question. different methods to increase sustainability… That one, say that one again. Sustainability? Sustainability! What? Um… I think they should actually… look at different ways to manage waste but it’s not an easy question to answer. Would you be surprised to know that, the question that I just asked you, is actually for IELTS, which is a test for non-native English speakers? Oh really… Oh wow… How do you feel about that? It’s a bit ridiculous. It’s a little bit too difficult I reckon, yeah, it’s a little bit ridiculous actually. I feel bad for them, they’re not gonna get in. My comment, Yes, I believe it’s very hard for non-English speaking people to comment, or to answer these questions.
Extremely complicated questions, and things that you know, even I would struggle to answer that. You know, I had to get you to ask me that twice. If English was my second or third language, I had to feel like I was drowning with those questions, you know. Pretty difficult, very difficult. Because first you have to think about the question, and then you would have to try to translate the question, and then you had to translate the context. It’s a bit of… setting them up to fail. I’m, like, fairly well educated but I had to process what you said. Do you think it’s fair then? No, that’s absolutely unfair. I don’t think they’re really relevant to what their gonna be focused on, when they come to immigrate to another English speaking country at all. Do you think this is helpful for everyday conversation for example? No, no way. How did you find these IELTS questions? Let us know what you think and share this video with your friends..
Hi, there. My name is Emma, and in today’s lesson, we will be looking at how to do well on the speaking part of the IELTS. So the speaking part of the IELTS is divided up into three sections. Today, we’re just going to be looking at section No. 1. So first of all, I will explain how to do well — oh, sorry. First, I’ll explain what happens in Part 1 of the IELTS. And from there, we’ll look at some things you should do to do well and some things you shouldn’t do, okay? So let’s get started. So what happens in Part 1 of the IELTS? Well, first of all, the speaking Part 1 of the IELTS is for both those taking the General IELTS exam and the Academic. So whether you’re taking the Academic or the General IELTS, it’s the same test with the same questions. Okay. It lasts between four to five minutes.
It’s made up of first an introduction. So the examiner is going to introduce himself or herself. Then, you will introduce yourself. So for example, “Hi. My name is Emma. Nice to meet you.” Okay, so there’s an introduction. And then, the examiner is going to ask you some questions about yourself. So these questions aren’t that difficult. Usually, they’re about where you’re from. So for example what city you were born in, where you grew up. They might be about work. They might be about what you study, about your friends, about your hobbies, food, sports, and another thing I don’t have up here, family. Family is also common on this part of the IELTS. Okay? So usually, the examiner, after introducing himself or herself, they will talk to you about two of these topics.
Okay?” Now, the way they mark this part of the IELTS is they’re looking specifically for pronunciation, okay? So can they understand what you’re saying? Do you pronounce things well? They’re going to be looking at fluency. So what’s “fluency”? Well, do you go, “Uh, um, uh, uh” a lot during the test? Or do you speak very clearly, in a very nice rhythmic way? Do you use organizers or transitions? “First of all, secondly, finally.” Do you use words like this? “Another reason.” Or do you have problems speaking at a normal rate? So they look at that in fluency.” Then, they mark you also on vocabulary. Do you use words like “good, bad” a lot? Those are very low-level words. Or do you use high level words that really show off your vocabulary?” The final thing you’re marked on is grammar and accuracy. So for example, do you only use the present test for the whole test or are you able to correctly use the present tense, the past tense, present perfect, future? How well is your grammar? Okay? So don’t panic.
Maybe you’re weak in grammar. Maybe you make some mistakes in grammar. But you’re marked equally on these four components, okay? So now, let’s look at some tips on how to do well on Part 1 of the speaking part of the IELTS. Okay. So what are some of the things we should do to get a good mark in Part 1 of the IELTS for speaking? Well, we have a list here of dos. Okay? So these are things you want to do. So the first thing that’s very important is when you first meet the examiner, okay? If you’re very nervous, and you don’t make eye-contact, and you look at the floor the whole time, you’re not going to do well on the IELTS even if your English is pretty good.
So it’s very important to present yourself with confidence, okay? You want to go into that test and know you’re going to do well. If you think you’re going to do well, you’re going to do a lot better. Okay? If you think you’re going to do badly, you’re probably going to do badly. So think you’re going to do well, and be confident. Okay? Another important thing is be friendly. Okay. You want to smile. Body language is actually very important in the IELTS. You want to make eye-contact, okay? So don’t look at your feet. Don’t look at your hands. Look at the examiner. But you don’t have to stare at them, okay? Just look at them when you talk. Another thing a lot of students forget is they don’t act excited when they’re answering questions. So what do I mean by this? Well, they talk with a monotone. So for example, “Do you like playing sports?” This is a common question on the IELTS.
A student might respond, “I really like playing basketball. Basketball is a good sport.” Okay. If the examiner hears that, you’re probably not going to get a good mark. You should act excited about what you’re saying. Okay? “Yes. I love sports. Basketball is my favorite. It’s, you know — I love watching basketball. It’s a lot of fun to play.” If you seem excited, you will do better. Okay. The next thing that’s very important is the vocabulary you use, okay? So remember, you’re getting marked on four different things. One of these things is vocabulary. So how do you improve your vocabulary mark? Well, don’t use simple, easy, boring, low-level words like, “I like basketball because it’s good. I don’t like soccer because it’s bad.” Okay? These words, “bad, good “, they’re too easy. You need to try to find vocabulary that is higher level and practice before you do the IELTS. So for example, a good thing to do is look at the list of topics you will probably be asked about.
Food is a very common thing they will ask you about. So try to come up with vocabulary in advance and practice this vocabulary about the different topics. So for example, I know they may ask me a question about food. So I might learn some words that have to do with food. Maybe I don’t know the word “cuisine”. Well, if they ask me a question about food, I can say, “My favorite type of food — I love Indian cuisine.” Okay? And there you go. They’ve just noticed you used a higher level word. Same with friends. A common word we use when we talk about friends, we talk about “acquaintances”. Okay? So this is another good word to use. So again, try to come up with vocabulary for each of the different topics, and practice. Okay.
Now, in this part of the IELTS, the examiner may ask you about what you like. “Do you like to play sports? What hobbies do you like? What are your favorite foods?” Now, one thing a lot of students do is they overuse “I like”. “I like this. I like that. I like this. I like that.” This is not going to help you with your vocabulary mark.
So instead of using “I like” a lot, try something different. “I enjoy playing basketball. I enjoy hanging out with my friends. I really love yoga. I really love bowling.” Okay? “I prefer playing sports to doing other activities.” So “I enjoy, I really love, I prefer” — I’m sure you can come up with more, but it’s good to practice these types of expressions before you do the IELTS, okay?” Another key tip: Expand your answers. So what does this mean? Well, maybe the examiner asked you a question, “What is your favorite food?” Or — sorry. Let me think of a good example. “Do you like to play sports?” Okay? The examiner might ask you that. Some students might just say, “No.” And that’s their answer. “Do you like to play sports? Do you like to cook?” “No.” Well, the examiner is not going to be able to judge your English if you answer questions yes or no.
You have to give bigger, longer answers. So this is what I mean by expand. Don’t just say “yes” or “no”. Even if you don’t know what to say, make something up. So for example, a common question they ask, “Where are you from?” Now, I could just say, “I’m from Toronto.” Or, “Toronto.” This isn’t going to help my IELTS mark. It’s better if I expand this answer. “I’m from Toronto. It’s actually the biggest city in Canada. It’s also considered one of the most multicultural cities in the world.” I don’t have to talk too long about Toronto. I don’t want to say the whole history of Toronto. I don’t want to keep talking and talking and talking. But I don’t want a very short answer. So you need to find an answer that is not too short and not too long. You want something in the middle. Okay? So that’s what I mean by “expand”.
One way to expand your answers is by giving examples. So I asked this question earlier. You know, “What’s your favorite food?” “Oh, I love Indian cuisine.” How can I add to this? I can give examples. “My favorite dish is palak paneer. It’s made from spinach, a type of cheese they use in India, spices. You know, we often eat it at my house.” So there. Instead of just saying, “I like Indian food”, I’ve given a lot of examples. And that’s what you want to do, okay? Finally, most importantly, practice. Okay? So you know the types of questions you’re going to get. A lot about what you do for work, what do you study, how many people are in your family — these types of questions. Now, it’s important to practice your answers. Okay? Practice with your friends. Practice with a mirror. Practice, practice, practice. It’s very important that you practice answering these types of questions before you do the IELTS. Okay, so now, let’s look at some of the “don’ts”, some things you shouldn’t do in the IELTS.
Okay. So what are things you shouldn’t do? Okay, now, we’re going to look at a list of what you shouldn’t do. So “don’ts”. Okay. Don’t do this. Don’t speak with a monotone. So I already mentioned this. Don’t speak where your voice flat, okay? Don’t speak like, “I have a mother and a father.” Don’t say things like that. Speak with enthusiasm, okay? Not monotone. Okay. Don’t give yes/no answers. “Do you have a family?” “Yes.” That’s a horrible answer.” Okay? It’s more — “Have you traveled to China?” “No.” Okay.
These types of answers are not the ones you want to give. Expand. Make your answer longer, even if you have to lie. It’s okay to lie on the IELTS as long as you speak. That’s the most important thing. Okay. Do not repeat the question. Okay. So if they say, “Do you like sports?” “Yes, I like sports.” You’re wasting a sentence. Instead of repeating the question back to them, find a better way to say it.
“Do you like sports in” “Yes. There are many sports that I find very fun and interesting.” Okay, so don’t repeat the question. “Do you have a family?” “Yes, I have a family.” It’s not a good thing to do.” Don’t go off topic. So sometimes, students — they’re really actually excited, and they want to talk. And they want to show off their language skills. And so they think, “Oh, yes. I need to expand my answers.” But instead of expanding, they go and they talk about so many different things that don’t have to do with the topic. So for example, if they ask me a question on my hometown, if I start talking about Toronto, and then I start talking about education, and then I start talking about technology, this is going off on too many different topics.
Stick to what they ask you. Okay? You can give examples, but they should be about — they should refer to the question they asked you. Okay. Don’t answer, “I don’t know.” So in the first part of the IELTS, this would actually be a difficult — I can’t imagine you actually using this answer because the point of Part 1 of the IELTS is to make you feel comfortable. So the examiner asks you questions about yourself. So you should know these answers. “What are your favorite hobbies? What types of foods do you like to eat? How many members are there in your family?” You shouldn’t answer, “I don’t know” to any of these questions.
They’re about you. And if — maybe you don’t know. Maybe you’ve never thought about what’s your favorite food. Just make it up. Okay? Even if you hate sushi, even if you hate West Indian food or Canadian food. That’s okay. Just make it up. “I love West Indian food. I love Canadian food.” If you don’t know, make up your answer. Don’t speak too quickly, and don’t speak too slowly. Okay? So this is a little bit about fluency.
What often happens with students is when they get nervous, they start to talk really, really, really fast, and they go a mile a minute. They just go so fast. So if you’re the type of person that does this, practice is speaking in environments where you get nervous. So this way, you can practice maybe ways to deal with stress, ways to deal with nervousness. Try not to speak too quickly. Also, don’t speak very slowly, okay? I’ve had some students who have used a lot of “uh’s” and “ah’s”, and this is a problem. So don’t speak too slowly. Okay? Another thing: Don’t speak quietly. Okay? A lot of students, they’re nervous, and they’re shy, so they talk like this. And the examiner has to really listen. They can’t hear what they’re saying, and so you’re not going to do as well if you talk quietly.
Talk with confidence. Talk loudly so they can hear what you’re saying. Okay. Finally, the most important point: Don’t worry about being perfect. You do not have to speak perfect English to do well on the IELTS. Even if you’re aiming for a mark of nine on the IELTS, a bandwidth of 9 — sorry. If you’re looking for the mark of nine, you do not need perfect English, okay? You can make mistakes. So if you make a mistake, that’s okay. If you can correct it easily, do so. If you try to correct it and you’re going to make more mistakes or you’re going to take a lot of time, it’s okay; just leave it. If you make a mistake, continue to talk. Move on. There’s a chance that the examiner didn’t even hear that mistake.
And they expect you to make mistakes. So if you make a mistake between using “a” or “the”, if you make a mistake in terms of grammar, it’s okay. Native speakers make mistakes, too. People are used to hearing native speakers, ESL students make mistakes. So you do not have to be perfect. I can’t say that enough. Don’t worry about being perfect. Okay? So if you’re wondering the types of questions you may see on the IELTS, and if you want to practice with a friend or even in front of the mirror, I strongly recommend you visit the website www.goodluckielts.com.
On this website, there are more tips, as well as practice questions for Part 1 of the IELTS. And information, too, on the writing section, listening section, and reading section, okay? So I also invite you to come and do our quiz at www.engvid.com where you can practice some of these tips that we’ve talked about today. So until next time, take care..
We read fiction for many reasons. To be entertained, to find out who done it, to travel to strange, new planets, to be scared, to laugh, to cry, to think, to feel, to be so absorbed that for a while we forget where we are. So, how about writing fiction? How do you suck your readers into your stories? With an exciting plot? Maybe. Fascinating characters? Probably.
Beautiful language? Perhaps. “Billie’s legs are noodles. The ends of her hair are poison needles. Her tongue is a bristly sponge, and her eyes are bags of bleach.” Did that description almost make you feel as queasy as Billie? We grasp that Billie’s legs aren’t actually noodles. To Billie, they feel as limp as cooked noodles. It’s an implied comparison, a metaphor. So, why not simply write it like this? “Billie feels nauseated and weak.” Chances are the second description wasn’t as vivid to you as the first.
The point of fiction is to cast a spell, a momentary illusion that you are living in the world of the story. Fiction engages the senses, helps us create vivid mental simulacra of the experiences the characters are having. Stage and screen engage some of our senses directly. We see and hear the interactions of the characters and the setting. But with prose fiction, all you have is static symbols on a contrasting background.
If you describe the story in matter of fact, non-tactile language, the spell risks being a weak one. Your reader may not get much beyond interpreting the squiggles. She will understand what Billie feels like, but she won’t feel what Billie feels. She’ll be reading, not immersed in the world of the story, discovering the truths of Billie’s life at the same time that Billie herself does. Fiction plays with our senses: taste, smell, touch, hearing, sight, and the sense of motion. It also plays with our ability to abstract and make complex associations. Look at the following sentence. “The world was ghost-quiet, except for the crack of sails and the burbling of water against hull.” The words, “quiet,” “crack,” and “burbling,” engage the sense of hearing.
Notice that Buckell doesn’t use the generic word sound. Each word he chooses evokes a particular quality of sound. Then, like an artist laying on washes of color to give the sense of texture to a painting, he adds anoter layer, motion, “the crack of sails,” and touch, “the burbling of water against hull.” Finally, he gives us an abstract connection by linking the word quiet with the word ghost. Not “quiet as a ghost,” which would put a distancing layer of simile between the reader and the experience. Instead, Buckell creates the metaphor “ghost-quiet” for an implied, rather than overt, comparison.
Writers are always told to avoid cliches because there’s very little engagement for the reader in an overused image, such as “red as a rose.” But give them, “Love…began on a beach. It began that day when Jacob saw Anette in her stewed-cherry dress,” and their brains engage in the absorbing task of figuring out what a stewed-cherry dress is like. Suddenly, they’re on a beach about to fall in love. They’re experiencing the story at both a visceral and a conceptual level, meeting the writer halfway in the imaginative play of creating a dynamic world of the senses.
So when you write, use well-chosen words to engage sound, sight, taste, touch, smell, and movement. Then create unexpected connotations among your story elements, and set your readers’ brushfire imaginations alight..
Famous American entrepreneur Jim Rohn once said, “You’re the average of the five people you surround yourself with.” And there’s a lot of truth to this. Chances are if the five people closest to you all like to go out partying and they don’t take care of themselves, you probably don’t either. If they all enjoy playing video games all night and have terrible grades, your grades are probably not something your proud of too. But, if your friends love hitting the gym on a daily basis and they watch what they eat, there’s a high chance you’re healthier than the average joe. Of course there are exceptions to this, but the general consensus is that there is some truth to this idea. We as human beings learn from our surroundings. We’re sophisticated animals that excel at copying each other. This is largely where things like culture, slang, accents, and even traditions come from.
People learn each others habits and adopt each others mindsets after spending large amounts of time with each other. I frequently catch myself using other peoples catchphrases after hanging out with them for just a short period of time. And that’s why it’s to no surprise that a large majority of the most successful people on this planet have attested a lot of their success to their mentors. Martin Luther King had Gandhi. Mark Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs. Drake had Lil’ Wayne. And Bill Gates had Warren Buffet. People who become successful almost always have at least one person in their sphere of influence who was already massively successful. It’s from them that they adopted the mindset and habits that they needed to eventually bring them to success. However, you might say,”Well, I don’t know anyone who is successful. My friends are just average people.” But this is where the benefit of reading comes into play. A book is literally the words, the ideas, the mindsets, the advice, and even the experience of another person wrapped into a convenient, portable, always available collection of papers. It’s almost equivalent to having that person there speaking to you.
75% of self-made millionaires have even reporting reading at least 2 books a month. The true benefits of reading is that you can pick and choose who you want to add to your inner group of influence, that will eventually effect who you become as a person. When you read you get a glimpse into the mind of the author. There’s so many books out there that are written by people who are already massively successful in different fields. Their ideas and mindsets and words are all waiting to be shared. If you wanted to go on a meditation retreat with Gandhi, talk politics with Martin Luther King, hit the studio with Lil’ Wayne, or even get business advice from Warren Buffet, all you have to do is submerge yourself by reading their words and you’ll get a glimpse into their world and their way of thinking.
You will have essentially added a new friend to your group of friends. A friend who is most likely older, and wiser, on top of being significantly more successful. And when you do that, you start adopting some of their mindsets and their habits. Because that’s what we do as humans. We copy each other. And this is what eventually brings you closer to success. So challenge yourself to read. My personal New Year’s Resolution this year is to read at least 1 book a week. So expect some videos about big concepts that I may come across.