IELTS Podcast
IELTS Podcast
Ben Worthington
Pass IELTS with expert help.
Recent IELTS Speaking Part 3 Topics and Answers
For your IELTS Speaking part 3, the IELTS examiner will ask a range of questions based on the topic that you had in part 2. This gives you an opportunity to expand and develop your answers and there is no set number of questions that you can be asked to answer.  In this tutorial we look at some recent topics that have been asked in the 2020 IELTS exam. Happy Occasions * How do people in your country celebrate happy occasions?* Why do occasions usually make people happy?* How important is the money spent on the occasion for making people happy?* Is is a good idea to spend a lot of money on a birthday party?* Is happiness today the same as it was in the past? Making Plans * How do people usually make plans?* Should you get advice when making plans?* Who is the best advisor for big plans?* What plans do governments have to make?* How important is the public in helping governments to make plans? Recent IELTS Speaking Part 3 Topics You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud | Transcript |
Nov 25
35 min
IELTS or TOEFL: Which one should you take?
This tutorial compares important features of IELTS and TOEFL. This will provide you with sufficient information for you to:- * decide which exam meets you educational or vocational needs* decide which exam best suits your personal style Is it better to take IELTS or TOEFL? Let’s look at the facts and then you decide. Acceptance What can you do with your IELTS or TOEFL certificates? Are both equally valid worldwide? Many people believe that because IELTS is not a test created in the USA, then it won’t be accepted there for study purposes. Likewise, they imagine that TOEFL would not be universally accepted in the UK, Australia or New Zealand. Well, neither belief is 100% true. A brief fact check:- * IELTS is accepted by universities and colleges worldwide* TOEFL is also accepted in all countries EXCEPT the UK* Institutions in the USA sometimes prefer you to have the TOEFL For immigration purposes:- * IELTS General Training is a prerequisite for those applying for residency in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.* To obtain a work, study or resident visa for the UK, you may be told to take IELTS UKVI.  Length of validity: * Both IELTS and TOEFL certificates are valid for a period of 2 years after the test date. Practical details An overview of factors such as cost, availability, frequency and the results process:- * Costs are around the same* IELTS is offered at over 1,100 locations in 140 countries* TOEFL can be taken anywhere in the world* IELTS has 48 test dates per year; TOEFL a total of 50.* Results of both are published around 2 weeks after the test date. Comparing format, content and scoring IELTS and TOEFL are similar in that the test is divided into 4 sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. But there are differences in terms of exam version and length, the content sources for each test, the predominant types of questions asked and the scoring system, although perhaps most noticeable is the lack of any face-to-face contact in TOEFL. Let’s compare these aspects beginning with the last one:- Computer or paper: * IELTS’ candidates can take the paper based test or the less common computer delivered version. In both the Speaking section is done face-to-face with an examiner.* TOEFL is predominantly computer delivered through what is known as the TOEFL iBT version. Everything, including the speaking part, is done online. A paper TOEFL version, in countries where internet connections are unavailable, is held just 4 times a year and the Speaking part is not included. Sections, exam version and length: * As mentioned above, there are two versions of IELTS: Academic or General Training, the latter suited for those applying for immigration or for work purposes. In both, the first three sections – Listening, Reading and Writing – are taken on the same day. The test lasts two hours, thirty minutes with 30 minutes devoted to Listening and 60 minutes each to the other parts. The Speaking test takes around 15 minutes and is usually taken one or two days before the main part of the exam. Total exam length: 2 hours 45 minutes.* TOEFL iBT follows a Reading, Listening,
Nov 23
38 min
How to Label a Diagram in IELTS Reading
Take a look at some our latest tips to help you understand how to label a diagram in the IELTS exam. * Here’s an interesting way to use reading tests from the Cambridge IELTS books: * Choose a passage from one of the reading tests. * Get the correct answers from the back of the book. * Now read the first question, underline keywords, and search for the answer in the passage – you already know the correct answer, so your only aim is to find where it is in the passage. * Underline words in the passage that have the same meaning as the keywords in the question. * When you have done this for each question, make a keyword table. * This technique forces you to stop testing yourself. Instead, it makes you focus on finding key vocabulary and understanding the reason for each answer. You might be surprised at the improvements you make if you regularly practise in this way. * Only scan quickly if you are searching for a name or a number. 2. When preparing for the reading test at home, try not to worry about time at first. Your first concern should be to get the score you need, even if it takes you 3 hours instead of 1 hour to do a full test. 3. Read better rather than read faster. Work on better reading before working on speed. In short, break it down. Decide which skill you will work on. Rather than trying to complete both at the same time.  4. Labelling a diagram This question asks you to label the digestive system of an earthworm.  You should already know where the paragraph is that has this information.  If not, skim through until you find it.  We now need to learn about scanning. 5.Skimming and scanning vs finding and understanding  But the danger is that students focus more on these techniques than on the passage that they are reading, with the result that they often miss the answers by skimming or scanning past them! Here’s some simple advice: Skimming basically means ‘reading very quickly’. Only skim if you are looking for a distinctive word that doesn’t have any synonyms e.g. “Manchester”. Scanning basically means ‘looking for something without reading’. Only scan if you’re searching for a number e.g. “1999”. For all other questions, forget about skimming and scanning; just read the passage carefully at normal speed. 6. Instead of skimming too quickly or reading each word slowly, I recommend that you read phrase by phrase. For example, read the first sentence of this lesson as three phrases: People who read too quickly …..  in the IELTS test ….. often miss the answers. Try to get into the habit of reading phrase by phrase. You should find that you can go at a reasonable speed and that you’ll understand (almost) everything. 7. Do Topic Research Psychology, children’s development, family and education are common topics in the IELTS reading test. A good place to read articles about these topics is the “Psychology Today” website. For example, click here to read a recent article about the benefits of exercise for children. It’s good reading practice, and you’ll find some great vocabulary that you could use in the writing and speaking tests. IELTS Reading: how questions are made The people who write the questions for IELTS reading do something like this: They take a reading passage. They read through the passage and stop when they find something interesting.
Nov 15
27 min
Pronunciation Tips from a Language Expert
In our tutorial this week we have a special guest, an English pronunciation expert, who will share some amazing tips to help you with your speaking for the IELTS exam. In this tutorial, we will: * Share strategies to help you combat your nerves in the speaking exam. * Share a 80/20 hack method for pronunciation, to help you improve fast! * Explain weak forms and strong forms and whether it will help with your speaking. Thank you to Karen from Blue Canoe Learning for these expert tips! Click here to see the The Color Vowel® Chart to start your speaking practice. We have a range of tutorials on our website to help you prepare for your IELTS speaking test, take a look at them here: * IELTS Speaking Test * Idioms for your IELTS Speaking * How your speaking exam is evaluated * How to achieve band 9 in IELTS Speaking To improve your speaking fast, try our IELTS Speaking Feedback Service to get expert feedback from our tutors. You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud | Transcript | Podcast: Play in new window | Download Amazing Pronunciation Tips from an Expert!
Nov 11
48 min
How to use your time wisely in IELTS Writing
Get some handy tips that will keep you from losing points. IELTS is a language test but it also tests your test-taking skills so it’s important to have a good strategy when you are taking the exam. Below find some of our tips. * Start with task 2 always. Why?* If you run out of time and don’t write your conclusion or don’t finish a sentence &amp; leave it in the middle, you will not get higher than a 5 for Coherence and Cohesion.* It’s worth double the marks so it’s worth spending time on* Use the time before you write wisely. Spend 3-4 minutes reading the question. Make sure you 100% understand the question so you can do well in Task Achievement&nbsp;* Spend about 5 minutes jotting down notes – an outline. What are your main ideas &amp; what support do you have for them? Don’t forget to double check them against the questions so that you are in fact answering the question.* Use a template. Examiners are trained in understanding memorized language but learn a template for each kind of question – key expressions for your introduction, conclusion &amp; topic sentences. This will keep you from spending time on the structural elements of the essay and instead allow you to focus on topic development. We help you with such a template when you sign up to the online course.* if you follow these tips, you still have approximately 32 minutes to write and review your writing. Learning a template will speed you up and allow you to essentially plug in key elements into your essay* Make sure you spend the appropriate amount of time on different areas of the essay: * Introduction &#8211; 4 minutes* body paragraph 1 – 10 minutes* body paragraph 2 – 10 minutes* conclusion &#8211; 3 minutes* review &#8211; 5 minutes * count the lines, not words &amp; figure out what your average word per line is so you can approximate your word count* With task 1, here again, it is important to dedicate time to understanding the task. When does the information take place? Which tense should you use? Past? Present? Future? Highlight the key points in the graph – the highs, the lows and any other things you can group together. You are allowed to write on the booklet so use it for your notes BUT don’t write your entire essay there – just key words or expressions* Write your overview right after the introduction. This way, if you run out of time you will have included this piece of information which is necessary to get at least a band 6 in Task Achievement. You can download or listen to the audio version here: Podcast: Play in new window | Download| Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | <a href="https://soundcloud.com/ieltspodcast-1/how-to-use-your-time-wisely-in-the-ielts-writing-test" targe...
Nov 9
25 min
How to Describe a Flow Chart in IELTS
In this tutorial you will: * review how to write about a flow chart* learn how to divide the writing task into 3 main parts This will help you to: * approach this type of task with confidence* obtain a high IELTS score in this exam task The Task 1 flow chart An IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 may ask you to summarise and report on a flow diagram describing a process. Flow charts may not be as common in IELTS exams as pie charts or line graphs but that does not mean you won&#8217;t have one when you take the test. Let&#8217;s look at the steps you should follow to make sure you get a high score in this test activity. Look before you plan A Task 1 flow chart might look like this: You should spend about 20 minutes on this task The diagram below shows how bricks are manufactured. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant Write at least 150 words I&#8217;m sure all of us have looked at a diagram of how to do something, from making a Lego model to setting up an electronic device. What we do is spend a while just looking at it, working out the steps and the connections between them. Here we should do the same. Ask yourself key questions:- * how many steps are there?* are there points in the process when there are two things occurring simultaneously or where there are alternatives?* are there any cause-effect relationships in the diagram? Plan before you write IELTS Writing Task 1 is assessed according to 4 criteria:- * task achievement* coherence and cohesion* lexical resource* grammatical range and accuracy When you plan what to write and how to organise it, think about what the examiner is looking for. To score at least a 7.0 or higher in task achievement for the exam you must simply do what you are told and include in your summary all the main relevant details. Describing a process may in fact be easier than seeing and describing the relevant information in pie charts or line graphs. You should also include what they call a &#8220;clear overview&#8221;, a sentence which captures the main significance of the data presented. So, the structure of the report could look like this:- * Introduction: 2 sentences, the first to generally state what the process is and the second to point out some comment on the process, its relevance, complexity and so on.* Main body: a sequential description of the process itself. In our examples, how many stages did you count? Would we need one sentence for each stage or is it possible to combine some together in complex sentences?* A short conclusion of one or two sentences: We may decide in fact to include the &#8220;overview&#8221; here instead of at the beginning as some kind of concluding remark. The writing process Let&#8217;s now think about the other three criteria. A report needs to make sense to the reader, the details placed in a logical sequence and appropriate links made to show relationships such as time, cause and consequence for example,
Nov 4
31 min
How Difficult is the IELTS Exam?
What to expect in the IELTS Exam In this tutorial you will: * learn about the test conditions * see how best to prepare for the exam * become aware of the need for quality feedback * realise the importance of timing in each exam section * discover how vital the ability to paraphrase is This will help you to: * make critical decisions on how to study for IELTS Exam * with effort and guidance, obtain a high IELTS band score The IELTS Exam The world&#8217;s leading test of English language proficiency, IELTS is not difficult in itself. In less than 3 hours, it assesses your abilities in listening, reading, writing and speaking. The exam conditions, including the length and format of each part, the types of questions and tasks included, the methodology used to correct the test and so on, are standardized. That simply means that the same conditions apply to everyone who takes the test and the types of questions of each section are predictable. You can trust it. IELTS materials, including practice tests, are abundant. For more information, see for example: https://www.ielts.org/about-the-test/sample-test-questions. How to prepare for the IELTS The best advice practically writes itself. Here’s a brief checklist: * become very familiar with the format of each part of the test * know what types of questions are asked in each part and what skills they are assessing * know your strengths and weaknesses in the skills being tested and work on those weak points * prepare a coherent study plan and keep to it * for reading and listening practice by doing IELTS tests and, especially as the test date gets closer, under exam conditions * check your progress, ideally by seeking expert feedback and advice. Take a look at our IELTS Writing Evaluation online for more information. How to get a good IELTS score Test results indicate that average IELTS band scores are somewhere between 5.5 and 6.5, equivalent to a B2 CEFR level, that is, an independent language user more than capable of understanding and being understood in most contexts with little difficulty. It&#8217;s a score that would guarantee a university or college place for many students who require IELTS for entry. But it&#8217;s average all the same. So, what does it take to obtain an overall band 7.0 or, even better, an 8.0? Is it simply a question of preparation and practice, of acquiring more vocabulary and being both fluent and accurate in writing and speech and working systematically on improving our listening and reading skills? Well, yes, of course it is. And perhaps the question is not &#8220;how difficult is IELTS?&#8221; but &#8220;why do exam takers make IELTS difficult for themselves?&#8221; Let&#8217;s look at one of two main reasons why your IELTS score may not be as good as it should be. * Time management Preparation time is a serious topic. Without this you can find yourself taking IELTS again and again and again. Not only is this costly but it can be very depressing and frustrating. This can be overcome by a schedule and following these guidelines. * Exam Time Management Four tests in less than three hours.
Nov 1
37 min
IELTS Speaking Vocabulary about People, Personalities and Characters
You may be asked questions about meeting with People, and Personalities or Characters from a book or film. Read the following IELTS style question and answers below and pay attention to the words or phrases in bold. Use the ‘Definitions’ section at the bottom of the page to check any meanings you are unfamiliar with.&nbsp; Make a note of any new vocabulary and the best way to learn it is to use it! IELTS SPEAKING PART 1 &#8211; STYLE QUESTIONS. Examiner:&nbsp; Do you enjoy meeting new people? Minna: &nbsp;Yes,&nbsp;I do, but I admit that it does depend on the context. For example, if I am with a group of life long friends as well, I feel more confident and relaxed than if I am alone, when I feel more timid and awkward. I think that at work I try to put up a façade of being professional and in control although underneath the surface I am paddling like a swan. Examiner: Would you describe yourself as a sociable person? Mario: I’d like to say so, as I am always happy to get involved in organising parties and gatherings – indeed I can be a bit of a control freak, as I have an eye for detail. However, I would be more than delighted to be described as reliable and dependable as we all need friends we can rely on. I have known my best friends since school, and we trust each other completely and pick up where we left off each time we see each other. Examiner: Are you usually punctual or late? Judy: &nbsp;That’s a great question! Every year I make a resolution to be on time for both work and social meetings, but I have a terrible habit of always being slightly late. I know that punctuality is a virtue and I am always embarrassed by being a bad time keeper, especially when I understand that being late is rude and disrespectful. I will keep working on improving this negative trait. IELTS SPEAKING PART 2 &#8211; STYLE QUESTION. &nbsp;&nbsp;Describe a person you would like to be similar to. You should say:•&nbsp;Who this person is•&nbsp;What this person does•&nbsp;What qualities this person hasAnd explain why you would like to be similar to this person. Edin: &nbsp;I’d like to talk about a teacher who is Head of Pastoral care at a school I used to go to. Pastoral duties revolve around the mental and social health of students more than the academic side but of course the two work in tandem. This lady, Mrs Butler, has held this job for more than a decade, and she is inspiring in her attention to detail and caring personality. It is her job to interact with students, in a relaxed, almost parental way and create the kind of atmosphere where they can trust her, and share any problems and issues they may have. As part of her duties, she would liaise between the students and other members of staff, education and healthcare professional bodies and parents as needed. The interpersonal and communication skills required for this role are very demanding&nbsp; and take a long time to learn if not acquired naturally. Mrs. Butler is enormously empathetic, she really understands emotion and is a great and generous listener and I believe these are all key qualities which are important to emulate. I think that interacting with students and colleagues at work can present many challenges and an understanding of human characteristics, even the psychology, of how people think and respond to each other is more and more important. I would love to be considered as caring,
Oct 29
23 min
What is the difference between the IELTS General and IELTS Academic exam?
In this tutorial you will learn: * Specific differences between IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic tests in all the 4 exam sections (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking). This will help you in your IELTS Speaking exam because: * You will learn the purposes of General Training and Academic IELTS exams. * You will see real examples of what the two exam types tasks look like * You will learn how to prepare for the two test types and will get a useful list of resources to build your vocabulary and language skills. Congratulations, you’ve just found out that you need to take the IELTS exam.  Wait, but there are TWO of them: IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic.  Which one do you actually need and why? And how different are they, if there are two? We are going to explain all these in today’s tutorial. Believe me, it’s much easier when you can see the differences clearly. Now, the IELTS General Training exam evaluates your English proficiency in an everyday context. You will need this type of test for emigration or work in an English-speaking country, or even in the process of obtaining citizenship in certain countries, like Canada.  In other words, you are required to demonstrate that you can understand and handle daily life, leisure, employment and training related texts. This is why the exam materials, such as reading passages and listening excerpts, will reflect mostly workplace and social situations. On the other hand, IELTS Academic assesses whether your English level is appropriate for an academic environment. So, if you intend to go to school (college, university bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral programs) in an in an English-speaking country you will have to take IELTS Academic.  This exam tests your ability to survive the study loads, readings and methods in an English-language college or university. This is why the test materials will be full of academic vocabulary and comprise a wide range of academic, science-related topics. SIMILARITIES Both IELTS Academic and General Training Tests  * Have four parts which come in this order: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking * Last about 3 hours which are broken down by exam section as follows Listening 40 questions 40 minutes Reading 40 questions 60 minutes Writing 2 writing tasks (one shorter and one longer) 60 minutes Speaking 3 sections 10-15 minutes * Have NO DIFFERENCE in Listening and Speaking. Yes, this means that Listening and Speaking test sections in IELTS General Training and Academic tests are absolutely THE SAME. Isn’t that a relief! * Can be taken in two formats: paper-based and computer-based. DIFFERENCES Now, it’s obvious that the differences can be found in only the Reading and the Writing sections.  Differences between the IELTS Reading Sections in IELTS General Training vs Academic The two types of Reading test are mainly different in reading passage numbers and topics; there’s also a very slight difference in question types but is tiny. Differences in Reading Passage NUMBERS In the IELTS Academic Reading test the number of reading passages in each section is the same.
Oct 28
26 min
IELTS SUCCESS: Jesny Jumps from 6.5 to 7.5!
Meet Jesny!&nbsp; She is an HR professional based in India and has now started the express entry program to immigrate to Canada.&nbsp; Jesny had amazing grades in the other areas. Largely by practice tests and identifying her weak points.&nbsp; She also tried different strategies, and figured out which one worked best for her (reading the text first before attempting the questions).&nbsp; However, Jesny was stuck at 6.5 for the writing.&nbsp; She was studying from different sources for her writing prep, Youtube, Google etc&#8230;&nbsp; On Youtube each teacher has a different method, and none are accountable because all the information is free.&nbsp; This resulted in a lot of confusion and frustration.&nbsp; In the end, after reading our reviews on Trustpilot she decided to join our IELTS online course: Jump to Band 7 or it&#8217;s Free.&nbsp; And the rest is history!&nbsp; You can download or listen to the audio version here: |Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud | Transcript | Jesny jumps from band 6.5 to 7.5!
Oct 25
33 min
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