IELTS Mindset 1: Lesson 5 Review

14th April 2021

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Do you want to join Thay Paul’s class ? “I willl give it my utmost consideration.”

New vocabulary

unique – one of a kind, nothing else like it

imminent – going to happen or start very soon

you get what you pay for (or you pay for what you get) – if you buy something cheap, you get bad quality

to romanticise – to make something ordinary more interesting

to fantasise (fantasize US English) – to wish for something great to happen

use your imagination / give your imagination free reign – it is OK to pretend, to make up a better story

I will give it my utmost consideration – I will think about it very, very carefully (and then say ‘no’).

firstly, secondly, additionally, another point is, on the other hand, however, finally, in conclusion, to sum up, all things considered – all ‘signpost language‘, to help organise your ideas.

Are you ready to rock ?

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Miss Ngoc in Sai Gon … hey, ho … let’s go !

I’ll be burning the candle at both ends because my IELTS test is _______________ .

Remember, you don’t have to tell the absolute truth in your speaking test. It’s totally OK to ________________________________ .

I picked up this shirt at Saigon Centre and, yeah, it cost an arm and a leg, but just feel the quality … you ____________________________________ .

We booked a really reasonable room at the beach, but the water was cold, the sheets were stained and there were bugs everywhere. We totally _____________________________________ (use past tense).

Thay Paul, we have a new class of students. They are extremely lazy and unmotivated and only want to play with their phones. Would you like to teach them ? ________________________________________________ .

What did you do last weekend ? “I sleep.” Is that all ? Ah, c’mon, do better, ______________________________________ .

Quick – fire round

No photo description available.

You planned a day out for my friend Ethan. Describe these photos using as many IELTS features as you can:

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Highlands Coffee opposite the Rex Hotel 2012

Areas to focus on: being confident about answering the Part II questions, so we shall work on fluency and developing the ability to speak for longer periods without hesitation.

Just a minute

Speak for one minute on:

Food in your country

What you do in your free time

Your family

Holidays in your country (e.g. Tet, Thanksgiving, Christmas etc)

A link to last week’s notes: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/04/07/ielts-mindset-1-lesson-4-review/

See you next week

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IELTS: Mindset 1, Lesson 4: Review

7th April 2021

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Photo by Thay Paul. Sai Gon

Vietnamese coffee kept warm in a three lions bowls, the lions being a symbol of England. If you love coffee, you’ve come to the right place; coffee shops are _________________ in Sai Gon, and throughout Viet Nam.

The missing word … ?

24 Ubiquitous Antonyms. Full list of opposite words of ubiquitous.
Google Images

New vocabulary:

disappointed

faith (noun) faithful (adjective) faithfully (adverb)

endeavour

genuine

reasonable

on the ball

This is gonna be a doodle !

How to use them ?

Lady Thu stated that she would (try) ___________ to learn more vocabulary.

I expected the students to pass with flying colours, but instead I was very _______________________ by their low scores.

Mr Sang knew every answer, he was really _________________________ last night.

Passing a driving test in Vietnam is easy. _______________________________ .

Those Armani T-shirts are absolutely fake ! At that price, no way are they ____________ .

Street food stalls are ubiquitous in my neighborhood; the food is (tasty) ______________________ and the prices are quite ___________________ .

Mr Lee (adverb) _____________ promised me he would be on time for the meeting.

We also covered some basic introduction phrases which you categorically have to memorise:

Some standard opening lines:

That’s a very interesting question

Well, that’s a great question

Well, there is so much to say about that subject, where shall I start ?

It’s funny you put that question to me because earlier today I was just thinking about …

As a young Vietnamese (add your own nationality), I …

And now, a typical IELTS question: What do you do in your free time ?

Remember the first rule of introductions: never answer the question immediately. Remember the second rule of introductions: never answer the question immediately.

So, how to pass with flying colours ? Ah, c’mon, Man, you should know by now ! OK, breaks down like this. Give me:

A great introduction

An organised speech, point by point (use ‘signpost’ language).

At least one idiom

Several L-FWs

Ideas linked by discourse markers

Appropriate intonation, stress & body language

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Thay Paul, can you give us an example, please ?

Sure thing

Well, that’s quite an interesting question because, as a young Vietnamese student, I don’t really have much free time. I have to study all day, then do homework in the evening; I’m really burning the candle at both ends. However, when I have time to myself, I like to hang out with my friends and forget about school.

Firstly we meet in coffee shops, which are ubiquitous in Sai Gon, and talk and laugh. Highlands in my favourite because it has free WiFi as well as being very comfortable although some of the coffee prices are sky-high.

Additionally, I love swimming which, in my opinion, is incredibly healthy, and it doesn’t require much equipment. Subsequently, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

However, my absolute favorite past time is to sing karaoke, which I believe comes from Japan, in a private, sound-proof room. For me, it’s a perfect way to relax and forget all my stress about work, life and my parents !

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Piece of cake, right ? 23 / 9 Park, District 1, Sai Gon

A link to previous blogs for this class may be accessed here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/03/24/ielts-mindset-1-lesson-2-review/

Ethan Hawke Sticks Up For Texas, Reps Beto and Turns a Dead ...

Next Lesson, you’ll be planning a day out in Sai Gon (or your city) for my friend Ethan. You can read up here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/16/ielts-planning-a-day-out/

IELTS: Final Run Through

25th March 2021

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Students at 23/ 9 Park, District 1, Sai Gon

OK, let’s hit the ground running, no time to shimmy shammy, speaking test is next week, let’s go !

A previous blog has exercises for you to test your adjectives as well as your ability to link ideas fluently with discourse markers. Said link may be accessed here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/09/08/ielts-last-chance-saloon/

Thus, a quick warm up featuring standard, run of the mill IELTS topics such as:

FAMILY

Who do you live with ?

An all too familiar answer would be, “I live with my mum, my dad and my brother.”

Remember, you have to impress the examiner with your impressive command of all aspects of English, so get those complex sentences working, flex those adjectives and act out your answers.

Allow me to introduce my family to you. Firstly, there is my mother, who has a heart of gold, always caring about others before herself. My father, who is an engineer, burns the candle at both ends, so I rarely see him. He works extremely hard for his family, I look up to him. Finally there is my brother. Well, what can I say about him ? Unfortunately, he’s a bit of a slacker by which I mean he’s very lazy. Hopefully he’ll turn over a new leaf and start contributing more to family life.

Notice the complex sentences – I explain just a little about each member, while adding two idioms and some fixed expressions into the mix.

Think how you would pronounce this – the mother is positive and sweet, the father is busy, the brother lazy.

NOW … Your turn … are you ready ?

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Yes, Thay Paul, we’re ready !

FAMILY

Who do you live with ? Compose an IELTS-style answer

You live with your mother (makes you study very hard), your grandfather (loves swimming) and your sister (spends time making herself beautiful, buying clothes and taking selfies).

Onwards and upwards, try a Part II question. There will be a topic followed by four points for you to include in your answer (here you have a minute to make notes, so try to think of suitable idioms and L-FWs). You are expected to speak for up to two minutes, and the examiner can not assist you.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time ?

You should say what the activity is

Who you do it with ?

Where you do it

And why you enjoy it

Make It Easy on Yourself – Dionne Warwick – 1970 | seventies music

Make it easy on yourself

Choose a topic you can speak about at length, one that has many avenues to explore, such as music:

Do you listen to music ? If so, what genres do you like and why ?

Who are your favourite artists ?

Can you play an instrument ? Have you tried ?

Would you like to in the future ?

Have you ever been to a live concert ?

Do you listen or play alone, or with friends ?

We can work on this in class. Remember, if you get under 6.5 in my class, I will KYA !

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Jammin’ in the park with the guys

IELTS Mindset 1, Lesson 2 Review

24th March 2021

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Photo by Thay Paul, Sai Gon

I took this photo on Nguyễn Huệ Street, which is in District 1, during Tet Holiday. As this is the biggest celebration in Viet Nam, the streets are bustling and vibrant, furthermore it is so uplifting seeing happy, smiling people. Many ladies simply adore dressing up in traditional Áo dài, dresses which are made from silk. In my opinion, these two friends look so beautiful although they tell me that their dresses, which cost an arm and a leg, can be terribly hot and uncomfortable. However they only wear them once in a blue moon. They were so happy when I took their photo as it will enable me to share some Vietnamese culture with the world.

A quick recap – we have encountered these words so far in our 1000 mile journey:

lingua franca / genre / obligatory / compulsory / uplifting

enable / bustling / vibrant / generated / derived from / enable / purchase (buy) / devour (eat or consume a lot)

utterly depressing / simply adore

Not forgetting our arsenal of idioms:

it’s raining cats and dogs

it costs an arm and a leg

piece of cake

I’m burning the candle at both ends

once in a blue moon

pass with flying colours

turn over a new leaf

put your nose to the grindstone

bear with me

kick the bucket

NOW … your turn

Write me a short IELTS-style piece (only three or four sentence) about Tet Holiday – what you do, what you eat, special traditions, personal stories … having said that … you have to include:

two idioms // at least two L-FWs // two adverbs // two great adjectives //

use of pronunciation features

Are you ready ? Yes, Sir !

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My adorable friend Hanna. Photo by Thay Paul, Ha Noi

Piece of cake, right ?

Quick fire quiz – what idioms could you use for ?

money, cost, prices // working or studying //

changing behaviour or bad habits // no problem

weather // something that happens very rarely

TOP 14 FRENCH CINEMA QUOTES | A-Z Quotes
World famous director Jean-Luc Godard

Speaking practice – work in pairs or small groups and ask each other about cinema – but – at IELTS standard. To wit, include:

Types of films you like (genre). Give examples.

Where you go or how you watch movies and why

Favourite actors or directors

REMEMBER – give as much information as you can – complex sentences, L-FWs, idioms; remember to speak fluently with discourse markers and, not forgetting, express your emotions in your voice.

Next Lesson, we shall assist Countess Dương in boosting her vocabulary, as well as focusing on listening to native speakers and endeavouring to imitate their speech patterns:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/06/ielts-be-industrious-hard-working-incredible-energetic-students/

If you have missed the first classes, catch up here –

Lesson 1: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/28/ielts-my-hometown/

The review for that lesson can be accessed here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/03/17/ielts-hitting-the-ground-running-an-introduction-to-idioms-for-a-new-class/

A special thanks to my sweet friend Ms Hanna for graciously allowing me to use her photo.

Goodbye, see you next week

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Goodbye from students in Ha Noi

IELTS: Hitting the ground running. An introduction to idioms for a new class.

17th March 2021

WGN TV - Happy St. Patrick's Day, Chicago. | Facebook

Happy St Patrick’s Day – St Patrick being the patron saint of Ireland, a country famous for enjoying a drink … and then some ! In Chicago, which is a bustling, vibrant city in USA’s mid-west, the river is coloured green. However, too much

Is locally brewed Guinness up to scratch? - Brews News

Guiness will give me a bad headache the following morning. I will definitely have a hangover. That means it’s time to stop drinking so much, I need to change my bad habits … which brings us to an idiom for my new class; it’s time to turn over a new leaf.

Luck Of The Irish Four Leaf Clover Custom Shape Metal Sign 16 x 19 Inches

In this case, a four leaf clover for good luck.

So, we have a new class and they need to start learning language that will help them ace the IELTS test.

Let’s hit the ground running and recap the basic idioms you’ll be using every week, as well as the new vocabulary from last night. Are you ready … ?

Event History – Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2021
Let’s go !

First off the bat, some basic idioms:

it’s raining cats and dogs

it costs an arm and a leg

piece of cake

I’m burning the candle at both ends

once in a blue moon

pass with flying colours

turn over a new leaf

put your nose to the grindstone

These are the basic idioms I introduce, as they can be employed in many situations.

A good introductory blog, with IELTS tips and advise may be accessed here:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/22/ielts-mindset-2-first-review/

Let’s hit the ground running and put it to the test – what idioms would you use ?

Taxis in Sai Gon are very expensive, they _______

I want to get a high score, I want to ______

We can’t go out in the rainy season because it’s always ____________

You need to stop going out every night and missing school. You need to _____________

The test was so easy, it was a __________

She works all day, then studies all night; she’s _________________

I must be more serious about learning Vietnamese. I have to _______

Ms Liêu simply adores Champagne however, because it _____________ , she only drinks it __________________________________.

Last night’s class also generated some additional idioms, expressions and vocabulary, to wit:

bear with me – please wait a very short time

like a madhouse – a place or area that is crazy, too noisy, too busy etc

Kick the bucket – UK idiom, very informal, means to die

My hands are tied – I am obliged to do something, I have no choice

An expression – to kill two birds with one stone – to achieve two different results by doing one action:

“Hey, let’s meet at the coffee shop. We can meet up and work on the project at the same time.”

Premium Photo | Two asian woman talking about business and using laptop in  coffee shop

I also introduced you to borrowed words – vocabulary from other languages. Our first example derived from Italian – lingua franca (a common language)

EXAMPLE:

I am studying English, which is incredibly important, because it is a lingua franca meaning it will enable me to communicate with people from all over the world.

Furthermore, we covered some adjectives to describe various neighbourhoods:

gritty / industrial

quite / safe / residential

boring / peaceful / suburban

bustling / vibrant / city centre

Extra advise – any time you hear a new word or expression:

Twin Peaks | Streams of Consciousness

Finally for Ms Dương, who expressed concerns over the amount of vocabulary one needs to learn, here’s the quote from the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu (C6thBC) :

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step | Lao Tzu

OK, onwards and upwards. Next lesson’s notes can be accessed here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/06/ielts-be-industrious-hard-working-incredible-energetic-students/

See you next week

Say goodbye to Christianity in 2019
Lost in the Movies: La Dolce Vita
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IELTS: Complex sentences – Practice and more practice

4th March 2021

Beautiful Asian Woman Playing Piano Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free  Image. Image 68225263.

The ability to use complex sentences, fluently and naturally, will greatly improve your IELTS score (in both speaking and writing). Therefore here’s a little exercise I used in last night’s class. Test your ability to speak in IELTS-style sentences.

Quite simply, take a basic subject and see how complex you can make it by adding information to every noun.

Show Don't Tell' -Providing the Power to Improve Student Writing

Good idea. Here is my friend Tony:

English Guy Stock Illustrations – 512 English Guy Stock Illustrations,  Vectors & Clipart - Dreamstime

Tony is from Liverpool. He is 32. He is a reporter. He works on ‘The Daily Talk’. This is shown on ICB network.

Remember, relative pronouns who / which / where / whose

Tony, who is 32, is from Liverpool, which is famous for football as well as The Beatles. He occupation (or profession) is reporter, working for ‘The Daily News’ which is a show broadcast on the ICB network, which is located in London, where Tony now lives.

You wouldn’t usually include so many clauses, but it is an exercise, similar to a musician practising scales. Ideally, in the speaking test, you will be able to use complex sentences at the drop of a hat.

NOW … YOUR TURN

Make a complex sentence about your hometown.

Sai Gon / Tp HCM

Travel to Ho Chi Minh City

Sai Gon: in southern Viet Nam / largest city in VN / population over nine million / many museums (such as History, War Remnants, Independence Palace) / traditional food (such as Phố) – what is Phố ? What is it served with ?

The Best Phở in Saigon - Vietnam Coracle - Independent Travel Guides to  Vietnam
Traditional Phố for my friend Silk Cords

Next, tell me about someone in your family.

Asian families dominate multi-holiday trend, survey says: Travel Weekly Asia

Who is that person ? What relation to you ? Where do they live, what is their profession ? Describe their physical appearance and personality and try to add an anecdote, to make your presentation more personal.

Finally, in last night’s listening practice, there was mention of the Hearst Castle in California:

Hearst Castle | San Simeon, CA 93452
William Randolph Hearst - Children, Quotes & Joseph Pulitzer - Biography


William Randolph Hearst, who was a very famous newspaper tycoon, lived in this castle, which is in California. Hearst was immortalised in the film ‘Citizen Kane’, a classic movie from 1941 by Orson Welles, who directed and starred in the film which is often cited as being the best film ever made.

New vocabulary and expressions:

Last night’s class produced these:

The weather is Sai Gon is sweltering and terribly humid

monotonous (mono = one) = very tedious

I don’t give a monkey’s = I really don’t care

occupation (better word for job) / profession = need to be qualified such as doctor, nurse, lawyer, pilot, chef etc

most notably = Orson Welles made many films, most notably ‘Citizen Kane’.

IELTS: Speaking Test checklist

12th February 2021

Image result for happy asian students

I have conducted a number of speaking tests recently and noticed some areas where students can, with very little effort, boost their scores.

Remember, IELTS requires you to demonstrate that you will be able to live and study in an English-speaking country.

Firstly, there is fluency: are you able to speak without hesitation ?

Secondly, is your vocabulary broad enough ? You will be studying at university level (1) therefore you should be acquainted with low-frequency words (L-FWs), while living in an English-speaking country will necessitate you being familiar with phrasal verbs, idioms and expressions that comprise the bulk of everyday language.

For some help, have a look at this blog: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/06/02/everyday-idioms-everyday/

Obviously, grammar is imperative, especially the ability to form complex sentences. You will need to combine several pieces of information in one sentences, using clauses and discourse markers.

I have written several blogs on this subject, for example: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/23/ielts-introduction-to-complex-sentences/

Finally, pronunciation; this is not merely the clarity and accuracy of your speech, but features such as intonation, stress, pacing, body language, rhythm, chunking … features which are best learnt by listening to native-speakers and imitating what you hear (2).

To sum up, if you have been disappointed by your score, listen to the feedback your instructor gave you, and work on those areas.

Image result for happy african students

(1) Even if you study in your home country, many textbooks are only printed in English. I’ve known friends from Greece, Sweden and Germany who had to use English language books

(2) There will be an incredible variety of accents, dialects and linguistic features within one large city, but for the purposes of teaching, I’m referring to features that may be particular to English, namely adding the letter ‘s’ to form plurals, how words ‘run into’ one another and how less important words are swallowed, while key words are stressed.

IELTS: Please allow me to introduce myself …

28th January 2021

I Can't Get No....Oops! - Imgflip
Please allow me to introduce Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones

You never get a second chance to make a first impression

A killer, jaw-droppingly brilliant introduction will really impress your examiner as well as boosting your confidence during what, to be honest, is a nerve-racking experience, namely, the IELTS speaking test.

With that in mind, here’s some tips, advise, guidance, what you will, on how to set up your response.

Let’s take a real-life example. Last week I asked my class a simple question:

I am exhausted and need a holiday. Where should I go to in Vietnam ?

Most answers were pretty run of the mill albeit with the occasional L-FW and an idiom relating to cost (it does or doesn’t cost an arm and a leg). However, I had a former student sitting in, my Princess (you may read about her here, if you so wish: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/09/04/6420/

My Princess began her recommendation thus:

Mr Paul is looking quite exhausted because he has been working extremely hard, burning the candle at both ends, so he really needs a holiday to relax. Vietnam has visually-stunning scenery and beautiful beaches. Allow me to tell you about some of these places …

The class responded thus:

The Jaw Dropping, Head Nodding Truth About Authority - Lies Young Women  BelieveLies Young Women Believe

Their jaws all dropped ! However, take heart, a great introduction is, with a little practice, a piece of cake. What follows is a compendium of opening lines, introductions, and templates for you to use and adapt as you see fit.

As with all skills, start slowly then you can build up to more elaborate introductions.

Introductions:

Confident young indian muslim business woman wear hijab speak look at  camera, islamic arabic lady talk to webcam make video conference call job  interview record webinar online presentation in office Stock Video

That’s a very interesting question

Allow me to tell you about …

Well, that’s a great question

Well, there is so much to say about that subject, where shall I start ?

It’s funny you put that question to me because earlier today I was just thinking about …

As a young Vietnamese (add your own nationality), I …

Well, that question is a bit of a sore point with me because …

More Advanced introductions, especially for Part 3:

Well, that’s a very complicated question …

Well, that’s a very complicated question but I will endeavor to answer

What a hard question, I may have to think about this …

I’m not sure I know how to answer that because I don’t have enough information, however …

I’m not sure I know how to answer that because I don’t have enough information, however I can think of one example …

in my experience

allow me to tell you what I do

I can’t speak about other people, but I …

Family

Allow me to introduce my family to you. Firstly there is …

Food

I like many drinks however coffee is my favourite because …

Sai Gon has so many coffee shops, some are cheap while others can be quite expensive although they have a wide range of delicious coffee. Personally, I like going to …

As you may know, I’m a vegetarian. However, all my friends love fast food especially burgers and fries.

Well living in a big city, I have a wide choice of food, including American and European cuisine. Fast food restaurants are ubiquitous so I have eaten, for example, burgers, KFC and pizza, which is my favourite.

Well, that’s a great question as I detest cooking. Having said that, I’m extremely lucky because in my neighbourhood, restaurants are ubiquitousfrom expensive sea food to affordable street food.

Thank you for the question, because I can introduce you to some mouth-watering dishes from Vietnam. Allow me to mention just two which, in my opinion, are the most popular.

Free time / hobbies / shopping

Well, I’m a student at university, so I don’t really have much free time. However, when I’m not studying I like to …

After a hard day of (working, studying, shopping) there’s nothing I like better than watching a great movie and I tend to enjoy action, horror and Marvel films the most.

Watching films and going to the cinema is one of my passions, so choosing just one film is going to be terribly difficult, not to say impossible. However, if I have to select one film, it would be ‘Lost in Translation’, with Scarlett Johannsson.

I have to confess that one of my passions is shopping, be it at a mall, a street market or online. As a young person, I adore buying clothes, though I have to restrain myself as many items cost an arm and a leg.

Well, That’s an interesting question because I actually spend most of my time at school or studying. Most days I’m burning the candle at both endsHaving said that, when I do get free time, which is once in a blue moon, I love to just hang out with my friends, maybe go to coffee shops which are ubiquitous in my city. Although I enjoy movies, I rarely go nowadays.

Future plans

I’m not absolutely sure yet, but I plan to meet up with some friends and just hang out. We have all been so busy, we haven’t seen each other for ages. (for a long time).

Well, that’s a very pertinent question because recently, I have been thinking about where I would like to study, and the UK is certainly top of my list. I am sure there would be some culture shock, especially when it comes to the food.

Well, I’m currently in my last year of high school, so this is a very pertinent question for me. Naturally, I can’t foresee the future however, I could offer some predictions though, of course, this is just my opinion.

It’s funny you put that question to me because just today I was thinking about where I want to study. I have my heart set on studying in the USA as I have some family in Seattle, which is a large city in Washington state. However, to follow my dream, I need a high score in IELTS, so I need to put my nose to the grindstone

Hometown

Thank you for letting me introduce to you my hometown which is Da Nang, one of the biggest cities in Vietnam, although it is much smaller than Ha Noi or Sai Gon. 

Travel

Vietnam has many beautiful places but my choice would be Hoi An.

Ah, that’s an interesting question because I really need a holiday. However travelling now is not a good idea because of the COVID 19 which is an extremely serious pandemic. So, I have to think about after, when it is safe to go on holiday.

Activities

Make introductions for these questions:

Where would you like to visit ?

Who do you live with ?

Do you like your neighbourhood ?

What are you going to do this weekend?

Check out these movies with Black actors you will enjoy.

Tell me about your favourite film. A whole blog on this may be accessed here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/06/ielts-mindset-why-do-you-like-the-film/

IELTS: Vocabulary boosting & fixed expression … there’s nothing I like more !

27th January 2021

IELTS Archives - Page 2 of 10 - IELTS Academic

No preamble, let’s just dive in; how to boost your lexical resources.

Firstly, replace all your basic verbs with ‘better’ ones, L-FWs as IELTS refer to them. Thus, fifteen of the most common English verbs:

  1. be
  2. have
  3. do
  4. say
  5. get
  6. make
  7. go
  8. know
  9. take
  10. see
  11. come
  12. think
  13. look
  14. want
  15. give

Activity 1: Assign three verbs to students (individually or in small groups). They must write a sentence (the more complex the better) utilising the substituted verb. Students can use a thesaurus for assistance.

Example: ‘give

I always donate my old clothes to charity.

Activity 2: Convert a simple sentence into a jaw-droppingly magnificent IELTS sentence, employing the whole spectrum of resources, by which I mean phrasal verbs, adverbs, LFWs, idioms etc.

30 signs you have WAY too many clothes

Example:

I always donate my old clothes to charity.

I have to confess that one of my passions is shopping, be it at a mall, a street market or online. As a young person, I adore buying clothes, though I have to restrain myself as many items cost an arm and a leg. Naturally, I accrue a vast wardrobe. From time to time I have a good sort out, sometimes being quite brutal. If I haven’t worn something for, say, two years, then I get rid of it. However, instead of simply throwing them away, or giving to siblings or cousins, I choose to donate to various charities such as UNICEF, Save The Children or Cancer Research. That way, I can contribute to improving the world.

Study the above example. Can you pick out the elements that differentiate this from a basic English class response ?

Write down new vocabulary and make a point of using new words.

Observe how points are introduced, and answers expanded.

How many phrasal verbs are you familiar with ? How about fixed expressions (here I added ‘From time to time‘) which brings us nicely to our next section …

Fixed expressions  

As far as I’m concerned // I can’t wait to … //

If there’s one thing that I (love, hate, detest) it’s … // I’m looking forward to … //

It may surprise you to learn that I … // It’s no surprise that … //

The first thing I’d going to do when I … // There’s nothing I like better than … //

Activity 3: Practice using these expressions

Example: After a hard day of teaching, there’s nothing I like better than watching a great movie. Only last night, I saw a fantastic film, ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ by Aaron Sorkin who is a highly respected American writer.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 - Wikipedia
The Trial of the Chicago 7 movie review (2020) | Roger Ebert

IELTS: Complex sentences, Practice #2

18th January 2021

Knowing Your Lines | Pastor Bill Online

The previous blog demonstrated how to form complex sentences whereas this one will give you a chance to actually incorporate them into your everyday speech or, more importantly, your IELTS test which you will want to pass with flying colours.

Let’s dive in !

A typical IELTS question will be about your family. Time to show off your knowledge of adjectives and phrases.

Start with mother. Some positives:

My mother has a heart of gold // She is so kind and caring // She always puts others first.

On the other hand:

I’m afraid my mother is a ‘tiger mum’ // She expects too much of me // She is never satisfied with my work.

As for father:

My father is industrious and so hard-working // My father always has his nose to the grindstone, providing for his family // People say I take after my father // He is firm but fair.

On the other hand:

My father never lets me stay out // He drinks like a fish on holidays // He is a very strict disciplinarian.

Older brother:

He is my role model // I always look up to him // He looks out for me and takes me under his wing.

On the other hand:

My brother is a total slacker // My brother gets aggressive when he’s been drinking // My brother lacks ambition and drive.

Don’t forget sister:

My sister is a little angel // She has the sweetest soul // She has a kind word for everybody.

On the other hand:

My sister is such a prima donna // She only thinks of herself // She won’t lift a finger around the house // She spends all her money on herself.

Let’s extend the family: uncle, aunt, cousin etc. Remember, always be thinking of how you can use IELTS language such as idioms and expressions.

EXAMPLE:

Your uncle lives in a different city (how often do you see him ?) He has a great job, a lot of influence (an expression ?)

Tell me about the people you live with

Allow me to introduce my family to you. Firstly, there is my mother, who has a heart of gold, I can tell her anything. She’s always working, cooking or cleaning. I would say she is the biggest influence in my life. My father is very industrious by which I mean he gets up early, every day, works long hours at his office which is very far away. However, he likes to relax at holiday time. His brother, my uncle, who is a mover and a shaker, occasionally pays a visit at Tet (Christmas, Hanukkah etc) and the two of them drink like fish ! That’s because my uncle, who lives in (a far-away city), only comes to (your city) once in a blue moon.

Piece of cake, right ?

First, decide what idioms are appropriate.

Second, select some impressive L-FWs or phrases.

Finally … it doesn’t have to be true ! We are here to check your command of English, we are not going to check if your uncle really is a mover and a shaker !

Let's go to work.

Class work:

Ask each other the following questions. Check how many IELTS features the speaker uses, and give encouraging feedback.

Which member of your family are you closest to ?

Which member of your family do you take after ?

How often do you see your cousins, or grandparents ?

Is family important in your country ? Why ?

Do you want to live in a nuclear (small) or extended family ?

What qualities do you admire in your family ?

Now … think on your feet.

Tell me about your brother, who is an actor.

Tell me about your aunt, who teaches music.

Tell me about your cousin, who wants to study at Oxford.

Tell me about your mother, who demands that you get A++ for every exam.

The Yemeni teacher who's setting up a national orchestra, despite war