British Food: IELTS sample answers continued

1st October 2020

Index of /wp-content/uploads/2019/01/

Today we’ll turn our attention to Part 2: uninterrupted speaking for up to two minutes.

Remember, you have a minute to write notes. Use the method which works best for you, but I suggest you write a keyword that will help you recall L-FWs or an idiom.

Look at the previous blogs to see some useful words: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/09/28/british-food-various-exercises-various-levels/

mouth-watering / nutritious / filling / spicy / bland / traditional /

prices can be sky-high / cost an arm and a leg / astronomical / not my cup of tea

And: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/09/29/british-food-part-2-sample-answers-for-ielts/

Indian Street Food in London Compilation - including some Restaurant Food  (Part 3). - YouTube
Indian street food in London

Part 2: What problems would you have with the food if you lived in the UK ?

You should say:

what UK food you know,

if you have ever tried it

if you have ever seen it

if you think you would enjoy it … and why (or why not).

Try to speak for the full 2 minutes. By now, you should know the formula: great introduction, some positive points, some negative, an anecdote, then a conclusion.

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.

In class, we have seen some photos of traditional food such as toad in the hole, the full English breakfast and of course, the traditional Sunday roast. I think that British people have special food at Christmas time with … let me remember … turkey and vegetables then a special pudding which they set alight. I guess they use strong alcohol to make it burn. It looks tremendous fun.

I come from a small town, so I only had local food, but now I live in a big city, I can experience more western cuisine although we mostly eat fast food. So, no, I haven’t tried British food. Not yet, but the Christmas food looks mouth-watering.

Sometimes I watch a movie and I look out for what people eat. It looks very different from my country. Oh, of course, we use chopsticks here, as well as spoons, but they use a knife and fork in the UK. I tried once. My friend Jenny, who went to London on holiday, came back with a present for me. It was a knife and fork. I tried, I really tried but I couldn’t get the hang of it.

However when I see people eat in restaurants, I am a little nervous. They look so expensive. It must cost an arm and a leg to eat there.

Would I enjoy it ? I am not sure but I think so. My favourite food is chicken and sea food so I am sure I can get those easily. Maybe the food would possibly be bland compared to Asian food because we use lots of fresh vegetables and spices. On the other hand, new food is part of the new culture. Now I start to feel hungry !

What is 'mukbang'? Inside the viral Korean food YouTube trend

Theory into practice – it’s all relative (pronouns)

29th May 2020

Earlier this week, I had a teenage group in what could be termed a pre-IELTS class; at the end of this book, they progress to IELTS. That is, as mentioned in the blog for that lesson: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/26/adult-speaking-class-level-3-relationships/

a quantum leap (which allowed me to introduce the idea of quantum mechanics into an English class). My centre is a business, so needs to generate revenue which is accomplished by getting as many students as possible. This is especially vital after the enforced lockdown.

Students, teachers practice social distancing on return to school ...
Stock photo from Google, but it depicts social distancing

However, not all students who enter an IELTS class are IELTS material … but that is another matter. I’ve decided to treat this class, which I really enjoy, as an IELTS class. Therefore, I push them to use language and style employed at that level.

To come to the crux of the matter, I set a relative pronoun test in the aforementioned class. Everyone was able to do the lesson, the theory, linking two or three pieces of information into a longer, single complex sentence. For example:

Jumping Jack cash: how young Mick Jagger planned his pension ...

Mick Jagger is in the Rolling Stones. He was born in London.

Mick Jagger, who was born in London, is in the Rolling Stones.

However, during the free practice session, the students reverted back to simple sentences.

Allow me to elucidate … wherever possible, I avoid working directly from the book, or using handouts (although that would save me about 80% of my dwindling energy). Instead, I look at the book, see what subjects are to be covered, and incorporate them into my blog.

Naturally, this only works with ‘top cat’ students, those who are motivated and willing to work (and I’ve noticed, telling students we will not be using the books boosts moral and energy off the chart).

Top Cat - Wikipedia
I’m not allowed to film inside my campus, so here are some top cats 🙂

To return to the case in point; the students can understand the grammar in theory but totally forget it, in practice, and Tuesday’s class afforded ample opportunity to practice. I showed a picture of a young beautiful Asian lady and a young Asian guy … here, see for yourself:

I wanted to the class to be creative, write a backstory for the two characters (the theme of the lesson was relationships), how they know each other, what are their jobs, how they get on together.

The class, which is only small, elected to work together and I was heartened to see Ms X, who normally spends the lesson playing with her phone, taking an active part and volunteering answers.

The upshot was that the beautiful Asian lady was a model, the guy a photographer and both were Japanese. As to be expected, this being a teenage class, someone (you know who you are) said they went to a hotel … but maybe so – in order to do a photo shoot.

From a teaching point of view, I was disappointed that in their speaking, they didn’t apply relative pronouns, enough adjectives or adverbs, all points that will be addressed in the next lesson … and covered in my next blog.

May a say a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who visits my site and scrolls through the posts.

IELTS: Complex sentences – it’s not that complicated.

24th May 2020

Portrait of a confused asian girl standing | Free Photo

Following another speaking test, I’ve noticed that my students are still speaking simple sentences and thereby losing marks, whereas with a little work, not to mention a little, or a lot, of practice, this omission can be redressed.

Therefore today’s bog, in it’s entirety, will be devoted to the forming of longer, complex sentences, altering sentence structure and general tips to improve not just speaking, but writing as well.

As you should have noticed the above two paragraphs, rather like this third one, employ several clauses, that is, parts of a sentence to give extra information without the need of a full stop, serving as examples of how this can be achieved.

You will, no doubt, experience a feeling of triumph once you have mastered this technique which, I admit, does require some new thinking and extra effort on your part but will, without a shadow of a doubt, enable you to attain the score for which you are aiming.

And now, without further ado, let’s kick off. First, a warm-up. Of today’s three highlighted expressions, which would you use for:

1 When you are certain or 100% sure about something

2 To start immediately, with no more interruptions

3 Great happiness when you have achieved or won something

Answers at end of blog

Here are some standard IELTS-type questions, followed by a typical answer and then, by way of comparison, an extended response to demonstrate improvements.

1 Tell me about your hometown 2 How often do you go online ?

3 What jobs will be important in your country in the future ?

4 Tell me about a time you received good news

An average answer, which would probably result in a middle score, around 4 – 5 would be, to take one example, (Number 2):

I go online every day because I need the internet to help me study. I use the internet to check new words in English. I go online for information for my school.

black-girl-at-laptop-378x382 - GSDM

What do you notice about this ? Firstly, what are the mistakes ?

The candidate answers the question immediately, with no introduction. This is not necessarily wrong, but a sentence leading into the response will make for a longer answer.

The second sentence is not directly relevant to the question, though it is acceptable for providing more information. I advise students to be careful, in case they start deviating from the subject.

Lastly, the third sentence just repeats what has already been said, even using the same phrase “I go online“, and then explaining the reason for using the internet NOT how often it is used.

Here’s a different way of answering.

Well, that’s interesting because I have internet access at school, at home and on my phone so I would say I’m absolutely online every day. How much time I spend online varies from day to day, but I am probably online about three hours every day, sometimes more if I have a project or if I’m playing a cool game.

See how this answer only uses two sentences , but is much superior. Let’s break down how it earns points.

Initially, we have a short introduction and the question is answered directly in the first, extended sentence.

Secondly, the first sentence includes a list of three, so this is a chance to practise speech rhythm (one, two and three) – remember, you get points by HOW you say something as well as what you say.

Thirdly, the answer uses three everyday adverbs (highlighted). ‘so‘ can also be used as an adverb, but here it is a conjunction (a word such as ‘and’, ‘but’, etc).

Additionally, the sentences employs an expression, “from day to day,” which examiners like to hear, as it shows familiarity with figurative language.

Lastly, the candidate explains what the reasons for being online, and how it affects the time spent on the internet.

Now … your turn Try to answer the same question, following this pattern.

Now … let’s move on. Question 1, my hometown.

Vietnam Student Tour, Vietnam Student Trip, Vietnam Student Holidays.

This time, I will give you facts and you arrange in an answer.

My hometown is Da Nang. Fifth largest city in Viet Nam. Is in Central Vietnam. Near historic town Hoi An. Important port. Many tourists. Has a cable car and a dragon bridge. Famous for its beach.

Dragon Bridge in Da Nang - Attraction in Da Nang, Vietnam - Justgola
Dragon Bridge at Da Nang

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. My hometown is in the middle … in central Viet Nam, I mean, sorry, and had many tourists. They come to see many things such as the Dragon Bridge, go on the cable car or for swimming. Also, Da Nang is very near many famous places such as Hoi An. As it is on the coast, my hometown is also a busy port.

Check for

Introduction

Information in first sentence

Discourse marker ‘ although

Correcting a mistake in line 3

A list of three items in lines 4 and 5

Change of sentence structure in the last line: instead of saying, “My hometown is also a busy port because it is on the coast,” I started with the end of that sentence (it is on the coast) and replaced ‘because’ with ‘as’ (though because would also be all right to use).

To practise:

Rearrange these sentences, starting with the section in italics.

The London Tube needs repairing because it is so old.

Many people have to stay home because of COVID 19

We must buy vegetables because Jenny doesn’t eat meat.

Colin is now studying in Boston because he got an 8.5 in his IELTS test.

Meet the Five Harvard Students Who Testified in the Admissions Trial

Answers at end of blog

Answers:

1 = without a shadow of a doubt

2 = without further ado

3 = feeling of triumph

Because it is so old the London Tube needs repairing.

As it is so old, the London Tube needs repairing.

As the London Tube is so old, it needs repairing (notice how the pronoun ‘it’ moves).

Due to / Because of COVID 19, many people have to stay home.

Because Jenny doesn’t eat meat, we must buy vegetables.

As he got an 8.5 in his IELTS test, Colin is now studying in Boston.

Diversity and Inclusion: Colleges with the most diverse student bodies
Keep studying

IELTS: Quick-fire talking

12th May 2020

A chance to practise IELTS-standard speech, answering questions on everyday subjects.

Speaking topics

laptops // holidays // engineering // work // travelling // study

motorbikes // family // living in your town or city //

laptops

Positive asian woman lying on floor with laptop | Free Photo

Introduction

1stpoint

2ndpoint

anecdote (personal story)

conclusion

This first example is a warm up; you will need to speak a little longer, but this introduces the main points to include.

Laptops are an incredibly useful piece of technology. They can be used for work, hobbies, music and to stay in touch with friends.

I use my laptop every day. I plan lessons and use the internet to search for lesson plans, English language games and interesting video clips to show my students.

Because I live so far from my home country, I find the internet essential. I can maintain contact with friends and family by using: Skype, Facebook, Viber, Instagram … well, there are so many social media sites.

I like Apple; I know there are very expensive, but they seem to work so well. I rarely have a problem with my computer which is great because I know nothing about IT !

There was one issue I had in Vietnam. My plug snapped and I had to buy a new cable. I eventually found a store in District 3. I had to wait 30 minutes but finally a man came with an ‘Apple’ plug … and it was less than half the UK price.

To conclude, laptops are part of my life. I use them every day for work, relaxing and chatting with friends.

Check how many adjectives and adverbs are used. Are you utilising such word types ? If not – do so !

Useful expressions

A strong introduction:

That’s a very interesting 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 …

To buy time, or to show the examiner that you have a wide vocabulary but need to check the correct word:

Let me think (about it)

How can I put it … ?

What’s the word … ?

To conclude:

At the end of the day

All in all

To wrap up

Now … your turn. Either in pairs, or at home by yourself, prepare an IELTS standard presentation, using the formula above. Choose from:

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On holiday
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Studying