IELTS: Focus on India

18th October 2021

Image result for hello India

Firstly, a big hello to all my readers and followers in India. I want you all to know how much I appreciate you taking the time to check out my blog. Thank you so much.

Exercise one: Find out some basic information about India from the internet, such as capital and major cities, population, food, religion, imports and exports.

I give you four minutes to do an Internet search, then present to class. DO NOT simply read from Wikipedia.

Exercise two:

Adjectives: look at the photos and describe what you see.

Try these adjectives:

exotic / mysterious / exquisite / captivating / enchanting

How Narendra Modi inaugurated Abu Dhabi's first Hindu temple | Condé Nast  Traveller India
Image result for Indian culture
Image result for Indian culture

Exercise two: compare and contrast

Does this look like YOUR city ? What is similar, what is noticeably different ?

Image result for Indian city scene
Image result for Indian train station
School, Colleges to Reopen From Next Month? What we Know so Far

Vocabulary building and listening

In the real world, most students will not be communicating with English-language teachers, but probably with other non-native speakers, so learning to appreciate and understand English spoken with a ‘new’ accent is an extremely useful skill. Here’s a great video which features a charming young Indian lady teaching new vocabulary: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKUxuD0m5A8

New Vocabulary:

Instead of using ‘very’ + adjective (I am very tired), use a single word:

Try to use ‘sagacious’, ‘exquisite’, ‘colossal’ and ‘spacious

The classrooms in Block D are ……….. (big)

The furnishings are perfect, they are ……….

Building an underground train network is a ………… undertaking

The old man was ………. People came to him for advise.

This is also a listening skills exercise. 

  • Do you have any problems understanding her ? Why ?

What to do in India

The American foodie and blogger Mark Wiens travelled to Kolkata: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvNdOJMDMyQ

Listen for at least five words you didn’t previously know. In small groups ask each other:

What impressed you ? What disturbed you ? Would you like to go there ? If so, why, if not, why not ?

Here is a chance to practice adjectives, linking words and using the word ‘because’ – giving reasons, supporting your comments.

Famous Indians

In small groups, you have to make a short presentation about one of these famous Indians:

Mahatma Gandhi
Image result for famous indian siddharta buddha
Siddhartha – the Buddha
kalpana chawla
Kalpana Chawla

The class have five to ten minutes to research information, speed read and extract relevant facts with which to enlighten the class. Follow up, tell me about some Indian artists or sports stars.

And now, goodbye from this mysterious, exotic land. Hope to meet you very soon …

Image result for Indian sunset

This is an edited blog that first appeared on 24th January 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/24/ielts-hello-india/

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

IELTS Oral Test: A refresher

17th September 2021

IELTS reading, paraphrasing, skimming, scanning in IELTS reading. IELTS  academic and general exam.

Tomorrow I have a class taking their IELTS speaking test. Thus, I present a reminder about what you need to say in order to:

ace the test

pass with flying colours

hit that baby right out of the ballpark

I will be listening for the following:

  1. Fluency – use of discourse markers. WITHOUT A WIDE RANGE OF DISCOURSE MARKERS YOU WILL NOT GET HIGHER THAN A ‘5’.
  2. Lexical resources – Low-frequency words (big words). Know synonyms and multi-syllable words to impress the examiner. Not to mention, a sprinkling of idioms, phrases, phrasal verbs. Paraphrasing is very important
  3. Grammar – it’s OK to make a few mistakes, grammatically, but what we want to hear are complex structures – basically, altering the structure of a sentence or including several pieces of information in one sentence by using relative pronouns.
  4. Stress and intonation – listen to native speakers and COPY how we speak, when we stress words, when we ‘swallow’ letters, our body language.

To elucidate:

Fluency – Ability to speak at length without noticeable effort. A good range of discourse markers and connectives. Answer is coherent and pertinent. Self-correction is totally acceptable.

Lexical Resources – A wide vocabulary to cover a variety of topics. Low-frequency words. Ability to form collocations. Use of everyday as well as less common idioms and expressions. Paraphrasing, by which I mean rephrase the question you have been asked – don’t just repeat the exact wording.

Grammatical Range – A combination of simple and complex sentences. Generally error-free. Verb tenses must be correct, and subject must agree with verb form.

Pronunciation – Must be clear and easily understood. Effective use of stress, intonation and rhythm. If you are telling a happy story, sound happy.

I have a whole range of blogs to assist, and you can find the index for IELTS here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/04/subject-index-ielts-themes-language-exercises-2/

Some specific blogs that may be of some help:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/07/26/ielts-how-to-pass-with-flying-colours/

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/12/ielts-8-1-2-chasing-8-1-2/

For specific help with Part III of the Oral Test: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/09/15/ielts-speaking-test-part-3-how-to-nail-it/

To help with L-FWs & expressions: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/27/ielts-vocabulary-boosting-fixed-expression-theres-nothing-i-like-more/

Sterling Ielts School Student Png Images - Ielts Students Images Png  Transparent PNG - 378x456 - Free Download on NicePNG
Good luck – Best of British !

IELTS Mindset 1, lesson 6 Review

21st April 2021

Today is Hung King Festival, a free day in Viet Nam

Hung King Festival | All about Hung King Temple Festival 2021
Hung King Festival (Kings’ Day) Viet Nam (Google Images)

“The holiday is dedicated to the memory of the Hung line of kings who ruled Vietnam as priestly kings for over 2,500 years up until around 250 B.C. These kings are counted as the nation’s ancient founders.” Read more on:

https://publicholidays.vn/hung-kings-commemoration-day/

New Vocabulary

Cheap as chips … very inexpensive (UK expression)

Elaborate (verb) … tell more, expand on your answer

Significant (adj) significance (noun) significantly (adv) … very important or different from the rest. Special, notable.

Simile … to compare something e.g. he drinks like a fish, she eats like a pig, our campus is like a bloody madhouse.

White collar job … professional, desk job or requires mental skills e.g. lawyer, doctor, office worker, teacher

Blue collar job … manual work, although these jobs can also need a professional qualification, and can be extremely well-paid.

May be an image of 4 people and people smiling
Good old boys from Atlanta, Georgia back in the day. Three have blue collar jobs, one is white collar … can you guess which ?

Now, on with the show. Last night was based around the typical IELTS question, “Tell me about your family,” and its derivatives. I tell classes until I’m blue in the face, just saying, “I live with my mum, my dad and my sister,” is not a great IELTS answer, not to mention being tedious in the extreme.

The students mulled it over and came up with the reasonable response that there really was nothing else to say. Au contraire (on the contrary) there is so much to say, and every journey, as my Duchess knows, starts with a single step to wit, a great introduction.

The students, somewhat perplexed, offered:

Well, I don’t know how to give an interesting answer because I just live with my mum, dad and brother …

Even that would qualify as an introduction, but how about:

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

Here’s where relative clauses really come into their own. Basically, every time you mention a subject, a noun, elaborate; tell the examiner more about said subject.

May be an image of 3 people
Hold your horses, Thay Paul. Will you give me an example ? Photo in Manila.

Oh, you know I will. Let’s start with the matriarch, Mommie dearest. You could say:

My mother has a heart of gold

…then explain why

… she’s always thinking of other people before herself, as well as listening to all my problems and trying to help me with everything.

On the other hand, your mother may want you to excel at everything …

Although I love her dearly, my mother is what they call a Tiger Mum by which I mean she always makes me study, do homework and learn piano. I really burn the candle at both ends and sometimes it can be too much for me.

Now, let’s turn to pater, Daddy;

My father, on the other hand, is firm but fair …

My father has a white collar job. He works long hours to provide for his family, he really has his nose to the grindstone …

He’s a little loud and on holidays, he loves singing karaoke with his friends, who are all blue collar workers, and he drinks like a fish.

Now, a borrowed word to describe sister …

My sister, who is younger than me, is such a prima donna, always (doing what ?) …

Conversely:

My sister is so sweet, she’s like a little angel, and she loves playing with our puppy who is just six weeks old.

How about brother ?

My brother really looks out for me, giving me advice and guidance. I totally look up to him.

On the other hand …

My brother is an absolute slacker, lazy beyond belief. He never helps in the house, or cleans his room. He does his homework once in a blue moon, preferring to play stupid computer games instead.

How was that ? Happy now ?

No photo description available.
Yes, that’s a great help, Khob khun (khap/ka). Two Thai friends in London.

Now … Your Turn

Last night you encountered these adjectives and occupations:

aggressive / arrogant / calm / funny (haha) / funny (crazy) / generous / honest / humorous / kind / mean / modest / polite / quiet / reliable / rude / selfish / serious / thoughtless / trustworthy /

estate agent / plumber / DJ / mechanic / bouncer / surgeon / accountant / actor / cook or chef / removal man / insurance agent / bank clerk / detective / businessperson / barista / lawyer / slacker shop manager / unemployed /

Exercise 1: Write and then present your own IELTS-style answer to the question, “Tell me who you live with ?” Use new words as well as your own ideas.

Here’s some help, should you require it:

Allow me to introduce my family to you. Firstly there is my mother who … (where is she from OR what is her job OR what is she like, by which I mean physically or in terms of personality ?).

My father, on the other hand, is …

As for my younger sister, I worry about her because she …

Now, let’s mix it up a little … say you live with an aunt, a grandparent, a cousin … impress me; I know you can do it.

For more about introductions, check out this blog: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/28/ielts-please-allow-me-to-introduce-myself/

For last night’s lesson blog, click here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/04/20/ielts-mindset-1-lesson-6-speaking-speaking-and-more-speaking/

See you next week

Hung King Festival | All about Hung King Temple Festival 2021
Google images

IELTS: Mindset 1, Lesson 4: Review

7th April 2021

No photo description available.
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 !

May be an image of 8 people and people smiling
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 Mindset 1, Lesson 2 Review

24th March 2021

May be an image of 2 people and people smiling
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