British Food part 2: Sample answers for IELTS

29 September 2020.

Part 1: Have you ever tried western food ?

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.

In my opinion, younger people like western food. I often hang out with my friends at a mall and then grab a bite. It can be quite quick and very tasty. The restaurants are fun because they are colourful, have music and many happy people.

Having said that, fast food, especially burgers and fried chicken, is very unhealthy. There isn’t much salad. My mother, who is a great cook, doesn’t want me eating this food but I feel that it is OK if I only eat it occasionally.

Another point is the price. As a student, I think pizza costs an arm and a leg. It is so expensive compared to local street food. When I eat at, say, Pizza Hut, I usually order the sea food because it’s, I guess, better for me that the four-meat special !

Naturally there is a lot of western food that is mouth-watering and nutritious. Unfortunately, I haven’t tried much although I did go to an Italian restaurant once, when my uncle, who lives in Ha Noi, came to visit. I had spaghetti and meat balls, with a beautiful fresh salad and … allow me to add … a small glass of red wine. I would love to eat more western food, especially in a nice restaurant but that only happens once in blue moon.

More sample answers in the next blog. Happy eating

IELTS: writing & speaking practice

19th August 2020

Replace the standard English words with idioms, expressions and low-frequency words

How English testing is failing Chinese students by driving numbers ...
Hello to my Chinese students

Speaking topic:

What do you do in your free time ?

[Suggested answers after photos]

I study at school many days. I study in morning and I study at night. When I have free time I like to meet friends and have coffee. I go to see movie but not very much.

Sometimes me and my friends go swimming. It is cheap. And I very like to read manga comics because I feel funny. Nothing more.

Foreign Education, Visas, Immigration & IELTS Coaching - Rao ...
Hello to my Indian students

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 ends. Having 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.

Occasionally my friends and I go swimming because we don’t need much equipment and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Additionally, I really enjoy reading Manga comics, which are from Japan and are extremely popular, I believe, all over the world.

Canadians anticipate rise in demand from Mexico - Languages Canada
Hola to my Mexican students

Speaking topic:

What food is popular in your country ?

In my country are many foods, yes, we have pho, banh mi and Banh xeo. Yes. If you come to my country, you should have pho. Yes. Pho is noodles and soup and beef and vegetables. Yes. Also in my country we have banh mi. Do you know banh mi ? Banh mi is, banh mi is bread, yes, with many delicious things. It is cheap. Banh mi is sold on the street. And banh xeo I very like.

Vietnam's toughest exam - Chao Hanoi
IELTS students studying to go to New Zealand

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.

Firstly, we have pho, our national dish. Pho is noodle soup with different types of meat, with the addition of fresh herbs and vegetables. Don’t worry, you can find pho everywhere, it is ubiquitous.

Secondly, and great for a quick snack or food on the move, is banh mi which is … what’s the word ? Sandwich ? Yes, it is like a sandwich, filled with grilled meat, herbs and vegetables. The best thing is the price, which is really affordable. Again, you can pick these up anywhere in Sai Gon and it won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Speaking topic:

What country would you like to visit ?

Mô hình thi IELTS dành cho du học sinh New Zealand

The country I would like to visit is USA. I want to study in a big city in USA. I have family in USA. I will to stay with family. But I need the good mark in IELTS. I must work more harder. My family live in a big city. They say it is very cold and it is raining many days. In USA I will eat many fast food and I want to be in movies.

IELTS in the USA

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. May I tell you about Seattle, where I plan to stay ? Unlike Sai Gon, it can be very cold, and it frequently rains cats and dogs, although we also have a rainy season here in Vietnam. Once in the States, I will eat fast food which is mouth-watering. Having said that, I know it is unhealthy, but still delicious. Maybe I will be a movie star ? In USA, anything is possible.

IELTS, Theme: Shopping

5th August 2020

A compilation of shopping activities to promote longer sentences, idiomatic language and fluency.

Exercise 1: compound nouns

Exercise 2: devil’s advocate

Exercise 3: role-play

Exercise 4: coffee in Saigon

Exercise 1: compound nouns to do with shopping

window shopping

binge shopping

bulk shopping

impulse shopping

dumpster diving

Match the compound noun with the photos:

Did the lady go out to buy this top or did she decide only when she was in the store ?

Vocabulary:

Prices are sky-high / It cost an arm and a leg /

marked down / on sale / discount / what a bargain !

I couldn’t resist it / I simply had to have it / retail therapy

Make sentences using some of the above language.

Talk about shops in your city:

Do people go dumpster diving ? Why or why not ?

Have you ever used retail therapy (buying something to make you feel happy) ?

Have you ever gone out to buy just one thing and come back with many items !

Does your husband/ wife / partner like shopping ?

Exercise 2: Devil’s advocate.

This is to develop argument skills, how to politely disagree with someone.

Example: one student wants to buy a beautiful, luxurious Rolex watch. It really is an outstanding timepiece:

Image result for Rolex

Without doubt, this is a luxury item. The pros

It is gorgeous and so elegant. I will feel so special wearing it. People will admire and look up to me. They will think I am wealthy and have a great career. I will attract many cute women (or handsome men). I may feel superior to other people who only have cheap watches or nasty fake knock-offs.

Now play Devil’s advocate. Say what are the cons of owning such an item.

Firstly, agree with the first student – it is without question a luxury item. Having said that …

It will attract attention … but maybe from thieves or pickpockets. It is a lot of money, maybe an obscene amount of money when so many people are poor. Can you justify owning such a materialistic item ? Will it make you arrogant ? Will you think you are better than other people BECAUSE of a thing ? Finally … what does it DO ? Fundamentally, it tells the time. My fake Rolex will tell the same time … but it cost $20 NOT $ 5 000 !

Now students’ turn. Similar concept but this time, the latest iPhone:

Image result for iphone 11

The iphone 11 (woooooowwwwwwww !)

One student wants to buy it, the other must give reasons why it is not such a good idea.

Useful phrases: 

a waste of money / not necessary // a fashion accessory // you can’t afford it //

How to Hire and Keep Quality Retail Staff - SBIA

Exercise 3 Role play game:

Three students will act out working in a department store, a shop with a sale on, and a street market. Other students have a set budget (say £100) and have to buy three items.

They can practice with the following language:

How much is this, please ? // Could you bring the price down for cash ? // Do you take plastic (credit cards) ? // If I smile, can you take off 10% ?

Wow, that’s a bargain ! // Sorry, that’s too much // Is that your best price ?

I’ll take it ! // Wrap it up ! // Let me think about it and come back // Sorry, that’s too much.

The items can be T-shirts, pens, bags, shoes, watches etc and the teacher can print out photos and hand them out.

Image result for van heusen shirts store
A department store selling expensive designer shirts
Image result for clothes on sale
Image result for london street market
London street market.

Exercise 4: Coffee in Sai Gon

Describe this picture; use adjectives and opinions.

Highlands Coffee has great coffee, air-con and free wifi. Having said that, the service is a little slow, there are no waiters and the cost is unbelievably expensive !

Vietnam is famous for coffee; coffee shops are ubiquitous. In fact, there are so many, it’s hard to see (difficult to understand) how they stay in business let alone turn a profit.

Be that as it may, let’s use this as a learning opportunity. To practice making longer sentences, and as a warm up exercise, the students can ask each other, “Where do you go for coffee ?”

Tips:

Don’t answer the question directly and immediately; Begin with a short introduction:

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 …

Then

Explain:

  1. How MUCH do you like it (adverbs) ?
  2. What kind of coffee (adjectives) ?
  3. What do you think about this ? (opinions)
  4. WHY do you like it (give reasons)
  5. Interesting words, phrases, idioms

Personally, I like Happy Coffee which is an independent shop where I live. I enjoy going there so much because the owner is very friendly and tries to speak English with me. There isn’t a lot of choice, so I order cappuccino with hot, fresh milk. In my opinion, it is good value and tastes delicious. What I like about the shop is the free wifi, the comfortable chairs and the atmosphere. Furthermore, it is usually very quiet and it therefore a good place to read. I love to put my feet up, kick back and sip my damn fine coffee.

IELTS: How to pass with flying colours

26th July 2020

Ramones hey ho let's go youtube

Hey ! Ho ! Let’s Go ! Let’s kick out the jams with some new vocabulary from the last lesson:

disappointed (adj) // dread (verb) // spare a few minutes (phrase) // a drive (noun) // big time ! (US expression, popular culture // popular fiction or literature // prima donna

Take a few minutes to read them … THEN …

Our school is having ________ to use less plastic, as well as encouraging people to recycle.

My sister spends so much time in the bathroom, she is such a _________

If we don’t pass IELTS with at least 7.0, Thay Paul is going to be angry at us _______

Miss Julie didn’t get the job at Apple; she was terribly ______________

I don’t understand this app, can you ________ to help me ?

I was terrified of the speaking test, I was _______ it.

The Harry Potter books, although tremendously successful, are considered ‘popular fiction’. Charles Dickens or Jane Austin, on the other hand, are classified as _____________ .

My student told me about a famous Hemingway story called ‘The Old Man and the Fish’ … I think she got the title wrong … _______________ !

Never Yet Melted » Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961)
“What do you mean, ‘The Old Man and the FISH ?’ I won the Noble Prize for that book.”

And now, time to put our noses to the grindstone How to get a killer IELTS speaking score … There are four areas to focus on … they are … ?

Marathon Man(1976) starring Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier and ...
“You’ve forgotten ?”

OK, take it easy, to recap, we listen for

  1. Fluency – use of discourse markers. WITHOUT A WIDE RANGE OF DISCOURSE MARKERS YOU WILL NOT GET HIGHER THAN A ‘5’.
  2. Lexical resources – big words. Know synonyms and multi-syllable words to impress the examiner. Not to mention, a sprinkling of idioms, phrases, phrasal verbs, the whole nine yards.
  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 by using 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.

We need to hear examples of ALL the above or YOU WILL NOT GET HIGHER THAN A ‘5’. I will be furious if that happens, big time !

Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo ...

Now, look at these 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 //

And these words:

Boring: tedious // forgetful: absent-minded // expensive: sky high // what will happen: predict // everywhere: ubiquitous.

How to use these in your responses:

IELTS question: What do you do in your free time ?

Staying at home is boring so I go swimming. I meet friends for coffee. If it’s raining, I like to play video games.

IELTS – style:

For me, staying at home is terribly tedious, so I frequently go swimming. It’s fun, healthy and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Sometimes it’s raining cats and dogs so I enjoy playing video games, big time !

IELTS question: Who do you live with ? Notice how we start we a supportive clause

Because I’m still a student, I live at home with my family, that’s my mother, father, younger brother and older sister. My sister is such a prima donna, always in the bathroom, always buying new clothes. Furthermore, she dreads doing housework because she may hurt her nail varnish. She’ll wash up once in a blue moon.

IELTS question: Do you often eat out ?

Well, that’s a great question as I detest cooking. Having said that, I’m extremely lucky because in my neighbourhood, restaurants are ubiquitous, from expensive sea food to affordable street food. I eat crab or lobster once in a blue moon as the prices are sky-high, moreover, I actually prefer simple, mouth-watering street food.

IELTS question: What are your plans for the future ?

Make your own answers, using at least TWO discourse markers, TWO adverbs, TWO low-frequency words AND the idiom given.

TEAM 1: Well, there is so much to say about that subject, where shall I start ? (use ‘nose to the grindstone’).

TEAM 2: It’s funny you put that question to me because earlier today I was just thinking about … (use ‘burn the candle at both ends’).

TEAM 3: As I young Vietnamese, I … (use ‘pass with flying colours’).

happy asian students graduating | Luu Tutoring
Students who passed with flying colours

IELTS Speaking Practice: “Lend me your ears,” and take a tip from Thay Paul

16th July 2020

Julius Caesar Quote: “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ...
A quote from Julius Caesar by Shakespeare

Words and expression to use, tips, phrases and idiomatic language

Recap: to pass IELTS with flying colours, you will needs to demonstrate a command of everyday English, the ability to express it with stress and intonation, as well as being able to link your ideas with appropriate discourse markers.

I need to hear nouns described by interesting adjectives, verbs intensified by adverbs and conversation enlivened by low-frequency vocabulary.

Piece of cake, right ?

Low – frequency words (LFW)

Boring: tedious // forgetful: absent-minded // expensive: sky high // what will happen: predict // everywhere: ubiquitous.

Activity 1: Make sentences using the above five LFW

Introduce your answer by:

Let me think // How can I put it // Well, that’s an interesting question

Useful expressions:

In my opinion // From my perspective // For me // Allow me to explain // By which I mean //

Discourse Markers:

as well as // furthermore // additionally // on the other hand // having said that // however // although // despite that

Activity 2: Give each student a discourse marker and they have to use it in a sentence

EXAMPLE ‘in addition’

I have a busy life; I have to study, work my part-time job and help my family. In addition, I go shopping for my neighbour because he is too old to go out.

NOTE: use of ‘because‘ to explain why you do something … and therefore construct a longer sentence.

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.

Activity 3: Who can use these idioms correctly ?

Relative pronouns – who / which / where / whose

Activity 4: Use the correct relative pronoun:

We arrived at a nice beach ______ we could swim and lie in the sun.

A man ______ mobile phone was ringing did not know how to switch it off.

The patient, ______ had a serious disease, was taken to hospital immediately.

Smithsfield is a small village ______ people live a quiet life.

This dress is made of silk, _____ is a very expensive and delicate material.

Buying time:

Could you repeat that, please // I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that // Would you mind rephrasing the question

Model answer: What do you do in your free time ?

AsianBossG;r)

One of my favourite things to do, if I have some spare time, is to hang out with my closest friends and just catch up on our news, maybe hit a mall because they are air-conditioned and have a wide array of amenities such as shops, cafes and, if I may say, bathroom facilities, as well as services like ATM machines and free wifi. My closest friends are Sheila, who is from Japan and studies here in Sai Gon, and Kerry, who is a gorgeous Thai lady. As we all come from different countries, there can be issues. Allow me to explain; we have to communicate in English, however Kerry is just starting her studies, so we have to use Google translate frequently. Having said that, it’s such tremendous fun to be with my best friends. It helps me forget about the pressure and stress of work.

Use this an a plan – now tell me what YOU do in YOUR free time … DO NOT just copy the above example !

Now … Your turn

Conversation Practice: In pairs or small groups, ask each other these questions. If the answer is too short, ask the person to tell you more, to explain with more details.

How Dialogue Teaches Critical Thinking and Empathy

Family questions

Ask each other about your families

How many siblings do you have ?

[You can give names, ages, jobs, what and where they study, what they look like, what their personality is like, if you have something or nothing in common with them]

Do you live with your parents and grandparents ?

Do you often meet your cousins ?

Who is the youngest member of your family ? 

Who is the oldest ?

Who is your favourite person in your family and why ?

Useful expressions

Can you tell me more ? // In what way ? // Why do you say that ? //

Oh, that’s interesting … // well, // actually // in fact …

on the other hand // having said that // although

Keep the conversation going

Oh, really ? Tell me more Why do you say that ?

Could you explain what you mean ? Why did you do that ?

Three students talking to each other outdoor in a college ...

Final Review:

Coffee shops in Sai Gon are _________________________ .

I always forget my keys, I’m so __________________ .

In an IELTS listening test, we can sometimes _______________ the answer.

We wanted to stay at the Hotel California but the prices were _____________ .

The meeting was so long and extremely _____________________ .

IELTS: The story so far. Vocabulary review and speaking tips

7th July 2020

LUYỆN THI IELTS TẠI HẢI PHÒNG - huyenielts

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, time to take stock and make sure the students have absorbed the information and are au fait (French for well informed, know the point) with the vocabulary so far. With that in mind, here’s a quick warm up. Replace the high frequency words with low-frequency ones, then use your newly-acquired discourse markers to construct longer sentences.

Let’s kick off with some common or garden IELTS subjects:

What do you do in your free time ?

I drink coffee with my friends. There are many coffee shops in my hometown

Will Chinese Drink Coffee over Tea?

School keeps me very busy, but if I can find some time for myself, I enjoy hanging out with my friends in coffee shops, which are ubiquitous in Sai Gon.

TIP: The question here is about free time, so don’t just talk about coffee shops – mention at least two other different activities – even if you DON’T do them, just talk about them !

Example, playing music, watching films, listening to music, sports, shopping, helping family, reading – thing you enjoy NOT to do with studying or work

Now … Your Turn: [tips at the end]

Remember, you should be able to speak in complex sentences with a low-frequency word or two, some idiomatic language, contractions and discourse markers, all spiced up with a liberal sprinkling of adverbs and adjectives. Furthermore, try to introduce the answer, rather than stating it outright.

I don’t like English grammar. I am boring with it.

A lot more people go to China than Viet Nam.

She forgets everything.

Thai food is good.

I think Barcelona will beat Real Madrid on Sunday

I like to go to cinema and go to shopping and go my friend house and sleep.

I don’t go out now. It rains all day.

The examiner asks you a question but you didn’t understand

What ?

I didn’t hear you.

Errrrrr, I don’t know

OK, yes I like it

The examiner asks you a question but you need time to think of an answer.

UUuhhhmmmmmm.

Hahhahahahaha

I don’t know.

Yes.

Tell me about your city

It very dirty.

I was born here. I love it.

We can do many things here.

Has many traffic jam. Yes. people nice.

Do you like to eat ?

Of course !

No

Yes. I eat with my family. I eat with my friends at school. I eat after school. I eat at night with my family

IELTS Speaking Tips: Introduction & Interview | St George ...

Things to do (and not to do) on the IELTS test day, and the days ...

Words and expression to use, tips, phrases and idiomatic language.

Low – frequency words

Boring: tedious // forgetful: absent-minded //

expensive: sky high // what will happen: predict // everywhere: ubiquitous.

Could you repeat that, please // I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that // Would you mind rephrasing the question

In my opinion // From my perspective // For me //

Let me think // How can I put it // Well, that’s an interesting question

Allow me to explain // By which I mean //

As well as // furthermore // additionally // on the other hand // having said that // however // although // despite that

It’s raining cats and dogs // It costs an arm and a leg // piece of cake // I’m burning the candle at both ends

Relative pronouns – who / which / where / whose

Thai Blends Greenbelt 3 Cinema - Home | Facebook

One of my favourite things to do, if I have some spare time, is to hang out with my closest friends and just catch up on our news, maybe hit a mall because they are air-conditioned and have a wide array of amenities such as shops, cafes and, if I may say, bathroom facilities, as well as services like ATM machines and free wifi. My closest friends are Sheila, who is from India and studies here in Sai Gon, and Kerry, who is a gorgeous Thai lady. As we all come from different countries, there can be issues; allow me to explain. We have to communicate in English, however Kerry is just starting her studies, so we have to use Google translate frequently. Having said that, it’s such tremendous fun to be with my best friends. It helps me forget about the pressure and stress of work.

11 Things You Should Know About Thai Culture
Keep studying !

IELTS: Mindset, introduction lesson

23rd June 2020

Preparation Offline | IELTS Asia | British Council

A new class, so I have to assess their ability, motivation and potential.

Let’s kick off with a Family Fortune game – I give writing boards to the class, arranged in small groups, and ask for four answers to basic questions.

Example : Four places I’ve been to in Viet Nam / Four things I love about Viet Nam / Four things I hate / Four instruments I can play / Four languages I can speak. To test general knowledge, Four countries in Asia or capital cities / Four countries in Europe / Four cities in the USA

Next up, I want to get the class speaking as soon as possible so, they can interview each other asking basic questions. No one speaks alone, so this helps to cover any shyness as all the class are speaking at the same time.

Why are you studying IELTS ? /

Do you think IELTS will be difficult ? / Why ?

Do you use English at school or work … how ? /

What do you do in your free time ? /

What do you do or what do you study ? /
Would you like to live in USA or UK ?

Moving on, time to explain the importance of sentence building. We would expect new IELTS students to be able to speak quite fluently, in reasonable long sentences. If students answer in four words or under, or even single words, then the teachers know we have a ‘difficult’ class.

To give an example, I’ll introduce a standard IELTS-style question:

Where would you like to visit in Viet Nam (or your own country) and why ?

Example Answer:

I show them a plan:

Introduction / First good point / second good point / something bad / conclusion.

I choose Hoi An

Hoi An: Vietnam's most charming city - Exoticca Blog

Introduction: DON’T answer immediately but introduce the answer by repeating or rephrasing the question:

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

First Good Point:

Firstly, Hoi An is a historical city with a wonderful Japanese bridge and lovely old shops. At night, the shops use romantic lanterns.

Second Good Point:

Hoi An is close to Da Nang, so I can fly there easily and quickly. There are many things to see and do in the local area.

Now, something negative

HoweverHoi An is very small and can be extremely crowded in summer. Maybe it will be difficult to find a hotel or a table at a good restaurant.

Conclusion

In my opinion, Hoi An is a very special place to visit because it is a town of Vietnamese culture.

How to build sentences:

Use adjectives to describe nouns (beautiful, historic, romantic)

adverbs to describe adjectives and verbs – give more information (very, easily)

opinion phrases (in my opinion)

linking words to connect positive to positive or positive to negative – discourse markers (however)

reasons why an action is being done (because)

Now – your turn:

Where do you want to visit ? This can be in Vietnam or anywhere.

Women wearing Vietnamese ao dai granted an imperial favor
Hue
Getting Around Hanoi [2019] Guide to Get Around Hanoi for ...
Ha Noi

Finally, to test knowledge of occupations and personality adjectives, I will show the class photos of five friends and elicit their opinions. https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2018/12/28/friends-men-teaching-sheet/

At IELTS level I would expect the students to form basic sentences such as:

“In my opinion, he is … “

“For me, he looks like … “

“He seems to be a … “

It will probably be a mixed-ability class, so I shall encourage the top learners, asking them to describe the photos, using as many adjectives and adverbs as they can.