IELTS: Notes for fluent speaking

21st January 2022

Happy International Friends Talking In City Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty  Free Image. Image 121618273.
Royalty – free image. Copyright: lev dolgachov

My IELTS students have some speaking tests coming up, so I’d like to boost their confidence by giving them a speaking exercise. I shall choose topics they feel confident with, namely pets, and shopping.

Firstly, a reminder of what you need to do in order to pass with flying colours.

An introduction to the question

Use complex sentences and relative clauses

Use an idiom or two

Use L-FWs (replace basic words with ‘better’ ones e.g. use ‘ubiquitous‘ instead of ‘everywhere’ ‘tedious‘ instead of ‘boring’)

Check your pronunciation and intonation.

Now, without further ado, the questions:

Do you have any pets ?

Do you like shopping ?

What is your favourite possession and why ?

500+ Dog Playing Pictures [HD] | Download Free Images on Unsplash
Image from unsplash.com

Let’s start with pets (I know one of my students has three cats).

Introduction

Do you like all animals, some or only one type ?

Are you allowed to keep pets where you live ?

Talking points

What are the names of the animals ?

How old are they ?

What do they look like ?

What are their personalities ? (You now have an opportunity to use great adjectives)

Where did you get them ?

Who looks after them ?

Do you have any funny stories about they did ? How do they make you feel ?

Idioms: burning the candle at both ends (Playing with my pets helps me unwind after I’ve been burning the candle at both ends with work and study.)

Moving on to shopping, so much to talk about …

Shopping Images | Free Vectors, Stock Photos & PSD
freepik

Introduction

What do you feel about shopping ?

Is shopping something you dread doing, or is it fun, or even an obsession ? Are you a shopaholic ?

What stops you from shopping ? (Lack of money, or safety concerns now during the pandemic ?)

Talking points

Tell me about the types of shops and shopping areas (street markets, small independent stores, chain shops, malls).

What do you like buying most ?

With whom do you go ?

What else do you do at a mall ?

Do you have a funny story about buying something, or having to return an item ?

What do you think of online shopping ? What is good and bad about it ?

Is internet shopping becoming more popular in Vietnam (your country) ? Why do you think so ?

Idioms: costs an arm and a leg (I really enjoy going to Diamond Plaza and just looking at the beautiful designer dresses. However, as a student, I can’t afford one because they cost an arm and a leg.)

Sample answer

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus 10th Generation 8" Tablet 32GB Slate B0839NDRB2 -  Best Buy
A Kindle Fire ebook and tablet

My Kindle

One of my favourite electronic devices is my Kindle, an ebook reader, which is small and light. I always take it with me when I travel; I’d be lost without it.

The Kindle is primarily a way to buy, store and read books in electronic format. At first, I wasn’t convinced, I liked reading real books. However, books take up a lot of space and, at least in the UK, are rather expensive. When I saw what a Kindle can do, and that so many books are free, I was hooked ! I had to get one. I bought my device in 2014 and I’m still using it today.

As mentioned, I use my Kindle for reading. Literature and poetry is one of my passions. Instead of going to a shop, I just browse the online store, click and wait for it to download. With reasonable wifi, this can just take a minute or so … then I can start reading. It is no surprise that ebooks are ubiquitous in the UK.

Although I read a lot, the Kindle is more than just an ebook. It has wifi so I can access the internet, play music, write notes and play games.

The wifi is vital, especially when I travel. I can maintain contact with friends and family, watch YouTube if the hotel TV is less than enthralling, or read travel guides such as Trip Advisor. Naturally, I can also book tickets or make reservations and therefore pay significantly less.

I recently travelled to Thailand to meet some friends. I didn’t want to buy a new SIM card, and my friend only had an old phone, so there was a dilemma; how to stay in touch ? Thanks to my Kindle, I had email access, so we could plan when and where to meet. 

I can’t watch Vietnamese TV, due to the language barrier. Consequently, the Kindle plays an even bigger part of my life, as I need some way to relax after burning the candle at both ends.

The choice of books is amazing. In the stores, a single book can cost around £10, but recently I downloaded the entire output of the Russian writer Tolstoy for less than £1.50 … incredible !

Kindles come in many shapes and sizes, so before you buy, you need to ascertain how you’ll be using it. For example, do you want a basic ebook reader, just for books, or the latest model with wifi ? This will, naturally, affect the cost. Then you have to decide upon the extras, for example how much storage space do you require, or a super-fast charger or protective case ? All of these bump the price up considerably.

If you’re interested in purchasing one, I have some information for you. I did a quick Google search and saw prices started at under 2 million VND, averaged around 5 million, but some were over 15 million. That, for me, is too extravagant.

In conclusion, my Kindle is very much a part of my life. It accompanies me everywhere. I simply don’t know what I would do without it.

A UK expression meaning good luck

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: Mini-lesson review

11th January 2022

Tricot | Wiki | Asian Music Amino

The photo shows Tricot who are a Japanese rock band. The band, who sing in Japanese, are very talented. I would love to see them. Furthermore, I really wish to visit Japan although hotels in Tokyo cost an arm and a leg.

Let’s review the idioms and vocabulary covered in our first lessons. Let’s kick off with:

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

IELTS - Tôi tự học!: [IDIOMS] : " It's raining cats and dogs"

Let’s put it to the test – what idioms would you use ?

It’s no problem at all, it’s a __________

She needs to get a high score, I want her to ______

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

The iPhone X is very expensive, it _______

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

She dances all day, then sings all night; she’s _________________

Bring an umbrella if you go to the UK, it’s always ____________

Ms Anna simply adores Chanel perfume however, because it _____________ , she only wears it __________________________________.

Relative Pronouns

Happy African Girl Studying In... - Stock Photos | Motion Array

This lady, who wants to work in London, is studying hard for her IELTS.

who for people:

This is the man who helped me to learn German. 

which for things:

We tried fish and chips which is delicious.

where for places:

Let’s go to the shop where we saw the great bargains.

Whose possessive:

That’s Tricot, the band whose record we heard last night.

TRICOT discography and reviews

Endgame

Can you remember, what word means ‘everywhere’ ?

Can you give me an example ?

Instead of saying, “I think,” you could say … ?

Again, please give me an example.

The Talmud: Why has a Jewish law book become so popular? - BBC News

Middle Age Arabic Couple, Woman And Man Serious Face Thinking About  Question, Very Confused Idea Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image.  Image 104957805.

Answers

Ubiquitous:

In Sai Gon, which is the largest city in Viet Nam, coffee shops are ubiquitous.

Motorbikes are ubiquitous in Viet Nam.

Fast food shops are ubiquitous in the USA.

In my opinion

In my opinion, learning English is incredibly important.

Sai Gon, in my opinion, is the best city in Viet Nam.

In my opinion Tricot are absolutely amazing.

10 Useful Ways to Say Goodbye in Japanese | FluentU Japanese
Goodbye, see you next class

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 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 6. Speaking, speaking and more speaking

20th April 2021

May be an image of 2 people
OK ? Let’s go !

Tonight’s lesson will focus on speaking, so I’ve shuffled through my memory and come up with some blogs which should prove extremely useful.

However, we shall kick off with a review from last week’s lesson: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/04/14/ielts-mindset-1-lesson-5-review/

Followed by a game. I shall show photos of five of my friends, along with some personality adjectives and occupations. The class simply have to guess my friends’ job and what kind of people they are … and justify their decisions.

A link to that blog may be accessed here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2018/12/28/friends-men-teaching-sheet/

Moving on, a blog designed to help students expand their answers and form great introductions: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/28/ielts-please-allow-me-to-introduce-myself/

May be an image of 1 person
Take it easy ! See you next week.

Mindset 2, Lesson 1: Say it, feel it, ace it !

15th April 2021

May be an image of 2 people
Are you ready for Level 2 ? All right, let’s hit the books !

First up, new and familiar idioms:

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

it’s raining cats and dogs

Another string to (your) bow – a new skill or learning experience

bear with me – please wait a very short time (usually spoken as opposed to written)

bit of a sore point – something that makes you sad or angry

down in the dumps – depressed, unhappy, feeling gloomy

hit the ground running – to start something immediately and with all your energy

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

run of the mill – ordinary, typical, normal, usual, boring

up in arms – to be very angry about something, to protest strongly

you take your life in your hands – doing something that is extremely dangerous

NOW … your turn … what idioms fits ?

Lunatics Paradise: Australia's Renewables Fiasco Like Living in a Madhouse  – STOP THESE THINGS

At breaktimes, all the younglings come pouring out of their classes, screaming their little heads off …

it’s ___________________________________

Students protest against tuition fees - BBC News

Students are unhappy about tuition fees

They are _____________

You still can!': Music teacher champions adult students learning violin

She can speak five languages, do karate and is now learning violin

She has added __________________________

Yawning Girl Reading A Boring Book Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free  Image. Image 19559231.

She thought the novel would be extremely exciting.

Unfortunately, for her, it’s just a ___________________ story.

Street Photography in Austin - Assignment Chicago

Some areas of downtown are no-go areas.

You really _________________________________________ if you go after dark and alone.

buster-keaton-396846_640

Poor Buster is so funny, yet he always looks _______________________

Oh, dear …

This beautiful young lady seems to be upset about something.

Angry woman screaming against her husband with his face deformed - eniGma  Magazine

Possibly something the man said is a ______________________ with her ?

Excited Motivated Multiracial Business Team Stock Footage Video (100%  Royalty-free) 1037298239 | Shutterstock

We’re going to have a tremendous success with our new product which we shall be launching in Europe, the US and parts of Asia.

We’re really going to ________________________________

Marcello Mastroianni

Excuse me, I have to take this call _______________________

Extra exercises may be found on this blog: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/12/ielts-8-1-2-chasing-8-1-2/

IELTS students always need to concentrate on expanding their lexical resources. Having said that, I feel this class needs extra work on fluency and pronunciation. To that end, some exercises to assist:

Exercise 1: Just a minute. In pairs, one student has to speak for one minute without repetition, hesitation or deviation.

The subjects are: Your favourite gift // your neighbourhood // what you like about your city // shopping // your family

Exercise 2: Newsreader. Read the following extracts with appropriate pronunciation, intonation and stress, not forgetting body language.

Some stories are sombre (sad, solemn), others convey information that is somewhat depressing or raise concern. However, we end with some lighter entertainment gossip and football transfer speculation.

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II returned to royal duties just four days after the death of her husband, Prince Philip, with her first in-person event Tuesday.

The queen hosted a ceremony at Windsor Castle for William Peel, who retired after serving for 14 years as lord chamberlain, the most senior aide in the royal household.

A report by the World Travel and Tourism Council, or WTTC, has revealed the full extent of the damage done to the global travel industry in 2020 after business was devastated by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Globally, the sector’s income slumped by almost $4.5 trillion last year. In 2019, travel and tourism was linked to one in four of all new jobs created around the world. But in 2020, more than 62 million jobs were lost.

HCMC – The Ministry of Health has confirmed 16 new imported Covid-19 cases in Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Hanoi, Danang, Quang Nam and HCMC, taking the country’s tally to 2,733 as of tonight, April 14.

Five of the new cases were reported in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. The patients, aged between 29 and 39, returned to Vietnam from Russia on Flight VN5062 on April 12. They were immediately transported to Ba Ria-Vung Tau for quarantine after arriving at the HCMC-based Tan Son Nhat International Airport. All of them are being treated at Long Dien District Medical Center.

Who is Hey Stephen by Taylor Swift about?

The song is about a crush Taylor had on Stephen Barker Liles, who’s in the band Love and Theft.

The two reportedly met in 2008 when his band was opening up for her on tour.

Speaking to Access Online, Taylor said: “The song is actually about a guy who I had a crush on and never told him.

“So I wrote everything that I was thinking down in the song instead of telling him.”

Manchester United are eager to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus – according to Sai Gon Post.

The Red Devils will consider an exchange deal that would see Paul Pogba return to Turin in order to bring Ronaldo back to Old Trafford this summer.

United are on course to receive a big payout for finishing in the Premier League’s top four again, and plan to put those funds towards the re-capture of a club legend.

See you next week

May be an image of 10 people
Vietnam festival, London 2012 … it was raining cats and dogs !

IELTS Mindset 1: Lesson 5 Review

14th April 2021

May be an image of 1 person
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 ?

May be an image of 1 person
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:

No photo description available.
No photo description available.
No photo description available.
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

May be an image of 6 people

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

May be an image of 3 people
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: Final Run Through

25th March 2021

May be an image of 4 people
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 ?

May be an image of 2 people
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 !

May be an image of 2 people

Jammin’ in the park with the guys

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 !

May be an image of 1 person and smiling

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

May be an image of 8 people and people smiling
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
International Group Of Happy People Waving Hand Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty  Free Image. Image 71052411.
Google royalty free image