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: Making complaints, writing blogs

24th July 2020

Making complaints

Drop Dead”: Why Harassment By Customers is Spiking in Japan | by ...

You buy a T-shirt from a shop, but when you get home, you see the quality is very bad.

How do you feel ? You feel terribly …

What would you do ?

When you return an item to the shop, what do you need in your country ?

Use this video for help. Listen out for new vocabulary or expressions as well as copying her accent.

Vocabulary

I am sorry to have to say this but …

I’m sorry to say this but I am really quite upset/angry/disappointed

Perhaps there was a misunderstanding but …

There appears to be a problem here …”

I’m sorry but I’d like to make a complaint about …”

Could you help me with …?

PRACTICE

One student is an shop assistant, the other an upset customer. 

You have bought a dress but it is very bad quality. 

How would you complain ? [Be polite, speak calmly and politely].

How to Deal with Difficult Customers: 11 Proven Tips for Retailers ...

How about in this situation: 

You go to a restaurant to celebrate a special event. When the bill arrives the amount is much, much more than you expected. It looks like you were charged for extra items you did not order.

What would you do ?

Angry Bagel Shop Customer To Fight Other Viral Video Star | Putnam ...

Speaking practice 

Try to speak in long sentences. Tell me about something you like – say why you like it, but also something negative. Remember to use good discourse markers.

EXAMPLE:

I love Highland Coffee because I need damn fine coffee every morning and Highlands has a good choice as well as great quality. I can choose all different types of coffee, some hot, some cold, some with added flavour, and they come in different sizes. In addition, the chairs are comfortable, not to mention the free wifi and no-smoking policy. Having said that, it is rather expensive, especially compared with Milano however I feel the extra cost is worth it.

Now … your turn

Subjects – to help you, talk about smartphone // video games // sport // your pet // shopping // cooking // your best friend

Comparatives and superlatives.

Big / bigger / biggest

interesting / more interesting / the most interesting

Blog writing:

Your apartment block is starting a chat-site for working parents. They invite anyone to join who has both a job and children. They ask you to send a photo and give some brief information.

OR

Your apartment block is starting a chat-site for people who want to practise English

Write a short introduction about yourself for a blogpage. 

What information do you need to add ? What is unimportant ?

What kind of photo would you add ?

IELTS: Writing correction

12th May 2020

Writing practice

Review: 'Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am' Charts Her Life Through ...

Rewrite the following texts using new vocabulary, phrasal verbs or idioms, where appropriate. Feel free to change verbs into continuous. Correct the mistakes and use better syntax (sentence structure).

Tips:

  • Use clauses to combine sentences about the same subject.
  • Use ‘however’, ‘having said that’ etc in place of ‘but’.
  • Incorporate any new language style you have learnt on the course e.g. negotiation language, polite language, and see if you can use alliteration (words beginning with the same letter).

Warm up: Here’s a short exercise. Try to rewrite using as few sentences as possible, which will entail employing complex sentences, linked by discourse markers. An example answer follows.

My friend will come to visit me. In HCM. I will show him city. In my city is many things to show him. Him like market. I show him market. And restaurants. And museums. Many museum in HCM. I hope he will likes.

Remembering The Strong Voice of VS Naipaul - Bold Outline ...

My friend will soon pay me a visit here in Ho Chi Minh City and there is such an abundance of things to see and do, for example my friends enjoys markets therefore I shall take him to several, followed by some great local food in one of the countless restaurants. Additionally, he adores museums and we are spoilt for choice here with many fascinating exhibitions.

Now … your turn.

Firstly, this is one large chunk of text, no paragraph breaks, so organise the writing.

Avoid repeating the same word or words. Use a thesaurus to search for synonyms.

I’ve started you off with two example sentences however, the rest is up to you.

My name is Tony. I am 23 years old. I am a accountant. I very much don’t like my job. It is not exciting. Because I do the same thing every day. All day. I like travel. I like Thailand. I very want to go there. At there I can eat food spicy. I like football. I don’t like baseball. Sometimes I watch on TV football. I like very much listen music. I play piano. I play recorder. My friend asked me to be in his band but his music I don’t like. He is my friend. His music is horrible. He is very bad guitar man. I live in HCM. I don’t like sometime. Now it rain every day, very heavy. We have to live with bad rain. Every day. The traffic is bad. Much motorbikes. Air very not good. I like to shopping. I buy shirt. I have many shirt but I buy more shirt because I like shirt, I have red blue green yellow shirt and black. Today I gets email. Email is from friend. I have not see friend for long time. I was surprise.

Mo Yan in 2008

My name is Tony and I am 23 years old. By profession, I’m a accountant. However,I don’t like my job very much . I do the same thing everyday so It is not that exciting.

I like travelling and I really want to visit Thailand where I can eat spicy food as well as seeing golden temples. 

Who knows … maybe if you keep writing, you will become a Noble laureate like our writers

Toni Morrison

V. S. Naipaul

Mo Yan

Bob Dylan

Why Bob Dylan Deserves His Nobel Prize - Rolling Stone

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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Family life
Despite high education levels, Arab women still don't have jobs
At work
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Travelling to work
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On holiday
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Studying