Saturday, July 28, 2018

Words to use instead of 'Nice"

A common mistake among English learners is that they tend to overuse certain words because these words seem to suit every situation imaginable or due to the fact that learners lack variety when it comes to vocabulary.

One such word which is often used more than it should be is the word "nice". Take the following examples:

  • "How was your day?" - "Nice." 
  • "Did you enjoy your meal?" - "It was nice, thank you."
  • "What do you think of the new substitute teacher, Mr. Jones?" - "I think he's nice."
  • "This room looks very nice indeed. Did you have it refurbished?"
 
In all of these situtations, a different word could have been used that would clarify the speaker's thoughts. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Speaking & Writing: Words to Describe People

Describing a person is a basic skill required when speaking a language which is why English tests contain both oral and written tasks that ask candidates to talk about a person they know or admire, someone who influenced them or is a close friend. 

If you are simply learning English to be able to communicate, the list that follows will help improve your vocabulary. 

For those preparing to take an English exam, the difference between a good answer and an exceptional one is vocabulary. Saying a person is "nice" and "kind" is not that bad, but using words like "trustworthy" or "demure" will certainly give you points for lexical range.

Teachers can distribute the following list, ask students to find the meanings of words and make sentences with them. Those who want to improve their English on their own can translate the words into their own language and practice using them with a speaking partner.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Oracle & Folly du Jour: On Treating Students like Children

IELTS - A Quick Rundown of the Test and Where to Start



What is the IELTS?

The IELTS, or International English Language Testing System, is a language proficiency test given by millions of candidates the world over. Teens and adults take the test as part of university application procedures at undergraduate or postgraduate level, or to acquire a visa, emigrate, work or train. 

Scores are given in bands from 1 to 9 (1 being the lowest, 9 being the highest) with results available two weeks after the written part of the test was taken (13 days to be exact). Scores are awarded for each of the four sections tested and you are also given an overall score as a whole or half band, so for example, you can score a 7.0 in Listening, 6.0 in Reading, 7.5 in writing and a 7.5 in Speaking. Your final score would be a 7.0 overall. What constitutes a passing score depends on why you're taking the IELTS exam and who's asking to see your results. 

Which module do I need?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Essay Topics List 3

The following are topics teachers and students can use to practice writing for exams, as homework assignments, longer research projects, even as discussion topics or debates.

This list is intended for high school or university students, but may also be used by adults who are learning English as a foreign language. 

For those preparing to take an English exam (IELTS, CPE, ECPE, ESB, LRN, MSU-CELP, TOEFL, etc.), these are typical questions that may be found in C1 and C2-level assessments (advanced or proficiency level).

For more practice, find lists 1 and 2 here and here

Thursday, June 28, 2018

15 IELTS Speaking Cue Card Questions


Please note that the following questions can be used by teachers and students or anyone who wants to improve their spoken English. All you have to do is talk about the topic with your speaking partner or tutor.



For those taking the IELTS exam, please read the tips for Part 2 of the oral component of the test here:IELTS Speaking: Part 2 Sample Questions (List 1) & Tips.

You can find more information about the Speaking exam if you also read 
Useful Vocabulary Words for Speaking Exams 
IELTS Speaking: Part 1 Sample Questions (List 1)
IELTS Speaking: The Basics

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

C2 Sample Essay 21 (Capital Punishment)

Writing at C2 level (Proficient User) on English language examinations is the same no matter the awarding body when it comes to writing essays. If you are a candidate giving an exam in English, make sure you read my earlier post What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog? to get the most out of the sample essays provided on this blog. 

If you are not taking an exam but need ideas on whether capital punishment should be abolished, then read on and note down what you deem useful. If you intend to use this essay as part of an assignment, remember to paraphrase so as not to plagiarize.



Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Useful Vocabulary Words for Speaking Exams

Depending on the English exam you're taking, the oral component will include questions that deal with things you already know about because the question will ask for information based on what you do, or about things that have to do with the country or city you live in.

As you already know from my blog post IELTS Speaking: The Basics (even though the post deals with the IELTS exam, the main ideas stated also refer to oral exams administered by other examination boards), examiners are looking for variety in grammatical structures and vocabulary as well as good, long answers that show you feel comfortable expressing yourself in English.
 

The following list deals with a number of topics that could crop up during the oral examination and has therefore been divided into topic categories. Each category is followed by a short list of words that can be used to either add somewhat more advanced vocabulary to your answers or give you ideas how to develop your answer.

For instance if the examiner asks you to describe the job you would most enjoy doing, make sure you find a way to add words such as "full-time job", "salary" and "work environment". So an answer that would score higher than if you just said "I prefer to have a high-paying job that would just make me feel happy" would be:

Monday, June 25, 2018

C2 Sample Essay 24 (Teacher Qualities)

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Writing at C2 level (Proficient User) on English language examinations is the same no matter the awarding body when it comes to writing essays. If you are a candidate giving an exam in English, make sure you read my earlier post What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog? to get the most out of the sample essays provided on this blog. 

If you are not taking an exam but need ideas on what qualities an effective teacher should have, then read on and note down what you deem useful. If you intend to use this essay as part of an assignment, remember to paraphrase so as not to plagiarize.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

IELTS Speaking: Part 2 Sample Questions (List 1) & Tips

After Part 1 of the oral exam (find a list of questions here), Part 2 of the IELTS exam requires candidates to talk for about two minutes on a topic given by the examiner. 

This blog post will provide you with a series of questions that could be asked at this stage of the test. 

Make sure you've read IELTS Speaking:The Basics so your answers will make it possible for you to score higher. 

After the questions, read some tips on how to answer your question for Part 2.

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