Tag Archives: IELTS

Is ‘oftenly’ a correct word?

No there is no word called ‘oftenly’.

‘How oftenly do you go to supermarket.’ – this is a wrong sentence.

The correct version of the above sentence would be- ‘How often do you go to supermarket.’

Therefore, the correct word is ‘often’.

PS - the above info is based on author's knowledge base, which may not be always correct or upto dated, so verify from other sources too.

 

Advertisements

Mugging up words to increase the IELTS writing score (academic writing)

DSC_2778To get a good decent score in IELTS many test takers may choose to mug up huge pool of vocabulary. How effective is that? This author finds it a good thing to do to enrich the performance on IELTS exam´s writing section, however there are certain other things too, to take care of.

Now the first question that might come to your brain is from where should you learn new words. Those who are going through tests some other tests (besides IELTS) for which a large number of words are generally needed to be memorized will automatically have a huge collection of words. But knowing such a giant list doesn’t mean one knows to articulate the mugged words in correct manner, without undermining the literary flavor of the writing. Generally based on this author’s observation the words people memorise for these type of exams are commonly used in the articles of some of the popular international news medias. While you read those articles simply make a habit of spotting new words and try to see how the writer have used the word. You may wish to copy those sentences for your future reference.

On the other hand if you don’t require to mug up words for any exam or you simply don’t like the task of memorizing,  simply make a habit of reading quality articles and see the usage of variety of unknown or less known words.

If you have a very limited time to prepare for IELTS, this author would suggest not to try learning new words much, unless you have an extra sharp memory to learn new stuff in short time and apply it in correctly in sentences. In such scenarios simply use the vocabulary stock you already have with yourself and its probably unwise to underestimate it. Just be careful to avoid excessive repetition of same words or phrases.  If the flow of writing is coherent to the task and have the display of intellectual capabilities in the writing, it should not be difficult to get your preferred scored.

However, language preparation is grossly subjective and experiences and performances vary from person to person. If after trying your best you are not being able to get your desired score, you should probably seek help of an expert.

Read in IELTS Section:

The writing above is a clip of an individualized experience of the author of this article and has no relation with any official IELTS exam or its bodies. Please cross check issues that concern you from various competent authorities dealing with IELTS. This blog shouldn’t be used as a tool to prepare for any exam or test.

TIPS for IELTS Speaking (academic)

Speaking is your birth right. Utilize the opportunities offered to you to speak.

Finally we are now going to discuss the tips for speaking section of IELTS test. We will try here to explore various things we can do to get a good score in the speaking test.

According to me speaking is the easiest part of the test. But for some it might be difficult. Here we will first discuss how should one prepare for the test at home. There may be many effective ways but the ways which I found useful are as the following:

  1. Try to identify first, how good speaker you are. One good way is to ask an expert of English language, but if that is not available to you easily, as it may be for many, you may have to figure it out yourself. One good way to judge your own English is to check if your speaking is as fluent and grammatically correct as those in reputed english news channels. No matter how remote location you live in if you can manage some internet connection you can get multiple good news channels these days for listening news. I would recommend a Japanese news channel called NHK WORLD (http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/), I found their English easy to understand and good for learning purpose. Besides their regular news, they broadcast interesting programs on cooking, science, arts etc. which really are good audio visual experiences, and don’t feel boring. However, you may use any other such news website or television channel of your choice. This is an easy way to listen and learn English, I think. Some although prefer movies, I don’t think movies really help much since it might snatch too much of your emotions and attentions with the story and you might forget to keep pace with the English language. So when you listen to a English commentary try to follow carefully to the way different sentences are spoken.
  2. Now when you speak yourself about a topic try to see if you have a good and grammatically correct flow of speech. You may use an audio recorder to record it and then listen to your own speech. It’s good to speak on anything for practice. If you are on your way to your cousin’s house sitting in a bus just try describing things you see around you in your mind in English. For example, if you see a railway track and you may say to yourself ‘Here we can see the railway tracks. It seems a train is coming. But some men are working on the railway track, I am afraid they don’t get crushed by……..’ just like a news reporter. Therefore you can actually practice speaking at any time at any place whenever you have some free time, all you need is the will to speak English.
  3. Next is speaking in the format of the test. Know the components of the test properly beforehand, and rehearse yourself. There are many free speaking material for practice available on the web.
It is social to smile, we know it since our infancy, but forget sometimes when we grow up. So SMILE!

For the first and third part of the test, when examiner asks you some questions on various issues:

  1. Firstly, DON’T panic. Just imagine yourself as a celebrity who is getting a chance to be interviewed. So keep a smile on your face and simply answer the questions.
  2. If you are asked, if you like to do drawing, a poor answer will be simply to answer yes or no. Make some efforts to explain why you like or don’t like to paint. An example may be ‘I love drawing, it’s actually my passion. Drawing helps me express my emotions by means of pictures. It also is a work which I prefer to do in my free time’. There are hundreds of other ways you may say the same thing in. Just keep on speaking relevant to what you are asked.
  3. Some people try to memorize answers for questions which ask you to describe or introduce yourself. I can’t surely say if that is effective or not, but you may simply state your name, works, studies, hobbies, how other people find you as a person etc. Probably there is no rule except the rule of common sense. Rather, trying to memorizing can confuse yourself and obscure your own qualities of speaking.

For the second part of the test when you are asked to speak about a topic for few minutes non-stop:

  1. This probably is the simplest part of the test although many might perceive this as the toughest part. In this section, the examiner will not ask you anything, just answer whatever is asked in the writen question, simple! Imagine how difficult would it have been if there were no questions in this section and only the topic. So, in a way the questions help us to find some thing to speak.
  2. Its ideal to wear a wrist watch if they allow you (you may seek their permission). A watch with seconds hand is ideal probably. When you are given the topic just keep an eye on the seconds hand of your watch to know how much time you is left.
  3. The one minute time given for thinking about the topic is valuable, utilize it to its fullest. Write down bullet points, about the topic. Write as many points you can. Trying to write sentences might be like committing suicide, but its up to you.
  4. Then calmly start replying. Reply to all queries and keep speaking until you are stopped.
  5. You can do this section nicely, if you do a good amount of practice before hand while you are at home. Keep a clock or watch with second’s hand and keep practicing. You will soon have an idea on your pace and timing.
Nice grooming gives a good feel!

Finally on the days before test day and on the test day:

  1. Be oriented properly about the venue, where the test center is and how to travel there. This can help to alleviate the anxiety of reaching the test center in time.
  2. Try to have good night’s sleep the day before the test so that you can feel refreshed on the test day.
  3. A good grooming and dressing may help you boost your energy up, however this probably is not mandatory. According to me the feeling of well being helps in any exam situation. However, many don’t think in the same way.
  4. Before you enter the test room, if possible and if your situation allows try doing simple conversations in English to warm up, like asking ‘where is the lavatory?’ etc.
  5. Then once you are inside the test room have self confidence. Speak loudly and clearly, so that you are easily audible.

That’s all for the speaking section. Hope, these few tips for the speaking test were interesting and helpful.

The writing above is a clip of an individualized experience of the author of this article and has no relation with any official IELTS exam or its bodies. Please cross check issues that concern you from various competent authorities dealing with IELTS. This blog shouldn’t be used as a tool to prepare for any exam or test.

Tips for IELTS writing task – 2 (academic)

Here are few tips that might help you perform better in your task 2 of academic writing in your IELTS test.

Before you start writing, read the question stem carefully. Take care of the words used in the question. And stick to the facts asked in the question throughout your writing.

Writing an Introduction:

Introduce in your own way, try not to make it too large. You may state what are you going to say in the remaining paras like ‘the essay will try to explore the disadvantages of smoking’. Don’t write conclusion type statement here.

Writing the Body:

  1. Now moving on to the body part of the writing.  You may make one para or multiple depending upon the requirement. If you are asked about advantage and disadvantage of mobile phone, 2 para stating each will be helpful.
  2. Give example, if you are asked to do so. What many of us, including me confuse is the difference between example and logic (a teacher corrected me in this regard). Let me explain – when you are writing about negative sides of mobile phone, a logic you may keep is that talking on this devices along with driving is harmful, but don’t mistake it with an example. An example for this will possibly be something like this- ‘ a friend of mine encountered an accident while driving her car and talking with her boy friend on mobile’.
  3. If you are writing about advantage and disadvantage try to give an example of each.

Writing  the Conclusion/Summery:

This is another vital part. Here, you should say your opinion or suggestions, if any. A good attitude statement is also fine if possible to attach, like ‘child labor is a curse to our society and may our wisdom blossom to prevent it’. Some even suggest to attach a quotation of some great person like Newton or Lincoln or Gandhi, but do that only if you can remember it word to word But people say that it can give your score a edge, not sure, how true it is. I found the latter very difficult, so I never tried it.

After finishing the writing of the task, if possible check it immediately, word to word, so that you can get rid of all possible mistakes you might have made in spelling, grammar, tense etc.

The writing above is a clip of an individualized experience of the author of this article and has no relation with any official IELTS exam or its bodies. Please cross check issues that concern you from various competent authorities dealing with IELTS. This blog shouldn’t be used as a tool to prepare for any exam or test.

Tips for IELTS writing task – 1(academic)

Writing task 1 in academic version includes describing one or more diagrams (like chart, line diagram etc.). 

Following are tips what the author found effective and thought sharing will be of worth:

Before starting writing:

  1. Read the instructions carefully.
  2. spend some time looking at the graph
  3. try to mark the similarities and dissimilarities. Use a symbol to mark them. For similar things you may name the S1,S2,S3 etc and for dissimilarities you may mark them D1,D2,D3 etc. This was how a teacher suggested me. You may use your own way, or may not do any marking if you don’t find the method convenient.

How to write a good introduction:

  1. Simply write what is given to you, in your own words, like ‘the bar chart compares the rate of smoking in British females in the year 1982 and 1983’
  2. Mention any trend or pattern which you observe. Like ‘sells of cigarette increased during the entire period’.
  3. Mention the source of the graph or chart, if mentioned, like ‘the graph is taken from Atlas of dynamics, 1993’
  4. Mention the units of the graph like ‘the data in the graph is given in per 100,000’
  5. Except in cases where you really have to assume what the value will be, for example in a line graph where you are plotting a location on y axis where no clear value is mentioned and you are assuming it, mention words like ‘about’, ‘almost’, ‘close to’, ‘near about’, ‘approximately’ before the data.
  6. In the above case, its wise if you prefer to use a ruler to locate the exact point you are willing to plot on the graph.
  7. Time is essential, so carry a watch with you.
  8. Now there are some materials on the web which suggest to write a summery line type statement in the last line of introduction, regarding which my guide suggested me that it’s not a wise thing to do. That means it might not be good say in introduction that- ‘the overall sell of the products increased during the entire period’.
  9. So in one line- in introduction, just introduce your reader to the graph or chart by stating what its, from where you got it and what it is about.

Now let us move on to the body part of the task 1:

  1. Here you can make two paragraphs- first for for writing a report and second for comparison. If you find that the graph or chart don’t have much to compare, one para might be enough.
  2. In the report para, you describe the graph over all in summery. For example, if you are dealing with a line graph about sell of 3 products is UK between 2000 and 2005. You may write something how was the sale of those in 2000 and how they changed over the remaining period of time.
  3. In the comparison para you may compare, i.e. state about the SIGNIFICANT similarities and differences. Due to time constraints you may not be able to mention every point.

Conclusion:

State your analysis about the diagram. Mention the trend too.

Read in IELTS Section:

The writing above is a clip of an individualized experience of the author of this article and has no relation with any official IELTS exam or its bodies. Please cross check issues that concern you from various competent authorities dealing with IELTS. This blog should not be used as a tool to prepare for any exam or test.

TIPS for IELTS Listening (academic)

The listening exam, seems to be the easiest among the remaining components of the exam, although it might not feel the same to everybody. Let me share here some of the strategies that I found effective for getting a good score in the listening exam:

  1. Listening section don’t require you to look at clock because the time balance is kept over the audio record itself. However, during the last 10 minutes when you are required to copy things to the answer paper, looking at a watch may be helpful to keep pace with time.
  2. I found keeping the audio levels at optimum loudness helpful, but it varies from person to person. If you are a person who keep headphones plugged in to the ears 24*7 at high volume, then you might require a high level of sound. But too low may prove detrimental, since any sudden noise at exam hall situation might mask the sound played over the headphones.
  3. Make sure you know how the test is conducted, how many questions are given and what is expected from you, before hand. It helps to be more focused.
  4. When the tape starts, try to be alert and synchronised with the playing audio, at all times. If you ever get your sync disconnected, the first thing is probably not to panic. Keep scrolling down the questions and try to spot few key words that can help you to establish your sync again and see if you can hear similar things simultaneously. Hope it will help you get you sync back. Faster you sync back, better you do.
  5. If  you miss or get confused with a question, don’t waste time there, rather move on the next questions. Latter, at the end while transferring your answers you may try to make some guess, since their is no negative marking.
  6.  Someone advised me that, its better not to worry about spelling during the initial period when the tape is on, which can waste time, rather to try writing the correct spelling during the last ten minutes, which is given for transferring the answers. I found the advice effective.
  7. When transferring answers be cautious about the alphabets of numbers, for example when copying the alphabet ‘a’ as a answer, don’t copy it as ‘b’. Also be careful about spelling and handwriting.
  8. Try to practice a lot before the real exam, under time pressure.

That’s all about the listening tips. Hope you will find it useful.

The writing above is a clip of an individualized experience of the author of this article and has no relation with any official IELTS exam or its bodies. Please cross check issues that concern you from various competent authorities dealing with IELTS. This blog shouldn’t be used as a tool to prepare for any exam or test.

TIPS for IELTS reading (academic)

Well this discussion is related to academic reading of IELTS.

The academic reading section has a lot of myths related to it, specially about how to get a good score.

Following are tips what the author found effective and thought sharing will be of worth :

  1. When you get the task it may be wise to look at the tasks and find out which section looks more simple, and one may start answering from that section. Because more correct answers matter for a good score, not which question.
  2. While reading the paragraphs a good habit may be to mark things that might be important like important dates, names of cities or persons etc. It helps when we skim the paragraphs latter on to find a specific answer.
  3. A big controversy which students discuss in regard to the reading test is, if one should read the whole text or not. Some say they just read the first line of each para of a section and can guess what the answers will be. While others say that reading the questions first helps to find the answers. See, which is effective method for you. What I found is certain paragraphs are easy to understand and can be dealt with reading the questions first, and not reading the whole text at first. However, that don’t look wise way to approach when we are dealing with paragraphs that are bit difficult. In case of the latter, reading all the  paragraphs in detail is the safest strategy, I believe.
  4. Time management in academic reading appears to be a big challenge.  It’s ideal to be fixed to the 2 minutes time allotted for the tasks.
  5. For better time management, leave questions that are difficult and come back to them at the end if you have some time left. although this sounds easy and a matter of common sense, it can become difficult in real testing situation. The time pressure can make things messy.
  6. Many perceive ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘not given’ type questions as difficult and confusing. When got stuck with them, specially the ‘not given once’, a healthy guess work might work. It’s better to guess since there is no negative marking.
  7. Another mistake that can happen when you are not attempting the reading passages in order, for example when you are choosing to answer the second passage before the first, don’t always expect the questions to be found only after where the passage finishes, a part of the questions can be at before the the passage too. So before and after reading the passage, try to check if you went all questions related to the passage.
  8. If possible practice daily. I found it as a skill which improves with regular practice, to learn techniques to handle the the task in limited time. Even a native English speaker probably can’t get a good score without practice, in my opinion the reading test is a type of aptitude test rather than language test.
  9. While copying alphabets like ‘a’ or ‘b’ or ‘c’ as an answer to a multiple choice question be cautious to write the correct letter on the answer sheet.
  10. Spelling is important so take care of it.
  11. Strong nerves help, when little time left and lot of questions are undone. Even you may not be able to complete all, attempts in calm mind may help get more questions right.
The writing above is a clip of an individualized experience of the author of this article and has no relation with any official IELTS exam or its bodies. Please cross check issues that concern you from various competent authorities dealing with IELTS. This blog shouldn’t be used as a tool to prepare for any exam or test.