Ace The IELTS Essential tips for IELTS General Training Module © September 2005 By Simone Braverman All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system without prior permission of the author. Making copies of any part of this book for any purpose other than your own personal use is a violation of International Copyright Laws. Limits of Liability/ Disclaimer of Warranty The author and publisher of this book and the accompanying materials have used their best efforts in preparing this program.
The author and publisher make no representation or warranties with respect to accuracy, applicability, fitness or completeness of this program. They disclaim any warranties (expressed or implied), merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose. The author and the publisher shall in no event be held liable for any loss or other damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential or other damages. As always, advice of competent professionals should be sought. This manual contains material protected under International Copyright Laws and Treaties.
Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. From Author I am very grateful for all the help and support I’ve received from all the members of my team. I’d like to thank Vladimir Levitin – for great research Roman Itskovich and Zvi Braverman – most talented Internet gurus Nataly Dehter-Vaksman – for excellent legal advice Eduard and Dina Somin – for superb ideas Together there is no mountain we can’t climb! Table of Contents What this book is aboutPage 3 What this book is about This guide is here to teach you the IELTS test, not the English language.
Why? Because even if English is your main language – forget about getting a good score in IELTS, unless you are prepared for it. Two main problems will get in your way: time, tricks and logical traps. When it comes to IELTS, time is your worst enemy. You need to do things fast. Of course you would get all the answers right if you had the time. But the realityis that there are a lot questions to be answered, a lot of writing to be done, and a very little time to do it. This guide teaches you HOW TO: • Listen, hear the right answers and write them down FAST •
Page 2 Essential Tips for IELTS General Training Module Essay
Scan through the text and deal with allkinds of questions FAST • Get your essay written FAST • Build a speech in your head on any topic FAST • Know and avoid the traps when you see them This book might not give you the perfect English, but it sure will help you to get in shape and ACE the IELTS! Attitude tips In my opinion (which was validated by IELTS scores of the people I trained) you don’t need more than 4 weeks of daily training. Set aside 3 hours that you devote to practice for IELTS – and it will get you the desired result. I believe that if you can read and understand this e-book, your English is good enough.
Just stick to the guidelines of this book and they will help you get the best IELTS score you can with your current level of English. You can even give yourself a day off once a week, and still be able to ACE the IELTS! Page 4 How to use this book The way this manual is built makes it possible for you to read main chapters (Listening, Reading, Writing or Speaking tips) in any order you like, there is no dependency between them. You don’t have to follow the order in which the book is written. If you don’t have much time, I suggest reading this book and doing only the exercises that are included in it, no extra work.
This is not the ideal way, though. In case you do have the time, I highly recommend that you read and pay attention to all the tips in this manual and then try to use them in practice on real IELTS tests. There are links to IELTS materials in the end of every main chapter and a detailed study plan in the end of the book. In the end of the book there are Pocket tips – short summary of most important hints for all the chapters – Listening, Reading, Writing or Speaking. Read them every time before you start practicing – they will refresh your memory and focus you on what’s really important. Enjoy!
Page 5 The IELTS Routine The IELTS test consists of four parts in the following order: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Listening takes about 30 minutes – 20 minutes to listen to a tape and to answer questions on what you hear, and 10 minutes to transfer your answers to Answer Sheet. Reading takes 1 hour and your task is to read passages of text and answer questions according to what you have read. There are also other types of assignments which I will cover later on. Writing takes also 1 hour and is divided into 2 sub-parts: 20 minutes to write a letter and 40 minutes to write an essay.
Speaking takes up to 15 minutes and consists of 3 parts: Personal Interview, Little Speech and a Discussion. All the parts continue one after another, and only before Speaking you get a little break. Listening at a glance Listening consists of 4 sections. There are about 38-40 questions in total. You need to answer all the questions as you listen to the tape. Tape is not paused at any time and you hear it only once. The questions get more difficult as you progress through the test. Are you scared yet? Don’t be! There is a technique to get you through it.
A huge relief is that spelling is not important in Listening, except for the words they spell for you on the tape. Just make sure that your answers are readable and understandable, when you copy them to the Answering Sheet. You may write in pencil only. Page 6 Reading at a glance Reading consists of 4 text passages and about 40 questions in total. Your job is to read the passages and either answer questions, label diagrams, complete sentences or fill gaps. For every type of task there are instructions and example. Passages are taken from books, newspapers, magazines and the topics are very diverse, from scuba diving to space exploration.
Passages progress in difficulty, with first being the easiest and fourth the hardest. Good news is that you don’t really have to read the whole passage, thanks to technique I will refer to later. Not so good news is that there is no additional time to copy your answers to Answering Sheet and you need to squeeze it in the 60 minutes that you have. Please, don’t forget to do it – I witnessed someone who did, and it was not a pretty sight. Poor guy was crying, he received score 0 for the whole Reading test. Here too you may write in pencil only, no pens are allowed. Writing at a glance
Writing has 2 sub-tasks. First one is to write a letter according to scenario you receive, using about 150 words. The second task is to write an Essay on given topic, present and justify opinion or give solution to a problem, using not less than 250 words. Nothing to worry here! Once you’ll start using a certain structure which I’ll explain later on for the letter and the essay in addition to your imagination, it is a piece of cake. This task requires a bit of training, but after you write a few essays and letters you will be well-prepared for it and you will feel confident.
Page 7 Speaking at a glance This is the fun part of the test, for many reasons. You get to rest before it, you are a little tired from previous 3 parts and therefore more relaxed. The examiners are trained to smile no matter what, so you feel as if you were speaking to your best friend. First sub-part of Speaking test is an interview, which means that the examiner asks you questions about yourself, your work, studies, parents, brothers/sisters, pets, etc. This is an easy task to prepare for. In the second sub-part of Speaking test you receive a card with 3-4 questions.
After one minute, that you have to think about something to say, you should give a little speech for one to two minutes, which answers those questions. In the end the examiner might ask you a couple of additional questions. In the third sub-part of the test you have a discussion with examiner. The topic is somehow related to the one from section two, but it is about more abstract ideas. You have to express and justify an opinion. The examiner will record your session on tape. Don’t worry about it; the tape is to test the examiner and not you. Page 8 Tips for the Listening Test In general
The Listening Test is probably the one people get most scared of. To help yourself overcome that fear, start watching TV programs in English. It is better than radio or audio books, because you also see images that help you understand the words you hear. Listening – a skill, not a gift! From my experience, in many cases Listening is the least developed skill. So if you feel especially weak in that area – pay attention to the following tips, that will help you improve your Listening ability. Remember – nobody is born with it, it’s just a skill and you learn it. If you think your
Listening needs no improvements – skip the “Teach yourself the words” part, move forward to the next tips. Teach yourself the words The only way to improve your Listening ability is to train your “ears” to separate and understand the words you hear in the flow of sentence. Often what you hear is a Blablablablabla”, which you can’t to break into words, and for that reason it makes no sense to you. When training, take a recording of the news, lecture, television program movie or an actual IELTS Listening test and work with it. I suggest using MP3 player. You can easily record English from the radio or any other source to it.
It is also easy to repeat (re-play) sentences you didn’t understand. MP3 player is small and light, so you can use it in any spare moment that you have – riding the bus or tram, walking the dog, taking a walk yourself, etc. First, listen, remember what you heard and stop the recording after each phrase. Even if you didn’t understand the phrase, play it in your head a couple of times, like a broken record – “Tonight we have a special guest”, “Tonight we have a special guest”, “Tonight we have a special guest”. Then say it out loud. If you understood that phrase at first, this exercise will improve your pronunciation.
If you didn’t understand the phrase for the first time, this repetition will give you more time to hear it better, break it into words and make sense out of them. And if it is still difficult, you can always rewind and hear the phrase again. There is a big difference between seeing a word printed on paper while reading and hearing it. If you saw a word, it doesn’t mean you will recognize it when you hear it. So every word you have seen, you must hear at list once. Page 9 Instructions will keep you safe Every task in IELTS Listening test has its instructions. It may sound stupid, but you really need to read them carefully. Why?
Because they will tell you exactly what to do with the information: how many words you can use to answer, is there a table you must fill, is there a list to chose words from, how many items you must name, etc. And if the answer must be in 3 words – write EXACTLY 3 WORDS, because writing four or two words will get you 0 score. To make my point crystal clear, let’s take the following scenario for example: The speaker on a tape says: “Well, if you are dieting, try to avoid fruits with lots of fructose like watermelon, mango, peaches or grapes. ” The question in the booklet is: “Name 2 fruits a person on a diet should not eat”.
The answer may be “watermelon, mango” or “mango, peaches” or any combination of two items, but never three or four!!! Anyone who writes “just in case” – watermelon, mango, peaches, grapes – receives 0 score for that question. Note: when counting words – “a” or “the” counts as a word. Divide and concur! The recording divides questions into groups, so every time you are instructed to answer a group of 4-5 questions. There are 20-30 seconds of silence before each group. First thing you should do when the tape starts playing, is understand which group of questions you need to answer. For example the tape says: “Look at questions one to four”.
It means that you have about 20 seconds to look at those questions. Go over questions, read them and underline keywords. Keywords are words that contain the main idea of the question. They will help you guess what you will hear – numbers, opening hours, names, locations, etc. Draw a line under question four, so you won’t look further before it’s time. Then you will hear a piece of passage and answer the questions one to four as you listen. It means that you should be able to write one answer and listen to another. Page 10 After that, the tape will say the numbers of questions in the next group.
Repeat the same process, including drawing the line. This dividing technique is very efficient because every time you concentrate on limited number of questions, so it makes you more focused and in control. Distractions Don’t get confused by all the different voices you are going to hear. The recording uses several different voices – of younger and older people, men and women. You may also hear different accents – Australian, British, American, Japanese, etc. The background noise is also varies. It can be of airport, cafe-shop, street, University lecture hall, you name it.
Be ready for it and don’t let it distract you – because that is exactly what they want. Ignore the noises and listen for the answers. Listen for specifics When you are listening, look for descriptions and details, such as dates, places, telephone numbers, opening hours, years (1995), transportation (car, bike, train) If you hear them, but don’t know where to place them yet – write them on margins of the Listening booklet. Later you will have some time to check your answers. Going over the questions that you couldn’t answer during the Listening passage, you might see that what you’ve written on the margins fits. Answer as you listen
The reason you have to “answer as you listen” is that you immediately forget the sentences after you have heard them – because of stress, foreign language, constant flow of information, etc. After hearing the third sentence you won’t be able to repeat the first. It means that when any part of Listening is over – you won‘t be able to remember any of the answers. So write them as you hear them, leave nothing for later. Keep moving forward A worst case scenario is you “loosing the sequence of answers” – so you miss one answer and then you miss another one and so on. To prevent that from happening, always look one or two questions ahead.
It sounds confusing, but after a little practice becomes very natural and helps a lot. Even if you have missed the answer to a question – admit it and move to the next one, otherwise you will loose it too. Page 11 Know your clues The answer is usually pronounced louder and clearer, it is easier to hear and understand. If you can’t hear something clear (because the speaker swallows words or whispers), then probably the answer is not there. With some practice you will be able to tell the difference. A good clue to answer is when you hear a repetition of a word, a word being spelled out (G A R F U N K E L) or a number dictated.
Spelling tasks As simple as it sounds, the spelling task is not so easy. You should practice a little to be prepared for it. Just ask someone to spell the names of cities from the following list for you. If you study alone, you could record yourself spell those names and numbers, and then play it. The same goes for the list of telephone numbers I include here. It is a good practice and will only add to your confidence. Note: in numbers “00” sometimes is read as “double o” instead of “zero-zero”. Cities Numbers Antananarivo Brazzaville Conakry Gaborone Johannesburg Kinshasa Libreville Lilongwe
Mogadiscio Ouagadougou Windhoek Islamabad Rangoon Ascension Vancouver Al Minuya Qandahar Jharkhand 423-5207-0074 628-2087-2311 5167-832-0155 8746-221-0302 5337-298-0132 5900-231-7621 4348-663-980 11-267-55410 101-9020-7624 413-2567-9011 782-6721-0412 479-2001-6792 821-6283-1382 492-5241-8921 941-2042-9142 871-5466-0098 917-5422-3333 244-1449-2100 Page 12 Typical Listening tasks Remember my promise – no surprises in IELTS? The following table shows you every type of task you may see in the Listening test booklet. Different task types come with different instructions, so if you see and remember them now, t will save you time later. Of course, you won’t get every type I show here in your test and the table looks a bit boring. Anyway, my advice is to get to know them now. Don’t let them catch you off-guard! Task Type What do you do Instructions in the booklet Picking pictures Multiple questions From 3-4 pictures choose a picture that Circle the appropriate letter best describes what you hear on tape Circle the appropriate letter choice There is a question and a number of answers (three, four or five), your job is to /Circle the correct answer pick the right one (sometimes more than just one).
Short-answer question Sentence completion Form completion Chart/Table completion True/False/Not Given task Gap-fill Diagram labeling Answer in 3 words, as the instructions say Complete the notes/table. Use NO MORE THAN 3 WORDS for each answer Complete a sentence according to what Complete the notes/table. you hear Use NO MORE THAN 3 WORDS for each answer A form is given and you need to fill in Complete the form. Write blank fields NO MORE THAN 3 WORDS for each answer Complete the notes/table. A table with some blank cells is given; Use NO MORE THAN 3 your job is to fill them according to the
WORDS for each answer passage you hear. A statement, which is either True, False or Not Given in the passage, you need to decide according to what you hear There are several sentences with missing words, you should pick the correct word and fill it in the gap. Choose from the list (if there is one), or from what you have heard. Write description in 1 to 3 words for different parts of a drawing according to what you hear Page 13 Complete the notes/table. Use NO MORE THAN 3 WORDS for each answer Complete the notes below by writing NO MORE THAN 3 WORDS in the spaces provided Complete/label the iagram by writing NO MORE THAN 3 WORDS in the boxes/spaces provided Eliminate When you deal with multiple-choice questions, elimination is a good strategy. Usually only one answer is correct, unless instructions say something else. This task is similar to True/False/Not Given. You should decide for every choice of answer – is it True, False or Not Given in the passage. After you have decided, choose the one that is True – this is the correct answer. Any other choice, False or Not Given, is incorrect. Keep in mind that there are cases when all the choices are correct or none of them is correct.
Read the instruction carefully and you will know what to do in such cases. Gap-fill strategy Look at the words around the gap to understand what’s missing, a noun (like boy, toy, truck), an adjective (little, pretty, shiny) or a verb (stands, looks, moves). For instance, if you see Noun before the blank (“The boy is___”), it means that it’s Adjective (“The boy is small”) or it’s Verb (“The boy is smiling”) is missing. Once you have picked a word, write it above the gap and then read the whole sentence to be sure that it makes sense. “Chameleon” questions They might use different words with the same meaning to confuse you.
It could be expressions or synonyms. For example, the tape says “All the candidates have to fill an application form” and the question says “The candidates must fill an application” – is it True, False or Not Given? The correct answer is True because “have to” means “must”. Page 14 Watch out for traps Trap Number One – unexpected turn You might hear speaker starting to say one thing and then, suddenly, continuing to something completely different. This is a trap, so make sure you don’t fall for it. The rule here is “Last word counts”. For example, if the speaker says “I want to visit that gallery on Monday.
No, wait, I’ve just remembered that it is closed on Monday, so I will go on Wednesday. ”, and the question is “when” – the correct answer here is Wednesday, and Monday is a trap. Trap Number Two – generalizations You might hear speaker first gives a list of things and then says them all in one word. For example: “Well, I like to swim, hike, and camp – to be involved in outdoor activities. ” If the question is “What kind of activities…” the correct answer is “outdoor” and not “swimming”, “hiking” or “camping”. Trap Number Three – explicit answer choices Explicit answers choices can be (and mostly will be) traps.
The following example demonstrates what I mean: The tape says: “This course is a must for all first year students, excluding foreign students”. The Question is “All the first year students have to take this course”, The Answer should be F(alse), because there is an exception – foreign students. All the explicit answers that mean “no exceptions” are suspicious to us and call for more attention. Check the grammar If the answer you give is grammatically incorrect – it can not be the right one. Checking the grammar of your answers will give you an idea whether your answer correct or not, especially in tasks like: Gap-fill • Sentence completion Use your time wisely During the test, you have a little time between passages. Use it to check and complete your answers Page 15 Copy answers smartly After 20 minutes of Listening test, there are 10 additional minutes. During the test you have written all of the answers in the Listening test booklet. These 10 minutes are given you to copy your answers to the Answering sheet, and you should use them smartly. The Answer Sheet has 2 sides, one for Reading test and one for Listening test, so make sure you are writing on the Listening side.
I include here an example of Answering Sheet so you could get familiar with it and use it for practicing. First, copy all the answers from the booklet to the Answering Sheet, and pay attention to the following guidelines (as simple as they sound – they are BIG time savers): • For multiple-choice questions and picking pictures – just copy the letter of correct answer, don’t circle it. • For sentence completion – just copy your answer, not the whole sentence. • For True/False/Not given question – just copy T, F or NG, whatever your choice is. • For gap-fills – just copy the word you have chosen for the gap. For answers written in short (like prof. advise) – write the full version (professional advise). • Check that all the answers are clear and understandable. Now, if you missed some questions – it is a good time to guess. Page 16 Answering Sheet looks like this: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 For those of you who wonder why all the answers have to consist of maximum 3 words – here is the answer: there is not enough space on the Answer Sheet for anything longer than that! Practice, practice, practice!
I strongly recommend that you use all the tips while practicing. In order to practice you are going to need samples of Listening test, which can be found on the following internet sites (good quality, free of charge): http://elc. polyu. edu. hk/IELTS/ – take it online, or print the booklet http://www. esl-lab. com/ – for this one you will need Real Audio Player http://www. international. holmesglen. vic. edu. au – download the sample, print booklet http://esl. about. com/cs/toefl/a/a_ielts_2. htm Play the Listening samples and start using the tips while searching for answers. This is the only way to really understand how these tips work.
You may have to play the same Listening file more than once, to practice in different techniques. Page 17 Tips for the Reading Test Test structure The structure of Academic and General Training Reading tests is different. Academic Reading on most cases consists of 3 large texts from newspapers or magazines. In General Training there are several smaller passages that are taken from advertisements, official documents, booklets, manuals and 2 or 3 larger texts taken from books, magazines or newspapers. Like in the Listening test, questions in the Reading test are given in groups.
Instructions will tell you which group of questions belongs to which paragraph or portion of text. You may see the questions before or after the passage they belong to. Manage your own time As I said before, time is your greatest enemy. In the Listening test it was managed for you, but not in the Reading test. So manage it very carefully yourself. When you receive the Reading booklet, first of all count how many passages are there. Let’s say there are 4 passages in the booklet. It means that you have 15 minutes for each passage. Write the time when you should start and when you should end working on each passage and stick to it.
Use 13 minutes to actually answer the questions (write the answers on the booklet pages) and 2 to copy your answers to the Answer Sheet. If you didn’t finish a passage on time, move to the next one anyway. And whatever you do, please do not forget about the Answering Sheet (remember the guy with the ZERO score? ) If you have some time left in the end of Reading test, make sure that you didn’t forget to answer any question, check and double check your answers. It can add you a few “easy” points if you find mistakes before the examiner does O. Don’t read – scan! It sounds absurd that you don’t need to read on a Reading test, right?
Anyway, it’s true. The biggest mistake you could make is to start the test by reading the whole passage. The best thing is to scan quickly through the text. Don’t try to understand every word! Just go over it and get the idea of what each paragraph is about. Usually you don’t need to read the whole paragraph – a couple of first sentences are enough. Page 18 Make a map The text before you is like a new strange territory, it is easy to get lost inside all these words. What you need is a map that will help you to orientate. Every paragraph in the passage has its own main idea, different from all other paragraphs.
Write on the margins near the paragraph what is its topic, main idea. If writing takes too much time, underline the words in the paragraph that explain its main idea. Congratulations! You have just created a map that later will guide you through the search for answers. Learn the rules First, read instruction and example. They show you exactly how your answer should look like – is it a number or a name, how many words you must write, etc. The following points are important because they may affect your score. 1. Style When filling the answers, copy example’s style. For demonstration look at the ollowing table: Divorces rate Marriage USA Example 1: 55% Example 2: first Canada Sweden Example 1 If the example says “55%”, give your answer in this exact form, a number and %. Any other form or style (like “55” or “55 percent” or “fifty five percent”) may harm your score! Example 2 If the example says “first”, answering in any other form or style (like “1st”, “1” or “first marriage”) may harm your score. 2. Words Limit Usually if there is a word limit for answer, it is no more than 3 words. Prepositions (in, of, to, at, etc) and articles (a, an, the) do count for a word.
The reason behind this 3 word limit is small space on the Answer Sheet. 3. One question – one answer Don’t give more than one answer to one question, even if you see more than one option. It will result in ZERO score. For example, if you see in a passage names of 3 countries that qualify as an answer and the question asks to name just one – don’t even think of giving 2 or 3 names, the only correct answer is to name exactly one. Only if they ask for two names, you should name two, etc. Page 19 Types of tasks The kinds of tasks you may have to deal with are in the table below. Tasks of different types come with different instructions.
It is important for you to see them all now, so nothing will surprise you during your IELTS test. It will also save your time, if you will know in advance what you need to do in every type of task. This way during the test you will only read the instructions to confirm what you already know. Task Type Matching Multiple question What do you do Instructions in the booklet There is a list of headings, your job is to choose most suitable heading for every paragraph of the text. choice There is a question and a number of answers (three, four or five), your job is to pick the right one (sometimes more than just one).
Short-answer question Answer in 3 words, as the instructions say Sentence completion Complete a sentence according to what you hear Chart/Table completion A table with some blank cells is given; your job is to fill them according to the passage you hear. Choose the most suitable heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below. Choose the appropriate letter. Using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS answer the following questions. Complete the sentences below with words taken from the reading passage. Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer. Complete the table/chart below using information from the Reading Passage.
Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer. Read the passage and look at the statements below. Write TRUE if the statement is true, FALSE if the statement is false and Not Given if the information is not given in the passage. Complete the summary below. (Chose your answers from the box at the bottom of the page) True/False/Not Given task There is a statement, which can be True, False or Not Given in the passage; you need to decide according to what you read. Gap-fill There are several sentences with missing words, you should pick the correct word and fill it in the gap. Choose from the list (if there is one), or from the text.
Write description in 1 to 3 words for Label the diagram below. Choose different parts of a drawing according to Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from passage for each what you read. answer. Diagram labeling Page 20 Go fishing! Now it is time to start “fishing” for answers. Read question one-by-one, for every question see what its theme is. Then find it (or some thing close to it) on your map that is the paragraph to search for the answer. Choose your battles If any question takes you too much time – give up, move to the next one. Don’t forget to mark it with some sign (like “? “), so you could identify and come back to it later.
There are a lot of questions and you might miss the easy ones if the hard ones take all of your time. Another reason to leave hard questions for last is that after you do all the easy ones, you know more about the text, so then solving the tricky questions might become easier. Use passage layout Every text and every paragraph in it has a certain structure, meaning it is written according to some rules. Usually first paragraph contains the main idea of the passage and the author’s opinion. Last paragraph often summarizes the main points of the passage. Every paragraph has its structure that is similar to the structure of whole text.
It has introduction, body and conclusion. The main idea is usually can be found in the introduction. It means that if you want to understand quickly what paragraph is about, it is enough to read only its introduction. Find the keywords Keywords are the main words in the question; they contain the most important information. For instance, in a question like “Employers are likely to employ graduates, who…” there are 3 keywords: employers, employ and graduates. Identify keywords in each question and look for them in the text – the answer will be near. Don’t stop after finding just one, continue to scan through the text – there might be more.
Page 21 Strategy for the Matching task First, read instructions and example. If instructions say that a heading can not be used more than once – cross the heading used in example out of the list. This way you won’t try to use it again by mistake (and believe me, it’s a very common mistake! ). Second, return to the map you prepared. Go over the text, look on your map what it says about the idea of first paragraph. Go to the list of headings and choose heading that has the most similar meaning to idea on your map, write its number on the margins of the first paragraph.
Now continue and do the same for the second paragraph, and so on. If some paragraphs are hard to match – leave them alone, keep moving forward. Come back to them later. When finished matching – check your answers carefully, because they can influence each other. Don’t forget to copy answers to the Answer Sheet. Strategy for True/False/Not Given task To simplify it for you, if the statement clearly appears in text – it is True. If the text clearly says the opposite of statement – it is False, if you didn’t find statement to be either TRUE or FALSE – it is Not Given. The best advice here is not to over think it.
Otherwise what happen is that you start building logical sequences that take you to the wrong direction. Strategy for Multiple-choice task Here too True/False/Not Given technique is a big help. The difference is that you need to use it on each answer choice. For every possible answer you need to decide, if it is True, False or Not Given in the text. Finally, answers you have marked as False or Not Given are incorrect, and the ones you marked as True are correct. Remember: it is True only when passage says exactly the same thing, it is False when passage says exactly the opposite and it is Not Given in any other case.
Keep in mind that there are cases when all the choices are correct or none of them is correct. Read the instruction carefully and you will know what to do in such cases. Page 22 Strategy for the Gap fills First of all try to understand what the main idea of the first sentence is. Then find it on your map – this should take you to the paragraph that “hides” the answer. Now, when you know where to look, you need to know what to look for. Look around the gap to understand what’s missing, a noun (like boy, toy, truck), an adjective (little, pretty, shiny) or a verb (stands, looks, moves).
For example, what is missing here: “She ____ around and saw him in the corner”? You have 4 choices: happy, man, looked, smiled. It is clear that you need a verb here, but which one, “looked” or “smiled”? Now it is time to start reading the text. Find where example answer is and start there. Remember to read only first, second and last sentence. Of course, “looked” is the right word! Sometimes there are words near gap that will give you a clue what kind of word is missing. For example, “Main physical activities in the summer camp are fishing, ________ and swimming.
Naturally, you will look for words that end with “ing” to fill for the gap – like “hiking”. There are 2 types of gap-fills: 1) There is a list of words for you to choose from 2) There is no list, you need to choose words from text When you choose a word from the list and the instructions say that every word is to be used once only, write it above the gap and cross it out from the list. If there is more than one possible answer – write them all and then decide which one is better. If they don’t give you a list, try to pick a word from text.
It is better then “inventing” it, because it saves time and your chances of being right are higher. After you have decided about the word that goes into gap, read the whole sentence again. It must make sense according to the text, and it must be grammatically correct. When you move forward to the second gap, keep in mind that usually there are no more than 2 gaps per paragraph. It means that if you have found answer to the first gap in paragraph 1, the answer to the second gap will be in the paragraph 2 and so on. Page 23 Assumptions are the mother of all mess-ups!
Don’t assume you know the answer, search for it in the passage. When answering the questions, you must stick to the facts as they are written in the paragraph. Forget all about your personal knowledge and experience! Relying on your own knowledge is the most natural thing for you, so sometimes they use it in IELTS to trick you into making a choice of answer according to what you know or believe and not according to the passage. Practice, practice, practice! Reading the text in the way I described in this chapter must become your second nature.
The only way to make it happen is to practice in using my tips while doing the Reading test. When practicing, finish the reading test and then check your answers according to answer key. Pay attention to those you’ve got wrong, not those you’ve got right – understand why didn’t you do them right and try to remember, so that mistake won’t come back. Practice with a clock and copy your answers to the Answer Sheet. You may use the one from the chapter on Listening test; it is similar to Reading test Answer Sheet. In order to practice, use not only the General Training module tests, but also Academic module reading.
This advice has 2 main reasons behind it – there are more Academic texts available to practice on than General Training, and it is a proven strategy to get your score higher, because while hoping for the best you are preparing for the worst. Academic reading is much more difficult than General training, and if you are ready for Academic – General will be a piece of cake for you. Generally, you need to buy texts to practice on, but I have managed to find a few sources of free tests and recommend them to you. http://www. gday. ru/ielts/reading/generalreading/ http://www. gday. ru/ielts/reading/academicreading/ http://www. elts. org/_lib/pdf/1969_IELTSappForm05. pdf http://www. onestopenglish. com/Exams/pdfs/uffizi_reading. pdf http://www. selfaccess. com/www/sa/sa/htm/sa_samples. php http://education. kulichki. net/lang/ieread. html http://international. holmesglen. vic. edu. au/ie_read. htm http://www. ieltshelpnow. com/sample_tutorials. html http://www. examenglish. com/IELTS_reading. htm http://9ielts. topcities. com, http://www. aippg. net/forum/, Page 24 Tips for the Writing test As you remember, in Writing test of General Training Module there are 2 tasks: Writing Task 1 – to write a letter. Writing Task 2 – to write an essay.
Writing a letter must not take you more than 20 minutes, so there will be 40 minutes left for the essay. Usually, not all of us are good in writing letters, not to say essays, forget in English! Well, SURPRISE – there is a technique to it, making writing so simple, a monkey could do it. So let’s get down to business. First, some general guidelines You will receive two Answering Sheets to write on – one for the Writing Task 1, meaning letter, and one for Writing Task 2, meaning essay. Keep your writing neat, clean and nice-looking. Leave blank line between paragraphs and don’t write on margins of the Answering Sheet.
Don’t make a mess even if you have made a mistake – just cross it out once. If there are instructions that say that you need to write about a number of things (let’s say A, B, C) – do it, write about every one of them. It is important for your score. You need to show the examiner that you read and understood the instructions; otherwise he might think that you didn’t. Here is an example of such instructions: • Describe the situation • Explain your problem • Suggest solution One of the most typical mistakes is to copy task instructions. It is absolutely forbidden, wastes precious time and people lose points for it.
You can use what is written in task instructions only if you write the same in other words. Length is very important. So if you can not reach the words limit (150 for letter, 250 for essay), try to be closer to it. These simple rules apply to both letter and essay. Stick to them, and your work will leave good impression on the examiner. Page 25 Tips for Writing Task 1 – Letter Types of letters Test may ask you to write only one of 4 types of letters: • Complaint / Request (of information) letter • Job application letter • Personal letter • Formal business letter There are rules how to write a letter of each type.
When a letter is graded by IELTS examiners, its structure, vocabulary and fluency of language are equally important. So I will show here a model for every one of the letter types together with phrases and forms of speech, and the only thing you need to do is to insert your specific topic information in it. I also supply you with examples to demonstrate what your letter should look like. Complaint This is a letter you write to complain about something. It could be something you have purchased or a bad service that you have received, or an accident that happened to you.
You must describe it and demand appropriate actions from relevant people. There are 4 paragraphs in this type of letter. They should look like this: 1. Start with “Dear Sir/Madam,“ (or write person’s name if it was given in task instructions ) Explain shortly (in one or two sentences) what you are complaining about. “I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with the tape recorder that I purchased in your store. ” 2. Explain in more details a) What happened, what the problem is. “I purchased a tape recorder in your store on 12/3/2005, just 3 days ago. After a few times that I used it, the “Play” button broke off”.
Page 26 b) What are you unhappy about. “I was very surprised to see the new improved model with 2 years of warranty breaking so soon and for no reason at all. ” c) What did you do to resolve the situation. “I contacted your store immediately in order to return the tape recorder and spoke to the shift manager. He refused to replace the tape recorder and suggested that I had it repaired. ” d) How do you feel about the problem. “You can imagine how receiving this offer upset me. ” This paragraph should be the longest in the whole letter. You can even divide it into several parts. 3.
Write what you would like them to do, and what will you do if they don’t give you what you want. “I insist that you replace the damaged tape recorder and send me a new one. Otherwise I will be forced to stop my payments to your store”. 4. Write formal ending for the letter, your name and sign. “I look forward to hearing from you. ” If you know the name of person you are writing to, sign “Yours sincerely, Mr. Smith” If you don’t know the name of person you are writing to, sign “Yours faithfully, Mr. Smith” Page 27 Useful phrases The following phrases will make your letter look good.
In case it is hard for you to remember all of them, choose just one for each paragraph, memorize it and use for all the letters of this type. For Paragraph 1 • • • • • • “I am writing to complain about…” “I am writing in regard to…” “The reason I am writing to you is (a problem with…)” “I am writing to express my concern about/dissatisfaction with…” “I would like to bring the matter of … to your attention. ” “I would like to draw your attention to …” For paragraph 2 • • • • • “I was supposed to receive … Unfortunately, that never happened. ” “You can imagine how unhappy I was to discover …” I regret to inform you that your service was below my expectations. ” “When I tried to contact you by phone, no one could offer me any sensible answer. ” “I contacted your representative in …. Unfortunately, he denied me the service that I requested. ” For paragraph 3 • • • • • “The ideal solution would be … “ “I hope you can settle this matter by …(doing something)” “I insist on getting a refund of …” “Please look into this matter as soon as possible. ” “I believe this matter deserves your urgent attention. ” Page 28 Example of Complaint This example demonstrates what a good letter of complaint should look like.
There are notes on the margins, which indicate paragraphs numbers as explained on pages 26-27. You don’t need to write them in your own letter. It is enough to just leave blank line between the paragraphs Dear Sir/Madam, The reason I am writing to you is poor quality of a food processor, which I bought in your store two weeks ago. After only two times it was in use, problems started to appear. The first malfunction that I noticed was safety lock that demanded applying of great force. My wife had to ask me for help, because she wasn’t strong enough to push the safety lock through. We discovered another problem when tried to use the blender.
I put some ice-cream and milk in the blender and pushed the “Start” button. It started working but suddenly got stuck and we were unable to use it since. I was very surprised to discover that much problems in a quite expensive model. Naturally, I returned the blender to you to be replaced with a new one. Your assistant said that I would have to wait only a week. After two weeks the food processor had still not arrived. Finally, four weeks later, I was contacted by your representative. Imagine my feelings when I learned from him that I can not receive the same model of food processor as I bought.
As a solution he offered that I upgrade my model to a better one and this too will take two weeks. I am very disappointed with both the equipment and the service have I received. Therefore I expect a full refund of 180$ as soon as possible. Yours faithfully, Mr. Smith. 4 Page 29 1 2a 2b 2c 2d 3 Request of information letter This is a letter you write to ask a person for information. For example, you may need to receive the trains’ timetable, or list of books on certain topic from a library or an itinerary for a trip you have booked to Africa. There are 3 paragraphs in this type of letter.
They should look like this: 1. Start with “Dear Sir/Madam,“ (or write person’s name if it was given in task instructions) Explain shortly (in one or two sentences) what kind of information you are interested in. “I am writing to ask for information about membership in the Shape sports club. ” 2. Explain in more details who you are, exactly what information you need, why, when and in what form do you need it – a letter, a fax, an e-mail, a phone-call, etc. This should be the biggest paragraph of the whole letter. 3. Write formal ending for the letter, your name and sign. I look forward to hearing from you. ” If you know the name of person you are writing to, sign “Yours sincerely, Mr. Smith” If you don’t know the name of person you are writing to, sign “Yours faithfully, Mr. Smith” Page 30 Example of Request letter This example demonstrates what a good letter of request for information should look like. There are notes on the margins, which indicate paragraphs numbers as explained on pages 30. You don’t need to write them in your own letter. It is enough to just leave blank line between the paragraphs Dear Sir/Madam,
I am writing to ask for complete itinerary of a trip to Africa that I booked with your company. The trip I refer to starts on August 12, 2005. I am supposed to leave with a group of 16 people. The information I would like to obtain should include the following: 1) Names and phone numbers of other people in my group 2) Airline names, flight numbers, departure and arrival times. 3) Names and locations of hotels that you have booked for me, and on what bases, bed and breakfast, half board or full board. 4) A list of optional day trips that are available and their prices. 5) A list of local doctors I can contact in case of emergency. ) A contact number for your company representative in Africa. 7) A receipt for the payment I have made on July 28, 2005. 1 2 You could send the above-mentioned information to my e-mail or a fax. I would like to receive it as soon as possible but not later then a week before my flight. I look forward to hearing from you. Yours faithfully, Mr. Smith Page 31 3 Job application letter This is a letter you write to apply for a certain position that is vacant. In the real life you would attach your resume to it. Of course, you don’t have to do it for IELTS, writing the letter is enough.
There are 4 paragraphs in this type of letter. They should look like this: 1. Start with “Dear Sir/Madam,“ (or write person’s name if it was given in task instructions) Write what position are you applying to, and where it was advertised. “I would like to apply for the position of secretary advertised in ‘Herald Tribune’ of April 15th 2005. ” 2. Write about your skills, diplomas and experience. “I am a Software Engineer with more then ten years of experience in …” “I graduated in Some Study Course from Famous University, 1996” “At present I am employed as a … by company …” I am familiar with…” “My skills include working with …, performing …, managing…” “In course of my present job I have been responsible for the planning and organization of …” “I am used to working at a fast pace to meet deadlines”. As in previous types of letters, this paragraph should be the “fattest” in the whole letter. 3. Explain, why you are interested in this job, express your motivation to contribute. Ask to schedule an interview as soon as possible. “I would like to apply my skills in your company. ” “I believe the position you offer will give me opportunity to… “If you find my skills and experience suitable, please contact me to schedule an interview. ” “I am looking forward to discussing my credentials with you personally. ” 4. Thank the person. “Thank you for your time and consideration. ” If you know the name of person you are writing to, sign “Yours sincerely, Mr. Smith” If you don’t know the name of person you are writing to, sign “Yours faithfully, Mr. Smith” Page 32 Example of Job Application Dear Sir/Madam, I would like to apply for the position of flight attendant, advertised in “The Wings” issue of October 2005. 1
As you can see from my CV, I am a flight attendant with 5 years of experience. I had a one-year apprenticeship with United Airways, and the following 3 years I worked for Sky-High Airlines. The last year I was working for AirComfort Airlines, providing customer service to first class passengers. I have a pleasant personality and good communication skills. I am familiar with service and emergency instructions, and used to working unsupervised. My experience includes administering first aid to ill passengers and dealing with unusual incidents. I am available to work weekends, holydays and overtime. 2
If you find my skills and experience suitable, please contact me to schedule an interview. I am looking forward to discussing my credentials with you personally. 3 Thanks you for your time and consideration. 4 Yours faithfully, S. Holts Page 33 Personal Letter Personal letter is usually written to a friend or a relative. It doesn’t have many strict rules. I have a couple of suggestions that will make your life easier: 1. Start with something like “Dear Linda,” or “My dearest Charlie,” Then apologize that you forgot to write. “I am sorry I haven’t written for so long. ” Next, write the purpose of your letter I am writing to thank/tell/ask/apologize/wish…” 2. Start writing on a topic from paragraph 1. Once again, this paragraph must be the biggest one. If possible, try to write 2 paragraphs (2a and 2b). 3. Sign : “With best wishes, Kathy” “Yours, Louse” “With love and many thanks from me, Diana” Example of Personal Letter Dear Sarah, I am sorry I haven’t written for so long. My work keeps me so busy, that I never have a minute to myself. I am writing to invite you to my wedding. Since you have never met my future husband, you must have a million questions running through your mind right now.
I hope I can tell you enough to put your mind at ease until we meet. Five months ago I decided to take a cruise to Bahamas, to get away for a little while. And on that cruise Faith arraigned for me to meet my future husband Alan. He is the most wonderful, loving person you could ever imagine and we are very happy together. The wedding will take place at my parents’ mansion. The date is October 17, at 7 o’clock. I am so looking forward to introducing you to Alan, and he can’t wait to meet you too. I told him all about you and our friendship. With love, Amy. 3 Page 34 1 2a 2b Formal Business letter
Any letter other than Complaint, Request, Job application, or Personal is a Business letter. It could be an explanation you write to a library about the books that were never returned, or a letter to Car Rental Company, describing the road accident you were involved in. There are 4 paragraphs in this type of letter. They should look like this: 1. Start with “Dear Sir/Madam,“ (or write person’s name if it was given in task instructions) Explain shortly (in one or two sentences) who you are and/or what are you writing about. “I am writing in regard to books I borrowed from the library on March 15, 2005 and never returned”. . Explain in more details the purpose of your letter. Consider the idea that task instructions give you, write according to it. Make up interesting details in addition to the original idea. This should be the biggest paragraph of the whole letter. 3. Say what kind of answer you expect or what suggestions do yo
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