Top 10 Most Common Mistakes Students Make in IELTS

Top 10 Most Common Mistakes Students Make in IELTS

I’ve been teaching and examining IELTS for more than 7 years and sometimes I feel like I’m in a movie that keeps repeating itself over and over with students making the same mistakes.

Here are the 10 most common that I’ve come across again and again (and again and again).

Comment below any questions that you have!

 

#10 Talking Too Much During the Speaking Test / Showing Off

Some students walk into the test like a secret agent on a serious mission.

They are going to talk as much as possible and show off at every opportunity.

I have had candidates where it was almost impossible to ask the next question because they wanted to tell me their life story when all I asked was ‘What’s your name?’

The problem is that this annoys the examiner (who has a job to do and must try to get through all the questions or get in trouble).

It can also really hurt your fluency. If you keep talking by adding ‘uh’ ‘um’ and ‘er’ onto the end of every sentence your fluency score will start dropping faster than a Task 1 line chart!

Try to show off a little and add detail – but not too much! Read more about how much you should talk here.

 

#9 Talking Too Little in the IELTS Speaking Test

Even worse than talking too much and showing off is sticking your head inside your shell because you’re shy and talking too little!

I have had candidates who answered with simple words or a single sentence for every question. The examiner has to keep asking more and more questions and has a tough time hearing enough to give you an accurate score.

Don’t be shy on IELTS!

It will hurt your fluency of course because you are unable to maintain ‘long turns’ or ‘speak at length.’ You also won’t use enough vocabulary, grammar or examples of good pronunciation for the examiner to give you a good score above 6.

The reasons are usually that students are shy. If this is your problem, try reading this post about what will happen on your test and watching some practice tests so that you feel more comfortable.

 

#8 Focusing Too Much on IELTS Trivia

Some of the most common questions I get about IELTS include ‘Can I write T/F instead of True/False?’ ‘How many people will check my writing test?’ ‘Will the examiner listen to my recording again after I leave the room?’ ‘Can I write Y instead of Yes in listening and reading?’ Can I write in all caps? How is my score averaged?’

These questions are not important. Don’t stress about trivia. Write the full word – it doesn’t take any extra time!

I meet a lot of students who ask these trivia questions instead of more important questions like: how to improve their grammar, how to make a study plan, what their level is, how to improve their listening or reading, etc.

 

#7 Studying Hard (but Not Improving)

There are so, so many students who spend year after year (and dollar after dollar) studying IELTS but seem to stay at the same level.

They are studying hard but not improving. Why not?

There are two reasons. The first one is that they are focusing on test strategy, not on improving their English.

Those are two very different things and you can read more about it here.

The second reason is that once you reach the intermediate level, your English will plateau (it will not increase as quickly).

It is still getting better – but more slowly so it looks like you are not improving. You become demotivated and then stop improving.

Learning English is a marathon and you are at the most difficult stage – running slowly uphill – keep working hard and you will be successful. Read more about the difference between successful and unsuccessful students here.

 

#6 Not Learning the Band Descriptors in IELTS Writing and Speaking

If you’re not sure about whether or not to trust what someone is telling you about IELTS, there is an easy way to check.

Is it in the band descriptors? If yes, then it is true!

And that’s all the information you really need.

So print them out, put them on the wall, study them all the time and they will be your guide!

Everything else is just rumour and you shouldn’t waste your time with it!

 

#5 Leaving out Data in IELTS Writing Task 1

This is such a simple, silly mistake!

If you leave out important data (for example, the leading demographic or a really big change) your score will be limited to a 5 for task achievement. Maximum!

If you leave out some less important information (a less important demographic, smaller changes) you can still get up to band 6 for task achievement.

Make sure you include all the data in the graph (don’t describe is mechanically – you can group it together and that still counts as including it)!

Simple, simple, simple way to save you from slipping on a banana and looking silly!

 

#4 Too Many Main Ideas in IELTS Writing Task 2

Here is my nightmare of an IELTS paragraph:

There are many reasons that banning smoking is a good idea. The first one is that it is harmful to people’s health. Moreover, it is also harmful to other people who may inhale second hand smoke. Another reason is that it costs a lot of money that could be better spend on other things. The final reason is that it is has a negative impact on the environment.

This paragraph includes a new main idea for every sentence. 4 sentences, 4 main ideas = band 5 for task achievement!

None of them are well-developed. Stick to 1 main idea per paragraph. Develop it well with a good example = band 7+.

Read more about IELTS Task 2 Writing structure here.

 

#3 Not Improving Their Pronunciation Enough

A lot of students are wasting a lot of time improving their grammar and vocabulary while they really need to be working almost 100% exclusively on pronunciation.

It doesn’t matter if your grammar and vocabulary are perfect if no one can understand you! You could have the best ideas in the world, but if your handwriting was too messy no one would be able to read them!

The reason that this happens is that pronunciation is not exactly like other skills. You can improve your grammar and vocabulary because those are muscles inside your mind.

The muscles in your mouth become fixed like statues (for some people) and it is much harder to change.

It is possible though: check out this post to learn how to improve your pronunciation with guaranteed results.

 

#2 Unclear Overviews for IELTS Writing Task 1

The biggest problem for all students who take IELTS: the general overview for Task 1.

It’s not your fault! It’s a very, odd and specific sentence that only exists on IELTS and has way too much of an impact on your score.

So, so, so many students get 6s for grammar, vocabulary and cohesion/coherence and 5 for task achievement just because of the overview.

That student should be getting a 6 overall but they get a 5.5. It’s not fair. But crying about it won’t help.

The only way to help yourself is to improve your overviews. Start here!

Careful on your IELTS writing!

 

 

#1 Misunderstanding the Question for IELTS Writing Task 2

Just like the biggest problem for Writing Task 1 is overviews, the biggest problem for Task 2 writing is misunderstanding the question.

Students in my class don’t really like practicing this because it isn’t technically writing. It’s a reading skill (and kind of a writing skill).

But students should be focused on this more than anything else. If you misunderstand the question, depending on how badly you do it, you will get a band 3, 4, 5 or maybe 6 for task achievement. Guaranteed!

Examiners love/hate it!

So take some time to read as many questions and sample answers as you can until you are confident you can read and understand the questions!

 

 

Now you know don’t make the same mistakes over and over again! Be more like Vic Mensa:

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: The World Cup and Olympics

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: The World Cup and Olympics

This is a real question from a past IELTS Writing Task 2.

It is very common to have to answer questions about global events or sports.

Keep reading for a sample answer as well as vocabulary, analysis, practice, notes and other stuff too!

Read all my other exclusive sample answers online for free here: IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answers.

IELTS WRITING TASK 2

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people think that it is a waste of money for countries to host big sporting events like the world cup, and that the money would be better spent on other things. However, others think that hosting large sporting events has a clear, positive impact on a country.
Discuss both these views and give your opinion.

Give reason for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

There is fierce competition between nations to host major international sports events like the World Cup or Olympics as it is a unique opportunity to boost the national reputation of the host nation. In spite of its undeniable benefits, I believe that the costs are too great and therefore governments should prioritise other key issues to better benefit their citizens.

 

On the one hand, becoming a host nation for global events such as the World Cup or the Olympics brings a number of economic and infrastructural benefits. During these events, there is an influx of tourists from all over the world who need places to stay, restaurants to eat in and traditional products to purchase. The efforts made to cater to these tourists will remain long after they have gone. The cost of renovating a hotel might pay for itself during the event and then begin turning a large profit in later years. The other main area of development is related to the rapid expansion of quality infrastructure. Nations will be forced to invest in new sports facilities like swimming pools and stadiums as well as make renovations to pre-existing infrastructure like roads and airports. For example, China used the Beijing Olympics as an opportunity to modernise old buildings and roads.

On the other hand, these competitions use up tremendous resources from the host nation for a temporary competition. To ensure the success of these prestigious events, governments must waste a large percentage of the nation budget in the years leading up to the competition, oftentimes in the billions of dollars. The newly constructed facilities usually fall into disuse after each tournament. A salient example of this is Brazil as many of the swimming pools and sports facilities that were used in the 2014 Olympics are currently abandoned and becoming decrepit. Meanwhile, there are other pressing issues that have been festering including the need for new schools for underprivileged students and quality healthcare for the elderly population. If the government had prioritised these issues the country would be in a better position and its citizens would have a higher standard of living.

To summarize, due to the exorbitant costs, I am of the belief that the government should not allocate such a large percentage of its financial resources to hosting global events with negligible long-term impact. Instead these events should be hosted in the same countries year after year so that the new infrastructure pays for itself over time.

 

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Analysis

There is fierce competition between nations to host major international sports events like the World Cup or Olympics as it is a unique opportunity to boost the national reputation of the host nation. In spite of its undeniable benefits, I believe that the costs are too great and therefore governments should prioritise other key issues to better benefit their citizens.

  • My first sentence simply restates what the topic is. Try to write this sentence as quickly as possible as it is not that important.

  • My second sentence includes my opinion and main ideas to support it. Try to put your opinion at the beginning so it is clear throughout your writing.

On the one hand, becoming a host nation for global events such as the World Cup or the Olympics brings a number of economic and infrastructural benefits. During these events, there is an influx of tourists from all over the world who need places to stay, restaurants to eat in and traditional products to purchase. The efforts made to cater to these tourists will remain long after they have gone. The cost of renovating a hotel might pay for itself during the event and then begin turning a large profit in later years. The other main area of development is related to the rapid expansion of quality infrastructure. Nations will be forced to invest in new sports facilities like swimming pools and stadiums as well as make renovations to pre-existing infrastructure like roads and airports. For example, China used the Beijing Olympics as an opportunity to modernise old buildings and roads.

  • My first sentence says what the whole paragraph will be about – how these events are helpful.

  • My second sentence explains how tourism will help specific parts of a country.

  • My third sentence introduces the idea that the changes made for tourists will have a long-term impact.

  • My fourth sentence gives an example of the long-term benefit for a hotel.

  • My fifth sentence describes how the events also help a country’s infrastructure.

  • My sixth sentence describes the specific areas of infrastructure.

  • My seventh sentence gives a specific example of this.

On the other hand, these competitions use up tremendous resources from the host nation for a temporary competition. To ensure the success of these prestigious events, governments must waste a large percentage of the nation budget in the years leading up to the competition, oftentimes in the billions of dollars. The newly constructed facilities usually fall into disuse after each tournament. A salient example of this is Brazil as many of the swimming pools and sports facilities that were used in the 2014 Olympics are currently abandoned and becoming decrepit. Meanwhile, there are other pressing issues that have been festering including the need for new schools for underprivileged students and quality healthcare for the elderly population. If the government had prioritised these issues the country would be in a better position and its citizens would have a higher standard of living.

  • My first sentence says what the whole paragraph will be about – why they are a waste of resources.

  • My second sentence explains that governments spend billions on these tournaments.

  • My third sentence claims the facilities are not often used after the tournaments.

  • My fourth sentence gives an example of the Olympics in Brazil.

  • My fifth sentence describes the more important issues that have not been addressed in Brazil.

  • My sixth sentence claims that focusing on those other issues would have been better for the people of Brazil.

To summarize, due to the exorbitant costs, I am of the belief that the government should not allocate such a large percentage of its financial resources to hosting global events with negligible long-term impact. Instead these events should be hosted in the same countries year after year so that the new infrastructure pays for itself over time.

  •  My first sentence summarises my opinion and the main reason for it.

  • My merciful final sentence adds an extra detail containing a potential solution.

 

Sample Answer Vocabulary

 

There is fierce competition between nations to host major international sports events like the World Cup or Olympics as it is a unique opportunity to boost the national reputation of the host nation. In spite of its undeniable benefits, I believe that the costs are too great and therefore governments should prioritise other key issues to better benefit their citizens.

 

On the one hand, becoming a host nation for global events such as the World Cup or the Olympics brings a number of economic and infrastructural benefits. During these events, there is an influx of tourists from all over the world who need places to stay, restaurants to eat in and traditional products to purchase. The efforts made to cater to these tourists will remain long after they have gone. The cost of renovating a hotel might pay for itself during the event and then begin turning a large profit in later years. The other main area of development is related to the rapid expansion of quality infrastructure. Nations will be forced to invest in new sports facilities like swimming pools and stadiums as well as make renovations to pre-existing infrastructure like roads and airports. For example, China used the Beijing Olympics as an opportunity to modernise old buildings and roads.

On the other hand, these competitions use up tremendous resources from the host nation for a temporary competition. To ensure the success of these prestigious events, governments must waste a large percentage of the nation budget in the years leading up to the competition, oftentimes in the billions of dollars. The newly constructed facilities usually fall into disuse after each tournament. A salient example of this is Brazil as many of the swimming pools and sports facilities that were used in the 2014 Olympics are currently abandoned and becoming decrepit. Meanwhile, there are other pressing issues that have been festering including the need for new schools for underprivileged students and quality healthcare for the elderly population. If the government had prioritised these issues the country would be in a better position and its citizens would have a higher standard of living.

To summarize, due to the exorbitant costs, I am of the belief that the government should not allocate such a large percentage of its financial resources to hosting global events with negligible long-term impact. Instead these events should be hosted in the same countries year after year so that the new infrastructure pays for itself over time.

 

Vocabulary Definitions

fierce competition: fighting with each other seriously in sports or business usually

as it is: because it is

unique opportunity: very good, one time only chance

national reputation: how a country is viewed by the rest of the world

host nation: the country where the event is

in spite of: despite

undeniable benefits: clear positives

prioritise: made something the most important matter

key issues: most important matter or question

a number of: many or a lot of

influx: a rush of something or a lot of something suddenly appearing

traditional products: things with an historical background

cater: to serve or try to please

renovating: fixing up or making better

rapid expansion: quickly growing

quality infrastructure: very good roads, buildings, etc.

invest: put money into something

pre-existing infrastructure: the infrastructure that has already been around for a long time

modernise: becoming more modern/new

use up tremendous resources: spend a lot of money/time/natural resources

temporary competition: impermanent tournament

ensure the success: make sure that it will work/be successful

prestigious events: important events

in the years leading up to: the time before something

fall into disuse: no longer used by people

a salient example of this is: an example that stands out

abandoned: left behind

decrepit: old and falling apart

pressing issues: important or urgent problems

festering: getting worse without anyone paying much attention

underprivileged students: students without much money/opportunity

quality healthcare: good hospitals and doctors for people to use

better position: a good place

higher standard of living: good quality of life

exorbitant costs: very expensive

allocate: distribute resources to a particular area

financial resources: money

negligible long-term impact: little effect over a long period of time

pays for itself: will end up breaking even/not losing any money

 

Vocabulary Practice

There is _________________ between nations to host major international sports events like the World Cup or Olympics _________ a _________________ to boost the _________________ of the _________________. _________________ its _________________, I believe that the costs are too great and therefore governments should _________________ other _________________ to better benefit their citizens.

 

On the one hand, becoming a host nation for global events such as the World Cup or the Olympics brings _________________ economic and infrastructural benefits. During these events, there is an _________________ of tourists from all over the world who need places to stay, restaurants to eat in and _________________ to purchase. The efforts made to _________________ to these tourists will remain long after they have gone. The cost of _________________ a hotel might pay for itself during the event and then begin turning a large profit in later years. The other main area of development is related to the _________________ of _________________. Nations will be forced to _________________ in new sports facilities like swimming pools and stadiums as well make renovations to _________________ like roads and airports. For example, China used the Beijing Olympics as an opportunity to _________________ old buildings and roads.

On the other hand, these competitions _________________ from the host nation for a _________________. To _________________ of these _________________, governments must waste a large percentage of the nation budget _________________ the competition, oftentimes in the billions of dollars. The newly constructed facilities usually _________________ after each tournament. _________________ Brazil as many of the swimming pools and sports facilities that were used in the 2014 Olympics are currently _________________ and becoming _________________. This means that more than 2 billion dollars from Brazilian citizens was wasted. Meanwhile, there are other _________________ that have been _________________ including the need for new schools for _________________ and _________________ for the elderly population. If the government had prioritised these issues the country would be in a _________________ and its citizens would have a _________________.

To summarize, due to the _________________, I am of the belief that the government should not _________________ such a large percentage of its _________________ to hosting global events with _________________. Instead these events should be hosted in the same countries year after year so that the new infrastructure _________________ over time.

 

 

World Cup Quiz!

IELTS Quiz!

 

Answers:

1. Striker/Forward.
2. Goalkeeper, forward, defender, centreback, fullback, right back, left back, sweeper, winger, midfielder, centre midfielder, defensive midfielder, attacking midfielder, wide midfielder, centre forward

 

 

IELTS Practice: True/False/Not Given/Russian Hooligans

 

Answer the T/F/NG questions about this quote:

ANTON CHOOSES TO fight everywhere. Anton is a bouncer and a boxing coach and an instructor at a gym in St. Petersburg that specializes in training hooligans. Anton loves fighting, loves talking about it, loves the language of it.

1. Anton is a hooligan himself.
2. In Russia, football hooligans are very common.
3. Anton enjoys fighting.
4. Anton doesn’t have a job.

Answers:

1. Not Given. He trains fighter but it isn’t clear that he is also a football hooligan.

2. True. If there are gyms training them, then they must be common. It’s logical – most countries don’t have that.

3. True. It says he ‘loves’ fighting so he must enjoy it.

4. False. It says he is an instructor at a hooligan training gym and that is a job, believe it or not.

Read the full article about Fight Club 2: Russian Forest Fights here: http://www.espn.com/…/world-cup-2018-russia-new-school-hool…

 

 

Links

 

 

Comment Below: Do you enjoy watching the Olympics? The World Cup?

 

 

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Overpopulation

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Overpopulation

This is a real question from the IELTS test in Asia in June 2018. I am a real (former) IELTS examiner. You are reading this.

Those are all the facts, let’s get into my opinions now!

Read below for my sample answer, analysis, practice activities, notes, links, and more!

Check out my other samples answers here.

Here is a Task 1 sample answer about populations.

If you need some help brainstorming ideas for this topic: http://howtodoielts.com/how-to-brainstorm-ideas-10-amazing…/

Overpopulation! How does it feeeeeeel?

 

 

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Overpopulation

Traffic and housing problems in major cities could be solved by moving companies, factories and their employees to the countryside. Do you agree or disagree?

Many people claim that moving companies, factories and their employees from cities to the countryside might ameliorate some of the worst traffic and housing issues. I strongly believe that this is a suitable solution for those two particular city problems.

Moving the facilities of major corporations to the countryside will reduce traffic problems by encouraging more people to live in the countryside for their work. It is widely known that more people live in cities today than ever before and this has caused terrible traffic. For example, in Beijing it is not uncommon for gridlocked motorways to delay motorists for hours. Travelers depend on getting in to Beijing for their livelihood but if their jobs were in the countryside, or a nearby suburb, they could live outside the city and reduce traffic. This would have a major impact on overcrowded cities like Beijing that lose billions of dollars a year because of time wasted in traffic jams, according to recent research.

Moving factories and employees to the countryside will also help to mitigate housing issues in cities. In many developing countries, the rush of people from the country to the city has necessitated the construction of massive skyscrapers. A lot of these underdeveloped cities such as Mexico City and Lagos do not have the sophisticated infrastructure including efficient plumbing, clean water and trash collection that is needed to service a concentrated population. By moving jobs and people to the countryside, developing countries will have more time to improve their infrastructure to deal with surging urban populations.

In conclusion, moving people to the countryside will help to reduce traffic and housing problems, especially in developing countries. If more governments studied this closely and enacted laws to encourage people to move, it would greatly improve the quality of life for everyone living in the city.

 

IELTS Sample Answer Analysis

Many people claim that moving companies, factories and their employees from cities to the countryside might ameliorate some of the worst traffic and housing issues. I strongly believe that this is a suitable solution for those two particular city problems.

  • In the first sentence, I simply paraphrase the topic. Don’t waste time on this sentence, write it as quickly as possible.

  • In the second sentence, I state my opinion. It is essential to do this or you will be limited to a 5 for task achievement (you can wait until the conclusion to include your opinion if you want).

Moving the facilities of major corporations to the countryside will reduce traffic problems by encouraging more people to live in the countryside for their work. It is widely known that more people live in cities today than ever before and this has caused terrible traffic. For example, in Beijing it is not uncommon for gridlocked motorways to delay motorists for hours. Travelers depend on getting in to Beijing for their livelihood but if their jobs were in the countryside, or a nearby suburb, they could live outside the city and reduce traffic. This would have a major impact on overcrowded cities like Beijing that lose billions of dollars a year because of time wasted in traffic jams, according to recent research.

  • In the first sentence, I write a topic sentence about how people leaving the city will help reduce traffic.

  • In my second sentence, I explain that people in cities now cause traffic.

  • In my third sentence, I give the example of Beijing where the traffic is really bad.

  • In my fourth sentence, I claim that the traffic would be better if people in cities like that lived and worked outside the city.

  • In my fifth sentence, I describe how reducing traffic will also help cities to save money and cite (fake) research.

Moving factories and employees to the countryside will also help to mitigate housing issues in cities. In many developing countries, the rush of people from the country to the city has necessitated the construction of massive skyscrapers. A lot of these underdeveloped cities such as Mexico City and Lagos do not have the sophisticated infrastructure including efficient plumbing, clean water and trash collection that is needed to service a concentrated population. By moving jobs and people to the countryside, developing countries will have more time to improve their infrastructure to deal with surging urban populations.

  • In my first sentence, I write a topic sentence saying that moving out of cities will help solve housing problems.

  • In my second sentence, I claim that developing countries have to deal with rushes of people.

  • In my third sentence, I detail how this can be a problem because developing countries aren’t ready for increased populations.

  • In my fourth sentence, I add that if there were more people in the countryside, cities would have more time to deal with those problems.

In conclusion, moving people to the countryside will help to reduce traffic and housing problems, especially in developing countries. If more governments studied this closely and enacted laws to encourage people to move, it would greatly improve the quality of life for everyone living in the city.

  • In my first sentence, I summarise my opinion and main ideas.

  • In my second sentence, I suggest that governments should look closely at this issue in order to improve the quality of life for everyone living in a city.

 

IELTS Sample Answer Vocabulary

Take some notes on the following vocabulary. Write down what you think each word means and a sample sentence and then check your answers below.

Many people claim that moving companies, factories and their employees from cities to the countryside might ameliorate some of the worst traffic and housing issues. I strongly believe that this is a suitable solution for those two particular city problems.

Moving the facilities of major corporations to the countryside will reduce traffic problems by encouraging more people to live in the countryside for their work. It is widely known that more people live in cities today than ever before and this has caused terrible traffic. For example, in Beijing it is not uncommon for gridlocked motorways to delay motorists for hours. Travelers depend on getting in to Beijing for their livelihood but if their jobs were in the countryside, or a nearby suburb, they could live outside the city and reduce traffic. This would have a major impact on overcrowded cities like Beijing that lose billions of dollars a year because of time wasted in traffic jams, according to recent research.

Moving factories and employees to the countryside will also help to mitigate housing issues in cities. In many developing countries, the rush of people from the country to the city has necessitated  the construction of massive skyscrapers. A lot of these underdeveloped cities such as Mexico City and Lagos do not have the sophisticated infrastructure including efficient plumbing, clean water and trash collection that is needed to service a concentrated population. By moving jobs and people to the countryside, developing countries will have more time to improve their infrastructure to deal with surging urban populations.

In conclusion, moving people to the countryside will help to reduce traffic and housing problems, especially in developing countries. If more governments studied this closely and enacted laws to encourage people to move, it would greatly improve the quality of life for everyone living in the city.

 

Answers

ameliorate: to make better (There’s no way to ameliorate this situation), a very formal/academic word – not used when speaking

It is widely known: many people know or are aware of something

it is not uncommon: another way to say something is common

gridlocked motorways: streets so full of traffic that they can’t move

depend: relies on

livelihood: the money that you make/your job

major impact: big influence/effect

overcrowded: lots of people (too many!)

according to recent research: studies have shown

mitigate: help to balance out or stop

the rush of people: lots of people doing something at once

skyscrapers: very, very tall buildings in big cities

sophisticated infrastructure: complex roads, water systems, plumbing, etc.

efficient plumbing: the system of toilets, waste and sewage in a town or city

clean water: water that is not dirty

trash collection: picking up trash by sending trash trucks around

concentrated population: lots of people in a small area of land

surging urban populations: rapidly increasing numbers of people in the city

enacted laws: pass/make laws

quality of life: how good/bad your life is

 

Sample IELTS Notes

IELTS notes by Dave!

 

 

Links to Videos and Articles about Overpopulation

Cause, Effects and Solutions for Overpopulation

How Many People Can Our Planet Really Support?

Overpopulation (Kids Britannica)

The Biggest Threat to the Earth is Kids

Watch the video above and comment below – Should we be worried about overpopulation or not?

 

 

Comment Below: Is your city/town overcrowded?

Yes it is, there’s way too many…

Not really. In my city…

It’s tough to say, there are …

IELTS Writing Task 1 Sample Answer: Table (Populations)

IELTS Writing Task 1 Sample Answer: Table (Populations)

Tables. Everyone hates tables. They’re full of data.

And sometimes it feels like an impossible task to describe it all.

You feel just like Sisyphus, eternally rolling your boulder up an infinite mountain. Or like this dog.

IELTS tables are a real challenge!

Read here about how to simplify and analyse tables.

I’ll be totally honest with you: this table is an absolute nightmare! I was sitting with one of the head IELTS trainers when I was marking this one and we had a real tough time figuring out the overview.

In that situation, most (but not all) examiners will be more lenient when it comes to marking the overview. They will take it easy on you because it is a tough graph!

Study the sample answer below so that you won’t feel like that dog on test day!

 

The Question

The table below gives information about populations in Australia and Malaysia in 1980 and 2002. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Australia

Malaysia

1980

2002

1980

2002

Total population (millions)

14.7

19.6

13.7

24.3

Male population (%)

49.9

49.9

50.3

50.6

Female population (%)

50.1

50.1

49.7

49.4

Birth rate (%)

1.5

1.3

3.2

2.2

Average annual population growth (%)

1.2

1.3

2.4

2.1

Population aged over 65 (%)

9.6

12.4

3.7

4.3

Examiner Sample Answer (by Dave)

The table compares six demographic indicators of Australia and Malaysia in the years 1980 and 2002. Overall, while the population size in both countries increased considerably over the period, Malaysia’s grew at a much higher rate. Despite the overall rate of growth, the birth rate percentage was in decline by 2002. Both countries had comparable stable figures for the approximately equal male and female population proportions, however Australia had more older people and saw a larger percentile increase there as well.

The total population in both countries witnessed a substantial growth with the figure for Malaysia nearly doubling to 24.3 million while Australia increased from 14.7 to 19.6 million people. The percentage of men and women of Australia remained steady during the period at 49.9% for males and 51.1% for females. In contrast, the Malaysian male population increased its share by .3% to 50.% and there was a reciprocal decline of 0.3% for females.

Both nations experienced a downward trend in birth rates in 2002, with a decline of 1.0% in Malaysia. Overall, Malaysia had a much higher birthrate and annual population growth in 1980 (3.2% and 2.4%) and 2002 (2.2% and 2.1%). In Australia, the changes were less dramatic with the birth rate falling from 1.5% to 1.3% and average annual population growth slipping slightly from 1.3% to 1.2%. Seniors experienced a different trend. Between 1980 and 2002, Australia was home to an extra 2.8% (12.4% overall) of the elderly while the figure for Malaysia rose much less substantially by 0.6% (4.3% in total in 2002).

 

Sample Answer Analysis

The table compares six demographic indicators of Australia and Malaysia in the years 1980 and 2002. Overall, while the population size in both countries increased considerably over the period, Malaysia’s grew at a much higher rate. Despite the overall rate of growth, the birth rate percentage was in decline by 2002. Both countries had comparable stable figures for the approximately equal male and female population proportions, however Australia had more older people and saw a larger percentile increase there as well.

  • My first sentence simply paraphrases the question. Don’t worry about this standard, token sentence – write it quickly.

  • My second sentence begins a torturous general overview. I start with the most important information – population growth for both countries.

  • My third sentence is still part of my never-ending general overview and notes an important decreasing trend related to birth rate %.

  • My merciful final sentence of the overview notes that both countries have similar proportions with the exception of the elderly, of which there are more in Australia.

The total population in both countries witnessed a substantial growth with the figure for Malaysia nearly doubling to 24.3 million while Australia increased from 14.7 to 19.6 million people. The percentage of men and women of Australia remained steady during the period at 49.9% for males and 51.1% for females. In contrast, the Malaysian male population increased its share by .3% to 50.% and there was a reciprocal decline of 0.3% for females.

  • My first sentence details the statistics for overall population growth in both countries.

  • My second sentence describes the ratio changes for men and women in Australia.

  • My third sentence does the same but for Malaysia, where there are fewer females.

Both nations experienced a downward trend in birth rates in 2002, with a decline of 1.0% in Malaysia. Overall, Malaysia had a much higher birthrate and annual population growth in 1980 (3.2% and 2.4%) and 2002 (2.2% and 2.1%). In Australia, the changes were less dramatic with the birth rate falling from 1.5% to 1.3% and average annual population growth slipping slightly from 1.3% to 1.2%. Seniors experienced a different trend. Between 1980 and 2002, Australia was home to an extra 2.8% (12.4% overall) of the elderly while the figure for Malaysia rose much less substantially by 0.6% (4.3% in total in 2002).

  • My first sentence describes the percentage changes for birth rates.

  • My second sentence compares Malaysia which had much higher overall growth rates.

  • My third sentence compares Australia, which had lower growth rates.

  • My fourth sentence introduces the category of seniors.

  • My fifth sentence compares the data for seniors in Malaysia and Australia.

 

Vocabulary Analysis and Practice

The table compares six demographic indicators of Australia and Malaysia in the years 1980 and 2002. Overall, while the population size in both countries increased considerably over the period, Malaysia’s grew at a much higher rate. Despite the overall rate of growth, the birth rate percentage was in decline by 2002. Both countries had comparable stable figures for the approximately equal male and female population proportions, however Australia had more older people and saw a larger percentile increase there as well.

The total population in both countries witnessed a substantial growth with the figure for Malaysia nearly doubling to 24.3 million while Australia increased from 14.7 to 19.6 million people. The percentage of men and women of Australia remained steady during the period at 49.9% for males and 51.1% for females. In contrast, the Malaysian male population increased its share by .3% to 50.% and there was a reciprocal decline of 0.3% for females.

Both nations experienced a downward trend in birth rates in 2002, with a decline of 1.0% in Malaysia. Overall, Malaysia had a much higher birthrate and annual population growth in 1980 (3.2% and 2.4%) and 2002 (2.2% and 2.1%). In Australia, the changes were less dramatic with the birth rate falling from 1.5% to 1.3% and average annual population growth slipping slightly from 1.3% to 1.2%. Seniors experienced a different trend. Between 1980 and 2002, Australia was home to an extra 2.8% (12.4% overall) of the elderly while the figure for Malaysia rose much less substantially by 0.6% (4.3% in total in 2002).

Practice – categorise the vocabulary from the sample answer below: 

Vocabulary for describing growth:

Vocabulary for describing decline:

Ways to say big/fast:

Ways to say small/slow:

Answers:

Vocabulary for describing growth: increased, grew at a much higher rate, substantial growth, rose much less substantially

Vocabulary for describing decline: was in decline, reciprocal decline, downward trend, slipping slightly

Ways to say big/fast: much higher rate, considerable, substantial

Ways to say small/slow: less dramatic, slightly, less substantially

 

Grammar Analysis and Practice: Present Simple

Wait, don’t skip this section right away! I know, I know – present simple. The simplest, most basic grammar.

If you are reading this, you already know about present simple.

But you wouldn’t believe how many students make simple mistakes in the first sentence of their writing and give the examiner a really bad first impression.

My tip is to make sure you get the subject/verb agreement here correct as a reminder to keep getting it correct as you continue writing.

The table compares six demographic indicators of Australia and Malaysia in the years 1980 and 2002.

Red: Subject – is it singular or plural (table is singular, tables is plural)

Table: Verb (if the subject is singular then there is an ‘s’ – compares. If it is plural, then there is no ‘s’ – compare.

Correct: The table compares six demographic indicators of Australia and Malaysia in the years 1980 and 2002.

Incorrect: The table compare six demographic indicators of Australia and Malaysia in the years 1980 and 2002.

Let’s do some simple practice:

1. The pie charts illustrate the band scores for IELTS candidates in Vietnam in 2005 and 2018.

2. The diagram describe the process by which an examiner marks IELTS.

3. IELTS examiners likes marking Task 1 because it is easy.

4. IELT Writing Task 1 stop many students from getting the scores that they deserve.

5. IELTS students almost never spends enough time to prepare.

Answers:

1. The pie charts illustrate the band scores for IELTS candidates in Vietnam in 2005 and 2018.

2. The diagram describes the process by which an examiner marks IELTS.

3. IELTS examiners like marking Task 1 because it is easy.

4. IELT Writing Task 1 stops many students from getting the scores that they deserve.

5. IELTS students almost never spend enough time to prepare.

I know it’s simple – just make sure you do it and then remember that your subjects and verbs should always agree (regardless if it is present simple or not).

 

My Handwritten Notes

IELTS Tables Vocabulary

 

 

Links

 

 

Student Band 5.5 Example (for Comparison)

The table compares six population information of Australia and Malaysia in the years 1980 and 2002. Overall, the population size in both countries increased considerably over the period. The two countries saw differences in the rates of birth, average annual growth and aging population.

After 22 years, the total population in both countries witnessed a substantially growth. The figure for Malaysia nearly doubling its previous data, reaching 24.3 million. While the percentage of men and women of Australia remained steadily during the period, there was a slight growth by 0.3% in Malaysian male population.

The two nations experienced a downward trend in birth rates in 2002. Their older population, by contrast, increased. Between 1980 and 2002, Australia had an extra 2.8% of the elderly while Malaysia rise by 0.6%. Average population growth rate grew by 0.1% in Australia yet fall by 1% for the other nation.

 

Practice: Complete the notes for your overview

1. Population ____________ in both countries

2. __________’s population increased quicker than __________

3. Male and female proportions were relatively _______.

4. ___________ had a higher birthrate, but with a ____________ trend.

5. ___________ had a larger older population.

6. __________’s older population increased more quickly.

 

Now use your notes to write an overview. Try to combine the information into a maximum of two or three sentences. Look back at my overview to check your answers. Write your overview in the comments below!

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Improve Your IELTS by Learning from Donald Trump’s Mistakes

Improve Your IELTS by Learning from Donald Trump’s Mistakes

When it comes to political decisions that impact millions of people in America and around the world, Donald Trump doesn’t make any mistakes. He’s perfect. He wouldn’t say it but he is. Everyone knows that.

But when it comes to English grammar and vocabulary, his record is a bit mixed.

I don’t think it is fair to pick apart a few tweets with mistakes in them and call him an idiot. Twitter is about sending out fast messages. Most of his tweets do not have mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes – we shouldn’t pretend that typos are actually important!

If you think you’re smarter than the president because you can spot some typos he made on Twitter, you need to completely re-evaluate your life.

Still, I won’t judge whatever you need to feel better about yourself – we all need a pick-me up and Donald Trump is picking up the whole world at the moment!

First I’m going to look at his writing (and some speaking) mistakes based on the four IELTS criteria: vocabulary, grammar, fluency/cohesion & coherence, and task achievement. I’ve included spelling as a separate category because there are so, so many spelling mistakes…

IELTS Writing Task 2 Tip: Edit for mistakes if you have an extra minute at the end. Practice this tip by using all of Trump’s mistakes below.

Then I’ll give him his IELTS band scores as if he was a regular IELTS candidate!

Be sure to check out my post and video on Donald Trump’s IELTS speaking score as well (if you don’t have enough Donald Trump in your life already – how did we ever live before Donald Trump was president?).

Be sure to subscribe on YouTube for more content like this.

SPELLING MISTAKES – Can you find all 13!?

 

 

  • I’m honered to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States!

  • China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented act!

  • Reports by @CNN that I will be working on The Apprentice during my Presidency, even part time, are rediculous & untrue – FAKE NEWS!

  • Looks to me like the Bernie people will fight. If not, there blood, sweat and tears was a total waist of time. Kaine stands for opposite!

  • These politicians like Cruz and Graham, who have watched ISIS and many other problems develope for years, do nothing to make thing better!

  • @AndreaTantaros- You are a true journalistic profesional. I so agree with what you say. Keep up the great work!

  • All of the phony T.V. commercials against me are bought and payed for by SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS, the bandits that tell your pols what to do

  • Leightweight chocker Marco Rubio looks like a little boy on stage. Not presidential material!

  • Thr coverage … gas been so false and angry

  • The dying @NRO National Review has totally given up the fight against Barrack Obama. They have been loosing for years. I will beat Hillary!

  • If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House waite so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?

ANSWERS:

 

 

  • I’m honored to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States!

  • China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act!

  • Reports by @CNN that I will be working on The Apprentice during my Presidency, even part time, are ridiculous & untrue – FAKE NEWS!

  • Looks to me like the Bernie people will fight. If not, there blood, sweat and tears was a total waste of time. Kaine stands for opposite!

  • These politicians like Cruz and Graham, who have watched ISIS and many other problems develop for years, do nothing to make thing better!

  • @AndreaTantaros- You are a true journalistic professional. I so agree with what you say. Keep up the great work!

  • All of the phony T.V. commercials against me are bought and paid for by SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS, the bandits that tell your pols what to do

  • Lightweight choker Marco Rubio looks like a little boy on stage. Not presidential material

  • Their coverage … has been so false and angry

  • The dying @NRO National Review has totally given up the fight against Barrack Obama. They have been losing for years. I will beat Hillary!

  • If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?

 

GRAMMAR MISTAKES – Can you find all 24!?

 

  • So funny, the Democrats have sued the Republicans for Winning. Now he R’s counter and force them to turn over a treasure trove of material, including Servers and Emails!

  • No dream is too big, no challenge is to great

  • Cooper: “Did you use that $960 million loss to avoid paying personal federal income taxes?” Trump: “Of course I do. Of course I do.”

  • This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!

  • For those asking, the Republicans only have 51 votes in the Senate, and they need 60. That is why we need to win more Republicans in 2018 Election! We can then be even tougher on Crime (and Border), and even better to our Military & Veterans!

  • The Fake News Media hates when I use what has turned out to be my very powerful Social Media – over 100 million people! I can go around them

  • No matter how good I do on something, they’ll never write good. I mean, they don’t write good. They have people over there, like Maggie Haberman, and others, they don’t write good. They don’t know how to write good

  • This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign

IELTS Grammar Score: Band 6

IELTS Grammar Score for Donald!

Read more about the most important grammar websites here.

 

ANSWERS:

 

 

  • So funny, the Democrats have sued the Republicans for winning. Now he R’s counter and force them to turn over a treasure trove of material, including servers and emails!

  • No dream is too big, no challenge is too great

  • Cooper: “Did you use that $960 million loss to avoid paying personal federal income taxes?” Trump: “Of course I did. Of course I did.”

  • This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. But the Russian witch hunt goes on and on. Their was no collusion and there was no obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!

  • For those asking, the Republicans only have 51 votes in the senate, and they need 60. That is why we need to win more Republicans in 2018 election! We can then be even tougher on crime (and the border), and even better to our military & veterans!

  • The fake news  media hates when I use what has turned out to be my very powerful social media – over 100 million people! I can go around them.

  • No matter how well do on something, they’ll never write ‘good.’ I mean, they don’t write ‘good.’ They have people over there, like Maggie Haberman, and others, they don’t write ‘good.’ They don’t know how to write ‘good.

  • This Russian connection nonsense is merely an attempt to coverup the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign,

 

VOCABULARY MISTAKES – Can you find all 8!?

  • Ted Cruz is totally unelectable, if he even gets to run (born in Canada). Will loose big to Hillary. Polls show I beat Hillary easily! WIN!

  • We must protect our country and our workers. Our steel industry is in bad shape. IF YOU DON’T HAVE STEEL, YOU DON’T HAVE A COUNTRY!

  • I’m not unproud

  • China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act.

  • Despite the constant negative press covfefe

  • Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Council

  • Buy American & hire American are the principals at the core of my agenda, which is: JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! Thank you @exxonmobil

  • Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!

IELTS Vocabulary Score: Band 6

IELTS vocab score for Donald!

Read more about the vocabulary words you shouldn’t be studying here.

 

 

ANSWERS

  • Ted Cruz is totally unelectable, if he even gets to run (born in Canada). Will lose big to Hillary. Polls show I beat Hillary easily! WIN!

  • We must protect our country and our workers. Our steel industry is in bad shape. IF YOU DON’T HAVE STEEL, YOU DON’T HAVE A COUNTRY! (You can still have a country without steel)

  • I’m not ashamed,

  • China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act.

  • Despite the constant negative press coverage (maybe?).

  • Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. counsel.

  • Buy American & hire American are the principles at the core of my agenda, which is: JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! Thank you @exxonmobil

  • Terrible! Just found out that Obama tapped the phones in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!

 

COHESION & COHERENCE – Can you find all 1 million mistakes?

 

Talking about his first 100 days in office:

Number one, there’s great responsibility. When it came time to, as an example, send out the fifty-nine missiles, the Tomahawks in Syria. I’m saying to myself, “You know, this is more than just like, seventy-nine [sic] missiles. This is death that’s involved,” because people could have been killed. This is risk that’s involved, because if the missile goes off and goes in a city or goes in a civilian area—you know, the boats were hundreds of miles away—and if this missile goes off and lands in the middle of a town or a hamlet …. every decision is much harder than you’d normally make. [unintelligible] … This is involving death and life and so many things. … So it’s far more responsibility. [unintelligible] ….The financial cost of everything is so massive, every agency. This is thousands of times bigger, the United States, than the biggest company in the world.

IELTS Cohesion & Coherence Score: Band 4

IELTS Cohesion and Coherence Score for Donald!

Read more about cohesion and coherence here.

 

 

TASK ACHIEVEMENT – Does Donald Trump answer the interviewer’s question?

BOB WOODWARD: And the real first question is, where do you start the movie of your decision to run for president? Because that is a big deal. A lot of internal/external stuff, and we’d love to hear your monologue on how you did it.

DONALD TRUMP: Where do you start the movie? I think it’s actually — and very interesting question — but I think the start was standing on top of the escalator at Trump Tower on June 16, which is the day — Bob, you were there, and you know what I mean, because there has. . . . I mean, it looked like the Academy Awards. I talk about it. There were so many cameras. So many — it was packed. The atrium of Trump Tower, which is a very big place, was packed. It literally looked like the Academy Awards. And . . .  .

BW: But we want to go before that moment.

DT:   Before that? Okay, because that was really . . .  .

BW: Because, other words, there’s an internal Donald with Donald.

ROBERT COSTA: Maybe late 2014 or before you started hiring people?

DT: Well, but that was — okay, but I will tell you, until the very end. . . . You know, I have a good life. I built a great company. It’s been amazingly — I’m sure you looked at the numbers. I have very little debt, tremendous assets. And great cash flows. I have a wonderful family. Ivanka just had a baby. Doing this is not the easiest thing in the world to do. People have — many of my friends, very successful people, have said, “Why would you do this?”

BW: Can you isolate a moment when it kicked to yes?

DT: Well, I’ll tell you a moment.

BW: Because that’s what Bob and I are looking for.

DT: I’ll tell you a moment when it kicked to yes. Because it was a monetary moment also. So you saw that it made a lot of money because it was certified. Now it’s much more, because I also have a big chunk of the show. We chose Arnold Schwarzenegger to take my place. Okay? And hopefully Arnold will do well; who knows? But there was a moment in, I would say, February of last year, so that would be four months, three, four months before I announced, when Steve Burke, great guy, of Comcast — the head — came to see me with the top people at NBC. And they wanted to extend my contract. And I said, “Steve, I think that I am going to run for president. And if I do that, I’m not allowed to have a show.” In fact, when I did “Saturday Night Live” recently, it was a whole big deal. I’m not allowed to be on, and they actually had to give certain periods of time to other candidates that were running. It was a whole big . . .  . So. I disagree with the equal time provisions. I think they’re very unfair. But nevertheless, you have them. So I said, “Steve, I can’t have a show if I run. I can’t be having a show, so I’m not going to run.” He says, “No, no, no, you’re going to do it.” I said, “Steve, I’m going to.” And they actually went to the upfronts and they announced that “The Apprentice” — in fact, you had a problem with it, because you were hearing that I was going to run, and then they announce that they’re going to renew “The Apprentice” with Donald Trump. And I remember he called one of my people, maybe Hope. But he called one of my people and said, “Wait a minute, he’s going to run, but he just announced he’s doing ‘The Apprentice.’ ” Do you remember that problem?

IELTS Task Achievement/Fluency Score: Band 5 

IELTS task achievement score for Donald!

Read more about Task Achievement here.

 

Overall score (Grammar + Vocabulary + Cohesion & Coherence + Task Achievement divided by 4): Band 5!

 

 

Please comment below – what do you think of Donald Trump?

I think he’s…

I don’t know anything about politics. Still, I feel very strongly that…

In my opinion,

As far as I’m concerned…

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