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…

Practice your IELTS Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking with The Avengers

Practice your IELTS Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking with The Avengers

First of all, let me apologise: IELTS is supposed to be boring. Sometimes I can’t resist making an interesting lesson about IELTS.

In this post, you’re going to do some practice and learn some tips for IELTS speaking, listening, reading, and writing (while talking about The Avengers).

For speaking, we are going to learn about Part 2 with two different sample answers.

For listening, we are going to focus on Part 1 of IELTS listening and writing down names and letters.

For reading, I’ll show you how to deal with True/False/Not Given questions.

Finally, we will take a look at a possible Writing Task 2 question and writing your main ideas for it.

Let’s go! Here is the full video – watch it and then read the analysis below:

 

SPEAKING

In the speaking I focused on Part 2 Speaking.

The question was:

Talk about a superhero you admire. You should say:

Who it is

Why you admire him/her

Other heroes you admire

Here is my full answer:

The superhero that I want to talk about is Batman and the reason that I admire Batman is because he doesn’t have any superpowers. So in the last movie he was in was the Justice League – he has to come together to protect the world to bat– there’s a battle between good and evil – a threat has come out and they have to try to fight it together. So he needs needs Wonder Woman’s help and he has to go get all these other superheroes to work together to fight the evil threat and again the reason I admire him is cuz he has no superpowers – he’s just a normal kind of crazy, angry, violent man but really amazing because all the other heroes they’re fighting and they’re not gonna die – they’re fine you know, even if they lose they won’t die – just all the people in the world will die but for Batman it’s different he could actually die – all the other superheroes it’s like it doesn’t really matter. Worst case scenario: the other people die, the whole world dies but least they are okay. But Batman it could actually be him who dies.

admire (verb): look up to or respect. “I admire Elon Musk because he dates a lot of celebrities.”

come together (verb): work as part of a team. “If we come together on this, we can accomplish anything.”

a battle between good and evil (noun phrase): a fight between the good guys and the bad guys. “Every Hollywood movie basically boils down to a battle before good and evil.”

threat (noun): Something that could harm or hurt you. “The threat of prison prevents most people from committing crimes.”

work together (verb): work as part of a team (same as above). “If we work as part of a team, we can accomplish anything.”

actually (adverb): in fact or really. “I’m not into superhero movies. Actually, I hate them.”

doesn’t really matter (expression): it is not important. “It doesn’t really matter how long you practice, you’re going to end up with the same score.”

worst case scenario (expression): the worst thing that could possibly happen. “Worst case scenario we will have to find a new place to work.”

I also gave a second example answer for the same question:

I want to talk about another superhero from the Marvel movies and his name is Captain America. Now I’m an American – that isn’t the reason why I like Captain America but it doesn’t hurt. So I like Captain America because in fact actually before the last Avengers movie I didn’t like Captain America he was my least favorite and that was because he’s always on his high horse – he always thinks he’s the best and he’s so self-righteous. He thinks he’s such a good guy and I always hate characters like that. I like characters more like the polar opposite – like a Tony Stark Iron Man – guys who are full of themselves and arrogant and fun but in the last movie I did feel that the actor who plays him – his character – because he’s got so much conviction he believes what he says so much that that I started to respect his character – I even liked his character more than the other characters.

on his high horse (idiom): feels superior/smarter/more ethical that everyone else. “Don’t get on your high horse with me.”

self-righteous (adjective): consider yourself to be right all the time. “Don’t get that self-righteous attitude with me.”

polar opposite (noun): completely different, 100% opposite. “We’re polar opposites – we can’t agree on anything!”

full of themselves (verb phrase): thinking very highly of yourself, arrogant. “My boss is so full of himself – I can’t stand him!”

arrogant (adjective): thinking very highly of yourself, full of yourself. “I’m not arrogant – I’m very humble!”

conviction (noun): believing strongly in something. “One of the key qualities of a leader is conviction.”

 

I recommend that you take the time to record, write down, and keep practicing your part 2 speaking answers until they get better!

You can also try practicing with my answers to build up your confidence.

Get some help from the Avengers on IELTS!

 

LISTENING

In part 1 of the listening test, you are being tested on 1 simple things: you ability to listen and write.

The vocabulary is simple so it won’t be a big problem in this part. There also aren’t many distractors or synonyms (which you will find in listening parts 2, 3, and 4(.

If you are trying to get above band 6, you probably need to get all the questions in part 1 correct.

Luckily, it is the easiest section to practice for! Just practice listening and writing.

Here are some ideas for how to practice:

1. Use the video above. Listen and write down the names that I spell out. Remember that the key to listening is repetition.

2. Find another video on YouTube (I recommend BBC One Minute World News). Listen and write down the key words. Listen repeatedly. Or listen and write all the nouns or verbs. Try different ways – just make sure you are listening and writing something.

3. Use an IELTS practice test – but don’t do the whole test! Listen to section 1 again and again. Then read and listen to the tapescript. Focus on the ones that were hard or you got wrong. Figure out why you got it wrong and then practice that. For example, if you always miss the letter ‘s’, listen to a YouTube video and write down all the words with ‘s’.

READING

In my experience as a teacher and IELTS examiner, students struggle the most with True/False/Not Given questions (actually, even native English speakers struggle with them!).

Here’s the same example from the video above:

Avenger’s 4’s first weekend at the box office was the highest grossing for any film ever.

True/False/Not Given?

1. Avenger’s 4 made more money than any other superhero movie in its first weekend.

2. Avengers 4 is a popular film.

3. Avengers 4 has made more money than any other film.

The answers are:

1. True

2. True

3. Not Given

The first one is true because if it made more money that ANY film, that also includes other superhero movies, even though it didn’t mention other superhero movies you can infer this logically.

The second one is true because if a movie makes a ton of money then it has to be popular. This is also logical (common sense).

The third one is not given because even thought it may become true later, it is only talking about the opening weekend – not the total amount of money made.

For True/False/Not Given you need to be careful of: questions that are almost true – but not quite. Those are going to be not given.

Let’s try one more example of a question that is ALMOST true – but not quite:

Dave was an IELTS  examiner.

True/False/Not Given

1. Dave worked for the IELTS department at either BC or IDP.

2. Dave is still a current IELTS examiner.

3. Dave also teachers IELTS.

Number 1 is true because BC and IDP are the only two places where you can take IELTS and to do IELTS you obviously have to work for the IELTS department.

Number 2 is false because it says that I was in the past. If it was still true it would say ‘Dave has been an IELTS examiner for years.’

Number 3 is not given. You can assume it is true but it doesn’t actually say it – so false. These are the ones you have to be most careful of – that ones that are ALMOST true.

 

WRITING

Here is the question from the video above:

Some people think that governments should have authority over superheroes. To what extent do you agree?

Based on the movie Captain America: Civil War, there are two main sides – what Iron Man (Tony Stark) thinks and Captain America (Steve Rogers).

If Iron Man were taking IELTS he would agree 100% because he thinks governments are elected by the people and the people should have power of the decisions of superheroes.

If Captain America were taking IELTS he would completely disagree because he doesn’t think governments can be trusted and superheroes are more responsible and ethical.

If you were doing it – well why don’t you tell me!

Write your own sample answer in the comments below (using my main ideas or your own). I will give band scores for free for anyone who comments a full sample answer!

15 Activities to Improve your IELTS Speaking Without a Speaking Partner

15 Activities to Improve your IELTS Speaking Without a Speaking Partner

One of the questions I hear people asking about most frequently on our Facebook page and our Instagram is about speaking partners.

Everyone wants a speaking partner to help them improve their English. Don’t get me wrong – you should find one if you can!

Unfortunately, most people probably don’t want to talk to you – or at least it is hard to find a partner with a good level of English and something interesting to say.

Fortunately, you don’t need one!

Read below for some tips and activities for improving your IELTS speaking by yourself!

You can also take a look at this related article about using Google Voice Search to Improve Your Pronunciation.

 

How to Talk to Yourself (and Not Look Crazy)

  1. Amateur Dubbing: Choose a movie or TV show or YouTube video you like (check out this playlist for some ideas). Tap into your inner actor and try acting out what each character is saying. Don’t try to say it exactly the same as in the actual scene but try to keep the meaning more or less the same. Or completely change the meaning and make it funny! Try recording yourself because maybe you’ll become a famous YouTube star doing this.

  2. Mirror Pep Talk: I know, I know, you already spend a few hours a day talking to yourself in the mirror. Here are some ideas about what you can say to yourself: your to-do list for the day, give yourself a pep talk, insult yourself, give a summary of what you did that day, tell the mirror your darkest secrets, practice failing to say tongue twisters. If you’ve got any other creepy ideas please keep them to yourself!

  3. Pause and Predict: When watching something on TV or the internet (interviews are really good for this) – pause it and predict aloud what they will say next. After you listen to their response, practice repeating it (not word for word, but try to repeat the basic meaning).

  4. Bore a Pet: Talk to your cat/dog/fish. You will feel less embarrassed even though you are basically still talking to yourself. Use a Part 2 Speaking Cue card to practice.

  5. A Song a Day: Learn a song a day. Put the lyrics on your phone and sing it throughout the day softly until you’ve completely learned. Use every break you can to do this – in the shower, waiting for the bus, etc. If you don’t want to use a song – maybe learn part of a famous speech or scene from a film.

  6. IELTS Speaking Tests: The examiner is basically just a tape recorder reading questions off a piece of paper – you can replace them with a piece of paper! Read and answer the questions yourself. Record yourself and go back and try to do better the next time!

  7. Going to Bed: Research has shows that practicing in your head can be just as effective as physical practice. In experiments, basketball players that imagined themselves shooting improved as much as ones who were actually shooting. The best time to do this is at night as your brain will continue the practice through your sleep. Think in English. Have a conversation or remember a conversation you had earlier as you drift off to sleep…

  8. Dictation Diary: Start a speech dictation diary of your daily activities. This will work well because you will repeat a lot of the same words every day (brush my teeth, not bother to shower, etc) and get better at saying those. You will also work in new vocabulary each day (met my future wife today, had terrible diarrhoea, etc.)

  9. Simple, Simple: Read one of our sample answers aloud. Read it until it is 100% accurate. This will help you improve for the speaking test format and your pronunciation. You can read it into a transcription program like voice dictation in Google drive to make sure you are saying the words correctly. Try it with a passage from a book as well.

  10. Practice IELTS Speaking Tests: Use these practice speaking tests on YouTube. Pause before Nguyen answers the question. Say your own answer. Listen to hers and take some notes on good vocabulary and grammar. Practice saying hers a few times before moving on to the next question. Do this at least once a day and you’ll improve a ton!

  11. Say the Song: Listen to a song and try to say (not sing, haha) the lyrics after pausing the song. It will sound embarrassing but so what?

  12. Translation Comparison: Write down a conversation that you had in your native language. Try to translate it into English and read it aloud. This will help you make comparisons between your native language and English. Combine this with #7 Going to Bed.

  13. Word Game: Start by saying one word (monkey). Add another (A monkey) and keep going adding 1 word to the sentence each time until the sentence is long (A monkey and a donkey walk into a bar and get into an argument with the bartender about a banana). You could also do this with phrases, not individual words.

  14. Morning / Evening Routine: Describe everything you can see in the room around you when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed. Once you finish with one room, try another room in your house/apartment/school. If you’re lonely trying having a conversation with your bed, chair, blanket, toilet, significant other, etc.

  15. Act it Out First: Google a script for a movie or TV show that you like. Try acting out the different parts with the script. Then watch the show and see how it is different. Try acting it out again. Record yourself so that someone can have a laugh.

 

Choose Your Top 3

There are a lot of amazing activities for you to try! There are probably too many. It’s better to choose a top 3 and focus on getting good at them.

Then come back to this post when you feel like you need a new activity.

Here are some sample notes I took on my Top 3 Speaking Activities Without a Partner. If you can’t decide, feel free to take my notes and make them your own!

Top 3 IELTS speaking activities without a partner

Oh and if you’re still reading (and haven’t starting talking to yourself yet!) don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube!

 

Comment Below: Do you need an IELTS speaking partner?

My English isn’t that great and I’m looking to practice with someone…

Yes, I really need to talk with another intermediate level student!

Yeah, I’m an upper-intermediate and I need someone to practice with!

I’m a very advanced speaker and I need someone who is at the same level!

No need! I can just use the activities above!

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