IELTS Speaking: a TV Program

This is a very common topic in the IELTS speaing test — describe a TV program

Describe a TV programme or channel that you enjoy watching regularly.

  • What it is called
 and what is it about?
  • When do you usually watch it
  • Why do you prefer it to other programmes or channels?

Yap asked whether it would be acceptable to talk about as a TV channel. I think it would definitely be acceptable – just say that it's an online TV channel. TED would be a great choice for this topic. But there are tons of other good TV programs, like Discovery channel, a football live match, the voice, or Master Chef, etc. I found a good TV programs on Youtube these days.

Primetime: What Would You Do? is an American television news magazine broadcast on ABC since 2008 as part of the Primetime series. Reruns of older episodes began airing on OWN as What Would You Do?: OWN Edition since February 15, 2011 (similar to Dateline on ID and 48 Hours on ID). As of October 21, 2012; HLN also aired reruns of the show. Currently, What Would You Do? is the only format of Primetime that is aired year-round. Other subjects, such as Family Secrets, are aired in special summer segments.

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IELTS Speaking: Pronunciation

During the class, I find many students have pronunciation problems. The mispronunciation really confuses me, therefore, I have no ideas what are they talking about. The funnest thing is when they start talking those name brand products, likes Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, etc, it sounds really funny.

Then how to practice your pronunciation, have a look at my previous post here.

And here is a video clip from Youtube about the pronunciation of some brands.

IELTS Writing and Speaking Topic: High Education

RMIT graduation

Tertiary education is a common topic in both Writing and Speaking and one of my students asks me provide some reasons of NOT attending high education/ university. Here I give some ideas about that and please pay attention to the expression differences between the writing and speaking.

Ideas for the writing part:

  • For some youngsters, going to university is now too expensive, time consuming, restrictive and potentially soul-destroying for people with talent to bother with anymore.
  • Study loans are really the huge burden for some young people who might spend their 20s or 30s paying it off, when instead they might have been discovering how not to be an average person by attending a short-term training course.
  • It’s true that not all businesses now recruit ‘graduates only’ and the ability and experience is the key.
  • Your working experience tends to be equivalent to your qualification.
  • Many subjects in universities seems to be too academic and theoretical, and students would be spectacularly uninspired by some of the lecturers. Consequently, some smart and tenacious students might waste three or four years when they could have been learning useful skills in the real word, such as marking contacts, learning how to answer a phone and be nice to their colleagues   
  • I was spectacularly uninspired by all but about three of my tutors. Most were nice, smart people, but they spent a long time getting through a small part of the vast volumes of textbooks the university obliged me to acquire.

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IELTS Writing: Simplicity sometimes works better

Don’t seek to use any template and all examiners don’t like reading this kind of essay. It is not your work; therefore, the whole “chunk” of your essay would be disregarded by the examiner and deducted from the word count.

Another common issue is that many students overuse words like “moreover”, “in addition” or “furthermore”, or phrases like “this is controversial issue nowadays”. They seem to think that using these linking words will help them to get a 7. Well, they are wrong, because once you overuse those words, the examiner will notice straight away.  And it is easy to learn linking words like “moreover”, so the examiner is not impressed by them. As a matter of fact, in the speaking exam, they make your English sound 'forced'.

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IELTS Speaking: the most common question and comments

The most common speaking question in part1 and also it is the easiest question.

Where do you come from?
- I’m from Qingdao in China.  Qingdao is a city on the north-east coast of mainland China.

【Notice how my answer is short (I haven’t given a history of Qingdao since the beginning of time!) But not too short; I didn’t just answer ‘Qingdao’ or “China”.

Also notice how the tense of the verbs in my answer is the same as the tense of the verb in the question.  It’s a good idea to listen to the tense of the verb in the question so that your answer is on the right track.】

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