Thursday, July 31, 2008

IELTS and Preposition

The English preposition may be a small word but it is essential for making sense to a sentence.
In the Sentence Completion section of IELTS, the wrong preposition will bring your score down.

Example of Sentence Completion

The book is ________ the school bag.

If your answer is on, you lose one point as the correct answer should be in.
Understanding parts of speech and their functions in IELTS will come in handy. For instance: an adjective is a descriptive word that tells you more about the noun. Therefore it should appear before a noun. For eg: a kind man, a genuine part.

Since the basic sentence formation in the English language is subject, verb, object, you can use this structure to guess what the answer would be. Ask yourself : Does it require a verb, a noun, an adjective or an adverb, etc, etc?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Asking for directions, IELTS and Chinese style

IELTS Listening Section 1 may carry a question on labeling maps. This means you have to know how to read maps and to know words related to directions such as north, south, east, west, across the street, around the corner, at the end of the road, at the next turning, behind, between, ahead, etc, etc.

Map reading is less complicated western style than Chinese style.
If you don't know how to get somewhere and have to rely on a mainland Chinese for directions, you'll be in for a headache if you don't have the faintest idea of whether you're facing north or south or east or west.

The Chinese seem to give these kind directions - Turn north or turn south. But how would you know where north or south is, if you don't have a compass with you or the sun above you for guidance?

Thankfully, IELTS would be much easier if you are familiar with words related to directions.

Health and the Walnut

The Chinese believe that the walnut is good for brain power. No wonder, Chinese mothers feed their little emperors (remember, one child policy) with walnuts.

I asked a mainland Chinese friend once the reason why. Her answer was because the walnut looks like a brain. And it's a belief carried down through generations. I don't dispute the similarity of its shape with our brain but I didn't think about its boosting power until I received an email entitled God's Pharmacy. And there it was! The same point about the walnut and the brain.

What amazes me about the story is that people of such diverse cultures can have the same story and beliefs about something as irrelevant as the humble walnut. I can't help but be reminded of the biblical account of the Tower of Babel and the disperse of its people to different parts of the world carrying with them their beliefs and culture.

essage | Ba

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Different ways of saying the same thing!!!

How do you? Hi! How're things? What's up? Hello! These are some ways of greeting in English. It's important to know that there are different ways of saying the same thing in English. If the IELTS listening tape has a speaker by the name of Alistair Onassis and she's Greek, the question could be phrased, " Alistair Onassis is a __________of Greece." The obvious answer is "native."

The truth is some ESL learners expect the question to be worded the same way that they hear on the tape. For this reason it would be advisable for IELTS trainers to prepare students for different expressions of the same thing.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Time is the essence in IELTS

In order to do well in IELTS, one important thing candidates should know and practise is - time management. Time is your enemy during this test and you have to keep watching the clock to see that you not caught with an incomplete test paper when the time is up.

There is no time to ponder especially in the Listening Test since the tape is played ONLY ONCE. Just make a guess if you are not sure since you will not be penalized for a wrong answer. Many a candidate had scored badly because they did not watch the time and were unable to complete all the questions. You can only re-think your answers after you have transfered the answers from the listening script to the answer script, if you have time to spare, that is.

Knowing this to be a very real problem, some test centers have placed giant sized clocks in all four corners, literally to remind students to keep tab of the time.

Watching the time applies to the other three segments as well -the reading, writing and speaking but take note that time for transfer of answers is only given for the Listening section.