IELTS Essays: FOUR proven ways to score higher in the Lexical Resources criteria

WARNING: Before you see the suggested answer/s, do think about them yourself first as an exercise!

  1. Use SPECIFIC / PRECISE and FLEXIBLE (non repetitive) Vocabulary 

    Eg.

    Too common: Children / Young people

    Better: Youngsters /. The youth / youths / teenagers / offspring / adolescents

    (TIPS: Do not just reuse words from the question)

    Eg.

    Too common: Some / Many / Most people

    Better: Quite a few community members

    Better: The majority of the populace

  2. Use correct SPELLING 

    Eg.

    Wrong: Goverments prefered to belive that the occurences are rare.

    Right: Governments preferred to believe that the occurrences are rare.

    (TIPS: breaking down words into syllables and/or use the right syllable stress can help)

  3. Use good COLLOCATIONS and PHRASAL VERBS 

    Eg.

    Wrong: take a decision; take the book to school; throw away rubbish; discuss about

    Better: make a decision; bring the book…; dispose of…, talk about / discuss

    (TIPS: Use natural English expressions, not translation from your native language)

  4. Use correct WORD FORM in the Word Family  

    Eg. Conclude

    Let us … the discussion. (Verb)

    The … of the discussion has not been finalised yet. (Noun)

    Our team’s victory is quite …. (Adjective)

    We can safely say …. that the evidence is unfounded. (Adverb)

    (TIPS: Forms depend on structure patterns and then on suffixes used where appropriate)

     

    (V: conclude. N: conclusion. Adj: conclusive. Adv: conclusively)

A higher vocabulary score will be crucial to help you achieve your target band in Writing!

GOOD LUCK!

26 October 2017

Telaga

PTE Writing: EIGHT easy-to-use connectors to boost your Written Discourse score

How do you enhance organisation of your sentences and paragraphs to achieve a high score in this criteria, which in turn will raise your Writing band? Simply use a combination of the connecting devices below:

  1. Linking Words Eg:  However, Furthermore, Therefore
  2. ConjunctionsEg:  but, and, so
  3. Connectors for complex sentencesEg:  which, that, if / unless, because // due to^, although // despite^, ^ followed by a noun (phrase)
  4. V-ingEg:  including…
  5. Prepositional phraseEg: For these reasons, In such cases, In fact
  6. AdverbsEg: Obviously, (Un)fortunately, Initially // Eventually,
  7. DeterminersEg: This // these, That // those , (An) ofher/s, such, the former // the latter
  8. PronounsEg: They // them // their,  We // us // our

Remember to use proper punctuations and look up 1-2 more synonyms in the thesaurus.

Your essay will surely have a better flow and connectivity now – and a higher score!

 

26 October 2017

Telaga

Reading B – dealing with long sentences

Reading B often has lots of long sentences, some of which can extend over four or even five lines without a full stop. When a sentence is this long, it can be hard for even a native speaker to hold all of the sentence meaning in their head at once. One way you can try to simplify long sentences is by cutting out phrases that are between brackets, commas or dashes – let’s look at some examples.

 

Other ways to minimise stomach upset are to start at a low dose and gradually increase as tolerated (e.g. start with alternate daily dosing then increase to daily or twice daily dosing) or give smaller, more frequent doses (e.g. use oral liquid in divided doses)

If we try to simplify this sentence by removing the information in the brackets, we get a much shorter and easier to understand sentence: “Other ways to minimise stomach upset are to start at a low dose and gradually increase as tolerated or give smaller, more frequent doses

 

The incidence of meningitis changed by −31% (95% confidence interval [CI], −33 to −29) during the surveillance period, from 2.00 cases per 100,000 population (95% CI, 1.85 to 2.15) in 1998–1999 to 1.38 cases per 100,000 population (95% CI 1.27 to 1.50) in 2006–2007.

Again, we can take this quite complicated research sentence, and ignore the information between the brackets to get a much simpler sentence: “The incidence of meningitis changed by −31% during the surveillance period, from 2.00 cases per 100,000 population in 1998–1999 to 1.38 cases per 100,000 population in 2006–2007”

 

Close and prolonged contact – such as kissing, sneezing or coughing on someone, or living in close quarters (such as a dormitory, sharing eating or drinking utensils) with an infected person – facilitates the spread of the disease.

Here we have brackets and dashes – we can change this sentence multiple ways. If we ignore what is in the brackets we get: “Close and prolonged contact – such as kissing, sneezing or coughing on someone, or living in close quarters with an infected person – facilitates the spread of the disease.”

We can simplify it even further though, by removing what is between the brackets and between the dashes: “Close and prolonged contact facilitates the spread of the disease.”

 

This is an important trick to remember for reading complex sentences in reading B – if you are really stuck try re-reading the sentence but leaving out one of the parts of the sentence, and see if that makes the meaning clearer.

Thanks!

Aug 29, 2017

James Bergfield

IELTS Essays: SIX Question Types and the proven Formats

How do you organise the contents of your paragraphs to achieve high bands in Task Response and Coherence & Cohesion criteria? Just follow the guide below:

Type 1:  Agree/Disagree

  1. Body 1:   Specific reason for A/D + Explanations + Example + Recap statement
  2. Body 2:   Specific reason for A/D + Explanations + Example + Recap statement

Type 2:  Advantages & Disadvantages

  1. Body 1:    Specific reason for Advantage + Explanations + Example + Recap
  2. Body 2:  Specific reason for Disadvantage + Explanations + Example + Recap

Type 3:  Problem & Solution

  1. Body 1:    Statement of Problem + Explanation of Causes + Example + Recap
  2. Body 2:    Possible Solution + Explanation + Example + Recap
  3. Body 3 (optional): Another Possible Solution + Explanation + Example + Recap

Type 4:  Discuss both sides + own opinion

  1. Body 1:    Discuss advantages of Side X objectively + eg + Recap
  2. Body 2:    Discuss advantages of Side Y objectively + eg + Recap
  3. Conclusion:     Say your preferred Side and give your Reason.

Type 5:  Double Questions

  1. Body 1:    Discuss the answer to Q1 + Eg + Recap
  2. Body 2:    Discuss the answer to Q2 + Eg + Recap

Type 6:  Outweigh Question

  1. Body 1:     Specific reason for Advantage + Explanations + Example + Recap
  2. Body 2:     Another Specific reason for Advantage + Explanations + Example + Recap
  3. Body 3:     Specific reason for Disadvantage + Explanations + Example + Recap

Remember that for each type, you need a 3-sentence introduction (General Background + Expand Background + Thesis Statement of what you are going to say in the Body Paragraphs). For the Conclusion, you need a summary/concluding statement regarding the topic + a general reason for the statement.

26 September 2017

Telaga

PTE: FIVE easy-to-follow steps to write PTE Essays (200-300 words)

How do you produce a decent piece of essay within 20 minutes to achieve your target band? Just follow the steps below:

Step 1: Understand the Question Type. (1 minutes)

Read the question (Is it Agree/Disagree, Advantage & Disadvantage, Describe a Situation, Describe a Case study, Discuss both issues, or a Double Question?)
Paraphrase the topic accordingly based on the question type and take your Positionn

Step 2: Brainstorming. (1-2 minutes)

Think of a couple of main points / specific reasons based on your taken position to be developed into full body paragraphs (of 80-100 words each) .

Step 3:   Planning. (1-2 minutes)

Now use a mind mapping, flowcharting or tabling technique to expand the main points. Add specific related details. Think of what example/s (from your experience, observation or knowledge) to use?

Step 4: Writing. (25 minutes)

a. Introduction – (3 sentences of 30-40 words in total, consisting of Background General statement + expansion + Position / Thesis Statement).

b. 2-3 Body paragraphs – 1 sentence of Main Point, 2-3 detailed explanations, 1-2 example sentences AND 1 final Recap to relate back to your Main Point.\

c. Conclusion – 2 sentences of 20-30 words in total, summary / conclusion of your essay + a general reason / prediction / condition / position of the subject matter.

(Timing: Intro 2-3 min + Body 5×2 min + Conclusion 2 min)

Step 5: Checking (2 minutes)

Proofread your essay for Grammar, Vocabulary, Spelling, Punctuation and Relevance / Consistency of Content.

Practise your typing skills too so that you can manage 250-270 words to get Score >=65-79+!

Good luck!

26 September 2017

Telaga

Reading A – 3 common trick questions

In this post we will talk about three reasonably common trick questions in Reading A that aim to find the best students. It is very easy to lose marks on these questions when you are rushing because they are very sneaky, but being aware of them can increase your chance of getting them correct.

1. Plural and singular
Text: “Screening mammograms are the best method for detecting breast cancer in the early stages”
Question: “The best method for detecting breast cancer in the early stages is …..?…..”
The text and the question sentences almost look identical, although obviously the order of information has changed. The other thing that has changed is that where the text used the plural verb “are” the answer has the singular verb “is”; therefore, we need to change the words “screening mammograms”, which is plural, into a singular form – the answer is “a screening mammogram”

2. Splitting up acronyms
Text: “25% of Australian adults are obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher”
Question: “Obesity is defined as a …..?….. index of greater or equal to 30”
The answer is obviously to do with body mass index, and as they have used the abbreviation BMI in the text we are allowed to use this for our answer. However, note that the question already has the word “index” written down, so writing “BMI” will be marked wrong, because you are saying “body mass index index”. The answer is therefore “body mass”, and we do not use an abbreviation.

3. Fractions and percentages
Text: “When treated with both a statin and ezetimibe, the rates of STEMI were lowered by 40%”
Question: “Combination lipid-lowering therapy was associated with a two …..?….. reduction in myocardial infarction incidence”
As has been mentioned in previous posts, for all reading you should be comfortable changing between simple fractions and percentages (1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/10). This question type revolves around being comfortable with these. The answer in the text is 40%, but of course we can’t put this in our answer because “two 40%” does not make any sense. Instead, we have to convert this to a fraction – 40% is two-fifths, so the answer would be “fifths”.

26 August 2017

James

Why we often use the passive voice in healthcare letters

The most simple sentence structure in the English language is:
Noun + verb.
If the noun is doing the action described by the verb, the noun is known as a subject.E.g. The doctor consulted. (“doctor” is the subject of this sentence).

If the action described by the verb is being done to someone or something, the recipient of the action is known as the object. We add this noun after the verb:
E.g. The doctor consulted the patient. (“doctor” is the subject and “patient” is the object).
This sentence structure is:
Subject + verb + object

Using the passive voice allows us to do two useful things in healthcare letters:
1. Focus on the object of a sentence by putting it first.
2. Save space by leaving out the subject (that is, the noun actually doing the action).

The sentence structure in usage #1 is:
Object + Passive verb + subject./span>
E.g. The patient was consulted by the doctor.
This allows us to focus the reader’s attention on the patient, rather than the doctor, by putting them first in the sentence. This is useful in discharge and referral letters, because the patient is the most important focus of the letter.

The sentence structure in usage #2 is:
The patient was consulted.
This is very useful if the person or thing that did the action isn’t as important as the person who received the action. It also allows us to leave out irrelevant information. For example, “the patient was admitted on 27/08/17” is more concise than “the patient was admitted on 27/08/17 by a doctor”. It doesn’t really matter who admitted the patient, so it’s best to leave this information out when doing the OET Writing Test.

Overall, passive voice can be a very useful tool in improving your letter in the OET Writing Test!

26 August 2017

Anna Brzeska

IELTS: Five steps to write IELTS Task 2

How do you produce a decent piece of essay within 40 minutes or less to achieve your target band? Just follow the steps below:

Step 1: Understand the Question Type. (2 minutes)

Read the question (Is it Agree/Disagree, Advantage & Disadvantage, Problem & Solution, Discuss both issues + own opinion, Double Questions or Outweigh?)
Paraphrase the topic accordingly based on the question type and take your Position

Step 2: Brainstorming. (3 minutes)

Think of a few main points / specific reasons based on your taken position. Ask yourself if you can develop any 2 or maximum 3 of these into a full paragraph (of approx. 100 words). If no, discard the point/s; if yes, go ahead to step 3.

Step 3:   Planning. (5 minutes)

Now use a mind mapping, flowcharting or tabling technique to expand th main points. What specific related details can I add to this? What example/s (from my experience, observation or knowledge) can I use?

Step 4: Writing. (25 minutes)

a. Introduction – (3 sentences of 30-40 words in total, consisting of Background General statement + expansion + Position / Thesis Statement).

b. 2-3 Body paragraphs – 1 sentence of Main Point, 2-3 detailed explanations, 1-2 example sentences AND 1 final Recap to relate back to your Main Point.\

c. Conclusion – 2 sentences of 20-30 words in total, summary / conclusion of your essay + a general reason / prediction / condition / position of the subject matter.

Step 5: Checking (5 minutes)

Proofread your essay for Grammar, Vocabulary, Spelling, Punctuation and Relevance / Consistency for the best result.

 

Keep practising till you get the hang of this!

 

26 August 2017

Telaga

PTE: SEVEN Reading Question Types in MCQ and How to Tacke them

Understanding academic Reading question types and where to look will certainly help you find your answer more quickly! Here are the types

  1. Main Idea / Gist Question.General Purpose Question.
    Read the beginning + the end of the paragraph/s and ask yourself what the THEME is
  2. Detailed Information Question.
    Usually located at the beginning and/or the end as well. Ask yourself what the author wants to ACHIEVE by writing the passage.
  3. Organisation Question.
    You need to read the whole passage for this. This type usually has the wordings of WHAT, WHO, WHICH, WHERE, WHEN, HOW FAR, etc.
  4. Inference Question.
    Ask yourself how two parts of the text are related. (Is it Definition + example? Similarity vs difference? Cause + effect? Problem + Solution? Event 1 + event 2 + event 3?)
  5. Specific Purpose Question.
    Ask yourself what implied conclusion can be drawn from the passage / certain aspect in the text. You may need to read the whole passage to understand this.
  6. Tone Question.
    Ask yourself WHY the author says something or quote a certain example. You need to spot / match the relevant key words from the options to those in the passage.
  7. Tone Question.
    Pay attention to the author’s feeling, attitude and/or degree of certainty. Is it positive, negative or just neutral. The Adjectives / Verbs in the choices may guide you.

Good luck!

26 August 2017

Telaga

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