Suitable Headings: Reading Exercise

The way I believe students should train for IELTS/ GRE/ GMAT reading is not by reading blindly but CONSCIOUSLY. A simple strategy is to read each paragraph carefully and note down HEADING while carrying out first reading.

Here’s what you need to do. Read each paragraph carefully and note down HEADING/ THEME of the paragraph.

Reading passages this way will help students find most of the answers in the exam since questions are usually based on theme of the paragraphs. These issues will become more clear as you practice with ELTEC’s trained staff.

To assist you in this process I’m underlining words that will help you write suitable headings.

“The Synthesis Report of the UN ‘Millennium Ecosystem Assessment’ (2005) called agriculture the largest threat to biodiversity and ecosystem function of any single human activity. Everything we do is dependent on agriculture and many current agricultural practices are deeply unsustainable. In redesigning the way we ‘do’ agriculture, we can create the basis for the emergence of regenerative cultures everywhere.”

Heading 1: …………………………….

“The so called ‘green revolution’ of large scale industrial agriculture with its addiction to fossil resources and its systematic degradation of local farming communities and bio-cultural diversity in favour of predatory multinational corporations has been a failure with disastrous effects. Alternatives do exist. The Soil Association in the UK was started in 1946 and the Rodale Institute in the USA in 1947; both institutions promote and develop organic farming approaches. In 1972, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) was founded. It now has member organizations in 120 countries.”

Heading 2: ……………………………

“In April 2014, the Rodale Institute published a white paper that outlines how agricultural techniques available today could sequester sufficient amounts of atmospheric carbon to slow down climate change and reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the long term by fixing carbon in agricultural soil. Regenerative agricultural practices can help to build fertile soils, to maintain and often increase agricultural yields, and to support ecological abundance by nurturing healthy ecosystem functioning.”

Heading 3: ……………………………….

“Robert Rodale coined the term ‘regenerative organic agriculture’ to indicate that these practices are more than simply ‘sustainable’, taking advantage of the natural tendencies of ecosystems to regenerate when disturbed. Regenerative organic agriculture is “a holistic systems approach to agriculture that encourages continual on-farm innovation for environmental, social, economic and spiritual wellbeing”. In general, “regenerative organic agriculture is marked by tendencies towards closed nutrient loops, greater diversity in the biological community, fewer annuals and more perennials, and greater reliance on internal rather than external resources” (Rodale Institute, 2014).”

Heading 4: …………………………………

“The techniques and methodologies used include the reduction or elimination of tillage in combination with planting cover crops on fallows in crop rotation cycles and maintaining the residue of these crops on the land (green mulch). Composting — the controlled aerobic decomposition of organic materials — and adding this nutrient and carbon-rich compost to the soil as fertilizer is a central practice of organic farming. It helps to accumulate carbon in the soil while increasing fertility and yields. The use of perennial plants, increased crop diversity including tree crops and maintaining a rich soil structure through plants with deep, bushy root systems, all support a healthy network of mycorrhizal fungi and encourage the long-term fixing of carbon in soils.”

Heading 5: ………………………….

Please share your answers in comments section.

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IELTS Speaking Interview: All Questions May – June 2017.



I’ve compiled almost all IELTS interview questions asked during the months of May and June. These questions (after removing repetitions) boil down to just 64.

As I explained in an earlier post, the purpose of IELTS speaking is to judge your communication skills. Whether you’re able to carry our a fairly intelligent conversation in English? A crucial element of that conversation is “Breaking the ice”. The first part of the speaking test is devoted to breaking the ice, that is getting familiar. Here are a few questions you need to prepare for this section. Keep visiting this post as I’ll be adding more questions to this already long list.

IELTS Interview questions:
  1. What is your full name?
  2. Where are you from?
  3. Tell me something about your place of residence/ hometown.
  4. Do you like your hometown?
  5. Mention some of the interesting things in your hometown.
  6. Is it a good place to live in?
  7. Tell me something about your home. Is it an apartment or a house?
  8. Do you like it?
  9. What do you normally see through the window of your home?
  10. How do you expect your future house? Why?
  11. Do you use emails?
  12. Are they popular in your country?
  13. Do you think emails will replace writing in future? Why?
  14. Do you work or study?
  15. What do you like about your work or study?
  16. What subjects are you studying?
  17. Why did you choose these subjects?
  18. What are you planning to work after completing your studies?
  19. Tell me something about your school/ college/ place of work.
  20. (If student) What would you like to become?
  21. What is the most important responsibility in your job? Why?
  22. What is the biggest challenge in your work?
  23. Do you have a lot of friends or just a few friends?
  24. Are you still in touch with your school friends?
  25. How often do you meet them?
  26. How do you travel from your home to office?
  27. Which mode of transport do you think is better – public or private? Why?
  28. What items do you carry when you leave your home? Why?
  29. How do you make sure nothing is forgotten?
  30. How do you spend your free time?
  31. How do people usually spend free time in your country?
  32. Let us talk about mirrors. Do you have a mirror at home?
  33. Do you watch yourself in the mirror? Why?
  34. Would you buy a piece of clothing without checking what it looks like in a mirror?
  35. Do you like history?
  36. Do you watch TV programs on history?
  37. Name a famous person from history that you’re interested in. Why are you interested in that person?
  38. Let us talk about dreams. Do you remember dreams when you wake up?
  39. Do you listen to other people’s dreams?
  40. Would you like to study dreams in the future?
  41. Do you like chocolates?
  42. Why are the chocolates so popular?
  43. Do you read books?
  44. Did you read books as a teenager?
  45. Do you read books online?
  46. Do you prefer to buy or borrow books?
  47. Tell me something about a celebrity in your country.
  48. Would you like to be a celebrity in the future? Why?
  49. Do you play any musical instrument?
  50. What do you think about role of music today?
  51. Do you like making a lot of friends or do you have only one close friend?
  52. How do you spend time with friends?
  53. Do you have house chores? What are they?
  54. Did you help your parents in house chores as a kid?
  55. Do you think it is essential for kids to do household chores? Why?
  56. How often do you watch television?
  57. Did you watch TV as a child? Why? Which TV serials or movies?
  58. Do you like buying shoes?
  59. What do you prefer to wear – comfortable or fashionable shoes?
  60. Have you ever bought shoes online?
  61. Is it good to have many pairs of shoes?
  62. Do you like taking photographs?
  63. What do you do with these photos?
  64. Do you like taking photos while on a trip?

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Essay Task 2 correction: Doctors Vs Innovators.

Here is a student’s answer corrected with several suggestions on how to improve essay writing.

Topic: Inventors are not as important to society as doctors. To what extent do you agree with this statement?


While inventors are (Use Simple Present Tense) design and create new things to for the service of humanity, through their idea and our needed. D doctors are people who save other human’s life live and cure diseases when they cannot cure themselves. I believe that both inventors and doctors are both significant to our life important for our society.

Inventors have an enormous impact on our life (You’ve already expressed this idea in introduction. Do not repeat.). In the past, they have created many different things such as television, electricity that today we are still using it. (Let me rephrase “Inventions such as electricity, television and internet have tremendously transformed the way we live, socialise and work.”) These inventions have continue to change our life lives to become for better and make our work become easier, especially in communication. Futhermore, they have invented computers, internet, that we are on the way to complete these things (Complete what things. This is mere repetition of previous ideas.). In that case, many people said that inventors are important and have a huge effect to human’s life. (I’m sorry, but this is another repetition.)

On the other hand, doctors save lives (Again, we’ve read this before, have we not?). They have skill and knowledge that ordinary people do not have (Well, so have mechanics and engineers. Don’t they?). If we get illness that we cannot cure by ourselves, we will go to the hospital and the doctors will look after us (Keep Simple Present Tense). If the world do did not have doctors, many people would be die because of illness. (Can you give me some examples? Ebola virus in Africa, for instance or Swine Flu in Asia.)

Overall, inventors are as essential as doctors. Inventors invent thins to life while doctors look after human’s life. They both take important parts to society. So this is impossible to said that who is more important. (Well, you’ve just rephrased introduction. Please make a better intro.)

BANDS: 5.5/9.0

Yes/ No/ Not Given questions tips and practice.


These types of questions are really difficult to answer because these involve not just understanding the question statement but also correlating it with the passage and finding a link between the two. Establishing the link is the greatest challenge. Take a look at the paragraph below:

“For many environmentalists the world seems to be getting worse. They have developed hit list of four main fears: that natural resources are running out, that the population is ever growing, leaving less and less to eat, that species are becoming extinct in vast numbers and that planet’s air and water are becoming more and more polluted.”

Yes/ No/ Not Given

The Environmentalists take a pessimistic view of the world for a number of reasons.

Now, here is a test of your vocabulary. Can you establish the link between ‘getting worse’ and ‘pessimistic’? If you can, the job is done. Please check the dictionary and try to link the two. Similarly, try to solve the questions below. Please give answers in comments section.

“Men of action — people who are totally involved in tackling what they believe to be real life — tend to dismiss poetry and all forms of creative writing as a frivolous distraction. Our great Polar explorer Mawson wrote in a letter to his wife some instructions concerning their children’s education. He insisted that they should not waste their time reading novels, but should instead acquire factual information from books of history and biography.”

Yes/ No/ Not Given

People with pragmatic view believe that writing literature is a wastage of time.

“A few years ago, when I was first discovering the wonders of philosophy, I was delighted to discover the existence of a meet up in Thailand titled “The Socrates Cafe.” When I attended, though, I was disappointed to find that nobody seemed to be doing any philosophy at all. Rather than exchange ideas or attempt to understand others, the purpose of the event was to allow attendees to congratulate one another on their superiority in recognising that the Earth was indeed billions of years old (and not the “irrational” 6,000 years).

Later that night (I was still confused as to how such an event ended up named after Socrates) the discussion turned to death. One young man quipped,“ Why respect the dead? They’re dead. Just skin and bones and stuff. Let’s be RATIONAL. We could free up those graves for buildings and roads — for the future.” When I heard him say that, I got that feeling again, the same feeling that when my parents told me it was time to stop reading and do something useful.”

Yes/ No/ Not Given

The purpose of discussion at The Socrates Cafe was to show the dominance of science over literature and philosophy.

“There’s no way for any Gen X person (those born between 1960 and 1980) to tell their story of the 80s and the 90s without using pop culture as a set of coordinates. After all, in our time, we were the most commercially targeted and defined generation in the history of the species. We found each other, and connected with each other, through a strange material language of television shows, movies, magazines, paperback novels, and band-names. We defined our politics through the cultural products we consumed. We explained our identity through taste.”

Yes/ No/ Not Given

The Gen X people defined everything around themselves in the form of an art.

“The case — Juliana v. United States — pits a group of children and young adults against the federal government. The youth plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the federal government in August of 2015, arguing that actions taken by the government were endangering their constitutional right to a liveable climate. In November, U.S. Federal Judge Ann Aiken ruled that the plaintiffs had enough standing for the case to move forward. Since then, the federal government and fossil fuel consuming companies have been trying to keep the case from going to trial.”

Yes/ No/ Not Given

The 2015 case against the government aims at reducing emission of poisonous gases from vehicles.

“The rise of artificial intelligence in recent years is grounded in the success of deep learning. Three major drivers caused the breakthrough of (deep) neural networks: the availability of huge amounts of training data, powerful computational infrastructure, and advances in academia. Thereby deep learning systems start to outperform not only classical methods, but also human benchmarks in various tasks like image classification and face recognition. This creates the potential for many disruptive new businesses leveraging deep learning to solve real-world problems.

Yes/ No/ Not Given

Increase in computing power is the principal reason behind deep learning’s success over traditional systems.

Okay. Once you’re done with these questions, please give answers in comments sections and we’ll discuss them. Good Luck.

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Essay Task 2: Additional Wealth Brings More Happiness in Rich Countries

wealth IELTS PTE.jpg

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

Some people think if a country is already rich any addition in economic wealth does not make its citizens happier. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

40 minutes, 250 words at least.

Okay. Let me take this as an opportunity to present structure and analysis of another latest IELTS essay topic. Like all IELTS essays, this essay also contains two topics:

Topic 1: Additional wealth in rich countries.

Topic 2: Citizen happiness.

Introduction: All you have to do is introduce and link the two topics mentioned above and give your opinion. Like always, let me give a sample intro:

Happiness of a citizen depends on numerous factors ranging from economic well being to social welfare and security. While some people believe that happiness depends on additional economic resources, I think is all basic necessities are met in rich countries, additional wealth does not promote happiness.”

Now, please note that my introduction mentions both topics and I’ve used two construction – “from X to Y” and “While X, Y“.

Body Paragraph 1:

Reason 1 supporting your opinion. HINT: Money only satisfies basic human needs. Beyond that, it does not motivate us.

Example 1 supporting your opinion. Yoga and meditation famous in developed countries because people look for happiness.

Body Paragraph 2:

Reason 2 supporting your opinion. HINT: More important than additional wealth is an equitable distribution of wealth. That is, it should not be concentrated in hands of a few.

Example 1 supporting your opinion. HINT: Martin Luther King Jr. fought for equal rights for blacks. Emile Pinkhurst for equal rights to women.


Well, as I always say, the conclusion should contain elements of FUTURE and IMPACT. So, make a suitable conclusion or contact one of our IELTS experts to help you out.

Ask any doubts in the comments box below.

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Writing Task: Telephone calls in the United Kingdom

Okay. Here’s another actual IELTS academic question from Cambridge.

20170527_141143 copy

Without looking at the actual bar chart, note down the FACTS. Years (1995-2002), minutes (billion), 3 types of calls, United Kingdom. Now, use your English language skills to weave this information into a beautiful introduction.

“The given vertical bar chart presents information on Britain’s number of billion minutes of calls made on three different communication mediums – local fixed line, national and international fixed line, and mobile – from 1995 to 2002.” Just one sentence.

Mistakes students often make: minutes (billion), quantity of calls (Calls can’t be expressed in quantity, but only as numbers). These are WRONG and must be avoided.

Remember, in correct grammar usage, the object of TIME (from 1995 to 2002) comes at the end of the sentence. First we write direct object (number of calls) followed by indirect object (made on three different communication mediums) and finally object of time.

Let us discuss body paragraphs:

Since there are only 3 categories of calls, I suggest students to write ONE PARAGRAPH on each category.

Body Para 1: Local fixed line. Clearly the trend is that it increases gradually from 1995 to 1999 and decreases there after.

Body Para 2: National and International fixed line. These type of calls gradually increase from 1995 to 2002.

Body Para 3: Mobile calls. Gradual increase from 1995 to 2002 followed by a rapid (exponential) increase.

Plain and simple. Right? Get on with the job and feel free to share it with me. And do not forget to sprinkle some numbers like icing on the cake.

Good Luck!

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Strategy and tips for IELTS task 1 – oil consumption and production.

New Doc 2017-05-27_1

Please try to follow the structure of the essay. The purpose of writing this task is to help learn how to write well.


The given two pie-charts present information on quantity of oil production and consumption in million barrels per day in seven regions of the world in 2005.

I’ve highlighted certain words because students often fail to use them properly. They fail to mention TWO pie charts. Many students mention “the pie charts present quantity of oil consumption”. The charts do not present quantity. They present INFORMATION on quantity. Some students use “countries” in place of regions. Africa is not a country. It is a continent with more than 50 countries.

Body Paragraphs:

In this case we need to divide body paragraphs into two parts – consumption and production. Let me present data on consumption.

Highest: U.S.A and Canada = 31.10% of global consumption

Lowest: Africa = 3.3% of global consumption.

Order – U.S.A and Canada; Asia Pacific; Europe; Latin America; Middle East; former Soviet Union; Africa.

Let me put the data in right format. But before that, a piece of advice. Please use active voice in writing section. Period. Moreover most students have little idea how to present numbers. For that I suggest using MODIFIERS in some cases. Let the modifiers start with “which”. For instance:

U.S.A and Canada (Subject), which contributed 31.1% of global oil consumption (Modifier), were the largest consumers of oil followed by Asia Pacific and Europe. Latin America, Middle East, former Soviet Union and Africa accounted for about 19.7% of global oil consumption. Africa was the smallest consumer of oil among these regions.

Since we’re talking of global oil consumption, we need to use accounted for or contributed in place of another consumption.


Once you’re done with writing about production, the game is not over. You’re supposed to compare the two charts as well and report which countries have oil surplus and which have oil deficit. Just write ONE LINE to make this point. For instance:

“It is evident from the two charts that while Latin America, Africa, former Soviet Union and Middle East have oil surplus, Asia Pacific, Europe, U.S.A and Canada have oil deficit.”

Alternately, you can also write net oil importers and net oil exporters. Please note the usage of while construction to compare two opposite things.

Also, we’ve not mentioned all the numbers. Why? Because IELTS always says “Summarise and report main features and comparisons.” You’re supposed to summarise, not write all numbers.

I’m sure with these guidelines you’re well equipped to write the production paragraph. Please write and feel free to share with us.

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Common speaking mistakes in IELTS – Part 1


I’m starting a new series to help students learn from my experience of COMMON mistakes students make in IELTS speaking test. Since explaining all these mistakes and related corrections will take a few articles, I’m using the term “series.” So, enjoy the first article.

The biggest mistake students make is that they often fail to greet the examiner with a polite “Hello.” An informal equivalent of ‘hello’ is “Hi.” 

I understand that IELTS is an exam and, as in all exams, we answer the questions asked only. Right? Wrong. IELTS speaking test judges your English communication skills. The first part of the speaking test is called “interview”, however, I prefer to call it “breaking the ice”. This process involves short, friendly, normal conversation to open things up before the cue-card section. And breaking the ice begins with a hello. Listen to the audio attached for proper pronunciation.

This brings me to the second mistake. Students often speak in a monotonous voice. English, like all other languages, demands stress on certain words of a sentence. This is also termed as Intonation. For instance, What IS it? Where IS he? How ARE you? Listen to the audio to better understand how stress on the right words.

Now, read the following conversation:

Q: Where are you going?

A: To the library. You want to join me?

To the library – not I’m going to the library. Similarly:

Q: How do you spend your free time? (a common IELTS question)

A: Well, I prefer reading books.

Never say I spend my free time by reading books. In the English language, as in almost all languages, it is unnatural and unusual to repeat the information supplied in the question. That’s THE MOST common mistake most students make.

Q: Do you like history?

A: Yes I like history. Oops! Bands gone. You’ve made a blunder if you gave this answer.

IELTS often asks questions on activities that you may not be interested in. For instance, do you like taking photographs? Students should abstain from saying NO or YES. There could be better answers. For instance:

Q: Do you like playing golf?

A: Well, I’ve never tried. But I’d love to.

In the audio notice, the pronunciation of ‘I’ve’ and ‘I’d’. Also, notice the intonation on verbs – tries and love.

Q: Do you like reading books?

A: Professionally I’m very busy and personally I prefer painting. So, I’m not into books. 

Also, note the intonation on intensifier very and verb prefer.

I also recommend students to use the negative question to stress their point. For instance, in a cue-card question on neighbors, you can say “neighbors are meant to help each other. Are they not?” A negative question is used to assert a speaker’s belief that the assumption (neighbors are meant to help each other) is true.

Q: Do you like chocolates?

A: Everybody loves chocolates. Isn’t it? 

Note: I’ve not repeated information given in the question (the word LIKE).

Stay tuned for more interesting tips and do not forget to visit our Facebook Page. Please read my page on How to Improve your Vocabulary.

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Improve your Vocabulary with ELTEC: BBC News item

Here’s a new series to improve a student’s vocabulary. I’ll present a news item, usually from BBC, and then explain words along with their usage. Let us LEARN some new words.

News Item:

“Some 23 million people would lose health insurance over the next decade under the revised Republican healthcare plan, says a non-partisan agency. Fourteen million people would be uninsured in 2018 alone, according to the congressional budget office. The analysis said federal deficits would fall by $ 119 billion from 2017-2026 under the proposal which is championed by President Donald Trump. House republicans were criticised for passing the bill before the assessment.”

“Wednesday’s rating lays down the gauntlet to Republican senators who are now crafting their own version of bill, which Democrats have labelled Trumpcare. House Republicans amended their American Health Care Act (AHCA) after it failed back in March to attract enough support to even win a vote in a chamber their party controls.”

Here is an audio for those who wish to listen and read.

Partisan: Supporter of a person or organisation. Non-Partisan, in this context, refers to a source that is not associated with any party.

Deficits: Income – Expenditure. When expenditure of a company or country is more than its income, it is said to be in DEFICIT.

Champion: (verb) To defend or support something.

Lay down the gauntlet: Gauntlet refers to a glove knights used to wear. Throwing down that glove meant challenging an opponent for a duel. So, throw down the gauntlet or lay down the gauntlet refers to challenging someone for a fight.

Craft: To make or manufacture.

Label: To put in a certain class.

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IELTS Essay task 2 correction: Employers ask Personal Information from Employees.

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Employers sometimes ask people applying for jobs for personal information, such as their hobbies and interests and whether they are married or single. Some people say that this information may be relevant. And others disagree.

Discuss both views and given your opinion.

Answer : Please read my page on IELTS writing tips before going through the mistakes.

Information requested in any job application are is  crucial and is used in some form for making employment decisions by the employer selecting suitable candidates. Apart from professional information related to the job, some employers also ask for personal information like such as marriage date marital status, birth date, hobbies etc. This act is criticised by critics and skeptics alike. In my opinion, this information is with good intention by modern employers to encourage collaboration among employees and thus can be considered as a relevant. Better say “While some people criticise such disclosures, I believe that personal information is both important and relevant because ………..” (Give 2 reasons that you’ll explain in body paragraph).

Body Paragraph 1: You discuss Opinion 1 that such information is NOT RELEVANT.

Misuse of personal information by employees is very hard to control, specially when most of the developing countries are yet to come up with rules to stop such misuse. This practice is especially prevalent in middle eastern countries and unstructured labour markets in India. It is a common practice in places like these to confiscate passport during job contract period and use the personal information provided to manipulate mentally or otherwise, to extract more out of the employee. To prevent such misuse countries in north America and the European Union have come up with strict laws to disclose some personal information voluntary and some like sexual orientation, marital status and religious beliefs illegal(You know what, this paragraph is both out of context and fails to explain Opinion 1 – which is that asking for personal information is NOT relevant. You’ve written that it can be misused. Both are not same.)

Despite these rampant misuses, shortage of skilled personnel and the open labour market has made it impractical for most employers to use personal information for evil deeds. Instead, modern employers, specially in knowledge-based industries like information technology, banking, and financial services use the personal data to encourage more interaction and team building. For example, in my workplace, which is a reputed software company, any birthday, marriage anniversary or any other significant personal occasion is celebrated by all team members  with cake, snacks, and beer. Employers show their affection, goodwill, and dedication to workers by sponsoring such events daily regularly. This also helps employees know each other better personally which in turn increases inter-team interaction and which eventually leads to better team collaboration. (Yes. In this paragraph you’ve supported your opinion well.)

Despite rampant misuse of personal information in some countries and job sectors, it is largely detrimental for modern employers to practice such draconian ideas. Instead, the personal information lets the employer show appreciation for employees good work and encourage more social interaction among employees. So having personal information is very much relevant in the modern workplace to encourage better work culture and superior team building.

Let me highlight the structure you should have followed:

Introduction: Explain the topic and state you opinion (You did fine)

Body Paragraph 1: Reason 1 supporting Opinion 1 with one example (You failed here)

Body Paragraph 2: Reason 2 supporting Opinion 2 with one example (You succeeded here)

Conclusion: future + solution/impact

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IELTS general, task 1: Sports and Leisure centre.

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Your local council is considering closing a sports and leisure centre that it runs in order to save money. Write a letter to your local council. In your letter:

  1. give details how you, your friends and family use the centre.
  2. explain why sports and leisure centre is important for local community.
  3. describe the possible effects on local people if the centre closes.

Okay. This seems easy. Isn’t it? Let me present a structure with hints you should follow to answer this question:

Introduction: Yes. A letter has an introduction. An opening paragraph that explains the issue. Rather paraphrase the statement. It may include a word expressing your EMOTIONS. For instance “I’m writing this letter to express concern ……“.

Once you’re done writing about 20 words in introduction, its time to explain the body.

Since this is a letter to local council (which is usually made for welfare of local citizens) keep your tone friendly. Choose your words (usually verbs) very carefully. Now, let us brainstorm.

  1. How you use it: Name a few sports/activities. For instance reading books in centre’s library, swimming, dancing, tennis, etcetera.
  2. Humans are social animals. We need community, team work, society to survive. Mention benefits on physical and mental health.
  3. Possible effects: Physical effects, isolation, lack of community development.

In conclusion express alternatives to closing down the centre. Perhaps the local council can raise funds by increasing membership fees. Use your imagination.

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IELTS Essay Task 2: Homework for Children

homework IELTS PTE

Image Courtesy: pxhere.

Some people believe that no homework should be given to children. Others, however, say extra work is needed after school for children and teenagers in order to succeed. Discuss both views and give your opinion including reasons and relevant examples from your own knowledge and experience.

I’m going to give you a detailed structure. All you have to do is FILL IT UP. Plain and simple. Right? Well, no. Before we proceed, you should go through my tips on writing essays.

Like almost all IELTS essays, this topic links 2 topics. These are:

Topic 1: Homework (none or extra)

Topic 2: Children and teenagers

Since introduction involves explaining the two topics, linking them and stating your opinion, please write it in the following space (Of course you can’t write on this page. Either print it or copy paste on a computer):

Introduction (30 to 40 words):

Now, unlike previous essays, I’m going to abstain from giving you hints on body paragraphs. All I’ll say is that the essay demands “you to explain both opinions while writing body paragraphs“:

Body Paragraph 1:

Reason 1 supporting Opinion 1:



Example 1 supporting Opinion 1:



Body Paragraph 2:Read your OPINION before proceeding.

Reason 2 supporting Opinion 2 (Your opinion):



Example 2 supporting Opinion 2 (Your opinion):



Once you’re done with 2 body paragraphs, it is time to write a suitable conclusion. Remember, conclusion includes the elements of future and/or solution. “Can you think of a BRIGHTER future if  your opinion is implemented?” I’m sure you can.




Please go through a student’s answer (as well as corrections) on this question.

That’s it. You’re ready to submit it now. Email it to

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section.

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IELTS Speaking test May 2017: An event you had to wait

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Describe an event you had to wait for. Please say:

  1. What the event was?
  2. Why did you have to wait for it?
  3. What did you do while waiting?

Introduction: We usually wait for events we consider important. I usually do not like to wait at any event, however, last Sunday I attended a function that launched the last book by my favourite author Salman Rushdie and offered an opportunity to meet the celebrity writer.

Body: That was a dream come true. I had always wanted to meet him. So, I reached the venue – hotel James – in Chandigarh. I guess I grossly underestimated his fan following in my home town. Hotel James was packed with his fans and hundreds of people were waiting in the lobby and drop-off zone. Soon the event organisers requested everyone to form a queue. The queue was so long that I had to wait for about 2 hours to get my copy of the book signed by Mr. Rushdie. Though I met him for about 1 minute, waiting in the queue for so long was a worthy of it.

Followup questions:

Let us talk about patience. What do you think about patience?

I guess patience is one of the greatest human quality and it is much needed these days.

Why do you think patience is the greatest virtue?

Humans today have all the means to live a comfortable life. We gain materialistic things every day. However, in this process we’re losing some important qualities such as patience very rapidly. 

Do we have to wait more or less for things to happen these days?

Well, I guess the wait times actually have shortened. But out patience in the digital age has fallen more drastically. Consequently, we think we are waiting for a long time. But that’s not the case.

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IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: Fill in the blanks

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For those who have little idea how to attempt academic task 1 in IELTS exam, I’ve developed a strategy. As you guys already know, I never give answers. I believe in motivating students to write their own answers using hints given in my blog posts. So, here’s a unique way to learn more about writing academic task 1. Look at the line graph given below and answer the questions.

The graph below shows average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per person in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy and Portugal between 1967 and 2007.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Instructions: please fill answers using hints given in parenthesis. You can use adverbs and adjectives such as gradually. Where more than one options are given in brackets, they’re meant to use different words at different places (vocabulary angle in IELTS).


The given line chart presents information on the amount of ………………………….. (emissions) in …………. countries – …………… , ………… , ………….. and …………. – during a span of …………. (from ……… to ………….).

Body Paragraphs:

During ………………………………….. (years), despite ……………………………. (fall/decline/drop/decrease) in …………………… (emissions) from ………… in 1967 to ……….. (metric ton) in 2007, the United Kingdom remained ……………………………….. (largest/biggest) of carbon dioxide among ………………………………….. (nations). Though, Portugal remained …………………………………………………… (smallest/lowest) except in …………….. , its …………………… (emissions) from ………. to ……….. (metric ton).

From ………. to ……… (years), Sweden‘s emissions ………………………….. (rise/swell/surge/ increase/grow/climb) to about ………. (metric ton). Thereafter it …………………………………… (fall/decline/drop/decrease) till ……….. (year). Carbon dioxide emission in Italy ………………………….. (rise/swell/surge/ increase/grow/climb) throughout …………….. (year) from ………. to …………. (metric ton).

Comparison paragraph:

It is also evident from the chart that while U.K accounted for …………………………………… (times/percent) of that of Portugal in …………….. (year), the gap narrowed and U.K accounted for about ……………….. (times/percent) that of Portugal’s emissions in …………. (year). The gap between ………………………………… (emissions) of U.K and Italy was ………… (metric ton) in ………. (year) and this gap narrowed down to just ………………… (metric ton) in ……….. (year).


Overall while ……….. and ………… (countries) witnessed …………………..(fall/decline/drop/decrease + emissions) during ……………….. (years), …………. and …………. witnessed …………………………. (rise/swell/surge/ increase/grow/climb + emissions).

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IELTS Writing Task 2: Healthcare – private or government

uniform, healt care, doctor, health, hospital, medical care, med

Image Courtesy: Pixnio

Some people think that private healthcare is better for the people. Others say that healthcare should be free of cost and run by the government.

Give your opinion with reasons and examples.

Before I start working on the structure, let me first discuss the two topics in the question. The question focuses on private and public healthcare as well as on the cost of healthcare. Thus the two topics are:

  1. Healthcare (private and public)
  2. Cost of healthcare

Once you have an idea of the two topics, you just have to write something about healthcare (its need, etc) and link that to cost for the people. Finally, you have to give your opinion.

Sample introduction Healthcare is a fundamental human need. Everyone is entitled to efficient and effective healthcare. Since there are people of different financial position in a society, I believe that we need an optimum mixture of private and government hospitals that complement each other.”

Notice that I have not lost the CONTEXT of the question (as shown by the underlined words). Do not lose context in any case. Period.

Let us discuss body paragraphs. These paragraphs must present reasons supporting your opinion. Now that I’ve supported “an optimum mixture of both private and government institutions”, I must state reasons supporting my view.

Body Paragraph 1: Reason 1, Example 1.

Body Paragraph 2: Reason 2, Example 2.

Body Paragraph 3: Reason 3, Example 3.

In each paragraph give one reason only along with an example supporting that reason. For instance, a body paragraph supporting private hospitals should look like:

“Private hospitals provide excellent patient care, have well-paid doctors and have latest medical machines. Consequently, they’re able to provide better medical care to any patient. For instance, a recent survey by Health Ministry of Punjab revealed that though the cost of medical care in private hospitals was higher in comparison to government hospitals, the quality of service in terms of availability of staff and condition of medical appliances was far better than government hospitals. Thus, private hospitals are better equipped to save lives than government ones.”

Please make your own Reason 2, Example 2 and Reason 3, Example 3.

Conclusion: Here’s the tricky part. How to conclude the essay. Well, if you understand the nature of conclusion, that’s easy. The conclusion is meant to CONCLUDE your essay. It’s not INTRODUCTION. Most students just rewrite introduction in conclusion. That’s wrong.

The conclusion is, usually, future + solution/impact if your suggestions given in the body paragraph are accepted. A sample conclusion could be:

“In conclusion, to solve the global health care crisis, governments and private healthcare providers need to unite and compliment each other’s efforts. While private hospitals need to make services cheaper without sacrificing quality, the government should expand its operations to reach farthest corners of the country.”

Ask any doubts in the comments box below.

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IELTS Essay Task 2: Financial Education in Schools

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Financial education should be mandatory component of the school programs. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the statement?
This question has 2 components, or as I prefer – 2 topics.

Topic 1: Financial education

Topic 2: School programs

While writing introduction focus on just these two topics and establish a link between them. Here’s how one of my students introduced the topics (after suitable corrections):

It is often argued that in a modernfinancially complex world educating students on money management should be an essential part of overall human education. While plethora of people believe that it should be an optional subject in school curriculum, I believe financial education should be made a compulsory subject in all schools. Without financial literacy a student can not successfully participate in her career and society.

Focus on the areas the student has mentioned. At no time did the student lose focus on Topic 1 or Topic 2.

Now, let us switch to body paragraphs. Body paragraphs are meant to explain REASONS with EXAMPLES supporting your OPINION.

Body Paragraph 1: Reason 1, Example 1.

Body Paragraph 2: Reason 2, Example 2.

Stick to this structure/ pattern.

Reason 1: Kids these days are being bombarded with (enticed with) attractive and new products everyday ranging from latest mobile phones to perfumes. Financial literacy on how to control the urge to spend and save for the future begins with a compulsory course in schools.

NOTE: I’ve connected the reason with both essay topics – financial literacy as well as schools.

Now, the ball is in student’s court. Please create an example that connects both topics – 1 and 2.

Similarly, make Reason 2 and Example 2.

Finally, let us switch to conclusion.

Conclusion contains two elements – future and/or solution.

A suitable conclusion could be: To conclude, teaching children the long-term benefits of financial education will play an instrumental/ important role in making strong and secure future for coming generations by cultivating long cherished and respected habit of “spending according to your income”.

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IELTS Speaking, May 2017: an Advertisement you saw recently

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wp-image-2061522878Describe an advertisement that you have seen recently and liked. Please say:

  1. What type of advertisement was it?
  2. What product/service was advertised?
  3. How did you feel about it? Why?

Note: This topic is for demonstration only. Please study the answer and make your own. IELTS will give you one minute to study cue-card and you should speak for one to two minutes.

Introduction: Advertisements are meant to inform customers about uses and uniqueness of a product.

Body: Recently I saw an advertisement of Just Dial, a famous website that provides information about addresses and phone numbers of various businesses in India. The advertisement featured Amitabh Bachchan, famous Indian actor, who advises customers to avoid several similar mobile applications and just install one Just Dial application as solution to numerous problems.

After watching this advertisement I realised that a lot of thinking had gone into creating it since the advertisement clearly conveyed the brand and presented Just Dial’s services and unique that can not be replaced by any other brand.

Followup questions:

How effective are advertisements in your opinion?

Well, advertisements are a channel used by businesses to communicate with customers. If they’re properly made with target audience in mind, they are an effective tool.

Should they be controlled by the government?

Some aspects need to be regulated. For instance, in certain advertisements content inappropriate for certain audiences, particularly children, is shown. This must be stopped.

Why do you think so?

Inappropriate content, which may contain violence, deeply impact tender minds of young children.

Do you think spending more on advertisement will make it better?

Of course not. There’s no link between spending more and quality of an advertisement. 

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IELTS Essay Check, Task 2: Taxing Air Travel to reduce traffic

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Air traffic is increasingly leading to more noise, pollution and airport construction. One reason for this is the growth in low-cost passenger flights, often to holiday destinations. 

Some people say that governments should try to reduce air traffic by taxing it more heavily.

Do you agree or disagree?

(250 words, 40 minutes)

Like all IELTS questions, this question wants students to link 2 topics. Please note that you can’t challenge the question statement given at the top. You can agree or disagree with “controlling air traffic by taxing it”.

Topic 1: Air traffic leading to more noise, pollution and airport construction. One of the reasons is low-cost passenger flights.

Topic 2: Tax it heavily. (It = Low-cost passenger flights)

Intro: Introduce the topic by linking topic 1 and 2. Write about 3 sentences.

Sample introduction: Increasing prosperity during the past few decades has let to a dramatic increase in air travel across the world. Moreover technological improvements and economies of scale have helped reduce price of air transport. To contain the phenomenal growth of low-cost passenger flights, which has led to pollution and massive airport construction projects, some people believe that governments across the world should impose heavy taxes. I believe this approach will be more harmful than useful in managing the issue.”

Body para 1:

Reason 1, Example 1

Body para 2:

Reason 2, Example 2


Here’s a correction to essays sent by several students. Please not how successful each student was in losing CONTEXT. I’m sharing mistakes of others so that everyone can learn from each other’s mistakes. Perhaps we make similar mistakes.

  1. Diksha:

Intro: You missed the point. Question is not on pollution. Pollution and airport construction are secondary issues. Primary issue is reducing air traffic by taxing it heavily. You can’t say “There are various reasons which create pollution such as vehicles and industries.

Moreover, Can reason create pollution? No.

Body Para 1: 

will be + snatching (not snatched) – Tenses mistake.

to + verb: to travel (not travelling)

promise their children (not promise to their offspring)

Reason 1 and Example 1 are of average quality. 5.5 bands content. Try to make things better.

Body Para 2:

Spelling mistakes: hectic, schedule.

Rephrase: Since air travel is a faster mode of transport than road or rail, people prefer it to save time. (“Since” construction is a useful one in IELTS exam).

Prefer X over Y. (“Prefer” construction is another way to prove your proficiency in IELTS exam). 75% people prefer flights over rail and road transport even when ticket charges are increased.

Body Para 3:

to + verb: to decline (not declining)/ in declining.

You wrote well, but missed the point. Reduce air traffic by taxing heavily? Only body para 2 links with the question. You should have pointed out that this is not enough. To reduce air traffic, government must make rail transport more attractive by making it move faster. Maglev trains of France and bullet trains of Japan.

Bands: 5.5

2. Simarjeet:

Intro: Increasing tax WILL NOT reduce air traffic. (use future tense)

I can’t see the link between “increasing technology” and rest of the paragraph. Preferably say “While advancement in technology have made airplanes more powerful and efficient, which has made air travel cheaper, it has also led to massive increase in traffic and hence pollution.”

Your intro does not link topics stated above. It fails at introducing the essay.

Body para 1: 

Is a single “airplane” responsible for air pollution?

You LOST CONTEXT. Question is not on pollution or airport construction. It is on CONTROLLING these things by TAXING air travel heavily.

It contains no reason why increasing tax will (/will not) reduce air traffic.

Body para 2:

Again, LOST CONTEXT. Answer the question “Why TAX will reduce air travel?“.

Bands: 5.0

3. Desraj:

Intro: You’ve touched topic 1 only. Not topic 2 (Tax to control air traffic).

Is technology leading to environmental issues? There’s no CONTEXT here.

Body Para 1: Do not waste words in absurd stuff. “First and foremost ……….. leaps and bounds” is ABSURD. How does it link with our topic? Please read how I linked advancements in technology with the given topic in Simarjeet’s and Diksha’s essay.

Come to Reason 1 directly.

Which governing body?

LOST CONTEXT here. Should have discussed Reason 1 (Why taxing will solve/ not solve air traffic problem?)

Body Para 2: Which governing authority?

You’ve not explained the Reason in detail.

Bands: 5.0

4. Aditya:

Intro: How does “Education” fit in this essay? Context lost.

The question is not on why air pollution, noise and airport construction are increasing. Question is WILL TAXING AIR TRAFFIC HELP CONTROL THIS PROBLEM? Are there some other solutions to reduce air traffic and hence control pollution (apart from TAXING)?

Write complete essay to receive bands.

5. Adish:

Same problem as Aditya. LOST CONTEXT in introduction. Read structure and explanation at top to understand what to write.

Complete the essay to receive bands.

6. Navjot:

You have also lost the context. Please read the essay structure at the top along with comments on other students’ essays. You’ve made same mistakes.

Your introduction is about benefits of air transport. That’s not our question. Please read it carefully.

Body Para 1: To commence with, firstly…..” Don’t write that. That’s poor English. Start straight away. Last line of intro must link with Body Para 1.

7. Maninder:

Your introduction focuses only on topic 1 and fails to touch topic 2. You have to mention “How taxing air travel will control air traffic?

Please write complete answer to receive bands.

8. Harman:

Same mistakes as other students. Lost CONTEXT. Please read the question carefully.

Please complete the essay to receive bands.

Most of the students lose bands because they’re unable to stick to the question and maintain CONTEXT. Please feel free to share your essay with us. Perhaps we can learn from each other.

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IELTS Speaking, May 2017: A tall building

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Talk about a tall building you know. Please say:

1. What and where is it?

2. What does it look like?

3. Do you like or dislike it?

Note: Please take hints from the answer and create your own answer.

Introduction: New Delhi, my home town, has several structures – historical to modern – that attract a person’s attention. 

Body: The structure I love the most is Qutub Minar, a World Heritage Site, in Mehrauli area of Delhi. It is basically a tower built by Delhi Sultanat about 1000 years old. It is a cylindrical building of about 4 stories. Its purpose was to keep watch on any invading army.

Since I’m fond of historical buildings, I really love this structure. Despite its age, the structure is still strong and the design is still beautiful and elegant.

Followup questions: these questions are based on your answer. For your unique answer these questions will change.

1. Does climate affect buildings?

Certainly. The elements of heat, cold, water, sunlight, dust and wind make a deep impact on buildings.

2. Why should historical buildings be conserved?

These structures are our shared heritage which is not any one generation’s property but a property of all future generations. Consequently, they must be preserved and protected.

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IELTS Task 1 correction: General Training – full time job and an evening course

Your-have a full-time job and are also doing a part-time evening course. You find that you cannot continue the course.

Write a letter to your course coordinator. In your letter
• describe the situation
• explain why you cannot continue at this time
• say what action you would like to take

Write at least 150 words.

You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Dear Sir Mr. Berney,

I am Maria, one of your student in a French Language evening course students at French Friendly Academy. I am writing this letter to inform you that next Friday 15th March will be my last class. This seems too harsh. Do you really want to set this tone?

Though I love attending your classes, unfortunately, I may have to discontinue the course.

I am working as Secretary for in a big factory name the company/factory here in Formosa, and now my department’s chief is offering me a promotion. Do you really want to leave the course for a promotion? That sounds too selfish. Isn’t it? Let us set a more amiable tone. greater responsibilities that will demand my presence in the evening as well.

I am enthusiastic with this preferment but the position available is in Buenos Aires and for that reason, I am going to move there next April and I do not able to attending the course anymore.

Moreover, I’ll soon be transfered to undertake similar responsibilities in Buenos Aires. Consequently it will be nearly impossible for me to attend classes from 15th of March.

However, I would like to continue learning French and I was thinking of an online course. I do not know if you have any online class or maybe you can recommend me a good website or teacher.

I am Looking forward to hearing from you,

Yours sincerely.


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