Aims of this course Improve understanding of IELTS and how to teach IELTS How to improve scores Every time we meet, I want you to leave with some ideas that you can use in your class tomorrow.
1. How many parts are there on the IELTS exam? 2. How many sections are there for each part of the exam? 3. How much time do the students have for each part? 4. How is IELTS scored?
IELTS IELTS tests all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking
Scores There is no pass or fail in IELTS. – The score needed depends on requirements of the accepting institution Scores from 1 to 9 for each test area Scores listed as whole or half bands – 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0
Scores Band 9: Expert user Band 5: Modest user Band 3: Extremely limited user Band 1: Non-user
Testing order Listening Reading Writing Speaking – Note: might be on a different day
No Secret Recipes Good English + good test-taking skills = success No secret recipes Hard work
General test tips and strategies Read the directions carefully Only give required number of answers Spell answers correctly, particularly when already given in the question or passage Use exact wording from passage
General test tips and strategies Questions appear in passage order Answers from life experience vs. answers from the passage Guess Students have to check their spelling
General test tips and strategies Focus on IELTS-specific information
Common topics throughout the test There are always texts related to these topics on IELTS exams Check the topics on the official IELTS website or your preparation book Some of these topics are: – Technology – Shopping / Consumerism – Health – Environment
Listening overview SectionsContent/DurationNumber of Qs 4 sections30 minutes for the test 10 minutes for transferring answers 40 Qs Section 1A conversation between two speakers in a social or semi- social context /10 minutes 10 Qs Section 2A talk by a single speaker based on a non-academic situation /10 minutes 10 Qs
Listening overview SectionsContent/DurationNumber of Qs Section 3A conversation with up to four speakers based on academic topics or course-related situations /10 minutes 10 Qs Section 4A university-style lecture or talk /10 minutes 10 Qs
Listening overview SectionSkillsQuestion Types 1 Orienting yourself to the text Form filling, note-completion Listening for specific information Table completion, sentence completion 2 Identifying detailLabeling a diagram, multiple choice Following a description on a map, diagram, plan Labeling a map or plan, summary completion
Listening overview SectionSkillsQuestion Types 3 Identifying main ideas Short-answer questions, multiple choice questions, matching 4 Following signpostsCompleting a flowchart Following a talkNote-completion
Tips for Listening Test Important: spelling is assessed, even in the Listening exam!
Tips for Listening Test Tip: transfer answers carefully – 10-minutes allotted
Tips for Listening Test No opportunity to re-listen – Tip: take notes Only around 30 seconds pre-listening time – Tip: use time wisely—read next question; don’t transfer answers
Tip: use required number of words Complete the sentences below. Write NO MORE THAN ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER for each answer. Hotel Novena Guest Registration form Example Name of guest: Room: Wake-up call at: Type of breakfast: Payment by: Answer Matthews 1 ………………….. 2 ………………….. 3…………………… 4 …………………..
Section 4: different No assigned time for reading questions in section 4 during the recording – Tip: read through all the questions first
Question types: labeling a map or plan Label the plan. Write the correct letter A-H next to the questions 1-4. 1 Car Park ………………………….. 2 Domestic Terminal …………… 3 Lifts ………………………………… 4 Regional Terminal …………….
Mixed question types: fill in the blanks The Study of Child Language Acquisition Fascinatingbecause people have an 1 ………………. in children’s learning 2 ………………….because it leads to greater understanding of language 3 ………………….because of the differences encountered
Mixed question types: fill in the flowchart blanks Complete the flowchart below Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER for each of answer. Discussion of includes the use of diaries, recordings, tests Children become aware that they can speak Linguistic analysis become possible 4 …………………………. Speech in children 6 ………………. years Speech in infants’ 5 ……………….. of life
Mixed question types: complete the table Complete the table below. Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER for each of answer. AnimalBrought byReason 1 ……………………………SettlersFor food FoxSettlers2 …………………………… Cane toad3 ……………………………To kill beetles
Mixed question types: complete the flowchart Beetle lay eggs Eggs become grubs Grubs eat the 4 ………….. Sugar cane 5 …………..
Mixed question types: multiple choice Choose the correct letter A, B, or C. 6. The cane toad originated in A Central America B Hawaii C Australia 8. The farmer’s plan failed because A There were too many beetles B Their own research was faulty C they believed the reports they read 7. In Australia, the toads A grew extremely large B multiplied in number C ate the cane beetles 9. The sugar cane industry A thrives today B has died out in some areas C survives alongside the beetle
Reading overview PassagesContent/DurationNumber of Qs 3 Academic passages / 60 minutes 40 Qs in total Passage 1More descriptive passage 13 to 14 Qs for each passage Passage 2More discursive and argumentative 13 to 14 Qs for each passage
Reading overview PassagesContent/DurationNumber of Qs Passage 3More discursive and argumentative 13 to 14 Qs for each passage
Reading overview SkillsQuestion Types Using titles and subheadings Using paragraphs and main ideas Finding information in paragraphs Choosing headings for paragraphs Skimming Scanning Following referencing Short-answer questions Completing a flowchart, diagram, table
Reading overview SkillsQuestion Types Understanding paragraph structure Extracting key information Multiple choice, True / False / Not Given Note Completion Paraphrasing the main ideas Getting gap-fill answers right Choosing headings for paragraphs Sentence completion Understanding summariesSummary completion (with a box)
Reading overview SkillsQuestion Types Recognizing arguments / views in texts Choosing from a list Classification Matching Interacting with / analyzing passage Matching sentence endings Yes / No / Not given
Reading A difficult question carries the same number of points as an easy question – Tip: answer the easy questions first
Reading No penalty for guessing – Tip: answer every question
Reading Note: no extra time to transfer answers No specialist knowledge required Copy passage answers correctly: spelling! – Tip: beware of singular/plural
No title or subheading? A question may test understanding of the theme or purpose of the passage
Match the headings with paragraphs List of headings i.Increasing customer confidence ii.A benefit to retailers iii.The dangers for retailers iv.Changing the face of the shop v.Encouraging online feedback 1.Paragraph ……………………….. 2.Paragraph ……………………….. 3.Paragraph ……………………….. 4.Paragraph ……………………….. 5.Paragraph ………………………..
Matching Headings may have similar/identical words as a paragraph, but that does not mean that heading goes with that paragraph. – Tip: match ideas not words
Gaps There may be two gaps, worth one or two marks. Tip: the word ‘both’ in a sentence or summary signals that two answers may be required. Complete the sentences below Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER for each answer. 1.Esperance used to rely on …………………. 2.About ……………………… of Esperance’s energy needs are met by wind. 3.& 4. Wind farms should not be built near barriers to the wind, such as ……………………. or ……………………….
Paraphrasing IELTS questions often use different words or phrases from those used in the passage – Tip: practice paraphrasing skills—essential!
Paraphrasing QuestionPassage AUsed to rely totally onEntire needs were met BEnergy needsEnergy requirements CIts energy outputThe power produced DChoose the best locationSelect the optimum site
Paraphrasing: London tours Q: “This tour includes a functioning market.” A: “…then (we) continue to Borough Market, where you’ll find it hard to choose among all the fine food and other goods on sale. – (excerpts from Objective IELTS Intermediate)
Keywords Tip: don’t be fooled by appearance of keywords Q: “This tour includes a functioning market.”
No partial marks for partial answers Choose THREE letters. A-G. Which THREE of the arguments below are stated in the passage? A Penguins are not afraid of people. B Penguins are becoming an endangered species. C Tourists are not a threat their existence. D Penguins are hard to research. E Penguins don’t leave their nest. F A penguins behavior depends on its species. G Penguin stress may result from being with other penguins.
Writing overview TasksContent/Duration 2 Tasks60 minutes Task 1 150 words Academic: Graph General: Letter / Prompt
TasksContent/Duration Task 2 Writing an academic style essay in response to a topic / prompt 250 words
Writing overview Skills Interpreting visual information Bar charts Line graphs Tables Diagrams Pie charts Writing an overviewPicking out significant trends Selecting / illustrating main points Highlighting main stages of a process
Writing overview Skills Comparing informationDescribing how something works Grouping information
Task 1 Description of a graph, table, process or a combination of the three Purpose: describe and compare data – Tip: don’t suggest causes or reasons for the data – Tip: don’t simply list the information Note dates and times in the data – Tip: use the appropriate tense
Important: correctly interpret data Number of employees (1000)
Basic outline for T1 Write an overview of the chart – “This chart shows…” – NOT (topic=sales of chocolate) “Chocolate is my favorite sweet, and it’s the favorite one of everyone in the world…” Write the important trends
Basic outline for T1 Give examples (i.e. specific numbers) for those trends) Wrap up with a concluding idea – “As can be seen from the chart…”
Task 2 Description: academic-style essay Purpose: write a well-organized essay with appropriate support of opinion
Range of structures: important VerbsPhrases To rise To fall To peak Five out of ten… Fifty per cent of… A third of the students… Adjectives and Adverbs Sharp(ly) Dramatic(ally) Significant(ly) Considerable(ably) Slight(ly) Gentle(ly)
Writing strategies Paragraphs – Have one idea per paragraph Content – Avoid informal language – Don’t memorize model answers – Opinion: no correct answer, just a clear position and good support
Writing strategies Procedure – Be careful with timing - don't rush – Task Two is longer and is worth more points – Leave time to edit – Be legible
Ways to affect a score Mobiles phones have changed the way many people communicate. Nowadays people cannot live without them if they want to be a part of society. To what extent do you think this is true? Why do you think some people have not adapted to this type of communication? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Ways to affect a score For a two-part answer, both parts must be addressed; otherwise, no more than Band 5 for content If main ideas are related but off-topic, no more than Band 5
Note Listening, Reading and Writing=same day Speaking=same day…or up to a week before or after
Speaking overview PartsWhat?ContentDuration 3 Parts Speaking11-14 minutes Part 1Introduction & Interview Talk about self and familiar topics with the examiner. 4-5 minutes
Speaking overview PartsWhat?ContentDuration Part 2Short talkTalk for 1-2 minutes on a topic chosen by the examiner. 1 minute for preparation and around 2 minutes for a non-stop talk. 3-4 minutes
Speaking overview PartsWhat?ContentDuration Part 3Two-way discussion Answer more abstract questions related to the topic in part 2. 4-5 minutes
Part 1 Very short answers=lost opportunity For example: Question: Are you a student? Answer: Yes.
Question: Are you a student? Answer: Yes, I am a student. I’m studying in the Foundation Program at Qatar University.
Part 1 examples What is the best way to stay healthy? I think walking is good for you, as well as watching what you eat. So I try to take some exercise every day and on top of that I eat lots of fruit and vegetables. What kind of music are you interested in? Well… I really enjoy listening to songs, particularly songs from my country. And I like to have music playing when I’m studying. In fact, I can’t study without music.
Part 2 Take notes on key points asked in the question. – Tip: don’t write full sentences No credit for repeating words in the task Practice speaking for at least a minute— harder than it sounds – Tip: using a watch during the exam is permitted
Part 2 prompts Describe a place you have lived in that you particularly liked. You should say: when you lived there who you lived with what was most memorable about this place and explain why you liked it so much.
Part 2 prompts Describe a family member who is the most successful. You should say: who this person is how often you see each other what this person does and explain why he/she is successful.
Part 3 samples How important is it to enjoy your work? Why? Does tourism bring mainly positive or negative things to a country? Having somewhere to live is a basic right. So should the state provide cheap housing for people who don’t earn a lot of money? Why? To what extent do you think the climate of a country affects the kind of houses or homes that are built?
Part 3 samples Well… in my view, climate probably has to do a lot with the way we design our houses. So… for instance, in countries where it snows a lot, you find houses with something like a steep roof… so that the snow can’t settle there, and … you know damage the roof. But in warm climates, I think the houses are often built to keep the sun out.
Part 3 Goal: a well-reasoned, smoothly-connected, justified answer No wrong answers: quality and content of speech are graded, not opinions No knowledge of topic? Too bad! – Tip: specifically practice speaking about obscure topics (…fake it!) – Tip: It’s okay to make up information (ie. lie!)
Speaking strategies Examiners may repeat questions – Tip: don’t be afraid to ask Speaking clearly and using stress and intonation will help communicate ideas
Speaking Part 1 Considered the ‘easiest’ part Basic questions about school, life, work, your home, your hometown, hobbies, interests, etc. Often questions use the word ‘describe’ or ‘what’s X like?’ E.g. ‘Describe your home…’, ‘what’s your hometown like?’
How is the speaking marked? Grammar range and accuracy Fluency and coherence Pronunciation Lexical Resource (vocabulary)
What do students need? No real tricks Familiar with common topics Vocabulary related to these topics Basic Grammar Be comfortable and confident answering questions about these topics
From the examiner’s perspective Part 1 serves several functions: 1. to calm down the student 2. to give the examiner a general idea of the score of the student 3. To give the student a chance to show what they know
Questions and Grammar Examiner’s try to ‘mix up’ questions to give the student the opportunity to show what they can do: Simple Present, Past Simple, Present Perfect, Future (will & going to)
What can we do to help the students? 1. Give the students lots of opportunities to practice answering the types of questions on part 1 of the exam. 2. Encourage (trick) the students into expanding the vocabulary and grammatical structures they use in their answers.
Easy Teaching Strategy (for teachers and students) Teach / Review one structure with the students E.g. Present perfect (I have lived in Doha for 7 years) Choose some questions that can be answered using present perfect But don’t be afraid to challenge students
Where do you live? I live in Doha. I have lived here all my life. Do you like to travel? Yes, I love travelling. I have been to France twice this year. What are your favorite subjects at school? I like Chemistry and Math, but English has always been my favorite.
Where to get a bunch of questions* http://iteslj.org/questions/ Where to get vocabulary by topic http://www.esl-lab.com/vocab/index.htm http://www.englisch- hilfen.de/en/words_list/vokabeln.htm
Activity 1 1.Put 5 questions on the board. Give students time and let them write their ‘perfect’ answers. 2.Let students talk—ask and answer their questions with each other. 3.Monitor (build their confidence) 4.Variation (Vocabulary, grammar, get rid of vocabulary cards)
Activity 2 Print and cut out some questions Use as ‘warm up’ activity to get students moving and talking and in “IELTS mode” Depending on size of the class: student has to ask and answer question with 5 different people (everyone in the class?)
Activity 3 Strips of paper Students write their own questions Use vocabulary / grammar / topic Collect, shuffle, give out
Activity 4 Practice interviews (like the exam) One student is the ‘examiner’ and asks questions for about 2-3 minutes, the other answers. Switch places. Variation: a third student listens for ‘mistakes’ Variation: get rid of vocabulary cards
Activity 5* Truth and lies 10 students, two groups of 5 One group only answers, the other group asks questions In the answering group, 3 of the people have to answer all questions truthfully, 2 people have to not answer truthfully. The other team has to figure out who is not telling the truth.
General Tips 1. Use preparation time to think of what you are going to say 2. Note down any ‘good’ vocabulary related to the topic 3. Speak until the examiner stops you.
To improve the score Same things apply as from speaking part 1 (vocabulary and grammar) Words related to cohesion and coherence (conjunctions, transitions) But, and, so, because, while, although, etc.
What do we need to do? Give the students the opportunity to practice timed speaking exercises. Encourage students to use preparation time. Encourage (trick) students to expand and use vocabulary, transitions, grammatical items in their talk)
Example Topics Describe a subject you enjoyed studying at school. You should say: When and where you started studying it What lessons were like What made the subject different from other subjects And explain why you enjoyed the subject
Example Topic 2 Describe a game or sport you enjoy playing. You should say: What kind of sport it is Who you play it with Where you play it And explain why you enjoy playing it
Example Topic 3 Describe someone in your family who you like. You should say: How this person is related to you What this person looks like What kind of person he/she is And explain why you like this person
Activities 1. Give students a speaking prompt. 2. Let the students prepare in pairs or small groups (brainstorm ideas, vocabulary) 3. Let them take turns speaking for one minute on the full topic. 4. Monitor and offer feedback. 5. Let them do it again.
Activities continued Mock exams One student is the examiner the other is the student, and switch Variation: another student listens for ‘mistakes’ Variation: get rid of your cards Variation: text grab