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Monday, September 30, 2013

IELTS Grammar Tips for Filipinos

When we talk about English examinations, we think of questions relating to grammar. Indeed, grammar is a very important ingredient in English examinations. In any English examination, grammar plays a vital role to assess the examinee. It may not be that obvious that somebody is being evaluated with his or her grammar skills just like in the IELTS or the International English Language Testing System examination. Grammar usage assessment in the IELTS is observed in the speaking and writing tasks.
In the speaking section, interviewers are keen in listening to details in the response as well as how well grammar is used. This includes the consistency of the verb tenses, prepositions used, and even the choice of words and expressions in the response. Grammar is more emphasized in the writing section. Like in the speaking test, the essay or response is evaluated with the usage of the verb tenses, the appropriateness of the prepositions and the variety of vocabulary and word expressions. Since grammar poses a very vital role in the IELTS, candidates should take note of some grammar rules in speaking and in writing.
1. Subject and Verb agreement

It is the most basic rule in grammar: a singular subject takes a singular verb. Most of the time, examinees commit mistakes with this rule. Hence, some individuals speak a little slowly as they try to listen to themselves when they talk. Additionally in writing, this grammar rule is often overlooked. Always double check the number of the subject to be able to use the right verb for it.
2. Verb Tenses

When telling a story that happened in the past, make sure that everything that follows after it, or the details to support the idea are in the past tense. Do not shift from one tense to another if there is no connection or relevance to the flow of the ideas. This is what we call maintaining the consistency of the thought and having a smooth flow of ideas in the response.
3. Prepositions

There are a lot of prepositions in the English language and memorizing their rules can take a lot of time as these rules are very flexible. However, familiarity with the prepositions of time, place, and location is a good start in using prepositions appropriately. Start with the rules of in , on, and at.You can start learning about the proper use of prepositions on this post.

These three fundamental parts of grammar are very useful in coming up with a better and more intelligent responses in both speaking and writing. To be more familiar with grammar, start reading grammar books, watch video tutorials over the Internet, or enrol in an IELTS review center today.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Accents Used in the IELTS Listening Exam

The Listening Section of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is actually the easiest part of the examination. It is easier in the sense that the questions are not very tricky and at the same time easy to comprehend. The only problem most non-English native speakers has to deal with is the use of different accents in the recorded conversations and passages. The IELTS Listening Section uses Australian, British, New Zealand, and North American accents.

Filipino examinees for the IELTS are more accustomed to listening to American English accent. However, with the different accents used, it is best for Filipinos to find practice centres and learn to get familiar with the different accents.

The purpose of having the listening test a part of the IELTS examination is to assess skills in understanding main ideas and factual information, recognizing opinions, attitudes and purpose of a speaker, and following the flow of an argument.

The IELTS Listening Section can be completed in about thirty minutes with an extra ten minutes to have the candidates transfer their answers from the question booklet to the answer.

The different accents used in the IELTS examination will be a practice for the IELTS examinee. He or she will be dealing with different people abroad who come from different countries. When working or studying abroad, they will have to communicate with these people so familiarity with the accent is really crucial.
For candidates to get accustomed with these accents, here are some things that they can do:

•    Listen to British or Australian language conversations for a couple of hours every day.

•    Watch films that use British or Australian accents. A Hugh Grant movie will be a perfect film to practice on.

•    Listen to news spoken in British and Australian accents. Take note on the stress, pronunciation, and emphasis given on some words.

•    Youtube it! Youtube has videos that help IELTS candidates become familiar and comfortable with the said accents.

•    Get a coach. Enrolling in an IELTS review centre is beneficial as they have professional tutors that will guide candidates in dealing with the accents used in the IELTS Listening Section. Moreover, they offer practice tests that will surely make the candidate distinguish one accent from another.

Indeed, IELTS review centres have the best facilities in giving training and practice to IELTS examinees. Accents might be difficult to understand, but with constant exposure to it, one will find it easier to understand these accents.

Here are some useful Youtube videos that discuss various English accents:

Here's also a video from Youtube that feature different English accents as spoken by young girls from London, Scotland, New York, Texas, Canadian, Queensland, and New Zealand.

The words spoken are:

  • Aunt
  • Route
  • Wash
  • Oil
  • Theater
  • Iron
  • Salmon
  • Caramel
  • Fire
  • Water
  • Sure
  • Data
  • Ruin
  • Crayon
  • New Orleans
  • Pecan
  • Both
  • Again
  • Probably
  • Spitting image
  • Alabama
  • Lawyer
  • Coupon
  • Mayonnaise
  • Syrup
  • Pajamas
  • Caught

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Proper Use of Prepositions When Indicating Time and Location

As defined by, a preposition is a word or phrase placed typically before a substantive and indicating the relation of that substantive to a verb, an adjective, or another substantive. Examples of prepositions include at, in, on, in regard to, and from.

One of the most common mistakes in the IELTS is the improper use of prepositions in the writing and speaking exams. To minimize and eventually avoid getting this kind of mistake, let’s take a good look on how to use prepositions on our essays and speaking exam. Given focus on this article are the prepositions that are usually used when indicating time and location. 

When Indicating TIME

General (IN) 

The preposition “in” must be used when you are indicating time in general. For example:
·         centuries (the 1800s)
·         decades (the 80s)
·         years (1970, 1980)
·         months (July, April)
·         weeks (2 weeks)

Example sentences:

Inflation rate was very high in April and June

The board of directors has decided that a brand ambassador will be introduced in two weeks time.

More Specific (ON)

The preposition “on” must be used when the time is more specific. When it is more specific, the date is indicated, like:

·         Days (Monday, Friday)
·         Weekend
·         April 1, 2000

Example sentences:

Paolo will visit the cemetery on Sunday.

Trecia and Celine have decided to watch a movie on April 2, 2009.

Very Specific (AT)

When you are indicating an hour, the preposition “at” must be used.
·         9am
·         Two o’clock
·         6pm

Example sentences:

Christine wants to meet April at two o’clock.

The final game for UP’s volleyball tournament will start at 6pm.

When Indicating LOCATION

Same principle can be applied when using prepositions to indicate a location or a place.

General (IN)

When you are indicating countries, cities, and neighborhood in your sentences, don’t forget to use the preposition “in.”

·         Country (Prague)
·         City (Cebu City)
·         Neighborhood (Chinatown)

Example sentences:

The Sinulog festival is one of the most popular events in Cebu City.

The cheapest clothes and bags are in Chinatown.

Very Specific (ON)

Use the “on” preposition when you stating:

·         Streets (Oxford Street)
·         Avenue (Jones Avenue)

Example sentences:

The Davao office of JRooz Review Center Inc. is located on Bonifacio Street.

Nelly bought her bag on Jones Avenue.

Very Specific (AT)
·         Address (143 Elmer Street)
·         Specific location (the store)

Example sentences:

Katniss lives at 143 Seam, District 12, Panem.

James and Peter will meet at Gerry’s Grill to celebrate George’s birthday.

Monday, September 23, 2013

IELTS Listening Practice Test from the British Council

IELTS listening practice from the British Council 
 no copyright infringement intended.

You can download the IELTS listening practice blank answer sheet here.
For the answer keys, you should contact us to know more.

To improve your skills for the IELTS test, you can visit this page to know more tips from the experts!

IELTS Listening Section 1

Questions 1-5

Example question
Harbour City

Complete the notes below.

Write no more than two words and/or a number for each answer.

Questions: transport from Bayswater
  1. Express train leaves at (1) …………………….
  2. Nearest station is (2) …………………….
  3. Number 706 bus goes to (3) …………………….
  4. Number (4) ……………………. bus goes to station
  5. Earlier bus leaves at (5) …………………….

 Questions 6–10

Complete the table below.
Write no more than one word and/or a number for each answer.
Cash fare
Card fare
(6) $ …………
Train (peak)
Train (off-peak)
– before 5pm or after (7) ……… pm)

(8) $ …………
(9) ………… ferry 
Tourist ferry ((10) …………)
Tourist ferry (whole day)

IELTS Listening Section 2

Questions 11–14

Which counsellor should you see?
Write the correct letter, A, B or C, next to questions 11–14.

Louise Bagshaw
Tony Denby
Naomi Flynn

11) if it is your first time seeing a counsellor
12) if you are unable to see a counsellor during normal office hours
13) if you do not have an appointment 
14) if your concerns are related to anxiety

Questions 15-20

Complete the table below. Write no more than two words for each answer. 

Target group
what you need to succeed academically
(15) ………………… students
Getting Organised
use time effectively, find (16) ………………… between study and leisure
all students
talking with staff, communicating across cultures
all students, especially (17) …………………
(18) …………………, breathing techniques, meditation, etc.
students about to sit exams
(19) …………………
staying on track for long periods
(20) …………………  students only

IELTS Listening Section 3

Questions 21–30

Complete the notes below.

Write no more than three words for each answer.


Novel:  (21) …………………
Protagonists:  Mary Lennox; Colin Craven
Time period:  Early in (22) …………………
Mary moves to UK – meets Colin who thinks he’ll never be able to
(23) ………………… . They become friends.
Point of view:  “Omniscient” – narrator knows all about characters’ feelings, opinions and (24) …………………
Audience:  Good for children – story simple to follow
Symbols (physical items that represent (25) …………………):
  • the robin redbreast
  • (26) …………………
  • the portrait of Mistress Craven
Motifs (patterns in the story):
  • the Garden of Eden
  • secrecy – metaphorical and literal transition from 27 …………………
Themes:  Connections between
  • (28) ………………… and outlook
  • (29) ………………… and well-being
  • individuals and the need for (30) …………………

IELTS Listening Section 4

Questions 31–35

Complete the table below.

Write one word only for each answer.

Time Perspectives

Time Zone


Features & Consequences

Past Positive Remember good times, e.g. birthdays.
Keep family records, photo albums, etc.

(31) …………….. Focus on disappointments, failures, bad decisions.
Present Hedonistic Live for (32) …………….. ; seek sensation; avoid pain.

Fatalistic Life is governed by (33) …………….. , religious beliefs, social conditions. Life’s path can’t be changed.
Future (34) …………….. Prefer work to play. Don’t give in to temptation.

Fatalistic Have a strong belief in life after death and importance of (35) …………….. in life.

Questions 36–40

Choose the correct letter, A, B or C.


36) We are all present hedonists
A) at school
B) at birth
C) while eating and drinking
37) American boys drop out of school at a higher rate than girls because
A) they need to be in control of the way they learn
B) they play video games instead of doing school work
C) they are not as intelligent as girls
38) Present-oaurientated children
A) do not realise present actions can have negative future effects
B) are unable to learn lessons from past mistakes
C) know what could happen if they do something bad, but do it anyway
39) If Americans had an extra day per week, they would spend it
A) working harder
B) building relationships
C) sharing family meals
40) Understanding how people think about time can help us
A) become more virtuous
B) work together better
C) identify careless or ambitious people