5 words for Friday: Wildlife

5words_wildlifecaptivity (noun)

animals who live under human control and are prevented from escaping.

endangered species (noun)

a type of animal or plant that might stop existing because there are only a few of that type alive.

habitat (noun)

the natural environment which an animal lives in.

poaching (noun)

the illegal hunting, capturing or killing of wild animals.

(wildlife) conservation

the practice of protecting animals and their habitat from the damaging effects of humans.

5 words for Friday: Technology

5wff_tech

technophile (noun)

a person who is interested in modern technology and enjoys using it.

technophobe (noun)

someone who dislikes new technology, especially computers, and is not able to use it with confidence.

digital native (noun)

a person who is very familiar with digital technology, computers, etc. because they have grown up with them.

digital nomad (noun)

someone who uses technology, especially a laptop and a wireless network, to work remotely from anywhere in the world.

digital divide (noun, singular)

the problem of some members of society not having the opportunity or knowledge to use computers and the internet that others have.

Writing, Task 1 (Academic): Stokeford

There’s a question on page 283 of the Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS.  

In it we can see the village of Stokeford in 1930 and 2010. It’s a question I like to look at with students in Writing Task 1 class – maybe I’m biased but map questions are my favourite!

There are many changes between the two maps. We’re going to highlight those changes and think of some useful vocabulary we can use to describe them in our report. 

First, let’s look at the 2 maps and consider the following:

  • what is the same?
  • what has changed?

Continue reading “Writing, Task 1 (Academic): Stokeford”

Speaking, Part 3: Music

Music

 

Q. Is music from your country popular elsewhere?

Thanks to the influence of “Hallyu”, or the Korean Wave, the world has become increasingly aware of Korean music. 

Korean pop or K-pop has become a genre in its own right and K-pop stars have a huge global following, especially in South-East Asia. These fans follow their idols on social media, liking and commenting on every video. Some die-hard supporters even learn the language and travel to Seoul to see their favourite artists live in concert. 

A prime example of the popularity of Korean music is the song “Gangnam Style” by Psy. This was a worldwide hit – it went viral on YouTube and was the first video to ever get more than 1 billion views – that in itself is quite an achievement. It’s a real earworm, and as cheesy as it is, it’s really contributed to raising the profile of our music in new markets. 

Even more recently, the boyband BTS topped the US Billboard charts with their album – it’s the first time that a K-pop album has reached the coveted number 1 position and it’s an incredible achievement – so I’d definitely agree that music from my country is popular abroad. 

Q. Recently, many singers and groups have first become famous through television talent shows. What do you think about this?

I think there are both positive and negative sides to this.

Firstly, TV talent shows can allow unsigned singers to show off their talent – someone can rise from obscurity and become an overnight sensation. We usually see the audition performance from a member of the general public and that’s what blows us away – no-one expected Susan Boyle to have the voice she has, for example. Furthermore, these shows usually take place over a number of weeks or months so the viewing public form a bond with the performers and that allows them to build up a fan base – viewers vote for their favourite artist to remain in the competition.

However, there are too many of these shows on TV and it can be hard to tell the difference between them at times. Also, for many, fame does not last long. Contestants of shows like the X-Factor end up disappearing off the face of the earth once they have had their 15 minutes of fame. Even winners get dropped by their record label after their initial shine has worn off – the support shown by viewers on the show doesn’t always translate into sales of songs and albums.

So those are some pros and cons.

Q. Do you think that allowing more buskers in the city is a good idea?

An interesting question: I think it depends.

Street performers can help to add atmosphere to central areas – people might enjoy listening to live performances as they’re out shopping or sitting in pavement cafés. In Edinburgh, for example, during the summer festival period, it’s an opportunity to hear something new, and if you want to give a little money to show your appreciation for the performance you can.

That said, not all buskers are appreciated. For residents living in the city centre the extra noise and crowds that sometimes gather around to watch might not be appreciated.  Also, not everyone has talent or musical ability. They might have a limited repertoire and sing the same songs on repeat or may have unique vocal stylings which might be hard to listen to as they try to hit the high notes!

Maybe quality is more important than quantity on this occasion. 

Have a look at some suggestions for structuring your part 3 answer here.

Cambridge 13: Writing, Task 1 (Academic), Test 1

I looked at Test 1, Writing Task 1 on page 29 of the Cambridge IELTS 13 (Academic) book with students. This is a map question which shows changes to a hospital’s road access in 2 separate years . 

The aim was to try to get them to think about how they would approach this in the exam, and we can do this here too.

We’ll think about the information we’re presented with, then look at some suggestions for writing about the changes for our reader. 

Continue reading “Cambridge 13: Writing, Task 1 (Academic), Test 1”

Writing (Academic) Task 1: Introduction

In Writing Task 1 (Academic) you’ll be presented with some information. It can take a variety of different forms. 

You might be given some data:

  • bar chart/graph
  • pie chart
  • line graph
  • table

Alternatively, you might be given images:

  • map
  • diagram – flowchart, process

The aim of Academic Writing Task 1 is to write a report, taking the information given, and summarising what is most important.

Some key points:

–  The question will almost always ask you to:

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

Sometimes you will be given too much information – in that case focus on what is most important.

–  This is an academic report. The language should be formal.

– You must write at least 150 words – under-length answers will lose marks.

– You should spend 20 minutes of the exam writing your report. (Task 2 is worth more and you might want to attempt Task 2 first – just a suggestion!)

Report Structure

You can structure all Task 1 answers as 4 clear paragraphs:

  1. An introduction – what does the graph/table/diagram etc. show? You can paraphrase what you’re given on the question sheet.
  2. An overview – what are the most important features or trends? What are the main changes?
  3. A body – describe the most important pieces of data in more detail, and use any figures in your report. Divide this into 2 paragraphs to make it clear for the reader to follow – one long paragraph isn’t as clear.
1. Introduction
2. Overview
3. Body 1
4. Body 2

Leave a line between paragraphs to make it even clearer.

What not to include:

  • No opinion
  • No conclusion

You should not give your opinion in a Task 1 answer. Just write about the information you’re given – identify the most important features, describe them and compare them.

You should not write a conclusion in a Task 1 response – an overview works just fine. (Your Task 2 essay will need a conclusion, however!)