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An introduction to the IELTS listening test (Page 2)

An introduction to the IELTS listening test (page 2)

Before starting this lesson, make sure you have completed page 1.

This page begins with the video below, then some comprehension questions.

Video 2 of 2

Narration:
The sections of the listening test. Each of the four sections of the listening test are structured slightly differently. The topic for the first two sections of the test is social or semi formal. In sections 3 and 4, the topic is educational or academic. The number of speakers you will have to listen to in each section also varies. There are ten questions in each section that you will need to answer. In the first section only, an example will be played for you. This is the only time you will hear the recording twice. The example is normally quite short. Throughout the test, you will be given time before the recordings to read the questions. However, it is recommended that you use as much time as possible reading the questions for the recording that comes next. Remember that you have time to check your answers at the end of the test when you transfer them to the answer paper. In the final section of the test, you are not given any time after the recording to check your answers. You will simply be told that the recordings have finished and your 10 minute transfer time will begin. In the first three sections of the test, there will be a short break about halfway through the recording to give you time to read the next questions. However, in the final section, there is only a very short pause mid way through the test, so you will be required to answer all 10 questions in one go. Throughout the course, you will be practising the skills you need to complete the test.


Look at the situations below.

Which ONE of the situations below do you think would be the most suitable topic for Section 1 of the listening test?

Remember that Section 1 is a conversation and is not about an academic subject.

A student asking about enrolment procedures.
Three students talking about an assignment.
An announcement about lost luggage
A lecture about health studies.
A speaker giving information about university courses
A man asking about video club membership.
A business presentation for a new product.

Show the answer
A man asking about video club membership is likely to be a Section 1 subject. Video club membership is not an academic topic, and because the man is ‘asking’, there must be another speaker.

Which ONE do you think would be the most suitable topic for Section 2 of the listening test?

Remember that Section 2 has one main speaker and has a social context.

A student asking about enrolment procedures.
Three students talking about an assignment.
An announcement about lost luggage
A lecture about health studies.
A speaker giving information about university courses
A man asking about video club membership.
A business presentation for a new product.

Show the answer
An announcement about lost luggage is likely to be a Section 2 subject. An announcement suggests that there is only one speaker involved. Lost luggage means that the context will be not be academic.

Which ONE do you think would be the most suitable topic for Section 3 of the listening test?

Remember that Section 3 is a conversation and is about an academic subject.

A student asking about enrolment procedures.
Three students talking about an assignment.
An announcement about lost luggage
A lecture about health studies.
A speaker giving information about university courses
A man asking about video club membership.
A business presentation for a new product.

Show the answer
Three students talking about an assignment is likely to be a Section 3 subject. In this situation there are three speakers discussing assignments (an academic subject)

Which ONE do you think would be the most suitable topic for Section 4 of the listening test?

Remember that Section 4 is a monologue and is about an academic subject.

A student asking about enrolment procedures.
Three students talking about an assignment.
An announcement about lost luggage
A lecture about health studies.
A speaker giving information about university courses
A man asking about video club membership.
A business presentation for a new product.

Show the answer
A speaker giving information about university courses is likely to be a Section 4 subject. A speaker giving information suggests only one person; university courses are an academic topic.

An introduction to the IELTS listening test

An introduction to the IELTS listening test

Before you begin this lesson, you will need to know the meaning of the words below as they are part of the lesson.

TRANSFER: (verb) To move from one place to another or from one type to another. Example: ‘In the IELTS reading test, candidates have to complete the test and transfer their answer to the answer paper in 60 minutes’.

CONFIRM: (verb) Check, verify. For example: ‘It is shop owners’ responsibility to confirm their customers are old enough to buy cigarettes by asking them to provide identification.’

(noun) CONFIRMATION Example: ‘A confirmation has been made for the booking next month’.

VARY: (verb) differ, show differences. For example: ‘Opinions vary on this subject.’

STRUCTURE: (noun) The way in which parts are arranged or put together. Example: ‘A good essay should have a clear structure’.

(verb) To arrange something into clear parts or order. Example: ‘It is important to structure your answer clearly in the IELTS test’.

CLASSIFY: (verb) To put into a group or category. Example: ‘Humans are classified as mammals. Sharks are classified as fish’.

SEMI-FORMAL: (adjective) Between casual and formal. Example: ‘The dress code for the party is semi-formal. Suits and ties are not necessary, but jeans are not permitted.’

INFORMAL: Casual. Example: ‘Jeans are informal clothes’.

FORMAL Casual. Example: ‘A suit and tie are formal clothes’.

Video 1 of 2

Narration:
An introduction to the IELTS listening test. The IELTS listening test itself takes approximately 25 minutes, with an additional 10 minutes after the recordings have finished to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. There are four sections to the listening test, with a total of 40 questions. There are ten questions in each section. The answers will always come in the order of the recording. However, you may hear the speaker or speakers confirming an answer again later on.

You will hear each recording only once, so you will have to make sure you are listening carefully at all times. One skill you will need to develop is to be able to write your answer and keep listening for the next answer as you write. There is a variety of question types which we will look at later in this lesson. It is important to note that there is usually more than one type of question in each section although rarely more than three types. The number of questions you will have to answer in one question style varies. Sometimes you have to answer all ten questions in one section on one question type. For example, when completing a form.

Any of the question types could be in any section of the listening. It is important that you write down only the words that you hear and do not try to rephrase. As with the reading test, correct spelling is important, and you must always follow the word limit if you are given one. Writing three words when you are only asked for ‘no more than two’ will mean that your answer is wrong, even if it contains the correct information. Here is a table showing you the IELTS band you would get depending on the number of questions you answer correctly.


Now test yourself! Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE?

The listening test has three sections.

This is TRUE
This is FALSE

Show the answer
FALSE: The listening has four sections.

You have ten minutes at the end of the test to transfer your answer to the answer paper.

This is TRUE
This is FALSE

Show the answer
TRUE: You have ten minutes at the end of the test to transfer your answer to the answer paper.

There are always 40 questions (10 in each section).

This is TRUE
This is FALSE

Show the answer
TRUE: The 40 questions are divided equally between the 4 sections, with 10 questions per section.

You get to hear the recordings twice.

This is TRUE
This is FALSE

Show the answer
FALSE: You only get to the hear the recordings once, so you have to get the answer right first time!

Now move on to Page 2

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics Page 3

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics Page 3

Before starting this lesson, make sure you’ve seen page 1 and page 2.

In the final page in this lesson, we will look at what might be the MOST important point regarding Task 2 writing – the 4 different types of Task 2, and the style you should use depending on which type it is.

Video 3 of 3

Narration:
Now let’s look at some examples of the four different types of Task II essays you may have to write about. The most common type of Task II requires you to give an opinion or challenge a point of view. Here is an example. The same question type could also be presented like this. You could also be given a question like this. The basic point of these questions is that you are presented with a situation or a statement that you have to give opinions about. The second type for Task II essay is when you are asked to compare points of view. Here is an example. Notice how the instructions tell us to discuss both the advantages and the disadvantages, then give an opinion. In this example, we are told to argue both opinions and give your view.

The way in which we approach essays that ask us to compare is slightly different to the type that asks us to give an opinion or challenge a point of view, as will be discussed later in the course. The final two types of Task II essay are the least common: we may be asked to give solutions to a problem or discuss a given situation; for instance, talking about benefits, causes or reasons. Here is an example of solutions essay. Here are examples of essays which require you to discuss a given situation. Knowing which type of essay you are writing about is important because it affects the way you plan and present your ideas. We will look at this in more detail later in the course, but on the next page you will see a list of common task words for the different essay types. You can often identify which type of Task II you are writing about from the task words themselves.


Here are some common task words that you might see for each Task 2 type:

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view

Do you agree or disagree?
Do you think…?
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?
Is this positive or negative?
What is your opinion?

Compare points of view

Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Consider both sides and give your view.
Argue both views and give your opinion.
Discuss the two points and give your opinion.
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages.
Discuss the two situations and give your view.

Give solutions to a problem

What measures should be taken…?
What can be done about this?
What is the solution to this?
In your opinion what are the solutions?
How can the situation be improved?

Discuss a given situation

What problems does this cause?
What are the advantages of….?
In your opinion what are the problems associated with this?
What are the disadvantages of….?
What benefits does this bring?
What factors contribute to…?

Now practice!

Look at the Task 2 title below and select the question type you think it is.

A lot of people do business internationally. Therefore we should abolish passports to make it easier to travel. Do you agree or disagree?

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
Compare points of view
Give solutions to a problem
Discuss a given situation

Show the answer
The correct answer is give an opinion / challenge a point of view.

There is a rising rate of obesity among children in developed countries. What can be done about this?

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
Compare points of view
Give solutions to a problem
Discuss a given situation

Show the answer
The correct answer is give solutions to a problem.

The internet now allows fast access to a huge range of information. Do you think that libraries are still important?

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
Compare points of view
Give solutions to a problem
Discuss a given situation

Show the answer
The correct answer is give an opinion / challenge a point of view.

Some people believe that the government should support the arts. Others believe that the money would be better spent on basic services such as healthcare. Discuss both points of view and give your opinion.

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
Compare points of view
Give solutions to a problem
Discuss a given situation

Show the answer
The correct answer is compare points of view.

The rate of childhood obesity is rising in many developed countries. Why do you think this is?

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
Compare points of view
Give solutions to a problem
Discuss a given situation

Show the answer
The correct answer is discuss a given situation.

We hope this lesson has helped – if it has, please share our page using the buttons below – thanks!

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics Page 2

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics Page 2

Before starting this lesson, make sure you’ve seen page 1.

On the previous page, you answered some questions about Task 2. On this page, we will look at the marking criteria – that is, what the examiner is looking for when assessing your Task 2 essay.

Video 2 of 3

Narration:
The examiner is looking for your essay to demonstrate 4 different aspects in order to get a good result: task response (have you completed the task?), cohesion and coherence (does your answer make sense?), lexical resource (have you used academic vocabulary?) and grammatical range and accuracy (is your grammar correct and have you shown a number of different structures?).

First is whether you have completed the requirements of the Task. That is, have you ( written at least 250 words but not more than about 270? Also in this section, the examiner will be looking to see if you have presented a clear point of view, and also that you have supported your opinions.

The second area the examiner will be looking at is whether what you have written actually makes sense. This means that when you plan and write your essay, you must have a logical presentation with ideas that are linked together. You should also have a clear sentence and paragraph structure.

For lexical resource, you are being judged on whether the vocabulary you use is accurate and academic. You should avoid repeating vocabulary – especially using words taken from the question title.

The final area you are being marked on is your grammar – again, you should use an academic level of grammar and avoid repeating grammar structures. In this IELTS writing course, you will have plenty of practice in order to improve your skills in all of these areas.


Now look at the points below and decide which of the 4 writing criteria each one relates to.

If you repeat words, especially from the question, you will lose marks under…
Lexical resource
Cohesion and coherence
Task response
Grammatical range and accuracy

Show the answer
The correct answer is Lexical resource

You need to show the examiner that you can express yourself using a range of sentence structures and will gain marks under…
Lexical resource
Cohesion and coherence
Task response
Grammatical range and accuracy

Show the answer
The correct answer is Grammatical range and accuracy

If you write less that 250 words, you will lose marks under…
Lexical resource
Cohesion and coherence
Task response
Grammatical range and accuracy

Show the answer
The correct answer is Task response.

You need to express your arguments and ideas clearly to gain marks under…
Lexical resource
Cohesion and coherence
Task response
Grammatical range and accuracy

Show the answer
The correct answer is Cohesion and coherence.

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics

Before you begin this lesson, you will need to know the meaning of the words below as they are part of the lesson.

POINT OF VIEW: (noun phrase) An opinion . Example: ‘It can sometimes be difficult to understand other peoples’ points of view.’

CHALLENGE: (verb) To argue against an opinion. Example: ‘In IELTS writing, you may need to challenge an opinion by giving a different point of view’.

(noun) A difficult situation. Example: ‘Studying in a second language can be a challenge for many students’.

PROVIDE: (verb) To give or offer. Example: ‘IELTS students need to provide evidence and examples to support their opinions.’

COHESION: (noun) Joining ideas together. Example: ‘A good essay will be easy to understand because of its cohesion’

COHERENCE: (noun) Able to be understood. Example: ‘An essay needs to show coherence; that is, a logical flow of ideas’.

INSTRUCTIONS: (noun) What you have to do. For example: His instructions were to deliver the package to Mr Jones.

DEMONSTRATE: (verb) To show. Example: ‘It is important to demonstrate a range of accurate grammar in your IELTS essay’.

STRUCTURE: (noun) The way in which parts are arranged or put together. Example: ‘A good essay should have a clear structure’.

(verb) To arrange something into clear parts or order. Example: ‘It is important to structure your answer clearly in the IELTS test’.

LEXICAL: (adjective) Talking about vocabulary (words). For example: ‘He has a good lexical ability – he knows a lot of words’


How much do you know already?

Before watching the video below, see what you know about writing a Task 2 essay.

Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE?

You should write the title of the essay at the top of your answer sheet.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. There is no need to write the question again. It does not count towards your 250 words and you do not have time to waste.

You do not have time to plan your essay.


Click here for the answer.

This is false. With practice, you will have time to plan before you write. If you start writing without a clear plan you can find that your essay is not logically and clearly presented.

You should write your plan on the question sheet, not the answer sheet.


Click here for the answer.

This is true. The examiner will not mark your plan (although it helps you to write a better essay). It also does not count towards the 250 words. By writing it on the question paper you do not have to keep it tidy and your essay is presented more clearly for your examiner to read.

You can request extra paper to write on if you need to.

Click here for the answer.

This is true. In the examination room, if you find you need extra paper to write on then simply raise your hand.

There are two choices for each Task 2 essay.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. You are only given one Task 2 and one Task 2. You have no choice and have to write on whatever topic you are given.

Articles (a/an/the) do not count towards the word limit.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. All words written in your essay are included in the word count, unless they are copied directly from the question title.

Video 1 of 3

Narration:

There are two sections to the IELTS writing test – Task 1 and Task 2. Each comes with a different set of instructions, telling you how you should complete the Task. IN Task 2 you are given four different instructions as well as the essay title.

The first instruction is that You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. The writing test takes one hour in total – 20 minutes for Task 1 and 40 minutes for Task 2. This is because Task 2 is more heavily weighted – meaning that Task 2 is worth more to your final result than Task 1.

The second instruction is that you should Write about the following topic. After this, of course, comes your essay title.

The third instruction is that you should Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples or evidence from your own knowledge and experience. This means that you whatever comments or opinions you put in your essays, they must be supported with examples.

The final instruction is You should write a least 250 words. This is very important as writing fewer than 250 words is a certain way to lose points.


Now you’ve watched the video, answer the questions below.

Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE?

You should spend about 40 minutes on Task 2.

Click here for the answer.

This is true. The IELTS writing test takes one hour for Task 1 and Task 2. You should spend about 20 minutes on Task 1 and about 40 minutes on Task 2.

Task 2 is worth more points than Task 1.

Click here for the answer.

This is true. Task 2 is two thirds of your final result; Task 1 is only one third.

In Task 2, you are giving information. You will not be expected to give and support opinions.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. Task 1 essays ask you to transfer information. Task 2 essays ask for opinion, as well as evidence & examples to support your points.

You should write up to 250 words.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. It’s a little bit of a trick question – the statement says ‘up to 250 words’, whereas the correct statement should read ‘at least 250 words’.

You have to start the writing test by completing Task 1.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. Because Task 2 is worth more points, it’s actually better to start with this task and then finish with Task 1. If you run out of time, you lose fewer points!

Task 1 the basics (General Training) Page 2

Task 1 the basics (General Training) Page 2

Before starting this lesson, make sure you’ve seen page 1.

On the previous page, we have looked at the aims of Task 1, what you need to do and why you should avoid writing too few or too many words. On this page, we will look at what the examiner is looking for in your Task 1 answer.

Video 3/3

Narration:

The examiner is looking for your essay to demonstrate 4 different aspects in order to get a good result: task achievement (have you completed the task?), cohesion and coherence (does your answer make sense?), lexical resource (have you used academic vocabulary?) and grammatical range and accuracy (is your grammar correct and have you shown a number of different structures?).

First is whether you have completed the requirements of the Task. That is, have you written at least 150 words but not more than about 170? Also in this section, the examiner will be looking to see if you have given an accurate description of the graph. Transferring information incorrectly will lose marks. The second area the examiner will be looking at is whether what you have written actually makes sense. This means that when you plan and write your essay, you must have a logical presentation with ideas that are linked together.

You should also have a clear sentence and paragraph structure. For lexical resource, you are being judged on whether the vocabulary you use is accurate and academic. You should avoid repeating vocabulary – especially using words taken from the question title. The final area you are being marked on is your grammar – again, you should use an academic level of grammar and avoid repeating grammar structures. In this IELTS writing course, you will have plenty of practice in order to improve your skills in all of these areas.


Now check your understanding by answering the following questions.

Which of these four marking criteria would the aspects below be related to?

Task achievement
Coherence and cohesion
Grammatical range and accuracy
Lexical resource

Linking your ideas

Show answer

How you link your ideas will be assessed under ‘Coherence and cohesion’.

Avoiding using words from the question

Show answer

Avoiding using words from the question will improve your result for ‘lexical resource’.

Using a variety of different grammar structures

Show answer

That one was easy! Using a variety of different grammar structures will improve your result for ‘Grammatical range and accuracy’.

Writing at least 150 words

Show answer

Writing at least 150 words is essential for getting a good result under ‘Task Achievement’.

Task 1 the basics (General Training)

Task 1 the basics (General Training)

Before you begin this lesson, you will need to know the meaning of the words below as they are part of the lesson.

INSTRUCTIONS: What you have to do. For example: His instructions were to deliver the package to Mr Jones.

ACADEMIC: (adjective) Something or someone showing a high level of education. Example: ‘University students have to write in an academic style’.

TRANSFER: (verb) To move from one place to another or from one type to another. Example: ‘In the IELTS reading test, candidates have to complete the test and transfer their answer to the answer paper in 60 minutes’.

AIM: (verb) To direct towards a particular goal or target. For example: ‘I am aiming to get a 7.5 on my IELTS test’

CATEGORY: (noun) A division or class of something. For example: There are several categories of cars – family cars, sports cars, 4 wheel drives…

LOGICAL: (adjective) Makes sense, is reasonable. Example: ‘It is important to take a logical approach to the IELTS exam’.(adverb: logically)

LIMIT: (noun) A top or bottom point. For example: If you drink three bottles of beer, you are over the limit to be able to drive.

ERROR: (noun) A mistake. Example: ‘There are a number of common errors made by IELTS candidates’.

DEMONSTRATE: (verb) To show. Example: ‘It is important to demonstrate a range of accurate grammar in your IELTS essay’.

COHESION: (noun) Joining ideas together. Example: ‘A good essay will be easy to understand because of its cohesion’

COHERENCE: (noun) Able to be understood. Example: ‘An essay needs to show coherence; that is, a logical flow of ideas’.

LEXICAL: (adjective) Talking about vocabulary (words). For example: ‘He has a good lexical ability – he knows a lot of words’.

Video 1 of 3

Narration:

An introduction to Task I writing for the General Training test. The aim of Task 1 in the General Training test is to write a letter in response to a problem or situation. The letter may need to be written formally, semi formally or informally. In the test you may have to show an ability to use the following types of language.

Video 2 of 3

Narration:

Each task one type has the same set of instructions. The first instruction is that you should spend about twenty minutes on this task. You only have one hour to complete both task I and task II, so it is important that you do not spend more than about 20 minutes on Task I. The second instruction is that you should write at least 150 words.

Writing anything over 170 words can actually reduce your final result as you are more likely to make errors and not have enough time to complete task II. The final instruction is that you do not need to write any addresses – you should just start your letter with ‘Dear…’. The question itself will give background to the situation. You will also be given three bullet points that you will need to refer to in your answer.

Now go to page 2 for this lesson to see the next video and answer some questions.

Classifying questions in IELTS reading (page 5)

Classifying questions in IELTS reading (page 5)

Go back to page 1 | Go back to page 2 | Go back to page 3 | Go back to page 4

 

In this final page for these question types, we will review some of the useful tips and hints that can help you achieve a better result.

Narration:

Here are some tips for completing matching or classifying questions. Tip 1: it is important to  remember that the category, such as a person’s name, may appear multiple times in the passage. Tip 2: You will need to consider reference words. For example, the first time Scott Bradley is mentioned his name is used, but the second reference may be introduced with ‘He’. Tip 3: You may not use all of the categories and may use others more than once. The instructions will tell you if you can use the same category more than once so you will need to read carefully.


Now try some practice exercises for matching and classifying questions.

Click here for exercise 1

Click here for exercise 2