Normally, I’d tell you that reading novels isn’t really going to help you get very good at IELTS academic reading….but…
…if you need some free practise for your IELTS listening, then audiobooks, might just be the right thing!
Like the radio or podcasts, you can listen to them anywhere, in the car, on your bike, in the gym or even at work. Here’s a list of places to find them.
1. Audible. You can get a month’s free trial and choose from an enormous number of audio books from Harry Potter to Emily Bronte. You can also listen to my novel ‘Warmstone’ here as well.
2. https://librivox.org/ – totally free, LibriVox aims to have most classic literature in audio form. Click on the pictures below for Mary Shelly’s absolute classic – Frankenstein.
3. Open Culture http://www.openculture.com/freeaudiobooks 700 free audio books here – there must be something good for you to read…and free too. Click on the picture for some free Sherlock Holmes stories to listen to
Here’s a great list of academic antonyms to help you with your IELTS speaking and writing.
Lists are great, but how can you use them? Do you learn them? Do you just read them? What do you do? Read the advice below.
- Read through this list and circle 10-15 antonym pairs that you don’t know and learn them. Test yourself on them.
- Read through the list. Choose ten hard pairs you don’t know, print them off and stick them on your wall / toilet wall / fridge door – anywhere you will look, often
- Play a game with them like the awesome word frog game http://www.arcademics.com/games/frog/frog.html
- Play pelmanism. Choose ten you think are useful. Write them on small pieces of paper. Put them face down on a table. Now turn each one over and try to match the pairs.
You have a book full of sample essay answers.
What do you DO WITH THEM?
Sample essays show you how to write good academic English and give you examples of structure, vocabulary and grammatical structures.
Here are some activities you can do with sample essays and sample answers
- Answer the essay questions before you look at the sample answers. Then compare your answer to the sample. Ask yourself these questions:
- How did both essays answer the question? What examples did you use? What examples did the sample answer use?
- What words and expressions did the essays use? Are there any expressions that sample answer used that you could steal?
- How did both answers use paragraphs? Was the sample answer more effective than yours?
- What grammatical structures did the answer use? Were they better than yours? How?
- Highlight the grammar structures or sentences that you like and learn these.
- Cut up the essay into sections and rearrange it.
- Read the essay out loud and record yourself on your mobile phone. Listen back to yourself (great for speaking practise and will help you memorise chunks of language that you know sound good).
- Read the sample answer with your study partner and then TALK about it!
There are sample essays all over the web.
Here are some from DC IELTS http://www.dcielts.com/ielts-essays/sample-ielts-essays/
Some from IELTS Liz http://ieltsliz.com/100-ielts-essay-questions/
For lots more help with your IELTS writing, check out Richard L King’s Teach yourself IELTS writing here:
Language is made up of chunks (see Michael Lewis – The Lexical Approach).
Like bricks that you put together, pieces of language fit together to make sentences. This is how we all use language. Learning fixed expressions and how they work will make you a more powerful writer.
…and it’s easy.
Download a copy of the fixed expressions worksheet and complete the tasks here academic-fixed-expressions-for-ielts
More fixed expressions from around the web
Nice Fixed Expressions Quiz with a video from ESL about
Good Expressions explained from Study Lib
Here’s an awesome audio on fixed expressions from Luke’s English Podcast
For more help with your IELTS writing, check out Richard L King’s Teach yourself IELTS writing
You need to practise reading…but you hate reading. You really hate it. It’s all boring. You hate reading in English.
Stop. On the internet there are a million interesting things to read.
Quora www.quora.com – hundreds of interesting questions answered.
I just visited this website to get a screen shot of it and ended up reading a question on ‘where we fall in a 1-10 scale of attractiveness’. I even watched a video too. Quora is a great website for reading things you are interested in, and if you can, answer some of the questions!
Newspapers – all over the internet and FREE
Guardian weekly – awesome free newspaper from the UK with articles on anything you are interested in.
the Telegraph – another great broadsheet from the UK.
The economist – for highbrow articles that mirror what you’ll find on your IELTS exam
Online journals – Get to Cambridge Core and search for the subjects you are interested in – you might also learn something about your specialist field.
For more help with your IELTS reading. Check out Richard L King’s book, Teach yourself IELTS reading
If you live in the UK or the USA, the end of October means more little kids dressed as skeletons knocking on your door and screaming ‘trick or treat’ before you dish out the sweets.
Here’s an old favourite that I’ve used on Hallowe’en for many years. If you don’t want to make the first worksheet too easy, then cut off the bottom section so they don’t have the names of the halloween creatures to help them. It’s worth remembering that these monsters play a very big part in UK and US culture, so this might be a really good lesson for higher level students, especially when they have to discuss what the various monsters do.
Chatting about superstitions in the second worksheets is also very interesting and whilst some are the same the world over, others are very strange.
Here’s the lesson https://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/halloween.doc
There’s another lesson on Vampires here:
and a lesson on Zombies here:
and if you like superheroes, there’s a lesson on them here:
Can’t be bothered to read the blog? I wouldn’t bother either, here’s the worksheet: https://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/the-zombie-lesson.doc
I quite like zombie films and most of my pre-intermediate and intermediate students do as well. Here is a three part Zombie lesson to get them talking and reading about the most popular undead monster in modern culture.
Pre- reading. – You can dictate these questions or cut them up and ask students to read them together
Reading – You could dictate a few comprehension questions about this or blank out a few of the words to make it a gap fill exercise.
Discussion – ask students in pairs to make their own zombie apocalypse plan outlining what they and their partner would do to survive the zombies. I put a few sentences students could finish but they could write anything. Help them out by giving them some ideas. What would they do if there really…
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