Learning academic sentences is a powerful way to make your language stronger.
Like learning karate moves in the dojo, the more times you say or write them the more you will understand how they work.
Also like karate moves, once you know how they work, you can use them in the real world!
5 Academic sentences
- Employment not only offers us a way to make money for ourselves and governments, it also gives us the opportunity to do something meaningful in the world.
- In my opinion, there’s a very strong economic argument for effective primary school education.
- As long as free healthcare is managed well, there is no need for it to be wasteful or expensive.
- Prices fell by more than 20% last year and as a result, sales increased by 15%.
- Teachers have many roles, in addition to educating students they can often act as role models.
Here are some things my students said about IELTS task 1.
‘When I see graphs I feel sick…’
‘I just don’t understand all the pictures…’
‘I’m terrible with numbers and tables…’
‘Task 1 is easy….you just write what you see.’
Can’t be bothered to read the post – Click here for the lesson on Writing Cards
Sending cards is an enourmous business in the UK and the USA with the average person spending way too much time and money on them. There’s also a lot of social pressure to send and receive them especially at Christmas time. Who hasn’t been presented with a card for someone who is leaving the office, sick or getting married, and thought ‘I don’t know what to write!’?
It’s also pretty difficult for ESOL/EFL and second language English learners to write them to. I used this lesson with a group of pre-intermediate learners.
Here are the lesson stages
1. Ask the students to tell you when they last recieved a card of any description. Write a list of the cards they tell you about on the board. It might look something like this. Anniversary, wedding, congratulations, birthday, valentines, get well soon, sorry, condolences…
2. Pass out the sheet and have the students correct the mistakes then match the card messages to the people they are for.
3. Now ask students to write their own messages in response to the prompts. You could ask them to work in pairs or alone and could check the answers by getting to write on the board.
4. There are some really good electronic greetings cards on the net. You might like to show these to your students if you have an interactive whiteboad or projector.
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