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4 Ways To Use Your Experience As An ESL Student In Your College Essays

Your college essay is the best way to stand out from all the other applicants out there. It’s a way to show that you’re unique and that you can bring something new to the college you’re hoping to attend. As an ESL student, you have a lot that makes you different. 

Your personal experience moving to a different country and learning the language as well as all the other subjects needed at school shows you’re an academic natural. Here’s how you can use that to secure that college place. 

1. Ensure Your Story Is Unique To You

The problem with many college admissions essays is that they are often generic.  That’s true, even of students who are ESL students. “While you may have come to a new country and learned a new language like other students, that doesn’t mean that your story is the same,” says Melissa Peterson, an academic writer with PhD Writing and Paper Fellows. “You need to find what makes your story unique, and start there.”

Think about the specific challenges that you faced. What did you have to overcome in order to succeed? Did you find a new passion when you came to your new school? How did you achieve academic success? The answer is different for everyone, so use your story to your advantage. 

2. Hone In On A Specific Topic

You only have so many words to work with, so you’re not going to be able to tell your life story. When you start writing, you’ll think that everything’s important, and so you’ll want to include everything. The trick is to find the most important part of the story and focus on that. 

For example, perhaps you want to write about winning an award at school, after starting to study there with little or no English skills yet. It’s tempting to want to write about your first day there, the struggles you faced, and how you overcame them. You just don’t have space for that, though. Instead, find the most important point where you were able to succeed. 

In this example, it could be the science class where you signed up to participate. After all your hard work, you were confident enough to sign up and it paid off in the form of the award. Find that topic and narrow it down, so you’re only focusing on the most important part of the story you’re telling. 

3. Understand Your Goals

The main goal of a college essay is to have the admissions team accept you. However, you also want to think about how you want the team to perceive you. What do you want them to see of you? 

Most college students will want to put across that they are hard-working and dependable. These are smart goals, but remember that your grades are already doing a lot of that work for you. Instead, you can focus on another part of your personality that will help you secure that place. 

“That’s where you can focus on your experience as an ESL student,” says educational blogger Charlie Morgan, from Essay Services and Boom Essays. “You can use these experiences to show how you deal with challenge and adversity.”

4. Proofread And Edit

It doesn’t matter how compelling your story is, if you don’t proofread and edit your essay it won’t be considered. You don’t want to accidentally leave spelling errors in there, or realise that there’s an important part missing once you send the essay off. 

Once you’ve written it, leave it for a couple of days. That way, you can come back to it with fresh eyes. Make sure that you’ve written the essay in your own tone, rather than a more formal, academic one. Also look to see if the essay flows and gets your point across clearly. 

You should have another person read over your essay too, as others can spot issues that you’ve missed. Ask a trusted teacher or counselor to take a look at it for you. As an ESL student, you’re in a unique position when it comes to college essays. Use your story in your writing, and show your college of choice that you’re just the kind of student that they’re looking for. 

Emily Henry is an education writer with Academized and Assignment Help, where she covers tips and advice for students. She’s also a tutor for Ox Essays. 

7 Great ESL Websites for English Learners

Learning a new language can be time consuming, made even longer by the hours spent searching for good online resources. Whether you’ve just started learning English, or you’re studying for your IELTS or TOEFL exams, we’ve done the surfing for you. Here are our top websites with useful resources to help you on your way.

1. BBC

The BBC has a wide range of resources for English language students, and their Learning English website is a great place to start. With online courses, classes, videos and quizzes for all levels of ability, you can learn new language skills and put them straight to the test. Get help with your grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation, as well as understanding the words in the news. It’s a one-stop shop for every English student.

2. Business English Pod

If you’re learning English for the workplace, the Business English Pod YouTube channel is for you. Their videos focus on teaching Business English vocabulary and grammar, as well as core workplace skills such as answering the telephone, interview tips and talking in meetings. Their advanced level videos will get you up to speed in no time.

3. English Page

Listening is one of the best ways to enhance your language skills, and English Page has the resources to help. You can access talk shows, drama, news reports, sports, music and much more, so there’s something to interest everyone. With shows from the BBC and American National Public Radio, you can choose to listen to British English or American English programmes.

4. Dave’s ESL Café

Visit Dave’s ESL Café for help with phrasal verbs, idioms, slang and grammar tips. You can chat with other English language students in the online forums and practise your English by joining in on discussions. If you’re preparing for your TOEFL exams, there’s also a job board to help you find work once you qualify as a language teacher.

5. British Council

The LearnEnglish website from the British Council is another great site for English learners.  You can take their free English test to find your skill level, and improve with downloadable podcasts, games, academic writing help and an IELTS section. You can also download free speaking, listening and writing apps for your iPhone or iPad.

6. Flo Joe

If you’re studying for any of the Cambridge exams including FCE, Cambridge Advanced, and Proficiency, Flo-Joe is a great resource. They provide practice tests in all the papers from Listening to Reading. They also have a new resource for IELTS Speaking with free weekly vocab and practice tests on topics that are likely to come up in the exam.

7. IELTS Podcast

If you’re preparing for your IELTS exam, you must visit the IELTS Podcast website. It offers a full breakdown of each exam along with the marking criteria, writing tasks, sample essays and practice questions. And if you prefer to learn on the go, you can subscribe to their podcasts for free tips and tutorials on how best to prepare for your exam.

This means less time searching for these websites, and more time improving your English.

Good luck!

Using Music To Learn A New Language

With apps such as Spotify and Apple Music making any song you want to hear immediately accessible, why should we not utilise it to its full extent: as a means of learning a new language. Ever had a song stuck in your head? Our brains latch on to catchy tunes. People will listen to their favourite song on repeat until they know every word off by heart, and so imagine how useful this could be when learning a language?

Song lyrics help you learn vocabulary in context

Rather than simply learning the words, song lyrics typically are talking about a specific topic, and so you better understand which words are used in which context. Quite often, we will have different words used for different situations (ie. you may tell your mother that you are feeling frustrated, but tell your friend that you are %@!&$ off – same meaning, different words)

Or, the same word may mean different things depending on the context (ie. “that is my phone” and “phone me” – in one context it is being used as a noun, the other as a doing word).

Music is portable

The beauty of modern technology is that it can be enjoyed everywhere. On your bus to work, you could be listening to foreign songs, learning languages while just relaxing. Gone are the days of lugging around giant textbooks, you have access to all the songs in the world from your device. Simply go onto Spotify (although, of course, other music streaming apps are available) and you can search for songs by country!

Learn the REAL language

Textbooks will give you super formal language, but it can be hard to understand what natives are saying as they will use colloquial dialect and slang. Music is the best way to learn what language native speakers authentically use, and will make it easier for you to engage in enjoyable conversation.

Imagine this scenario:

Someone comes up to you and says “How do you do, sir. The weather is rather enjoyable today, is it not?” versus someone who says “alright, mate. Bloody hot today, innit?”

Who are you more likely to engage in enjoyable and fluent conversation with?

Singing helps!

Yes, singing can be a little embarrassing, but the University of Edinburgh found that your chances of learning a language double when you sing the phrases you are trying to memorise. Singing can also help with pronunciation! You get more used to the sound of the language and saying the actual words. So whether it is in the shower, while cooking dinner, or at a karaoke bar, get to singing those foreign songs!

Why You Should Become TEFL Qualified

Teaching English Foreign Language (TEFL) has always been a popular qualification to gain, and the number of people becoming TEFL qualified is only going up.

There are 1.5 billion English learners in the world right now, and this number is expected to rise to 2 billion by 2020. The Chinese TEFL market is worth $4.5 billion right now and is rising by around 15% per year. So, as you can see, the TEFL industry is certainly one to consider.

The average salary for Teaching English as a Foreign Language is around $3000 USD, depending on where you go. Although, if you work privately then you can set your own prices.

Why should you get a TEFL qualification?

  1. Fund your travels!

The main reason people become TEFL certified is to fund their travels. Explore the world, and fund it by teaching people English as you go. It is popular amongst gap-year students to do this, although anyone is more than welcome to!

2. Access more teaching jobs

Schools and businesses are more likely to take on teachers who are actually qualified, as it usually means that they offer a higher quality of service than those who are uncertified. Certified teachers know why the English syntax is the way it is, and they have a greater understanding of explaining past/future participles, adjectives, verbs, and nouns. Keep in mind that the rules are different in every language.

3. Gain confidence in your teaching

Sure, everyone has a rough idea of how to teach. But a TEFL course teaches you how to teach. From lesson plans, to various teaching styles, TEFL gives you the training you need to give the best quality teaching. Do you know how to effectively address a language or cultural barrier? This will make you more confident, and assure your student is getting the most out of their lessons.

4. Prepare yourself culturally

TEFL sites usually give you a break down in the culture of the country/region you are considering teaching in. This will make your time in the country more enjoyable and easier for you, as well as allowing you to make the most out of it. Nothing can set you back further than a culture shock.

Sourced from YouTube.

How do I become TEFL certified?

by enrolling in a TEFL course! They are typically anywhere between 100-180 hours long, but they give you plenty of time it slowly complete them. We will provide some links below:

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Why Should You Study English Abroad?

When deciding to learn English, one of the big questions you will have to ask yourself is whether you are going to study in your home country or whether you are going to travel abroad to learn. Studying English abroad is a big decision. It is also a big commitment and requires a lot of work, but equally, it can be a life-changing experience.

You will have the opportunity to learn English in an English-speaking environment, meet people from all around the world who are working towards the same goal and get an authentic language education.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Here are some common concerns about going abroad to study English.

1. Will I find it too difficult?

Simply being in an English speaking country doesn’t magically make learning the language easier. You will have to pay attention and concentrate all the time and at first, this might be very difficult. But English language schools are equipped to help make your learning process as easy as possible. And you can always ask for help.

When you learn English in an English-speaking country, you will be surrounded by it all the time. You will have to use your vocabulary in supermarkets, cafes and other day-to-day tasks. You will also find yourself speaking English to your classmates, thus improving your spoken English.

This can be a very quick way to learn. Even when you are not in classes, you will be practising your skills in a real environment. You will also experience the way native speakers really speak when they interact with each other. This is a very authentic education.

2. Will the culture shock be overwhelming?

You might worry that the shock of being in a new place and having to learn different ways of doing things might get in the way of your ability to improve your English.

For some people, going to another country to study English might be the first time they’ve gone abroad on their own and that might be difficult. But remember: it’s difficult for everyone at first. Make some friends who speak your language and go out and get to know the area together. Studying English in another country can really broaden your horizons and give you the opportunity to get to grips with a new culture.

This can be especially useful if you intend to use your English language skills to study a degree as an international student. When you arrive at university, you’ll have a head start over all the other international students.

3. Will it be too expensive?

Studying English abroad may seem like a luxury: getting to spend time in another country, experiencing a whole new way of life and getting a first-class education in a global language from people who really speak it; none of that comes cheap. If you do your research correctly and plan well, you might find that it’s actually not that much more expensive than studying at home.

You will learn a lot more in a shorter space of time and the quality of the English that you come back with will be much stronger. You may find that you can study somewhere where the cost of living is less than you are used to. And you probably won’t have to grapple with getting a student visa if you are only staying for a short amount of time – make sure to check that though!

When you are considering the cost of studying English abroad, you need to be thinking in terms of the investment you are making in your future. That’s what you are really paying for.

And there are some reasons to study English abroad that you just can’t disagree with:

  • It will look great on your CV
  • Employers are increasingly looking for applicants who can speak more than one language, and if you have experienced living in a different country, even better.
  • When someone reads your application form, they don’t just want a list of your qualifications. They also want to see evidence of things you have done or achieved to prove that you have made use of those skills.
  • If you can say that you have lived in an English speaking country and made use of your language skills in context, then that instantly tells the reader that your skills are as good as you say they are. And you’ll have no trouble getting by in your target country.
  • It will change your life.
  • The international network of friends you will make, the experiences you will have, and the memories you will take home will be with you for the rest of your life.
  • Your understanding of the world will be broader and you will be in a better position to travel it.
  • You will also find that, even if you go back to your home country and stay there, you will be better placed to work in global industries and interact with visitors.

Ultimately, you will have demonstrated that you can stand on your own two feet and be responsible for yourself. You will be able to go back to your life with new independence.

For more information, visit the British Council’s website.

Enjoyed this article? Check out our other English Language Learning guides.

IELTS vs TOEFL: Which Is Better?

If you’re applying to university or college in an English-speaking country and English is not your first language, it’s likely that your institution will require you to take a standardised test to prove your English language proficiency. And this will bring up the big question:  IELTS vs TOEFL exam? Let’s find out the differences between the two.

IELTS & TOEFL: The Basics

IELTS and TOEFL are the most popular standardised English language tests taken worldwide.

CRITERIA IELTS TOEFL
Centres 1,100 test centres in over 140 countries. 4,500 test centres in over 165 countries.
Exam It lasts for about 2h 45 minutes. It lasts for about 4 hours.
Scoring Each section is marked with a band from 0-9 (from these section scores, an overall 0-9 band is awarded). 120 marks, with 30 marks available for each section.

Note: the desired score for IELTS is of around 6.5+ and for TOEFL – 80+.

We took a look at these two exams and compared them side-by-side, to see which one will give you the fastest kick-start before moving to an English-speaking country to begin your studies overseas.

How are they marked?

Although the IELTS and TOEFL exams are assessing the same thing, the marking of the exams works slightly differently for their 4 sections: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

In theory, it is possible to get an overall score of 0-4 for IELTS, but it is very unlikely to score this low since, with around 10% in the reading and listening and 30% in the speaking and writing sections, an overall score of around 4.5 should be easily obtained.

Each institution will set its own English language requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate (graduate) and should be available on their website.

If you cannot find this information, check with the institution so that you know what is required from your test results. Many institutions have minimum score requirements overall or for each section.

What do the tests consist of?

Both TOEFL and IELTS consist of 4 sections: Writing, Listening, Speaking and Reading.

TOEFL usually takes around 4 hours, whereas IELTS is usually shorter than that – at around 2 hours 45 minutes.

We will now look at each section below to discuss which test gives you better practical skills for living/working/studying in an English-speaking country.

Reading

  • TOEFL: multiple-choice-only reading section (academic tests available).
  • IELTS: range of 15 question types including short answer, true/false, summary and multiple choice.

With IELTS, you can select to take the Academic paper or the non-academic one. In real life, you are rarely asked multiple-choice questions (outside of exam situations), so the IELTS gives you a more realistic, practical experience.

The exam splits into 3×20 minute sections, gradually getting harder. This should build up your confidence slowly through easy questions progressing onto the more difficult ones.

Listening

  • TOEFL: always standard American English.

The TOEFL listening exam lasts between 40 and 60 minutes and is based on questions regarding university life situations.

  • IELTS: different English variations from Ireland, Wales, USA, Australia.

The IELTS listening section lasts 30 minutes, divided into 4 sections, and it can cover an informational lecture, a conversation in an academic context and an academic lecture. The IELTS listening test ticks off a variety of tasks from sentence completion to matching headings.

Speaking

  • TOEFL: 20-minute conversation with a computer, recorded and assessed by an examiner at a later stage.

You are asked 6 university-related questions on various things such as hometown and family topics, and you will have to express your opinion on a chosen subject/given text.

  • IELTS: slightly shorter; 12-15 minutes long. Split into 3 sections and conducted with a real examiner.

With fewer examples when you will have to talk to a computer, IELTS is much better for practising with a live tester (section 1).

You can’t hide from speaking English when it is the native language of where you are living, so don’t shy away from a real conversation.

During the IELTS exam, you will talk about your home, jobs, studies and you’ll have to prepare a monologue of 2 minutes tops on a certain topic (section 2).

At the end (section 3), you will have to answer questions based on the topic you spoke about initially in section 2.

Writing

  • TOEFL: 2-question exam that lasts for 50 minutes and is typed on a computer.
First, you’ll have to read a text and listen to a lecture of about 2 minutes.
Based on this information, you’ll have to write a short answer to a specific question.
The next answer you’ll need to write down will require a longer reply (between 450 and 600 words).
  • IELTS: Academic and General Traning – 2 different writing tests.

The Academic test is more suitable for you and all students who apply to go to universities, and it features 2 tasks, lasting for about 1 hour.

These answers are handwritten.

The first question involves interpreting a graph, table or diagram, and the next one involves a short 250-word essay answer as an argument or a discussion.

These tasks are quite evenly matched, but depending on whether you will need to write out things by hand or you will be using a laptop, computer or tablet for writing at university.

Either way, it is a good idea to practise both forms of writing, regardless of which method of assessment you decide on.

OK, but which one is more widely accepted?

University Admissions

Before you decide on which course you will take for your English as a foreign language qualification, if you are applying to study in the UK or in an English-speaking country, you must check which qualifications they will accept, as some universities will only accept one or the other. If you are unsure, you can search for the admissions department within the university’s website and email them to find out. The information should be listed on the site as well under the course requirements so if you have an idea about which course you would like to take, search for this and it should tell you what you need to know.

Visa Application

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, it is recommended that you take IELTS or Pearson’s Test as TOEFL is no longer recognised by the UK Home Office as a Secure English Language Test.

In case you don’t require a visa for your studies, a TOEFL test will be enough for your application, as long as your scores meet the entry requirements, which are usually at fixed levels for the University, although some exceptions may apply.

If you’re still not sure which to choose, you can find out about Cambridge Advanced English (CAE), an alternative to TOEFL and IELTS, which is accepted by 99% of UK universities as a benchmark for the English Language.

The final verdict

Choose IELTS if you:

  • are comfortable being interviewed
  • have easy-to-read English handwriting
  • prefer multiple question test types (true/false; fill-in-the-blank etc)
  • understand various English dialects
  • like talking about non-academic topics.

Choose TOEFL if you:

  • are comfortable working with computers
  • feel confident speaking into a microphone
  • are good at answering multiple-choice questions
  • prefer standard American English
  • enjoy reading topics meant to inform
  • manage to take notes from audio recordings.

IELTS vs TOEFL: Online resources for you

IELTS Resources:

  1. General IELTS information
  2. Free IELTS practice tests
  3. IELTS test formats

TOEFL Resources:

  1. General TOEFL information
  2. TOEFL practice tests
  3. TOEFL test formats

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10 Ways to Improve Your English, From an English Teacher

Alex Case has worked as an English teacher and teacher trainer all around the world. He has also published English teaching books, articles and materials for all levels of learners. And now he offers all students a top 10 list of ways to improve your English:

1. Label things in your house or office with post-its

When learning English, the easiest vocabulary to learn is the vocabulary of things you see and use everyday. If you can write the names of things around you on slips of paper and stick them on the real thing, this is a great way of learning useful vocabulary. If you can leave them there over the following days and weeks, this is a very easy way of revising the vocabulary until it is properly learnt.

2. Listen to English music

Even listening to music while doing something else can help a little for things like getting used to the natural rhythm and tone of English speech. Although the more time and attention you give to a song the more you will learn from listening to it again in the future.

3. Sign up for a regular English tip

Some websites offer a weekly or even daily short English lesson sent to your email account. If your mobile phone has an e-mail address, it is also possible to have the tips sent to your phone to read on the way to work or school. Please note, however, that such services are not usually graded very well to the levels of different students. They should be used as a little added extra or revision in your English studies rather than as a replacement for something you or your teacher have chosen more carefully as what you need to learn.

4. Read English language entertainment guides

Nowadays most big cities in the world have an English language magazine and/or online guide to the movies, plays, exhibitions that are on in the city that week. Reading this in English is not only good value, but it could also guide you to places that English speakers are interested in and where you might hear some English spoken around you.

5. Have English radio on, while you are doing your housework

Even if you are not listening carefully, it will help you get a feel for natural English rhythm and intonation and help you in learning English.

6. Say or think what you are doing in English as you do your daily tasks

As you are doing your chores, try creating sentences describing what you are doing, e.g. ‘I am unscrewing the ketchup bottle cap’. This gets you used to thinking in English without translating and can be a good way of seeing what simple vocabulary that is around you every day you don’t know. 

7. Keep a list of language to learn (e.g. a vocabulary list)

Even if you don’t often find time to go through your vocab list and it keeps on building up, just the act of choosing which words you need to learn and writing them down on a special list can help you learn them.

8. Learn as many words as you can of one category (e.g. animal words)

Learning English words thematically together can both expand your overall vocabulary and make them easier to learn by forming links between the words in your brain.

9. Occasionally talk to or email your friends in English

Many people find this a bit false or embarrassing, but if you think of it as a study club or a learning English club and set a particular time or place, it is no different from studying maths together.

10. Set goals

Deciding how many hours you want to study, how many words you want to learn or what score you want to get in a test are all good ways of making sure you do extra study.

These are just 10 of Alex’s 70 ways to improve your English. Read the full list on UsingEnglish.com.

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Good Vocabulary Habits for Passing the IELTS Exam

The amount of vocabulary you need to take the IELTS exam can seem like an impossible mountain to climb, but if you follow these guidelines you’ll prepare yourself well and be sure to get the grades you need.

1. Become a word collector

All good English teachers will insist that you speak only English in classes and you should do your best to take this outside of the classroom. It’s always tempting to read and speak your native language but try and resist. 

It really doesn’t matter whether you read newspapers, magazines or books but it does matter that you read them in English. You may not understand every single word but see that as an opportunity to collect new words. The BBC have a great website for English learners which includes a ‘Word of the Day’ and a section on ‘Words in the News’ where you can listen to and read current news reports.

Do you always carry a notebook? If not why not start. You don’t have to stop reading to look up a word but you can quickly write it down and look it up later. Once you’ve got the definition look at it in context. Again try to use an English to English dictionary alongside your translation dictionary. Translations can sometimes be inaccurate. If you prefer to use technology use your mobile or tablet to record new words and study them when you get home.

2. Use a dictionary

There’s more than definitions in dictionaries. You can also see which word form the word fits into, its pronunciation and how to use it. The phonemic chart might look like an ancient language to you but using an interactive chart will help you with the sounds.

3. Organise your vocabulary

There are many ways you can organise your collection of new words for the IELTS exam, and most people have their own method of doing it. Many will just write down the word, the translation and the definition. Why not take it to another level and also:

  • Use the word in a sentence to put it into context
  • Write down the word form.  Is it a verb?  Is it a noun?  Is it both?
  • What are the antonyms?  What are the synonyms?  Why not buy a Thesaurus?
  • What are the collocations?
  • Is it a verb?  Are there any phrasal verbs using it?
  • Everybody has different ways of learning.  Visual learners will find Mind Maps or Vocab Trees helpful. Again the BBC can help you with some templates and ideas.

4. Divide your IELTS vocabulary into topics

The IELTS Speaking Test will ask you to speak about a topic for two minutes. The topics are varied and you won’t know which one you will be tested on. The best way to prepare for this is to PRACTISE, PRACTISE, and PRACTISE. This website focuses on the most likely topic range and gives you IELTS-style practice tests. Any new vocab you learn while practising will also help you in other parts of the exam.

Get into these habits and you will find that your collection of vocabulary will increase rapidly. Good luck!

Written by Gill Balfour, Editor and Counsellor Liaison. 

Enjoyed this article? Check out our other English Language Learning subject guides.

6 Tips to Help You Pass the IELTS Reading Paper with Flying Colours

It can be a daunting experience when you first look at an IELTS Reading Paper. There is so much text to read and at times the very technical vocabulary and jargon involved can be enough to throw off even the most confident of speakers.

At times it may feel like a mountain to climb to study and retain the amount of vocabulary you need for such an extensive range of topics, so we’ve put together some tried and tested methods to help you sleep a little easier at night and ace the IELTS Reading Paper first time.

1. How can I deal with so much text?

It’s a good question but what you need to do is focus on the questions and read to answer them. Practice makes perfect and you can train yourself to focus on the text you need to read to answer the questions. Don’t try and read the whole text straight away, look at the questions first.

2. Get help from the title

Before you do anything else read the title; it will immediately give you an idea of what the article is going to be about. If the title is a question the following article will answer it and that will be the main focus. If the title isn’t a question turn it into one. There could also be subheadings and they will give you further information. Doing this will give you an idea of what you’re going to read about before you read another word.

3. Think about the structure

The texts in the reading paper will be written with the same structure you would use when writing an essay. They will have an introduction and a conclusion with problems/solutions, advantages/disadvantages contained within the body of the text. Looking at the first paragraph and the last paragraph will help you understand the text.

4. Use the Key Words to help you

Identifying the key words in the question is essential. You should by now have an idea of the subject matter so your main focus now is on the type of information you need to answer the questions. For example if ‘not’ is in the statement they will be looking for a negative, quantity indicators such as ‘few’ or ‘all’ will be important in answering the question and time references such as ‘already’ will give you a clue as to whether the answer is going to be a future or past event. You might dismiss these words as unimportant but they will help you get the information you need to answer the questions.

5. Use synonyms

Locating parallel words in the text and the questions is really important. Make sure you build a great collection of synonyms during your studies. Finding the synonyms every time you learn a new word will grow your vocabulary and prepare you well for the reading paper.

6. True, False or Not Given?

The ‘Not Given’ option makes these questions difficult for most students. Turning the statement into a question will help you decide if the text answers the question, contradicts it or doesn’t actually give any information relating to the question. If the statement contains proper nouns, like the names of people or place names, this will help you pinpoint the relevant part of the text more easily.

Remember to use these tips and these practice papers to help you get the best possible marks for the IELTS Reading Paper. Good luck!

Written by Gill Balfour, Editor and Counsellor Liaison

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