U5: Pushing Through!
SECTION 1 | READING

a) Video: Reading Task Typethe categorisation task
Learn about a very common type of reading task: categorisation.

b) Video: Reading Tips & Tricksfinding and underlining key words
Tips and tricks videos help you to save time during the exam. In this video, you're going to learn about key words – finding them and putting them to good use.

c) Video: Reading Learner Trainingwhat are collocations and why are they important?
Learner-training videos help you to become a better student. In this video, you'll learn to notice collocations and see how they help you to massively expand your vocabulary.

d.1) Video or self-study: Real IELTS Practice (for academic IELTS only)

You can download the test here and complete it by yourself or watch the video below and complete the test with me. Remember, the IELTS Reading test is only one hour long.

d.2) Video: Checking the answers step-by-step

In this video we'll check the answers to the questions step-by-step so that you are absolutely clear why the answers are what they are.

e.1) Video or self-study: Real IELTS Practice (for general training IELTS only)

You can download the test here and complete it by yourself or watch the video below and complete the test with me. Remember, the IELTS Reading test is only one hour long.

e.2) Video: Checking the answers step-by-step

In this video we'll check the answers to the questions step-by-step so that you are absolutely clear why the answers are what they are.

SECTION 2 | LISTENING

a) Video: Listening Task Typecompleting a form
Learn about a common type of listening task: form completion.

b) Video: Listening Tips & Tricksknow your synonyms
Tips and tricks videos help you to save time during the exam. In this video, you're going to learn why widening your vocabulary range with synonyms is so important.

c.1) Video or self-study: Real IELTS Listening Practice

You can download the test here and the audio here and complete it by yourself, or watch the video below and complete the test with me.

c.2) Video: Checking the answers step-by-step

In this video we'll check the answers to the questions step-by-step so that you are absolutely clear why the answers are what they are.

SECTION 3 | SPEAKING

a) Video: Speaking test yourself (part 1)
Try to answer the questions in this speaking test. Record yourself so that you can compare what you do here to what you'll do at the end of the unit.

b) Video: Speakingcompare yourself to another candidate
What did this candidate do better than you? What did you do better than him? What can you learn from this?

c) New lexis: idioms, collocations & set phrases

Before you do the speaking practice or watch the feedback video for this candidate in the next lecture, complete the exercise below to see the following idioms, collocations and set phrases used in the context of an IELTS Speaking exam.

⚠️ New Lexis:

Complete the exercise which practices the new lexis above.

💯 Speaking Practice

Your speaking will not improve unless you practice speaking (obviously)!

There are three ways you can do this:

  1. Team up with another student on this course (you can also work with other students in the IELTS Step-by-step Community). Sign up here to say that you are willing to be contacted and put down which dates, or days and times suit you. Your partner can then ask the questions below and give you immediate feedback. Feel free to speak about other topics as well — not just IELTS-related — the point is to simply practice speaking in English as much as possible.

  2. Using a smartphone or your device's camera, record yourself asking the questions below and answering them as fully as possible. Upload the recording to YouTube as an unlisted video and post the link to this IELTS Step-by-step Community post on Facebook (here's an example).

  3. Using a smartphone or your device's camera, record yourself asking the questions below and answering them as fully as possible. Listen to yourself and analyse your own performance.

If you are not comfortable with any of these options, at the very least speak to yourself (ideally out loud but if necessary, in your head) and improve your fluency in English.

Try to use as many of the new idioms, collocations and set phrases in your responses.


The questions used in Rajesh's speaking test:

PART 1

Laughing

What kinds of thing make you laugh?
Do you like making other people laugh? [Why/Why not?]
Do you think it’s important for people to laugh? [Why/Why not?]
Is laughing the same as feeling happy, do you think? [Why/Why not?]

Birthdays

Do you usually celebrate your birthday?
What did you do on your birthday last year?
Can you remember a birthday you enjoyed as a child?
Do most people celebrate their birthday with a party in your country?
Which birthdays are considered important in your country?

PART 2

Describe an idea you had for improving something at work or college.

You should say:

when and where you had your idea
what your idea was
who you told about your idea

and explain why you thought your idea would make an improvement.

PART 3

Ideas and education

Some people think that education should be about memorising the important ideas of the past. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
Should education encourage students to have their own new ideas? Why?
How do you think teachers could help students to develop and share their own ideas?

Ideas in the workplace

Should employers encourage their workers to have new ideas about improving the company? Why?
Do you think people sometimes dislike ideas just because they are new? Why?
What is more difficult: having new ideas or putting them into practice? Which is more important for a successful company?


If you would like more practice on different topics, use the questions in these links to practice further:

PART 1: Full set

PART 2: Full set

PART 3: Full set

d) Video: Speaking feedback
In this video we will look at how Rajesh can improve his IELTS Speaking grade by using using the new lexis as well as working on his pronunciation.

e) Video: Learner training for speakingconnected speech
What is connected speech and why is it important?

f) Video: Tips & tricks for speakingcomplex structures
How can I use complex structures in my speaking to impress my examiner and improve my grade?

g) Video: Speaking — test yourself (part 2)
Answer the questions in this speaking test again. Record yourself so that you can compare what you do here to what you did at the beginning of the unit. Do you see how much you've improved?

SECTION 4 | WRITING

a) Video: Essay types — the discussion essay
Learn about a common type of essay you might be expected to write in Part II of the exam.

b) Writing: Essay — test yourself

Opinion essays and discussion essays are similar in many ways. In fact, discussion essays are a subcategory of opinion essays. Before you test yourself, let's look at the main differences between them, because you will be expected to use a different essay structure.

» SELF-REFLECTION

The opinion essay in the above video had this essay question:

1. So how is this one different?

2. Also, how would the plan for this essay be different?

3. In which part(s) would you write your opinion?

(see the answers in grey in the section below.)


» PRACTICE | test yourself

Here is a typical discussion question:

Some people think a crime should always have a fixed punishment like life for murder, whereas others think you should take the circumstances of the crime into account.


What is your viewpoint?

Try writing an essay, answering the question above, before you continue in this section.

You will need to:

  • write an introduction to the topic which clearly states your opinion on the subject

  • state one viewpoint (Some people argue that ...) and give one or two points about why the reasoning might be flawed (The problem with this is that ...);

  • state the other viewpoint (Others believe that ...) and give one or two points about why that reasoning makes sense;

  • write a short conclusion to summarise your main points and re-state your opinion;

  • write a minimum of 250 words.

Make your plan before you start.

This is practice, so take your time. But remember that in the exam you will need to complete Writing Task 2 in around 40 minutes.


Put the essay somewhere safe.

You will compare what you do here with an essay you will do at the end of this section — you'll be able to see the progress that you've made.

» ANSWERS

1. In a discussion essay, there are two (usually contrasting) opinions to think about. In this example, they are a) a crime should have a fixed punishment, and b) we should think about the circumstances of the crime when we decide the punishment.

2. Two viewpoints are compared and contrasted.

3. In the introduction and the conclusion.

c) Video: Formal languagethe passive and nominalisation

Being able to use these two advanced writing systems will help you to come across more formally in Part II of the writing exam.

Practice using the passive and nominalisation in these IELTS-style tasks.

e) Writing skills: Expressing someone else's opinion

When you are writing the main body of a discussion essay, you often need to write about somebody else’s opinion in more detail. In this section, you will see some key pieces of language (‘chunks’) which will help you to do this.

» Task One: Can you select the correct verbs/nouns to complete the sentences?

Look at how these notes from a student's essay plan have been linked together with phrases from from Task One to form the extract below.

» Task Two: Can you write these sentences from the notes given?

» SELF-REFLECTION

Develop these basic ideas, adding your own ideas to support them using the chunks from this unit.

Here's an example:

women / better teachers than men

  1. changing career / bad

  2. older people / better employees

  3. anyone can be famous

  4. prison / does not work

Write your answers here if you'd like feedback from other students in the IELTS Step-by-step Community on Facebook.

f) Writing: Check your progress

» TEST YOURSELF

Write a 250-word essay on the following question:

Some people feel that crime can be reduced by increasing police numbers while others believe that social upliftment, such as better education and housing, will bring crime rates down.


What are your views?

Try to do this under exam conditions — try to avoid looking at any notes you've made while studying this section. Remember, in the exam you'd have about 40 minutes to complete this task.

Compare this essay with the essay you wrote at the beginning of this section.

  • What improvements did you make? (Knowing this will keep you motivated).

  • What do you still need to work on? (Knowing this will help you to focus on what you need to practice more).

If you would like feedback from other students on the IELTS Step-by-step Community on Facebook, post your essay in the comments section here.

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