Category Archives: Academic IELTS

St. Patrick Day – Traditions

 

St. Patrick’s Day – St Patrick day traditions

Every 7th of March St. Patrick day is celebrated, this traditional festivity comes from an ancient story and has a lot of symbolic elements. Discover the history and the meaning of them:

  • The Shamrock

The shamrock, which was also called the “seamroy” by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism.

  • Irish Music

Music is often associated with St. Patrick’s Day—and Irish culture in general. From ancient days of the Celts, music has always been an important part of Irish life. The Celts had an oral culture, where religion, legend and history were passed from one generation to the next by way of stories and songs.

  • The Snake

It has long been recounted that, during his mission in Ireland, St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop (which is now called Croagh Patrick), and with only a wooden staff by his side, banished all the snakes from Ireland.

In fact, the island nation was never home to any snakes. The “banishing of the snakes” was really a metaphor for the eradication of pagan ideology from Ireland and the triumph of Christianity. Within 200 years of Patrick’s arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized.

  • Corned Beef

Each year, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick’s Day to share a “traditional” meal of corned beef and cabbage.

Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day at the turn of the century.

Irish immigrants living on New York City’s Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money. They learned about the cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors.

  • The Leprechaun

The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.”

Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure.

 

WHY ENGLISH CAN BE HARD

English can be difficult because sometimes words with the same spelling can have different meanings and / or pronunciations.

Here are some examples for you to try to figure out:

  • The bandage was wound around the wound.
  • The farm was cultivated to produce produce.
  • The dump was so full that the workers had to refuse more refuse.
  • We must polish the Polish furniture.
  • The soldier decided to desert his tasty dessert in the desert.
  • Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present to his girlfriend.
  • A bass was painted on the bass drum.
  • I did not object to the object which he showed me.
  • The insurance was invalid for the invalid in his hospital bed.
  • There was a row among the oarsmen about who would row.
  • They were too close to the door to close it.
  • The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  • A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer.
  • To help with planting, a farmer taught his sow to sow.
  • The wind was too strong to wind the sail around the mast.
  • Upon seeing the tear in her painting, she shed a tear.
  • I has to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  • How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

IDIOMS – ANSWERS

Here are the meanings of the idioms featured in our last blog post:

to beat about the bush:

  • to avoid the main issue; to not speak directly about a topic
  • Stop beating about the bush and get to the point!

a bed of roses:

  • an easy, comfortable situation
  • Living with my ex-husband was no bed of roses.

to bite off more than you can chew:

  • to take on a task that is bigger than you can really manage
  • My wife certainly bit off more than she could chew when she decided to cook for a dinner party of sixteen people.

to call it a day:

  • to stop working on a task
  • We can continue working on this tomorrow, but let’s call it a day for now.

cat nap:

  • to go to sleep for a short time
  • I’m just going for a cat nap now. See you in about half an hour.

IDIOMS

Do you know the meaning of these frequently used English idioms? Have a think.

to beat about the bush

a bed of roses

to bite off more than you can chew

to call it a day

cat nap

The answers will be revealed in out next blog post.

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

EXAM PREPARATION: 5 IMPORTANT STUDY TIPS

We all know how difficult & stressful the days before exams can be. We are impatient for the end of this nightmare. But there are some really good tips that will help you face this situation with confidence.

1. Organize your study space!

Make sure that you have enough space to spread your textbooks, notes and your pc. Put the right light for your room and take one comfortable chair. Get rid of all distractions and make sure you feel as focus as possible. For some people, this mean almost complete silence, for others, background music helps. Put your mobile phone on silent & try not to spend your time playing games or on social media.

2. Drink plenty of water!

Remember that being well hydrated is essential for your brain to work at its best. Make sure you keep drinking plenty of water throughout your revision, and also on the exam day.

3. Organize study groups with friends!

Get together with friends for a study session. You may have questions that they have the answers to and vice versa. As long as you make sure you stay focused on the topic for an agreed amount of time, this can be one of the most effective ways to challenge yourself.

4. Practice old exams!

One of the most effective ways to prepare for exams is to practice taking past versions. This helps you get used to the format of the questions, and – if you time yourself – can also be good practice for making sure you spend the right amount of time on each section.

5. Regular Breaks & Snacks!!!

And finally, of course we have to mention two more really important tips which are to take regular breaks & snacks!

Studies have shown that for long-term retention of knowledge, taking regular breaks really helps. Everyone’s different, so develop a study routine that works for you. If you study better in the morning, start early before taking a break at lunchtime. Or, if you’re more productive at night-time, take a larger break earlier on so you’re ready to settle down come evening. You may feel like you deserve a treat, or that you don’t have time to cook, but what you eat can really have an impact on energy levels and focus, so keep away from junk food. Keep your body and brain well-fuelled by choosing nutritious foods that have been proven to aid concentration and memory, such as fish, nuts, seeds, yogurt and blueberries.

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

From Edinburgh all the way down to Plymouth. Britain surely knows how to throw a bash at the end of the year! New Year’s Eve is a time when families and friends come together and host parties at home, or celebrate in restaurants and pubs, whilst counting down to the end of the year and awaiting the stroke of midnight. People take walks around the City of London, watching street performers, admiring buildings that have been lit up and enjoying delicious food in the many restaurants that surround the beautiful city.

Fireworks are always in high demand during the New Year festivities. Families and friends enjoy setting off fireworks in their back gardens after enjoying their dinner. The London fireworks display is one of the most anticipated events for the New Year! Thousands of people gather together around the River Thames to watch the magnificent fireworks display over the London Eye. As soon as Big Ben chimes midnight the fireworks light up the City of London in an array of lights and music.

After the epic fireworks display comes the London New Year’s Day Parade. Dancers, marching bands, cheerleaders, acrobats and old school vehicles are a few of the 10,000 performers that brighten up the streets of London. The parade starts at 12:00pm with a burst of color, music, performances, fun and laughter running from Piccadilly to Parliament Street. This parade first began in 1987 raising money for local charities and was originally called the Lord Mayor of Westminster’s Big Parade. The 30- year old tradition brings together people from all over Britain to celebrate the New Year in merriment and harmony! Many places of business and work are closed on New Year’s Day allowing people to stay at home with their friends and families enjoying a quiet day after all the festivities the night before.

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

Eurospeak Southampton
10 Cumberland Place
Southampton
Hampshire
SO15 2BH
+44 (0) 2380 636 494
hello@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

Eurospeak Reading
29A Chain Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 2HX
+44 (0) 1189 589 599
info@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

IDIOMS & ANSWERS

Do you know the meaning of these frequently used English idioms?

Let’s see!

  1. The best of both worlds:
  • Meaning: to experience two good things at the same time
  • Example: Working part-time and looking after the children means you can experience the best of both worlds.

2. Speak of the devil:

  • Meaning: use this idiom when you are talking about somebody and then they arrive unexpectedly
  • Example: Tom’s just got a new car. Speak of the devil, here he is!

3. Let the cat out of the bag:

  • Meaning: to tell a secret
  • Example: I let the cat out of the bag about her pregnancy.

4. To feel under the weather:

  • Meaning: to feel ill or sick
  • Example: I’ve got a really bad cold – I feel really under the weather.

5. To kill two birds with one stone:

  • Meaning: to achieve two things at once
  • Example: I killed two birds with one stone when I went on holiday with my Dad because I got to go away and to spend time with him.

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

Eurospeak Southampton
10 Cumberland Place
Southampton
Hampshire
SO15 2BH
+44 (0) 2380 636 494
hello@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

Eurospeak Reading
29a Chain Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 2HX
+44 (0) 1189 589 599
info@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

Academic or General IELTS?

Academic and General IELTS – What’s the difference?

There are two versions of the IELTS exam: Academic and General. Here’s a quick guide to the differences (and similarities) between them.

Both versions of the IELTS exam have four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The Listening and Speaking sections are the same in both versions, but the Reading and Writing sections are different.

For both versions, in the Listening section, you listen to a total of four monologues and conversations, and answer a variety of different questions on them. You only listen once and the test is approximately thirty minutes.

For both versions, in the Speaking section, you answer questions on familiar topics, speak continuously for one to two minutes on a topic, and answer questions on more abstract topics. You do the speaking exam individually with one examiner. It’s eleven to fourteen minutes long.

For Academic Reading, you read three longer texts and answer a variety of questions about them. The texts are more academic in nature. You have one hour to complete the test.

For General Reading, you also read three texts and answer a variety of questions on them, but these texts are more related to work and general interests. This test is also thirty minutes.

For Academic Writing, you write two pieces of writing. The first is a summary of information. You might be asked to summarise information from a chart or graph, a table, or a diagram showing a process, objects or maps or plans. The second piece of writing is an essay. You have one hour in total for both Writing tasks.

For General Writing, you also write two pieces of writing. The first task is a letter and the second task is an essay. The length of the exam is also one hour in total for both Writing tasks.

Now you know a little more about the difference and similarities between Academic and General IELTS.

At Eurospeak Language School we offer our IELTS exam students real IELTS practice material and for homework and in class.

We also have additional resources, practice IELTS exams and sample IELTS material for you to use in your own time, at home, or to study in the students’ area.

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Reading or Eurospeak Southampton, please contact us on:

Eurospeak Southampton
10 Cumberland Place
Southampton
Hampshire
SO15 2BH
+44 (0) 2380 636494
hello@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

Eurospeak Reading
29a Chain Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 2HX
+44 (0) 1189 589599
info@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk