Tag Archives: IELTS Exam Preparation

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:

ENGAGING WRITING

When you write, it’s important you engage the reader so they’re interested in your writing and want to continue reading. So, here are some techniques you can use to achieve this…

One way is to address the reader directly. This means you need to use the word you a lot. You can see plenty of example of direct address to the reader in this blog – you can even see it in this sentence!

Another technique is to use questions. You can ask questions directly to the reader, for example, Have you ever thought about what you would do in this situation? Questions like this make the reader think about their own answer and they want to read on to find out what the writer’s answer is too. Alternatively, you could use a rhetorical question. A rhetorical question is a question where the answer is so obvious it doesn’t need to be stated, for example, Who would have thought it? These types of questions engage the reader because they’re persuasive – the reader already knows the answer, they agree with you and so they’re on your side.

A further technique is simply varying your vocabulary. Nobody wants to read something with the same words repeated over and over again – it’s boring! So, use lots of different words. You could do this by using synonyms – different words with the same meaning; another way is to use adverbs to make your writing more descriptive.

And finally, the reader will be much more engaged in your writing if you adopt an enthusiastic tone – if you don’t sound like you’re interested in the subject you’re writing about, how can you expect anyone else to be?

So, the next time you’re writing, try out some of these techniques to make the reader more interested and engaged in what you’ve got to say. Good luck!

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:

WHY IT’S A GOOD LOCATION & WHICH PLACES YOU CAN VISIT FROM SOUTHAMPTON

 Isle of Wight – Known as the “Garden Isle” Isle of Wight is a beautiful charming town 2h away by ferry from Southampton. It also is well known area for dinosaurs attracting people around the world and geology students to go fossil hunting and study in the island.

It is very easy and fun to get there as it requires you to cross the sea on the ferry, and you can enjoy the beautiful view of Southampton and Isle of Wight from the sea. A beautiful experience, really.

Standards day return ticket for foot passengers £17.80, but there are also saving options, and family tickets. You are also allowed to take your pet with you, free of charge!

Winchester Farmers Market –It is the largest Farmers’ Market of the UK with around 90 stalls, according to the Guardian Food Magazine. Sadly, it doesn’t open every weekend. The marked takes place every second and final Sunday of each month, and it is perfect for buffalo steak lovers, organic products, and even ostrich meat. It is really a must if you’re looking for quality!

It only takes 30min by car and about an hour on the bus!

New Forest National Park, Marwell Wildlife, Victoria Country Park –

Milford on sea – Besides the seaside where you can walk along the cliff-top path Milford Sea is a beautiful small village with many shops, pubs and restaurants. There are lots of places to stay & camping sites, including self-catered cottages to visit and holiday parks. You can also go down from Hurst Spit to Hurst Castle or even along Barton on Sea.

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:

REPORT LAYOUT

When writing a report, there are a few important things that you need to know about the layout.

 

Things That You Must Include:

You must give your report a title. Write this at the top of the page in the centre. In this blog, Report Layout is the title.

You also have to include sub-headings. Sub-headings are basically titles for each section of your report. You write these at the left side of the page and finish with a colon, which is this punctuation mark :. This blog has two sub-headings – Things That You Must Include and Things That You Can Include.

Things That You Can Include:

When you write a report you can also include bullet points. Bullet points are used to list things. You can use them with numbers, like this:

  1. Point number one
  2. Point number two
  3. Point number three

or without numbers, like this:

  • Point number one
  • Point number two
  • Point number three

Whether or not you need bullet points will depend on what you are writing about and how you decide to organise your writing.

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:

 

LEARNING GRAMMAR FOR REAL COMMUNICATION

We mostly use a kind of knowledge that is unconscious to speak our first language. We don’t think very much about how to say what we are thinking, we just say it.

When we learn a second language, we often develop a very different kind of knowledge, one that is conscious and requires mental effort. For example, we may know that verbs in the present simple are followed by -s in the third person singular. It is very difficult to use this kind of knowledge while speaking because accessing this knowledge in real time isn’t easy and because we need to pay attention to many other aspects of the conversation. As a result, we can end up having correct knowledge of the language but not being able to use it during fluent communication.

Most experts in this area of second language acquisition today agree that to overcome this difficulty we need large amounts of practice. According to this view, practice at using our conscious knowledge can help us gradually build an unconscious knowledge system which can eventually allow us to speak our second language the way we speak our first language: fluently, spontaneously, and effortlessly.

Practice can include a range of activities, from the more traditional exercises typical of a grammar book through more communicative classroom activities to conversations outside the classroom. All these kinds of practice are beneficial if not necessary, but, importantly, their effectiveness depends on whether or not we are making use of our conscious knowledge. So, if we are trying to learn to use a grammar rule, say adding -s to present simple verbs in the third person singular, we need to try to use this rule correctly during practice. This will require considerable effort at the initial stages, but the effort will gradually decrease as we continue practising.

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:

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

LINKING WORDS & EXPRESSIONS

When you speak and when you write, it’s important to link what you say together. One way that you can do this is by using linking words and expressions, so here are some that you can try out.

To add more information:

in addition

furthermore

moreover

For contrast:

but

though

however

nevertheless

To introduce reasons:

for this reason

it follows that

on account of this

To introduce results:

as a result

in consequence

arising from this

For purpose:

for this purpose

to this end

with this in mind

in order to

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

Improving Your Listening by Having Conversations

Why are you learning English? For most people, the answer is to be able to speak to others. But when you speak, you also need to listen. Therefore, a great way to practise listening is to have conversations with people in English.There are a number of steps you can take to do this successfully.

  1. First, consider the situation where the conversation will happen. What kind of vocabulary are you likely to hear in that situation? If there are words that you don’t already know, try to learn them beforehand so you can recognise them when somebody says them.
  2. Next, when you’re having the conversation, don’t worry about trying to understand every single word – you will not be able to do this and it’s also not necessary! What’s more important is to listen for the specific information that you need to continue the conversation. So just listen for this.
  3. But what if I still don’t understand enough? That’s okay too because you can ask people to repeat themselves and you can even sound like a native speaker by using some of these expressions:
  • Sorry, I didn’t catch that.
  • Huh?
  • Come again?
  • What was that?

So, go out, speak and listen to people. Try to implement these three steps and when you have conversations in English, you may well find that listening is easier.

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