IELTS Topic: Computers & Technology

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Vocab & Idioms

Go over the following vocabulary and expressions with your tutor. Read the word/expression and definition out loud, and your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Device (n) – a machine, for example a phone or computer, that can be used to connect to the internet
Gadget (n) – a small device or machine with a particular purpose (mechanical or electronical)
Communication (n) – the various methods of sending information between people and places, especially phones,computers, radio, etc
Innovation (n) – new idea or method
Up to date (adj) – modern, recent, or containing the latest information
User-friendly (adj) – it is simple for people to use
Leading-edge (adj) – to describe the most advanced technology
Hook up (phrasal verb) – a connection to an electricity supply, a telephone network, the internet, etc.
Boot up (phrasal verb) – to start a electronic device like a computer, pad, or mobile
Free up (phrasal verb) – make something available to be used (memory or space)

Part 1 Questions

Here are possible questions that might come up during the test. Go over them with your tutor.

Topic

  • How often do you use electronic devices?
  • Do you think computers have changed your life a lot?
  • What do you use the internet for?

Part 2&3 Questions

Here are possible questions that might come up during the test. Go over them with your tutor.

Sample A

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe an app or program you use on your cellphone or computer. You should say:
    • what the app or program is
    • how you found it
    • how you use it
    • and how you feel about it.

Part 3 Questions

  • What types of apps to you have on your cellphone?
  • What are the drawbacks of having too many apps on a cellphone?

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a website you like to use. You should say:
    • when you found it
    • how often you use it
    • what it’s used for
    • and why you like it.

Part 3 Questions

  • What are some of the different reasons why people use the internet?
  • Do you think parents should control what internet sites their teenagers use?

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Talk about a time you had a problem with a device. You should say:
    • what was the device
    • when you had the problem
    • what was the problem
    • and explain how you fixed the problem.

Part 3 Questions

  • Do you think most electronic devices are user-friendly?
  • Why do some people always need to update their electronics devices to leading-edge technology?

Sample Answers

Here are some sample answers. Go over them with your tutor.

Part 1 Questions

  • How often do you use electronic devices?
    • I’m not a techie, but I’m on my mobile, laptop, and iPad every day. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not doing something on my electronic equipment, especially staying connected to my family and friends.
  • Do you think electronic devices have changed your daily life?
    • Positively! Technology in general has altered my lifestyle. Let’s take my smartphone for example. Everywhere I go, I’m connected. If I’m not playing games, I’m text messaging or listening to music.
  • What do you use the internet for?
    • Well, I use the internet for various reasons like shopping, streaming music and movies, Google searches, and video chatting to name a few. I would have to say a majority of my time is spent browsing for information.

Part 2&3 Answers

Here are some sample answers. Go over them with your tutor.

Sample A

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe an app or program you use on your cellphone or computer. You should say:
    • what the app or program is
    • how you found it
    • how you use it
    • and how you feel about it.

I’ve so many applications on my electronic devices to pick from which makes my choice difficult. So, I will talk about the one that helped me discover the online teaching world and that is Cambly.
While I was living in Bangkok Thailand in 2015, I met a Thai woman for an interview in English. I was interviewing her to evaluate her English proficiency and, umm, to talk about private English lessons. Little did I know that she would be the one to tell me about teaching online with Cambly. She said she never used it before, but one of her friends highly recommended it to her.

After this meeting, I walked home at a fast pace because I wanted to explore the world of Camby for myself. I soon as I arrived home, I booted up my laptop and did a Google search for Cambly. There it was, an application that was going to change my life in a positive way.

I followed the instructions and submitted my video presentation of me and why I would make a good English tutor. Within a week I received an acceptance email from Cambly Management. I was so excited to get started tutoring, but I knew I had to be patient and prepare myself to start teaching English online.

The first thing I needed to do was to make sure my electronic devices like my iPhone, iPad, and Macbook Air were ready to go. In addition, I had to buy some office supplies like paper and pens, and I had to find some online English lessons. I almost forgot to mention, I decided to buy a laptop cooling pad because I thought it would prevent my Macbook from overheating since I planned on tutoring for 5-8 hours per day.

Now I’m going to jump forward to the present day and say that Cambly is one of the best things that happened to me in my life. Almost 1 ½ years later and I’m still tutoring with them and enjoying my time teaching, but most of all, I’m helping people all around the world learn and improve their English.


Part 3 Questions

  • What types of apps to you have on your cellphone?
    • I must say that I have a variety of apps on my mobile. For example, I have educational apps like The Free Dictionary, music apps like Spotify, games like Wordament, and travel apps such as Tripadvisor. The app I use the most is the ever popular Facebook which I use on a daily basis. Personally, I think I have too many apps and I need to get rid of some to free up some memory
  • What are the drawbacks of having too many apps on a cellphone?
    • As I mentioned before, having lots of apps can use up memory and space on a device. In addition, I heard that the operational system will be sluggish which will result in apps opening and closing slowly and to function at less than peak performance. I’m not a computer buff, but I would have to agree with what I read and heard about having too many apps. In my case, I always delete the apps I rarely use.

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a website you like to use. You should say:
    • when you found it
    • how often you use it
    • what you use it for
    • and why you like it.

There are several internet sites I like to use, particularly online financially websites for banking and credit cards. I’m going to talk about the Fidelity Investments website.

I visit this website daily because I have a bank account, investment account, retirement funds, and credit card with them.

There are a few reasons why I like this website. First of all, I love the fact that I can have all my financial accounts with one company. It makes it handy when it comes to managing them. All I have to do is login to my account and all my information is available at my fingertips. I can’t ask for anything better.

Another thing I like about this website is that it’s available in a mobile version also, so everywhere I go, I have access to my finances. Well, unless I’m in an area where there isn’t wifi, cell phone coverage, or ATM machines.

Now I want to talk a little bit about the online tools this website provides me to manage my accounts. One of the best things about this website is that my data is up-to-date or in other words, real-time. I know exactly how much money I have available in all my accounts.

One more service I like is the free online bill payer service. I can set up my bills to pay them automatically and it doesn’t cost me a dime.

Finally, I can set up electronic money transfers internally between my accounts or externally to my other bank accounts or another person’s bank account. Just like the bill payer service, this service is free also.

Out of all the websites I use, this is is by far the most important. I think most people would agree with me because banking is a huge part of our lives and who wants to bank the old-fashioned way. The days of going to a physical bank and waiting in long lines are disappearing slowly but sure.


Part 3 Questions

  • What are some of the different reasons why people use the internet?
    • Without a doubt, that depends on the person. Take my Mom for example, she’s not computer savvy by no means, so she utilizes the internet to send emails, play games, and to stay in contact with family and friends via Facebook. Now take me, I use it for a wide range of things such as online banking, emailing, listening to music, teaching, and learning to name a few. It’s all about the individual and their needs and wants.
  • Do you think parents should control what internet sites their teenagers use?
    • Definitely! Whether they like it or not, young people, more so teenagers, need some parental control when it comes to browsing the internet. I feel that cyberspace is extremely harmful to today’s youth. There are a lot of explicit and violent websites which teenagers can view, or even for that matter, download pornographic material. Every parent should put in place some type of preventive measure to block these vulgar and vile internet sites.

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Talk about a time you had a problem with an electronic device. You should say:
    • what was the device
    • when you had the problem
    • what was the problem
    • and explain how you fixed the problem

I rarely have issues with my electronic equipment, but I do recall a time I had a problem with my Microsoft Office software when I bought another Macbook.

Back in 2015, I decided to sell my old Macbook Pro and buy a brand new Macbook Air. What I didn’t expect was to have a problem installing my Microsoft Office software.

The issue was the product key that was needed to install the program. I couldn’t remember the number for the life of me. I thought I saved the email from Microsoft containing the number, however, I could not find the email in my email folders. I started to panic a little.

I ended up calling Microsoft’s customer service to get the product key. I didn’t realize I would be in for a long and burdensome telephone conversation. See, the problem wasn’t only not having the product key, it was also the email associated with my Microsoft account. The email was the email of my former employer, which was obsolete since I didn’t work for them anymore. By the way, before I forget to mention it, the Microsoft Office software was a free benefit provided by my ex-employer.

After talking with the customer service agent for almost 45 minutes, it dawned on me that I had used my private email address also to create my account. Luckily, this was the answer to my predicament. Boy was I relieved and happy because if I couldn’t find a way to link my account, I would have to pay for the software and the software isn’t cheap.


Part 3 Questions

  • Do you think most electronic devices are user-friendly?
    • I would have to agree that most computing devices, like computers, smartphones, and pads or tablets, are easy to use. Are they all at the same level of user-friendliness? I think not. I will use my iPad for an example. I used to have an Asus ZenPad, which I liked, but I didn’t care for the touch pad. It was too difficult to control the cursor, so I decided to buy another brand name. This is when I decided to buy an iPad which I consider leading-edge technology. What a difference it is compared to the ZenPad. I’m absolutely thrilled with my iPad.
  • Why do some people always need to update their electronics devices to leading-edge technology?
    • My guess would be that they are computer geeks, and they feel the need to have the latest and greatest devices all the time. Additionally, they probably have the money to burn because most of them have great paying tech jobs. As I stated before, this is my impression and by no means do I think it’s every person who works in the computer industry. I’m sure others have a different opinion, but like the saying goes, “to each their own”.

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

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