IELTS Topic: Vacation/Holiday

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

All-inclusive (adj) – your food, drinks, and hotel room are all included in the price
Sightseeing (n) – the activity of visiting places of interest in a particular location
Resort (n) – a place where people can go on vacations to relax or for an activity they enjoy
Self-guided tour (n) – when you go visit a place of interest without an expert
Guided tour (n) – an organized group shown around a place of interest by an expert
Tour Guide (n) – an expert who takes tourists, usually in a group, to a place of interest
Long weekend (n) – an extended weekend including Friday and/or Monday
Get away (phrasal verb) – go on vacation/holiday or a short break away from home
Set off (phrasal verb) – start a journey or trip
Travel light (idiom) – to bring a few things with you on a trip

Part 1 Questions

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

Topic

  • Why are vacations/holidays important to you?
  • Where do you like to go on vacation/holiday?
  • What do you usually do on vacation/holiday?
  • What do you like to do when you have a day off from work?

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 a tourist attraction you once visited. You should say:
    • When you visited it
    • Where is it situated
    • Who you went with
    • and say what you liked most about it.

Part 3 Questions

  • Is it better to travel alone or with a tour group?
  • What’s makes a tourist attraction popular?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of going on a vacation/holiday during low season?

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a recent vacation/holiday you went on. You should say:
    • where you went
    • when you went there
    • who was with you
    • and explain why you chose that particular place for a vacation/holiday.

Part 3 Questions

  • What are some of the benefits of going away on a vacation/holiday?
  • Why is it not good for holidays to be too long?
  • Why do some people like going to big cities on vacation/holiday?

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a vacation/holiday you want to go on in the future. You should say:
    • where you want to go
    • when you want to go
    • who you want to go with
    • and explain why you want to go on this vacation/holiday.

Part 3 Questions

  • Why do some people prefer to travel within their own country and not abroad?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of booking vacations/holidays online?
  • Do you think people are prepared for emergencies when they go on vacation/holiday?

Sample Answers

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

Part 1 Questions

  • Why are vacations/holidays important to you?
    • They are the times that I can get away from the stress of my work and re-energize myself. There’s nothing like a week off from my hectic work schedule to do anything I want to do. I only wish I had more vacation time.
  • Where do you like to go on vacation/holiday?
    • Well, I like to travel to various destinations. One, in particular, is the mountains about three hours north of my hometown. It’s a place where I can take in the beautiful landscapes and the tranquillity of nature and silence.
  • What do you usually do on vacation/holiday?
    • If I have a long weekend, I like to drive to the shore where I  walk the beach in the early mornings and evenings to find seashells. If it’s a longer vacation, I prefer to fly to a far away destination and go sightseeing and learn about other cultures.
  • What do you like to do when you have a day off from work?
    • Sometimes I like to simply stay at home and relax. Other times I prefer to go out with my friends for lunch or dinner and catch up.

Part 2&3 Answers

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

Sample A

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a tourist attraction you once visited. You should say:
    • when you visited it
    • where is it situated
    • who you went with
    • and say what you liked most about it.

Just the other day, I was on vacation in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia for a long weekend. I had the opportunity to see the majestic Twin Towers or Petronas Towers. They are two identical skyscrapers side by side in the Kuala Lumpur City Center.

I needed to leave Thailand to renew my tourist visa, so my Thai girlfriend and I decided to go to Kuala Lumpur. We bought a travel package from AirAsiaGo, which is an online travel website. The package consisted of airfare and hotel accommodations. I wish I had a choice for an all inclusive package, but the hotel doesn’t offer that type of package.

The night before our flight we packed our bags. She had a large check in bag and I had a small carry on because I travel light.

After a restless night’s sleep, the day finally arrived for us to leave. I was elated because I needed some R&R, or in words rest and relaxation, after working so much the prior month.

When we arrived in Kuala Lumpur, we headed straight to our hotel to check in. After we checked in, we took the subway to the location of the Twin Towers. Oh, what a sight to see when we first caught a glimpse of the towering skyscrapers! I was amazed at the architecture and pure elegance in front of me.

We walked around the premises taking in the stunning view of the buildings. The surrounding area was full of other tourists and of course pesky locals who were trying to sell souvenirs and take photos of people with the towers for a high price. Anywhere I go on vacation I hate these annoying people.

Overall, the time we spent at the Twin Towers was enjoyable and the sight of the gigantic buildings was highly impressionable. I heard at night the towers are lit up and the view is spectacular. I would recommend this place to all travelers even though it’s a tourist trap.


Part 3 Questions

  • Is it better to travel alone or with a tour group?
    • Everybody is different and they have their own preferences. As far as I’m concerned, either way, it has its pros and cons and one way is not better than the other. Some people say that traveling alone is unsafe and that they would never do it. I, on the other hand, disagree because traveling in a small or large group can be dangerous too. Yes, I agree it can be more dangerous traveling solo sometimes, but one has to take precautions like not walking dark streets alone at night, hitching a ride with a stranger, or staying in high-risk neighborhoods. The same goes when traveling in a larger group.
  • What’s makes a tourist attraction popular?
    • I never considered this question before. I need some time to think a little……umm. I believe it has to do with what the place offers. For instance, take Machu Picchu in Peru. Thousands of people all over the world travel there because of its historical background of being the “Lost City of the Incas”. In addition, it has breathtaking views and ancient ruins. Now take the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Thousands of people pilgrimage there every year for religious reasons. I’m sure there are other motives that make a place a tourist trap, but these were the only ones I could think of.
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of going on a vacation/holiday during low season?
    • Right off the bat, It’s definitely advantageous to go on vacation during the non-peak season because the costs for plane tickets, accommodations, and tour packages are less expensive. However, the weather may wreck havoc on your travel plans. I remember going to the beach one year during the low season and it rained almost every day. Another downside is that the local businesses might not be operating due to a lot fewer vacationers. Speaking for myself, I prefer to go on vacation during low season to avoid the crowds and high prices. I can find activities to do even when businesses are closed for the season.

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a recent vacation/holiday you went on. You should say:
    • where you went
    • when you went there
    • who was with you
    • and explain why you chose that particular place for a vacation/holiday.

I’m going to talk about a 4-day group tour I took with my Thai girlfriend and approximately 20 of her co-workers and family to Taipei Taiwan 2 months ago.

First of all, I’m not a big fan of large group trips because you are not free to do what you want. You have to stick to the itinerary and do what is pre-planned with the tour guide. Even though it was a group trip, I still had a good time and saw another country I never been to.

During the tour, we traveled around Taiwan on a tour bus and visited several tourist destinations like Moon Lake, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, and Taipei 101. There were some other places such as a market and Buddhist temple, but I don’t remember the names. Before I forget to tell you, Taipei 101 is the tallest skyscraper in Taiwan.

Out of all the places we visited, Moon Lake was the best because the lake view is surprisingly beautiful and the landscape with the rolling mountains in the background is mesmerizing. Additionally, we took a boat ride to the other side of the lake to climb a long set of stairs to an old temple.

The highlight of the trip was a chance to meet up with an online English student of mine. We met at a Starbucks Cafe and spent an hour talking and learning more about each other face to face. What an amazing feeling to see one of your online students in person, especially when you are from different ends of the world.

If I have the chance to go back to Taiwan, I will in a heartbeat. However, the next time will be a vacation that I plan and go on by myself or with my girlfriend. This way I can do what I want and not have to worry about adhering to the strict group tour itinerary.


Part 3 Questions

  • What are some of the benefits of going away on a vacation/holiday?
    • First and foremost, it’s the best way to relieve stress from work. I can’t think of a better way to lower work-related stress. Next, it helps to get away from the rat race of your daily routine. I need a change of scenery sometimes. Lastly, scientific research has proven that rest and relaxation help lower heart disease, nervous breakdowns, and high blood pressure.
  • Why is it not good for holidays to be too long?
    • The biggest reason I can come up with is it’s too expensive. Take for example my vacation last year. I went to Costa Rica for an extended vacation and, In the end, my expenses for round-trip airfare, the resort, food, and other living expenses totaled around $3,000. I was lucky that I could afford it at the time. Also, I’d say that a prolonged getaway may become boring for some people. I heard some of my friends say that they get bored while on holiday.
  • Why do some people like going to big cities on vacation/holiday?
    • As for me, I’d rather go on a retreat to an isolated place somewhere off the beaten path such as a mountain lodge overlooking a crystal clear lake and a scenic view of green mountains. As for others, they need the hustle and bustle of the city because it offers a glamorous nightlife filled with bright lights and lots of people. I do have to agree that going to the city is ok once in awhile because I can go sightseeing to many historical places.

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a vacation/holiday you want to go on in the future. You should say:
    • where you want to go
    • when you want to go
    • who you want to go with
    • and explain why you want to go on this vacation/holiday

Wow, there are so many places I want to travel to before I die. Right now at the top of my list is Iceland. I know, it’s like arctic cold there, but I heard people say it’s an awesome destination for its rugged snow capped mountains and flickering starry night skies.

Without a doubt, I want to go on vacation there for at least 2 weeks with some of my adventurous friends who share the love of the outdoors as me. Actually, I don’t think 2 weeks is enough, although staying longer would be too expensive for me. I heard from other people who traveled there that it’s not a cheap place to visit.

While we are there I think we will take some guided tours to the countryside to see the picturesque landscapes and maybe even some of the wildlife. I don’t think it’s wise to go traveling to the frozen tundra without an expert local guide.

When we are in the capital city of Reykjavík, we will take some self-guided tours to see some of the historical buildings and eat at some of the local restaurants to sample some of the traditional cuisines.

I don’t have the entire trip planned yet, especially what we will see and do. It’s all in my imagination based on what other people told me about their vacation there, looking at photos on the internet, and reading about it on Tripadvisor.

I think after my Aunt and Uncle told me about their vacation in Iceland, I have this itch to go, especially to see the eye-catching Northern Lights. I’m sure I can bear the frigid climate. I will stay warm in the hotel by the fireside and sip hot chocolate or coffee all day. I can’t wait to go!


Part 3 Questions

  • Why do some people prefer to travel within their own country and not abroad?
    • I suspect that they fear what they will encounter in another country, or maybe they don’t have enough money to travel. I’ll say for sure the former. I guess they are insecure when it comes to other cultures and people not like them. Whatever the reason, they are missing out on a world filled with adventurous places to see and wonderful people to meet. I hope one day they can set off and encounter another country to see what they are missing.
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of booking vacations/holidays online?
    • Hmmm, I’m not really sure about this question? I need a little time to gather my thoughts…..Well, being that there are many travel apps available, I’d say that’s one benefit. As a result, more and more travelers book their vacations online. I too, book my travel using the internet and I wouldn’t do it any other way because I control and manage my decisions. So, if I pick an awful hotel, I have only me to blame. Alternatively, I believe some vacationers like the personal touch travel agents provide them. Also, they don’t have to stress out making the arrangements.
  • Do you think people are prepared for emergencies when they go on vacation/holiday?
    • I for one don’t think I’m ready if an accident would occur while vacationing. I think most people don’t even think about it themselves when they are out of town. I would say though, everybody should have a plan in case an unfortunate event would occur. Things like travel insurance, emergency contacts and numbers, and maybe even life insurance should be included in the plan.

Wrap-up

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

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IELTS Topic: Transportation

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

Infrastructure (n) – the basic systems and services, such as transportation and power supplies, that a country or organization uses in order to work effectively
Vehicle (n) – something used to transport people or goods, especially something used on land or roads
Mode (n) – a way of operating, living, or behaving
Highway/Expressway/Freeway (n) – a public road, especially an important road that joins cities or towns together
Public Transportation (n) – a system of trains, buses, etc., that is paid for or run by the government
Subway/Metro (n) – an underground, electric railroad in a city
Speed up (phrasal verb) – to increase your speed
Fill up (phrasal verb) – to fill the fuel tank of a car full
Hitch a ride (idiom) – get a ride with somebody else
Gas Guzzler (idiom) – a vehicle that uses a lot of gas

Part 1 Questions

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

Topic

  • What’s the most popular means of transportation in you hometown?
  • Do you prefer public or private transportation?
  • What is your favorite mode of transportation?
  • Do you like riding a bicycle?

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 a vehicle you would like to have. You should say:
    • what vehicle it is
    • what it looks like
    • what it would be used for
    • and why you would like to own it.

Part 3 Questions

  • How do most people travel long distances in your country?
  • Have the types of transport people use changed much over the last few decades?
  • Do you think transport is likely to continue to improve in the future?

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a common transportation system for commuters in your city. You should say:
    • what type of system it is
    • who uses it
    • how convenient it is
    • and explain why you like or dislike it.

Part 3 Questions

  • Do you think the government should impose a restriction on citizens’ car ownership?
  • What kinds of improvement have there been in transport in your country in recent years?
  • How easy is it to travel around your country?

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Talk about an uncomfortable way you have traveled. You should say:
    • what kind of transportation it was
    • who you were travelling with
    • where you were going
    • and why it was uncomfortable.

Part 3 Questions

  • Do you think that transport problems are worse in urban or rural areas?
  • What measures could be taken to reduce problems of congestion in cities?
  • Which method of travel do you consider safest?

Sample Answers

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

Part 1 Questions

  • What’s the most popular means of transportation in you hometown?
    • Being that I’m from a small town with a whopping population of about 18,000 residents, it’s, for sure, a car. We don’t have a public transportation system within the city limits.
  • Do you prefer public or private transportation?
    • Since I’m living in a big city right now, I favor public over private. On the other hand, if I was living in a small city or back in my hometown, I’m partial to private. I actually have a car in my hometown and miss driving it.
  • What is your favorite mode of transportation?
    • It depends on how far I’m traveling. For example, when I travel long distances, I prefer by airplane. If it’s a short distance, I’d rather use my own vehicle because it’s quick and timely unless I’m stuck on the highway in a traffic jam.
  • Do you like riding a bicycle?
    • My days of riding a bicycle are over. I’d much rather ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle, especially on a pleasant summer day.

Part 2&3 Answers

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

Sample A

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a vehicle you would like to have. You should say:
    • what vehicle it is
    • what it looks like
    • what it would be used for
    • and why you would like to own it.

I always wanted a vintage motorcycle like a Harley Davidson or Indian. Everytime I see one on my internet news feed or on TV, I get the urge to find and buy one. These two motorcycle manufacturers have a long history and are well known throughout the world. I feel they are the most stylish bikes out there on the streets or in museums on display.

If I had to chose one of them, I think it would be a WWII era military model Harley Davidson because I have an interest in military vehicles, and they are unique in that they have special features like ammo boxes and special military colored paint.

I’m sure I would ride it on occasions, but only for short distances or to the local motorcycle meetups. Most of the time, it would be stored in my garage where it will be safe from accidents and the extreme weather conditions.

I think I started liking antique motorcycles after I took a tour of a Harley Davidson motorcycle plant and museum in York Pennsylvania about 15 years ago. In the museum, they had on display a model from every year starting from, umm, I think, 1903 when the company was founded. When I came across the military edition model, I became hooked. I knew I needed one right then and there.

The closest I came to getting one was back in 2001 when I bought my first Harley Davidson motorcycle, but it was a model year 2001 and non-military. Maybe someday my dream to have a WWII era HD will come true. For now, I will keep dreaming and hoping.


Part 3 Questions

  • How do most people travel long distances in your country?
    • Well, since traveling by air is a lot cheaper these days, I’m sure many people prefer to fly over any other mode of transportation . Not only is it less expensive, it’s also safer than, umm, driving a car. I heard this on a news documentary about air travel a couple of weeks ago. They said the safest way to travel is in an airplane. Furthermore, the percentage of accidents per year involving a plane are the lowest of any other vehicle.
  • Have the types of transport people use changed much over the last few decades?
    • According to recent news reports, three times as many people own and drive personal vehicles nowadays than 10 years ago. This is probably the number one reason why air pollution has skyrocketed in the last two decades. Another change in transportation I see is the use of motorbikes, more so in the cities. I think because they are less expensive to buy and maintain and they are quicker than cars when maneuvering through traffic jams. Motorbikes can weave in and out of traffic more easily.
  • Do you think transport is likely to continue to improve in the future?
    • No doubt in my mind there will be major improvements to the current transportation systems and infrastructure of the roads. With breakthroughs in technology, I think highways will become 2 or 3 tier roads, buses will be replaced by superfast trains, and ocean liners will be able to transport people faster than before. I don’t think during my time on this earth, but I believe someday cars will be similar to airplanes and actual fly down the roads in the air. With all the innovations in technology today, it’s all a possibility.

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a common transportation system for commuters in your city. You should say:
    • what type of system it is
    • who uses it
    • how convenient it is
    • and explain why you like or dislike it.

There aren’t many public transportation options in my small town because they are not necessary. Although, there’s a public bus system that takes people to and from the nearest city. I never used this system and really don’t have any idea about it. I do recall reading or hearing about it at some point in my life.

From my understanding, this service is a direct route starting near the square of my hometown to the square of the final destination. I believe there are several stops in between, however I have no idea where the bus stops are located on the major road. I can only imagine the stops are strategically located.

I would assume the people who take this bus don’t have their own cars and work in the city or are visiting family and friends. On second thought, maybe it could be commuters who work in the city and don’t want to drive their personally vehicles everyday. It’s hard for me to say why people use it.
When I was back in my hometown one time, I didn’t have a car and needed a way to get into the city. Since I knew about this bus system, I looked up the stops and times on the internet. I believe the pickup and drop off times were not suitable for me, so I found another way into the city. I think it was with my parents car.

I don’t know if the system is good or bad or if I like or dislike it. I never read any reviews about it or heard anyone mention the service the bus provides. In all honesty, I know it exists, but have little information about it. Maybe someday I will.


Part 3 Questions

  • Do you think the government should impose a restriction on citizens’ car ownership?
    • This is a thought provoking question, and I’m not sure what I think. Ok, in my viewpoint, I think it’s a good idea for one crucial reason, too many vehicles. Huge metropolitan cities have overcrowded highways and inner city streets. Not only is there a pollution problem, but there’s also a major traffic problem because the infrastructure can’t handle the mass amounts of cars on the roadways. By limiting car ownership it will decrease both problems. I was told by a person from China that such a law is currently in effect in Beijing.
  • What kinds of improvements have there been in transport in your country in recent years?
    • I can’t speak about the entire USA, but only for Pennsylvania the state I live in. I do know that the major toll road, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, has been going through some major construction to widen and resurface the roads. Right now the highway is a mess to travel on because of these construction projects, but once it’s finished it will be so much better and faster. Another area is transportation regulations for tractor trailers. For example, truck drivers can only drive a maximum of 10 hours total in a day compared to 14. I think this is an important regulation and will lower the number of accidents involving trucks significantly.
  • How easy is it to travel around your country?
    • I would have to say it’s fairly simple, unless you encounter some problems as traffic jams, accidents, flight delays, and road construction. Let’s take road construction for example. I drove from the east coast to the west coast last year and found it quite enjoyable until I encountered a road construction project. It was worse if it was in close proximity to a city. For example, I came across one in Chicago. Unbelievable! The congestion was terrible, not to mention some crazy drivers. Overall, I think it’s uncomplicated no matter if you are traveling by land or air.

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Talk about an uncomfortable way you have traveled. You should say:
    • what kind of transportation it was
    • who you were travelling with
    • where you were going
    • and why it was uncomfortable.

I remember a time when I was in the U.S. Army and took a long unbearable military charter flight from Newark Delaware in the USA to Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany, which is near Frankfort. This was back in 1985 and I was only 18 at the time.

I was going to Germany to be stationed at a military establishment for 2 years, so I was excited about the trip. Little did I know that the flight was going to be one of the worst I ever had.

Let me start by saying the plane was full, or better yet, I would say overloaded with military personnel to include their carry on bags. All of the bags didn’t fit in the overhead compartments, so they were stored on the floor in various locations in the plane. Well, I was the unfortunate passenger who had what I would say, the worst seat in the house. I was seated in the row of seats with no row of seats in front of me. Guess what?! A lot of those extra carry on bags were placed in the little space in front of me. This made it so I couldn’t stretch my legs out. Right then and there, I knew I was in for a cramped and intolerable 8-hour flight.

As I expected, the flight was horrible. I couldn’t sleep, and I don’t think I got up once during the flight. I sat there for the entire time wishing I was at my destination sooner than later.

Once I arrived at the airport, I was beyond happy to get off the plane and stretch my legs and walk around a bit. I wouldn’t wish this type of experience even on my worst enemy. It was definitely a trip I wanted to forget and never relive again. Luckily, until this day i haven’t taken another flight like it.


Part 3 Questions

  • Do you think that transport problems are worse in urban or rural areas?
    • By a mile, city living has far worse issues than the countryside. I’m originally from a semi rural area in Pennsylvania, and I live in the capital city of Bangkok. City life here is by far a lot more hectic and downright outrageous when it comes to traffic concerns. The roads are awful and the infrastructure of the inner city roads are downright dangerous due to heavy traffic. Public transportation is non-existent in the country, so there’s nothing to compare.
  • What measures could be taken to reduce problems of congestion in cities?
    • I think there are a couple of things that can be done to help this situation. For one, ask residents to take the subway and bus system instead of driving their cars. Maybe an incentive like discounted rates would entice them to use public transportation. A second one, to ban all vehicles from driving on specific days by license plate number. For instance, license plates beginning with 5 can’t drive on the first Monday of every month. A third one, restrict gas guzzling vehicles from driving in the city during rush hour.
  • Which method of travel do you consider safest?
    • According to some research I heard in the news, the experts say traveling via air is the safest because there are fewer airplane accidents than any other mode of transportation. I tend to agree with this research. Even though you here about a deadly accident involving a plane, it’s not often. Now take cars for example. I hear everyday about fatal car accidents in the news or on social media and it’s not just one. It seems to be driving a road vehicle is the most dangerous form of transportation.

Wrap-up

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

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IELTS Topic: Education

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

Scholarship (n) – a sum of money or other aid granted to a student, because of merit, need, etc., to pursue his or her studies
Higher education (n) – education at a college or university where subjects are studied at an advanced level
Tuition (n) – the fee paid for an education.especially at a private school or university
Student loan (n) – money given to a student by a bank or other financial institution to pay for school tuition; must be paid back
Final exams (n) – the tests taken at the end of a semester or school year
Semester break (n) – the time between the school periods were students don’t have classes
Online course (n) – a set of classes about a specific subject online
Intensive (adj) – involving a lot of effort and activity in a short period of time
Skip class (idiom) – to not go to school or a class when you should
Hit the books (idiom) – to begin to study hard

Part 1 Questions

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

Topic

  • Do/did you go to a small or big university?
  • What do/did you study at the university?
  • Do you want to further your education?
  • Is it important to obtain a bachelor’s degree in your country?

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 a course you want to take. You should say:
    • what course it is
    • when you want to take it
    • where you can take it
    • and explain why you want to take it.

Part 3 Questions

  • Should a university degree be free for everyone?
  • They say it’s never too late to learn something new. Is learning still important when people get older?
  • Why do some people dislike learning?

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a teacher who had a positive influence on you. You should say:
    • what subject this teacher teaches/taught
    • how long he/she was your teacher
    • what positive characteristics this teacher has
    • and why you remember this teacher.

Part 3 Questions

  • Do you think high schools and universities prepare young people adequately for real life?
  • Some people say that your school days are the best days of your life. Do you agree?
  • Should students be allowed to submit evaluations of their teachers?

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a school or university that you went to. You should say:
    • when you went there
    • what the teachers/professors were like
    • how long you spent there
    • and explain what you liked and disliked about it.

Part 3 Questions

  • Is the Internet a valuable educational tool?
  • Which subjects do you think should be optional and which should be compulsory?
  • Is obtaining an online university degree the same as obtaining one from a physical university?

Sample Answers

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

Part 1 Questions

  • Do/did you go to a small or big university?
    • I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from a small state university in Pennsylvania called Shippensburg University. It was one of 10 state universities at the time.
  • What do/did you study at the university?
    • My major was Criminal Justice, but after graduating I never worked in this career field. Instead, I got a job in Supply Chain Logistics, which I did for 20 plus years. Now I’m teaching English as a second language.
  • Do you want to further your education?
    • Although I’m not keen on studying anymore, I’ve thought about pursuing a master’s degree. My other option is to obtain a certification in education. For example, Google offers an intensive course for teachers to obtain a Google Educator certification.
  • Is it important to obtain a bachelor’s degree in your country?
    • Without a bachelor’s degree it’s difficult to find a white collar job in my country. So, in this case, I would say certainly, yes. Even if it wasn’t important, I would still recommend getting a bachelor’s degree because it will help you to achieve success in life.

Part 2&3 Answers

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

Sample A

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a course you want to take. You should say:
    • what course it is
    • when you want to take it
    • where you can take it
    • and explain why you want to take it.

Just the other day, I learned about the Google Educator Certification. This is hands down the class I want to take sooner than later. I think it would look great on my resume and help me to enhance my teaching skills.

I hope I can take it in the next month or two. I need to free up some time and research the course a little more, particularly the cost. If it costs too much, I may consider a student loan to pay for it. If I don’t qualify for a loan, I may have to postpone taking the certification.

It’s an online course, and I think it takes 4-5 months to complete. However, it depends on how much time I can commit to it each week. With my current schedule that equals about 1 hour a day for 3 days a week. I don’t want to study over the weekends. Between work and studying, I need some time off. Although, I might have to hit the books on the weekends to complete my assignments if I decide to pursue this study program.

Being that this program is online, I have the convenience of taking my classes anywhere I have access to wifi. More than likely, I will do it from home since I work at home also. Although, I would prefer to take this class in a physical classroom because to me it’s a better learning environment.

I was pleased to come across this course via an ad on Facebook. It certainly caught my eye when I saw the words, Google Educator. I’ve been thinking about what to do to further develop my teaching skills over the past year since I became CELTA certified.

Now, I just need to find the time and money to make it happen. Oh, I maybe a little bit more motivation.


Part 3 Questions

  • Should a university degree be free for everyone?
    • Wow, this is not an easy question to answer. I think this is a highly debated topic and from my standpoint, I disagree that it should be free. First of all, nothing is free in life. So in the end somebody has to pay. In this case, it would be the taxpayers, unless the government wants to foot the bill and I don’t think that’s going to happen. In the second place, I think giving someone a free education doesn’t teach them responsibility. It only teaches them entitlement and that everything in life should be free.
  • They say it’s never too late to learn something new. Is learning still important when people get older?
    • I have to agree 100% that education is a lifelong adventure. Whether it’s learning a new trade or going back to college, it’s never too late to learn something new. I heard that using your brain is healthy, especially for older people. I saw in the news one-time, a 90 plus year old man receiving his bachelor’s degree that he started back in 1942 because it was interrupted by WWII. That just goes to prove it’s never too late
  • Why do some people dislike learning?
    • Personally speaking, I think people hate learning because it’s too much work for them and they don’t see the benefits from it. Maybe it’s also because they weren’t raised to appreciate a quality education. Whatever the reasons, they are more than likely losing out on better career opportunities and possibly a higher standard of living. It’s sad to hear people say education doesn’t matter as it really does.

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a teacher who had a positive influence on you. You should say:
    • what subject this teacher teaches/taught
    • how long he/she was your teacher
    • what positive characteristics this teacher has
    • and why you remember this teacher.

It’s definitely my English teacher, Mrs. Lloyd! Maybe she’s the reason I ended up changing my career later in life to teaching English to foreign learners.

I had her for several English classes throughout high school, and I think I had her for homeroom one year also.
The first year I had her was in 9th grade. Don’t ask me what the name of the class was, because it was over 30 years ago. I remember that on the first day of class, when she was taking attendance, she recognized my last name since she had my older brother and sister in her classes before.

She became one of my favorite teachers because she was nice and to be honest, I was mischievous in her class as a way to get her attention. I did things like speak out of turn, talk with other students, and make weird noises during class. She never really reprimanded me, umm, except for a lot of dirty looks and some one on one chats after class.

After I graduated and went into the military, I visited her a few times at school when I was home on leave. It was always a pleasure to see and talk with her again. Even though I haven’t seen her in 25 years, I always think what it would be like to reunite with her again. I’m sure she has retired from teaching by now.

To tell you the truth, I’m not really sure how she influenced me other than being a compassionate and great teacher. She’s one of the few teachers I remember and was fond of.

As I mentioned before, she could have been the one who made an impact on me to become an ESL Teacher many moons later.


Part 3 Questions

  • Do you think high schools and universities prepare young people adequately for real life?
    • For the most part, I believe they do, at least in the USA. However, I feel the responsibility to groom a student for adulthood is not just that of the schools and colleges. More so, it’s the parents and, especially the student who need to take on the responsibility. If a student doesn’t want to learn, the schools and the parents can’t force them. I think it will only cause the student to act rebelliously and fail in the long run. So, ultimately, it’s the student who needs to make the difference and take on the challenge in a positive way to succeed later in life.
  • Some people say that your school days are the best days of your life. Do you agree or disagree?
    • Positively, I concur that it is the greatest part of my life. When you are a student, for the most part, your only responsibility is your school work and possibly some chores like cleaning your room or helping out around the house. You don’t have bills to pay, care for children, and, umm, maintain a home. Practically everything is provided by your parents. My parents always told me when I was growing up that I will wish to be a student again once I have to live the life of an adult. Now that I’m an adult, I realize what they said was true. Oh how I want that life of a carefree student back.
  • Should teenage students be allowed to submit evaluations of their teachers?
    • What a great question and a difficult one. Let me see, well, I would have to say no for a couple of reasons. Primarily, I don’t think teenagers can assess a teacher while being objective. They would only think of the negative qualities and not so much about the positive ones. In the second place, it would probably be a time consuming and expensive task for a school to administer such a program. Don’t get me wrong, I think students should be allowed to talk with school authorities about their teachers if there’s a problem between the teacher and student.

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a school or university that you went to. You should say:
    • when you went there
    • what the teachers/professors were like
    • how long you spent there
    • and explain what you liked and disliked about it.

The last educational institution I attended was the EF Spanish Language School in Tamarindo Costa Rica back in 2015. I went there to study a 6-week intensive Spanish program so I could increase my proficiency level.

The first step was to register for the course via an online process, which was a fairly uncomplicated process. I did have to make two or three phone calls to my account manager to clear up some questions I had about the program like housing, tuition, and a few optional programs that they offered.

Once the registration was completed, I needed to arrange my travel such as airfare and transfer. Additionally, I had to familiarize myself with the airport I was flying into and the beach town I was going to stay in for 6 weeks. I did this online using some travel apps like tripadvisor.

Needless to say, I was excited to start my program. The day finally arrived for me to leave on my next great adventure.

I arrived in Tamarindo on a Saturday, so I had the weekend to acclimate myself with my new surroundings.

Monday came and I started my 6 week Spanish classes. I couldn’t help but notice I was one of two older students and the rest looked, say, umm, 18 to 22 years old. We had orientation at the school and a quick tour of downtown Tamarindo to include the beach.

I’m going to switch to the school itself now. The school was an old boutique hotel turned into a small school. It has a pool, BBQ area, about 6 classrooms, administration office, and dorm rooms. Fortunately I stayed in a private hotel across the street.

Since this school is not a high school or university there are no semester breaks or final exams. Students can take as many weeks as they want. I have to mention one thing about the students. I noticed the younger students had a habit of skipping classes.

All in all, the 6 week course was beneficial and I improved my Spanish a lot. Moreover, I was able to walk the beach and breath fresh ocean air almost everyday in the morning and evening. A fringe benefit of this language school.


Part 3 Questions

  • Is the Internet a valuable educational tool?
    • As far as I’m concerned, it’s invaluable. I only wish it was a part of modern technology when I was a student. Google search would have been my best friend for things like research papers and homework assignments. On the other hand, it’s also a tool that can have a negative impact on a student. For instance, a lot of students become addicted to video games and play them all night. They forget about their school assignments or are too tired to do them. To change directions, as fas as teachers are concerned, there’s a wealth of educational resources on the internet to teach their students.
  • Which subjects do you think should be optional and which should be compulsory?
    • I never really thought about this before, but….Speaking for myself, some elective courses should be math and science. Although, I think they should be required for at least 2 years in high school. Take math for example, everyone should know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, so business math should be a requirement in one of those 2 years. Let’s move onto another required course that I think it necessary and that is English. I believe your own language should be taught every year from kindergarten until your senior year of high school. You’d be surprised how many people have trouble speaking their own language correctly.
  • Is obtaining an online university degree the same as obtaining one from a physical university?
    • Since an online degree is growing more and more in popularity, umm, and there are more of these online universities, I believe yes. I’m not a big fan of online university degrees, and I would not personally obtain a degree from one, because I think there’s a difference in the quality of education one receives from an actual institution over a virtual one. One example would be the interaction between the student and teacher. In the virtual class there’s none.

Wrap-up

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

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Wrap-up

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

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IELTS Topic: Environment

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

Recycle (v) – using materials like aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastic containers, etc. and form it into something new that can be used
Use up (phrasal verb) – to consume completely
Emit (v) – produce something, especially gas, radiation, or harmful fumes
Renewable energy (n) – energy from a source that is not depleted when used, such as wind or solar power
Pollution (n) – damage caused to water, air, etc. by harmful substances or waste
Awareness (n) – knowledge or perception of a situation or fact
Conservation (n) – the protection of plants, animals, natural areas, etc., especially from the damaging effects of human activity
Toxic waste (n) – unwanted chemicals that are the result of manufacturing or industry and that are poisonous to living
Earth Day (n) – celebrated every year on April 22, on which day events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection
Be in deep water (idiom) – to be in serious trouble

Part 1 Questions

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

Topic

  • Are there any pollution problems in your hometown?
  • Do you take any steps to help the environment?
  • Do you think it’s important to recycle materials like metal and plastic?

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 environmental problem in your country. You should say:
    • what it is
    • how long it has existed
    • how it has affected people’s lives
    • and explain what we can do to solve the problem.

Part 3 Questions

  • What should governments do to protect the environment?
  • What should people do to protect the environment?

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe an environmental problem that has been in the news recently. You should say:
    • what was the problem
    • when it happened
    • who was involved
    • and how you felt about it.

Part 3 Questions

  • Do you think it’s important to use renewable energy?
  • What are some examples how humans damage nature?

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Talk about a way a noisy environment you experienced. You should say:
    • where it was
    • what type of noise it was
    • what you were doing at the time
    • and explain if it affected you negatively or not.

Part 3 Questions

  • Are people concerned about environmental problems in your country?
  • What are some ways water pollution can be reduced?

Sample Answers

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

Part 1 Questions

  • question Are there any problems with pollution in your hometown?
    • answer I’m from a small town, so we don’t have many problems with pollution. However, I have to say there are a lot of people who like to throw their trash on the side of the roads, especially in the rural areas.
  • question Do you take any steps to help the environment?
    • answer When I was an immature young adult, I didn’t care as much about the environment. Now that I’m a mature older adult it’s different. One way I help is to reuse rain to water my lawn, garden, and houseplants. Another way is to advocate for protecting nature on Earth Day annually.
  • question Do you think it’s important to recycle materials like metal and plastic?
    • answer By all means, because it’s important to protect the environment. I just wish more governments and countries would implement recycling programs to include awareness of the need to recycle.

Part 2&3 Answers

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

Sample A

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe an environmental problem in your country. You should say:
    • what it is
    • how long it has existed
    • how it has affected people’s lives
    • and explain what we can do to solve the problem.

One of the biggest problems in the USA is air pollution, largely in big cities. Since I’m from a small town, I don’t see this problem, but when I go to a city like New York City I’m shocked with the heavy smog that fills the air. One time I couldn’t see the top of the skyscrapers because the it was so bad. Just as a note, I know this problem doesn’t exist only in the USA. I’ve seen pictures of other cities such as Beijing China, Santiago Chile, and Bangkok Thailand. It appears the problem is worse in these cities.

I’m not sure how long the USA has had this problem, but I’m sure it has existed for a long time. I would guess the problem started during the industrial revolution and when gas powered cars started becoming popular. Ever since, I would think, it has gotten worse and worse.

Unfortunately, when there’s prolonged heavy air pollution, it causes several problems like permanent health effects, acid rain that contaminates the earth’s water, and damage to plants and animals.

Now, I want to talk a little about the health problems that air pollution causes. We as humans breath in this polluted air, which can cause respiratory problems. Just think about the effects of cigarette smoke on the lungs. Well, breathing in contaminated air has a similar effect. One more deadly medical condition iis cancer. It’s documented that breathing in smog can cause lung cancer.

So, people ask what can be done about air pollution. The simple answer is to reduce it. However, the more difficult part is actually doing it. A couple of ways would be to replace gas powered car engines with environmentally friendly electric ones, umm, reduce toxic emissions from industrial plants, better education, and promote public awareness.

I hope someday the air quality improves throughout the world or we are in deep water in the future.


Part 3 Questions

  • What should governments do to protect the environment?
    • In my opinion, I think governments all over the world should thoroughly review their environmental laws and change them to be more strict, especially with industrial companies who are known violators of toxic waste in our water, air, and land. Umm, also, they should provide a better way to educate their citizens about conservation because we need to protect our natural areas better. If we are not careful the world will be in deep water when too much of our land is destroyed.
  • What should people do to protect the environment?
    • Everybody has the responsibility to safeguard our precious natural resources. It doesn’t solely fall on the government. Take renewable energy for example. Using these reusable substances such as rain, wind, and sunlight can help the environment. More people should invest into these power producing options, although currently these machines are too expensive. So, I can understand why people don’t buy them. If the companies who make them lowered the prices, it would encourage people to purchase them.

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe an environmental problem that has been in the news recently. You should say:
    • what was the problem
    • when it happened
    • who was involved
    • and how you felt about it.

To be honest, I don’t follow the international or local news so this question is difficult to answer. Having said that, I’m going to talk about an environmental disaster that happened several years ago. I think I will always remember this event, which was the Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska. This man-made catastrophe was in the news for several weeks and the cleanup lasted for, I think, a few years.

The news coverage showed the devastation to the natural habitat along the entire western coast of Alaska. Since millions of gallons of oil was spilled in the Pacific Ocean, I’m sure the terrible effects of the toxic water was not just in the vicinity of the spill. The photos and videos of the damage that occurred were impressionable and bleak. I had a hard time understanding how such an evident could occur.

An oil tanker ran aground and If I recall correctly, it was due to faulty radar equipment and human error by the ship’s crew. I believe the captain of the ship was, umm, blamed for the devastating environmental disaster even though he was sleeping at the time.

The aftermath was a terrible sight for the eyes. Wildlife like birds, otters, fish, and other sea creatures were covered in oil and some barely alive. Other photos showed the natural land like plants and earth covered in the thick gooey oil. I was filled with disgust and wanted to help, but I couldn’t. I have to give credit to all the cleanup volunteers and to the people and businesses who donated money.

I know accidents happen, but this accident was avoidable. I think I read later that some of the crew and the company were held accountable for their actions or lack thereof. I’m not sure what the penalties were, but I don’t think they were severe enough for what happened and the degree of negligence on the part of the company and ship crew.

What is a couple million dollars in fines to a huge company like Exxon Mobil? …Nothing!


Part 3 Questions

  • Do you think it’s important to use renewable energy?
    • It is of the utmost importance. If we don’t start using more of this type of energy the fossil fuels will be used up and the world will be in an energy crisis. Also, if we keep using these natural resources, we will continue to destroy our cherished land. It’s important for companies to continue their innovation and research to develop and make better and less costly devices to use our precious renewable substances. In the long run the world will be a better place for all.
  • What are some examples how humans damage nature?
    • The one I can think of right off the bat is littering. It drives me nuts when I see all the trash alongside the roads. Well, It’s not just in my country, but in every country I’ve visited. It’s depressing at times. I don’t understand why people aren’t more conscientious of their actions. Another example is cars. Too many people want to drive to and from work or their personal activities, which escalates the current air pollution problem with the fumes that emit from the exhaust. More people should carpool or take public transportation.

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Talk about a way a noisy environment you experienced. You should say:
    • where it was
    • what type of noise it was
    • what you were doing at the time
    • and explain if it affected you negatively or not.

Noisy conditions are the reason why I don’t like living in big cities or crowded neighborhoods.

Back in 2010, I was living in a residential area in Santiago Chile and my home was in a gated community where the townhouses are connected. My place was an end unit so there was only one other home connected to mine and 2 others unconnected, one to the back and the other to the right. Out of all the neighbors, the one to the back was the loudest. They were obnoxiously loud, especially at night on the weekends between 12 – 4 am.

So just imagine 10-15 young immature adults who are drinking beer, playing loud music, and trying to talk over the loud music. It was unbearable! To make it worse, my bedroom was in the back and I slept with the windows open because I didn’t have air conditioning and it was extremely hot during the nights in the summer. Even sleeping in my front room was disruptive to my sleep. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.

I tried to ask them to keep the noise down to no avail. My next step was to call the police, but one of my other neighbors said they did that and the police did nothing. I guess I was expected to put up with it regardless of not being able to sleep. Thankfully, they didn’t party loudly every weekend.

Until this day, that particular neighbor still ranks as the worst and rudest one I had in my life, hands down. The complete and utter disrespect for others was unbelieveable. The only thing they cared about was themselves and having fun.

I can only imagine what the noise pollution is like living in a crowded city day everyday and night. No thank you, not for me! I’ll take any humble abode in the countryside over a city home in a noisy environment.


Part 3 Questions

  • Are people concerned about environmental problems in your country?
    • According to a report I heard on the nightly news about 50% of the general population in the USA does care. I only wish the other 50% did. It would make my country a cleaner and safer place to live. Umm, I kinda feel sorry for our future generations because they will inherit the environmental problems we created. I just hope it’s not too late. We need to educate, not just our children, but the adults also.
  • What are some ways water pollution can be reduced?
    • Well, we can start with stricter laws against the violators such as oil companies and manufacturing plants who dump toxic wastes into the world’s water sources. It seems like every other week I hear a news report about an environmental accident involving a chemical company or an industrial plant. Another example, would involve the general public cleaning up after themselves, especially when they are at the beach. Every time I go to the beach I see trash like plastic bags floating in the ocean.

Wrap-up

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

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IELTS Topic: Cities & Towns

Source: graphistock.com

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

Urban (n) – relating to or characteristic of a city or town
Downtown (n) – the main business district of a city or town
Residential area (adj + n) – an area in a city or town where private homes are located; usually no offices or factories
Industrial area (adj + n) – an area in a city or town where there are business and factories, usually no private homes
Suburb (n) – an outlying part of a city or town
Rural (adj) – of or relating to the country, country people or life, or agriculture
Cost of living (n) – the amount of money a person needs to live
Rush hour (n) – the busy part of the day where cities or towns are crowded; usually in the morning and evening when people or going to and coming back from work
Hustle and bustle (idiom) – busy and noisy
Out in the sticks (idiom) – to live in a rural or remote area; countryside

Part 1 Questions

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

Topic

  • Is your hometown a city or town?
  • Do you prefer to live in a city or town?
  • Would you say your hometown is a good place to live?

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 your hometown. You should say:
    • where it’s located
    • what you can do there
    • what problems your hometown faces
    • and what makes it special.

Part 3 Questions

  • In what ways can your hometown improve?
  • Why do you think people not living in their hometown like going back to visit?

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a town you visited. You should say:
    • what’s the name of it
    • where it’s located
    • what you did there
    • and why you like or dislike it.

Part 3 Questions

  • Why do some people prefer to live in a city?
  • How can traffic be reduced in a city?

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a city you visited. You should say:
    • what’s the name of it
    • where’s it located
    • what you did there
    • and explain why you like or dislike it.

Part 3 Questions

  • Is a city more dangerous than a town?
  • Why do some people prefer to live in a town?

Sample Answers

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

Part 1 Questions

  • Is your hometown a city or town?
    • The population of my hometown is approximately 18,000 people, so it’s definitely a small town. Some people around the world may even call it a village based on its size.
  • Do you prefer to live in a city or town?
    • By far, I would rather live in a tranquil town, namely one that is situated alongside a river or lake. It’s my dream to live in a home with a view of the water in the countryside or close to the mountains.
  • Would you say your hometown is a good place to live?
    • It depends on what you are looking for. If you want to live a busy lifestyle, I would say no. Although, if you want a laid back and peaceful life, I would say yes.

Part 2&3 Answers

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

Sample A

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe your hometown. You should say:
    • where it’s located
    • what you can do there
    • what problems your hometown faces
    • and what makes it special.

I’m going to begin talking about my hometown by saying the name is difficult to pronounce. It’s called Ephrata not E phra ta. Lots of people say it the wrong way when they see it. Having said that, umm, I would like to continue by telling you a little bit about this place where I was born and raised.

My hometown is a quiet and small municipality surrounded by farmland and other nearby communities about the same size. The downtown area has 2 major streets that intersect. The center of town is not real busy unless there is a community event like the annual street fair. This traditional event lasts for 5 days and the locals, people from other nearby communities, and ….umm, some tourists enjoy the delicious food, fun games, and amusement rides that it has to offer. Besides the yearly fair, there’s not a whole lot going on. I almost forgot to mention, when the fair is in town the streets are shut down so this creates traffic jams and parking spaces are scarce. It’s like being in a big city.

I want to switch now to some of the other things my town has to offer. For example, it has a beautiful community park that includes a public swimming pool. During the summer this place is jam packed with area residents, umm, especially children and teenagers. Personally, I would try to avoid this place except for taking the rails to trails path for a brisk morning walk.

Another option is the Rec Center. It is for all ages and it’s a place where members can go swimming, play sports, or just sit and talk or watch TV. I remember as a teenager going to this place almost every evening with my friends. We used to play basketball, billiards, and floor hockey all the time. I really miss this place a lot!

Now, I’m going to talk about one of my hometown’s biggest problems which is illegal drugs being sold and consumed, especially heroin. Umm, I’m not sure what can be done about it. I think maybe educating our youth could help. Moreover, I think the police need to start cracking down on the drug dealers.

Overall, my hometown was and still is a great place to live and grow up. I love going back there to visit with my family and friends.


Part 3 Questions

  • In what ways can your hometown improve?
    • Along with the drug problem I mentioned earlier, my hometown deals with a zoning problem in regards to residential and industrial areas. Some residential areas are being changed to industrial zones where both businesses and private residences co-exist. The local residents are fired up about this, especially the home owners.
  • Why do you think people like visiting their hometown if they don’t live there anymore?
    • Speaking for myself, I love coming back to my hometown to visit family and friends. Also, I’m amazed at how things have changed like new businesses such as fast food restaurants and even shopping centers. Generally speaking, I think most people who no longer live in their hometown enjoy returning for the same reasons as me.

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a town you visited. You should say:
    • what’s the name of it
    • where it’s located
    • what you did there
    • and why you like or dislike it.

I’ve visited so many places in my life that it’s hard to choose just one of them. Although, there’s one in particular that I’m going to talk about which I visited last year.

When I was on a road trip last year driving from the east coast to the west coast in the USA, I stopped and stayed in a small almost barren rural town called Ritzville in the state of Washington. I can honestly say it’s out in the sticks.

This rural town is located just off a major interstate highway, so I think most of people who visit there, like me, are taking a break from driving and staying overnight to rest.

The handful of locals are friendly and helpful. For instance, the receptionist at the hotel I was staying at was so kind. She went out of her way to help me with directions to a local restaurant despite the fact that she was busy with other customers. It’s nice to know that some people are still eager to please others.

Speaking about restaurants, this town is so small that there’s only two restaurants and one little grocery store. Oh, I forgot about the gas station that’s a convenient store also.

I was kinda glad that I was only staying there one night. It’s not that I didn’t like the town. It’s just that it’s like a deserted village. Having said that, I must say again the people living there are hospitable and accommodating. They are the kind of people you want to have as neighbors.


Part 3 Questions

  • Why do some people prefer to live in a town?
    • I would have to say that town folk desire a tranquil and unbusy lifestyle where they can live a non stressful existence and not worry about things like traffic jams, rude people, and crowded streets. On top of that, they want to be able to go to the supermarket and not worry about long lines of people waiting to check out. If you ask me, I’m right with them. Who wants to put up with the rush hour traffic in a big city, certainly not me!
  • How can traffic be reduced in a city?
    • This is a really good question, and I don’t feel there’s a good solution to cut down on the amount of cars driving on the city roads. One possible way would be for more people to use public transportation instead of using their private vehicles. In order for this to work, some cities might have to undergo major urban development to build more subway and bus lines because these transportation systems may become too crowded.

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a city you visited. You should say:
    • what’s the name of it
    • where’s it located
    • what you did there
    • and explain why you like or dislike it.

There are so many unique cities I have visited and experienced, but the one that really sticks out in my mind is Austin Texas because of it’s mixed lifestyle and nightlife. Actually, I’ve been there several times, and I would go back in a heartbeat.

The first time I was in Austin was back in 1987 when I was stationed at Fort Hood Texas while serving in the U.S. Army. A lot of my Army buddies told me Austin was the place to go, especially 6th Street which is one of the main streets in downtown Austin. They were undeniably correct!

When I finally went there on the advice of my friends, I was amazed at how packed the streets were with a diverse crowd. Everybody was having a great time socializing in every corner of the street. I knew I was in for a good time.

Sixth Street is filled with bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, and you can listen to many different types of music from country and western to blues, jazz, and good old rock n roll. I’m personally a fan of rock n roll and to my delight I found a bar called Maggie Mae’s that had a local musician playing some of my favorite hits such as Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison.

One of the other things I liked about this area was how clean the streets were. I was happy to see people using the trash receptacle and not throwing their litter on the streets.

Now for one of my gripes! I was not a happy camper with the high prices for drinks, food, and entertainment. I couldn’t believe a domestic beer cost $6 for a pint and the cover charge to listen to music cost between $10 to $15.

All in all, I love this city and would recommend it to anybody who loves nightlife and music.


Part 3 Questions

  • Is a city more dangerous than a town?
    • It is widely believed that cities are more dangerous than towns. As far as I’m concerned, I agree with that way of thinking. First and foremost, lots of residential areas, like inner city neighborhoods, are breeding grounds for crime and violence. Annual crime rate statistics validates this fact. Another reason is the lack of education in poorer cities which tends to create more juvenile delinquency.
  • Why do some people prefer to live in a city?
    • I’d say that city dwellers for some reason enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life. Despite the fact that there are rush hour traffic jams and sidewalks jam-packed with people, city lovers seem to exist solely for the excitement and adrenaline offered by an asphalt jungle. Personally, they can have it. I’ll stick to my quaint little town.

Wrap-up

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

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IELTS Topic: Computers & Technology

Source: graphicstock.com

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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IELTS Topic: Home

Source: graphicstock.com

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

Furnished (n) – to provide furniture in a rented apartment or house (antonym – unfurnished)
Condominium (n) – condo for short; similar to an apartment, but usually has common grounds like gym, pool, etc.
Outskirts (n) – the outer areas of a town or city
Mortgage (n) – an agreement that allows you to borrow money from a bank or similar organization, especially to buy a house
Neighborhood (n) – the people living near one another; a district in a town or city
Rental agreement or leasing terms (n) – the legal conditions/terms between the owner and rentee of an apartment, condo, etc.
Move in (phrasal verb) – to start living in a home
Move out (phrasal verb) – to leave a home usually to live in another one
Home sweet home (idiom) – after being away to say that one is happy to be home
A roof over my head (idiom) – a place to live

Part 1 Questions

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

Topic

  • Do you live in a house or an apartment?
  • How long have you lived there?
  • What is your favorite room in your home?

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 electrical device in your home. You should say:
    • what it is
    • how often you use it
    • who you use it with
    • and explain why you use it.

Part 3 Questions

  • What is the most important appliance in your home?
  • Is it important to conserve electricity?

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Talk about a quiet place in your home where you go to relax. You should say:
    • where it’s at
    • when you usually go there
    • what you do there
    • and why you like this place.

Part 3 Questions

  • Is it better to own or rent a home?
  • What are some advantages of owning a home?

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Talk about an apartment or house you would like to live in. You should say:
    • what it would look like
    • how big or small it would be
    • where it would be located
    • and explain why you would like to live there.

Part 3 Questions

  • Why do people like to hang pictures on the walls in their home?
  • Do you think more people will work from home in the future?

Sample Answers

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

Part 1 Questions

  • Do you live in a house or an apartment?
    • Currently, I rent a 10th floor furnished condo on the south side in Bangkok. Eventually, I would like to buy a home, but in the countryside where it’s quieter.
  • How long have you lived there?
    • I’ve been living here for only 3 months. Before I started living here, I lived temporarily in a beach town in Costa Rica.
  • What is your favorite room in your home?
    • Honestly, I don’t have a favorite room. Having said that, I often hang out on my balcony where I can view the outskirts of the city. I would say this is my favorite place.

Part 2&3 Answers

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

Sample A

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe an electrical device in your home. You should say:
    • what it is
    • how often you use it
    • who you use it with
    • and explain why you use it.

The first thing that comes to my mind is my laptop because I’m using it all the time in my home, so I’m going to talk about it.

Let me start by saying I work online from my condo which explains why I’m on my computer all the time. I’ve been working online from home for almost two years and counting.

Umm, I forgot to mention that I’m an online English teacher. So, I’m probably on my device for 10 or more hours per day to include weekends. I guess you can call me a workaholic, although I must say, I do take breaks once in awhile because my eyes get tired and sore. In addition, I have to use lubricating eye drops to relieve the soreness

Frankly, I don’t let anyone else use my computer because I’m afraid they will do something that will cause damage or lose important data. I’m paranoid when it comes to other people touching and using it. Sometimes I think about engraving a note on the top of my computer, “hands off”!

What I like the most about my computer is the fact that I can do my work from anywhere in my condo. When the weather is nice, I sit out on my balcony. When the weather is ugly, I prefer to work at my desk which is located in my bedroom. I can honestly say, portability is the best.

Before I forget to mention it, if I didn’t have my laptop, I would be lost. Well, out of a job also to say the least. Let’s hope that never happens!


Part 3 Questions

  • What is the most important appliance in your home?
    • It’s kinda hard to pick just one, but I would have to say the refrigerator. How would people keep their food from spoiling if they didn’t have one? I think it’s an absolute necessity to have one nowadays.
  • Is it important to conserve electricity?
    • Without a doubt, yes, it’s highly important to save this valuable resource. If people are using too much or wasting it, it has an impact on our lives. I just wish more people would be energy conscientious and turn off lights when they leave their house or office.

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Talk about a quiet place in your home where you go to relax. You should say:
    • where it’s at
    • when you usually go there
    • what you do there
    • and why you like this place.

Believe it or not, most of the time I’m in my living room watching TV or on my computer, yet I don’t find it peaceful and tranquil. This is why I like to get away from it all in my bedroom.

My bedroom is definitely the one place in my apartment that allows me to kick back and enjoy some alone time without a lot of disturbing noises such as cars zooming down the street, my neighbors arguing, and even my loud talking coworkers.

For one thing, my bedroom is the quietest place in my home. It’s in the back and away from the noisy streets. The only sounds I can really hear are those from chirping birds or the soft sounds from a wind chime right outside my window. I guess it also helps that I live in the suburbs where it’s quieter than the city.

The other thing I like about my room is that it has an almost silent air conditioner, unlike the other rooms in my apartment where the air conditioners are a bit loud. It really helps, mostly when I’m taking a nap or sleeping at night.

My room is my hideout where I can do whatever I want. Some of the things that I do are play video games, video chat with my friends, and listen to some great music with my noise canceling Bose headphones.

My family and friends know where to find me if I’m not in the living room.


Part 3 Questions

  • Is it better to own or rent a home?
    • I think it depends on the person and what’s happening in their life. In my current situation, it’s better for me to rent an apartment because I travel a lot. On top of that, umm, I’m not financially ready to take on a mortgage. Either way, there’s no right or wrong choice.
  • What are some advantages of owning a home?
    • This is a difficult question for me, because, umm, I never thought about it. Having said that, I would guess that owning a house or condo means you have an investment that could make you money in the future, umm, when you sell it. As well, I was told home ownership gives you some tax breaks.

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Talk about an apartment or house you would like to live in. You should say:
    • what it would look like
    • how big or small it would be
    • where it would be located
    • and explain why you would like to live there.

It’s hard to say right now, but I would have to say, umm, I want to live in a house, especially a detached one. I’ve lived in both types of homes, and I prefer a house.

My dream home needs to be a place I call home sweet home, especially after I’m finished working or back from a long vacation or time away.

As I said before, my ideal house would be a single home. Furthermore, I would like it to be a small, cozy home such as a cottage, bungalow, or cabin, umm, in the countryside near a lake or river. I couldn’t imagine having a large house because it would take to long to clean.

The interior of my humble abode would be decorated with antiques to include things like furniture, old pictures of times gone by, and lots of plants. I love plants and they are good for your home because they can purify and clean the air.

As far as the exterior, I want lots of flowers and plants to include a garden where I can grow some organic herbs and vegetables. There’s nothing like the taste of fresh steamed vegetables for lunch or dinner!

Now that I’ve been talking about it, I’m so ready to move out of my condo and move into my dream home!


Part 3 Questions

  • Why do people like to hang pictures on the walls in their home?
    • Speaking for myself, I don’t like to put pictures or for that matter, anything on my walls. It causes damage to the walls and then later you have to repair the damage. Despite my thinking, I think other people, especially women, like to decorate their walls with pictures and other wall hangings because it makes their home feel and look warm and cozy.
  • Do you think more people will work from home in the future?
    • Certainly, I’m sure working from home is the wave of the future, although speaking from experience, it has it’s drawbacks. Just like anything in life, there are pros and cons. In the case of working from home, you don’t have to deal with traffic jams, but sometimes it gets boring being inside your home working all day by yourself.

Wrap-up

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

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