Saturday, 17 September 2011

IELTS Speaking Test, Part 1 -- How long should my answers be?

Students preparing for IELTS often wonder how long their answers should be in Part 1 of the Speaking test.

Simple arithmetic will give you a good "rule of thumb" answer. Part 1 of the Speaking test lasts 4 - 5 minutes. The examiner will usually ask questions on three sub topics (Home/Hometown or Work/Study + 2 others). For each sub topic, the examiner may ask up to 4 or 5 questions.

You can see that your answers cannot be very long but they shouldn't be too brief, either. The questions in Part 1 mostly relate to personal, everyday topics to which quite simple and straightforward answers can be given.

Something like, "Yes, I do/No, I don't!" in response to a question such as, "Do you like to travel?" is too short. Some answers may be longer than others but on average, each answer will probably be around 2 or 3 "spoken sentences". An answer like, "I do, absolutely, because ___________________, though sometimes ____________________" should be enough. It's all right if some answers are a longer and some are shorter.

Natural but appropriately used language is important throughout the speaking test. You can show a good level of English in Part 1 with confident handling of the preliminary interview-like Question/Answer situation.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Great Websites for Learning About Other Cultures

Here's a link to a list of great websites for learning about other cultures: http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2010/08/11/the-best-sites-for-learning-about-the-worlds-different-cultures/

The list was made by an English language teacher in the USA.

Exploring other cultures is a fascinating way to learn about the world while you improve your English!