Wednesday’s IELTS Vocabulary of the Week!

20.3.14 Wednesday's Vocabulary of the Week

Every Wednesday we will be giving you five key vocabulary words or common mistakes made in IELTS Writing Task 1, Writing Task 2 and Speaking:

Latin or non-English words, excluding Thai: best avoided as they look pre-learned. There are some exceptions, make sure you consult a native English speaker for appropriateness

LinkedIn: the Facebook equivalent for business. Copy the preceding sentence to give a bit of variety when talking about social media

People: people is already plural. Peoples means a race or country’s people. Therefore write “the people’s will”.

Size: never try to express something in terms of size to something else, for example: the size of the national debt is as big as the moon. This is just weird, although native speakers often write or speak like this, it’s not suitable for IELTS

Young offender institution: a prison for young people

IELTS Speaking: A Model Answer

16.3.14 IELTS Speaking Model Answer

This is the model answer we worked on with one of our students this week.

Describe an event that changed your life for the better.

– What was the event?

– When was it?

– Why did this have a positive effect on you?

I’m going to talk going to Chulalongkorn University when I was 18, over 6 years ago now. It was important I think for three reasons. First it helped to give me a sense of ambition. Two I met most of the people I would now consider my friends. And third I discovered a love of learning.

Coming from a modest background outside of Bangkok I thought, and so did my parents, that wouldn’t get into to Chula. But I tried anyway and got in. Going there I met people from mostly privileged backgrounds, people who knew they were going to achieve great things. This sense of ambition rubbed off on me, and informs all I do and want to achieve now.

Most of the students, as I say, were richer and more connected than I was. Although I found them a little intimidating at first, I grew to like them: copying how they spoke and acted. My closest friends I met at college.

Last, I had always been studious but in a directed sort of way: studying for exams, learning a language to help get a job, always with a goal in mind. University gave me a love of learning for itself. I think of myself as an eternal student, and I can’t see that changing in the future.

IELTS Writing Task 2: Space Exploration Sample Plan

15.03.14 IELTS Writing Task 2 Space Exploration plan

Last week we posted this question:

Some believe that on space exploration is a waste of money, and that this money could be better spent on making improvements in people’s lives. To what extent do you agree disagree?

Here is our plan:


The debate about the merits of space exploration is one every generation needs to have: budgets are limited and some argue space exploration yields little value to humanity except national pride and prestige. I strongly disagree with this, I hold that space exploration is essential, and that money spent on it well worth it.

For Space Exploration:

1. When we explore space we develop important technologies.

2. Space exploration leads to international cooperation.

3. Space exploration seeks to answer fundamental questions about life, the universe, and everything.

The Other Side:

While I understand the argument that the poor and needy would benefit from the money spent on space exploration, I don’t believe it is an either or question. We are rich enough to do both.


Repeat opinion in one sentence.

IELTS Writing Task 1: Model Sentences

14.03.14 - Family Income - Answers

Here is our model sentences to last week’s Writing Task 1 exercise:

1. At the start of the period upper-income families had assets of just over one million dollars; by the end of the period shown this had risen to just over 2 million worth of assets.

2. The assets of upper-income families almost doubled over the period shown, starting at around 1 million in 1983, they grew to around 2 million by 2010.

3. As can be seen from the chart, all categories of income families experienced a growth in their assets throughout the period.

4. The net worth of all classes of families increased throughout the period. Upper-income families saw the largest rise in their worth, growing by over nine hundred thousand, while in the same period low-income families saw their net worth increase by as less than sixty thousand dollars.

5. While the liabilities of upper-income families grew by the most during the period roughly doubling, it is noticeable that during the same period the liabilities of middle and lower income families trebled.

6. The assets of all families grew overall throughout the period, it is noticeable however, that after increases from 1983 to 2001 and 2001 to 2007, the assets then fell to just over six hundred thousand.

7. From the year 2007 all groups of families saw a decline in their assets to 2010, this is in contrast to the earlier periods which saw increases in assets.

8. The liabilities of lower-income families grew steadily from 1983 to 2001 and again from 2001 to 2007, growing by roughly ten thousand dollars in each period. This growth pattern continued from 2007 to 2010.

IELTS Grammar: What is the difference between that and which?

13.3.14 IELTS That vs Which

Few IELTS examiners know the difference between ‘that’ and ‘which’, so don’t be too concerned yourself.

When you do use it, a useful guide is ‘that’ defines, ‘which’ informs.

This is the house that Dave built, but I think the one next door, which Dave also built, is more attractive.

The policeman stopped the third car that was driven by a woman.

Wednesday’s IELTS Vocabulary of the Week!

12.3.14 Wednesday's Vocabulary of the Week

Every Wednesday we will be giving you five key vocabulary words or common mistakes made in IELTS Writing Task 1, Writing Task 2 and Speaking:

Dilemma: means two difficult choices. Do not use for a problem with many option. “When I was 18 I faced the dilemma of studying at university or going into paid employment.” “How to reduce pollution is not a dilemma

One: as a pronoun. You is better, but one is acceptable for IELTS Writing; sounds weird in Speaking. Don’t use it in normal or academic English.

Right now: as in “right now in Thailand, the iPhone dominates.” No need for the ‘right’, it adds nothing to ‘now.’

Third world: meaning not the west. Use developing country. As a developing country Thailand is not in a position to afford such luxuries. You can use the west or western countries to mean the UK or the US

Who or whom: native speakers get this wrong so you can too. If you’re not sure stick with who

IELTS Reading Questions: Aim for 6.0

11.3.14 IELTS Space Reading

Here is some background reading to our Writing question of the week. This IELTS Reading task is easier than last week’s, suitable for students aiming for band 6.0.

11.03.14 – IELTS Space Reading

The original can be found here: 

We will post the answers next week.

IELTS Reading: True/False/Not Given Answers

11.3.14 IELTS Reading Asthma

Here are the answers to last week’s reading questions:

1. Only mild cases of asthma can be helped by anti-inflammatory therapy.False
2. Use of bronchiodilators has been increasing since 1991. False
3. Doctors are reluctant to treat asthma with inhaled steroids for fear of potential side-effects. NG
4. Bronchiodilators are the single most prescribed treatment for asthma. True

IELTS Listening: Cambridge IELTS 9 Test 1