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Learning Languages for Life

Month: November 2018

IELTS Writing part 2 help (general and academic)

IELTS writing part 2 is an essay, the difference between academic and general is the questions in academic are  “more difficult”. But it is a small difference. There are 5 or so main type of essays. In order to learn how to get an IELTS  7/8/9 in the writing, I recommend you

a – read the PDFs linked below

b – watch videos by me on my youtube channel


Once you have read the PDFs and watched the video you will know about

  • the types of essays and the differences
  • the structure expected
  • the four criteria the examiner uses to give you a mark
  • how to avoid typical mistakes (in grammar, vocab, orgnaisation and answering the question)
  • how to maximise your mark


A – ESSAY TYPES ( you can read in any order, but I recommend following the order given)

firstly read about … topic sentences

then the types…

Advantages and Disadvantages

Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

Discuss both sides and give your opinion

Two Questions Essay

To what extent do you agree?

B – Watch the videos here (in any order)



Soft skills (intermediate business)


For each of the following soft skills decide

a – why it is important

b – if you are happy with your level

c – if you need to improve it. If you choose ‘c’ think about how you can improve it


communication / teamwork / adaptability / problem solving / critical observation / conflict resolution / leadership





read the article below and see if you agree with “why you need it” / ” why employers look for it” / “how to gain it”

(adapted from

What are soft skills?

Some examples of soft skills include analytical thinking, verbal and written communication, and leadership.

Research from the Society for Human Resource Management found that employers actually care more about soft skills than they do technical abilities like reading comprehension and mathematics.

“Soft skills are key to building relationships, gaining visibility, and creating more opportunities for advancement,” says Kathy Robinson, founder of Boston career-coaching firm TurningPoint.


Soft skills for your career

1. Communication

Why you need it: Both written and verbal communication skills  improve your chances of building relationships with co-workers.

Why employers look for it: Workers are more productive when they know how to communicate with their peers, says Robinson.

How to gain it: One way to improve your communication and presentation skills is to join Toastmasters, a national organization that offers public speaking workshops.

2. Teamwork

Why you need it:  Success is the result of many people working toward a common goal.

Why employers look for it: Employers look to team players to help build a friendly office culture, which helps retain employees and, in turn attracts top talent.

How to gain it: Lend a hand when you see a co-worker in need. (“Hey, I know you have a lot on your plate. How can I help?”)

3. Adaptability

Why you need it: Things don’t always go as planned.  “Successful leaders are the ones who know how to be flexible when problems arise,” says Robinson.

Why employers look for it: “The speed of change in any given workplace is so rapid,” says Joel Garfinkle, executive coach and author of Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. Consequently, employers need workers who can adapt well.

How to gain it: Push yourself to be an early adopter of change. “For example, adapting to technology is crucial for people to be seen as someone who  meets new challenges,” says Garfinkle.  Offer to teach your co-workers what you learn.

4. Problem solving

Why you need it: When something goes wrong, you can either complain or take action.

Why employers look for it: Companies rely on problem solvers to deal with unexpected challenges.

How to gain it: “Always approach your boss with a solution, not a problem,” says Robinson.

5. Critical observation

Why you need it: Data doesn’t mean much if you don’t know how to interpret it.  Being a critical observer can help make you a better worker all around.

Why employers look for it: Companies need critical thinkers—people who bring a fresh perspective and offer intuitive solutions and ideas to help the company be better than the competition or improve internal processes.

How to gain it: To be a critical observer, you need to be able to analyze information and put it to use. For example, does your boss actually read the weekly sales reports? What was her reaction to bad news in the staff meeting? What’s the best time of day to approach your manager with a question?

6. Conflict resolution

Why you need it: “Any time you put more than one person into an organization, there is going to be conflict,” says Robinson. “It’s human nature.” Therefore, being able to resolve issues with co-workers will help you maintain relationships with peers and work more effectively.

Why employers want it: Being able to constructively solve disagreements with people shows leadership potential. Someone like this helps to promote a healthy, collaborative workplace.

How to gain it: The best way to resolve disagreements between co-workers is to address issues directly but diplomatically. So, when trying to solve a conflict, let both sides give their opinion and then work together to find a solution.

7. Leadership

Why you need it: Having confidence and a clear vision can help influence your co-workers. Displaying such leadership skills can lead to more opportunities for promotions.

Why employers want it: Bosses and managers are always looking for employees with leadership potential.

How to gain it:  Leadership means inspiring and helping others reach their full potential. One way to do that is to become the internship supervisor, which gives you the opportunity to manage people, learn how to motivate a team, and take on more responsibility.





Think about these questions:

Do you have charm? How important is it? How can you develop it?

then watch the video




Pre-watching questions:

Why is communication so important?

Do you communicate well with people?

Do people listen to what you say?

How important are words and actions ?

Now watch the video:



IELTS Essay – 2 questions – Rubbish

You can learn how to get a 7,8,9 in an IELTS two question essay by going through the steps below. Before doing them, I would advise you read the pdf on how to answer an IELTS two questions essay here.

STEP 1 – analyse the IELTS Two Questions essay task yourself and answer the questions:

What is the general topic? What are the specific details / parts of the topic and two questions? What is your answer?

Nowadays we are producing more and more rubbish. Why do you think this is happening?  What can governments do to help reduce the amount of rubbish?

(sent by a student, source unknown, perhaps Cambridge IELTS Practice Tests)

2 – watch the video where an IELTS examiner examines it

3 – plan the ideas  and paragraph structure and / or write your answer.

4 – watch the video analysis of an example answer


5 – read through the checklist below

IELTS two questions essay – Rubbish – checklist

6 – use the checklist for your writing (if you did it)

7 – watch a full analysis of another IELTS two questions essay here


TEOFL Speaking 1 / 2: Give advice

TOEFL Advice question:

Listen to the video and pay attention to structures that give advice:

Read below the basic structure and the actual phrases used in the video

step one: use an advice structure

the first thing I would recommend my friend do in order to shed some kilos  would be to___

step two: support with an  imaginary situation

were he or she to start walking on a regular basis

step 3: “prove” with the positive / negative result

they would be able to become trimmer.

step 4: give second piece of advice

The second piece of advice I would give would be to (implement a balanced diet and stick to it)

Step 5: support second piece of advice by… giving details (more advice)

They would need to (cut down on carbs, sugar and fatty foods


Step 6: summarize

A combination of these two would most likely be successful


Here is an example on how to use the above structures with your own ideas:  First think of 2 key points:

My 2 key points on losing weight:

a have a balanced diet – if yes = you lose weight quickly and feel great

b – do exercise anywhere

Put the ideas into the structures from above:


1 –  the first thing I would recommend my friend do in order to shed some kilos  would be to have a balanced diet

2 – Were he or she to eat well,

3 –  they would be able to  lose weight quickly and feel great

4 – The second piece of advice I would give would be to do exercise anywhere

5 – DIFFERENT: When people exercise, they complete their healthy lifestyle, thereby making it easy to lose weight. –

6 – A combination of these two would most likely be successful


Let’s use the structures for a different topic

My 2 ideas on how to study well.

my two points:

a – read books:  if read  = gain more knowledge and good theory

b – practice more: when people do more practice = they grasp what they do

1 –  the first thing I would recommend my friend do in order to  study well.would be to read books

2 – Were he or she to hit the books,

3 –  they would be able to gain more knowledge and good theory

4 – The second piece of advice I would give would be to practice more

5 -when people do more practice they grasp what they do , thereby achieving better results.

6 – A combination of these two would most likely be successful


Alternative structures for other topics

Giving advice

the first thing I would recommend my friend do in order to  __ would be to

The second piece of advice I would give would be to

I would, without hesitation, advise my friend to

If I were them, I would (probably, definitely) …

The first thing he or she should do is…


Supporting structures

a – imagining or giving  a situation + result

Were he or she to…. they would (probably, most likely, inevitably, likely)

If he or she + II  … they would (probably, most likely, inevitably, likely)

If he or she  + 1 …. they will

Should he or she + BV…. they will

When people …. ., they typically / inevitably / almost always….

b – Giving an example

for example

for instance

one example that illustrates this is…

A case in point is

c – giving a reason

The main reason for this is

This is mainly because

This can be put down to the fact that

This can be attributed to the fact that

d – clarifying

What I mean by this is

What I am saying is that

What I would like to say here is that


***  show how  (after something else:

, thereby + ing

, in such a way + ing



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