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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



IELTS speaking test: practice format / compare

You are going to practice answering questions in an IELTS speaking test, then compare your answers with another student.

a – Record yourself answering the questions below

b – Compare your recorded answer to the answer given by a 7 level student here

Part 1 – (for students)

Do you work or are you a student?

What subject are you studying?

Why did you choose this subject?

What do you hope to do when you finish your studies?

Let’s talk about weekends?

What do you usually do at the weekend?

What do you think you’ll do next weekend?

Do you enjoy your weekends more now than when you were a child?

How important is it for you to relax at the weekend?

Let’s talk about music

What sort of music do you like listening to?

Has the kind of music you like changed over the years?

Do you prefer listening to live music or recorded music?

Do you think listening to music helps you study?

Part 2

Describe a special gift or present you gave to someone

  • Who was the gift or present for?
  • Why did you decide to get this gift / present?
  • How did the person react to the gift / present?

And what do they think about it now?

——————————————————– (question to break off part 2 and go into part 3…)

Do you enjoy getting gifts?

Part 3

On what occasions do family members give gifts to each other in your country?

Do people tend to spend a lot of money on gifts?

What type of gifts to children give to adults?

At what age do children start to choose gifts for their parents?

How important is giving gifts within families?

What sort of aid do countries give to other countries?

What motivates one government to give aid to another one?

Tennis: Nadal Interview

Complete the gaps, then watch the video and check your answers

1 – Who is the most fun tennis player on this _____?

2 – If you __ played in any era that had gone by, who would be your dream _____doubles partner?

3 – Where is (cool) place you’ve played a game of tennis?

4- Desdcribe ________ in one word.

5 – What is the craziest thing a fan has _____ said or done for you?

6 – What is the first big thing you bought ______ with your tennis earnings?

7 – A non-tennis sports star you _____.

8 – What’s Rafa’s ____ food in the world?

9 – When was the first day you knew that’s it “you are _____ to be a tennis player”?

10 – What makes you so special to keep so hum___?



Tennis – Superlatives

Change the below to superlatives then watch the video and answer the questions for the different players

1 – Who’s (tough) player you have played in your career?

2 – What’s the food you miss ____ when you’re on the road?

– Vienna Sausages

– Vienna snichtzel

– Vienna cheese

3 – Who is your favourite team?

4 – Who has the best forehand in the game?

5 – Who has the best backhand in the game?

6 – Who’s (loud) player?

7- Who is (funny) player?

8 – Who is (good) dressed player?

9 – Who’s got (tough) serve?

10 – Who’s got (good) volley?

11 – What’s your favourite movie?

12 – If you were going to have an actor play you in a movie who would it be?

13 – Who is (tough) player you have faced in your career?


IELTS Writing Task 2: Advantages Outweigh Disadvantages

Click on the link below to download the Advantages OUTWEIGH Disadvantages PDF

IELTS essay advantages outweigh disadvantages

Business: Porter’s 5 forces

Pre-module work: Use a search engine to familiarize yourself with Porters 5 forces, including advantages and disadvantages of the system

Module work:

Part A: Visualization

1  – think about how you might draw a chart of Porters 5 forces

2 – scroll through the following pages to look at the charts and compare your ideas




use google pictures if you want to find more

3 – draw a final chart (using relevant business jargon you have found)


Part B: Case studies

1 – think about your own analysis of Starbucks according to Porter’s 5 forces

2 – RECORD YOURSELF TALKING about it, listen to yourself and think “How did I use business jargon expressions?” / “How did I use signalling words?”

3 -read the text here

4 – compare your ideas to the author’s

5 – make notes of your ideas in comparison to the author’s USING some jargon from the text. To increase flexibility, think about your linguistic choice

6 – if possible, before the lesson, send a Telegram / WeChat oral message in which you present the information.

7 – in the lesson present (again)

repeat for either more articles or further down video:








sportswear industry


more general ideas and examples



Translation Glossary / Terms Base Research Project

a – What exactly is a translator glossary (TG)  (also known as term bases (TB) ?

b- What is the difference between a TG / TB, translation memory (TM) and machine translation (MT)?

c – What TG / TB pre-prepared lists are already “out there on the WWW”?

d – What are possible criteria to follow when creating TGs? How much does it depend on the context / the point of view of a translator versus project manager?

e – How can you use / import into / export from TG / TB  popular CAT sites /tools? (for current ones see picture below)

f – What technical problems may arise when trying to import TG/TB?

g – what tools (platforms) exist that cater for independent TG/TB compilation? Which are currently the most popular?

h – What problems can arise once you’ve developed a large personal TG/TB?





translation tools





TOEFL Speaking Exam: Structure / Advice

THere are 6 parts in the TOEFL speaking. Read the notes / table below, then watch the official videos:

  • Parts 1 / 2 are personal questions. = You need to practice talking about yourself, your likes, experience, preferences, etc.
  • Parts 3 /4 /5 /6 require note-taking ability = so you need to practice taking notes.
  • Parts 3 /4 /5 /6 require reporting what someone says = you need to practice reporting what other people say
  • Parts 3 / 5 are listening to a dialogue about a “problem / issue” at a university. =  You need to practice listening to dialogues of people discussing an issue  / problem
  • Parts 4 / 6 are listening to a lecturer = you need to practice listening to lecturers
  • Parts 3 /4 have a text you need to read = you need to practice skim reading and reacting to texts



Time frame – seconds

Language skill


«Talk about a teacher at school you liked”
  • 15 to prepare
  • 45 to speak

Talking about yourself, likes, plans, describing


«Do you prefer to study by yourself or with others?”

As part 1

Talking about your preferences


«Read the announcement of a university decision”

listen to two students speak”

What doe sthe boy (or girl) think of the announcement?”

  • 45 to read the text
  • listen to a dialogue
  • 30 to prepare
  • 60 to speak

Reading a text

listening and taking notes

reporting someone else’s speech


«Listen to two people talking about a problem and giving advice”

What is the situation, what advice should the person choose?”

  • listen to a dialogue
  • 30 to prepare
  • 60 to speak

listening and taking notes

reporting someone else’s speech, giving advice


«read the text about ____” “Now listen to a lecturer speak about _____”

The lecturer gives examples of _____. What examples does he / she give?”

  • 45 seconds to read a text
  • listen to a lecture
  • 30 to prepare
  • 60 to speak

listening and taking notes

reporting someone else’s speech


Listen to a lecturer speak about _____”

The lecturer gives examples of _____. What examples does he / she give?”

  • listen to a lecture
  • 30 to prepare
  • 60 to speak

listening and taking notes

reporting someone else’s speech

Official video for part 1 /2


Official Video for parts 3 / 5


Offical video for parts 4 / 6





CPE writing 1 – question and four example answers


Writing part 1 all together



































































a = 4332

b = 5445

c = 5445

d = 5555

Hours of “Extra” listening practice in 5 steps

The best place to learn English is in an English-speaking country because you are exposed to English a lot and have the chance to use it. You get practice listening in the classroom, and extra practice outside the classroom. In the 21st century you can expose yourself to lots of English in your own country. Everybody knows about it, but not many actually do it.  Below are 5 steps to help you “achieve” this.

1 – get hold of a variety of things to listen to in English. This way you can listen to what you feel like listening to at a particular moment. We spend hours of time “making” ourselves do things when working or studying at university  / school . So listening to English should be a pleasure, and not I DON’T WANT TO LISTEN TO THIS NOW BUT I MUST DO IT TO LEARN ENGLISH pain mentality.  You’re not lazy, you just don’t want more pain than you already have. When choosing think about these guidelines:

a – the more interesting the better: If you like it you will do it. “English for pleasure not pain”

b – the more relevant to your needs the better: If you feel it is useful you will do it. E.g. if you want to improve your speaking with other people, listening to people speaking to other people is more relevant than listening to the news. If you want learn about motivation, then you need lots of motivation speeches.

c – the shorter the better: If the listening is 1-2 minutes, you can listen more times in 5 minutes = easier. If it is only 5 minutes of listening it is also easier to “find time”. People often complain “I don’t have enough time.” This is true if we need to find 60 minutes of complete focus on nothing but English, but we can all find 5 minutes somewhere in the day! If we find 5 minutes 3 times a day, that’s an extra 15 minutes per day,  an extra 30 hours per year.

d – the easier the better: If it is easy, it does not take as much energy = you will want to do it more. Of course, if it is “too easy” / “this is so easy it is wasting my time”, then it is not interesting. So “Easy” but you still feel positive about it. * Easy can be because it is slower, or does not have a lot of new words, or, for example, a movie with subtitles in your language. One example of “Easy” is a movie with subtitles in your language.


these are guidelines to think about. They are not 100% rules that ALL have to be followed with EVERYTHING.  Something may be long and difficult, but it is really interesting and relevant, so that’s fine. Use common sense and how you feel.   And remember, the types of things you feel like listening to can change with time or mood!

Examples of a variety of things are: podcasts with short dialogues, songs, TV series, movies, songs, news apps, English learning podcasts, audiobooks, audio fairytales, different youtube channels…

2 – Create “Easy – start” conditions: At the university where I teach, there are lots of machines selling Coca-Cola. If I want a Coke, it’s only a few minutes’ walk away wherever I am in the university.  It’s easy to get a coke.  Do the same with your listening. Make it easy to start. Put this “variety of listenings” on all your devices (phones, tablets, computers). Buy two / three earphones for listening. If you want, buy an mp3 player and put it with earphones in the pocket of a jacket you often wear. When I was doing this in Chinese, I had 3 mp3 players with their own ear-phones in three different jackets.

3 – Plan your “places of practice” :  Below is a table with my “plan” for the next month of “where” I will listen to Chinese / Arabic. Under the table are some more examples of situations:

Place / action


Listening type *


At the computer typing low-focus e-mails / blog entries

5 – 120 minutes

Low-focus only *

When I feel like it

Doing the dishes

15 minutes morning / evening

Both low-focus and high-focus*

Each time

Walking to the station

12 minutes


When I feel like it

Walking from the station to university

40 minutes


Each time

Washing the floors

20-60 minutes


When I feel like it

Skiing / running

20-30 minutes


When I feel like it

Tidying up

15 minutes


When I feel like it

Listening type *

This is really important to think about.

* High-focus listening = you feel the need to focus all your attention on the listening. Often this can be a movie you haven’t seen, or a podcast that you will only listen to once.  If you are doing some mental work or may be distracted by other people, then you can’t do high-focus listening.

* Low-focus listening = you can listen for a bit, then stop listening while looking at something else, then come back to listening. For example, as I type this I am listening to a Chinese TV series that I have already watched. If I focus more on my work, I stop listening, but when I focus less on my work, I hear more “bits” of the film. Because I have already watched the TV series, it doesn’t matter that I missed bits of it.

Other “Places of practice”

working out at the gym /  sitting in the train / bus on the way to work / walking my dog /putting on make-up / waiting in a queue in a shop, cafe, post office  / ironing the clothes etc

4 – each day keep a record of the approximate amount of time you spent listening when doing something.  At the end of the week look at

how many minutes you did

where you did the listening

why you didn’t do it where you thought you would


then re-write your table.

After a few weeks you will be listening a lot more.


5 – As you listen, speak!! More on this later.








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