A few thoughts on IELTS 0622
Note: My English teacher asked me to keep an English diary as a way of improving my writing skill. I think that was a great idea, but I often found it difficult to find a topic. Then there is the IELTS test I am preparing. So it occured to me that it would be cool if I wrote down what I thought about my test. Here it is, my English diary about my IELTS preparation. I'm glad to share with you and I welcome any person who points out my grammar or vocabulary mistakes.
0622 a few thoughts on speaking
When it comes to dealing with the speaking part of IELTS, many Chinese student find it frustrating. The collections of topics itself is intimidating enough, let alone the new topics that seem to come from nowhere at each test. If that's not enough, our minds, at the test when we need them the most, stop working. We cant remember the topics we have prepared so much before the test and our the only words we can manage out are meaningless, so much so that even we ourselves don't know what we are talking about.
To many students, this scenario is very familiar. But it need not to be that way. If we are asked the same questions in Chinese, we can easily give a good response without thinking. Or can we? In fact, even when we talk Chinese, which we are supposed to use very well since we have been using it for many years, the speaking ability varies remarkably from person to person. Some people can make them selves understood effortlessly, while others can only confuse other people as much as they confuse themselves. The difference is most obvious when we talk about abstract topics, which constitute most of the third part of the speaking test.
So we can not simply blame our bad performance at speaking test on our lack of vocabulary, grammar, or failure to make sense of the examiner's body language, which changes from culture to culture. After talking with my English teacher who graduated from an excellent school in Canada, she gave me a couple of very insightful suggestions, which I would like to share with all students struggling to get a score 6 in the speaking part.
Start from a structure. Which structure to use depends on what kind of questions to be asked. If it's a why question, then the structure should be reasons 1, 2, 3… ; if it's a how questions, the structure will probably be ways of doing things, then 1, 2, 3;
Be specific. Specific words: my teacher forbids me to use such words as things, or fun which she thinks are vague. And she always tells me to give explanation or description to each point I make. For example, when talking about the advantages of cell phone, we can not just say, first, its convenient; second, it contains many useful functions, we should go to specific details——it's convenient because it can be taken wherever we go. We don't have to go extremes to make an argumentation over why it's convenient, just one simple sentence is enough, because it fits in a standard communication module which the examiners will expect to hear.
Never try to give a perfect answer. Many times, we really want to say something that can spur the examiner emotionally, to show them how good our English is, how intelligent we are, or how funny we are to talk to. Never, never do that. If we can not even use our mother tongue to that extent, how can we expect ourselves to speak a second language so good?
Take a short pause to organize your thoughts when being asked a . 5 to 10 seconds won't annoy the examiner.
Pay attention to grammar, especially tense. Besides word order, the tense is the most important grammar in English. It does not seem important to us, but a native speaker is very sensitive to the misuse of tense.