Thursday, 26 January 2012

IELTS Listening – Section 1

Section 1 is the easiest part and contains 10 questions. All answers are said in order and the conversation is between 2 speakers. There is a pause, allowing you to read the questions and an example at the beginning. If you spell a word wrong it is considered incorrect. American and British spelling is accepted. Check the number of words you should use (usually not more than 3). For this section you should know:-

The letters of the alphabet: as people’s names, addresses, locations etc. are spelt for you. (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z). Double means two times e.g. double p=pp

Days of the week: (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Weekdays are Monday to Friday while the weekend includes Saturday and Sunday.

Months of the year: (January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December).

Email addresses: @=at, .=dot e.g.

Titles: Mr (for men), Mrs (married women), Miss (unmarried woman), Ms (unspecified female status), Dr (either a medical doctor or a person with a PhD)

Condition of items: Poor, Good, Satisfactory, Excellent

Colours: Red, Yellow, Blue, Black, White, Purple, Green, Orange etc. Shades of colour: dark, light, sky blue

Methods of payment: Cash, credit card, cheque/check

Rates: daily, weekly, monthly

Occupation/Position=job e.g. engineer, architect

Numbers (telephone, age, dates, date of birth, time, percentage, post codes, reference numbers, room numbers, subscription fees etc.)

Telephone numbers: The numbers in a telephone number are said individually 9-6-8-7-3-6-8-2, double three=33, triple five=555 0=is 'oh' not zero.

Dates and Date of birth: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st (for days in a month).

When we talk about dates before 2000 we say the first 2 and last two numbers together e.g. 1984 is nineteen eighty four. After the year 2000 we can say the date as a number e.g. 2011 is two thousand and eleven.

Percentages or Discounts: 20% (twenty per cent) 50% (half price or fifty per cent)

Reference numbers and Post codes: Combine letters and numbers e.g. 5467F or GU8 9EW

Time: 11:15 (quarter past eleven), 11:30 (half past eleven), 11:45 (quarter to twelve). Write the time in full (twenty past three) if you can’t write it numerically. Morning is am e.g. 8am is eight in the morning while pm is in the afternoon/evening e.g. 8pm. Noon, midday=12pm.

The difference between ty and teen: numbers between 13 and 19 end in the sound teen, that’s why people who fall into this group are called teenagers. Numbers ending with 0 end in the sound ty.
13 (thirteen), 30 (thirty)
14 (fourteen), 40 (forty)
15 (fifteen), 50 (fifty)
16 (sixteen), 60 (sixty)
17 (seventeen), 70 (seventy)
18 (eighteen), 80 (eighty)
19 (nineteen), 90 (ninety)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Culture File - Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is the longest and most important holiday in the Chinese calendar marking the end of the winter season. It lasts 15 days and ends with the Lantern Festival. During this time, houses are cleaned and windows and doors are decorated with paper-cuts and greetings. People buy presents, decorations, food, and clothing.

On New Year’s Eve, a reunion dinner is held in or near the home of the eldest family member. The feast includes meat dishes (pork, duck, chicken), fish, a hot pot and sweet delicacies followed by firecrackers - to drive away evil spirits. Ingredients that have similar sounding names with ‘good luck’ or ‘prosperity’ are used. The world’s largest annual migration takes place as migrant workers travel home.

Envelopes are given to family members during dinner which often contain money whilst gifts (fruit, sweets, other small gifts) are taken when visiting friends or relatives at their homes. Red (hóng in Mandarin) also means ‘prosperous’ and is the main colour used in New Year celebrations as it symbolizes virtue and truth.

New red clothing symbolizing a new beginning and having plenty to wear in the New Year is typically worn as it was once believed that it could scare away evil spirits and bad fortune.

Dragon and lion dances are also common as it is believed that the loud sound of the musical instruments together with the animal’s face can scare away evil spirits.

Pie Charts

When explaining information presented in the form of a pie chart, it is a good idea to vary the expressions used.

about three quarters (74%)
almost a third (30%)
nearly three quarters (72%)
approximately a quarter (27%)
a little more than a half (53%)
a little less than a half (48%)