The ‘IELTS Ten Super Instant Easy Everything Magic Book’ (1 of 5)
I had a student a few days ago who said,
“I bought all these IELTS Books from mainland China, but I now realize they are all junk, and I threw them away.”
Of course they are all junk. But there are so many self-proclaimed IELTS ‘experts’ out there now, and it seems that anyone of them can now write a junk book (in Chinese), promise everything like magic [hence the above picture], get their friends to use the social media to say how good the book is, and the author makes a lot of (your) money.
Uh oh, this is a danger sign everyone – a big danger sign. You need to be very aware of the risks here. So, my student’s comment made me think that it’s now time to go back to some consumer advice. Yes, in this post, I’ll look at the …
“IELTS Ten Super Instant Easy Everything Magic Book” syndrome.
Let’s just start with an obvious fact, so very obvious, but one which no one wants to think about. The IELTS Test is a test of your English ability, and the more ability you have, the higher mark you will get. How do you get higher in the IELTS test? You improve your English ability. That takes time, and practice, and a skilled teacher can certainly help. Let’s just take, at random, one aspect of IELTS Speaking, from the public version of the IELTS band descriptors.
Lexical Resource 1: Uses a range of words
manages to talk about familiar and unfamiliar topics, but uses vocabulary with limited flexibility
has a wide enough vocabulary to discuss topics at length and make meaning clear in spite of inappropriacies
uses vocabulary resource flexibly to discuss a variety of topics
Source: IELTS Speaking Band Descriptors (Public Version)
Read that IELTS 7 part. If you can achieve that description, it leads to IELTS 7. Hmmmm. ‘Flexibly’ and ‘variety of topics’. That will definitely require knowing a lot of words, because there is an incredible number of topics one could have to talk about. Remember, ‘flexibly’ does not mean wrongly, strangely, unclearly, or incomprehensibly (the latter suggesting IELTS 4). ‘Flexibly’ does NOT mean memorising weird bits and pieces, and just blurting them out when they are unconnected and unrelated to the subject and logic of the sentence (suggesting an IELTS 5 = limited flexibility).
Yes, being able to talk ‘flexibly’ on a ‘variety of topics’ will require not only knowing a lot of words, but also having a lot of practice, and spending a lot of time. Months of it, at a minimum! But not just that. You will need a focused, systematic, and diligent approach to your learning.
However, many people want a quicker answer – the magic bullet – the single shot which guarantees everything. They want something that will give them a higher IELTS mark, despite their developing English ability (and maybe an unfocused and random approach). So, what about just using a magic book? As I said at the beginning of this post, there are lots of them out there, so why not buy one? Great idea, right? WRONG! So very very WRONG!
[To be continued in the next post.]
Find the meaning of the underlined words, also repeated below.
- random (adj)
- aspect (n)
- flexible (adj)
- incomprehensible (adj)
- to blurt (v)
- focussed (adj)
By the way, here are the answers to Being Concise (8 of 8).
- Living alone may cause isolation and loss of emotional support. [10 words; originally 30]
- Many people cannot afford a house or family. [8 words; originally 21]
- These crimes can cause a permanent memory/scar in the victims’ minds. [11 words; originally 20]
- Human rights organizations have tried unsuccessfully to abolish the death penalty. [11 words; originally 24]
- Government has spent money to improve the museum environment for all visitors. [12 words; originally 25]
- Museums show real history. For example, the Louvre in Paris. [10 words; originally 29]
Note: this last example is examined in my IELTS Writing Task-Two Book: Tip 16, Exercise 47, Part Two, Item 3.