In the last post, I introduced the …
“IELTS Ten Super Instant Easy Everything Magic Book” syndrome.
… and explained how to get an IELTS 7, there would have to be a lot of study, a lot of time, and a lot of effort on your part. But why spent time and effort when you can get it all at once with an IELTS magic book? There are lots of them out there, so just buy one, right? Great idea, right? Maybe I need to define the term. What is an ‘IELTS Magic Book’?
Here are rules which must be followed to make an ‘IELTS Magic Book’. The book must …
- be written in Chinese (so that it is particularly easy to read),
- be full of passages to be memorised (preferably 100% full of it),
- never demand the readers to think for themselves,
- if there is any advice, it must be bland and obvious (“Check your grammar at the end”), and never require work or thinking,
- have a title which guarantees an impossibly high band scores in a very short time,
- have wild claims on the back about the effectiveness of the book,
- have wild claims ‘proving’ the expertise of the author(s) – who can vaguely and meaninglessly identify themselves as ‘IELTS experts’, and/or give a list of weird and wonderful claims which no one can really prove or disprove, such as that the author is …
- Chief syllabus designer for Yale Graduate School of English Excellence, [Who are they?]
- Designated Representative and Spokesperson on IELTS from the University of Eastern Buckinghamshire, [Uh, really? You mean, if I contacted this university, they would confirm this is true?]
- Provider of Editorial services to English Forever Magazine, [Never heard of it]
- Consultant on Protocol in English Liaison Department of the Taiwan Ministries of Education, [Er, does such a department even exist?]
- Member of the Glasgow Review Board Teaching Team in Taiwan, [Er, sorry to be difficult here, but the whole term doesn’t even make sense]
… and all these credentials must be written in Chinese, so that they become absolutely indecipherable.
Finally, the IELTS Magic Book must be …
- be written by someone who never actually marks IELTS Writing for real; and who never has to listen to people in a real IELTS Speaking Test – in short, be written by people who have no direct experience or knowledge of the results which their magic book will cause – or more simply, don’t know what they are talking about.
When I began teaching IELTS over 20 years ago, the IELTS Magic Books were ‘How to get IELTS 6’. However, it was soon realised that the title, ‘How to get IELTS 7’ would sell better than the ‘IELTS 6’ books. So, the next generation of books had that ‘7’ in the title. Then it went to ‘IELTS 8’. Now, it’s gone to IELTS 9 – a whole series. I suppose all these magic books have now gone as high as they can, or maybe they can go higher?
Actually, they can go higher. Yes, unbelievably, you can do better than just ‘IELTS 9’ books. I had a friend translate the cover of one ‘magic IELTS books’ (since it’s all written in Chinese, of course). This cover informs us that not only is the book (from cover to cover full of passages to memorise) good for IELTS, but it’s also good for TOEFL! And not only that, it’s also good for job interviews! Okay, the ‘magic IELTS book’ has become the ‘magic everything book’, and I’ve learnt something about life. It seems one can succeed in life and communicate with fellow human beings by reciting a series of memorised responses.
Huh?! Are you kidding me?
[To be continued in the next post.]
Find the meaning of the underlined words, also repeated below.
- bland (adj)
- expertise (n)
- vague (adj)
- indecipherable (adj)
- to recite (v)