T Mal's Posts (6)

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a parody of our time

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but
shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little,
drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too
little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too
much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a
living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years.

We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street
to meet a new neighbour. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've
done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait.

We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods, and slow digestion, big men and small
character, steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to
quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going
to be around forever.

 Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to
you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is
the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but
most of all mean it.

A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

By Dr Bob Moorehead

Not written by Georg Carlin.


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IELTS speaking 2nd task

In the 2nd task of the speaking you will be asked to discuss a topic for 1 or 2 minute and given 1 minute to plan it.  You will be handed a pencil and paper to make a few notes.  I have seen so many students panic at this stage as they have no idea what to do in that minute.  So how can you outline a speech in 1 min?

task; Describe a museum you visit,

  1. how often you visit it.
  2. why you visit it, 
  3. the most popular museum in your country

Now I have to plan. I will use one word prompts as a reminder.  I will use 1 word from the above lines so I cover everything.(you can ask for the question to be repeated so you don't miss anything out)


1 often 2 times PA, why? special days,

2why.  historic industrial heritage, shops, housing, transport.

3 popular London Science museum.

Those few prompts will now remind me what to talk about and it is in the right order to cover all aspects of the question. They will also keep me on topic.  Even if you have never been to one I am sure you have read about one, so say what you have read.


A favourite Museum of mine is the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, its about 30 miles from where I live.  I can get a special day ticket to travel there by bus and train.  It takes about 90 minutes.  I get there as early as possible because there is a lot to see.  Twice a year they have either a steam fair or a canal boat festival those are the days I like going to.

It is called a living museum because the staff dress as people did 100 years ago  You can see people making chains and nails by hand, Also all the old machinery that looks so dangerous.  The is a coal mine that you can go down and see the conditions men women and children worked in.  There are also shops like an old chemist where you can see him making pills by hand and all the old medicine bottles.  There are also old trams and electric powered buses called trolley buses.  An old school and some school parties go dressed up as children 100 years ago and have a lesson using blackboards as they did in the day.  There are also tiny little houses people lived in, just one room downstairs and one bedroom upstairs.  The water from one tap for about 10 houses and 1 outside toilet for the ten houses.

I think one of the most popular museums in the UK must be the London Science Museum, I have never been there but you can see all the technology throughout the ages.

As you read through look at the list I made, I covered everything in my notes in the right order.  If you want to practice this, use the link below to see a list of popular topics.


if you want to listen to people practicing for their exam use the following link.


I hope you find this useful and remember the more you read about the popular topics in the first link the more your vocabulary and use of common expressions will improve.


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Building speaking skills

The speaking skills required in international speaking exams can be quite daunting for candidates because many candidates have no idea what the examiners are looking for.

Let's take the IELTS speaking task for an example.  The test begins with a few simple questions about yourself.  He/she will ask you questions about your job or studies, what you are doing now, what your role or responsibilities and duties include.  Here you are using a variety of present tenses.

He might ask about past employment or experiences therefore you will be using simple past or maybe past continuous.

He will then move to your future hopes and ambitions and once again you will be able to show your competence is using future tenses.

If you are not sure about how to form these there is an excellent Verb Tense tutorial in English Page

http://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/verbtenseintro.html  Don't be afraid to go back to basics to brush up on grammar you have forgotten. Remember the exam is giving you a chance to show off your skills.

If you are not used to talking about yourself then write it down as an essay. look at example questions they might ask and write down short answers of one or two sentences,  Read then aloud a few times, even record yourself to see how you sound.

If you would like to see videos of students practicing their skills go to. http://www.ipassielts.com/ielts_training/videos/speaking/  listen and also read the transcripts and more importantly the teacher feedback.

My next blog will be about the second task.

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Blocking of links

Some of you are now aware that we are no longer allowed to post useful links in the main page.  This is becasue a few have been posting malicious links.  This has allowed the perpetrators to win and the majority have lost out on having this useful feature.  As you are aware I can often post a link to any questions regarding english or post a link to start a topic for discussion.

 Surely we can be treated as adults and a warning could have been posted on the home page.  Also there is plenty of download and protect our computers from malaware.

The attitude of the moderator was very poor who did not offer any advice on how we could protest or offer advice of how English Club members to be able to still offer this service safely.  For example allowing trusted members only to post links or the be able to post links in private only.

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Exam Nerves

I have been an IESOL and IELTS examiner for over 2 years and invigilating up to 10 exams every week and often see terrible cases of exam nerves.  While some people do thrive on  a little pressure a small minority can not control the anxiety they feel on the day.  It is very important that you are ready to take the exam, very often I have candidates who are not at a level to take the exam.

I have seen candidates visibly shaking with nerves as they sit in front of me.  My reaction to this is to have an informal chat with them asking about themselves and inviting them to ask me any questions they might have about the exam in order to try to clam their nerves.  There have been a few humorous incidents too such as one young lady who was in the late stages of pregnancy who half way through the exam began jumping and twitching due to the baby kicking. I kept the recording going and asked the candidate if the baby was kicking, for the benefit of the tape.  I paused the exam but not the recording asking her if she wished to continue or not and gave her a drink of water.  After the kicking stopped I carried on with the exam but now it was me who was shaking and my voice stammering slightly.  I am happy to say she passed.

I have also had candidates who I could not stop talking due to nerves in the question and answer tasks. the problem with this type of candidate is they are often so nervous they do not listen accurately to the questions and often go way off topic.

After the exams I sometimes get chance to chat to them and have often found they have not followed some of the advice we send out to candidates before the exam.  So here I will go over a few of them.

  1. Makes sure you have the right day and time. (yes we do have them arriving on the wrong day)
  2. Have a good breakfast, include some slow energy release foods like cereals.
  3. Avoid too much caffeine and nicotine. (don't take medications like pro-plus)
  4. Avoid fizzy drinks but you can bring water.
  5. Have a good night sleep before the exam
  6. Try to go for a brisk walk just before you sit the exam. (to reduce adrenaline levels)

You can also look for some relaxation exercises such as self hypnosis to try on the day, these can also be used during the exam.

There are many web sites where you can take practice exams or try searching for past exam papers in the exam type so that you can make sure you are ready to take the exam.

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