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Don’t stop at 7. Go and get that 9!

Dear Ryan,
Thanks to your guidance, I was able to increase my writing score from 6.5 to 7.5, and then to 8.5! I really don't believe I could have done it without you.
-Imam Mohamed

Hi Ryan,
I am so happy to inform you that I scored 7.5 in writing!
-Sunish Manalody

Hi Ryan,
Thanks for your help, I’ve scored band 8 in writing.
-Vladan Martinovic

Hi Ryan,
I prepared just by looking at your videos and scored 7.5! Thank you!
-Rahul Paldiwal

Hi Ryan,
I would like to thank you for your very helpful lessons. I finally got 7 in all modules and can now start residency processing for New Zealand!
-Kiran Kiccha

Hi Ryan,
I obtained a writing score of 8.5. Your videos were instrumental in helping me achieving this score. Thanks, mate!
-Carlos Flores

Hi Ryan,
Thank you for my 8.0 writing score. You ebook played a pivotal role in my success!
-Awais Butt

Hi Ryan,
I read your blog every day and scored 7.5 in writing!
-Vikrant Mahajan

I went from band 6.0 to 7.5 following Ryan’s coaching!
-Viacheslav Porotikov

Quick tips on immigrating to Australia

Posted on April 30, 2012 by - Comments are off

It was wonderful meeting you all again last night for our session with Australian immigration expert, Barry (from http://www.immistay.com).  I think you’ll agree with me when I say that Barry’s insight was invaluable.  For those of you who missed the evening, a copy of our conversation can be found here.

In this post, I want to summarize some of the helpful resources and information Barry shared:

  • -Barry stated that immigrating to Australia as a student is often easier than as a professional (unless, of course, the professional’s skill is in high demand).  For information on changes to the 457 Visa, click here.  To help calculate your score in the Skills Migration Points Test, Barry recommends this iPhone app from Acacia Immigration Australia.
  • -When I asked Barry to share something he felt all Australian immigrant hopefuls should know, he replied that those applying for immigration should remember that day-to-day life in Australia is often much more expensive than most people expect (factoring in bills, transportation fees, meals, etc.).  Barry let us know that most newly arrived students end up having to share apartments.  He also suggested all students become familiar with the various Visas available to them (information on this is available at http://www.immi.gov.au/).
  • -Students planning to study in Australia for a period of 2 years will need to provide proof that their financial situation is capable of covering the following:
  • $2000 x 24 months = $48000 AUD for you course
  • $1500 x 24 months = $36000 AUD for living expenses
  • $2000 AUD for the air fare home.
  • -Having a valid Australian driver’s licence is highly recommended.  International driver’s licences are accepted in Australia.  For more information on this, click here.  If you cannot attain a driver’s licence for whatever reason, consider reading Barry’s article on Australian public transportation by clicking here.
  • -Often students will find the qualifications they achieved in their home country are not recognized at the same level in Australia.  This situation may require them to take additional training to bridge this disparity.
  • -You can operate a business as a non resident in Australia.  Information on how to do this is available here.

Model Academic Task 1 response to a question seen in India in April 2012

Posted on April 29, 2012 by - 6 Comments

The following chart illustrates the results of a British survey taken in 2005.  Write a report summarizing the data shown.

 

The chart illustrates housing preferences among people who lived in the British cities of London, Oxford and Cambridge in the year 2005.  It appears partiality towards certain housing types is inverted between larger and smaller English cities.

58% of Londoners list ‘flats’ as their preferred living arrangement, a number much higher than its Oxford and Cambridge counterparts, at 29% and 20% respectively.  Fondness of terraced housing is roughly equal between the three cities, all of which show figures within the 16% to 19% range.  However, a stark difference is seen among the figures representing people who prefer detached houses, with London clocking in at 9%, Oxford at 25% and Cambridge at 36%.  Semi-detached housing also shows a pattern of variation that appears to be sensitive to city size.  17% of people living in London in 2005 preferred this style of housing.  Oxford and Cambridge, however, both have figures of 27%.

Video – 6 quick questions to test your General Task 1 lexical resources!

Posted on April 26, 2012 by - 8 Comments

Even if you are taking the Academic exam, give this quick test a try.  How many questions can you get right out of six?

Have you scored IELTS band 7 or higher? I want to talk to you!

Posted on April 25, 2012 by - 2 Comments

I need your help!

In an effort to produce more resources for online students, I have started performing recorded interviews with successful IELTS test takers via Skype.  These interviews are only about 20 or 30 minutes in length, but I think they will prove to be very helpful study materials for online IELTS students wishing to better their mark on the exam.

Have you successfully achieved an overall band of 7 or higher?  Would you like to help other IELTS students around the world by sharing the strategies you followed to prepare for and engage the exam?

If you answered ‘yes‘ to the above two questions, I want to work with you!  Don’t be shy!  I will send you the interview questions ahead of time to give you a chance to prepare.  You may also remain anonymous during the interview if you wish.  For more information, please do not hesitate to contact me at ryanthiggins@gmail.com.

So what will you get in return?  Well, aside from aiding other test candidates around the world, I would be happy to help you promote an endeavor of your own via the recording.  This could be a great way to let everyone know about that amazing new website or online service you’ve just started.

Let’s get started!  Please send me an email as soon as you can!

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How to get full marks for Task Achievement

The essay in this video was written by IELTS Examiner C. This question was seen recently in Sydney:

These days many people prefer to rent rather than buy their own house. Why is this this so? Discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of renting or buying, and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and examples from your personal experience where appropriate.

Here is the essay as it appears in the video:

In most major cities in the west, people are opting to rent a home instead of buy. This is mostly because house prices have increased dramatically while personal income has not, a trend that means mortgage repayments now account for a much larger share of income than in the past. Renters have more disposable income every week than buyers and this is a big attraction. However, in my opinion, this is a false economy and in the long run I believe that the advantages of buying a property greatly outweigh the short-term savings to be made by renting.

While it is certainly cheaper week-by-week to rent than pay a mortgage, the renter misses out on the large capital gains to be made when buying a home. When I took out my own mortgage on my two-bedroom apartment, my repayments on a $400,000 loan were about $600 a week, compared with $500 for rental value on a similar property. However, over the past three years my apartment has appreciated by more than $250,000, greatly outweighing the $15,000 I would have saved by renting. In addition to this, my mortgage payments secured an acquisition of property that will remain valuable for my family into the future. Financial growth of this sort is not possible through renting.

Renters do not only lose out on capital gains, they also lose in terms of security and peace of mind. The roof over their heads once their lease is over is always at the mercy of the landlord, who might at any time decide to sell the property. The landlord can also put up the rent when they feel the market warrants it. Further, unless the renter invests their savings judiciously, the money they save will be frittered on day-to-day life, leaving them very much poorer than the buyer once retirement looms.

In conclusion, while a first mortgage will cost more each week than renting, the advantages of buying, including capital appreciation and housing security, greatly outweigh the short-term savings to be made by renting.

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Just 60 minutes to better IELTS Speaking!

Click here to download an MP3 copy of the conversation.

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Band 9 writing under an X-ray!

Thanks to ‘Examiner C’ for this model. Here is the essay as it appears in the video:

Many people think that public celebrations (like national holidays, festivals, etc.) are a waste of money and that the government should spend these funds in a better way.

Do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and examples from personal experience where appropriate.

National holidays cost countries and their governments a lot of money. Wages need to be paid to employees despite their absence from work, and a national loss in productivity is experienced. For these reasons, some people suggest governments do away with holidays and instead spend the money on worthy projects. While this might seem at first to be a practical suggestion, I disagree strongly for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it is axiomatic that a country’s production of goods declines when workers are not working; however, this is a tiny part of a much larger economic picture. Productivity is a function not only of hours worked but also of energy, drive, and morale. Thus, national holidays, which give workers a chance to relax and to celebrate aspects of their country and their lives, make for a happier and more productive workforce. In Australia, for example, the long weekend is a tradition that helps to unify society by making all feel rewarded and valued in a common enterprise and identity. It is for these reasons that labelling public celebrations ‘a waste of money’ cannot be supported.

Further, having the financial means to start new national projects is a good thing, but the question of apportioning funds in a manner that an entire society agrees is ‘a better way’ is simply unrealistic. A further consideration is the ramifications of pressure put on workers to work 52 straight weeks a year, a policy that could lead to stress-related illnesses and serious social problems. As this shows, the cancelling of public holidays and redirection of funds is an implausible suggestion.

In conclusion, I must affirm that while it is tempting to realise the short-term increase in productivity and savings that would result from abolishing public holidays, the overall cost greatly outweighs the gains.

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A former examiner wrote this band 9 essay…

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Watch a second video like the above here: https://www.patreon.com/ieltsryan

Here is the essay as it appears in the video:

Many people believe that a large proportion of a country’s health budget should be diverted from treatment to spending on health education and preventative measures. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? Give examples from personal experience where appropriate.

Modern medicine has evolved along two lines: prevention and cure. Many believe that too much emphasis is placed on the latter and that the balance of national health spending should shift to prevention. I am inclined to agree; however, my support is with the stipulation that an imbalance in the other direction should be avoided.

Many modern diseases that require pharmaceutical or surgical intervention, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, are induced by poor lifestyle choices. There is an abundance of evidence that these conditions are brought on by such factors as smoking, excessive dietary fat and sugar, and a lack of physical exercise. I have myself lost several family members to cancers and heart disease caused by smoking. Because the cost of treating these diseases is very high, and the prognosis uncertain, the need for preventative intervention is clear.

Fulfilling this need could be exercised in a number of ways. For one, the government could provide more health and fitness centres, and mount a public awareness campaign to encourage people to use them. In addition to this, taxes could be placed on excessive salt or sugar in processed foods, and special taxes could be added to tobacco products to discourage their use. I believe that measures such as these will in the long term dramatically reduce the incidence of certain deadly diseases.

However, it should be remembered that not all examples of modern disease are preventable or predictable, and it is critical to maintain research into cures for all diseases. Thus, in diverting health spending from treatment to preventative measures, countries should encourage a balanced approach to help extend lifespans and maximise quality of life. Prevention may be better than cure, but it can never wholly replace it.

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