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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

Listen to my conversation with Farhan, an IELTS student who scored 8.5 in the listening section of his exam

Posted on June 27, 2012 by - 11 Comments

Recently, I started a little project called IELTSCast.  It is a podcast where I talk to successful IELTS students and ask them to explain how they managed to score so well on the exam.  For those of you with iTunes, you can subscribe by clicking here.  If you do not have iTunes, you can access all of the conversations at www.ieltscast.com.

So, in the latest episode, I talk with Farhan about how he managed to score 8.5 in the listening section.  To listen to the entire interview, click here.

If you have achieved an overall band of 7 or higher, please consider talking with me for 20 minutes on Skype about your experience.  Your study advice is both useful and inspirational to other students.  Contact me at ryan@ieltsielts.com.

(As always, please provide me with feedback on how I can improve.  Are these interviews helpful?  How could they be better?  Any and all comments to this post greatly appreciated!)

(For those of you waiting for more model essays and videos, they are coming.  I’m having a few small technical issues, but these should be sorted within the next few days.)

The Australian immigration process is going to change within the next couple of days

Posted on June 24, 2012 by - 1 Comment

Barry Johnson of Immistay.com has kindly written this article for ieltsielts.com to help explain what is happening:

SkillSelect commences 1st July 2012: Act now!

As at of the 1st of July 2012 SkillSelect (http://www.immi.gov.au/skills/skillselect/) will be introduced in Australia.  This will be a major change in the Australian migration process.  These changes are designed to limit the successful visa applicants to only the very best.  It will involve in the applicant lodging an expression of interest online to the Australian department of immigration and citizenship.  These expressions of interests are reviewed via a computer system that looks for the finest applicants who meet the selection criteria.   This will involve looking at the applicants with the strongest English language ability, the most work experience and the highest qualifications.  It is these successful applicants who will be issued with an invitation to apply.  The SkillSelect program will also be subject to a quota system for each occupation.  The department of immigration and citizenship has provided an FAQ regarding SkillSelect, which you may be interested in accessing (http://www.immi.gov.au/skills/skillselect/index/faqs/).  I suggest you have a good look at this to get an idea of the implications of these changes and their impact upon your circumstances.

There are some advantages to this system.  Under the current system, there is a waiting period of twelve to eighteen months or more for your skills point visa to be granted.  This is due to the backlog of applications.  With SkillSelect, you effectively jump the cue.  It is designed to eliminate any backlog due to the highly selective nature of the system.  The department of immigration and citizenship will control very carefully who is invited to apply.  After the 1st of July 2012, if invited to apply you will move quickly through the system, much more so than under the system currently in place.

After reviewing the information from migration agents it is highly recommended to lodge your application before midnight on the 30th of June 2012.  This is before SkillSelect commences.  If you have a passing score in the skills, migration points test or know that you are eligible, act now.   The future of the points tested skilled migration looks bleak.  Have a look at the following pulled from the department of immigration and citizenship information pdf (full document link below):

From the 1st July 2012 intending migrants, both in and outside of Australia may submit an expression of interest (EOI) for a 189, 190 or 489 visa.  From the 1st of July 2012, points tested skilled migration visas granted outside of Australia (subclass 175, 176 and 475) will be closed for all new applicants.  From the 1st of January 2013, points tested skilled migration visas granted in Australia (subclass 885, 886 and 487) will be closed for all new applications.  http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/points-tested-visas.pdf

There is also speculation that under SkillSelect that there will be new visa categories and possibly the elimination of the sub visa categories.  The reason for this is that not all the SkillSelect changes have been announced.  In other words, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Because of the limited time before the 1st of July 2012, I would recommend that you contact your migration agent and lodge.  If you do not have a migration agent, I would highly recommend ACACIA.  To receive a discount on the initial consultation just mention Immistay and the 10% discount when you call.   http://www.acacia-au.com/ or call +061 0292300888.

I will not have Internet access from 12 June 2012 to 22 June 2012

Posted on June 10, 2012 by - 14 Comments

Hi everyone,

I hope your studies are going well.

Please excuse the lack of updates recently.  This coming week, I will be saying ‘farewell’ to China and returning to my native land for a period of time.  This of course involves lots of packing and preparing and has not left me with much time for anything else!

As my current online students already know, I will be without Internet access for about 10 days until I get myself resettled in Canada.  This means I won’t be available to answer your emails, update my blog or correct your Task 1 and 2 submissions.  Please rest assured that all will return to normal come the 22nd of June.  I’ll try my best to pop into an Internet cafe sometime during this hiatus, but no promises.

Have a productive month!

Ryan

Academic Task 1 model response to a question seen in the UK on 19 May 2012

Posted on June 2, 2012 by - 4 Comments

The following tables depict the reliability of print and non-print academic materials as voiced by undergraduates and postgraduates at 3 different British universities.

Write a 150 word report for a university lecturer summarizing the information given.

The two charts illustrate the views of undergraduate and postgraduate students from 3 different British schools on the reliability of print and non-print academic resources.  Across all spectrums, students feel printed materials to be more reliable than their non-print counterparts.

75% of undergraduate students at Cambridge and 81% of undergraduate students at both Oxford and Leeds gauge printed material ‘reliable’.  These 3 figures are all lower than their postgraduate equivalents, who support printed materials in strengths of 92% at Oxford, 87% at Cambridge and 96% at Leeds. Thus, postgraduates are more likely to label printed material reliable than undergraduates at these 3 schools.

However, this trend is reversed when looking at backing for non-print academic sources.  The second chart depicts much weaker support for these resource types among undergraduates, namely 59% at Oxford, 63% at Cambridge and 61% at Leeds.  Even more astonishing are the numbers of postgraduates who feel positive about non-printed academic items.  These values are 50%, 54% and 47% for the same 3 schools.

The charts depict a trend in which positive opinions regarding the reliability of printed material move in tandem with academic level of study.

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Ryan's Recent Posts Posts

IELTS study hacks (and other Q&A!)

The resources seen in the video are:

Are you interested in studying with me online? Send an email to ryan@ieltsielts.com and tell me about your IELTS goals. I will let you know what I can do to help.

Carry on with your IELTS training! Click to buy an ebook:

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This way to band 9…

The essay in this video was written by a practicing IELTS examiner.

This question was seen last year in Moscow:

Some people contend that all young people should attend university after high school, while others maintain that this is not always the best option. Discuss both views and give your opinion. Give reasons for your answer and include examples from your own experience where appropriate.

Some feel that all young people should attend university, while others point out this may not be a suitable path for everyone. I am of the latter view. I believe that career training in other areas may serve the interests of many young people far better than undergraduate studies.

On the one hand, there is convincing support for university education for all. Firstly, a liberal education encourages the broadening of the mind. For example, students of history, art and literature tend to be tolerant and thoughtful and fulfil useful service careers in teaching, journalism, public relations and politics. Encouraging everyone to enrol in university would also push people towards lucrative professional roles, such as those held by doctors and lawyers, positions that also bring great social prestige.

However, despite these benefits, universal tertiary education would be problematic at both the societal and personal levels. It should be noted that the building of houses and offices, the transporting of goods, and the production of furniture and appliances are essential to society and require skilled manual workers and tradespeople. Further, many young men and women naturally excel when working with their hands. Forcing them to study disciplines of abstract thought would clearly be a waste of their time and potential. Thus, encouraging people to choose a path that allows them to invest in their natural strengths is better for both the individual and society as a whole.

Overall, it can be seen that although pursuing a university education has many merits, it may be more of a hindrance than a help to some people. In my own case, being very bad with my hands but quite handy with words, university was the right option for me. As this essay has shown, everyone is different and no one course in life fits all.

Carry on with your IELTS training! Click to buy an ebook:

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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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