Free IELTS resources to help you maximize your score.
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

How to prepare for IELTS

Whether you are a first-time IELTS taker or someone that needs to resit the exam, this document can provide some direction  regarding how to prepare effectively.
Before we begin, it is important to remember that the IELTS is a language proficiency exam, and thus preparing for it goes beyond simply reading a few textbooks and watching a few YouTube videos. You will see the word “actively” on this page several times. This word is used to highlight the importance of taking initiative in your studies and documenting your progression as your language improves. Be sure not to let yourself confuse passive study approaches (i.e. half-listening to a BBC podcast episode while gazing out a bus window) with active study approaches (i.e. listening to a BBC podcast episode more than once and noting/mimicking/reviewing all new language items you hear).
To arrive at an effective IELTS preparation strategy, complete the following 4 steps and consult the attached appendixes. The expected completion time for this list is several days:
Step 1 -Establish a thorough understanding of what the IELTS is and how it operates.
Step 2 – Develop a feeling for what your current band is for each IELTS skill (L, R, W, S).
Step 3 -Declare a realistic goal for each IELTS skill (L, R, W, S) and a study timeline.
Step 4 -Build a study plan using exercises tailored to your individual needs.
Appendix A – Resources that can be used to populate your study plan
Appendix B – Detailed example of a three month study plan tailored to a student weak in only IELTS Writing
My advice is to not rush any of this process. Working gradually through these steps is not wasted time. Doing so will expose you to valuable English patterns that you can adopt and exercise in your own language.
Step 1 – Establish a thorough understanding of what the IELTS is and how it operates.
The first thing any candidate should do after deciding to take the IELTS is familiarize themselves with what the exam is and how it is administered. IELTS.org has a couple of very thorough overviews you can use to learn about the exam and the task types and question formats used to assess your abilities:
Information for candidates booklet (answers most basic questions about the exam)
IELTS.org Frequently Asked Questions
You should also become familiar with what kinds of topics appear on the IELTS. Simone’s work with IELTS-Blog.com (http://www.ielts-blog.com/category/recent-ielts-exams/) is the best record of former exam topics and questions on the net. Look through this backlog of questions to get a feel for what topics that are trending this year. Chris Green’s topic lists for Speaking Part 1 (http://ielts-yasi.englishlab.net/PAST_PART_ONE_TOPIC_INDEX.htm) and Part 2 and 3 (http://ielts-yasi.englishlab.net/TOPIC_USAGE_2013.htm) are a thorough collection of speaking topics.
In addition to knowing what topics are currently trending in IELTS, you should be familiar with how each section of the exam is graded. Your Listening and Reading levels are established by converting the number of questions you get correct on each exam into an IELTS band. To see how this is done, visit: http://ielts-yasi.englishlab.net/BAND_SCORE_CONVERTER.htm
Your writing and speaking are assessed using detailed rubrics. The authoritative powers within IELTS keep these rubrics strictly confidential but have released public versions which are very similar to the real thing. Be sure to read through these documents very carefully, as understanding the manner in which you will be assessed allows you to differentiate effective IELTS writing and speaking from mediocre:
Speaking band descriptors chart (public version)
Writing Task 1 band descriptors chart (public version)
Writing Task 2 band descriptors chart (public version)
To reinforce what you have just read in the above charts, here are a couple of quick video overviews:
Speaking bands explained
Writing bands explained
Step 2 – Develop a feeling for what your current band is for each IELTS skill (L, R, W, S).
When you feel you have an understanding of how the IELTS works, your next step is to gauge your current band. For listening and reading, this can be carried out by engaging one or two mock exams. The British Council publishes a few sample exams from its website that you can use to carry out this self-assessment:
Listening
Reading (General)
Reading (Academic)
To get a feeling for your current writing band, you will need to have your skills assessed by someone that understands IELTS writing. I suggest going with either an IELTS instructor or a candidate that has achieved band 8 or higher in the writing exam. Keep in mind that native English speakers who lack experience with the IELTS may not be able to accurately gauge your band writing in an IELTS context. Also of note is that any IELTS assessment you receive from a non-examiner should be taken as only a suggestion. No one besides qualified IELTS examiners have the training nor the authority to assign band placement to your language.
If you do not have access to the advice of an IELTS instructor or a band 8+ writing candidate, consider posting your sample to The IELTS Network (http://www.ieltsnetwork.com/viewforum.php?f=5) or purchasing 1 correction with me.
A similar approach can be taken to gauge your current speaking band. For those without access to the advice of IELTS instructors or successful candidates, post an MP3 to The IELTS Network (http://www.ieltsnetwork.com/viewforum.php?f=4). However, please keep in mind that doing so may not elicit feedback that is 100% accurate, as your recorded monologue represents only Part 2 of the speaking exam.
Step 3 – Declare a realistic goal for each IELTS skill (L, R, W, S) and a study timeline.
For most candidates, the target band has already been established (i.e. a band 7 to apply towards Australian immigration or a band 8 to attend the University of Warwick). If you are unsure of what band you require, find out by contacting the body that would know. Having a clear goal is a critical part of your planning process.
Establishing a realistic timeline for study requires some thought. Keep in mind that your progress will depend on several factors, mainly how much time you put towards actively preparing for the IELTS. Although the British Council discourages instructors from estimating the amount of time it takes to grow a candidate’s IELTS performance (click here for reference), I’d nevertheless like to share a few general observations from my experience that candidates might find helpful. Please keep in mind that these broad remarks are only based on my personal experiences and may not apply to your individual case:
Observation 1
Growth speeds for individual skills tend to vary. Listening and reading abilities typically improve faster than speaking and writing. One theory for this is that speaking and writing skills are modeled after listening and reading in language development (i.e. we learn to speak by mimicking what we hear; we learn to write by mimicking what we read). (←If anyone has a link to research that could respond to this theory, please share.) In addition to this, candidates do not need the input of another individual to receive feedback on their listening and reading skills. This is seen in action when a candidate carries out a mock exam and checks their performance using an answer key. Instantly, they are illuminated to any shortcomings in listening and reading ability. This sort of self-assessment is not possible when preparing independently for speaking and writing and may also be behind the lag in improvement for these skills.
Observation 2
Speaking and writing band growth tends to decelerate. In other words, a candidate often spends less time getting from band 4 to 5 than they do getting from band 7 to 8. This may in part be because of a conflict between (1) the near flawless language requirements of bands 8, 8.5 and 9 and (2) the failure of the student to correct long-term language habits that are forgivable at the band 7 level but not higher (i.e. pronunciation issues that cause mild difficulties for the listener, inaccurate grammatical patterns, misused colloquialisms, lexical awkwardness, etc). Students that reach the 7 level have typically been studying the English language for years, and thus the development of deeply engrained language weaknesses is regularly seen. As these weaknesses are often quite subtle, identifying and correcting them is a tedious and time-consuming process.
The deceleration of band growth has been documented here:
“The research revealed that around 300 hours of full-time study (18 hours or more a week) is needed to lift the average candidate’s overall band score from 5.5 to 6.0. Surprisingly, longer than 300 hours of full-time study is needed to move from 6.0 to 6.5, or from 6.5 to 7.0.”
David Park shares similar findings in his article published to the IDP Australia website: http://www.idp.co.th/IELTS/A_SpeakingTips.aspx
Another source (Brough was acting director of studies at IDP Australia in 2003 when he shared this; the info is a little dated, but I would argue these figures still hold true):
“According to Brough, moving up even a single band on the IELTS scale takes considerable effort. ‘It varies, but the main figure I’ve heard is 200 or 300 (class) hours. But I think 200 hours refers to studying intensively in a country where English is spoken. So for students coming in here, it’s probably more like 300 hours.’ “
My conversation with band 8 student, Toby, also reveals a similar timeframe. Toby prepared independently 20+ hours per week for a period of several months. Unfortunately, his bands at the beginning of this study period are not available for comparison: Tony’s interview with Ryan
As I’ve mentioned, the above may or may not reflect your study experience, and this should be kept in mind while compiling a study plan in step 4 of this tutorial.
Step 4 – Build a study plan using exercises tailored to your individual needs.
Now that you know your current band, your forecasted band and a very rough idea of how long you will need to improve, you are ready to put together a comprehensive IELTS study plan.
Targeting weak points while maintaining strengths is an important part of any study strategy. It is also important to receive assessment periodically to ensure your study strategy is having a positive effect on your abilities.
There are two things you must do as you exercise your study plan. Firstly, you must keep a journal to chronicle any insightful bits of information you come across as you work (i.e. testing strategies that work for you, weaknesses you discover, language patterns you want to remember, mock test results, pronunciation tips suggested to you by an instructor, etc, etc). The second thing you must do, and this is especially true during the times when you are preparing alone, is hold yourself accountable to your study plan. If you tend to get lazy, arrange a study partner that can keep you on track. You may also post your study plan to this thread if you feel the publicity would help you remain motivated.
Below is an example of a week-long plan that could be a part of a healthy IELTS routine that aims to grow overall band by 0.5 in 3 months (specific lessons and resources you could use to fill each exercise block will be suggested later in this document). This plan balances preparation time across the four skills; however, you may find advantage in weighing certain skills more heavily than others. You may also need to add or subtract study hours from this plan; however, this will, of course, affect the total time it will take you to grow your score. Customizing your IELTS study plan to your specific situation can accelerate improvement. Please also note how the word “actively” qualifies each exercise in the table. This means you should be using your journal to note and review all new parts of language you encounter as you progress through your studies.

IELTS_schedule

Appendix A – Resources that can be used to populate your study plan
The following section is a list of exercises and resources that could be plugged into a study plan like the one above. The themes you choose for each exercise should be taken predominantly from IELTS exams seen over the past year. These exercises are just suggestions and do not represent a definitive list of resources that guarantee any IELTS band.
Listening
Actively listen to podcasts (ideally delivered in accents akin to those on the IELTS) that broadcast several topics per episode, such as (don’t limit yourself to this short list):
University of Oxford podcasts (http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/)
Train for accents by listening to the audio from your favourite English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish or Australian movies. You can rip audio from film using a free tool like Pazera (http://www.pazera-software.com/products/audio-extractor/)
Engage mock exams:
Reading
Actively read academic articles on themes seen in recently IELTS exams. Some publications to get you started:
The Economist (http://www.economist.com)
Engage mock exams:
Practice your abilities to skim and scan using Tony Buzan’s work (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2pQAUqWGWw&list=PLC1B42785F27D2232)
Writing
Ryan’s videos on essay structure (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAE217EDDF7F19843)
Ryan’s model essay demonstration videos (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL34AF240668EF35F4)
Engage mock writing exams:
Mock General Task 1 and 2 Writing exam with model answer form the British Council
Mock Academic Task 1 Writing exam with model answer from the British Council
Mock Academic Task 1 and 2 Writing exam with model answer form the British Council
Post your writing to The IELTS Network to receive feedback (http://ieltsnetwork.com/viewforum.php?f=5&sid=dbf60cdd4e4d4d7f9449ce5519b8942a)
Work with Ryan direct through email by purchase one of his courses

Here are the links for ONE correction:

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¥168 CNY (Scan the above QR to pay using WeChat. Email ryan@ieltsielts.com to receive the course file.)

Speaking
Find a speaking partner at The IELTS Network (http://www.ieltsnetwork.com/viewforum.php?f=11)
Find a speaking partner in the comments section of this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF4rUQCME1E)
Practice speaking at lengths longer than 2 minutes in response to sample cue cards.
Post your speaking MP3 to The IELTS Network to receive feedback (http://ieltsnetwork.com/viewforum.php?f=4)
Review model tests:
Ryan’s model speaking answer
Testing Strategies
Listen to IELTSCast to hear successful candidates explain how they scored well (http://www.ieltscast.com)
IELTS-Simon’s daily lessons reveal several skills when engaging the exam (http://www.ielts-simon.com)
Appendix B – Detailed example of a three month study plan tailored to a student weak in only IELTS Writing
If engaged actively, the following approach would likely improve a student’s IELTS Writing score by at least half a band:
Weeks 1 – 2
-Watch all of the videos in my playlist on Task 1 and 2 structure and write several Task 1 and 2 responses on your own time using the questions provided in the writing examples on this site. Compare your responses to my example responses and note differences in lexical resource, example usage, grammatical structures and cohesive phrases. Commit correct usage of these elements to memory and actively try to reproduce them in your own writing. Consider committing entire model band 9 essays to memory and producing/adapting their linguistic elements to your own writing.
-Post a writing example to ieltsnetwork.com to feedback from other IELTS enthusiasts. (I provide feedback there from time to time, too.)
-Do not concern yourself with training to write under IELTS time constraint yet. At this point, focus entirely on improving the quality of your writing.
Weeks 3-4
-Establish a habit of writing at least one complete Task 1 or 2 response every day under exam-like conditions.
-Watch my videos on analyzing IELTS writing questions and the Task 1 and 2 writing process. Try to include the phrasing you see in your own writing.
-Watch my videos on building lexical and grammatical skills and enhancing coherence. Regularly review your personal dictionary of words, phrases and cohesive devices and actively push yourself to use these resources in your writing.
Weeks 5-6
-Continue with your daily writing routine. At this point, your confidence should be increasing and you should see significant improvement in your writing when compared to the month prior.
-Have an IELTS Writing coach (either me or someone else you know to be versed in the exam) gauge your writing performance. In addition to commenting on overall structure, cohesiveness and lexical resource, be sure this person does a thorough grammatical cleanup of your writing. When you receive this information, pay very close attention to the mistakes you have made. Note exactly what your weaknesses are (awkwardness? plurals? articles? parallelism? fitting examples? …). Actively work to stop making these mistakes in your practice essays.
Weeks 7-8
-Maintain your daily writing routine and continue to experiment with new wording structures and vocabulary.
-At this time, you should start being strict with yourself about timing. Do not allow more than 18 minutes to perform Task 1 and 36 minutes to perform Task 2 (the remaining minutes in each allotted to review).
-Have your writing periodically evaluated by an IELTS Writing coach to ensure you are on the right track.
Weeks 9-10
-Maintain your daily writing routine. You should now be concluding what writing structures you feel confident using. Experimentation is still encouraged at this point, but you should definitely start to narrow what writing patterns you can exercise with grammatical accuracy.
-With your IELTS coach, start to form a strategy for the exam. Your goal is to score well in all four breadths of the writing mark (Task Achievement, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resources and Grammar). Much of your performance in these four areas hinges on grammar, so be sure to choose a writing strategy that plays to this, even if this means cutting back the length of your sentences. An essay that employs short sentences but is grammatically accurate and completely coherent will score better than an essay employing incoherent and grammatically inaccurate complex sentences.
Weeks 11-12
-These final two weeks are all about polishing your exam strategy. You should no longer be experimenting with new writing forms. Instead, work to fortify the skills you have practiced over the past 2.5 months.
-Pinpoint your exact weaknesses (elicit the help of your IELTS coach) and aim to write in a manner that minimizes exposure to these areas. You want to present your best face to your examiner. The ultimate goal here is to maximize your score.
In the days before the exam…
-In the few days before the exam, you should have a well prepared strategy regarding how you are going to tackle Tasks 1 and 2. Practice only this strategy during this period. Do not experiment with new writing forms (your experimentation period is over). NEVER attempt new writing patterns on your exam. Remember Sun Tzu’s advice: “Every battle is won before it is ever fought.”
-The night before your exam should be a relaxing one. Reflect on the progress you’ve made and remind yourself of how confident this makes you feel.
On exam day…
Go and kill your IELTS! (And two weeks later send me a nice email describing your beautiful band score.) 🙂

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Ryan's Recent Posts Posts

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IELTS Academic and General Task 2 - How to write at a band 9 level

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Want to know more about my IELTS Writing course? Download the entire course file here: http://ieltsielts.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/IELTS-Writing-with-Ryan-Official-Course-File.pdf

Here is the task and response as they appear in the video:

Consumers are exposed to an extreme amount of advertising in the modern era. To what extent do you think people are influenced by ads? What measures would you suggest to protect them?

Modern approaches to marketing have become increasingly intrusive, and this has exposed people to more advertising than ever before in history. Because many of these advertisements successfully manipulate the viewer’s lifestyle and opinions, I feel their influence is profound. This essay will analyse examples that demonstrate this influence. It will also offer suggestions regarding how society can guard itself against the powers of advertising.

The influence of advertising can change lifestyles and societal values in dangerous ways. For example, fast food, such as that served by McDonald’s and KFC, is often presented as the diet of athletic people. To the public, these images normalise and validate what many scientific studies have confirmed is a very unhealthy dietary choice. In addition to altering lifestyles, marketing campaigns can also confuse the public about important societal events. For instance, a recently released video depicts a group of marching protestors defusing a confrontation with the police by giving them a Pepsi. Many people correctly pointed out that such imagery trivialises the purpose of protest and the professional role of the police, images that could dangerously alter the opinions of impressionable young people. Thus, as the above examples show, advertising in the modern era is extremely influential.

To protect people from these negative effects, one approach is to regulate the number of times a marketing campaign can target a specific person’s social media account. This has been effective in Canada, where marketers are only allowed to present their promotional Facebook imagery to people old enough to know they are being advertised to. A second strategy could be to create awareness programs in high schools that educate young people about advertisements and their influence. These two policies would help preserve the public’s ability to remain critical of what they see.

Although advertising is an economic necessity, its influence should be recognised and kept under control. As the above has shown, societies should work to guard their freedom to make decisions unaltered by the interests of large companies.

I have updated my online course file! Download it here:

I've updated my course file

>>>DOWNLOAD THE UPDATED COURSE FILE HERE!<<<<

My online IELTS course file has been updated to include Task 1 and 2 questions seen in late 2016 and early 2017! Download the file and then buy a corrections pack to get started:

1 Correction (either a Task 1 or 2 submission from you, not both) = $25 USD

3 Corrections = $65 USD

5 Corrections = $99 USD

After your payment clears, send your work to ryan@ieltsielts.com. I will return a full cleanup and comment to you within 36 hours.


Please remember to send me your success story after your IELTS. Here is one I received this week:

Dear Ryan,

I must give all my gratitude to you and if I had not used your correction service, I would definitely have not achieved writing band 7 so smoothly!

Recent success story

If you need any testimonial, just feel free to ask me to do that. 

I have recommended your website, YouTube video lessons and correction service to many of my clients, who also have the same IELTS requirement for the migration purpose. 

One thousand thanks are not enough for you, indeed!!!


 Here’s another one from a few weeks earlier:

Dear Ryan,

I am writing this email to genuinely thank you for helping me crack IELTS writing. I wouldn’t have been able to do that, if it wasn’t for your ebooks.

I scored 8 in writing only because I followed your blogs, watched writing videos and read your ebooks for task 1 and task 2. It took me six months to raise my score in writing from 7.5 to 8 but it was all worth it. I was in desperate need for this perfect score so I could become eligible for my permanent residency application process and now I can gladly say that I am.

So thank you for the amazing work that you are doing to help out thousands of people who are struggling to achieve their target score.


Big congratulations on the success and thanks for sharing, guys!  😎

Transition your sentences at the band 9 level!

Click here to study with Ryan!

Here is the template seen in this video (scroll down for the full text of the essay):

Do you feel the money governments spend to protect the environment would be better used elsewhere?

_____________ the world over typically _____________. There are reasons to support and refute this practice. Using examples from_____________, I will discuss both positions before declaring a personal stance.

Firstly,_____________ is beneficial for many reasons. For example, in _____________, _____________, such as _____________. This _____________ is important because it not only_____________, but it also _____________. Because such _____________ are common among most countries, it is clear why __________________.

However, despite these benefits, _____________ has undeniable merit. In _____________, for example, _____________. Similar _____________ can be seen among _____________, such as _____________. Thus, it is clear that for _____________, _____________ may be better _____________.

Following this examination, I support _____________, but I strongly feel this _____________. This is _____________, and I hope to see it _____________.

Do you feel the money governments spend to protect the environment would be better used elsewhere?

Governments the world over typically allocate a portion of their spending to preserving the environment of their respective countries. There are reasons to support and refute this practice. Using examples from my country, I will discuss both positions before declaring a personal stance.

Firstly, government-funded protection of a country’s environment is beneficial for many reasons. For example, in my country, the Canadian government has spent a tremendous amount of money to ensure large swathes of land, such as Algonquin Park in Ontario, are inaccessible to resource-hungry companies and city sprawl. This policy is important because it not only ensures the natural beauty and wildlife of Canada are maintained for future generations, but it also preserves Canadian identity, which is tied closely to the vastness and untainted nature of the land. Because such values are common among most countries, it is clear why many people the world over support government-funded protection of the environment.

However, despite these benefits, reallocating such funding to other needs has undeniable merit. In Canada, for example, preserving the integrity of the environment seems somewhat hypocritical when so many First Nations peoples, who have been historically driven off the land, are in need of resources that allow them to preserve and pass on their languages and cultures to their descendants. Similar needs can be seen among the native populations of other nations formed out of the colonial period, such as the United States and Australia. Thus, it is clear that for select countries, government funding may be better channeled to the preservation of not only the land but also its indigenous peoples.

Following this examination, I support the government-funded preservation of a country’s environment, but I strongly feel this funding should also be directed to promoting the health of other aboriginal facets, namely the cultures and languages of a nation’s indigenous peoples. This is a much more holistic approach to environmental preservation, and I hope to see it adopted by countries around the world.

Click here to get Ryan’s Task 2 ebook sent to your email!

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IELTS Academic and General Task 2 - How to write at a band 9 level

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Here is a transcript of the conversation heard in the video:

Please give me your identification.

Here you are.

Thank you. Now, in this first part, I’d like to ask you some questions about yourself. Do you come from a large or small family?

My family is relatively large. There are 5 of us: my parents, brother, sister and me.

OK. And do the members of your family live together?

No. My parents live in the same house I grew up in. This house is in a town called Pembroke. At the moment, my sister is living there, too. But she is only there because she is on break from her studies at university. My brother lives and works in Toronto, and I am living in Toronto, too.

Do you have a lot in common with the other members of your family?

Umm, not really, but we are nevertheless very close. We always love getting together and catching up on each other’s news. My parents have a quiet, country lifestyle. It’s very different from the busy city lifestyle of Toronto. My brother enjoys watching sports and camping and hiking in the mountains; he’s very outdoorsy. My sister is a bit of a socialite, so she likes going out with friends and arranging little get-togethers. I’m a bit on the quiet side. At the moment, I mostly just focus on my studies.

Are you currently working?

I am, but only part time. I am a part time university student.

Can you tell me about your studies?

Well, I’m completing an undergraduate Arts degree with a major of criminology. Because

I am a part time student, I only have 9 hours of class a week. I have three-hour lectures every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and I am really enjoying the courses. The professors are interesting.

That’s wonderful. And what sort of part time work do you do?

I am waiter in a restaurant on the campus of my university.

I see. Do you enjoy that kind of work?

Honestly, not really. I’m not naturally a very social person, and waiting tables tends to demand this sort of personality. Also, university students do not tend to leave handsome tips.

But, I shouldn’t complain. It’s a job and it does help fund my studies.

Let’s talk about friends. Do you have many friends at your university?

Yes, I have a small handful of friends. But I suppose I would describe our relationship as more study partners than friends. We don’t really socialize outside of course-related topics.

Do you think friendships change as people get older?

Yes, definitely. I think life often makes demands of people and this can pull friends closer or push them away. A good friend of mine recently had a baby. I am very happy for him, but I know that this new development in his life will mean he and I will spend less time together. This is fine, I mean, of course he needs to spend time with his baby, but I think these sorts of life developments can change the dynamics of a friendship.

What sort of person do you easily make friends with?

I like people that have opinions. I enjoy talking with people about different subjects and hearing what they have to say about those subjects. I think I easily make friends with people that are good communicators. I don’t think we need to like all of the same things, but if we do share a few interests, that is obviously a plus. Character wise, I prefer quiet people to loud people.

Thank you. OK, let’s change topics. What do you do in your free time?

I have several hobbies. I enjoy jogging. I try to get a jog in every day. I also have a dog, so I spend quite a bit of time at the park. Um, I enjoy reading and surfing the net. I keep an online blog. It is a diary of my day-to-day life. I enjoy watching movies. I guess those are the main things I do in my free time.

What sort of pastimes are popular among Canadians?

Most Canadians like to play and watch hockey. I would say this is a very popular pastime. Canadians also like the outdoors, so hiking in the mountains, camping and canoeing are all popular hobbies. Um, Canada is a multicultural place, so I feel there are a lot of cross-cultural hobbies. Many Canadians like learning how to cook foods from other countries, for

example. These are probably the most popular Canadian hobbies.

Thank you. Now I’d like to ask you to speak one to two minutes on a topic.

Normally, you would have one minute to plan your answer, but for the sake of this recording we are going to skip this step.

Your cue card reads:

Describe someone who has had an important influence on your life.

You should say:

-Who the person is

-How long you have known him/her

-What qualities this person has

Explain why they have had such an influence on you.

Remember you have one to two minutes to deliver this monologue. I’ll tell you when the time is up. Start speaking now, please.

I am going to talk about my high school music teacher, Mr. McGrady, and how he has influenced my life. I have known Mr. McGrady for about five years. He is a very patient man and an excellent teacher, and I feel he instills music appreciation and understanding in all of the students he teaches. He is also a very dedicated teacher. I remember he would come to school early four days a week to conduct our high school band. In doing this, I think he demonstrated a lot of commitment and leadership, and I believe these qualities rubbed off on the students he taught. I haven’t seen him in a few years, but I do not doubt he is just as much the positive image today as he was when I was his student.

For me personally, Mr. McGrady has influenced the way I see the subject of music. I played saxophone in the high school band, and by watching Mr. McGrady interact with the different instrument groups, I saw first hand how these orchestral sections operate and come together to create music.

Mr. McGrady was also always trying to push students outside of their comfort zones, and this greatly influenced me. For example, he encouraged me to join a singing group that he had organized. I couldn’t sing then and I can’t sing now, but it was encouraging to feel that he believed enough in me to ask me to join.

So, overall, I feel Mr. McGrady, firstly, acted as a wonderful role model. Secondly, he taught me how to look at music differently. And thirdly he pushed me to try new things. These are the three main ways he influenced me, and I’m very thankful I had a teacher like him.

Thank you. You mentioned you hadn’t see Mr. McGrady in a few years. Do you think you will see him again?

I hope so. I know he’s busy teaching his classes these days. I should drop by my old high school and see him and thank him again for the things he has done for me.

How important is it for people to have positive role models during their formative years?

I think it is quite key. Young people are very impressionistic, in my opinion. They are willing to mimic the actions of those around them. Surrounding a young person with positive role models gives these young people something healthy to aspire to be.

Do you think the role models young people look up to today are similar to the role models young people looked up to 25 years ago?

Hmm, that’s an interesting question. I would say that the core values of today’s role models are the same as 25 years ago. I think qualities like integrity, diligence, benevolence and reliability will always be considered positive. I suppose a difference today is that young people are exposed to more people through different media channels, so the pool of potential role models increases. I would say this is a positive thing, so long as parents ensure the role models young people look up to are healthy ones. But to answer your question, yes, I would say the majority of today’s role models are more or less the same as 25 years ago.

What sorts of people make poor role models in your opinion?

People with serious personal problems, I think. Anger problems or people that have become generally disappointed with life. I don’t think they inspire hard work or ambition. Of course, people with substance abuse problems. Role models should be individuals that you can aspire to be. If that person has serious problems, then aspiring to be like them may not be healthy.

Do you think pop icons make good role models?

By pop icons you mean…

…singers, actors…

Well, I think they can be role models. But the fact that they aren’t completely accessible to young people makes them significantly different. Young people can’t call up a pop icon and ask them for advice, for example. But, so long as the star is a good person, I don’t think they are a negative influence on a young person. So, yes, pop icons can make good role models. But young people also need role models they can talk to and learn directly from.

Are you anyone’s role model?

Am I anyone’s role model… Yes. My cousin has a son, named Ethan. He’s 5, and I see him every other week because they live here in Toronto. I think Ethan looks up to me. I guess that’s partly because I am a man in his life that is a little younger than his father. I try my best to be a positive person so that he will aspire to be one, too.

Thank you. That is the end of the speaking test.

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