Updates from my side: new website, new IELTS vocab podcast, new essay contest (48 hours to enter! Hurry!) and a personal request

Hi everyone,

I hope you have kicked off a productive summer.  In this update, I wanted to talk about a couple of the things I am working on and how you can get involved.  Don’t forget to enter the writing contest (update #3) and suggest an explanation for the New Yorker cartoon that has me stumped (update #4).

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1 – New website

Please excuse the lack of updates to ieltsielts.com over the past few weeks.  I’m pulling together a new and updated version of this website, which will include material for the other three sections of the IELTS.  New versions of all writing ebooks are in the works, too (a task I’ve been working on since the start of 2013).  As always, those who purchased older ebook versions will receive the updated versions free of charge.  Please be patient as I pull together these new projects.  I am hoping to launch everything in July.


2 – New podcast

IELTS Speaking specialist Tom (from drvipmethod.com) and I are testing a new vocabulary focused podcast.  You may have read about it on the Facebook page we set up (please add me as a Facebook friend if you haven’t already).  We’ve recorded two episodes and we’re looking for your feedback on whether the material is useful or not.  The idea is simple: each episode, we take 6 words from Victoria University of Wellington’s Academic Word List and use them to ask each other IELTS-like questions to demonstrate the words in use.  We’re hoping in future to take suggested questions from online IELTS student submissions.  We’re also hoping to get listeners on the show to participate.  If you have a free hour or so, please tune in to these pilot episodes and let us know what you think:

The Tom and Ryan IELTS Show – Episode 1

The Tom and Ryan IELTS Show – Episode 2

3 – New essay contest

Below is an IELTS essay that is missing cohesive devices in four places.  As a comment to this blog post, please suggest a word or group of words that you feel would fit in the blanks.  I will use your submissions in an upcoming IELTS video.

Does living with a pet enhance a person’s life?

A practice that has spanned across all cultures and countries throughout history is the domestication of animals.  1._________, living with a pet is a very common occurrence.  It is argued that several benefits derive from living with animals.  This will be proven by looking at the manner in which animals both provide companionship to the lonely and teach the importance of responsibility to children.

Firstly, living with animals provides companionship to people who are lonely, and 2._________ catalyzes healthful results.  For example, a study in the US revealed that widowed cat or dog owners tended to live longer than other widowed people living without pets.  As this example shows, the link between pet ownership and longevity can be seen.  Thus, it is clear that living with a pet enhances a person’s life.

In addition to the above, children who live with pets learn how to be responsible at a very young age.  For example, my nephew spent the first 15 years of his life caring for a family dog.  3._________ taught him the importance of maintaining routine, and I feel this pushed him to develop the healthy study regimen that resulted in his acceptance to a good university.  Therefore, living with animals can fortify a person’s ability to act responsibly.

Following this look, it can be concluded that pet ownership can simultaneously discourage loneliness and encourage maturity.  The positive nature of 4._________ makes it clear that living with an animal enhances a person’s life.  It is hoped more people choose pets as a part of their lifestyle.

4 – Personal request

The New Yorker is an American publication that provides an eclectic grouping of composition, namely current affair commentary, interesting but sometimes obscure articles, short stories and poetry.  It is also peppered with single panel cartoons, renowned for occasionally being difficult to understand.

This week, I have come across one such cartoon.  No matter how I dissect it, I cannot seem to come up with an explanation for its humour.  I am thus addressing the wordsmiths of the online IELTS world to shed some light: why is this funny?  If you think you understand the joke, please share an explanation as a comment to this post.


About Ryan

I have been developing online IELTS training resources for over 10 years. For more information about me and how I can help your preparation for the IELTS, please email me: ryan@ieltsielts.com
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