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).

Screen shot 2013-06-13 at 5.04.43 PM

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
This entry was posted in Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Brijal M Fofandi says:

    Firstly, the possible answers for the blanks given in the essay are mentioned below:-
    1. Human/Person
    2. secondly,
    3. Those years
    4. this discussion ( I am not sure here.)

  2. Shreyas says:

    1) Children.
    2) pet
    3) It
    4) domestication

  3. Brijal M Fofandi says:

    Firstly, the possible answers for the blanks given in the essay are mentioned below:-
    1. Human/Person
    2. secondly,
    3. Those years
    4. this discussion ( I am not sure here.)

    Secondly, my opinion for the given cartoon is that the three- a dog, a puppy and a bitch respectively represent a male, a kid and a lady. This cartoon perhaps wants to say that actors are generally greedy animals like shown and always want to go on an even bigger stage then the present one as they find it like a Hamlet (small settlement). ( Actors, please excuse me for saying this. It is just an assumption. )


    1. Nowadays/ In today’s world
    2. it
    4.a pet

  5. Answers to the blanks are as follow:

    1) However

    2) it

    3) This

    4) domestication

  6. Priya Shantu says:

    1.People or person.
    2.those are.
    3.parents are .
    4 human .

  7. N .Mathew says:

    1 However
    2 it
    3 This
    4 pet ownership

  8. christina says:

    1.society 2.also 3.it 4.domesticatoin of animals

  9. christina says:

    1.Society 2.also 3.It 4.domesticatoin of animals

  10. sushama .p says:


  11. ZIAUL HUDA says:

    1-However——– because there is ,
    2-secondly——–because here the idea is that the writer is talking about two events of living with pet animals.
    3-This span of time

  12. Maryamalqassem@yahoo.com says:

    I believe for this blancks of the essay are
    1- However .
    2- carefully , secondly ,sharely.
    3-thus ,Actually.
    4- domestication.

  13. Ning says:

    1, Obviously
    2, secondly

  14. Ning says:

    2, also

  15. Frisky says:


    Is that a reason behind unavailability of your ielts stuff on YouTube? My exam is on 6th of July. If I can watch your videos regarding academic writing in any way, it will be helpful for me.thx

  16. Tonia says:

    My answers are as follows: #1. However. #2. Therefore. #3. This. #4. Man

  17. Brijal M Fofandi says:

    How silly of me! I thought it to be a dog family there in the picture.
    To my mind, the cartoonist wants to throw light on a quite similar situation of human beings and lions at present.
    Firstly, talking about human, there is a lion in most of us. We are capable to jump and grab any peak of success we want to and are good at. But the hard and fast life of these days, tough competitions, less increment in income compared to expenses, etc are the strong iron rods of a cage to limit one’s talent. Our life is nothing but a hamlet (smaller place than a village) like stage where we have to act according to the screenplay given (our circumstances) i.e like the lion in a circus cage who acts as hi master wants him to do.
    Secondly, considering lions, a cage is not a place suitable for them, They are made to live in the wild environment of forest. But for our entertainment we lock them up in a small cage.
    All in all, the situation is that neither we are free of cages nor we let the lions to be so.
    If I would get any other idea about this picture, I will let you know.

  18. Naresh Kulkarni says:

    4. As Hamlet is Shakespeare’s longest play and still ranks among his most-performed plays. So Dogs are bored and too tired to play to again.

  19. Daniel says:

    I guess the comic is supposed to be sarcastic for producers and audiences who are repeating classics over and over again instead of adore some real creativity by setting up a scene that even dog actors are tired of playing Hamlet.

  20. Anonymous says:

    1 . Humans

    2 Secondly

    3 That experience .

    4 Pet rearing .

  21. Htun Aye says:

    At the age of advanced technology, everyone wants to watch science films,fiction ,sensational pictures ,etc.There is only a small group left willing to watch such a old fashioned staged show.Thus, actors shown in this cartoon want to change their character in more advanced field.

  22. Nidra says:

    1.Now a days
    2. It
    4.Human being

Leave a Reply