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Secrets to a High Score on the IELTS with Expert Jack Askew
Gabby: Welcome to an All Ears English Episode 102. This is a ‘Wisdom Wednesday’: “Secrets to a High Score on the IELTS with Expert Jack Askew.”
Gabby: Welcome to the All Ears English Podcast, where you’ll finally get real, native English conversation with your hosts, Lindsay McMahon, the ‘English Adventurer’ and Gabby Wallace, the ‘Language Angel,’ from Boston, USA.
Lindsay: In today’s episode, you’ll get three tips for the IELTS. The first one will be general, the second one will be a listening tip, and the third one will be an awesome writing tip.
Gabby: Hey, Lindsay. How’s it going?
Lindsay: Hey, Gabby. I’m doing great today. How ‘bout (about) you?
Gabby: I am doing very well. We have a special guest, my friend, Jack Askew. Hey, Jack.
Jack: Hello. How’s it going, girls?
Gabby: It’s going great.
Lindsay: Great, thank you.
Gabby: Thanks for joining us today. We’re so excited. (Um) Jack (uh) is an IELTS expert. He’s from Manchester, in the UK, and he offers some IELTS prep courses and today he’s going to share some of his knowledge with our listeners so we’re really excited because we know there’s a lot of people preparing for this exam out there.
Jack: Yeah. It’s, it’s great to, to be here with you both. I’m really excited about sharing. I’ve got three tips for today, for the IELTS exam.
Gabby: Excellent. Well, let’s get right into it. So, what is your first tip for our listeners taking the IELTS?
Jack: Okay, so, this – the first tip might sound a little bit obvious but I always see a lot of students do the focused preparation later on when it’s too late.
Jack: But, but I think it’s really important to get that focused preparation early and to also get as many sample papers as possible.
Jack: Because it’s important to know the structure of each section, (um), and to know what you’re going to see when the exam comes.
Gabby: Yeah. So cramming doesn’t work…
Gabby: …as well.
Jack: Not really, no. (Um)…
Lindsay: So how far, how far in advance would you recommend that people begin studying?
Jack: Just as soon as, as soon as you can.
Jack: If you know you’re gonna (going to) take the IELTS exam in six months or even a year it’s good to get that basic understanding of what you’re going to be doing in the exam.
Lindsay: Oh, yeah.
Gabby: Okay, so as early as possible, even a year out.
Jack: Yep, even a year out. Obviously at that stage you should be focusing more on your general English.
Jack: And improving all of the four skills.
Jack: But it’s still important to get some kind of
Gabby: Oh, okay.
Jack: And the, (uh), speaking and listening are the same but the writing, (um), is a little bit different. (Um), and so it’s important to know exactly which one you’re doing.
Lindsay: Right, for what purpose.
Jack: Because the type of writing that you’ll do will be different on Part One…
Lindsay: …on the writing exam.
Gabby: Good to know.
Lindsay: Perfect. Excellent.
Gabby: Great. We’ll let’s move on to the second, (uh), point that you have. And I think this one is a little different than what you’d normally, (uh), hear. It’s not, it’s not so general. It’s kind of a, a secret tip.
Jack: Yeah, the (um), the listening section does cause a lot of students problems.
Jack: And, and this – one thing about the listening is you only actually hear the recording once.
Jack: So, a lot of students go in and expect to hear it again but it only comes once and it goes very quickly.
Lindsay: Oh, that’s tough.
Jack: And, so there’s a…
Jack: …couple things I recommend doing. The first one is just to listen as much as possible.
Jack: And what, what I mean is to take your iPod, your mp3 player, your iPhone with you wherever you go and to just cram it full of English.
Jack: And, especially if you’ve got a lot, lot of time before the exam. It doesn’t matter especially what you put on that…
Jack: …but just to listen to things like your podcast, different podcasts…
Jack: …and the TED Talks are great as well.
Jack: And – but anything that you put on there is, is really important to, to listen as much as possible because there’s no easy way to, to listen just a few weeks before the exam…
Jack: …and to prepare for that.
Lindsay: Wow. That’s great.
Gabby: Yeah, you have to get used to, I suppose conversation and…
Gabby: …academic lectures.
Lindsay: (Mm). So just immersing yourself in the sounds of English, (kind of), and to make it really natural, I guess.
Jack: Exactly. There’s a little thing that you could do for Section One because in Section One it’s always about spellings and numbers, addresses…
Jack: …and things like that. So, it’s good to know all the, the different vowels, for example…
Jack: …the vowel sounds and to be able to write down what, exactly what you here. And…
Gabby: Oh, yeah. That’s a good tip because of course, (uh), in English we have so many different vowel sounds.
Jack: Exactly. And the, the ones that sound quite similar, too. (Um), so practice that to get focused, practice for Part One because if you do that then you can easily get 100% in Part One of the listening.
Gabby: (Ah), good tip.
Lindsay: Whoa! That’s an awesome tip.
Lindsay: Insider tip.
Gabby: Yeah, great. All right, how about the third and, and last tip?
Jack: So, the third tip is the, the writing exam. And, and I recommend doing something called ‘read-to-write’ because a lot of learners go in, think in their own language and then try to translate this.
Gabby: Oh, gosh.
Lindsay: Oh, that’s a big problem.
Jack: And it, it just leads to incorrect sentence structure and strange-sounding English.
Jack: And – so what I recommend doing is to read lots of model answers.
Jack: There is so many model answers out there and you can get them for the different parts of the writing exam. And, read them, get to know them, and then also I’ve, I have a method, which, (uh), uses space repetition software.
Lindsay: (Mm). Yeah.
Jack: And I call this the SRS writing method.
Jack: And what it does is it helps you internalize the correct structures of the writing exam. So internalize the correct written English so when you go into the exam these kind of structures just come out automatically instead of trying to translate word-for-word from your own language into English.
Gabby: (Ah). That’s great.
Gabby: So you’re talking about internalizing the structure not internalizing or memorizing a…
Lindsay: Grammar rules or…
Gabby: … specific essay.
Jack: Exactly cause (because) me-, memorizing is different and the examiners look out for this type of thing. And…
Jack: …because if you internalize it gives you the ability to be flexible and to use those specific structures no matter what the, the question is.
Gabby: Right, with your own ideas.
Jack: Exactly, with your own ideas.
Gabby: Oh, that’s great. Yeah.
Lindsay: So this is a specific kind of software? Where can students actually use this, specifically?
Jack: Yes. The software that I recommend is called Anki.
Jack: And it’s free to download.
Jack: And, a lot of language learners use this to learn vocabulary.
Jack: And, but what I recommend is using it so then, so that you can take the model answers, put them into the software and learn the different sentences or become more familiar with the sentences. And there are certain things that you can do so that you actually internalize the correct English.
Gabby: Oh, that’s wonderful.
Lindsay: Oh, very cool.
Gabby: What a practical tool.
Jack: Yeah, it’s a great tool and I really recommend it for learning languages in general, too.
Gabby: So, if our listeners wanna (want to) find out more about your IELTS preparation and your methods, where can they find you?
Jack: So, I have all my information on my website, jdaenglish.com
Jack: And, I’ve had the website for about five years now and it’s really evolved through the years. And, on the website you can find information about the IELTS exam, the preparation cost, the method that I talk about and I also have a, a free book for English learners to download.
Lindsay: Cool. Sounds great.
Gabby: All right. So that’s jdaenglish.com.
Gabby: Jack, thank you so much for your tips and for joining us today.
Lindsay: Yeah, thanks for coming on.
Jack: Thank you for having me. It’s been a, a great experience.
Gabby: All right, talk to you soon.
Jack: Okay, then. Buh (bye)-bye.
Lindsay: Hey, guys, if you wanna (want to) learn ten ways to learn English with a podcast come to our website and get our free e-book at www.allearsenglish.com/free.
Lindsay: If you wanna (want to) put your ears into English more often, be sure to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes on your computer or on your smartphone. Thanks so much for listening and see you next time.
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