Monday, 31 December 2012

IELTS Study links

Links for getting ideas      Online debate/discussions Find ideas to Writing and Speaking questions       

Reading Material Easy to read news stories        Amazon Penguin Readers
Japan today

Listening       Guardian Audio      Oxford Spell test

Online Skype Speaking practice

Grammar Quizzes        Prepositions with verbs Articles Prepositions Verb-prepositions combinations list Verb-prepositions combinations quiz

Vocabulary Academic word list Academic Keyword List Academic vocabulary synonyms quiz   List common verb/preposition collocations Adjectives and Adverbs in Academic Sample sentences   Academic collocation list    IELTS Collocations test


Task 1 Sample Essays Many IELTS sample tasks & essays IELTS Exam Answer sheets   Many free model academic essays IELTS Test Outline British Council IELTS Preparation Community writing practice site   Popular Japanese/ English study sites Proof-reading practice Paraphrasing introduction & practice


Iphone & Ipad Apps

Oxford Bookworms Interactive reading & listening

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Write overview with introduction

It's better to write the overview (概要) with the introduction. (Note: you must write an overview)

  • Reason: If you wait until the end of your essay to write the overview you might run out of time!  

Here is an example introduction and overview together for the graph above...

The two graphs provide information on home types for people living in a European country in 1991 and 2007. Overall, we can clearly see from the graphs that the majority of homes were owned, and that there was an increase in owned homes and the number of 'social renting' homes during the sixteen year period.

Remember; spend
around 2 minutes per sentence!

Sunday, 22 July 2012


Common Mistakes Japanese Make

There are many differences between Japanese and English grammar and vocabulary.

8 common mistakes Japanese make in IELTS

  1. Least/Lowest e.x. “The least lowest number of students was in Denmark at 18,000”  Low, lower, lowest = level/ rank/ height of something e.g. low cost, low amount   Little, less, least = Not as much e.g. There is little time, It is less important
  2. All/each e.x. “There were increases in sales in each all countries” "All" is plural and "each" is singular. There is also a very small change in meaning -- "each" emphasizes the individual members of a set/group.
  3. Almost e.x. “Almost (all) Japanese can eat natto” In Japanese 殆ど can be used in many situations, but “almost” is usually used with other words in English (all, everyday etc.)      
  4. Until/by e.x. “There was an increase in sales by until 2009 when sales began to fall”  By = deadline e.x. You must finish this report by until Wednesday Until = Length of time remaining e.g. You have until Wednesday to finish this report
  5. About e.x. “In this essay I will discuss about ....... Some verbs cannot use “about”   〇 Talk, argue, think, dream, laugh X discuss, consider, describe, teach 
  6. Know e.x. “I went to America and there I could know learn a lot about American culture.” In Japanese 知っている can be used in many situations, but “know” has a more specific meaning in English. Use more specific words like learn, understand, be aware of, notice etc.
  7. Easy e.x. "people easy to It is easy for people to take the train in Tokyo",  Japan easy It is easy to get a bank account”
  8. Most/Most of e.x. “most of Japanese live in Tokyo and Osaka”. Most = general, unknown subjects e.g. Japanese, women etc. Most of = specific, known subjects e.g. my friends, students in this class

Try to understand these mistakes and avoid them.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Generating Ideas

Many people have difficulty coming up with ideas in the Speaking test, especially for Part 3.

Here are some techniques for generating ideas quickly;

  • Questioning Technique
In your head ask questions about the question (what, how, when, where, why) as you speak to keep your ideas flowing.

What are the advantages of being famous?

Well, I think there are many advantages to being famous, but I guess the main advantage is that (what) you can make a lot of money. 
(how) Famous people tend to be highly valued for a special skill or talent that few people have, so they are paid a great deal for being so unique. 
(when) Of course, it usually takes a long time to become famous, depending on the type of fame, you know; a sports star, a movie star or a famous artist has to work very hard for a number of years before he or she can earn a high income.

  • Use a simple structure
1. Idea "I think one of the best ways to ..."/ "Most people in my country..."
2. Reason "The main reason for this is..."/ "This is basically because..."
3. Example "For example, recently ..."/ "A good example is..."
4. Result "So, I think by doing this ..."/ "As a result,..."

  • Make "if" or "however" sentences to describe the opposite side

If there were no famous people I think the world would be a more boring place because people like to have an interest in people they admire and aspire to be like. It can be enjoyable to learn about famous people's lives without having a relationship with them like, you know, our family and friends.

Remember; try to give as many relevant details as possible for every answer.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Improve Grammar

You need a good level of grammar for ALL parts of the IELTS test but especially for Writing and Speaking.

You can improve your grammar by;

But, how can I improve quickly?
You need to find your grammar weak points and focus on those areas 
e.x. Prepositions (前置詞) 

But, how can I find my weak points?
You can take a diagnostic grammar test

Do a little everyday and your grammar skills will improve (and thus your IELTS score) 毎日少しの勉強が、あなたの文法のスキル(あなたのIELTSスコア)を向上します

Thursday, 7 June 2012


Write daily

Just like any other English skill you need to practice writing daily because;
  • Your 'writing fluency' will increase
  • You will get used to writing in English
  • It's the only way to really improve, and it can be fun

But, how can I write English everyday?
Anything is okay! But try to focus on using new and precise (正確な) vocabulary

Here are some of the best ways to practice daily;

  • Write a diary - write down on paper what you did today and how you felt about it
  • Start an English blog - Enjoy telling the world about your life, in English.
  • Enjoy SNS - Try facebook, Printerest or even Twitter in English. 
  • Try practising paraphrase - choose any English sentence and write the same meaning but using different words.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Speak English Every Day

Speaking a little English daily will help you to greatly improve your IELTS score.
Here are three reasons;
  • Language fluency is like a muscle, you have to exercise it every day
  • You will get used to speaking English (a key to fluency)
  • It's the only way to really improve

So, how can I speak English when I am not in an English speaking country?
Anyway you can! But try to focus on IELTS type topics.

Here are some of the best ways to practice daily;

Or, talk to your dog! ( ´∀`)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Listen a lot

Listening to English daily will help you to improve your IELTS score.
Here are three reasons;

  • You can improve your general listening ability (of course)
  • You can improve your speaking - imitate native speakers
  • You can improve your IELTS topics knowledge

So, what should you listen to?

Whatever you like! But the best listening materials are news programmes and documentaries and...

Here are some of the best listening resources;

TED (entertaining lectures on many topics)

HULU (watch many US and UK TV and movies at low cost)

ItunesU (listen to lectures from famous univerities like Cambridge)

ESL Pod (a popular podcast)

Listening quizes (try the quizes for "academic purposes")

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Read a lot

One of the most important steps to improving your IELTS score is to read daily. 
There are three reasons;

  • You can improve your reading fluency
  • You can improve your IELTS topics knowledge (ex. consumerism, education etc.)
  • You can improve your IELTS writing score by looking at how native speakers write.

So, what should you read?

Anything is okay, but the best reading materials are news and opinion writing on news websites.

Easy to read news stories

News on Japan (you need to know a lot about your OWN country)                    

News sites opinion and commentary pages are useful for IELTS, and interesting.

Also, read books that you like                      
Amazon Penguin Readers (fun reading)                                  
Or, if you have a smartphone try Oxford bookworks

Now, just for fun, check this out!

And, read more!!