Mangkunegaran – recounting an experience

I already know the theory – give me the gapfill!


In IELTS speaking part 2 you are required to speak for between 1 and 2 minutes about a topic given by the examiner. Although it is difficult to predict the topic, the generic features of your spoken text are likely to follow one of two types. Here I demonstrate one of these types – recount.

First I’ll talk you through the predictable features of recount and then we’ll look at an example. Continue reading

Linkin’ Text – A pronunciation app

Note! I’m still working on the algorithm and I’d very much appreciate your feedback on how it’s working so far!


Indonesian flag Indonesian students are used to separating – when they speak Indonesian – every single syllable, and therefore every single word, so that the boundaries between words are always easy to identify. Unfortunately, native English speakers try where possible to join words together in speech, making the boundaries between words less obvious.

Indonesian flag Indonesians are aware that they can still communicate well in English without linking words the way English native speakers do. However, forcing yourself to link words has at least two important advantages:

  • Identifying word boundaries (when listening) becomes much easier if you are able to produce – in speaking – word boundaries!
  • Linking – or connecting – words gets you a higher score for pronunciation in IELTS Speaking!

Linkin’ text highlights 4 link types:

  • Red shows that a sound has been moved.
  • Blue shows that a sound has been added.
  • Green shows that a sound has been changed.
  • Faded shows that a sound has been omitted.

Continue reading

To be or to do? Gapfill!

The behaviours of ‘western’ and Indonesian businessmen eloquently discussed by George B. Whitfield, III.

  • What advice would you give to foreign businessmen in Indonesia?!
  • Is there a right and a wrong way for them to behave?
  • Have you ever witnessed any ‘wrong’ behaviour? Comments below!

Fill in the gaps with words and phrases from the box. Then click ‘Check your answers!’ for feedback. (There are more words and phrases in the list than there are gaps!)

If you agree or disagree with any of the claims made by the writer, add a comment and let’s discuss! Continue reading

Why do we hate grammar? Heading matching!

There has been much debate about how grammar should be taught and what age is the best age to study it. Before reading the text, consider these questions:

  • Did you study grammar in school, and if so, did you enjoy it?
  • How old were you when you first studied grammar?
  • Do you think that was a good age to start?
  • Is it better to study grammar separately from reading or just acquire it through listening and reading?

Now read the text and select suitable headings for each paragraph. Click ‘check your headings’ for feedback! If there are any ideas in the text that you agree or disagree with, add a comment and let’s discuss! Continue reading

Robot Carers – IELTS Listening Section 4

IELTS Listening Section 4 is arguably the most difficult part of the listening test. A single speaker delivers a talk or a lecture, and all ten questions have to be answered without a break.

Listen to a talk on robots as carers for the elderly and answer the questions.
Fill in the gaps with one word or a number!

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IELTS Listening – credit card numbers

(For more IELTS Listening Section 1 spelling practice, try these names and postcodes!)

Credit card numbers come in a predictable format – four groups of four digits, for example:

4567 5678 6789 7890

Zero‘ can also be read ‘oh‘, and sequences of the same digit can be read as ‘double‘, ‘triple‘, etc.

See if you can ‘spell’ these credit card numbers: Continue reading

Reconstructing work through automation

  1. Think about – or better still, chat to a friend – about the nature of work.
  2. What is work? Why do we work?
  3. If humans are replaced by machines in the workplace, what are we going to do with all our free time?
  4. Watch and listen to the video. Then attempt to reconstruct the text using the app below.

Continue reading