AE 515: 13 x Hand Expression + English Test
G’day, guys! What’s going on? I am Pete, the host of Aussie English and today I want to teach you a whole bunch of expressions to do with the hand. Let’s go!
Alright, so, number one, guys: is to live hand-to-mouth. To live hand-to-mouth. This means to live with the bare minimum of food of money of whatever resource it may be and to have none left over afterwards, to have none spare. For example: While studying at university I really lived hand-to-mouth. I’m still living hand-to-mouth even with this new promotion.
Number two: to be caught red-handed right? The idea there being you have blood on your hands because you have been caught in the act of doing something wrong or committing a crime. So, for example, the examiner caught the student cheating red-handed on the exam. I caught my son red-handed taking a cookie out of the cookie jar.
Number three: Second hand. Second hand. If you get something second hand, you’re getting it and it’s not new. It’s not brand new, it’s second hand, someone else has owned that before you so, for example, I’m going to buy a second-hand car. Did you get that jumper second hand from the op shop?
Number four: to give someone a hand, to give someone a hand, this means to assist someone with something they’re doing. Could you give me a hand with this heavy couch? I can’t really lift it on my own. I’m gonna give James a hand with his car on the weekend. We’re gonna repair it.
Number five: to be good with your hands. To be good with your hands. That one tends to be pretty obvious, but it’s usually used to mean that you are skilful with your hands when making something or when repairing something. Dave works as a plumber and has always been good with his hands. If you’re good with your hands, can you help me fix my broken camera?
Number six: at hand. To be at hand. I guess that’s you can reach that thing if it’s at hand, right? So, it is to be close by or to be readily accessible, you can get to it. So, for example, I’ll ring up the police and see if they have an officer at hand to investigate this crime. Do you have your mobile phone at hand?
Number seven: to wash your hands of something. To wash your hands of something. This means that you refuse to have anything more to do with something and it can be someone as well. After our fight, I washed my hands of Peter and I want nothing more to do with him. She washed her hands of cigarettes years ago, hasn’t touched a smoke since.
Number eight: to have your hands tied. To have your hands tied. If you have your hands tied, it is that you are unable to act freely and you have to follow the rules or abide by the law. The cop pulled me over and wanted to let me go, but his hands were tired and he had to give me the fine. The judge says her hands are tied and the law requires a harsh sentence.
Number nine: to know something like the back of your hand. If you know something like the back of your hand or more specifically if you know a place like the back of your hand, it is that you know that thing incredibly well, right? You would imagine you know the back of your hand pretty, well better than anyone else. I’ve lived in Melbourne my whole life and I know the place like the back of my hand. She knows this neighbourhood like the back of her hand.
Number ten: hands down! Hands down. This means easily and decisively, right? So, will usually use this when talking about the most extreme something, the best thing, the worst thing, right? For example: this restaurant is hands down the worst restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. The Matrix is hands-down the best film we’ve ever seen.
Number eleven: to take matters into your own hands. To take matters into your own hands. This means to deal with a problem yourself because the person who was meant to be dealing with it was unable to do so. After the police gave up the investigation, we decided to take matters into our own hands. I might have to take matters into my own hands. If you don’t deal with your misbehaving son.
Number 12: on one hand… on the other hand… So, we use on one hand or on the one hand to introduce a statement that we’re then going to compare to an opposite statement usually or a contrasting statement on the other hand. For example:
on one hand, I want to go to the party tonight, but on the other hand I have to study. On one hand, she wants to go to the gym and get fit, on the other hand, she’s too busy with work.
The very last one, guys, the very last one, number thirteen is: first-hand, and you can also hear this as second-hand and third-hand, fourth-hand etc. So, when we use first hand this usually means directly it’s happened to you directly. So, you’ll hear something first hand, you will learn something first hand, you will see something first hand and that means that you personally did that thing. If it’s second hand, it’s that you did so through someone else. If someone tells you a rumour about someone else, you’ve heard that rumour second hand or you’ve heard that information second hand through someone else and not the direct source, ok? So, examples: when the dog growled at the girl, she learned first-hand not to pull its tail. I heard second hand that Bill’s going to divorce his wife. So, there you go guys. There you go!
Those are 13 expressions that you can use that are related to the body part the hand. They’re very common, they’re very useful! So, learn those and if you have a video that you would like me to do in the future on expressions like this surrounding a theme, make sure to comment below and let me know which you would like me to do. And also, don’t forget to hit that like button and subscribe to see more videos like this. Thanks for joining me, guys. See you soon!
Let’s review with the test. I’ll show you the question followed by the answer if you need more time pause the video. Good job guys, well done! I hope you scored well, and I’ll see you next time.
Let’s review with a test!
I’ll show you the question followed by the answer. If you need more time, pause the video.
- If you’re comparing two contrasting things you use the expression _______.
- On the one hand, on the other hand
- Hands are tied
If you’re comparing two contrasting things you use the expression on the one hand, on the other hand.
- If you only make enough money for the bare necessities in life, you __________.
- Live hand to mouth
- Give someone a hand
If you only make enough money for the bare necessities in life, you live hand to mouth.
- If you decide to deal with a problem because the person who should have dealt with it has failed to, you have _______.
- Taken matters into your own hands
- Your hands tied
If you decide to deal with a problem because the person who should have dealt with it has failed to, you have taken matters into your own hands.
- If something is easily and decisively the best, it’s ______ the best.
- Hands down
- At hand
If something is easily and decisively the best, it’s hands down the best.
- If you know a location incredibly well, you ______.
- Know it like the back of your hand
- Take matters into your own hands
If you know a location incredibly well, you know it like the back of your hand.
- If you catch someone in the middle of committing a crime you _________.
- Wash your hands of them
- Caught them red-handed
If you catch someone in the middle of committing a crime you caught them red-handed.
- If someone or something you need is readily accessible, it’s _______.
- At hand
If someone or something you need is readily accessible, it’s at hand.
- If you are amazing at repairing or making things, you are ________.
- At hand
- Good with your hands
If you are amazing at repairing or making things, you are good with your hands.
- If you learn information directly from the source, you’ve learnt it _______.
- Hands down
If you learn information directly from the source, you’ve learnt it first-hand.
- If you assist someone with something, you ________.
- Give them a hand
- Are good with your hands
If you assist someone with something, you give them a hand.
- If you have to follow the law even if you don’t want to, your ________.
- Hands down
- Hands are tied
If you have to follow the law even if you don’t want to, your hands are tied.
- If you buy something that isn’t brand new, you’ve bought it _______.
If you buy something that isn’t brand new, you’ve bought it second-hand.
- If you no longer want anything to do with someone, you’ve ______.
- Washed your hands of them
- Caught them red handed
If you no longer want anything to do with someone, you’ve washed your hands of them.
Good job, guys! Well done! I hope you scored well and I’ll see you next time!
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By pete — 1 year ago
In this episode of Aussie English I give you some English speaking tips on how to instantly have better English conversations and speak english confidently.
AE 378: How To Instantly Have Better English Conversations
G’day, guys! What’s going on? I am out here in Royal Park during sunset. You can probably the city over here. Just thought I would sit down and have a chat to you guys about how to have better conversations in English. So, at the moment I’m… I’m reading a book about language learning and about how to have better conversations in general and I guess… I noticed these kinds of problems crop up. They occur, they happen quite a bit, but I thought I would talk about it. So, the first chapter, the first section that I’ve kind of gone over in this book is named Showing Your Stuff, right? Showing Your Stuff, so showing what you’re capable of and I feel like a lot of ESL learners trying to learn English a lot of the time they feel shy. They feel like they’re going to make mistakes. They feel like they don’t have the vocab to express themselves exactly how they would like to express themselves and then when they have conversations, whether it’s with other ESL learners or whether it’s with native speakers like myself, they tend to shut down and they don’t show their stuff.
So, there is an important point to make about this. I guess, first and foremost: you could be incredibly good at English. You could be even a native speaker, but if you are constantly shy, too shy to speak it’s going to seem like you don’t have a good command of the English language.
And so, the point of this chapter was saying that there are two ways a speaker can go, any given speak when they have a conversation. If they shut down and they kind of try to always be correct and keep sentences short and not express themselves very much, conversations are often incredibly laborious, they’re difficult, they are hard for the other speakers to sort of go along with it and continue because to their mind, for them, it feels like you’re not interested in having a conversation.
If your answers are really short and abrupt, you know, if I ask you how you’re going and you say good and then you don’t follow up with anything, it gives the impression that you’re not interested. So, the whole point of this chapter in showing us stuff was talking about not necessarily using the most complex language in the world, obviously, but putting putting content out there, going above and beyond, saying more than you think is required.
And I think that’s kind of the takeaway message, that’s the key: give the person who’s asking you questions, the person with whom you’re having a conversation, give them a lot of material and by doing so, paradoxically, you get control of the conversation because all of a sudden, you’re the one who’s giving the other speaker, the other person in the conversation, all this material for them to follow up, for them to ask questions about. And so, you actually gain control of where the conversation goes, ok?
So, not only are you making it seem like you’re interested, you want to talk to them, you are giving them a lot of material, but secondly that they can ask follow up questions about the things that you’ve brought up. Whereas if you don’t feel like expressing yourself to an extensive degree, I guess, you’re not giving them material that they can follow up on. So, if I say to you how are you going? And all you say is “good”, I don’t know where to go from there. I don’t know what kind of follow up questions to give you. Whereas if I say that same thing and then you say “I’m good. I’ve just been on holiday, I’ve just gotten back from my trip to Melbourne and it’s been really cold, the weather was good, but it wasn’t… it wasn’t amazing. We went surfing, we went hiking”… You’ll see there that, despite me talking a lot, the sentences that I’m using are still very short. We did this. I did this. I thought this. It was cold.
You don’t have to make things very complicated to still have really good conversation skills, right? Because after you’ve said these kinds of things, I went here, I did this, it was like this, the weather was this, the person you were having a conversation with, one: thinks you’re interested and willing to have a conversation and two: they can ask you follow up questions.
“Oh! I’ve been there. Did you like it? Oh, the weather was cold! What did you do? Did you go out?”, you know? Those kinds of things so, I guess, summing up to keep this video short: no matter what your level in English, try to always show your stuff when you’re having a conversation, ok? Try to give more than you think is required when answering questions. If someone says “How are you going?” You can say “good”, but then follow it up with some more information, give them some material to ask you more questions. And, as a result, you’re going to have control of where the conversation goes. It’s going to be related to things you’re comfortable talking about. If you keep it short, keep it quiet, the other person has to try and come up with questions that you have no control over. So, that’s why I think it’s important always try to show your stuff when having a conversation.
It doesn’t have to be complex, but just put out there as much as you can and, yeah, enjoy having longer and more fruitful conversation, guys.
I hope that helps.
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By pete — 3 months ago
Episode 500 Special Deal!
2 months for only $20!
Available for the Next 7 days!
Use the coupon code: EPISODE500
AE 500 – Thank You! Here’s to 500 More!
Wow. Episode 500, guys! That is incredible! And that went so fast! I remember the first day sitting down in the park, doing episode number one where I was talking about me, what I had planned, what I do, who I am all of that. I remember sitting on a log in a park in Melbourne.
G’day, guys! Welcome to the very first Aussie English Podcast. My name is Peter Smissen, I’m a 28-year-old PhD student from Melbourne.
Anyway, that is zoomed by. Today I have a very special episode for you, guys. I am looking so forward to showing you Kel, chatting with her a bit about how we met and then showing you some of the members in the Aussie English Classroom and their English, ok? Where they’re from. Why they’re learning English so, stick around for that and at the very end there is a special deal if you would like to sign up to the Aussie English Classroom for two months for a special price, but you’re going to have to stick around if you want to hear about that. Anyway, guys, let’s get into it!
Pete: Why are you here, Kel?
Kel: I don’t know, you made me come
Pete: She was sleeping and I was like ‘come, come, come! Make a video, make a video with me!’ Alright, guys, so I wanted to do this for episode 500 and I’m glad that I can have Kel here. and I guess, first and foremost, I wanted to say thank you to all of you, guys, because, you know, you’ve been hanging with it, you’ve been listening to the podcast, you’ve been on YouTube, Instagram, all of that stuff, supporting the podcast in the classroom, everything related to Aussie English enough that I can keep going.
Pete: For the last… two and a half, three years now. Been battling it out and it even got me this one, right? Aussie English got me this one. Do you wanna tell them that story? We might as well share that, this is a special episode. So we’ll tell you some stuff about us, some news about us and then I have a bunch of videos that I got from Aussie English classroom members. I ask them to specifically put together a video answering a few questions about who they are, where they’re from, why they’re learning English and I just wanted you guys to see that. You know, there are lots and lots of people listening to the podcast, probably experiencing the same problems as you, having the same worries as you, so yeah that’ll be at the end, but first…
Pete: Kel, how did we meet? She hunted me down.
Kel: No, I did not.
Pete: She came, she was chasing me down.
Kel: No, you always say that!
Pete: She was on Instagram, she saw that she was like ‘I like this guy, I want this guy, this is my husband’.
Kel: No, I was studying English and I found your podcast.
Pete: You did.
Kel: It was really random. Like, one night I was like I can’t sleep. So, you know, let’s keep studying and I found Aussie English Podcast and I was like oh, that’s really nice’, and he mentioned that he had a YouTube channel. I was like I’ll check it out tomorrow.
Pete: And that I was single.
Kel: No, you didn’t.
Kel: So next day I was on Youtube and I found his channel. I just like… just left a comment like ”what you do is really nice, I like your job” you know, just being friendly and I wasn’t expecting him to reply to me because, you know, those famous people online they never never…
Pete: Que isso? What is this? Famous? I’m not Johnny Depp yet.
Kel: I’m glad you’re not. So, he did, he replied to me and he was really friendly, saying where are you from and things like that. So we got talking and…
Pete: I found you’re from Brazil and obviously I was learning Portuguese at least, to a limited extent back then and I think it’s one of those things, a single male and you are learning Portuguese and so you’ve got to give yourself at the time I was like, you know, meet as many women as you can wherever, don’t assume anything, you’re not going to find the one if you don’t go out of your way to constantly meet people.
Kel: So, you were telling that ‘help me learn Portuguese’ to a lot of Brazilians?
Pete: I said… that’s it. that’s it.
Pete: But I saw that and I was like okay if you want to, you know, chat a bit about learning Portuguese and learning English like just talk to me on Instagram and I said that to her thinking she’s not going to add me on Instagram or talk to me, she’ll be like oh this guy’s a weirdo, but you sent me a message and we just clicked, really well I guess ,pretty quickly I don’t know, she has a pretty wicked sense of humour. You probably don’t get to see it on the videos much and you probably don’t get to see too much of my sense of humour. Oh well, a little bit, but it’s tame, it’s very tame, guys. I am… I have a bad sense of humour.
Kel: So, yeah I remember when I replied to you on Instagram it was just like… No, the first time, I tried to start the conversation like hey, how are you doing? He seemed…he didn’t really seem interested. He was like… ‘yeah’.
Pete: I was probably there like don’t seem too interested, don’t seem too interested.
Kel: And then the next time you replied to me he was something about a fish, I was just so confused. Like, I don’t remember what you’re saying, it was about a fish and I was like I really need improve my English because this guy is talking…
Pete: Ohh the Brazilian fish, there’s a little fish in Brazil that if you go into the river it can swim up your penis or into your vagina, I was like have you heard about that? It’s crazy!
Kel: I’m like…wow.
Kel: We just, you know, became friends.
Pete: And you happen to be coming to Melbourne. You ended up coming down to Melbourne. We got along and the rest is history.
Kel: That’s it. And so, I know, crazy things. These are all the things that Aussie English has given me, right? I’ve got a whole bunch of students who are about to show you videos. I met Kel we are now in… I don’t know, what is it? Three weeks from now we’re getting married. The ring has arrived and we were more worried about these and thought we would just put them on because… they are expensive, guys. Kel walked into the shop and was like give me the cheapest ones you’ve got. And she’s pretty much like fifteen hundred dollars.
Kel: I think she wanted to show us, you know, the ones with rocks and stuff. And I’m like… just don’t even got there.
Pete: We’re not interested in putting a lot of money into this tiny little thing. It’s more what it means than what it is, I guess. So, that’s crazy. Looking back on it for me, at least, it’s like whaaat?! We’re getting married after a year and a bit and Kel has other news as well that I’ve been trying to…bite my tongue and not say anything.
Kel: What is that?
Pete: It’s about the size of a blueberry at the moment.
Kel: It’s a baby!
Pete: Kel is pregnant, guys, Kel is pregnant! Kel’s got a little belly, I’ll bring it forward a bit. No, she’s got nothing. It’s 100 percent small normal.
Kel: It’s 100 percent food right now.
Pete: So, you’re only about seven weeks pregnant, seven weeks pregnant Kel. And that blows my mind. I keep having these moments where I’m like what the hell? I’m going to be a dad in June.
Kel: And that makes me worried because sometimes he’s like…he’s looking at the ring like…
Pete: That just because I’m getting used to it, it’s not because I’m thinking about it again, I’m not second guessing it!
Kel: Are you sure you want to do it?
Pete: No, no, no, no. But yeah, that’s crazy! That’s what English has brought me, guys. You guys, obviously Kel, have completely changed my life. The baby is going to change my life. It’s just crazy where you end up, you know, like three years ago I was studying my PhD wanting to become a scientist and graduated that and just haven’t touched it since and have been doing this full time, full time.
Pete: We’ve gone to Canberra, Kel had a job there, we’ve come back from Canberra, we’ve had a lot of adventures!
Kel: Like, just…made so many enemies.
Pete: And friends.
Kel: And friends, a bunch of friends. Has been a rollercoaster.
Pete: It has been a rollercoaster, exactly, but it’s been well worth it. Anyways, guys, hopefully we’ll tell you more about marriage and pregnancy in the near future and I’m glad that Kel’s on the videos and interested in being involved a bit more now so… That would be really fun, but yea, big thank you. Thank you so much, guys!
Kel: Thank you so much.
Pete: And we just had 10,000 people on Instagram. How crazy is that? Kel’s been on Instagram posting things for me as well, getting involved. It’s all her. She got us over 10,000.
Kel: No, it’s your dance.
Pete: It’s my dance!
Pete: Anyway, I’m going to try and keep it up, guys, I’m going to keep trying to improve, keep trying to deliver good English resources to you. And yeah, I guess I will see you soon and leave you now with all the videos from…I don’t know how many people, hopefully more than 15 or so. So, I don’t know how long this is going to be. People are still sending me videos, but we’ll see how it goes. I hope you enjoy it and I will see you in the next 500 episodes! See you guys!
G’day, guys. How are you going? My name’s Prameshwor. You can call me Promise. I’ve been learning English for a few years. And I met the Aussie English Classroom on 25th of July of this year, 2018. So, I think it’s been approximately three months, ok guys? One of the main reasons of learning English, and particularly Aussie English, is to enhance my listening comprehension. My pronunciation, word stress, intonation, all from the scratch! I think speaking well allows me to make a bunch of friends from all over the world, ok? It will uplift my career as I always wanted to work in a very good reputable organization. As a customer service officer. So, thanks a lot, Pete. It all the credit goes to you. This is a wonderful platform that you have been providing to us. Alright? So, have a ripper of a day. See ya!
Good day, guys. This is Mona and I want to talk about what Pete suggested. Okay, now I am from Egypt. I am old. I’ve been learning English for quite some time, but the way I learned English is just in writing at a rate that I think is not that bad, it’s ok. But I just found out that I just have an issue with the book and pronunciation so, actually Pete thank you very much, Pete, I really learned a lot, a lot. I mean, vocab and culture and there are things that, you know, I wouldn’t know about. I mean, so thank you very much and I really enjoy being with you, guys. I mean in the Facebook. Thank you! ok, bye!
G’day, Pete! How is it going down there? My name is Duaa I’m a mechanical engineer from Jordan. I’ve been studying English since I was five. It’s a mandatory language to be learned here in Jordan. In addition to that it’s the official communication language for engineers and I deal with many foreign engineers from many nationalities. I enjoy your posts and I enjoy the expressions you always come up with, especially in the information you keep giving us about the culture in Australia and other things. Thank you.!
Hey guys! my name is Emma and I’m from China. I started to learn English since junior high, which is like 20 years ago. Two years ago, I came to Australia to do my PhD. At that time, I find the Aussie English Podcast. So, I really love it. So, I start to learn Australia English from Peter. For me, English is really important for my academic career. I wanted to present or communicate well with my colleagues or peers at daily life or even any conferences. And besides that, I really enjoyed living in Melbourne so I wanted to make more friends from a different culture background and English can help me to do all these things.
Hello everyone! This is Hetal here. I’m from India and I’ve been learning English for the last five or six months and It is an amazing experience to be with the Aussie English Classroom and having amazing videos and podcast every time. And my dream is to explore the world. Thanks so much for watching this video!
Hi everyone. How you going? This is Thomas Di. I grew up in a small city in the north east of China. I lived in Beijing for 18 years before I moved to Perth four years ago with my wife. We really enjoy the life here. I joined the Aussie English Classroom I think in May this year. I really benefit a lot from the class because I’ve learned so much expressions, vocabulary and lot of things. Sometimes, you know, after I a phrasal verb or a expression the next day I can hear someone using it in the office. So, you know, I’m so excited! So, in terms of the purpose of learning English originally so, I learned it. You know, you have no choice because you need to get good marks in the school so, you can get into a good university in China, but it’s mainly just for the exam itself. But after I moved to Australia I realised that it is all about communication. So, you need to use English. You know, you make mistakes, but there’s so much to experience. So, in the Aussie English Classroom I found that everyone is brave. We help each other and we share our experience which is quite helpful to each remember. So, if someone says English is a tool, but for me because it’s more than that, it’s a window. So, you can see the world through it. You can communicate with almost everyone in the world even to someone, you know, English is not their native language. So, yeah for the 500 episode, I would say thank you, Pete, and all the best the whip or the Aussie English Classroom. See you later, cheers!
Hi, guys! Hi Pete! I’m Pasquale from Italy. I’m 45 years old and I have been learning English for more or less three years. I am the moderator of Canguru English official, we Christian Saunders and I’m so glad to be part of this amazing work with you, Pete, which is the Aussie English. English is changing my life completely. I love this amazing language and it helps me a lot, ok? Bye for now and see you soon!
Hi, how are you? This is Daniel Jung and I’m from South Korea. I have been learning English for around 10 years, though, but I still feel that I need to improve my English. Maybe because I couldn’t find a way to improve my English effectively, but luckily, I found Pete and have been picking up fair dinkum Aussie English and learning Australian culture as well, obviously, I’m really enjoying them. Speaking English for me it’s like communicating with bigger world so, I can communicate with more people and feel and learn much more things. Anyway, I really appreciate for Pete to make this kind of chance for us. Thank you!
Hey guys! This video is for answering Pete’s questions. I’m Man and I’m from Hong Kong. I’m just join Aussie English for three months. Why I need to learn English? Because English is international language. If I know more about English I can…I can go travel around the world, I can communicate with other people and I can meet different people in the world. What will speaking English allow you to do? If I have a good English, fluent English, I can easily find a better job and I can start master program or maybe I can move back to Australia. I love Australia. A few years ago, I have been to Australia before. I really love Australia culture, the food and people, I love it there, yes. I hope you guys enjoy Aussie English. Thank you.
Hi, guys! How’s it going? My name is Shinichi, I’m from Japan and I’ve been learning Australian English nearly for four years. I’d love to live in this country because I love this country Australia. It’s pretty good, isn’t it? I love also to communicate with people all over the world. That’s why I’ve been learning English. Cheers!
My name is Fatimah, I’m from Malaysia. I joined Aussie English around 10 months, almost a year, I think, and I love learning many languages one of them is English and I find this. Interesting online class, which is Aussie English Classroom and I learn a lot from this. And basically, with language you can expand your knowledge, you can learn many things, you can communicate with may people. That’s it. Thank you!
Hi, everyone! This is Vivian. I’m from Hong Kong. I also live in Singapore for more than 10 years. Currently I live in Melbourne. I have been learning English since I was nine until now more than 40 years. Why I learn English? First of all, I like English very much. Secondly, I know English is the tool to connect to the rest of the world. It broadens my horizon to whatever knowledge that I’m interested in. Like currently, we’re building a studio at my backyard. I have done a lot of researchers through the Internet. It helps a lot during the whole building process. If I don’t know English, we don’t know how I can complete the whole project smoothly and successfully. My aim now is to progress from an intermediate level to advanced level. Cheers!
Friends, my name is Fan Zhang and I’m from China. I started to learn English about 30 years ago when I was a middle school student. Two years ago, I started to learn English with the Aussie English Podcast. So, about two months ago I started to learn English with the old English Classroom. The reason why I keep learning English is that English is the most widely used the language of the world today and also the people, most people that represent the frontier of the development of science and technology are written in English so, speaking English better can help me enjoy a more comfortable life in Australia and also help my career development in Australia. Currently I am working and leaving Australia. So, join us, join the Aussie English Classroom. This is the most efficient way to improve our English. Thank you!
Hi, everyone! My name is Alex. I am from Russia. I have been intensively learning English for the last four years. I subscribed to Aussie English on YouTube in May, 2016, and later I joined the Aussie English Classroom and I work there for this time. I am learning English in order to pass English exams and to get a better job. Speaking English will get me a lot of opportunities to live and to work in better conditions.
Hi! My name is Aykhan and I’m from Baku Azerbaijan. I’ve been taught English by my aunt and this was happened roughly in 1996 when I was at first form, but after graduating from the University in 2011 I had a huge break in my English lessons. So, that’s a period when I forgot a lot of things which I have learnt before. But last year, I have decided to become an Aussie English Classroom member, and there are two causes why I decided to do it. The first thing is that I want to migrate to Australia and I want to learn Australian English and improve my common English as well. And I need to pass PTE academic exam and Aussie English Classroom help me in it a lot. So, the second cause why I became a member of the Aussie English Classroom is that I just like this language and I want to live in the English spoken country. So, the English classroom is the best way where you can improve your English. That’s all for me. Sorry for my voice. I am under the weather and I wish you good luck!
Hello, everybody. Hello Pete. Hello Kel! Hi, guys! I hope you are all doing well. My name is Rocio. Most of you already know me. I am from Venezuela are in South America and first of all I want to congratulate Pete on reaching 500 episodes and just say that you are an amazing, mate! I’m really enjoying Aussie English and I wish you all the best in the future. So, I guess they started learning English when I was in high school, but honestly, I learned English in a really basic level. I remember that I was even able to do well in testes, in the way like filling in the blanks or first conditional, second conditional. I just learn how the pattern work and I was able to fill in the blanks and do well in my test without even knowing any of the words in the sentences. So, that’s how bad I was in high school and even at uni. So, then many, many years down the track I was working for IBM in Venezuela. I missed a great opportunity to get a promotion because I wasn’t able to speak English. I felt very sad, but I thought it was very late for me to start learning a new language. A few years passed by and I was in a different company.
I was at Citibank and one day you realise that when I got a promotion as well and I was in a situation where I needed to speak English because I have a lot of stakeholders that I needed to liaise with. So, I was able to communicate with them by e-mail, but it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t doing a very good job because I needed to speak to them and, you know, speak about things and get people engaged and things like that. So, there was one day that I just decided ah that’s it, I need to get better in English and I talked to my boss and we decided that when I was able to take out a long leave and I went to United States and I did an immersion course in there. So, I went to Chicago for12 weeks, three months and I went there and I loved there, I think that was the point when I started really loving and really liking English. I felt so so good because I was alone and I didn’t speak Spanish for three months so, I was so, so happy! I was able to communicate. I was able to get the things done, you know, buy things in the supermarket and get around the city by myself. So, I felt that I really… that was a reality, I was able to speak English so, I went back to Venezuela after those three months and we had a bad political and economic situation in that. So, my husband and I decided to come to Australia mainly because we wanted to do a masters because they wanted to upgrade my skills. So, we came to Australia hoping that the situation in Venezuela got better in those three years that I was doing my masters and my husband was able to work full time and I was able to work part time as well. So, that was a great benefit. So, you know, I did my Masters and then the situation there back in Venezuela didn’t improve a little bit so, we decided just to stay in here and yeah that’s why I’m still here.
I discovered Aussie English a bit over a year ago now, and when I saw how Pete was able to explain things and to give us tips about Aussie culture, about how people say these things or how people really think, I really, really love it. It was mind blowing for me because that was what I really was looking for because I learnt English in an American way, let’s say. So, I was always in doubt if these expressions or these were actually used in Australia or not or is this English, American English, or is British English.
So, Pete has been able to reassure for me how things are in Australia and that the bar that you really love the most about Aussie English. Apart from that, I have learned tons of new expressions and new vocabulary and more so I have had a lot of fun doing this!
So, yeah, I think the last question was about what will I be able to do if I had a better English and I think, in my case, because I’m already here in Australia and I’m already working in a company full-time for me if I’m able to speak more fluent English, better English, I will be able to reach higher positions in the company and I will also engage a lot of… more in conversations and make decision, decision making situations. So, yeah that’s my journey with English. Pete, please, please, please! Keep doing this because this is really awesome. You are the only Aussie guy out there who is teaching English in this level that you are doing it. So, please keep going and I just can’t wait to see how you have prepared for us for the next 500 more episodes, I guess. So, thanks so much, Pete and peace out!
Hello, mate! My name is Patrick. I’m a French Brazilian since 1974 living in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The name of the state is Minas Gerais. It means mining and agricultural around mining areas. I learn American English for research activities and now, since a month ago, Aussie English for a new project regarding common goals management and aborigines’ point of view, cultural relevance for social management of mining in the future.
Hey there. My name’s Paula. I’m from Colombia and I’ve been learning English with the Aussie English Classroom for around 7 months. I’m learning English because this is a significantly important requirement in my country if you want to get a better job, but I’m also learning because I really, really enjoy travelling. So, I think English is useful when you want to get to know about many different people and cultures. That’s it. Bye!
That was absolutely incredible, I’m so proud of you, guys! I hadn’t actually watched any of those videos until I had gotten around to editing it, which I am currently doing and so I’ve just gone through. I’ve just edited everything I’m making this outro, but yeah, I want to say that I’m really impressed with you, guys, and to see you guys improve working so hard every week in the Aussie English Classroom as well as all those others that are listening to the podcast, that are commenting on YouTube, that are engaging with the material and working really hard. It is not easy, guys! It is not easy and yeah just know that I am really, really impressed and I’m really, really proud of each and every one of you.
So, thank you so much, guys. Thank you for making this possible. Thank you who’s watching right now. Thank you very much! I want to let you know that if you would like to support the podcast, you can go to my Patron page and you can also make donations via PayPal if you want to do one-off donations. The links will be in the transcript or they’ll be below on this video on YouTube. If you would like the transcripts for the podcast as well as the MP3s and you want to support the podcast you can go to theaussieenglishpodcast.com, you can sign up there and for the price of a coffee per month you will get access to all of the transcripts, all of the MP3s for every episode, ok?
And then on top of that if you’re interested in signing up to the Aussie English Classroom, where I put up weekly courses designed to help you improve your listening, your speaking, your writing and your reading in English, but with strong, strong, strong emphasis on speaking and primarily on Australian English then go to theaussieenglishclassroom.com and I’ve got a special deal for you, guys! To celebrate this episode, for the next week, whenever this video is uploaded for the seven days after that, you can use the coupon code ‘episode500’ to get two months for the price of half a usual month, ok? So, instead of the first two months being about 40 dollars, you’ll get two months for 20 dollars, ok?
So, use the coupon EPISODE500. That is EPISODE500, a single word. EPISODE500. Go to theaussieenglishclassroom.com, use that coupon and you’ll get two months for $20 bucks.
That is like $2.50 a week, guys! That’s half a coffee a week to get in there, use all the materials, get into the Aussie English classroom Facebook group, meet the guys that you have just seen in this video or heard in this episode and practice your English with them and with me. So, I’m looking so forward to the future of Aussie English and to, hopefully, seeing you in the Aussie English classroom, guys.
Thank you so much for sticking with me.
I’ll see you soon! Peace out!
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By pete — 5 months ago
Watch the interview video here:
AE 479 – Interview: How to Prepare for IELTs with Kit Perry
G’day, guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English.
So, today, I have an interview episode with you all about IELTs, and we do mention the PTE and some of the other tests as well. But yeah, I thought I would get on my fiancée’s old English teacher from Townsville, Kit, and he is from the Townsville International English School, and Kel had been harassing me for a while to get him on the podcast and saying he was an amazing guy, a really good teacher, has a lot to say, a lot of knowledge about IELTs and some of these other exams as well. And so, I thought it would be awesome to get him on and just chat to him about how to prepare for the IELTs, what to expect, how to do well on the IELTs, and hopefully put a few of your concerns at ease.
Anyway, without any further ado, let’s just get into this interview today with Kit from the Townsville International English school.
G’day, guys! Welcome to this video! Welcome to this interview of Aussie English, today I have Kit from Townsville International English School with me and he is my fiancée’s old English teacher. So, Kit, welcome to the podcast! Thanks so much for coming on.
Thanks for having me.
So, I guess, first of all, how did Kel get so good in English? What was her secret?
Well, there’s a few different things, I guess, to answer that question that’s Kel herself and her propensity or ability to pick up the language, but yeah, hopefully, I think there was an element of the school and what we do up here in her success as well. So, I think yeah there’s a few things involved in that.
That’s what I’m always saying when I hear like, she told me when she got here she spoke no English, at least I have no idea, but she said she spoke none, very limited.
Very, very limited. I remember when she first came in, we’re doing our placement test and we happened to have tablet chairs in the classroom that she was doing a test and I remember asking her, just a simple question, are you left handed or right handed? And, you know, I was just met with this complete blank sort of expression and, you know, from that point it was sort of obvious okay, well, she’s going to be pretty low. So, and yeah, she tested at a beginner level when she started and we had her for…I don´t know how long it was, but by the end, by now, you know, she’s… yeah, she’s brilliant.
You know, she speaks very much like a native speaker, I would say, you know, her vocab is incredible and yes, I don´t know, I think Raquel is a bit of an exception in some ways, you know, like I think she’s naturally talented at languages which really helped a lot and she has a great memory. I always… always think that, you know, when I have students with a really good memory that goes such a long way in learning a language. So, that also helped, but yeah, hopefully, you know, we played a part in her progression and where she’s at now too.
Yeah, definitely. I just think it’s so good that you can see how much someone could attain in just two years, you know? If they work their ass off she will say she read 30 books in a year or something and was just constantly studying. So, it’s good to know that, you know, obviously talent is part of it, but hard work is a massive part of this as well.
I absolutely agree. And she was really a very hardworking student so she really sort of, you know, put her best foot forward in everything she did. She was always doing homework, always asking for extra stuff to do. So, yeah, definitely goes a long way I think, you know, the attitude and the mentality of wanting to improve is what was there with Raquel, so yeah, definitely.
Yeah, she´s a bit of a champ.
Less about her and more about you, Kit. How did you wind up doing what you’re doing where you’re doing it? Can you tell me the story of how you ended up in Townsville, teaching English in a school?
Absolutely, yeah. So, I spent most of my young years in Townsville, actually I grew up in Townsville. I was born in Papua New Guinea, but then came back and lived in Townsville with my parents, so I grew up here. Went to the university down in Brisbane and then landed a dream sort of job up here in Townsville at a local high school and did that for about five years and I loved it. I had a great job, I had lovely students, beautiful sort of facilities and a great place to teach. However, I sort of felt over that time that my… my personal idea of what a good education is was a little bit divergent to what was going on at the school, that the focus of the school was very much on students getting, you know, As and, you know, producing results that, you know, maybe look good on paper, but I think in reality doesn’t necessarily go with what I consider a good or an effective education. So, I sort of… in many ways I sort of thought okay, well, you know, if I can’t achieve what I want to achieve as an educator within that system, that we would branch out and start our own school. One of the things that’s sort of, you know, the final straw that broke the camel’s back was I had 18 classes that I taught as a middle teacher, so 18 separate classes of students. It was ridiculous and I sort of…I went to the principal actually the year before I left and I said listen, it´s just… is too many, you know, like I was capable of teaching that many students, but… and knowing individuals for that many students, but it was just too much.
But how can you connect too, I mean, you might be able to remember their name, but how much time can you give to them?
Absolutely, yeah, totally and that’s what it was, it was about sort of, you know, like yeah, I knew the students, but could I really connect? Could I really make a difference for them? No, it was too much and I said, you know, give me a couple less classes or one less class next year and I guarantee we can do more with these students, but I came back the next year and I think I had one extra class, so I said at the start of that year, you know, that’s enough, you know. It didn’t really match with my philosophy of education so my wife is also a teacher and so we basically had a discussion at the start of that year and said well, you know, if this is not…if it this doesn’t reflect who we are as educators, then let’s create a school that does. So yes we open TIES in about 10 years ago now and we’ve been going ever since and we’ve basically created everything from what we wanted to reflect as educators and what we thought was a great education. So, you know, we have small class sizes, with a maximum of 18 students, but typically we have between sort of maybe 12 or 14 students in the class. We had a lot of individualized focus within the class, a lot of attention directly with our students and you know, maybe going back to Raquel´s example, maybe that is one of the reasons why she for example improved so much is that we’re really able to make a difference in our students lives and in their… obviously, their English ability.
So, yeah, and everything we do here works from that philosophy and that core driving principle that we start the school with.
So, what kind of advice would you have for people thinking about getting into schools and working out whether a school is going to be good, whether it’s in general or just for them? Like, are there things, are there warning signs, are there things that they can find out about different schools or it’s just a crapshoot where you have to just hope?
I mean, at the end of the day, if you can talk to a teacher who has been in that particular school for a period of time and you can get honest feedback from them, I think that’s a good place to start, but it’s not always easy to do that. I think a lot of schools on the outside looking incredible and this particular school that I was at was incredible and beautiful school, beautiful facilities and everything, but I don’t think you can really get a sense of the true cultural, the underlying cultural, the education establishment until you’re actually teaching.
It´s a hard one.
Yeah, it’s a hard one, absolutely.
There’s kind of like an anecdote I know about… one of my friends are really into cars, he loves Ferraris and I remember he was with a friend looking for a Ferrari for him. He’s not rich, but the friend was and they test drove Shane Warne’s old Ferrari. Shane Warne’s a cricketer in Australia and it looked amazing and then they got in it and there were cigarette burns in the leather, it had been destroyed, but it was like they had no idea until they got in the car that it was a piece of junk.
So, it’s a bit like that, unfortunately, is it? That you sort of have to show up in and do it then you find out. So, what would you say, what are the key things that your school does or focuses on that enables students to sort of flourish?
Sure. So, one of our key principles is to understand the needs, interests and motivations of every student and then to use that within the classroom. You know, I always think if you can really sort of tailor your classroom to what your students need, what their interests are, what their motivations are, you can teach them anything and everything, you know, if you’re interested in cars and you’re teaching comparatives and superlatives, obviously some comparisons between different models or different aspects of a car. You gonna get that person’s attention and I think it’s it’s not something that’s, you know, you can’t really say there’s a generic way I guess of teaching a particular topic, but if you understand each individual student and their needs, interests and motivations I think you can teach them anything.
That’s so true, I think Like, thinking back to high school with teachers that I really admired and enjoyed learning from with those who connect with me on a personal level, as opposed to just this is how I teach and the students need to adjust to my methods.
And so, Townsville, how do you get students in Townsville? Like I would have…before meeting Raquel, I would have thought no one’s going to Townsville, it’s so far north in Queensland what are the reasons for people to, obviously, go to Townsville and to think about it as a location to get work or to learn English? What are the benefits of going to Townsville?
Absolutely. I mean it’s a hard one because we aren´t really well known internationally, but I think in many ways it’s a benefit for our students. If you compare the cost of living for example amongst largest cities in Australia like Brisbane or Sydney or Melbourne. The cost of living in Townsville is significantly cheaper. So, I think that’s a huge advantage. We’re sort of big enough that we have a variety of different industries where students can work, yet we don’t have the high-level competition that some of the big cities have as well so there’s a lot of jobs. The biggest hurdle for us I guess is the fact that we’re relatively unknown globally. Like, you sort of talk to anyone from overseas about Australia they´l mentioned Sydney, of course, and Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairn and other centres, but not a lot of them now about Townsville so, a lot of our students come from word of mouth. So, it’s students that have recommended friends or family members to come and study. We also work with education agents both in Australia and abroad who recommend us to students from overseas, but it’s probably the most difficult thing for us is the fact that Townsville is so unknown globaly.
Does it get easir to get to, though? Because it’s unknown and there are fewer people there. Is it easier for students to get visas or to get positions at schools and stuff like that there?
I mean, the visa regulations are the same regardless of where you´re located, in terms of the student visa.
Ah, ok, gotcha. Because I was thinking rural areas, but is that work related more?
Yeah, that´s more work related, but there are I mean, there’s a lot of students that are moved to Townsville, you know, to get points for visas and things like that, but no, for a student visa is exactly the same. Yeah, I guess it’s… we’re sort of like we talk about Townsville being a small city or a large country town, you know, so it’s sort of… it doesn’t match every student, like some students really want the nightlife of the big city, they want you know their huge shopping centres and things like that. And we don’t sort of offer that, you know, like we´re more for students that really want that sort of Australian experience and really immersive in the culture and serious about improving. I think Raquel is probably, you know, as a student is probably one of the best ones to sort of ask about that you know. What was her experience of living in a small…
She said It was the deep end of the pool, she got chucked in the deep end and was like ´´oh my God! All these people speak with the strongest accent!´ Sink or swim, you either learn that accent… And now her listening comprehension is off the charts.
It is, totally. I think there´s a lot more opportunities in a regional or more rural, although I wouldn’t say rural, but a regional area like Townsville. There’s more opportunities to get to know the locals, to you know, to have that one on one with people and connect with the local community which you do get in a big city, don’t get me wrong, but I just think that there’s more opportunities for it in a small place.
And so, I guess moving on to the different kinds of exams and things that you’re preparing students for. Can you talk about which ones exist and the pros and cons of doing each one? Which are the ones that your students focus on mainly?
Yes, so our main focus is IELTS, IELTS preparation. We have an IELTS testing centre in Townsville. We don’t actually have a PTE test centre at the moment so, students if they choose PTE have to travel to Brisbane or Sydney, which adds a bit of an expense to it. But yeah that’s the other option so, so you go out and you go PTE, then you’ve got a few other tests that are more sort of job related like you have OET, The Occupational English Test for Nurses and Doctors and Health Care Professionals, and obviously you know TOEFL and TOEIC and all the rest of them, but yeah, our main focus is on IELTS preparation, specifically, but in terms of the two big comparables ones it would be PTE and IELTS.
What are the benefits? What´s are the reasons you would pick one over the other?
Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, they´re both a test of the student’s English language ability. So, you know, like a lot of students come to me and say ´which one is easier, Kit?´ ´Which one should I shouldn’t choose to do?´ and to be honest you know it’s in my opinion it’s much of a muchness. You know, like, there might be slight benefits for some students to do PTE, for example, if they´re good at keyboards and good at typing and they writing isn’t very good. Yeah that’s definitely going to be a slight advantage PTE. However, in saying that, you know, like I think that the advantage is so small that it’s… I wouldn’t even worry about it, you know what I mean? So, at the end the day for me it’s not about necessarily which test is easier, but about preparing your general English ability, your language ability to pass the test, if you know what I mean.
That’s it and I think it was one of those things that I didn’t… I hadn’t really had that much experience with understanding how it exactly worked, either the PTE or the IELTS, but you actually need to be studying not just English, but the specific exams, right? So that’s a key thing that a lot of English learning students don’t realise when they’re trying to prepare for these exams, they better realise that learning English is one part, right? But you need to also be focusing on what do I need to be able to do in this exam to get a good score.
Absolutely, an obvious difference between the two, with IELTS being paper based and PTE being computer based. However, in saying that, IELTS also does have computer-based versions I think in Melbourne and Sydney and perhaps Brisbane, I’m not 100% sure, but there is a computer based version as well. I guess another benefit of PTE is the time that it takes to get the results of its and then arts and things like that. But I mean at the end of the day they´re both a test of your English language ability.
So, you know, I think or is an option if you both too.
Do you know the rough prices for each of them and how long’s…
They are about the same.
They´re about the same?
Yeah, exactly, in terms of price. I mean, in some areas IELTS is more expensive if it’s administered other location that isn’t the principal location, but generally speaking they´re both 330-ish dollars. So, yeah, no real difference in price point, just the fact that PTE the results come out quicker than IELTS, although I think IELTS is probably gonna up their game and change that soon with having a computer-based version as well. What else? PTE you can choose different times to do the test and there´s more frequent tests. Yeah. I mean, they’re pretty much, apart from that, they’re both a test of, you know, reading, writing listening and speaking, your vocab needs to be really good. I would say both are much of a muchness in my opinion.
Oh, brilliant, so what different kinds of exams for ILETS exist and what are the benefits or what are the reasons that you would do one over the other?
Sure, you’ve got the General at the Academic module. The Academic module is primarily used for gaining entry to to TAFE, like, vocational education or universities or for recognition to work in particular jobs like as a teacher, for example, you have to do an Academic IELTS test for teaching registrational, as a nurse or a doctor or another health care professional, that’s where Academic is the one that you need to do. The general module is more commonly used for migration purposes, to prove the level of English that a person has and to get different points at different levels within the nine band score for IELTS.
Having said that, it’s interesting, I find some students actually get higher schools in the Academic module than they do in the General module. So, in some ways it’s actually benefit to some students to do the academic for PR, for residency purposes, just depending on the student, you know? Like if I have… let’s say for example someone that has studied at university in Australia, they’ve done Accounting or whatever it is. I often would recommend to them to the Academic version because of the different scale for reading, in particular, it’s a lot easier easier in a sense or you can make more mistakes to get a higher score in the Academic than the General.
How do they differ exactly? Is it a different kinds of language? I mean, obviously, it’s academic language, but I mean, how foreign is that from the General one if you’re just saying learning English generally? Are you going to be able to do the Academic one if you wanted or you would need to sort of have some kind of experience in academic English at university or something?
Yep, sure, absolutely. So, I mean, I guess, at the end of the day, it’s like when I look at a student and if they have the option of doing the Academic or General, is about sort of identifying that student’s past experience in English and then which one is going to better suit them and what they need to do. So, yeah, so if I have a student that studied at university level in Australia, for example, then I often recommend to them to do the academic version of the test, just because I often find that they get a higher score, actually, than the general. So, yeah, I guess it depends on the students in a sort of case by case basis.
Brilliant. And so how are the exams scored? And what are the kinds of scores and what do they mean? I guess, what’s the minimum to say be able to do whatever it is that you need to do in Australia, whether it’s studying or residency or whatever?
Sure. So, it’s got an nine sort of band scale. 9.0 being the equivalent of a native speaker and then each level going down has a different sort of a descriptor as to the language ability of the student. Different levels are applied to different things so, if you have, you know, for example as a teacher, if someone comes from abroad who wants to teach in Australia. In most cases, they need an 8.0 in each. So, out of the listening, reading. writing and speaking they´ll need a 8.0 minimum in each, which is really quite a high level, to get a teacher registration.
I was wonderful and school that if I just went in blind and did the test.
I´m sure you would. I have had a few cases over the years where I had native speakers actually come to me because of they´d failed the test, but in most cases it´s just because they didn’t really understand the format or what was being asked of the test, rather than their ability.
Which emphasizes the importance in studying how to actually complete the exam, right?
Absolutely, 100 percent. It sort of…I guess, it’s a trick one. Most of my students when they get with doing IELTS preparation they want to know straightaway. What are the tips? what are the tricks? what are the techniques? And that’s important, don’t get me wrong.
You know, like, it’s… it’s quite a specific test and written in a particular way and actually there’s a benefit to that, in my opinion because if you understand the test, you can answer the questions much more effectively. However, in saying that, if a student doesn’t have the general English language level or ability right, you know, I can talk about tips and tricks and techniques until I’m blue in the face it’s not going to make any difference.
You need that ability to be able to improvise, right, on the spot. You’re not necessarily going to get the exact questions you’ve been studying, but you need to be able to know ´okay, how do I respond to this? What´s needed?´.
100 percent. Going back to the different levels required for different things, for nurses, for example, in Australia they have to do, if they do the IELTS test for their registration, they have to do the Academic modules and they have to get a 7.0 in each band, with nothing lower than a 7. Some courses at university ask for six overall. Some ask for six point five. Some ask for seven. Just depends on the university in the particular course, but for any of those examples it has to be an a. Academic test. For…More for migration purposes, students have the choice of General or Academic and the level that students get helps them in different points with applying for residency. So, you know if they can score higher, for example, or Academic they often say well, you know. you’re crazy not to do it, you know what I mean?
The good thing with Academic that it obviously applies… it covers what General covers and more.
It does, to some extent. Yeah, I mean, the only sort of issue I get sometimes with IELTS is that the results are only balanced valid for two years. So, you sort of yeah… you have to sort of think about timeframes and, you know… like I’ve got a student at the moment for example who has recently passed to get into university to study nursing and she got a 7.0 in each in a couple os higher results, which was high enough for her to get into university, but because it´s only valid two years, unfortunately, at the end, to get her qualifications recognised and her registration as a nurse, she will have to do the test again, which is a bit frustrating…
I can understand aside from obviously wanting more people to do the test more often to get money, I can imagine like… if you were to do the IELTS and then straight away leave and not speak English for two years, I can imagine that your English can deteriorate as my my French has, for example, since not speaking it for the last two or so years.
But it’s yeah, it’s frustrating as well for a lot of students, you know, that they have to do it again if they need it for registration purposes and something.
Far out! So, what would you say is the best way to prepare for IELTS? Is it that you definitely need to go to school? Is it that you don’t need a school? Like, if you were to give advice to someone who has obviously organised getting a visa and coming to Australia to study, you know, whatever it is, what’s the best way to go about studying for IELTS?
Sure absolutely. So, it’s a tricky one. I mean, I think you know most people can attain a certain level of language ability on their own, you know in isolation. But I think when you sort of… you’re talking about reaching that next level like a lot of students improve really quickly from the beginner to an intermediate level of language ability, but then they reach that plateau and they get really stuck there. I think any sort of preparation for any tests like IELTS sort of… in the same way as, you know, a student reaching a plateau, they need to have someone that’s looking at their level of English, the good things their are doing or the mistakes they´re making, a coach, trainer, someone that can look at them and say well, yeah, you do this great, but you know, if you want to attain that next level, you need to focus on your articles or you need to focus on your pronunciation of this particular sound. I think in isolation it’s really difficult for most students to attain a starting a 7.0, for example, or higher. It’s not impossible. You know, like there’s a lot of self-study material out there, but I really do feel like you need that feedback and that continual feedback.
Pushing you and giving you, as you said, feedback on the things you screwing up which you can’t necessarily get yourself, you know?
Absolutely. Having someone that knows the tests and is able to sort of identify your weaknesses and what you need to work on and them to give you continuous feedback to reach that next level. I think that’s really really important.
You know, there’s obviously face to face classes, there´s online providers, there’s lots of different options, but I think as long as you have someone, you know, a coach, a mentor, a teacher, someone giving you that feedback that’s really, really important.
And so, how long does it normally take people to prepare for the exam? You know, for say, someone like Raquel who had zero experience, it obviously took a year or two and can you compare her to say someone who does have say an intermediate level before they arrive in Australia and what each person would need to do to apply for or get a good score on IELTS?
Yeah, it’s a hard question to answer. You know, it’s sort of like the “how long is the piece of string?”, but, you know, because it all comes down to individual aptitude and how much they apply themselves and a lot of different factors, and also it comes down to the level, you know, like once you’re talking about like a 7.0 or an 8.0 and those higher levels, the differences between them and the subtleties of the language and getting students to reach the level takes a lot more work. You know, it’s almost like that last 10 percent takes 90 percent of the effort. So, it depends on the level of the student when they start, I guess, and how high they want to get. And obviously the aptitude and the attitude and all those sorts of things as well.
But, generally speaking, you know, we get lots of students that perhaps come in at an intermediate level and maybe need to get a 7.0, for example, in most cases I would sort of recommend one or two terms to get to that level.
How long’s a term? 6 months?
So, for us, it’s 11 weeks. Yeah, four eleven-week terms during the year. Generally speaking probably yeah, one to two terms to get to that level, but it depends on the student. I mean, you know, I’ve had some that you know have done brilliantly like I had a French student last year who, before starting with us did an IELTs testing on the 6.0 overall, studied with us for six months and by the end of the year, the six months, she got like an 8.0 overall with a couple of 8.5 and 7.5 so that’s a really, really high number. So that’s not uncommon too, I actually. How do you go from Colombia who recently did the test and again, passed it at 8.0 overall. So, I mean, those higher levels are harder to get too because of the subtleties and complexities of getting there, but generally speaking one turn most students got by one level. So, if I have a student that starts at 5.0 at the start of the term, generally speaking, they should be up to a 6.0 by the end of the, but it depends on every student, some are quicker, some are slower.
So, what’s normally the most difficult part to for people? I’ve heard that writing and speaking tend to be the most difficult parts, where you’ve got to produce, you’re not reading and you’re not listening. Is that true?
Yes and No. I think it depends on the individual so much and it depends on, you know, to some exten the first language, the country, the culture and so many different things. I might find, for example, maybe an Italian student my struggle with the reading part, whereas a brazilian student might struggle with the writing. I think it depends too much on the individual. You know, I think that there is definitely within IELTS there is a level that a lot of students get stuck at an academic which is 6.5, you know, you get a lot of students that are achieving 7s or higher in speaking and reading and listening, but that writing of the 6.5, they really get stuck on there.
That’s the story that I’ve heard of the writing constantly bringing the overall score down and that’s what´s screwing them over.
Absolutely and yeah that 7.5 Academic is a real sort of gateway mark for a lot of different things so, but in saying that, you know, like I think if you have a teacher who is very familiar with the writing criteria and how it’s marked and they needed very specific feedback on your task response, on your grammar, on your coherence and cohesion, on your spelling, your vocab, for example, and they say to you, well, based on you task response this is bringing you down to a 6.5, based on maybe you’re making the same grammatical errors too many times or whatever it is, I think, if you have that direct feedback and you can identify those mistakes, then it’s not really that hard, it’s just that you need someone to give that feedback and I think a lot of students miss that, unfortunately, and I think if you’re studying in a really large classroom, it’s really difficult for a teacher to provide that as well. I think having that sort of individualised, one on one sort of attention within a smaller class or small school, for me, anyway, I think that makes the biggest difference. You know, like, yeah, I think that what makes the difference.
Awesome, man. So, say you’re preparing for an exam. What if instead of asking you for, you know, the tricks and tips, what are the things that people who fail do too much of? What is the kind of person or what are the kinds of habits or things that someone who is going to not score very high, even if they have the ability, what are the kinds of things that they’re doing with regards to say study outside of class and then when they in the exam themselves? Are there any things that you would say look that’s a no-no, you need to not do that, we need to avoid this?
You know, I mean I think again it comes back to the individual and being able to identify with that student and help them to sort of understand where they’re making their mistakes and I don’t know if I can generalize about that, if you know what I mean, like it´s just… it really depends on each individual. But I mean as long as a student has an awareness of where they’re making mistakes and why they’re not achieving a particular level that they need and they’re given constructive feedback as to how to fix that, and you know that continual process I think at the end of the day that’s the most important thing.
Is there a trick to fostering that? Because I always get questions about building confidence and how do I speak English more confidently? It feels like quite often the answer is just do it, which isn’t necessarily a very productive and actionable piece of advice, but is it just a case of you just need to start trying and it’s only going to get easier with regards to building confidence for these exams or for just speaking in general?
I think building confidence is, again, comes down to the individual. I think there are some… nationalities I can say that are naturally or genuinely quite confident.
Yeah. Having said that, you know, not all Brazilians are out there and are extroverts, you know, like the stereotype, you know. So, I think it’s easy sometimes a little bit to stereotype in that way. But yeah I if I generalize there are some nationalities that I teach that are naturally more extrovert and I think that does help them in some ways to pick up language quicker. However, in other ways I think it’s also a burden to their language learning ability because quite often that confidence, unfortunately, can equate also with continually making the same mistakes and not really working on it and focusing on it. I always think if I could take you know maybe a South American brain and an Asian brain and put them together, you’d have the perfect language learner, but unfortunately we’re not like that and that’s not necessarily a bad thing too, you know, like we all bring our own you know baggage if you like to learning a second language.
And I think that if you if you’re able to identify those areas of your language and your language learning ability and then you work on the ones you weak at, then you you’re going to improve in the end. So, yeah. So, if you have a student who is typically you know maybe more shy than other students, I guess, for me it’s about building that confidence within the classroom. It’s about you know, as a teacher, for example, if I have a… you know, like when I ask students questions I try as much as I attempt to ask a question that I know they’re capable of answering. You know, like, I don’t put a student on the spot and make nervous about not knowing it. So, I guess, a lot of it comes down to your…the student experience of learning languages as well, I think you’re a great teacher can make an amazing difference for students, but then I think as well, unfortunately, a poor teacher can also have the opposite effect. So, yeah, if I have a student that’s a little bit more introvert and nervous about the language then, for me, it’s about identifying, like I said start, like their needs, interests and motivations. So, if I find that they’re particularly interested in sport or music or some particular topic and I use that in a classroom that’s immediately going to start building that confidence I think of them and being able to use the language. So, yeah, I guess once again it comes back to the individual and I guess as a teacher being able to understand that person and incorporate as much of them into the classroom as you possibly can.
What advice would you have for someone on…well, if you have any advice left over for doing well in the IELTS, but also just doing well with regards to their experience learning English in Australia are there any things that you would suggest students try and focus on or keep in mind when they come to Australia and study English or think about doing the IELTS?
Absolutely. I mean, apart from coming to Townsville to study English at Townsville International English School.
Sneaky plug there.
Honestly, I think do your research, you know, find a school that sort of matches or find a location in the school that matches what you want to get out of the experience. I guess take an interest as well. You know, I find students that that take an interest in the learning process do a lot better than those students that, you know, are a little bit disinterested. So, it’s a two-way street, like I think teachers can do a lot to help that, but I also think, you know, at the end of the day it’s about that student’s attitude towards learning as well. I mean for Raquel, for example, that’s one thing that is really in her favour. You know, she… I think very much had a thirst for knowledge and a passion for learning the language and I think that shows in how quickly and how effectively she picked up the language. So, yeah, I guess advice to people probably yeah, do you research before you come, try to choose a place that matches your own what you want to get out of the experience.
And then once you actually arrive and get in the classroom, try dissidents immerse yourself, you know, like when the school does outings or excursions get involved with it, when they do offer conversation classes in the afternoons or whatever, get involved in it, and try to take an interest in everything, you know, ask questions. I think that goes a long way.
Awesome! Well, Kit, thank you so much! Again, Kit is from Townsville International English School, guys! I think Kel would say definitely go to Townsville if you´re thinking about coming to Australia and you haven’t pick the city yet so, thanks again so much for joining me, Kit.
It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me.
All right, guys. So, I hope you enjoyed that episode today. Thanks again Kit from the Townsville International English School for coming on the podcast and sharing all of your knowledge about the IELTs exam.
Guys, I hope this helps. I hope that if you are planning to do the IELTs exam in the future or if you’ve done it in the past and may need to do it again sometime soon, I hope that this episode helps. I would love to know what you think. So, make sure you leave a comment below on the website and I will check you guys soon.
Catch you, guys.
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