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Which English Exam should I take?

It is important to choose the correct English exam, and nowadays there are many to choose from. Firstly, you need to be clear on why you need the certificate or level. Is it so you can graduate from college or is it for a job?
The two most famous well known English exams to take are the Cambridge B1-C1 and the IELTS Academic. But which is the most useful and does it serve the same purpose? Let's start with the Cambridge, which is often taken in European countries and costs around 180 euros, roughly the same as the IELTS. In contrast to the IELTS, the Cambridge certificate does not expire, and there are more centres where you can take it.
There are two candidates in the Cambridge Speaking section whereas there is only one in the IELTS speaking section. The IELTS is more technical and the listenings are only played once whereas the Cambridge speaking section is played twice.
Most employers, especially those in the medical sector, require you to take the IELTS. They are both great certificates and are ideal if you plan to study abroad, but you need to know what score you need to achieve in order to study overseas. While there are other English tests that you can take, these are the two that I recommend and give you an accurate score.

How to prepare for the IELTS

The IELTS exam requires a great deal of research and determination. It's different from most English tests, so make sure you know what the test is about beforehand or you'll be walking into a lion's den. It is advisable to practice with someone like a professional teacher or a student who has achieved a high score so they can give you advice. An experienced teacher like myself who has prepared others for the IELTS will be able to give you an estimated score.

In terms of how to prepare, I would suggest taking notes, writing down useful expressions and ways to connect ideas, and if you can think of any idiomatic phrases or phrasal verbs you can use while speaking even better. When speaking, make sure your grammar and pronunciation are clear and don't hesitate too often.

Writing part 1 of the assignment, which many students want to practice, should also be done in the same way. Be sure to write down all the ways to describe a bar chart, graph, etc. and review sample answers to get an idea of how to write paragraphs and explain the main ideas. Overall, there are lots of great practice tests online for you to try and youtube videos to watch to get a general idea.

How to improve your child's English level

If your child isn't doing well in English at school, there could be many reasons for this. The most obvious reason is that your child may simply not be interested in learning English; not everyone is. I was never interested in science or maths at school. I believe that if I had been told when I was a kid why I needed to work hard in these subjects, I may have paid more attention to them so if you are a parent please explain the importance to them.

The main problem nowadays is the addiction to mobile phones. My younger students (whose parents pay for their classes!) are unable to put down their mobile phones. So who's at fault? Is it their parents for allowing them to own a mobile? Are they themselves for not exercising self control? The school, the language academy, the teachers for not implementing strict no mobile phone policies? I guess we can blame everyone, but if you're an ESL teacher like me and you work for an academy that doesn't have rules, there's not much you can do about it. Mobile phones have caused a huge decline in students' performance. Students do not pay attention and are failing their tests.

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