Sometimes, it is good listening practice to listen to someone speaking and try to write down exactly what is said. You have to focus on both meaning and the individual words:if you don’t write down all of the words correctly, then you haven’t understood everything. (more…)
The game of hangman is a great way to test your vocabulary. It’s also a fantastic way to test your spelling. If you have never played hangman before, here are the rules. Make sure you have understood the rules in English before you play hangman. Don’t forget that reading the rules in English is great reading practice for the IELTS exam. The rules can be summarised like this: (more…)
There’s loads of free listening material on the Internet in the form of podcasts and your listening skills will only get better if you practise before your IELTS exam. The main thing is to get started and do some listening practice as soon as you can. Many IELTS students seem to think that they will only improve their listening skills if they listen to IELTS listening material. This is not true. Listening is listening and it’s all good practice. (more…)
Looking up definitions in an English – English dictionary forces you to understand meanings in English. Sometimes, translation is quick and easy but can miss out vital information: information which will increase your English knowledge and help you to get the IELTS band score you need. A good dictionary should give a word definition, pronunciation and word type. Other information is a bonus.
Google Dictionary is a fantastic online dictionary. Simply type in the word that you don’t know and you’ll get instant results that are easy to understand and follow
1 Pronunciation: a phonetic transcription of the target word is given and this can be played over your headphones or speakers. The transcription is for American English but pronunciation variations are often highlighted.
2 Synonyms: a list of synonyms is given. This is particularly useful as it breaks these down into word type e.g. Google Dictionary gives synonyms for “paddle” as both a verb and a noun.
3 Definition: the definitions given are comprehensive and clear.
4 Grammar: the different forms of verbs are displayed. You can spot any irregular verbs easily. The verb sing shows the following:
sang past tense; sings 3rd person singular present; sung past participle; singing present participle
5 Related Phrases: this is very interesting to a learner of English. It helps to extend the understanding and use of the target word. The related phrases are linked to their own definitions. The word study is linked to case study and study group. There are other related phrases.
6 Usage examples: these link to external sources. This provides lots of extra reading practice for your before your IELTS exam.
7 Web definitions: these offer alternative definitions of your target words.
All in all, Google Dictionary is a great study tool. It has a clean, simple interface and is always available when you are online. It is a fantastic complement to your book-based study dictionary.