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The Ultimate IELTS Study Plan for Band 7 and 8

The Ultimate IELTS Study Plan for Band 7 and 8

It’s important to remember that a language is a skill (like driving a car or playing the piano). The more you practise the better you will become and if you don’t practise then you won’t be able to do these things well at all. There are some techniques and strategies for IELTS which you can learn but these are really exam techniques and unless your English language level is where you need it for your band, they will not help you a lot.

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The Facts you should know about IELTS Reading

Along with IELTS Writing, IELTS Reading is the area of the IELTS exam that I find most people find challenging. The amount of text to read, the number of questions and the short amount of time to do it all conspire to create something which most students feel is impossible and create panic in many.

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The Listening Linchpin: Why Listening is Key in Learning a Foreign Language

Anyone who has ever studied a second language in a classroom and then had the experience of speaking with a native speaker in a real conversation can tell you; the real thing is so much harder to understand!  You might think that you are fluent in French until you are greeted by your waiter at Huitrerie Regis in Paris and struggle to order the oysters.  “Why does he talk so fast!?”  You may ask yourself.  “What’s up with his accent?”  You have just learned first-hand that experiencing a language in the real world outside of the classroom is a lot different than the books and the careful practice conversations.

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A Tale of Focus and Dedication

A Tale of Focus and Dedication
Every so often, I like to blog a case study.  I like to do these blogs because it shows you firsthand what it looks like to work with me and how I can help you achieve your goals, and it also highlights the success and victories of my extremely hardworking students!  This case study illustrates a journey we both took to reach a particular language goal.  Like the other case studies I have done, the benefit gained was mutual, but unlike the others this case study was a very scary journey. Continue reading

Viking Invasion!

Viking Invasion - Language Immersion
What I love about our little corner of the UK is that there is always something new and exciting going on!  The next few weeks is no exception, because the Jorvik Viking Festival is coming to York!

Celebrated as the largest Viking festival in Europe, (yes there are others apparently!) this event attracts thousands of guests to York from around the world.  This week-long festival celebrates York’s Viking heritage with all kinds of events such as dramatic combat performances, living history encampments, and historical talks.  Every year they celebrate a different period in Viking history, and this year they will explore the last Viking King in York, Eric Bloodaxe! Continue reading

Head North!

Head North
As many of you will know I live in North Yorkshire, the most northern part of the biggest county in England.  It is known as ‘God’s own country’, an epithet which is richly deserved for its beauty and diversity as well as its size, but one that was most likely bestowed upon it by the locals! Continue reading

English Golfing

English GolfingIf you love golf, then you have to play golf in the United Kingdom.  Golf as we know it originated in Scotland in the 15th century, and it has been played all over the United Kingdom with great enthusiasm ever since.  King Charles I was a lover of the game, and in fact was on the premier golf course of the time, Leith near Edinburgh, when he received news of the Irish rebellion of 1641.  Mary Queen of Scots loved golf so much that she took the game with her to France when she went there to study.  In fact, the term ‘caddie stems from her French military helpers who were called cadets in French. Continue reading

Sharing Your Teacher’s Life

Sharing Teacher's Life
When it comes to learning a language, there are few experiences more rewarding than an immersion experience.  With some immersion experiences, such as ours, the student can actually come and live with the teachers for a specified period of time.  As total immersion language learning experiences go, living with your teacher has to be one of the best. Not only are you dropped into a full language experience, you are also surrounded by the culture, social life and even the petty goings-on of an English, Scottish, US etc. household – you become part of the life in that house for the period that you are there.  You need to be prepared for this – you will have to share your teacher’s life for the duration of your stay. Continue reading

Give Your Brain a Boost

Give Your Brain a BoostLearning a second, (or third, or fourth, or even fifth for some of us!) language can be really hard.  It takes discipline, hard work, and some serious brain power.  We learn languages for a lot of reasons; to get a better job or begin a new career, to live in a new country with success, to have a better relationship, or because it is so fun and interesting to do!  It also turns out that learning a new language is super good for your brain!

I love everything that has to do with learning languages, so when I saw this article about how good learning a new language is for your brain I thought it would be a fun topic to share with all of you!  This article by Deane Alban says, “It’s now known that learning another language is one of the most effective and practical ways to increase intelligence, keep your mind sharp, and buffer your brain against aging.”  Here are just a few of the ways that your pursuit for linguistic achievement can boost your braincells: Continue reading

You CAN Teach an Old Dog New Tricks!

Teach Old Dog New Tricks
Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” Well this may be true for dogs, (though I’m not even entirely sure it is!) but it sure isn’t true for humans! I believe that you are never too old to learn something new or to master a new skill, and that is true for learning a new language as much as anything else! It may be true that it is easier to pick up a new language when you are very young and learning your first language, but with practise and commitment I believe you can learn a new language if you really want to. A lot of people think it is too hard to learn a new language because the language classes they have been subjected to have been dry, lifeless recitations and the forced memorization of verb conjugations. Who would be inspired by that?! Continue reading

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Afternoon tea is something Quintessentially English & we’d love you to try some Real Yorkshire tea and cake!