Updated Aug. 11, 2009  


Notes about some Questions (Page 2)


If some of the notes on this page are possible as a complete answer to the question, be very careful about speaking those exact same words in the test. If many people speak the same sentences in the test, the examiners will eventually know that these sentences are not your original words. This will seriously damage your score! Some examiners might even read this website. Examiners don't like answers that candidates learn, word for word, from a book or from the blackboard in a class because such answers are not real, natural communication. The best idea is to adapt the ideas below (if you want to) by making your own sentences and speaking naturally in the test. (Memorized answers are usually not spoken in a very natural way.) Try to avoid letting the examiner know that you have read this website!


Part 2 Topic 150 Organization 


小心! Read this.


Part 2, Topic 151 Interesting News Story


Part 3 Topic 151 News Note 1

This is not happening very much in (mainland) China but it is happening in the West. (Don't forget, the same Speaking test questions are being used all over the world.) 

Examples of this are: 

a) including too much news about entertainment and sports celebrities in the evening news programs, instead of solid news stories;

b) news stories about the personal lives of important people, such as politicians, rather than what these politicians actually say or do; and

c) including too many 'human interest' stories, such as stories about interesting, humorous or unusual events or people in the evening news programs, while at the same time omitting important news stories.

This is a political topic and I will leave it up to you to think about why this is happening and how it came about.


This is asking for your opinion and no opinion is 'wrong', as long as you can back it up with good reasons. But obviously, news and entertainment are two different things and serve different purposes.

小心! Read this.


Part 3 Topic 151 News Note 2

Don't say people can get news "from TV programs". Cartoons, football games and soap operas are also examples of "TV programs"! You should say, "TV news programs".

小心! Read this.


Part 3 Topic 151 News Note 3

The main way newspapers attract readers is by using attention-catching headlines on the front page of the newspaper. But there are other ways, such as puzzles that have the solution in the next day's newspaper.

小心! Read this.


Part 3 Topic 151 News Note 4

The wording might be, "Do people in China prefer to read local news or international news?"

The word, "local" usually means 本地的. That is, it refers to your local community, town, city or province. But when it is used in contrast to "international" it is possible to interpret the meaning as, "domestic" or "national". Alternatively, you could continue to interpret the meaning as  本地的.

小心! Read this.


Part 3 Topic 151 News Note 5

This question is referring to news that is biased or even 100% untrue for the purposes of political propaganda. This includes the omission of important news stories that might give the public information that the newspaper or the government does not want the public to know about.

In English, the word, 'propaganda' does not simply mean 'information that is sent out'. It means information that is sent out but information that is unbalanced (= biased, slanted) or even untrue for the purpose of influencing the attitudes and beliefs (and, as a result) the behaviour of the public. However, this information is disguised as objective and truthful information - the public trusts the news disseminator to be objective and truthful. Almost always, the meaning is 'political' propaganda but the word 'political' is not always included. In a way, political propaganda is similar to 'brain washing'. In English, 'propaganda' is a negative thing - it is not the same as, 'public education', which is a positive thing. 

The ideal situation is for the news to be informative, objective (客观的) and, of course, truthful.

小心! Read this.


Part 3 Topic 152 A Law Note 1

The terms and definitions that are used in English to refer to law are sometimes complex and abstract. One reason for this is the fact that legal systems themselves are complex and vary from country to country in the world. For the purposes of the IELTS Speaking test, you don't need to spend a lot of time reading about this topic because it will take up too much of your time!

A broad way to group laws is this:

  1. International Laws and Treaties

  2. Domestic Laws (National laws; State or Provincial laws; city or township laws)

When people talk about "law" they are usually referring to Domestic Laws. However, to answer this Part 2 topic, it is also possible to talk about International Laws and Treaties if China has signed these international treaties. But I suggest you choose a domestic law.


Some people also consider the following to be valid "laws" but I suggest you don't use an example of these as your answer for Part 2, although, strictly speaking, such an example would not be wrong.

  1. Religious laws

  2. Clan or tribal laws


As a general guide, Domestic laws can be considered to belong to two main groups:

  1. Criminal Law

  2. Civil Law

1. Criminal Law

Examples of criminal law are laws concerning: assault, murder, robbery, theft, rape and kidnapping.

"Criminal law offences are viewed as offences against not just individual victims, but the community as well." (From

Since the government represents the community, criminal law offences are considered to be crimes against the authority of the government and the government imposes penalties for infractions of these laws. 

2. Civil Law

"Civil Law, as opposed to criminal law, refers to that branch of law dealing with disputes between individuals and/or organisations, in which compensation may be awarded to the victim. For instance, if a car crash victim claims damages against the driver for loss or injury sustained in an accident, this will be a civil law case." (From


Another way to classify domestic laws is according to the general area of human activity that they cover. Some examples are:

  1. Commercial Law

  2. Family Law (concerning marriage, divorce, child welfare etc.)

  3. Traffic Laws

  4. Environmental Protection law

  5. Consumer Protection law

  6. Labour law

  7. Taxation law

  8. Intellectual Property Law

  9. Contract law

  10. Customs law

  11. Immigration Law

  12. laws regulating government / the administration of society by government

Note that there are many different classifications of law and that some of them overlap. For example, Contract law and Intellectual Property Law could be considered to be sub-branches of Commercial Law. Many of these classifications includes both criminal law and civil law within them. 


"Economic Law"

The term, "Economic Law" is used in China but I suggest you don't use this term in the IELTS test because most Westerners have never heard of it IELTS examiners will think it is a poor attempt to translate Chinese into, "Commercial Law". 

Westerners think it is a poor translation because economics is a rather theoretical, highly mathematical area of study concerned, in general, with the flow of money in society. An area of study does not require laws. In contrast, commerce, business or trade is a practical area of human activity that requires laws and regulations. The following definition of "Economics" is found at "The social science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services and with the theory and management of economies or economic systems."

However, if you search the internet, you will find that there are, in fact, two usages of the term "Economic Law":

  1. "International Economic Law", which deals with international laws and treaties in connection to international trade and other activities related to the economy, for example, the rules of the W.T.O. 

For example, The London School of Economics has a course called "International Economic Law" and this is how they describe the course: 

"The aim of the course is to study in detail those aspects of public international law which are concerned with international economic relations. We will concentrate primarily on the principles, norms and policies of international trade governed by the World Trade Organization, and will also cover some aspects of international monetary relations within the IMF, and international development assistance applied by the World Bank." (See here

Another definition (See is this: "The Journal defines international economic law as a multi-disciplinary approach that includes, but is not limited to:

  1. private international transactions,
  2. national governmental regulation, and
  3. international intergovernmental regulation."
  1. (The usage in China.) The term "Economic Law" meaning, "Commercial Law" as used in socialist planned economies, such as in the former Soviet Union and China before 1979. However, China now has a mostly market economy, not a planned economy and most laws in China are now developing into variations of the Western "Commercial Laws". (See

This makes the usage of the term unsuitable today, although, strictly speaking, not an English mistake. Overall, as I mentioned above, it is best to use "Commercial Law" because most IELTS examiners have never heard of the term, "Economic Law".


Part 2 Topic 152 A Law Note 2

You should have no trouble in thinking of an example of a law in China to talk about. 

For example, when a person is driving a car and comes to a red light, he or she stops. Why? Because that is the law! (Or: Because the laws "says" you must stop at a red light.)

Do you know what is the most basic of the traffic regulations? It is this: "When you're driving on a two-way road, you must only drive on the right-hand side, (not the left-hand side)." Is that not a good law? Imagine the chaos if we didn't have that law!

Here are a few more suggestions:

Notice that the last three examples are laws that annul or rescind previous laws they no longer restrict or prohibit but now allow people to do things that were not allowed previously. In the West, when a government decides to annul, rescind or cancel a previous law, this decision is itself called, 'a law'.

Whatever example you choose to talk about, try to give details. For example, the law about plastic bags states that the bags must be sold for a certain price and must be a certain thickness and (I think) the law also prohibits shops from giving away very thin bags, of a certain thickness.


Beginning your answer to this topic

Following the word, "says" you should then use one of these, or something similar: 

" ... people must not ..."; " ... you must not ..."; " ... people cannot ..."; " ... people must  ..."; " ... you must ..."; " ... people have to ..."; "... you can't ..."; "... you can only ...if ..."; "... you're not allowed to ..." etc.

Alternatively, you can use one of the words from the suggestions I made above. For example, "There's a law in China that prohibits people from owning firearms." Or, "There's a law in Beijing that requires dog-owners to register their dog with the city government."

For the example of stopping at a red light, the words could be,  "There's a law in China that says drivers must stop when they come to a red light." (Of course, that law is universal in the whole world, so you could add: "Of course, all other countries in the world have the same law.")

Let me explain it this way: In English, we say that the regulation that says you must stop at a red light "is law" or, is "part of the law". But more than that, we use the words "a law" loosely, to include "a regulation". Strictly speaking, the example above should be spoken as: "There's a law in China that includes a regulation that says drivers must stop when they come to a red light." But that is too cumbersome and not the way (non lawyer) English speakers speak. 

(A "regulation" is a specific statement in a law.)

I think it's suitable, and a good idea, to say: "There's a law in China that says drivers must stop when they come to a red light. That's part of the Traffic Law." In other words, talk about one specific part of one law and, if possible name the overall law but it's not absolutely necessary to name the overall law.


Some people have told me that the "One Child Policy" is not really a law but is just a "policy". The meaning of "policy" here is that if you have more than one child you are not considered to be a "criminal" but you certainly receive some form of penalty in the form of a fine etc. These fines could be called "disincentives" rather than punishment. In the West, I think we would call this a 'regulation', which is similar to a 'law', but breaking this regulation would be called a "misdemeanor" (a minor crime), similar to a parking ticket for parking your car in the wrong place. 

For the purposes of the Speaking test, I think you probably could 'get away with' (be successful) using the "One Child Policy" as an example of a "law" because most examiners would not know the difference! In other words, most examiners would probably not think that you gave an unsuitable example. However, you, the reader of this page, and I know that it is not a suitable example!  Therefore, I suggest you choose another example, not the 'One Child Policy'. But be prepared to express an opinion on the "One Child Policy" because some examiners might ask you about it in Part 3 of this Part 2 topic.

A law usually has many 'clauses' (法律条文 )

I think the examples that I wrote above are suitable for this Part 2 topic. Those suggestions are examples of specific clauses of laws. However, most Westerners (IELTS examiners) would call these clauses, 'laws', not just clauses. If you choose to use one of those examples (or a similar example that you know about), just choose one and say it is "a law"  don't choose several examples because the question asks you to talk about "a law", not several laws.

On the other hand, several people have written (on the internet) that the Labour Law ("labor" in American spelling) would be a good example to use and others have suggested something called The Juvenile Protection Law (or something similar). Although these examples of laws are much broader than the examples I suggested, I think they are also suitable for this Part 2 answer. However, you need to be careful not to speak too generally in the test. If, for example, you choose the Labour Law or the Juvenile Protection Law, you can give a general description of the law but you should also give some examples of the specific clauses in the law. For example, for the Labour Law, which covers a broad area of employees' rights, (especially migrant workers), I think you should choose one, two or three particular aspects (clauses) of the law, such as the clause to strengthen the enforceability of employment contracts. 

It's possible that China's national Constitution could be called a 'law' but I think it's too broad to be used as your Part 2 answer.

小心! Read this.


Part 3 Topic 152 Note 1

Be prepared to express an opinion on this question. There is no "correct" answer for questions in the IELTS test, which is after all just a test of your English. Whatever you say, you should have some good reason(s) for your opinion.

Many Western countries (but not the U.S.A.) have abolished the death penalty (also called "capital punishment") and many Westerners think it is morally wrong to kill someone as punishment. For example, to kill someone who has committed murder is, in some people's eyes, committing the same crime as the murderer! People who oppose the death penalty say that it degrades the people who carry out the penalty and degrades society as a whole by lessening the value of human life.

Not only that, studies have shown that the death penalty is not a very effective deterrent, especially against the crime of murder because most murders are committed in the heat of passion they are called "crimes of passion". Most (but not all) murders take place within families and the murderer is unlikely to murder other people. This is especially true in the case of women who kill their abusive husbands.

Other studies have shown that ethnic minority people within society and people at the lowest end of the social scale receive the death penalty much more than upper class people and members of the majority ethnic group in society who commit the same crimes.

Very importantly, studies have shown that a certain percentage of people (probably something like 1%) who have received the death penalty were in fact innocent of the crime it was all a big mistake. 

One the other hand, many people maintain that the death penalty gives the families of victims a certain sense of "closure" or satisfies their need for vengeance. Some people also say that "society demands" the death penalty for the worst kinds of crimes to satisfy people's needs for retribution when a particularly horrible crime has been committed.

小心! Read this.


Part 3 Topic 152 Note 3

International laws are usually treaties (or agreements) that the countries of the world sign, although not every country signs every international treaty. By signing an international treaty, a country commits itself to abide by the rules of that treaty and the treaty then becomes part of the law of that country. If a country does not sign a treaty, that treaty is not considered to be law in that country (That country might still follow the terms of the treaty but is not obliged by law to do so.)

Any treaty or agreement between more than 2 countries is an example of an 'international law' because the terms of that treaty become law in those countries, that is, the treaty becomes law in more than one country. If the treaty or agreement is just between two countries, a more suitable description would be, 'a bi-national law'.

Many International Laws originate in the United Nations and are administered by the UN. For example the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an agency of the United Nations which manages the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). However, not every nation in the world has signed that and other United Nations treaties. Another example of an international agency that is part of the United nations is The World Health Organization. This page has information about international law as it applies to health and administered by the World Health Organization (WHO).

There is disagreement among legal experts about whether resolutions that the United Nations General Assembly or the United Nations Security Council passes are legally binding international  laws - some people (some countries) consider UN resolutions to be 'recommendations' only.

Some well-known examples of International Law are shown in the table below.


 Area of Concern


General Agreement on Tariffs and trade (GATT) (for goods), 

the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and

Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)


 International Trade  The World Trade Organization (WTO)
Charter of the United Nations Principles of international peace & co-operation and the resolution of conflicts between countries  The United Nations
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)  Nuclear energy The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an agency of the United Nations.
The Universal Declaration of
Human Rights

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

 Human rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), an agency of the United Nations.
The Principles of the International Criminal Court 


Principles of the
Nuremberg Tribunal

The most serious human rights crimes: Genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes  The International Criminal Court
The Geneva Conventions Rules concerning prisoners of war and non-combatants during war. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Sharing the world's oceans  The United Nations
International Maritime Law International shipping and pollution of the oceans. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), an agency of the United Nations.
International laws concerning infectious diseases (pdf)  Health The World Health Organization (WHO), an agency of the United Nations.
International Environmental Protection Agreements (many different ones) Environmental protection  
The Kyoto Protocol Environmental protection The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The rules of the International Postal Union International mail The Universal Postal Union, an agency of the United Nations.

Other links: 

International Court of Justice (Written in Chinese)

International Court of Justice, an agency of the United Nations.


小心! Read this.


Part 3 Topic 152 Note 4

American English uses, 'a police officer'. This is a convenient expression because it includes both males & females. British English uses two different words, 'a policeman' and 'a policewoman'. American English also uses those words.

Both American & British English use, 'the police' to mean:  'the police force', 'a group of policemen and policewomen', 'a policeman' or 'a policewoman'. Even one police officer represents the whole police force, so 'the police' can be used as shown above.

If you are female, don't say, "I'd prefer to be a policeman." Use, 'policewoman'.

小心! Read this.


Part 3 Topic 152 Note 5

This question is referring to the legend of Robin Hood, in England. 

See the following internet links:


Even though no real Robin Hood existed, in the story he was an outlaw (a criminal) but a 'good outlaw' because he gave what he robbed to poor people. The question is asking you to balance two conflicting ideas: a) the fairness of redistributing wealth in a society where the rich have much more money than they need and the poor are extremely poor and, b) whether it is morally acceptable to resort to armed robbery to do that.

小心! Read this.


Part 3 Topic 152 Note 6

Under what circumstances can a person who has committed a crime escape punishment?



This question was found at, 2008111516日雅思口语回忆, Page 2, 26


You might need this 翻译   to read the following notes!


There are several circumstances. 

  1. Situations where the crime is undiscovered.

Obviously, if no-one, including the police, knows a crime has been committed, then the criminal will not be arrested and therefore will not be punished.

  1. Situations where a crime is known to have been committed but the criminal is never arrested because no-one has any idea who committed the crime.
  1. Situations where a crime is known to have been committed and a likely suspect is known but never arrested because he or she has run away and can't be found!
  1. Situations where a crime is known to have been committed and a likely suspect is known but is not arrested because of their social status or 'connections' (关系)

Many criminals fit this description and most of them are not arrested because they, (or their family or friends) belong to the most (politically) powerful group in society (called, the 'political elite', 掌权的精英). For example, some 'white collar' criminals are never arrested if they hold very powerful positions in society, even when the police know of the existence of the crime and who did it. This is because the police themselves are under the control of the elite and are afraid for their own jobs (or even their lives). In a way, a fearful police force is an example of a corrupt police force or, more accurately, a corrupt society.

  1. Situations where a crime is known to have been committed and a likely suspect is known but never arrested because they pay off (= bribe) the police.

The criminal can also escape arrest by corrupting the police with money (bribery). This is also very common, for example, in cases of  powerful organized crime groups who have a lot of money.

  1. Situations where a guilty person is arrested and tried in court but is judged 'innocent' (and therefore escapes punishment) by virtue of their being a member of the (political) elite class of society or 'having connections' (关系) to the elite. 

In this case, the judge (or jury, in places where juries are used) finds a way to dismiss the criminal charges against the arrested person. The court is corrupted by fear of the power of the elite.

  1. Situations where false evidence is presented in court leading to an 'innocent' verdict for a guilty person

A criminal can also escape punishment after being tried in court if the judicial process (the court trial) is corrupted by, for example, a witness telling lies (giving false testament) or the planting of false evidence that seems to show the innocence of the person who is actually guilty or even the planting of false evidence against another person who is actually innocent of the crime. In this case, the guilty person might be incorrectly judged to be 'innocent' by the court.

  1. Situations where a person is actually guilty of a crime (i.e., is a criminal) but is judged to be 'innocent' because the evidence is insufficient to prove guilt 

In this case, 'innocent' means, 'not judged to be guilty'. In many parts of the world, people are presumed to be innocent of a crime until it has been proved in court that they are guilty. And to prove guilt, a certain minimal standard of evidence is necessary. If there is not enough evidence and if the criminal does not confess to the crime, the criminal is found to be 'innocent' and therefore not punished.

  1. Situations where a good defense lawyer finds a 'loophole' in the law.

In cases of complex laws, for example commercial law, a good lawyer (= a high-priced lawyer) might be able to find a loophole or weakness in the law as it is written. In this case, the charge is dismissed and the guilty person (the criminal) walks free. 

  1. Situations where a 'mistrial' leads to dismissal of the charges against the criminal

Again, this usually requires the services of a high-priced defense lawyer who is able to prove that the trial was not conducted in accordance with set procedures (in accordance with the law). In some legal systems, a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime so a mistrial, if achieved, can be a good way to avoid ever being judged guilty for that particular instance of law-breaking.

  1. Situations where the criminal is found guilty but given a warning by the court, instead of punishment

There are some cases where the criminal is found to be guilty in a court of law but is given a warning instead of punishment. If the crime was a first offence and a minor crime, courts quite often give the criminal a warning, without punishment. This especially happens if there are further extenuating circumstances, such as the criminal being very young or having committed the crime in some situation which appeals to the sympathy of people (of the court), such as a hungry person stealing something to eat, the criminal being very old or the criminal has "already been punished" by losing a prestigious job or losing a position in society of high status as a result of having being found guilty of the crime.

Sometimes this 'appeal to the sympathy of the court' is not really 'sympathy' but simply, 'sentiment' and is based on prejudice. This is unfair, reflecting a social bias. This often happens in countries where different social groups exist in society the members of the dominant social group are often treated more leniently in court than the 'lower' social groups for the same crimes. For example, if a very pretty, well-educated white girl from a rich family (but not necessarily a member of the elite) commits a relatively minor crime, she is much more likely to be given a warning than a poor, uneducated black girl the poor black girl is more likely to be given a jail sentence for the same crime. Another example is someone who is famous, such as a film star or sports star such people are sometimes given leniency simply because they are famous when an ordinary person would receive a punishment.

  1. Situations where the guilty person is given a reprieve as a result of the sympathy of the court even for rather serious crimes

There have also been cases where people have been found guilty of more serious crimes (but usually not the most serious) and not punished because the court has great sympathy for them. For example, if the criminal is very old or dying of cancer, the court may see no justification in imposing a punishment.

  1. Situations where the guilty person is pardoned (被原谅, 赦免) by the head of state

In some countries, the leader of the country can and does 'pardon' criminals. This is mostly in those countries with a president, a king or a queen. Usually the people who are pardoned are people who have already served some prison time but there have been cases where the leader pardons the person who has been found guilty even before any punishment has been decided by the court or before the punishment, if decided, has been carried out. 

  1. Situations where the guilty person escapes from police custody (escapes from prison) before the sentence of the court is carried out! 

In this case, we can say that this person, "escaped punishment", meaning, "escaped or avoided the imposition of the punishment". 

Sometimes, especially in cases of high-profile people and non-violent crimes, the person never was in police custody but they still were found guilty of a crime and are "required to" present themselves to serve jail time. Or the guilty person may be required to pay a fine. If this person simply runs away, then they can avoid the actual imposition of the punishment.

  1. Situations where the person dies before the punishment can be carried out

If the sentenced person dies (or kills him or herself) before the sentence is carried out, we can also say that this person, "escaped punishment", meaning, "escaped or avoided the imposition of the punishment".

There are cases where people unknowingly commit crimes, for example, someone taking another person's bicycle by mistake. These examples do not qualify as "criminals escaping punishment" because these people are not really criminals. To be a criminal, one must (usually) have the intention to commit a crime. Similar examples are cases where mentally retarded or mentally ill people commit crimes these people are usually (but not always) judged to be innocent because they had a 'limited capacity' to know that what they were doing was a crime.

However, there are cases where a person commits a crime because they were ignorant of the law and in most countries (most legal systems) this is not accepted as a claim of innocence, although such ignorance might reduce the severity of the punishment. A typical example of this is breaking the taxation law.

小心! Read this.


Part 2 Topic 153 A Performance or Show


Part 2 Topic 154 Something You Would Like to Learn

Something You Would Like to Learn  (May 10, 2008)  


Version A

Describe something that you don't know (how to do) but would like to learn. (For example, a skill such as swimming.)*

            You should say

                    what you would like to learn  

                    why you would like to learn this 

                    how you would learn it (if you decided to do this)

                    who you would ask to help you learn this (if you needed help)

      and explain what difficulties you think you would possibly have learning this.  *


     and explain what benefits you would get (if you learned this). *



Version B

Describe something that you want to learn. (For example, a skill.)*

        You should say

                    what you want to learn

                    why you want to learn this

                    how you will learn it  (If you decide to learn it.)* 

                    who you will ask to help you learn this (If you decide to learn it.)

and explain what difficulties you think you might have learning this. (If you decide to learn it.)*


and explain what benefits you will get (if you learn this). *


Version C

Describe something you can't do now but are planning to learn in the future. (For example, swimming.)

You should say

                    what you want to learn 

                    why you want to learn this 

                    how you plan to learn it (or, where you plan to get this knowledge)

                    who you plan to ask to help you learn this 

and explain what difficulties you think you will possibly have learning this. *


and explain what benefits you will get if you learn this. *


Here's another example to show the difference between, "would + verb" and "would like to + verb". 

A: "What would you do if you were at home and an earthquake struck?" 

B: "Well, I'd like to collect some of my valuable things and then take them outside. But I wouldn't do that because I wouldn't have time. So, to answer your question; if I was at home and an earthquake struck,  I'd immediately run outside to safety."

From that example, we can see that what you would like to do and what you would do can be two different things! Think of "would + verb" as a hypothetical (假设的) form of "will + verb". "Will" is talking about the real future; "would" is hypothetical.

The grammar is, "If + past tense form of verb + would + verb" (or, "would + verb + if + past tense form of verb"). This is called "the Unreal If". The meaning is not past tense, even though the past tense verb form is used. You can think of it as meaning, "already done". For example: "I don't have enough money to buy a house. But if I had the money, I'd buy a house." Here, you can think of, "had the money" as meaning, "if I already had the money" - having the money comes first, before buying the house - that's why we use the past tense verb form, but it does not really mean that something has really happened in the past. This grammar is for talking about something hypothetical. 

And, is this usage related to this Part 2 topic?

The word, "want" has a very clear, emphatic meaning and sometimes sounds even quite forceful. When dealing with other people, such as when making a request, it is more polite to say, "would like to" instead of, "want". The hypothetical, "would" is used to achieve this polite tone because it has an unspoken meaning of, "if I may" or, "if it's ok with you". For example, "I'd like to speak to the manager, if I may." Or, "I'd like to speak to the manager, if that's ok with you."  Or you can think of the meaning as, "I'd be pleased to speak to the manager, if I had the chance. "Similarly, "I'd like something to drink, if I may." But it is not common to actually include the words, "if I may" or "if that's ok with you".

When offering something, we also use the same language. For example, "Would you like something to drink?" (= "Do you want something to drink?") Here, the meaning is, "Would you like it if you had something to drink?" or, "Would you be pleased if I gave you something to drink?" But people rarely actually say the "if" part of those sentences in this situation.

In Version A, "would like to + verb" = "would be happy to + verb, if it were possible" (or, "if I had the opportunity" or, "if I could" or "if I had the time", etc.) Therefore, this usage is different to the polite usage of, "would like to + verb" = "want to + verb".  

In the first example, "I would learn to fly a plane" = "I definitely would seize the opportunity and do that, if the opportunity arose". This is showing a strong wish or desire to do something that is not possible right now. It is similar to saying, "I will learn to fly a plane" but we can't use "will" in this situation, which is speaking hypothetically. Think of "would" as a hypothetical form of the verb, "will". 

When you say you "will" do something, it is strong, it is definite, without any doubt. In English, when we make a promise, we use "will", such as, "I'll give you that money tomorrow." Saying you "would do something" is similarly sure and strong but there is an understood meaning of, "If + a certain situation". 

The second example, "I would like to learn to fly a plane", is expressing a desire but not really saying that you would definitely do it if the opportunity arose. For example, maybe there are several things that I'd like to do, if I had the opportunity, but it would not be possible to do all of them. If I won the lottery (赢彩票), I would never need to work and I could (= would be able to) spend my time learning new things. But there are so many things I would like to learn! I'd like to learn several different languages, I'd like to learn to play several different musical instruments, I'd like to learn to be a master chess player, I'd like to learn to fly a plane, I'd like to learn to ski well, I'd like to learn wushu (武术), I'd like to learn to paint beautiful pictures, I'd like to learn how to create video games on a computer .... In other words, you can choose one thing and say, "I'd like to learn that, if I could" without meaning that you definitely would learn that one thing because "there are other things I'd like to do, if I could".

Version B uses "will + verb, if + present tense" (or, "If + present tense, will + verb"). This is called "the Real If" because it is talking about the real future but only if a certain condition is satisfied. Here's an example: "If it rains tomorrow, I'll take the bus to work. But if it's sunny, I'll walk to work." This is talking about the real future.

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Part 3 Topic 154 Note 1

'Computers' and 'the internet' are not exactly the same thing. There are many 'programmed learning' applications (= software) that are used on a computer, without connecting to the internet. Studying mathematics is particularly well-suited to programmed learning software. Of course, such software can also be used via the internet.

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Part 3 Topic 155 Tourism Note 1

Note on word usage

         A "tourist" is a person who visits, and looks at the sights of a place that is not near to his or her home and this visit is for interest, recreation or leisure, not for work, i.e., the visit is ''for pleasure, not for business". A tourist does quite a lot of traveling. 

         The "tourist industry" is that group of business activities that includes the hotel industry, travel agencies, the management of tourist sites, and other service industries for tourists such as the operation of guided tours and selling souvenirs

         The word, "tourism" has two usages: 

a) "tourism" = the commercial activity of providing services for tourists. For this meaning, "tourism" = "the tourist industry". And, 

b) "tourism" = "the activity of traveling away from home as a tourist". For example, "Tourism is now a popular activity during holidays and for retired people."

         English is quite flexible for some (but not all) word combinations using the words "tourist" and "tourism". For example, you can say, "a tourist destination" and you can also say, "a tourism destination", both meaning the same thing. However, I recommend saying, "a tourist destination" because it sounds a little less formal.

     Another example is, "the tourist industry" = "the tourism industry".                 

         Some people say they are studying "tourist management" but that sounds unsuitable because you don't manage the people, the tourists -  you manage the businesses. So, I think it's better to say, "I'm studying tourism", which includes the idea of management of this kind of business. 

Some people also say they are studying, "tourism management", which is not really 'wrong' but it sounds a little cumbersome and, as I mentioned, if you study a particular type of commercial activity, (tourism), it means you are studying how to manage that commercial activity. Not only that, people don't usually study the management of a personal activity (the second meaning, above) - I'm sure these university courses are teaching how to manage the businesses, not how to manage people's personal activities.

Definitely don't say, "I'm studying tourist".

         This website, is good reading to increase your vocabulary and general knowledge on this topic.

         Avoid saying, "places of interest" or "a place of interest". This is not very natural spoken English but it is overused in China (in English textbooks). It sounds unnecessarily formal and would perhaps be suitable for a rather formal-sounding written advertisement or written report. I suggest you don't use it in the writing test, either. Just say or write, "interesting places" or, "places that many people find interesting" or, "places that many people are interested in visiting".

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Part 3 Topic 156 Note 1

Note that the verb, "volunteer" means "to freely offer to do something, without being compelled to do that" or  "to freely offer to do something for no pay" or both of those.

"International volunteers" are basically people who volunteer to go to another country to help in an emergency situation such as an earthquake. Although many national governments send people who are paid by their governments to do this work, these people still might volunteer to go overseas in an emergency. Other people, such as doctors, often volunteer (= offer their services for no pay) to go and help in these emergency situations.

Similarly, some people volunteer to go overseas to help people in other countries tackle chronic (= ongoing & persistent) problems such as AIDS prevention and treatment in Africa, and helping to develop agriculture, education or infrastructure in underdeveloped countries.

Of course, there are international organizations such as the United Nations and the International Red Cross that send people overseas to help others. These organizations (or the people in these organizations) can also be thought of as volunteers, even though working as "international help-givers" is their job. They can be thought of as volunteer organizations because when help is needed, these organizations themselves (not really the people working in them) freely offer help, without being compelled to do so or without being asked to help.

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Part 3 Topic 156 Note 2

("volunteer work" = "voluntary work". Remember, voluntary work is unpaid work.)

These are 'Yes/No' questions. If you answer with these exact words, "Many people volunteered to help the Sichuan earthquake victims" then you are giving a poor answer because you did not first answer the 'Yes/No' question. Here's a better answer: "Yes, there is, especially when an emergency arises such as a natural disaster. For example, many people volunteered to help after the Sichuan earthquake.

Or, "Yes, many Chinese people do volunteer their services, especially when an emergency arises such as a natural disaster. For example, many people volunteered to help after the Sichuan earthquake."

Different Types of Volunteer Work

What are some typical examples of volunteer work?

  1. Helping to maintain everyday order and security in the community. (This seems to be quite common in China and is done by old, retired people. You sometimes see them, wearing a red armband, 'keeping a watch' on the streets in their communities. I don't think they are paid for this work, so they are doing volunteer work.)

  2. Volunteering to help in organizing political activities such as meetings of the Chinese Communist Party. (I imagine that party members do voluntary work this way.)

  3. Volunteering to help when (large-scale) public events are held, such as public celebrations of festivals, cultural events such as music festivals or the Olympic Games.

  4. University graduates from the cities volunteering to work for a time in a poor, undeveloped part of China.

  5. Voluntary tree planting.

  6. Voluntarily donating blood.

  7. Helping to keep public facilities such as streets, parks and tourist sites clean and tidy. (I think most people who do that in China are paid to do this work, but I might be wrong.)

  8. Volunteering to clean rubbish from polluted places such as a beach, a river, alongside a train line or a major road etc. (I don't know how many people volunteer to do that and how often it is done. Maybe it is mostly done by paid workers.)

  9. Voluntarily building or maintaining needed public facilities such as children's playgrounds, sports facilities, parks, etc. (I think most people who do that in China are paid to do this work, but I might be wrong.)

  10. Volunteering to help in schools such as being an unpaid teacher's assistant. 

  11. Volunteering to help in hospitals such as providing entertainment for patients or organizing recreational activities for patients.

  12. Volunteering to help provide recreational activities for school children during school holidays or on weekends. For example, helping free outings, free cultural and artistic activities or free sports activities for these children.

  13. Volunteering to help people in the community who need help such as: 1) old people living at home who have no family, 2) old people living in an 'old people's centres', 3) orphans, 4) disabled people such as the sick and injured, the blind, paraplegics, the mentally retarded, the psychologically disturbed, amputees, etc. 5) single mothers with children, 6) people who are suffering from great poverty, 7) children who need extra tutoring because they are behind in their progress at school, 8) homeless people (i.e., volunteering to help in a 'homeless person's shelter'), 9) prisoners (e.g., volunteering to provide teaching or entertainment services to people in prison), and, 10) the children of migrant workers in the cities.

The following is my opinion, as a Westerner living in China. I might be wrong - it is just my observation!

In general, I think there is less community volunteer work done in China than in the West for the following reasons: 

i) Since China's government is socialist, the government tries to provide most of the community facilities and services that the people need. And since the cost of labor is quite low in China, the government can afford pay people to do many of these service jobs. 

(In contrast, Western countries, (especially the United States) rely on volunteers to do some work because the government does not always provide enough facilities or service workers to satisfy the needs of the community.)

ii) The family is a much stronger social unit in China than it is in the (English-speaking) West. As a result, people feel that it is their duty to help other family members who need help. In a way, this is an example of volunteer work, although it is not within the broader community but rather, within the family unit.

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Part 3 Topic 158 Reading Note 1

These two questions are a little different. The first question assumes that people still read nowadays and asks if high technology has changed the way they read. Certainly, there is a lot of reading that can be done on the internet. As well as that, we can read books in the form of 'e-books' on any computer (not necessarily connected to the internet) or similar electronic storage devices (e.g., MP4).

The second question is more general  -  it could be interpreted to include the meaning of the first question or it could be interpreted to mean, has high technology changed how much people read, not just how they read. Looking at the second point, i.e., whether high technology has changed how much people read, we could include watching TV and videos at home as examples of using high technology and these are obvious examples of substitutes for reading. On top of that, using the internet for chatting, games or entertainment, or using electronic devices such as hand-held electronic games are also substitutes for reading. ("Substitutes for reading" means, if we did not have these electronic devices or the internet, we would probably spend more time reading books, the way people did in the days before high-tech electronic devices.)

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Part 3 Topic 159 Note 1

I suggest avoiding the expression, "broaden one's horizon" (or "broaden their horizon" etc.) when answering this question. This expression is not 'wrong', in fact it is quite suitable but it is overused in China and, as a result, is boring to hear, especially if that is all you say as your answer. It is quite easy to memorize and repeat this expression but it requires much greater language skill to explain what this expression actually means. If you do use this expression, spend some time composing a more detailed answer that more or less explains what, "broaden one's horizons" means. 

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Part 2 Topic 162 

Describe someone you would like to spend time with.

But for this topic, Topic #162, you have two choices of what to talk about, as shown below. 


a) A hypothetical (假设的) situation

Talk about someone who you don't spend time with but who you would be pleased to (= would like to) spend time with, (if you could).

If you choose to talk about a hypothetical situation, such as spending time with a famous film star, you should avoid saying, 'I want to' because 'I want to' is talking about a real goal that you have saying 'I want to ...' means you are serious, not just talking about a fantasy (幻想)

If you choose to talk about a hypothetical situation, it is a good idea to actually say a few full sentences using "if", to show clearly that it is hypothetical. For example, "I'd like to spend some time with XXX, if it were possible." Or, "... if I could" or, "... if she felt I was worth spending time with" or, "... if I had the chance" or, "... if I had the opportunity"  etc.

This answer could be about someone who you would like to be good friends with or someone you would like to just spend quite a bit of time with, doing something such as chatting.

If you choose this option, it is better to talk about someone who is alive now, not someone who has already died. 

However, it might be possible to talk about spending time with someone who as died we have to wait and see the wording for the rest of the task card. For example, the following might be possible: "I'd like to spend some time with my grandfather who died when I was a baby, if it were possible for him to come back to life". 



b) A Real Goal (or Strong Desire) for the Future

You can talk about someone who you either do or don't spend time with now, and who you want to spend time with in the future.

"Would like to" can be used as a 'polite' (= less emphatic) way to say, 'want to', which is talking about a real goal (or strong desire) you have. 

If you choose to talk about someone who you actively want to spend time with (in the future), such as your current girlfriend or boyfriend, you should begin by using "would like to" but then move on to explain how it is a real goal (or strong wish) that you have and start using 'want to', which is much more emphatic (强调的). Or you can simply say, "I'd like to spend time with her in the future in fact, that's my plan (or, that's what I really want)."

Then, as well as using the verb, 'want', you should also use such verbs as, hope, plan, and  intend. For example, "I hope to marry her after I graduate". These verbs are used to talk about real hopes, plans, intentions & desires for the future. Don't use, "wish to".

If you choose to talk about a real goal (or strong desire), you definitely should only speak about someone who is alive now. If you talk about someone who has already passed away by saying, "I want to spend time with her", you will appear to be mentally unstable!



Part 3 Topic 164 Seasons Note 1

"Live" and "prefer to live" are not always the same. Not everyone who lives in a cold place (in winter) has a choice about where to live, for example, poor people.


Part 3 Topic 164 Seasons Note 2

In general, do you think people prefer to live in (very) hot places or in (very) cold places?

Occasionally, someone reports this question as, "Do people prefer to live in warm places or cold places?" It is possible that this is the question. The answer is obvious warm places (i.e., places with a mild temperature) are more comfortable. Nevertheless, the examiner might ask a question with an obvious answer just to give you an opportunity to express these ideas in English.


Part 2 Topic 165 Clothes

But possibly the words are,  "Describe some clothes ...". If this is the case, pay special attention to whether the word "it" is used or whether "they" is used. For example, the words might be, "what they are", "where you bought them", "on what special occasions you wear them" and, "explain why you wear them on special occasions". If these plural words are used, you need to talk about at least two pieces of clothing.

The word, "a cloth" means, 一块布. 

  1. the times when you go out with a boyfriend or girlfriend and want to look especially good;

  2. other times when you go out and you want to look especially good, for example, to a disco or to a concert; 

  3. the times when you visit special people; 

  4. formal occasions such as a job interview;

  5. special celebrations such as a wedding, a graduation ceremony; a special banquet

Those are examples of times when you wear something that you might call your 'best clothes'. However there are other times that can be called 'special' and the clothes are not really your 'best clothes' but are unique i.e., special because the activity you do is special or unique. For example:            

  1. traditional clothes that are special to your ethnic or cultural group that you might wear at special celebrations for your ethnic or cultural group;

  2. a uniform for some group or some other special clothes and you only wear when you go to meetings or special occasions of this group;

  3. clothes that are special because they are specialized for a particular type of activity such as a performance, e.g., a ballet tutu, if you are a female ballet dancer, or tights if you are a male ballet dancer. When you perform, it is a special occasion. 

What about a judo suit, if you practice judo? Again, the clothes are unique but the occasion of practicing judo can hardly be called 'special', especially since you need to practice judo often if you are learning it.   

  1. special activities such as going skiing or scuba diving. To be 'special' you should emphasize that you don't go skiing or scuba diving very often - it's something 'special' for you when you do it;

  2. the clothes you wear when you go hiking or travelling. For example, you might wear a pair of pants that has many pockets, to make it easier to carry many things. 

A girl asked on the internet if a bikini is a suitable example. Most Westerners don't think going to the beach or some similar swimming place is such a special occasion so this is not really suitable. But if you emphasize that going to the beach is something really special for you, it is probably suitable. 

It's true that, for a typical Chinese girl, to wear a bikini is itself a special occasion, especially the first time you wear it! But the card asks you to describe something you "wear on special occasions" - this is 一般的现在式, which means something that you do every now and then or have done more than once. Don't confuse the meaning of the topic to be, "a time when you wore something that was special" - it's not that.                                           

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Part 2 Topic 166 A Good Cook

There are three words that some people will use incorrectly: a cooker, a chef and cuisine.

"Cookery" tends to emphasize the art of cooking while, the verbal-noun, "cooking" is simply referring to the activity.

Americans say, "a cookbook" but British English usually is, "a cookery book".

- describe in greater detail one (or, better still, more than one) of the dishes or kinds of food that he or she cooks. For example, the name of the food, the colours, the taste, the aroma, the style (or origin in China) of food that it is, and your feelings about that food. But remember, the topic is basically to describe a person, so don't spend the majority of your time on the food.

- talk about how & where this person learned his or her cooking skills.

- talk about this person's habits and feelings about food, about cooking and about the kitchen. For example, why does he or she prefer to cook certain dishes (or types of food)? Does he or she like other people being in the kitchen when he or she is cooking? Does he or she work fast? Does he or she spend a lot of time to cook a meal? Does he or she have any other habits in the kitchen such as listening to the radio while cooking? Does this person wash the vegetables with a special vegetable-washing detergent? Does this person seem to really enjoy cooking or is it just a duty? Does he or she have any particular preferences or habits concerning the ingredients he or she uses? Is he or she very tidy and organized, for example, cleaning or at least tidying up the kitchen after he or she has finished cooking? In what ways is he or she efficient when working in the kitchen?

- Can you give an example of a particular time when this person really impressed others with his or her cooking? For example, preparing a special meal, such as a meal when someone special was visiting and a meal that everyone praised?

- Can you think of any examples of what this person says or has said about food and cooking? Has he or she tried to teach you anything about cooking?

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Part 2 Topic 167 Work of Art

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Part 3 Topic 167 Art

This is referring to visual art (not music, poetry or the performing arts).

If the examiner uses the term, "pop art", he or she is referring to a particular genre of art that became popular in the West in the 1950's, and is still popular.

See these websites:

You will notice that many comic books are drawn in a pop art style. And many magazines and advertisements aimed at young people include pop art. A lot of people in China like to have some pop art on their personal blog pages on the internet.


However, the examiner might just say, "Can you think of any examples of art used in everyday life?" If this is the case, you can choose any examples of drawing or design that are especially fashionable, stylish or attractive. Even the design of a chair is a kind of art but there are many other examples that are more eye-catching such as the design of a new car, modern architecture, the design of a webpage, the design of a magazine cover, and clothes and accessory design. Many advertisements are works of (cinematic) art, for example, those advertisements that advertise beautiful places to visit or a new, beautiful estate to live in.

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Part 2 Topic 169 Educational Trip


Part 3 Topic 171 Another language

Even though studying a foreign language is very time-consuming, only a few people who study a language can earn a living solely from the knowledge of the language. For example, English teachers and translators can earn a living from their knowledge of the language but most people need to study another discipline or skill or body of knowledge, such as accountancy, international trade or engineering, in order to earn a living. 

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Part 2 Topic 172  A Famous Person

However, it is a good idea to include what you "would say to him/her" or, "would ask him/her" or "would tell him/her" if you "could meet him/her". Don't say, "if I can meet him/her". Most of this answer is 假设的话.

Similarly, don't use "will". Instead, say "would". "Will" is talking about the real future but "would" is talking hypothetically (假设的话).

There are other words that have a similar, but not exactly the same meaning and usage as 'famous'. 

'Well-known' is more often used to describe someone that many people know from personal contact with that person (at least seeing that person) and is most often used to refer to a person in a community of some kind. For example, maybe there's a person who lives on your street who tells very interesting and entertaining stories and is often seen on your street doing that. You could say this person is 'well-known' or is a 'familiar' person to the people who live on that street. Or maybe there's a person who lives on your street who is well-known because he is a bit crazy and always walks around doing or saying strange things. The community in which someone is well-known could also be a community of people with similar interests who do not necessarily live close together. For example, maybe there's a guy who is an expert at making recordings of rock musicians in your city. You could say, "He's well-known in the rock music community of my city." But it is probably an exaggeration to say he is 'famous' in the rock music community. Or, maybe there's a girl who has been a girlfriend of ten different guys in the rock music community of your city. She's well-known but it would be unsuitable to say, "She's a famous person in the rock music community of our city". However, it would be suitable to say, "She's famous for changing her boyfriend every few months", meaning she's well-known for doing that.

A 'reputable' person is similar to a 'well-known' person. But, unlike 'well-known', 'reputable' only has a good meaning - 'reputable' means this person has 'a good name', is respected and trusted to do a good job in his or her field of work. For example, 'a reputable accountant', 'a reputable dentist', 'a reputable car mechanic' or 'a reputable plumber'. 'Reputable' is also used to refer to brand names or companies that are well-known and worthy of trust, such as 'a reputable English school' or, 'a reputable computer brand'. 

The word, 'celebrated' means very  famous and someone who is highly praised for the quality and originality of their (usually, creative) work. Often this person is an artist or someone who produces works of high culture of some kind and has established his or her reputation over many years. For example, 'a celebrated author', 'a celebrated photographer', 'a celebrated stage actor', 'a celebrated playwright', 'a celebrated violinist', 'a celebrated painter' and, 'a celebrated research scientist.' 

The words, 'renowned', 'distinguished' and 'esteemed' are similar to 'celebrated' but these words are used to emphasize more than 'celebrated' the respect that people hold for this person. These words are often used to refer to people who use their brains or show 'wisdom' more than just show such great artistic creativity and originality. For example, great thinkers and people who write serious and highly respected books, university professors who have made great contributions to their field, greatly respected judges who have made very important and wise decisions, and long-term political leaders who have shown great leadership and made important and wise decisions. As with, 'celebrated', these words are used to describe people who have built their reputation over many years. In countries or cultures such as in Britain, where social class divisions among people are strong, the word, 'distinguished' is usually used for a person who fits the description above but is also a member of the upper class of society, (perhaps entering the upper class as a result of their distinguished work). The woman who wrote the 'Harry Potter' books is famous and perhaps could be called 'celebrated' but few people would refer to her as 'distinguished' because, a) 'Harry Potter' is a work of popular fiction, not a great work of literary art or a work of great depth and wisdom, b) she does not come from the 'upper class' of Britain and, c) she has been famous for a relatively short time. She's now a multi-millionaire and, if she uses some of her wealth and her name to do well-publicized charitable work for many years, then in her later years she might be described as a renowned, distinguished or esteemed philanthropist (慈善家).

The word, 'noted' has more or less the same meaning and usage as 'celebrated' or 'distinguished' but is less strong. For example, 'noted' could mean that this person's name is often mentioned in lists of the best ten violinists in the world but this person might not be among the most famous two or three violinists in the world, who could be described as 'celebrated'. 

The word 'illustrious' means someone who is very famous and 'distinguished' or 'celebrated' but this word is not very often used to refer to people. 'Illustrious' implies that the person is 'brilliant', out-shining even other celebrated and distinguished people in his or her field. However, the phrase, "an illustrious career" is quite often used, sometimes in an exaggerated way for people who are simply 'noted' in their field, rather than being 'celebrated' or 'distinguished'.

The word, a "dignitary" is used to refer to a person who is considered to be special, usually because of their position in society or (political or commercial) power. It is especially used when referring to a government officials. Very often, the word is used with the same meaning as a "special guest" (who has power and/or position in society). It is used when you want to express great respect for this person or these people and is considered to be formal language, i.e., this word is not normally used in everyday conversation.

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Part 3 Topic 172 Note 1

Do you think the kind of people that others admire (or, 'respect' or think of as 'heroes' or 'famous') has changed in the past few decades? 

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Part 3 Topic 172 Note 2

Why do so many (young) people nowadays want to be famous?

The entertainment media today plays a more important role in the everyday lives of young people than ever before. And a large part of the entertainment industry is the promotion of film stars, TV stars, pop stars, fashion stars and professional sports stars. As a result, young people feel that the culture of the entertainment industry is a major and an important part of life (which, in fact, it is because it dominates modern culture and is a major industry). On the other hand, very few other role models are presented to young people.

Another reason why some people want to be famous is that the idolatry (崇拜) of super-wealthy people has been promoted in the mass media.

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Part 3 Topic 172 Note 3

In general, what qualities do famous people possess?  

This question means, "In your opinion, what are the criteria for labeling a person as "famous"? Remember, "famous" is not always the same as "good" - Hitler was famous or, "infamous". Regardless of the question of good and bad, it seems that in general, famous people are leaders in their field. 

But the mass media plays a large part because it's very difficult for a person to become well-known and then famous if the media does not promote that person. 

In addition to that, all school children are told, via their text books, who should be considered to be famous people from the past. These heroes from the past are promoted usually because of their leadership, high moral virtues and the great changes (improvements) they have produced in society.

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Part 3 Topic 173 Success

Do you think someone who doesn't really like his or her job is still able to become successful in that job?


Part 3 Topic 173 Success Note 2

What do think is 'success' for an employee (or, for a person who is working)?

Listen carefully to the exact words of the question. If the examiner uses the words, "an employee" the concept of success for this person is somewhat different to someone who is working but is not an employee, such as a self-employed person or an employer (who is also an example of a self-employed person). These differences in the concept of success are very suitable to use in an extended, "discussion-style" answer.


Part 3 Topic 174 Note 1

Who should be responsible for the appearance of a home?

The real question is probably clearer and more specific than the way it is written here. I'm pretty sure it refers to the outside appearance of a house or flat, not the inside appearance.

Let's look at possible 'appearance problems' with a house. Maybe someone never paints the outside walls of their house; or never fixes broken windows or other fixtures on the outside of the house; or builds an extra room onto the house that looks really ugly; or has a front yard that is full of rubbish and overgrown grass. The problem here is that this one house can look ugly and damage the atmosphere of the whole street because all the other houses on the street look neat and attractive.

Similarly, for a flat, someone might have old canvas awnings above the windows that are torn and decayed (翻译); or they might have old, peeling paint on the painted surfaces; or they might hang clothes to dry on their open balcony (not an enclosed balcony). 

This question (about responsibility) is too complex to be answered with one, simple answer. The responsibility depends on different factors. As such, this is a typical Part 3 question that is best answered by considering the different factors or the different situations. Your answer should be quite long and detailed and should show different sides to the question, similar to a Task 2 writing test answer.

I would say that, in situations where money is needed to correct a problem or to maintain the appearance of a home, the home owner is responsible. So, if someone is renting a house or flat, the landlord should maintain the place. In the case of behaviour that results in an ugly appearance, the resident (the person who lives there) should be responsible. 

Then we have the question of who is responsible for setting the standards and enforcing these standards for the appearance of a home. Usually the local government (not the national or provincial government) assumes this responsibility. Local governments usually have regulations governing the appearance of homes and if a home owner or resident does not follow these regulations, they can be punished with a fine.

In some places, for example, in an apartment complex, there is a local committee of residents who sets the standards but such a committee usually doesn't have the power to impose a fine or some other legal punishment. Often an apartment complex or simply one apartment building appoints a manager whose job includes maintaining the appearance standard of the apartments.

Of course, the standards for the original appearance (just after it is built) of a house or flat, are also based on (local) government regulations. These regulations set the standards for the designers (architects) and the builders. In most places, before a builder can start building a new structure, the local government must approve the design of the structure, including the outside appearance.

Just a reminder: If you get this question and you make it obvious to the examiner that your answer comes from this page or if you simply make it obvious that you have read this page, the examiner will not like it! Pretend that you have never thought about this before and gradually introduce your ideas while thinking aloud.

小心! Read this.