Updated Aug. 11, 2009
Notes about some Questions (Page 2)
If a note below is about a Part 2 topic, the note assumes that the wording of the Part 2 topics, especially the verb tense, is as shown in the list of topics on this website. Possibly the real wording is different to that shown on this website. BE CAREFUL!
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!
For many Part 2 topics, you can get some additional ideas by reading the Part 3 questions that follow that topic.
Part 2 Topic 150 Organization
Part 2, Topic 151 Interesting News Story
Part 3 Topic 151 News Note 1
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".
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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.
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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.
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Part 3 Topic 151 News Note 5
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- private international transactions,
- national governmental regulation, and
- international intergovernmental regulation."
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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.
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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.|
Universal Declaration of
|Human rights||Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), an agency of the United Nations.|
|The Principles of the International
|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.|
International Court of Justice (Written in Chinese)
International Court of Justice, an agency of the United Nations.
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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'.
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Part 3 Topic 152 Note 5
This question is referring to the legend of Robin Hood, in England.
See the following internet links: http://www.englishclub.com/esl-forums/viewtopic.php?f=192&t=43641
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.
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Part 3 Topic 152 Note 6
Under what circumstances can a person who has committed a crime escape punishment?
This question was found at 3gbbs.com, 2008年11月15、16日雅思口语回忆, Page 2, 26楼
You might need this – 翻译 – to read the following notes!
There are several circumstances.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Part 2 Topic 153 A Performance or Show
Part 2 Topic 154 Something You Would Like to Learnand explain what difficulties you think you would possibly have learning this. *
and explain what difficulties you think you will possibly have learning this. *
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.
Possibly the wording is, "Describe a sculpture or other work of art that you have seen and that you liked."
To talk about a work of art in your home is not suitable because that is not something you once 'saw' but something you often 'see'. In other words, the past tense is not suitable for that.
Of course you don't have to talk about a famous painting such as The Mona Lisa. And you could talk about something that you see occasionally, for example, something you see on your way to work, but your answer should focus on the first time you saw it and your reaction to it when you first saw it.
For this topic, I originally had the words, "and explain what you would like to say to this person." Now I think the last line is much simpler and just says, "and explain why you would like to meet this 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).
"Famous" means this person's name or face is frequently in newspapers, on TV, on the radio or on the internet. That's for famous people alive now. Famous people from history are frequently mentioned in history books, especially school textbooks.
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.
It is best to talk about a person whose name is well known nationally or internationally. It is unsuitable to talk about the president of your university or your boss if he or she is just 'famous' within the university or the company environment. Similarly, it is not 100% wrong but it is rather unsuitable to talk about someone who is just 'famous' in your small town but is not known outside your small town.
It might be acceptable to talk about someone from history, i.e., someone who has died if, a) the cue card says "who this person is or was" and, b) the cue card says, "how you first learned about this person". However, if the card only says, "who this person is" and only says, "where you first saw him or her", then it seems the card is asking you to talk about a person who is famous and also alive now. (You will probably say you saw the person on TV or in a newspaper or magazine.)
If you say, "I want to meet this person" then the meaning is, "It is one of my goals to meet this person" or, "I have a strong desire to meet this person". For most candidates, this is not true and is therefore unsuitable. Just use phrases such as, "I'd be happy to meet ...", "I'd like to meet ... ", "It would be interesting to talk to ...", + "this person".
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