ielts-yasi.englishlab.net

Updated  Aug. 13, 2014

Notes about some Questions (Page 8)

INTRODUCTION

If some of the notes on this page are possible in an answer to a question, be very careful about speaking those exact same words, especially the same word combinations, in the test. If several 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, a website 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. Completely memorized answers are usually not spoken in a very natural way by candidates. Try to avoid letting the examiner know that you have read this website!!

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Part 2 Topic 476 

A Foreign Language You Would Like to Learn 

Adaptation of Topic 115

Version A

Describe another language that you would like to learn.

      You should say:

                the name of this language (& where it is spoken)

                how you would learn it

                what equipment or facilities you would need to study this language *

       and explain what difficulties you think you would have (or, might have) when learning this language. 

 

Version B

Describe another language that you would learn, if you wanted to learn another language [in addition to English and your own language] *

      You should say:

                the name of this language (& where it is spoken)

                how you would learn it

                what equipment or facilities you would need to study this language *

      and explain why you would choose to study this language. *

    

Notes

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Topic 478

Do you think there are any future dangers connected to the environment? 

If you want to be adventurous and counter the fraudulent propaganda about future catastrophic global warming caused by mankind, you might want to talk about the dangers of  possible future global cooling. The main danger would be a reduction in global food production, which would kill many of those people who barely have enough food to survive.

Read these articles on the internet:

http://www.helium.com/items/2094726-scientists-suns-approaching-grand-cooling-assures-new-ice-age

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_02_21/66568476/

http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/comment/story.html?id=597d0677-2a05-47b4-b34f-b84068db11f4&p=4

Of course, there are other future dangers to the environment, such as pollution.

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Diet

The word 'diet' simply means, "what you eat'. For example, a lion has a diet of meat while a horse has a diet of grass.

The expression, "go on a diet" means to "go on a special diet" in order to (usually) lose weight. When people go on a diet, they try to eat food that has less calories than what they previously ate and they also try to eat less food.

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The Pronunciation of "health"

Some Chinese candidates have a problem pronouncing the word ":health" and / or they confuse the word with the word "healthy". "Health" is a noun, "healthy" is an adjective.

This pronunciation problem is probably related to the fact that the Chinese language does not have the "th" sound. When you say the word, "health", pay attention not to add any voiced sound at the end of the word that sounds like the "y" in the word, "healthy". If you make this mistake, mimic the native speaker pronunciation several times to get it right. (There are even a few native English speakers who say, "healf" instead of "health".)

The pronunciation of "health":

http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=health&submit=Submit

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/health

The pronunciation of "healthy":

http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=healthy&submit=Submit

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/healthy

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Topic 482 Old People

A) Do you think old people should be taken care of at home?

B) (Different to above) Do you think old people should be taken care of in (or at) a home?

Question A has been reported but not Question B. I have included Question B because I think it is a possible question.

In Question A, "at home" means the old person's family home, or the family home of the old person's adult children.

In Question B, the words, "in a home" or "at a home" mean, "in a nursing home", which is not the the old person's family home! Sometimes a nursing home is simply called, "an old people's home". Many, or several old people live in an old people's home and there are people there such as nurses to look after the old people.

The key difference between A and B is the use of "a" before the word "home".

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Topic 485 - Activity for Health

Describe an activity that you do to (help you) stay healthy.

You should say:

        what you do

        when you started doing this

        how much time you spend doing this (or, how often you do this)

and explain what benefits you get from this activity.

                        or

and explain how this activity helps you stay healthy.

 

It is possible that the real wording is slightly different to that shown above. The use of or absence of the words "help you" is not very important.

Wording 1 - "Describe an activity that you do to stay healthy"

This is the wording shown above. The word "to" means, "in order to", which means that the main reason why you choose to or decide to do this activity is to help you stay healthy. So, if you ride a bicycle mainly because it is cheap and convenient then you must be careful about using that as an example because you don't primarily choose to ride the bicycle for exercise. Another example - if you play basketball with your friends at lunchtime at school because you like basketball, because you want to improve your basketball skills and because you like having fun with your friends, then you probably don't primarily choose to play basketball for you health. But if you have problems with your weight, you might choose to play basketball primarily for health reasons.

Yet another example - If you walk up four flights of stairs everyday to get to your apartment because there is no elevator (= lift) in your apartment building, then you do not choose to walk up the stairs for exercise - you have no other choice! But if your apartment building does have a lift and you choose to walk up the stairs, then that would be a suitable example.

The activity does not have to be physical exercise. For example, washing your vegetables before you cook them is an activity that people do to help them stay healthy.

Wording 2 -  "Describe something you do to (help you) stay healthy"

An "activity" is an action that takes place for more than just a few seconds but the word, "something" could be an act that you do quickly, such as taking a vitamin pill every morning. That is more suitably called "an act" rather than "an activity", although the two are close in meaning. Or it could be a choice you make.

Of course, "something" can include the meaning of "activity", so choosing to walk up the stairs (when there is a lift), or going to the gym are possible answers here.

Another "something" that some people do is to choose not to have the MacDonald's meal (the "set") because they think the French Fries (the chips) and especially the Coca Cola are not healthy. Normally, you should not simply say what you choose not to do (such as not to smoke) but this example would be suitable if you say that instead of eating the set meal, you buy the 100% orange juice instead of the Coca Cola. But it would also be suitable to say that you think the hamburger is not too bad for you health and you choose to eat only that.

Other examples, also related to food, are choosing to buy organic food, choosing to be a vegetarian, and choosing to eat fish much more often than you eat red meat. Notice these examples emphasize what you do, not what you don't do.

Wording 3 - "Describe an activity you do that helps you stay healthy" and, Wording 4 - "Describe something you do that helps you stay healthy"

For Wording 3 & 4, it is possible that the word "to" is not used and, instead, the words "that helps you" are used. If this is the case, it is possible to use the examples above for Wording 1, i.e.,  playing basketball with your friends, riding your bicycle or walking up the stairs even when you have no other choice. The words, "that helps" means that one of the results of this activity is to help you stay healthy but your primary reason for doing the activity might not necessarily be to do the activity for health reasons.

Wording 5 - "Describe what you do to (help you) stay healthy"

This wording is asking you to describe, in a summarized form, all the main things you do to stay healthy.

Final Note

I think it is not very likely that Wording 3, 4 or 5are being used, but it is still a small possibility. Most people are reporting Wording 1.

Caution! 小心!

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Topic 493 A Radio Program

Do you think the government should build more local radio stations?

If the examiner specifies the word, "government", the question could be taken as an invitation to discuss the pros and cons of private radio stations (i.e., owned by a company), as opposed to government-owned radio stations. However, you should mostly focus on the need, or lack of need, for more local radio stations, regardless of who owns the station.

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Topic 491 - History

Do you think students are more interested in modern history or ancient history?

The definitions of "modern" and "ancient" history in the history of countries such as China, India and Iran might be different to how these words are defined in the West. Since you are doing this test in English, it is probably best to use the definitions that the examiner understands, just to keep it simple, but it is possible for you to add information about the definition of these terms in your culture, if you come from India, Iran or China, for example.

In the West, ancient history starts at the earliest known written records, which is about 3,000 years ago, and extends to about 500 AD. Traditionally the study of ancient history focused mostly on the Mediterranean and Middle East areas although areas such as China and India are possibly also included nowadays in the study of ancient history.

Modern history starts about 250 years ago and focuses on the whole world.

The period between the two is usually called, "medieval" history or "post-classical" history, while the period before written records is called "pre-history".

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Topic 497 - A Shopping Street

Do you think big shopping centres are good for the environment?

I think that the examiner (or the test writer) is, by this question, inviting you to talk about pollution produced by cars because many big newer shopping centres are built on the outskirts of cities and people need to drive their cars to get to them. I suspect the examiner (or the test writer) is inviting you to talk about carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant here. It's your choice but I wouldn't describe carbon dioxide as a "pollutant".

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Topic 498 - Science

Do you think children can learn about science outside the classroom?

I am guessing that the exact words, "outside the classroom"  are used. This allows for several different interpretations:

  1. School students going outside the classroom to see examples of science in real life, such as primary school students looking at insects or plants growing in the school grounds, or high school students going on field trips (excursions) to see other real examples of science or technology;

  2. Young children (e.g., at the age of 3 or 4) learning about science from the answers that their parents give to questions that they ask;

  3. Children learning about science by doing their own own experiments at home such as with a 'Chemistry Set' or a hobbyist's electronics set;

  4. Children learning about science from watching documentary films or TV programs;

  5. Children learning about science by simply observing natural phenomena, asking themselves questions and reading about what they see;

  6. Children visiting Science and Natural History museums (or even a zoo).

Caution! 小心!

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Topic 499 - Your Future Work Plans

Despite the fact that I have labeled this as, "Your Future Work Plans", the real wording might not exactly fit that label. You should adjust your answer to fit whatever the real wording is.

The real wording is probably very similar to that of one or all the past topics, 22, 97, and 360. Unfortunately, you will notice that I was unsure of the wording for those three topics because people never reported very specific wording for those topics    and the same is the case for this Topic 499.

We can be reasonably confident that the first line is something like, "Describe a job that you would like to do" (several people have reported that) and the second point is most probably, "You should say what job it is" or possibly, "You should say what job it would be".

A few people have reported that the word, "career" is used for this Part 2. "Career" and "job" are about the same in meaning for this Part 2 but you should still know exactly what the word "career" means and how it sometimes has a slightly different meaning to, "job".

However, I have not found any reporting for the remainder of the wording. So I suggest you be prepared to include any of the points listed below:

You should say ....

and explain ....

The last line, "and explain ...." might include any of the points I have listed as following, "You should say".

If the word, "would" is used in any of those points, it really includes the meaning, "If.......", even when the word "if" is not used.  For example, "You should say what skills you would need for this job (if you got this job or, if you were working in this job)." Just try to answer those points so that your wording is similar to the wording that is written on the card.

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Although the wording is probably quite simple, and the topic is probably simply asking you to talk about your real future work plans, you still should familiarize yourself with the following points:

If the wording on the card says, "a job", then it would not be suitable to begin your answer by saying, "The job I would like to do".

Most people are reporting that, "a job" is used in the wording for this topic. So you should say, "One job (or, a job) I would like to do is ....."

          But, again, if the word "plan" or "plans" is used, you should talk about your real plans. [Or you could tell a lie, if you are a good liar or actor.]

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Topic 499 - Part 3

What work (or jobs) do most people do in your country?

The wording might be, "What work (or jobs) are most common in your country?"

Make sure you know the difference between "common" and "popular".

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Topic 504 Electronic Equipment

Describe a piece of electronic equipment you bought for your home.

You should say:

        when you bought it.

        where you bought it

        how you use it

and explain how you benefit from using it. *

                     or

and explain why you bought it. *

 

  • No-one has yet (as at August 26, 2013) reported the last line.

  • Although everyone in China is using the word, "electronic" when they report this topic, there is a small possibility that the real word used might be "electrical". However, I don't think many young IELTS candidates who are still living at home would often buy an electrical appliance for the home, such as a washing machine, so if the word "electrical" is used then it is possible that this topic is mostly given to older candidates who have their own home. Just make sure you know the difference in meaning between these two words and answer with a suitable example.

  • On the other hand, young IELTS candidates living at home do buy simple electrical appliances such as a desk lamp or a hair-dryer. Even battery-powered devices such as a torch (a flashlight) or a battery-powered alarm clock can be called "electrical" devices. Note that if the word, "electronic" is used, a desk lamp, hair dryer, or torch are not really suitable. A battery-powered alarm clock would be suitable because they do have electronic circuitry.

  • Since it is for the home, mobile devices such as a mobile phone, an ipod, a digital camera etc. are not suitable as your answer. This limits your choices because, when they buy electronic devices, young people today mostly buy mobile electronic devices, except for computer accessories. Computer accessories such as a printer, a scanner, a set of headphones or a video camera for your computer would be suitable, especially if the word, "electronic" is used instead of "electrical". Even a small flash drive, to store data, would be a suitable example.

  • It seems that the topic does not say, "Not a computer" so a (laptop) computer to use at home would be suitable.

  • One or two people have reported that it says, "recently bought". "Recently" can be within the past year or so.

  • Of course, "your home" (the place where you live) does not mean the same as, "your family" ( the people you are related to).

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Topic 510 A Disliked High School Subject

  • * = guessed wording.

  • The card might just say, "a subject you didn't enjoy very much" or, "the subject you least enjoyed". This is more or less the same as "disliked" but not as strong.

  • It is not clear how the wording is written in order to include candidates who have finished high school. Possibly the examiner only gives this topic to current high school students.

  • It does not have to be a subject that you strongly dislike(d ) some people like(d ) all of their high school subjects! You can simply talk about the subject that you like(d) the least, or do (did) not like as much as you like(d) the other subjects. If this is your situation, explain clearly to the examiner that your example is not so much a case of "disliking" a subject but instead, a case of liking a subject less than liking other subjects.

  • PE (Physical Education) or Sport is not a good choice because this is normally not considered to be a "subject" that students study, although it can be considered to be "a class" in your timetable. PE and sport are considered to be more, "activities" rather than "subjects". But music and art can be called subjects.

  • I suggest not choosing English as your disliked subject because some examiners might be influenced by your attitude to English when awarding your score, especially if they are undecided exactly what score to give you. For example, if you say you disliked English and the examiner can't decide whether to give you a 6 or a 7 for vocabulary, then the examiner might think, "I'll give him 6. After all, he doesn't seem very enthusiastic about studying in an English speaking country." But the opposite situation might apply with the same examiners if the topic were, "Your favourite subject" and if you chose English as your favorite subject! Sometimes it is very difficult for examiners to make a choice when a sub-score for grammar or vocabulary, for example, seems to be right in the middle, between two scores.

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Part 3 Topic 513

Do you think the way people act with old people is the same as the way they act with young people?

Instead of comparing "young" and "old" people, you might be asked to compare "children" and "adults".

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Part 3 Topic 520 TV Programs

Do you learn anything from TV programs?

and

Do you think people learn anything from TV programs? 

 

      Caution! 小心!

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Part 2, Topic 521 - A Plan

Some suitable verbs to use when talking about a plan are: plan to, intend to & aim to. You could even use, "I've decided to" to express a plan, although it mostly expresses a decision to do something rather than express the fact that you have a plan for how you will do it.

"Hope to" is also close to those meanings, and is suitable to use to express certain ideas, but it emphasizes an emotion more than a plan. It is used when people want to avoid directly stating a plan, thinking that it sounds more "genteel" and less ambitious or assertive it sounds almost apologetic that you have a plan! It is most suitable to use when expressing a hope for the future that you are not highly confident will come true, such as "I hope to get a good score in this test", but that is a desire rather than a plan.

Avoid using, "wish to" because it is overly formal, although it is not grammatically wrong.. (E.g., "I wish to study accounting in Australia".)

"Be going to" is probably unsuitable for most ideas that people want to express for this topic, but it is possible, if used correctly. "Be going to" is used more for predicting the near future (e.g., "The weather report says it's going to rain tomorrow") but it is also used to express both a prediction and an intention in the near future such as, "I'm going to call my mother tonight" and "I'm going to be busy tomorrow".

"Will" is used for prediction of the future, not for expressing a plan so it is probably best to avoid this verb in this Part 2 answer. When used without an adverb, "will" has the idea of a 100% certain future event, such as, "I will give you that money tomorrow", which is a promise. Used with adverbs such as "probably" and "possibly", the verb "will" expresses less certain predictions about the future. "I Might", "I may", "perhaps + I will", "maybe I will" are used to express the same meanings as "probably I will" or "possibly I will".

"Want to" and "would like to" are not very suitable for expressing a plan but they could be included in your Part 2 answer to express your desires (your emotions) rather than your plans. That is, those expressions, as well as "hope to", could be used to explain why you have a certain plan or certain plans.

Some possible nouns to use are: "my goal", "my plan", "my intention"& "my aim". "My dream" is talking about a fantasy and is best avoided for this topic, although it is possible to use it when explaining why you have a plan.

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Topic 525

a) Do you think fathers can (or, do) teach different things to what  mothers can teach?

b) (Similar to above but slightly different) Do you think the things children learn from their fathers are different to what they learn from their mothers?

a) In general, what do parents usually teach their children?

b) (Similar to above) In general, what do children learn from their parents? 

 

I would say that the second wording (b) is more likely than the first. Children learn from their parents without the parents necessarily consciously or actively teaching the children. For example, children naturally mimic or copy the examples their parents set by their own behaviour. But you might also get a question similar to a). Basically, understand that "learn from somebody" does not always involve that somebody "teaching".

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Part 3 Topic 528

It is generally understood that a "tourist" travels to a place in order to view the sights at that place. Therefore, someone who visits a tourist attraction in their own city is better described as a "visitor", rather than a "tourist".

Strictly speaking, a "tourist attraction" does not include a holiday resort (e.g. at a beach or a ski resort). This is because the holiday makers don't go to a resort in order to view the sights they go there to engage in enjoyable holiday activities. But you possibly could include holiday resorts in some of your answers, as long as you explain yourself clearly.

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Should the entry charge be the same for foreign tourists and for local visitors?

The word "local" generally means "local to that city or that province". But if the word is used in contrast to "foreign", it can be considered to mean, "domestic" ( 国内 ).

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Why do (some) people prefer to explore new places?

 = " prefer to explore new places (themselves) rather than take a guided tour".

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Topic 528

Do you think there is a global culture?

(The questions related to this topic were probably asked just by one examiner, i.e., are not in the question book, because so far only one person has reported these questions.)

I have a suspicion that this might be referring to the concept of an appreciation for nature. Of course, all mankind appreciates nature. This appreciation has now been extended to the creation of a new quasi-religion, that is basically a form of "nature worship". There is a political motive driving this "ism" but this motive is too complex to discuss here.

If you are curious, you could investigate the topic of "Gaia" but don't spend too much time on this one topic. Some notes and internet links on this topic are written below. Note - the English level of this material is advanced, as are the concepts, and the level of awareness of what is going on in the world today that you need to have in order to understand the political connection.

(Other possible answers are -  the universal appreciation of music / the universality of family values / and the universality of certain moral values such as "Do not murder", "Do not steal" etc. But these latter two are not really classed as "cultures".)

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The New-Age 'Earth Religion' based on the Ancient Greek Earth Goddess, Gaia

Many people have commented on how some of those trying to push the man-made global warming agenda seem to have an almost religious passion about this question. But it is not so well-known that there actually is a kind of religion that is intimately tied up with this topic. For many people, this religious aspect has probably been the major force that propelled them into believing the man-made global warming pseudoscience, even if they are not fully aware of it, since this dogma has saturated the media and school lessons in the past two or three decades. We also have the strange phenomenon of Maurice Strong, a practical and highly ambitious businessman and former high-level United Nations official, who rubs shoulders with the most powerful people on earth becoming enthusiastic about this quasi-religion, as this article shows, wizard_baca_grande_1990.pdf. So what is the explanation for this?

Before considering the explanation, let's first look at this quasi-religion.

In 1972 the eminent British scientist and author, James Lovelock, proposed a theory to describe the whole earth, both the living and non-living, as a complex system that is in a state of homeostasis, or self-regulating balance, based on feedback mechanisms. He renamed the Earth itself "Gaia", after the ancient Greek goddess of the Earth who was believed to have brought the earth out of chaos. However, according to Lovelock's theory or hypothesis, there is one thing that is out of balance with this natural system, mankind or, more specifically, mankind's activities.

Lovelock has always tried to claim that his theory is scientific, not religious or based on the supernatural. But not only do some of his own statements about Gaia contradict that assertion, the practical result of the "Gaia theory" has clearly been the creation of a 'New-Age' quasi-religion. Furthermore, the obvious question is, why did Lovelock name a supposedly scientific theory after the Greek goddess of the earth? Or, even more significantly, why did a scientist feel the need to rename the Earth itself after this goddess? To me, this was obviously a contrivance, for brainwashing purposes.

Here are a few websites related to the topic of Gaia:

http://www.goddessassociation.com.au/

http://www.pantheism.net/earth.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis  Wikipedia pushes the man-made global warming propaganda in all of its articles related to this topic. Although Wikipedia is not a bad source of information for some topics, it is always biased on political topics. Notice how this article goes into some detail to explain the 'Gaia hypothesis', as if it were a genuine "scientific hypothesis", avoiding any mention of the religious aspect or the criticisms of this theory until after the reader has been immersed in the 'scientific' explanations, and then only mentioning these points in a few words.

http://goldenageofgaia.com/

http://www.gaiaresources.com.au/website/gaiaresources/

http://www.gaianeconomics.org/earthmother.htm

http://infinitelight.com/bepeacenow/

http://contenderministries.org/UN/gaia.php
This website is written from an evangelical Christian viewpoint. I do not agree with their political ideology at all, nor with their religious views. But the article is a good example of how Christians feel about this earth religion.

www.green-agenda.com

James Lovelock Partly Recants

In about January 2012, James Lovelock said in an interview, "I was 'alarmist' about climate change", "We don't know what the climate is doing" and, "I made a mistake". This was quite a turn-about! In previous years, he had made some of the most outrageously alarmist statements about coming global warming that have ever been made. In the interview, he also acknowledged that the global climate hadn't warmed in the previous 12 years. Phil Jones, the former fraudulent head of the CRU at East Anglia University (see "Climategate"), has also made the same acknowledgement. (For Dr. Jones, see  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8511670.stm and also some of his emails that were released by the Climategate whistleblower.)

Copies of The James Lovelock Interview, January, 2012

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/04/23/11144098-gaia-scientist-james-lovelock-i-was-alarmist-about-climate-change?lite

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/23/breaking-james-lovelock-back-down-on-climate-alarm/

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Part 3, Topic 530

How does society (in your country) view teenagers?

This is probably expressed in the way the media, especially newspapers, portray teenagers.

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Part 3, Topic 531

Is food safety ever a problem in your country?  

The two words, "safety" and "security" can sometimes have the same meaning but they also have quite different meanings. There is also a question, "Do you think a country's food security is an important question?" but I don't think that is the question here.

Use a good dictionary to see the differences in meaning between "safety" and "security".

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Part 3 Topic 532

Which do you think is more important; the government spending money on preserving historic buildings, or the government spending money on the constructions of schools and hospitals?

Sometimes these questions about the responsibilities of government are invitations for you to discus, in more general terms, what the responsibilities of governments should and should not be. That is, these questions allow people to introduce the idea that private groups of citizens or private companies could perform certain socially-useful tasks. This comment does not necessarily apply to this particular question but it might apply to other questions, such as who should construct and maintain parks used by the public, or who should build and manage publicly-used recreational facilities.

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Part 3 Topic 533

Are there any things that are especially important for people to remember? 

Are there any things that are especially important for people to memorize?

Both of these questions have been reported. However, if you read the notes I wrote here, you will see that the two words, "remember" and "memorize" are more or less opposites of each other! To remember is similar to "output" because it means to bring a thought out of your memory bank; to memorize is similar to "input" because it means to purposely put something (such as a password) into your memory bank. We memorize such things as a password, a new phone number or a poem by making an effort to put the password, phone number, poem etc. into our memory. But we don't use the word "memorize" when referring to putting such things as a film or an event into our memory banks because these things are effortlessly stored in our memory banks    we don't need to try hard to put them into our memory.

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Part 3, Topic 535

Which is better for saving money, using a credit card or using cash?

Make sure you know the difference between a credit card and a debit card (also loosely called a "bank card"). Basically, a debit card is the card that most people have in order to make withdrawals from their bank account at an ATM machine.

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Part 3, Topic 537

Who do you think should be responsible for the public parks and gardens (in a town or city)?

If the question is expressed in words similar to that, I suspect that the meaning of the question is a deeper than most people realize. Most people assume that it is the government (in this case, the city or town government) but there is more to this question than that. You need to understand that many IELTS questions reflect current political trends in the West. Right now (and for the past couple of decades), there has been a big push to privatize almost every function of governments, as well as privatize government-owned assets (= privatize the assets owned by and paid for by the citizens). So, the question is giving an opportunity for some people to express the idea that private companies would be best for managing a park, or even best for deciding where a new park should be situated.

Another alternative could be having some "citizen group" taking care of a park. But that's what a government is supposed to represent, i.e., the citizens.

You don't have to contrast private companies and a government to answer this question. In fact, you certainly should be careful about revealing that you have read this website. 

So, even if you make no mention of private companies, you still should try to express, or explain, your ideas about why it is (or should be) a responsibility of the government (and not some other entity). And be prepared for the possibility that the examiner will ask you why a private company could not (or should not) manage a park.

For towns and cities, we usually use terms such as "the municipal council" or the "the city government" rather than simply, "the government" because "the government" is most often used to describe the national government. The question might not even specify the words, "towns and cities" but, of course, that's were parks are, except for national parks. National parks are a different thing and these are usually run by the national government (hence the name national park). In some places, such as the U.S.A., a state runs a park (called a "state park") and the state or provincial government is responsible for it. There is also the possibility of a "county (县)park".

So, basically, this is a question asking you to talk about politics (to a greater or lesser extent)!

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Do many people in your country have their own garden?

In countries such as China, most people who live in cities live in an apartment, so they cannot have their own garden. But what about all those people who live in the countryside, in villages and small towns? Most of those people live in a house and many of them have a vegetable garden, even if they don't have a flower garden.

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Why do many people want to have their own garden?

Many of those people who live in an apartment would like to have a garden, if they could. This question is asking you to talk about people's feelings, or desires.

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Part 3 Topic 542

Do you think small towns and villages in your country need more public entertainment facilities?

This question might be more general, such as, "Do you think people in your country need more public entertainment facilities?" or, Do you your hometown needs more public entertainment facilities?

Understand that "entertainment facilities" are somewhat different to the more general term, "leisure facilities". Entertainment is a sub-category of leisure. See here for definitions of "entertainment", which will illustrate what "entertainment facilities" are. "Public entertainment facilities" are facilities that the general public can use, as opposed to private or home entertainment facilities. Although many public leisure facilities such as public parks or basketball courts are free of cost for the public to use, most public entertainment facilities, such as cinemas, charge an entrance fee.

The following question, (if you are asked this question), "Who do you think should be responsible for the construction of public entertainment facilities?" is an invitation for you to either say that governments should construct these facilities, or that private companies should do it. (It is also possible for local groups of citizens to construct their own entertainment facilities, especially in villages and small towns.) In most cases in cities, places such as cinemas are private businesses so, logically, private companies usually construct these facilities. But you might be able to think of exceptions to that.

Note also that the examiner might change the question to "public recreational facilities", or "public leisure facilities". Those two mean basically the same thing. In fact, even though most people have reported this question as "public entertainment facilities". some people have reported it as "public leisure facilities". Both might be used in the same test.

Caution! 小心!

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Part 3 Topic 544 - Busy Time

Do you have a (regular) daily routine?

The question might not include the word, "regular" because "routine" already includes the meaning of regularity, or habitual. "Regular" is sometimes used with "routine" just to emphasize the meaning.

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Part 2, Topic 546 - Another Culture

  • Firstly, the card almost certainly says simply "another culture" (or words to that effect), not "a foreign culture". Basically, "another culture" just means a culture that is not your culture. Of course, a culture from another country might be the first thing that comes to your mind but you need to think more broadly than this, especially in Part 3.

  • In other words, it could be another culture that exists within your own country. Big countries such as China have many different ethnic groups. Even the main Chinese ethnic group (the Han) has many different sub-cultures within it. For example, the silk-making, silk weaving and silk painting culture (you could call it the "silk culture") that exists in and around Suzhou is an example of a culture revolving around a particular craft. This culture would even influence other aspects of those people's lives when they are not working at their craft, since the culture is hundreds of years old and has been passed down through families. Visiting a fishing village would be a similar example if this is not your background. Even people from the north of China might feel they are experiencing some aspects of a different culture when they visit the south, or vice-versa. And if you grew up in a big city, visiting a village might give you a feeling of experiencing a different culture, and vice-versa (the "big city culture" and the "village culture").

  • There are also different "cultures" or ways of life, that exist between different strata (social classes) of the same society. To use such an example when talking about "another culture"  to your culture, I suggest you would need to talk about a social class that is very far from your own social class background. For example, if you have a family background that has long been quite well-educated, or even very wealthy (the two don't necessarily go together), then you could talk about your experience of living with, or working with, or simply just visiting people are are very poor and uneducated. And if you come from a very humble background, you could talk about the reverse. Or maybe you visited a pub that had a heavy-metal rock band and you even talked to the band members when they took a break. If that was all new to you, then you could say it's not part of "your culture".

  • Experience with another religion would be another example. For example, if you visited a temple (or a church or a mosque) in China that was not part of your background, especially if you witnessed the practitioners of this religion at worship, then this example would suit this topic. Each religion can be considered to have its own "culture", regardless of the ethnicity or language etc. of the followers of that religion. For example, "the culture surrounding Buddhism", such as not eating meat, the tradition of Buddhist monks begging etc. But this example might be hard for most people to talk about well since you would need to sound like you are talking about the culture surrounding a religion, not just describing the religion itself.

  • Going to any cultural event that is related to or represents another culture is a good example, even if this event was within your own country. For example, visiting an art exhibition from another country would obviously enable you to learn about the art from that other country. But if were observant and reflective, you would have learned other things about that culture from the contents of the art. Other similar examples are - concerts of various kinds; any performance from another culture, including, of course, foreign films; various types of exhibitions, including trade exhibitions and fashion shows; or.a speech by a foreign dignitary or visitor to your country.

  • Going to a restaurant that specializes in a food from another culture would, of course, teach you about that different culture's food and the way they eat but you might also have learned other things from the surroundings in the restaurant (e.g., the art on the walls, the background music), the people who worked there (e.g., what clothes they wore, how they behaved), the other diners in the restaurant (if they came from that culture), the type of writing that the menu was written in, etc. etc.

  • Obviously, visiting certain types museums gives you a "cultural experience" and lots of cultural information.

  • Maybe you simply went to the library to read about another culture.

  • Of course, visiting another country would be one example of experiencing another culture, but as you can see from what is written above, it is not the only possible example.

  • And finally, did you not learn anything about the culture of English-speaking countries, or people, in your English classes?

  • To talk about another culture in less than 2 minutes, you cannot describe everything about this culture. But you should mention a few specific aspects of this culture, such as 3 to 5 aspects. And you need to be clear that this is different to your culture since the topic is "another culture".

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Part 3, Topic 546

Do you think that rare languages should be preserved?

The question might be that or it might be, "Do you think that endangered languages should be protected?" Or it might be, "Do you think that minority languages (within a majority language environment) should be protected?"

These questions have different meanings and therefore different answers.

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Do you think "globalization" is a good thing?

If you look in different dictionaries and at different places on the internet, you will realize that  there are two, somewhat different definitions, or usages, of  the word, "globalization". This is a political question and different places on the internet (and different dictionaries) will define the word according to the political ideology that the website endorses.

Definition 1

The first paragraph of the Wikipedia article on this topic defines, "globalization" as a general integration of the cultures of the world so that the peoples and countries of the world become more interdependent and, implicitly, more unified. Below is that first paragraph.

"Globalization (or globalisation) is the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas, and other aspects of culture.[1][2] Advances in transportation and telecommunications infrastructure, including the rise of the telegraph and its posterity the Internet, are major factors in globalization, generating further interdependence of economic and cultural activities.[3] "

This definition is favoured by those who endorse capitalism or, more specifically, "corporatism", which is the growth and increase of political power of large corporations. They favour this definition because it deflects attention away from the international activities, and the increase in political power of multinational corporations.

Definition 2

The second definition focuses almost completely on multinational corporations. This definition is favoured by socialists and others who oppose what they see as the negative activities of multinational corporations. The most prominent of these negative activities is the privatization of state-owned assets, especially but not exclusively in the poorer countries, with ownership of these assets passing into the hands of multinational corporations. The negative results of this privatization include the formation of monopolies, such as electricity producers or phone companies, the increase in prices charged to consumers and the exporting of wealth (the profits) from these countries to overseas destinations, i.e., to the multinational corporations.

This second definition is mentioned in the third patagraph of the Wikipedia article, although it expresses it more in terms of "business" and "trade"  rather than specifically mentioning "privatization", which is not mentioned at all -

"The term globalization has been increasingly used since the mid-1980s and especially since the mid-1990s.[6] In 2000, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) identified four basic aspects of globalization: trade and transactions, capital and investment movements, migration and movement of people, and the dissemination of knowledge.[7] Further, environmental challenges such as climate change, cross-boundary water and air pollution, and over-fishing of the ocean are linked with globalization.[8] Globalizing processes affect and are affected by business and work organization, economics, socio-cultural resources, and the natural environment."

If you are interested in knowing more about this topic, you can search the internet for a book, "CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN - JOHN PERKINS", including several Youtube videos of John Perkins or based on his book. [Youtube is not 100% blocked in China. I used to be able to watch Youtube videos it by inserting the Youtube video urls into www.vtunnel.com or www.ztunnel.com.)

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