IELTS | Speaking | 1 on 1 Coaching | Speaking Part 3 – Difficult Jobs & Personal/Career Success

And we’re into the final podcast with the exceptional speaker from India. I’m very grateful to have brought this to you because these are great examples. In this one, she uses excellent examples, however, she does speak more about other people than she does herself. A bad thing? I like to think not, but to be safe, it’s always great to give personal examples, too. Let’s tune in!

IELTS | Speaking | 1 on 1 Coaching | Speaking Part 1 – Neighbors

We’ve got ourselves an AMAZING speaking student on the podcast today from India! She’s a professional and taking IELTS general training, and as you may hear in this podcast, her speaking capabilities and flow with pronunciation is beyond solid.  However, it’s time to critique! In today’s podcast, we’re talking NEIGHBORS!

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 163 | Listening | Conservation Program

Welcome back to another listening, everyone! This is an IELTS-style type of listening. And before we get into it, I want to first go over a skill. While listening, don’t just write the first ‘possible’ answer that seems to fit the gap as this may be a distractor. Listen carefully: does the speaker give other information that may provide a better answer? Now, in saying that, let’s get into it.

– Silvia describes the accommodation as (1) _________

– She hadn’t expected to collect so much (2) _________ from the beach.

– She admits to needing more (3) _________ when she constructed the fences.

– She describes the researchers’ efforts to save the seals as (4) _________.

– Silvia’s team leader sometimes asked her to take on the role of (5) ___________.

– She is surprised at the number of (6) _________ which developed during the time on the island.

– She admits to feeling nervous about the (7) ________ at the end of the week.

– Silvia uses the word (8) _________ to convey her feelings about her time on the conservation program.

Gateway c1

IELTS | Speaking | 1 on 1 Coaching | Speaking Part 1 – Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely grateful for bringing on my first ever podcastee from Yemen! This ambitious student is now living in Jordan and will soon do his PhD in Europe.  In today’s podcast, I’ve gone over the most frequently asked questions and provided feedback at the end of the session. So, if you want to hear some critiquing in regards to speaking, here it is!

IELTS | Reading | Cambridge 14 | T4 – P1 – The Secret of Staying Young

Welcome back to a breakdown of reading passage 1 on the Cambridge IELTS test 4! This is a first of its kind, and what I’ll be doing is breaking down T/F/NG and fill in the blank. The most difficult part about IELTS reading is finding where the key words are (far more difficult than TOEFL)….so watch how I do this.

Pheidole dentata, a native ant of the south-eastern U.S., isn’t immortal. But scientists have found that it doesn’t seem to show any signs of aging. Old worker ants can do everything just as well as the youngsters, and their brains appear just as sharp. ‘We get a picture that these ants really don’t decline,’ says Ysabel Giraldo, who studied the ants for her doctoral thesis at Boston University.

Such age-defying feats are rare in the animal kingdom. Naked mole rats can live for almost 30 years and stay fit for nearly their entire lives. They can still reproduce even when old, and they never get cancer. But the vast majority of animals deteriorate with age just like people do. Like the naked mole rat, ants are social creatures that usually live in highly organized colonies. ‘It’s this social complexity that makes P. dentata useful for studying aging in people,’ says Giraldo, now at the California Institute of Technology. Humans are also highly social, a train that has been connected to healthier aging. By contrast, most animal studies of aging use mice, worms or fruit flies, which all lead much more isolated lives.

In the lab, P. dentata worker ants typically live for around 140 days. Giraldo focused on ants at four age ranges: 20 to 22 days, 45 to 47 days, 95 to 97 days and 120 to 122 days. Unlike all previous studies, which only estimated how old the ants were, her work tracked the ants from the time the pupae became adults, so she knew their exact ages. Then she put them through a range of tests.

Giraldo watched how well the ants took care of the young of the colony, recording how often each ant attended to, carried and fed them. She compared how well 20-day-old and 95-day-old ants followed the telltale scent that the insects usually leave to mark a trail to food. She tested how ants responded to light and also measured how active they were by counting how often ants in a small dish walked across a line. And she experimented with how ants react to live prey: a tethered fruit fly. Giraldo expected the older ants to perform poorly in all these tasks. But the elderly insects were all good caretakers and trail-followers — the 95-day-old ants could track the scent even longer than their younger counterparts. They all responded to light well, and the older ants were more active. And when it came to reacting to prey, the older ants attacked the poor fruit fly just as aggressively as the young ones did, flaring their mandibles or pulling at the fly’s legs.

Then Giraldo compared the brains of 20-day-old and 95-day old ants, identifying any cells that were close to death. She saw no major differences with age, nor was there any difference in the location of the dying cells, showing that age didn’t seem to affect specific brain functions. Ants and other insects have structures in their brains called mushroom bodies, which are important for processing information, learning and memory. She also wanted to see if aging affects the density of synaptic complexes within these structures — regions where neurons come together. Again, the answer was no. What was more, the old ants didn’t experience any drop in the levels of either serotonin or dopamine — brain chemicals whose decline often coincides with aging. In humans, for example, a decrease in serotonin has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

‘This is the first time anyone has looked at both behavioral and neural changes in these ants so thoroughly,’ says Giraldo, who recently published the findings in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Scientists have looked at some similar aspects in bees, but the results of recent bee studies were mixed — some studies showed age-related declines, which biologists call senescence, and others didn’t. ‘For now, the study raises more questions than it answers,’ Giraldo says, ‘including how P. dentat stays in such good shape.’

Also, if the ants don’t deteriorate with age, why do they die at all? Out in the wild, the ants probably don’t live for a full 140 days thanks to predators, disease and just being in an environment that’s much harsher than the comforts of the lab. ‘The lucky ants that do live into old age may suffer a steep decline just before dying,’ Giraldo says, but she can’t say for sure because her study wasn’t designed to follow an ant’s final moments.

‘It will be important to extend these findings to other species of social insects,’ says Gene E. Robinson, an entomologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This ant might be unique, or it might represent a broader pattern among other social bugs with possible clues to the science of aging in larger animals. Either way, it seems that for these ants, age really doesn’t matter.

Cambridge IELTS 14 Test 4 Passage 1

Choose one word only from the passage for each answer.

Focus on a total of 1 ___________ different age groups of ants, analysing

Behaviour:

– how well ants looked after their 2 ______________

– their ability to locate 3 ____________ using a scent trail

– the effect that 4 _____________ had on them

– how 5 ______________ they attacked prey

Brains:

– comparison between age and the 6 _____________ of dying cells in the brains of ants

– condition of synaptic complexes (areas in which 7 _____________ meet) in the brain’s ‘mushroom bodies’

– level of two 8 ______________ in the brain associated with ageing

Questions 1-8

Second phase

  • True: if the statement agrees with the information
  • False: if the statement contradicts the information
  • NG: If there is no information on this

9. Pheidole dentata ants are the only known animals which remain active for their whole lives.

10. Ysabel Giraldo was the first person to study Pheidole dentata ants using precise data about the insects’ ages.

11. The ants in Giraldo’s experiments behaved as she had predicted that they would.

12. The recent studies of bees used different methods of measuring age-related decline.

13. Pheidole dentata ants kept in laboratory conditions tend to live longer lives.

Tips & Tricks

  • If the question asks you to write two words and/or a number, this means the answer may be: one word, one word + a number, two words, two words + a number

Remember that even if a number is written as a word, it counts as a number (e.g., twenty five trees = one word and a number). You do not need to write full sentences or join words together.

Podcast

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 147 | Developing Vocabulary | Expressions & Phrases with Self

Here’s another developing vocabulary! Long, beautiful rant — given by me! Here are the words and the podcast in terms of what I’ll be discussing today.

  • self-doubt
  • self-expression
  • self-indulgence
  • self-serving
  • self-preservation
  • self-deprecating
  1. being excessively modest, or undervaluing oneself
  2. how one shows their feelings, thoughts or ideas, especially through music, art and writing
  3. the instinctive protection of oneself from harm, danger
  4. a lack of confidence in oneself and abilities
  5. having concern only for one’s own interests
  6. behavior in which a person does exactly what they want, often for the purpose of pleasure or through laziness

Complete the sentences with the phrases above

  1. feeling tired and stressed? Come to Happy Spa for a weekend of ___________ and relaxation.
  2. In some extreme cases, when comments have become very vicious, people have deleted their social media accounts as a means of __________.
  3. Many teenagers go through periods of ________________, and wonder who they are and how they fit in.
  4. I prefer people who make ______________ comments to people who take themselves too seriously.
  5. John says his haircut is a form of ________________, and no one should criticize her for it.
  6. Everything that Liam does is completely ________________– he just manipulates people to get what he wants.

Speaking

  • If friends make self-deprecating comments, how do you respond? Is it a good thing to frequently make these kinds of comments?
  • What forms of self-expression can you think of? How do you express yourself?
  • To what extent do you think people are self-serving?

Podcast

TOEIC | Grammar | Part 5 | Incomplete Sentences | Improving your Knowledge with Phrasal/Academic Verbs

There’s a bit of a delay, but I’m back with the blog! Here’s a rundown of what I talked about on my podcast (which will be down below) and the questions, too.

Becoming familiar with the correct use of gerunds and infinitives and understanding phrasal verbs is helpful for many parts of the TOEIC test. This unit will make you more aware of how they are used.

Language building: Gerunds and Infinitives

Gerunds are verbs in their base form + -ing, e.g. doing. Infinitives are verbs in their base form.

Test Tactic: Familiarize yourself with phrasal verbs

  • to arrange
  • to complete a blank area in a form
  • to support
  • to review or check something
  • to stop using something gradually
  • to fail to stay on schedule
  • to investigate
  • to continue
  • to delay or reschedule something
  • to consider carefully

Choose to correct phrasal verbs and match them with the academic verbs (answers in podcast at the bottom).

  • set up / call up
  • fill out / bring about
  • fall through / back up
  • go over / take over
  • buy out / phase out
  • fall behind / back out of
  • look into / fill in for
  • keep on / go through
  • shut off / put off
  • run out of / think over
  1. Despite working overtime every day for two weeks, he still ________ with his work.
  • went through
  • backed up
  • fell behind

2. The customer called three times this morning to ________ a meeting.

  • set up
  • call up
  • take over

3. It was decided to _________ buying the new equipment until next year.

  • put off
  • fill out
  • take over

4. The judge promised to __________ any new evidence as soon as possible.

  • look out of
  • look into
  • look after

5. Visitors to the United States are required to ________ an immigration questionnaire.

  • bring about
  • think over
  • fill out

6. The planned merger between the companies ____________ because the couldn’t agree on the price.

  • took over
  • fell through
  • backed out of

7. When color televisions became popular, black and white sets were gradually ___________.

  • Phased out
  • bought out
  • set up

8. A temporary worker was hired to ___________ Mary while she was on vacation.

  • take over
  • fill in for
  • fall behind

Podcast

IELTS | Listening | Cambridge 15 | Test 1 – Bankside Recruitment Agency

Welcome to a comprehensive Part 1 breakdown of the IELTS test! Cambridge 15 has made its debut, and I found a perfect website that has all the tests available. So, before we get into the test, we need to establish some things.

But even BEFORE THAT, make sure you tune into the podcast to get my breakdown, answers, techniques, etc.

Technique 1 – Predicting Notes

Here are some examples of the different type of information you’re going to need to fill in part one. Try to quickly identify the situation from the notes and from the introduction on the recording. You should then spend the time before the dialogue starts thinking about the situation and predicting the type of language you might here.

  • a price
  • a measurement
  • a reference number
  • a number
  • a month
  • a name
  • a color
  • a time
  • a place
  • a telephone number

ARSENIO’S ESL PODCAST | SEASON 5 EPISODE 143 | Discussion Point | Four Start-ups that changed the world

We’re back with a discussion point and a brand new chapter! In this podcast, I’ll be discussing four (more like three) start-ups that changed the world, as well as so many others. It’s amazing to see how technology has evolved, but to look back at some of these game-systems, telephones and social media apps….they didn’t start in their respective niche.

Podcast