IELTS Live Coaching | S1: E9 | Writing | Giving Reasons

Welcome to the last writing coaching for this season (if you want more videos/blogs/audios, patreon is available!). In today’s task 2, we’re going to go over giving reasons.

How do the words in each set 1-4 connect to each other?

  1. Deforestation –> soil erosion –> less food production
  2. Climate change –> unreliable rainfall –> poor crops
  3. War –> farming prevented –> imports and exports prevented
  4. Rising prices –> less available food –> starvation

Ready the sentences below and see if you understand the meaning of the words in italics.

  1. Eating wholefoods and natural produce is important for me. They are healthier than other foods.
  2. Intensive farming increases the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. I prefer to shop at a farmers’ market where the food is usually produced and organic.
  3. Genetically modified crops are crucial I think. They help to prevent starvation, producing much greater quantities of crops.
  4. Overgrazing and deforestation mean there is less land for food production. Farmers and landowners should be banned for allowing this.
  5. Developed countries should focus on solutions for climate change. This issue has a great impact on food production in developing countries.

Is the following task asking you to find solutions or evaluate a solution?

Some people believe that famine is caused by climate change and preventing this will stop famine. What is your view of this?

An essay which evaluated solutions often describes the proposed solution and looks at the disadvantages and the advantages.

Of course the impact of climate change can’t be underestimated in relation to famine. Climate change is, in itself, caused by many different factors including deforestation and polluted air. The deforestation problem leads to soil erosion. The polluted air problem increases temperatures. Deforestation and polluted air contribute to unpredictable rainfall patterns which damage crops and the quality of vegetation that grows, preventing steady food production in developing countries. Farmers in developing countries usually don’t have enough money for measures which will help counteract the effects, e.g. anti-flooding or irrigation methods. Consequently, preventing climate change would decrease climate changes unpredictable effects and therefore reduce famine. Agriculture planning would be easier as farmers would know what the likely seasonal changes would be. However, climate change is a vast problem and not a problem easily solved. The problem requires a global effort and huge investment, which is difficult to achieve quickly in the short term.

IELTS Live Coaching | S1: E8 | Speaking | Overseas Voluntary Work

Welcome back to another live coaching! So, in tomorrow’s session we’re going to talk about the different types of overseas voluntary work and the different types of work that is involved in each case. Also, there are going to be some questions for you to answer about these types of voluntary work, too. I’m hoping to bring on a student on a live episode to finish off season 1 next week, so if anyone is interested in a free, 40-minute online coaching, let me know!

a. working with children in an orphanage

b. working on a wildlive conservation project

c. working on a construction project in a rural community

d. working in a rural school

e. working on a rural health education program

f. working on an environmental conservation project

g. working on a marine conservation project

  1. How easy or difficult do you think each of the jobs would be?
  2. Which of the voluntary projects would you choose to work on? Why?
  3. In which countries would you be most likely to do one of these projects?
  4. At what stage in life might someone volunteer overseas?

Podcast – coming soon

Video – coming soon


IELTS | Speaking | 1 on 1 Coaching | Speaking Part 1 – Magazines and Newspapers

After so many years of being on this planet, I’ve finally met my first ever student from Tibet, the autonomous region of China.  This 20-year-old girl had moved to India, learned for several years, and moved back to Nepal where she’s preparing her IELTS test to go overseas. I’ve had the special privilege of coaching her, so I know this will inspire a lot of people. Here we go!

IELTS Live Coaching | S1 – E5 | Writing | Noun Phrases, Planning Your Essay, Benefits & Drawbacks

Welcome back to another IELTS Live Coaching! Here’s the notes for today’s live coaching! Review it, have your comments ready and be ready to comment and chime in on the conversation!

Europe is the biggest ‘tourist resort’ in the world, taking 25 percent of (1) money spent around the globe on tourism. (2) Tourism boards have recently released figures which show that within Europe, four countries are the (3) destinations that most people choose: of all the visitors, over half go to France, Spain, Italy, or the UK. Eighty percent of all (4) tourists who are over 18 include a cultural activity on their holiday such as a visit to a (5) place with cultural or historical interest. So, any (6) finances that are drained for the upkeep of such tourist attractions is covered by income from their visits, along with (7) the other things tourists spend money on.  This is important as there is a correlation between tourism and the future (8) way the economy develops in that country.

  1. Development of the economy
  2. Other expenditure
  3. Global spend
  4. The release of recent figures
  5. Destinations of choice
  6. Adult tourists
  7. Heritage site
  8. Drain on finances

Techniques: we use noun forms to improve the way that we writing thingsour writing style and reduce the amount of space needed to describe thingsthe economy of our writing.

Task: you should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Some people believe the benefits of tourism outweigh the problems it creates in a particular place. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Introduction: growth of tourism seen as benefit (resorts bring in money and other advantages), But some people complain about negative effect (environmental damage/increasing prices). Will look at the different aspects of tourism; argue that it can be both beneficial and cause problems.

Idea one: Benefit: brings in money/local economy improves – more jobs for local people

Disadvantage: also, increases costs, house prices go up and prices aimed at tourists so local people suffer; jobs only seasonal

Idea two: benefit: tourism improves infrastructure – more facilities for tourists/transportation better, etc. – helps local population, too

Disadvantages: damages the environment/not good long term, e.g. beautiful area gets overdeveloped

Idea three: benefit: brings in new people/new types of attractions and cafes, etc.

Disadvantages: history and culture sometimes damaged – becomes very commercialized

Conclusion: benefits very clear – commercially good for an area. Key point – must be done with care or becomes damaging. Therefore, I believe tourism is largely benefit but only if done with controls.

Final Point: when writing essays, a common mistake students make is not planning enough. Spend a few minutes brainstorming ideas, e.g. using a benefits/disadvantages table or a mind map, before writing. You can then focus on language issues.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Speaking Class | S1 E1 | Developing Ideas | Leadership

BOOM! We’ve got ourselves a new series! As promised, I told you guys in July that I would have another new series, and here it is! In today’s podcast, I’m featuring a wonderful student from Tibet and a teacher from India in a developing ideas type of segment which they speak about leadership and talk about historical figures who have left a lasting legacy on humanity — as well as developing their ideas in terms of a task towards the end.

Unfortunately, it was cut short because of myself, but know that this is just the beginning! Many more to come! Full notes down below!

Leadership Qualities

  • The ability to listen properly and consider the views of others
  • The use of persuasion and encouragement to achieve end goals
  • The strength to be honest and open when tackling sensitive issues
  • The willingness to take responsibility for failure
  • The ability to delegate

Have you demonstrated any of the qualities above? Tell us about it in a specific instance.

You’re going to listen to a student attempting to lead a team as the try to construct a raft made of tires, planks, and ropes. Do you think the student is an effective leader who commands respect? Why/why not?

Are you cut out to be a leader?

  1. You are taking part in a team-building activity.  The activity involves using old tires, planks of wood and piece of rope to construct a raft, which your team will then use to cross a river.  Do you….
  1. Give the different members of your team specific tasks to carry out?
  2. Wait and see what everyone else starts to do with the equipment?
  3. Observe and make suggestions as and when you think necessary?
  • You are collaborating on a group presentation with three other students.  The others have nominated you as leader.  When it comes to delivering the presentation, the slides created by one of the team members contain numerous inaccuracies, which the teacher and observing students remark on.  Do you….
  1. Talk the errors down and insist that they are only minor ones?
  2. Admit that you should have checked on the team member’s progress?
  3. Explain why you think the team member made those errors?
  4. You are a member of the student committee at school.  The committee is looking at ways to encourage other students to become more ‘green’ as consumers.  Do you start by….
  1. Checking that any clothes or products you buy come from companies with sustainable business practices?
  2. Putting up notices telling everyone how they could reduce paper and food waste during school time?
  3. Organizing an inter-class competition, getting classes to design posters illustrating environmental issues and solutions?
  • Your coach has made you their assistant for this season.  One of the players on your team has come to you, complaining that she/he never gets a turn at the more important positions and often feels sidelined.  You are aware that the coach is concerned about this player’s skills and level of fitness.  DO you….
  1. Try to placate the player and say there will be plenty more opportunities in the future?
  2. Say that you are never directly involved in choosing player positions, but you’ll find out more about it?
  3. Explain why the player is not regarded as suitable at the moment suggest what practice steps they could take next?
  • You have been asked to create some artwork to cover the walls of the rooms at your local club.  A team of six other people were assigned to help you in the beginning, they all seemed enthusiastic, but now some of them are no longer turning up at the scheduled times.  Do you….
  1. Text them and order that they show up when they’re supposed to, according to the original agreement?
  2. Use social media to highlight the problems in a light-hearted way and see if you can find some other volunteers?
  3. Email the rest of the team, asking what ideas they have for the artwork and when it would suit them to have a meeting.
  • You are on a school committee which is hoping to get a well0known and popular figure to come and give a talk.  However, that person is known to be reticent about taking part in public engagements.  Do you…
  1. Come up with a list of alternative potential speakers and compare the level of interest they might generate amongst students?
  2. Express your concerns about the likelihood of the figure agreeing to take part, but offer to help out with advertising should the event actually take place?
  3. Contact the figure’s PA, email a list of potential topics they could choose from and offer to meet them at a time and place of their choosing to discuss things further.


IELTS Live Coaching | S1: E4 | Speaking | Making Generalizations, Technology & Science

Welcome back to another IELTS Live Coaching! This week I’m going to dive deep into technology and science, two areas that you need to be especially aware about. Because Education, Science and Technology are hot topics in the world of events, you need to pay special attention to these subjects and be prepared when tough questions are thrown at you. On this blog, here are the notes of what will be discussed tomorrow.

Think of the following….
  • Scientific invention
  • Scientific breakthrough
  • Cutting-edge technology
  • Recent discovery
  • Groundbreaking discovery
  • Medical breakthrough
  • Scientific research
  • Digital revolution

Now, choose one of the noun phrases above and complete the following Part 2 task card. I would like you to submit your part II speaking task to me…follow the instructions on the video.

Describe (a/an) _____________ of the last twenty years which you feel has a major influence on your life.

You should say

  • What the __________ is
  • When it started/happened
  • What effect it had

And explain how this _____________ has influenced your life.

Making Generalizations

  1. Which science subject at school do/did you like the most? Why?
  2. Do you think life is safer, or more dangerous, with modern technology?
  3. Does everybody need to know how to use a computer these days?
  4. How has your study of science helped you?
  5. Do you think new developments in science often cause more problems than they solve?
  6. Which area of scientific research do you think is most important and deserves further research and development?
  7. What science subjects do students study at school in your country?
  8. Is there anything about science that you dislike?
  9. Do you think there are some areas that should be off-limits to scientific research?
  10. What effect does new technology have on employment?

Read the candidates answers in both a and b. Which one provides the best answer? Underline any words or phrases that Candidate B uses to make generalizations.

Candidate A

Well, I think life is more dangerous as I know many people who have had problems with crime on the internet. I have a friend who lost some money when she was banking online. Also lots of my friends’ parents are worried about them using the internet because of online bullying and things like that.

Candidate B

In general, I would say advances in science and technology have made us more secure in many ways. Increased scientific knowledge tends to make us more away of dangers, and developments in some areas have meant that we are more able to deal with difficulties. Health and medicine would be a good example. Of course, technology is liable to bring dangers too.  Take the internet, for instance – that has brought new risks and more criminal activity. More on my Patreon! Stay tuned for announcements in

IELTS Live Coaching | S1: E2 | Speaking | Language & Communications

Here’s today’s lesson! We’re going to be discussing a broad-range of topics on speaking today, including English/foreign languages, and lots of vocabulary words to describe language learning.

  1. How long have you been learning English?
  2. What for you is the most difficult thing about learning English?
  3. Have you learned any other foreign languages apart from English?
  4. How important is it to learn a foreign language?
  5. What is the most effective way to learn a language?

Complete the opinions (a-j) with the words down below

Common                                 dead                         face-to-face                            first                           cross-cultural Minority                                  non-verbal                              official                    second                                      written

  1. ________ languages will die out unless people make an effort to protect them.
  2. If English is your __________ language, you will have greater opportunities in life.
  3. The reason people can find _________ communication difficult is due to different behavior and values rather than the language barrier.
  4. ____________ communication using technology like video conferencing and webcam is the same as talking to someone in the flesh.
  5. When nations share a ________ language, they are likely to have good relations.
  6. Children who are taught a ___________ language from an early age are far more likely to become fluent.
  7. There is no point in learning a _______ language like Latin.
  8. The decline in the standards of __________ communication and literacy skills in general is due to an increase in text messaging and social networking amongst young people.
  9. All citizens of a country should be forced to learn the __________ language even if it is not their mother tongue.
  10. Body language, facial expression and other ___________ communication skills are more important than speech in conveying emotions.

Which statements down below fit into the four bold categories.

Strong agreement

Cautious agreement

Cautious disagreement

Strong disagreement

  • I’m not sure I agree with that.
  • I agree up to a point.
  • I’m sure that’s not right.
  • Personally, I’d say the opposite.
  • I agree to some extent.
  • I would tend to agree.
  • I couldn’t agree more.
  • There’s no doubt about it.
  • That’s so true.
  • I’m not so sure about that.
  1. There are plenty of examples in history which show that this is not true and it is often neighboring states who speak the same or similar languages who end up at war.  However, I do think that a shared language can help strengthen ties in some cases.
  2. Even if you speak the same language, cultural differences can cause significant misunderstandings between people and can lead to a total breakdown in communication.
  3. Governments should do far more to ensure these languages are taught in schools because we rely on the younger generations to keep them alive for the future.
  4. I think everyone should be able to communicate at a basic level in the official language but they should also be free to use their own language whenever they want.
  5. But it all depends on how well you are taught. Many people learn a language at primary school but they don’t all go on to speak it fluently.
  6. I think a knowledge of English can be very useful for work and study but it doesn’t necessarily have to be your mother tongue. I think it is more useful to be able to speak a number of languages well than to speak only English.
  7. You can tell far more about how someone is feeling from how he communicates than from what he actually says.
  8. It’s not the same as being in the same room with someone – there is always going to be a slight barrier if you are speaking to someone on a screen.
  9. It can really help if you are a linguist as so many other languages have their roots in Latin, so it’s great for understanding vocabulary. And like any academic subject it is good mental exercise.
  10. Spelling and punctuation in particular have really deteriorated and it can only be because young people are so used to using abbreviated text language.

Decide if the response is showing agreement or disagreement and choose a suitable phrase (a-h) from 3 to start the response.

Do you agree or disagree with the opinions?

IELTS | Speaking | 1 on 1 Coaching | Speaking Part 1 – Future | Azerbaijan

The first-ever student from Azerbaijan has joined me in today’s podcast and there are lots of things to talk about in terms of improvements that she will need to make in regards to her overall speech. Nonetheless, it’s a true blessing to have brought on someone from a country that I’m completely unaware of!

IELTS | Speaking Part II | Arsenio’s Speaking Part II!

Yes, you read it correctly! In today’s video/podcast, I’m going to do my very own part II for all of you! Over the past two weeks, I have coached so many people from around the world and I’ve realized a common trend of problems. 

  • Lack of story-telling
  • Lack of structure leads to incoherence
  • Multiples of two are inefficient

I want all of you to think in 2s.  When giving a story and something to tell, you can either choose the story-telling route that packs a lot of substance and relatable examples that are coherent or give two big reasons in the last question.  Lots of techniques are in store for you today, so you won’t want to miss this!

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 178 | Writing Skill | Commenting On Sources

When you include a source in your work, you should always comment on it. You need to say how the source relates to the point you are trying to make. You can use a mixture of cautious and assertive language, but you should only use more assertive phrases when the quotation shows something clearly. For example:

  • Based on the evidence, it is clear that a switch to a vegetarian or even vegan diet would dramatically reduce the amount of water used.
  • It is also important to show the limitations of something:
  • However, in virtually every country, apart from India, the percentage of vegetarians equates to under 10% of the total population. This casts some doubt as to whether this solution could work as there would need to be huge cultural shifts in the attitude to diets.
could mean         it is certain       this clearly indicates      which implies
which may suggest        which means

Underline the comment in each extract. Then add the cautious and assertive language to the table above.

  1. There is increasing scientific evidence that the process of climate change is accelerating (Hedger, 2017). This is likely to result in a higher risk of flooding and droughts across different regions.
  2. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the World Weather Attribution Group (2016), climate change has increased the chances of flooding in areas such as Louisiana by up to 50%. While arguably only a contributory factor, it is clear that it is a significant one.