Archive for December, 2010

Movie time

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

There were a lot of movies I watched recently; some of them were quite good, while the others were so embarrassingly bad that you wonder why they were even filmed at first place. To the last category could be applied “Red” (2010), another hero movie with Bruce Willis which has no logical plot or any interesting ideas in it and except for the explosions and pursuit to “kill Bill” there is even nothing to remember.

“Red” (2010)

“Going the Distance” (2010) can interest girls and all those who like light American romantic comedies.  It was a decent one with a compulsory happy-end of course.  What is your life look like when you are having long-distance relationships?  How possible it is to save such relationships or maybe better to give them up?

“Going the Distance” (2010) 

“Scot Pilgrim Against The World” (2010) was rather fun than weird. An interesting combination of a movie and a computer game.  At least, it was a new approach to filming. The boy falls in love with a girl but in order to have a relationship he must kill her 7 evil ex-boyfriends. It is not as cruel as it sounds.

“Scot Pilgrim Against The World” (2010) 

“The Prestige” (2006) is a good solid movie which tells us a story of two magicians who competed with each other. It was more than just to be the best magician. It was their life. Going more and more brutal, they go to the line where magic plays with their lives and no one knows how it is going to end up and how many hearts to destroy.

“The Prestige” (2006)

“The White Ribbon” (2009) is the most serious among all the movies I watched, obviously because of the subject it represents but also because of a specific way of filming. It is a very quiet movie with not many words at all. Author wanted to imply rather than say something. There is a typical German village in time before the First World War has started. Suddenly, succession of cruel events are happening in the village, people are confused and concerned,  noone knows who is behind it all and noone would dare to imagine that their own children might be involved… Definitely a MUST watch.

“The White Ribbon” (2009) 

“Precious” (2009) was a cruel, scary and dark movie, although I found it very interesting and moving, highly recommended to watch.

“Precious” (2009) 

IELTS: Overall Band 7.5

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

So, two months of preparation to academic IELTS, endless paper copies of practice tests, countless writing samples and finally, his majesty IELTS exam. It was almost as expected, no surprises, except for not being able to go to toilet (oh, you can, but during the tasks and at your own time expense). How silly is that?

The results came two weeks later as promised.  I was shooting for Overall Band 7.0, but was highly impressed by getting Overall 7.5. So, I have:

Listening 7.5

Reading 7.5

Writing 8.0

Speaking 6.5

It is highly respectable result, except for speaking, which, unfortunately, does not reflect the actual speaking ability.

IELTS: how to get a better result. Part two

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Writing

It was for me the easiest part of the exam. I was practicing by writing some samples and made sure that the timing is right, so I have got exactly enough time to finish both tasks.

It should be noticed that for the first task you need to decide on a “time stamp”, either something happened in the past (Past Indefinite), continued in the past (Past Continues) or is going on nowadays (Present Indefinite).  It is also important to use different variations of numbers: 25 can be a quarter, 24 can be “almost a quarter” and 35 is a third and so on. It is important to write how something has changed: steadily, climbed, diminished, fluctuated, escalated and so on.

The second writing task is worth twice as much points as the first one and it is crucial to practice it beforehand.  There should be introduction paragraph, conclusion paragraph and about three paragraphs in the middle. It is highly important to use sophisticated language and extensive vocabulary in order to achieve a high mark as well as using idioms.

Speaking

I guess speaking part of IELTS exam is the trickiest and the least predictable among all of units. You may need to be lucky to get questions which will be suitable for using extensive vocabulary. Despite the fact that among all the units the speaking was the easiest for me due to the fact that I use it in my day-to-day life the mark I received for it for the lowest. You need to be concentrated and make sure you use long grammatical constructions, passive, idioms and impressive vocabulary.

IELTS: how to get a better result. Part one

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Ok, I finally passed Academic IELTS and now is a good time to remember what has been done.

Firstly, Listening.

Somehow I felt it is the hardest part of the exam for me.  You need not only to listen carefully and understand what is going on but to make sure that your spelling is correct. That way if you heard a word “viewpoint” it should be written as one word only. “View point” or “view-point” is not going to positively count.

The names of streets or towns are confusing sometimes too.  In my practice tests, for instance, I heard “Self Park Road” instead of “South Park Road” and so on. Maximum concentration is necessary during all listening part for sure.

It is helpful just to practice numbers, proper names, as well as be aware that if there is a sign % or $ you should not put it on your answer sheet, again the answer will not be count.

Make sure you read the questions. If it is written “no more than two words” than writing three is a mistake. How simple is that?

I found it very useful not only for listening but also for a speaking part to listen to podcasts. My favorite was a BBC Podcast Women’s Hour. It is not only one of the most interesting ones to listen to but very helpful for improving the academic speaking and vocabulary .

Reading

Reading is probably the hardest unit of the exam. IELTS texts are often organized that way that in order to answer the questions you should look for synonyms in the text as the whole sentence could be structured with synonyms in order to confuse you. Practice makes perfect here as well.

Special attention should be dedicated to the questions True, False, Not Given. They are often tricky to answer and there is a fine line sometimes, is the text only implies something or actually say.