Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How to Write an IELTS Essay

An IELTS, or the International English Language Testing System, is a test that assesses your ability to speak and comprehend the English language. It's required for people entering the university system in the UK and for people who want to study and work where English is the primary language. Part of the test is an essay, which can be daunting to many test takers. Use these handy steps to write yours effectively so that you can pass the test.

  1. Spend About 40 Minutes

    Experts recommend allotting about 40 minutes to answering the IELTS essay. You will want to structure your essay with an introduction, body and conclusion and this time frame allows you to divide up the work so that you aren't spending too long on one section and running out of time to finish the others.
  2. Approach the Outline Properly

    As mentioned above, you will start your essay with an introduction to the topic. Your primary goal with the introduction is to state your topic with a few basic facts and let the reader know what you will be writing about. The body of your essay should be no more than two or three paragraphs and each should talk about one idea with the supporting information needed. Finally, you will end with a conclusion that restates the topic of your essay and offers your reader additional thoughts on the subject. Stick with this basic outline and you should be able to get the essay done in the allotted time frame.
  3. Think and Plan First

    It's a good idea not to just start writing once you've read the topic of the essay. Instead, give yourself a couple of minutes to think about what you'll put onto the paper and how you'll present it. This allows you to outline your essay so that you can get it written the way you want it instead of having to erase or start over. Don't spend a ton of time on this, but do allow for a few minutes of thoughtful preparation before you get started.
  4. Stick to the Word Count

    Your IELTS essay question will ask for a certain number of words. You definitely want to make sure you reach that number, but don't go too much over. The more you write, the more risk of making mistakes and the higher the chances that you'll run out of time for other portions of the exam.

    Check it Over

    One of the most important things to do when you write is to proofread and edit before you turn in your work. The IELTS test is checking your proficiency at the English language so careless spelling, punctuation or grammar errors can make the difference between passing and failing. Check your essay when it's done to make sure it's all correct.

Taking the IELTS test can be overwhelming, but with some preparation and planning, you can succeed. Make sure you use these tips and watch the time carefully. Try not to get too flustered or nervous and you should do just fine.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Gap Year: Good or Bad?

A gap year is the year that many students take away from school. It's typically done right after finishing secondary school and before going on to college or university. Many students take this time to travel, while others get a job so they can save for their future education. If you're considering taking a gap year, it's a good idea to weigh the pros and cons first so that you can make the choice that's right for you.

Pros of a Gap Year

One of the primary benefits of taking a gap year is the break it offers. After all, you've essentially been in the classroom for the last 13 or more years, which can lead to burn out and frustration with the educational process. This break allows you to recharge your batteries and gear yourself up for the next four or more years in college.

As mentioned above, a gap year gives you a chance to save up some money by getting a job. Working full time is very hard when you're taking a full course load, so taking that year away from school gives you plenty of hours to work and put that money toward tuition or housing when your gap year is over and you get ready to head to university.

Another benefit to a gap year is that you can travel and explore the world. Many students pack a small number of possessions and work their way around the world, staying in hostels and making money along the way. This is a great life experience and something that you'll never forget. Your gap year is a great chance to do this when you don't have the work and class obligations you'd otherwise have.

Cons of a Gap Year

One of the biggest problems with a gap year is that many people make big plans, but never end up carrying them out. Maybe that means planning to get a job, but nothing is available other than restaurant work or retail sales. Perhaps you plan to travel, but give it up when you don't have anyone to go with you or you realize you don't have the funds.

Another drawback to gap year is that it can slow down your momentum. If you go right from secondary school to college, you don't have a chance to get used to life without school. If you take the gap year, you might decide to put your degree off longer and longer until life gets in the way and you never get it.

Many gappers have stated that they regretted their decision when all of their friends headed off to college and they were left sort of adrift on their own. If you don't have a solid plan for your year off, it might be a good idea to skip it and simply work on getting college out of the way.

There are several organizations that can help you maximize the benefits of your gap year. Once you make your decision, stick with it and make plans accordingly so that you can get the most out of whatever choice you make.