Alister Widdowson

Alister Widdowson

I've been involved with English language teaching for over 20 years and now I split my time between online courses, teacher training and various work with UK universities.

Location England

Activity

  • @esmatansari Thanks for the post Esmat. Subtitles are only one thing we can do to develop out reading skills, you can read articles, magazines, news websites and my own favourite, simplified readers. What do you enjoy reading in your first language?

  • @BaranTavakoli Fantastic post Baran, you really are taking strong steps to develop your skills. Well done!

  • I really like your reasoning there Ogunlaja!

  • Too easy! That is very encouraging Mona. Is there another question type that you find a bit more difficult?

  • Good advice there Adam

  • Excellent!

  • Excellent Zabu, I'm so pleased that you can feel some progress. The really good thing is that you are choosing which skill to use depending on the question type. Keep it up!

  • Sorry to hear that Jomana. The good thing is that now you have identified something to work on and you can focus your practice here.

  • Alister Widdowson replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    That's very encouraging Beatriz

  • You are very welcome

  • Thank you so much for your kind words Adina, we have really enjoyed it too!

  • Excellent! Thanks Ligia

  • You're welcome Thae Thae Mar

  • Hi Swe Lai, I think this is a problem for all of us as we get to grips with another language but I am sure you skim and scan really easily in your first language. Lots of practice and patience really do help.

  • @SusanBrowell Tantalising isn't it?

  • Great that you enjoyed it!

  • Fascinating topic Susan, it is a real surprise that there are so many untranslated tablets

  • @AffiongAsuquo I'm really pleased Affiong! I'm smiling too :)

  • Thanks for the question Kim, we'll get to that in the discussion tomorrow.

  • @MohamedAbdellah In the listening test it is really important to read the question as carefully as you can and to predict answers before you listen, they even give you time for that. Applying the same strategy in the reading is a good idea

  • @JanBöttger Very happy to help!

  • @AkashMore Good choice, particularly given that Guy Fawkes night is tomorrow! In England we have a big celebration on the 5th November which I think is bigger than Halloween although now they do get a bit combined. If you are in England you will hear a lot of fireworks around this time.

  • @UlugbekIsmayilov Concentration is a big part of the reading test, more perhaps than the other parts. Practice definitely helps us to develop the stamina to read effectively though.

  • Yes, it's very helpful

  • God tips Nathalia. I would suggest trying for 19 minutes per text as you need tome to very carefully transfer your answers to the answer sheet.

  • Nice set of tips Elena

  • Exactly right

  • This can be a real problem if we spend more time than we have available on the earlier questions. I force myself to stop when I have spent more than a minute or so on a question. I figure that if it has taken that long and I don't know then perhaps I never will! The Ic an make sure that I have to chance to answer later questions which might actually be easier.

  • God answer Pradeep, particularly your third one.

  • @JanBöttger Thanks Jan, yes that's it. It can sometimes feel like the questions are there to trick you bit actually in real life, particularly in university we do need to understand texts in this amount of detail and when we are looking for evidence to support a thesis it is vitally important to know whether the source supports us or not.

  • Happy to hear that Jan!

  • Thanks very much Pewa! I hope you enjoy the course.

  • I struggle with texts tat do not interest me which can be a bit of a problem while preparing for the test. I think that in the months leading gup to the test you should do everything you can to find texts which you enjoy, perhaps things that you might want to read in your first language. Then, when the pressure of the test starts to tell, switch to more IELTS...

  • This s a really interesting topic Adriana and definitely one which pulled me in. It is certainly an unusual condition. I'm glad that you got through it, the vocabulary is something which really benefits from some work, particularly in the reading test and the more texts you read like this the better it will get.

  • I agree Abimbola, these are my main challenges too

  • We haven't done it yet! We'll be live on Thursday at 1:30 and it would be great if you could join us. Do you have any questions?

  • Hi, we're really looking forward to another Facebook live event on Thursday. Don't forget to post your questions below and we'll do our best to answer them.

  • Well do our best Affiong!

  • You are very welcome!

  • Very happy to hear that!

  • Definitely yes! Subtitles can help with our listening skills and the listening can help with our reading speed too.

  • I agree Cristina, we need to know how we study best, make a plan and then carry it out over a number of months if possible

  • Well done!

  • Hi MacMillian. I think this is fairly typical of this kind of question so it's encouraging that you got it right! Keep practising though as these are definitely some of the trickier question types.

  • I'm glad you found it useful. I completely agree, the false / not given is really where we have to read carefully.

  • Well done Vipul!

  • I'm glad you like these questions! Although I find them a bit tricky sometimes they are a really good test of comprehension.

  • Yes, I'm the same. Often it's easier to see when the answer is true but we are all a lot less confident in identifying f and NG. The key is to make sure that there is a definite indication that something is false, a key word or negative statement. If you can't find one then the answer should be not given.

  • Go for it !

  • But you know where you went wrong! Next time I'm sure you'll spot it earlier.

  • Well done Victoria, practice definitely makes a difference!

  • That's very encouraging Aziz!

  • Thanks Deepak!

  • You are very welcome!

  • @SebghatullahYusuf I'm the same with novels these days, I used to read them all the time but I get a bit lazy and struggle to finish them. Short stories are really good for this, if you can finish a story in 20 pages it's much more manageable.

  • This depends! I read the questions first before skimming the text to find out what it is about but there are people who go to the text first., I think you should try both a few times and work out what works for you with different types of question.

  • Another excellent point Dolan. I do a lot of IELTS tests and I don't always enjoy the content to be honest and that can impact on my focus. In the test itself I think that the pressure and adrenaline make us focus much harder than when we are practising so the question is how to get that concentration level up in practice. For me preparing mentally for the...

  • Absolutely. Here we need to scan to find where the answer is and then read in great detail to work out what the answer is.

  • @VirginiaGloriaRomilaDsouza I hope it went well Virginia

  • It will be very good to have you with us!

  • @AnnaRomanovych Very good question Anna .I hope we get to it on Thursday

  • Very wise, make sure you are ready and feeling confident before you take the test.