Whether we are talking about a five year old that is about to start learning to read or whether we are talking about a thirty year old woman who is attempting to write a thesis for her master's degree, we cannot deny the fact that taking time to learn proper English grammar is important.

When we see or hear about English grammar, the immediate reaction of many people I know is to cringe. They are reminded of junior high and high school English class and the way that their English teachers made them to English grammar exercise after exercise. Because English grammar is usually seen in such a negative sense, it is all the more important that people replace those lies with the truth that learning English grammar really is important for anyone who wants to have a proper perspective of the English language.

When we are speaking or hearing English, not too many of us take the time to think about the fact that English grammar is the very thing that allows us to communicate with and understand one another. It is not so much because we use the same words of the English language, but it is because we all put our words together in certain ways to form thoughts and sentences that we can understand each other. This, in short, is the purpose of English grammar.

English grammar is the mechanics of the English language that allows for two people who use the same vocabulary to be able to communicate without misunderstanding. Certainly there will always be some level of misunderstanding that happens when two people communicate, but so much of our problems will be lessened if we all take some time to learn English grammar.

Many schools today are moving away from making English grammar a part of the regular curriculum. So while students may learn how to read and write successfully, they will likely never learn the English grammar or the reasons why they are speaking and writing as they are. So if you or someone you know is struggling with any element of the English language, or if you know a child or someone who is attempting to learn English for the first time, then make sure English grammar is included as an important part of the learning process.

Being able to speak, understand and write a language is an important part of being successful no matter what you do in life. And taking the time to learn even the basics of English grammar will go far in helping people communicate even better.

Plan Your English Lesson

Posted by idea2ry | 2:16 PM

It is not easy to plan a fresh and new class for your English students every week. Even though your teacher book gives you some great ideas not all of them are practical enough for your classroom. You often have to come up with a few exercises and ideas of your own to fill in as needed.

You may try to get away and find some quite places that can help you focus and concentrate on your planning. Do not forget to take a notepad and some pens. That is about all you will need for now.

First, take a moment to clear your mind of all other distractions and prepare yourself mentally for the task at hand. Okay! Are you ready? Good! Now think about the first group of students you need to plan for. Think about their needs. What do they know? What do they need to know to become more fluent and proficient speakers of the English language? How can you teach them what they need to know?

Just brainstorm for a few minutes and write everything down. No idea is too crazy or unimportant. Once you have drained your brain...write out your best ideas on a separate sheet of paper. These are the ones that you will implement in your classes during the following week.

Remember that every idea that comes up are valuable and do not throw away the ideas that are left over though. Save them in a safe place for you to refer to during future planning sessions. This will keep you from having to think so hard the next time.

It is wise to do some research on the Internet. Take each of your ideas to the next level. Drill down into each one of them vertically. Go just as deep as you can. Then find other ideas that you can add on horizontally to broaden your lesson plans. These are all ideas that complement your original, brainstormed ideas.

If you have made it this far...then the rest is a piece of cake. Just pick out the best of the best of your ideas and add them to your lesson plans. Prepare the materials and resources you will need for each exercise. Make copies of any handouts you intend to pass out to your students.

Do this for each group of students you teach. Once you are done, organize everything in a handy place like a folder or filing cabinet. Do a quick check to make sure you did not forget anything.

With this plan, your class will be well organized and you can make everything turned into a system which will allow you have even more time.

The General "Rule" of English Pronunciation

You know that it is difficult to know when to pronounce the written letter “s” in English like “s”, the sound of air escaping from your bicycle tire, and when to pronounce it as the letter “z”, the sound of an angry bee. This problem shows up in the plural of nouns.

In the same way, the written letter “t” sometimes sounds like the letter “d”. This problem comes up in the past tense of verbs.

There is a logic that is at work in both cases, that of the plural of the noun and that of the past tense of the verb. The two cases have a lot in common even though one has to do with the "s" sound" and other has to do with the "d" sound.

There is so much in common that some language teachers say that there is one general "rule" for the two cases. This "rule" works in most of the cases that you will have to learn.

In both situations, the ending of the word depends on the sound that it follows.

1. If the noun or verb ends in a voiceless consonant (one that doesn't vibrate the vocal cords), like the "p" of soap or the "k" of wink, the result (the plural of the noun or the "s" of the third person singular of the verb) is a voiceless consonant.

In the case of the nouns ending in a voiceless consonant, the "s" that indicates the plural of the noun has the sound of the voiceless "s", (tops, tacks, etc.). In the case of the verbs ending in a voiceless consonant, the "ed" that indicates the past of the verb has the sound of the voiceless "t" (flapped, talked, etc.)

2. If the noun or verb ends in a voiced consonant (one that vibrates the vocal cords, the result is a voiced consonant.

In the case of these nouns (tub and lug) ending in a voiced consonant, the "s" that indicates the plural of the noun has the sound of the voiced "s", ( tubs, tugs, etc.).

In the case of the verbs ending in a voiced consonant, the "ed" that indicates the past of the verb has the sound of the voiced "d" (rubbed, tugged, etc.)

3. In both cases, that of the plural of the noun, and that of the past of the verb, a syllable is added when the consonant sound of the last syllable of the noun or verb is pronounced in the same part of the mouth as is the consonant sound of the ending.

That is, if a noun ends in any sibilant sound (voiced or unvoiced) like the words mess or buzz, the plural adds a syllable and the plural forms are messes and buzzes. If a verb ends in the any "t" or "d" sound (voiced or unvoiced) like the words pet or weed, the past tense adds a syllable and the past forms are petted and weeded.

The syllable that is added is the vowel sound called the “short i”, (the sound of the simple words: it, his, fish, chips) followed by a final voiced consonant, either the voiced “z” sound for the plural noun or the voiced "d" sound for the past of the verb.

Look at the pairs of words in the following table. Words were chosen that are both nouns and verbs so you can see the changes in both parts of speech.

Try to identify the "rule" that applies to each of them. See you need help you can check the the answers at the end of this article.

Noun or 3rd Person Singular of the Verb................ Past Form of the Verb

load loads...........................................................load loaded
hose hoses...........................................................hose hosed
turn turns...........................................................turn turned
farm farms...........................................................farm farmed
haze hazes...........................................................haze hazed
weed weeds...........................................................weed weeded
lug lugs.................................................................lug lugged
judge judges...........................................................judge judged

Noun or 3rd Person Singular of the Verb.................Past Form of the Verb

wish wishes..........................................................wish wished
heat heats...........................................................heat heated
fuss fusses...........................................................fuss fussed
talk talks...........................................................talk talked
tape tapes...........................................................tape taped
clutch clutches........................................................clutch clutched
fluff fluffs............................................................fluff fluffed
meet meets...........................................................mete meted

Now that you have learned this "rule", you can listen to the difference in the e-book “Leer Es Poder, a sample (in Spanish)of which you can find in www.BooksLibros.com/muestra_index.htm . Pay attention to the voiced and unvoiced consonants and try to understand why the changes occur.

The pertinent "rules" are:

Nouns that end in a voiced consonant sound form the plural with a voiced “s” sound. The words: load, hose, turn, farm, weed, lug, judge are of this type. If the noun ends in a voiced sibilant (hissing or buzzing) consonant sound, a syllable is added, por example, hoses, hazes, judges.

The nouns that end in a voiceless consonant sound form the plural with a voiceless “s” sound, such as the words: wish, heat, fuss, talk, tape clutch, fluff, meet. If the voiceless consonant is a voiceless "s" or similar sound, the plural is formed with an extra syllable, for example, wishes, fusses clutches.

Verbs that end in a voiced consonant sound make their plural with a voiced “s” sound. por example, the words: load, hose, turn, farm, weed, lug, judge. If the verb ends in a “d” or “t” sound they add a syllable, for example, loaded, weeded.

The verbs that end in a voiceless consonant sound make their past tense with a voiceless "d" or "t" sound, for example, wish, heat, fuss, talk, tape, clutch, fluff, meet. Verbs that end in a “d” or “t” sound, a syllable is added, for example, heated, meeted.

At one time, in the not so distant past, computers were not commonly found in homes. Computers served as a time saving device for businesses and offices and they were big, heavy, unattractive and very expensive. Over time computers, have become smaller, lighter, operate faster and have price significantly dropped in price. Thus many more of us have incorporated computers into our daily lives and homes. Today, most of us would be lost without our computers, electronic devices and the Internet!

Before the age of computers, the only way to correspond with others at a distance was through letters written by hand or on a typewriter. There was no spell check or grammar check to make life easy. People had to rely on their own proof reading and language skills in order to be understood.

In the 1990’s when computers began popping up in homes all over the world and the Internet became readily available, chatting programs such as ICQ, MSN, and AOL Instant Messenger made their debut. With these developments, communicating through writing was forever changed, and the English language has never been the same.

The development of instant messaging programs has resulted in the use of a new ‘spin-off English’ and has quickly become the de facto means by which many young people communicate. The most common spinoff would have to be using short forms and it is common to see entire phrases abbreviated. This new language is often referred to as “Internet slang”. Examples include:

• lol = laugh out loud
• ur = you are, your, or you’re
• h2gtw - have to go to the washroom
• cmitm - call me in the morning
• btw = by the way
• b4n = bye for now
• l8er = see you later
• teotwawki - the end of the world as we know it
• p911 - parent emergency / parent near

Internet slang is a form of chat room shorthand that should only be used informally. However, this slang has spilled over the chat room wall and has made it into e-mails, written correspondence, and yes, it has even found its way into research papers and the homework of schoolchildren and college students.

When writing formally, important points such as capitalization, punctuation, and grammar structure should always be used. Writing English is a craft, and this craft should be practised regularly in order to train and engrain proper techniques. Unfortunately, the use of chat rooms and slang has begun to replace reading and letter writing as primary forms of communication, ultimately harming our language skills.

The use of Internet slang has undeniably affected grammar, punctuation and spelling. Grammar is the foundation of the English language. Punctuation sets the tone and the overall meaning of a sentence - without tone, meaning can be easily misconstrued. There are often many mixed-messages in chatroom slang and e-mails!

Today many people spend more time conversing over the Internet than they do face-to-face. The Internet (including instant massaging and e-mail) is quickly becoming the most prevalent form of written correspondence. It is therefore easy to understand how the use of Internet slang for hours a day can lead to the development of poor English habits. People even belting out “LOL” in the middle of a conversation instead of laughing when speaking to a friend or colleague!

So what can be done to keep slang out of formal writing such as research papers and homework? Upon finding slang in homework and test, are deducting are more pints than they would for the usual grammar mistake. This makes the student more mindful of what they are writing and for whom.
Replacing the use of chat rooms and slang with regular reading and writing with a conscious effort to observe proper English grammar, punctuation and spelling will go a long way. Practice certainly makes perfect where the English language is concerned.

Important Points When Writing an English CV

The purpose of an English CV is to sell yourself: An English CV is seen as an opportunity to sell yourself and should emphasise your skills, experiences and achievements. You should include successes and wherever possible include facts and figures to support your claims. Do NOT include information that is negative.

Spelling and Grammar Check: Correct spelling and grammar are of absolute importance in an English CV. Employers will NOT tolerate any mistakes. It is very important that a native English speaker checks your CV before you send it to an English-speaking employer.

CVwriting.net can provide a full spelling and grammar check and suggest any changes to the content of your CV in line with what employers expect.

Do not include a photo: Most English employers do NOT like to see a photo on the CV and, in fact, including one could work against you. Only include a photo if it has been specifically requested for a particular job application.

English Language skills: This is a very important aspect of your CV and your professional career. You must explain your knowledge of the English language under the ‘Skills’ heading. Describe your level of knowledge as one of the following:

· Bilingual – You can speak English as well as your mother tongue
· Fluent – You have a complete working knowledge of the English language, both written and speaking.
· Working knowledge- you have a good practical knowledge of English for professional purposes.
· Conversational – You can converse adequately in English with good comprehension.

English CV Format:

Your name, address, telephone number and email address should appear at the top of your English CV. Always use a capital letter at the beginning of a name including the name of a street, town or country. Do NOT put CV or Curriculum Vitae as a heading.

Your CV should be produced on a word processor, not hand written, and be available softcopy as a Word or PDF file. If you are printing your CV you should use good quality paper.

An employer will scan your CV in thirty seconds looking for keywords that are relevant to the vacancy he is trying to fill. Keep your CV short and concise so that your positive attributes stand out. Your CV should be no more than two pages long.

Do NOT use initials for company names or qualifications, as these could be meaningless to an English employer. Always write the words in full.


1. Profile: This is an opportunity to summarise the skills and experience you have described elsewhere in your CV. It is the first part of the CV that the employer will read. It should be only one or two paragraphs long otherwise the reader may not go on to read the rest of your CV. You should also include your career aspirations.

2. Achievements: list any special achievements from your career history or education that may make you stand out from other candidates. List no more than six.

3. Career History: This is a very important part of your CV. The most common CV format is written in reverse-chronological order. Start with your most recent employment and work backwards. List the dates between which you worked for each employer; the name of the employer, your position and the location at which you worked. Write a short description of the company and then describe your responsibilities including facts and figures as much as possible.

4. Skills: In an English CV it is necessary to list particular technical, professional or other skills separate from your career history. An English employer will not necessarily be familiar with non-English professional qualifications therefore you must explain each one.

5. Education: You must enter your highest qualification first, then where achieved, and then dates. Make sure you explain any non-English qualifications or try and put the English equivalent, e.g. Baccalaureate, French equivalent to the Higher Leaving Certificate and A levels. Do not include grades unless they are particularly impressive.

6. Personal details: It is not necessary to include all of your personal details on an English CV as your skills and experience are of paramount importance. However, you need to include your nationality and it is normal to include your Date of Birth such as: 11th November 1967. Do not put your age.

7. Interests. You do not have to include your interests on an English CV but they will help to give the employer a rounded picture of you as an individual.

Signature: It is not necessary to personally sign your English CV.

Essay writing is a technical process; it is not as easy as it seems. People perceive essay’s importance and technicality to be very trivial but it is not like that. Unless and until a person writes an essay of his own he can not understand its importance, methodology and mechanics.

If a person needs to improve his essay writing and formatting style he needs to follow some tips with which he can make a drastic difference in writing style. Following is the discussion about the tips to improve essay writing and formatting:

First of all there should be a brief introduction of the essay topic which is an overview of the whole essay. Introduction is the mirror of essay through which the reader can see the whole essay, so it should be given special attention. After intro, the discussion should wrap up thorough information about the topic.

Discussion not only needs information but it also needs critical analysis of the topic along with your personal comments whether you agree or disagree. The criticism should be healthy; it should not be written in such a way that it hurts any body’s ego because people may have a different opinion. Finally a conclusion or sum-up paragraph has an importance of its own; it also needs future recommendations. Writing style and language should be easy and simple that it can be easily understood by the readers.

Finally comes the formatting, if words and sentences are the food of essay, formatting is the clothing; it makes an essay presentable which can attract the readers. There are certain types of formatting; for example: APA, MLA, CHICAGO, TURBIAN etc; formatting can easily be learned by some practice and it is very interesting to learn. Apart from referencing you can also incorporate a bibliography page in order to give credit to those whose books you used for information.

Essay writing seems very difficult to some student; they think that they can not write. Though they are very knowledgeable and intelligent, they are not able to write a piece of their own.

To some extent it is true that writing is not everybody’s cup of tea but if a person is keen to learn, nothing is impossible in this world. If a person is consistent in his aims and goals he can rule the world; he can make impossible things possible. Same is the case with essay writing; it needs hardworking and practice; the more you write the more your writing style and language will be polished and within a short span of time you will be included among those who are called the best essay writers.

There are certain skills required for essay writing. First of all you need to analyze the title or topic of the essay on which you are asked to write essay. Once you completely understand what the title says next step is to collect information and facts using various source like print or electronic source. After gathering information you need to highlight the most important and less important things in order to prioritize your task. After that, comes the writing process; once you start writing there are few things which should be kept in mind.

First you should not try to overwhelm your essay with difficult words, lengthy sentences and stylish writing style. Always remember, your essay should be written in such a way that it can be understandable to every person; difficult words and lengthy sentences may lose readers’ attention.

A writer should know his readers; according to the comprehension level of reader a writer should create his piece of writing. If you are writing for children, the language should be simple and easy but if it is for intellectuals the language can avoid simplicity.

Good essay writing requires certain essay writing guidelines which should always be adhered. It is a critical requirement for every academic essay that the student should prove his point or argument in the most transparent way. This can be done through the presentation of original thoughts or ideas or by analyzing what others have researched on the topic that is about to be written.

It should always be realized that while writing an academic essay simply summarizing or repeating a set of text is seldom adequate to the assigned essay assignment. For example, while writing a research essay, only presenting an idea would not get the job done but it should be further spiced up by the inclusion of relevant facts and figures on a particular topic of study. The essay writing guidelines for a particular essay varies depending on the topic of the essay as well as the type of the essay.

One important guideline that should always be followed is the format or structure of the essay should always be kept in complete synchronization. The essay topic should first be introduced in the introduction section. It should be further highlighted and debated in the discussion section and the overall summary of the argument that has been presented should be highlighted in the conclusion section.

Cohesion of thoughts and words is important in essay writing. While writing an essay related to the field of literature, a student is never asked to simply summarize the text or explain what it's about. A student needs to establish an argument, which again is a contention or a position that has been developed or determined based on realistic and practical information gathered from the works of other authors or studies. Moreover plagiarism must be avoided at all costs and credit should be given where it’s due.

In sum it is suggested that students must follow the rule of the thumb while writing essays and must always adhere to the common essay writing guidelines so that their work is organized, synchronized and to the point.

College essay writing

Posted by idea2ry | 5:51 AM

The college essay should not pose a challenge if you have kept up the writing habit after leaving school. The best way to do so is to keep in touch through writing letters. Whether you write with a pen or a mouse the heart of the matter is that if you have kept your thoughts flowing through words, writing a college essay should not pose a problem. Writing involves your style and habit as well as vocabulary. You must have a rich vocabulary bank. For that be a voracious reader. There is no other way of increasing your bank balance of words.

Writing a college essay has become very important because with each passing day gaining entrance into colleges is becoming more and more difficult. The number of seats just cannot cope with the number of applicants. One of the best ways to gain entry is to write a star college essay as part of your application for admission. Usually it should consist of five hundred words. The essay must show why you are different from another. Thus admitting you will bring credit to the institution. A single college essay can be more evocative than marks and grades. It will speak for you and about you.

What will the college essay be about? You might talk about your favourite hobby, a memorable incident in your life or even about your favourite pet. The college essay must capture the attention of the reader. It must be un-put-down-able! Thus the college essay is important right from the starting point of choosing the topic to delivering the goods. Spend a lot of time, say about one to two weeks just thinking of the ideas. In this way you might come across a topic, which you had never thought of before.

Before sitting down to writing the college essay ask yourself some questions. What are your achievements? Do not just narrow it down to those that have got formal recognition – because it is not always the grades and marks that can measure your full potentiality. What seemed to be of no importance today might be the cause of your success tomorrow. In the college essay you must find out the answer to the queries that what is it that distinguishes you from another. Think about the books and movies you love. Any special work of art? Why? The questions and answers will give you the substance of your college essay. Mull over your struggles and how you have sought to overcome them. What was the key to your success or cause of failure? Out of all this will come out your approach or philosophy of life. In this way we are all distinct from one another. Unknowingly, by bringing this out in your college essay you will stand out as an individual.

A college essay is all about your dreams and hopes and what you want to make of this world. The college essay must stand out as a rose in the thorn bush.

Learning how to express your ideas through article writing is a great means to becoming a professional writer.

The crux of an article is the content. Organizing your ideas will make your article more readable and will earn you a greater audience. Consider these two steps when writing an article:

1. Choose simple language

By writing in simple language, you are able to reach a broad range of people. Most magazine and newspaper writers compose their articles at a fourth grade level so their material is understood by the maximum number of readers.

These writers are highly skilled and could write at a much higher level, but keep their reporting at an almost universal level, so the news can reach more people. Of course not all publications can communicate at such a remedial level.

This does not mean that they dont possess the capabilities to write in hi-fi language, they just wish that the news should reach to more and more people. But surely, using simple language is not possible for all types of publications. Many of the magazines related to technical issues, social commentary or politics will use such complex language to put the audience away from the actual facts. But for such kind of writing, appropriate level of complexity is needed. Apart from such magazines, its always preferred to use simplest and straightforward writing style.

2. Present your ideas in an interesting way

Your ideas should be represented in such a way that they are useful to the audience. The better you frame your ideas, more readers will be attracted towards your article. Organize your ideas in such a manner that it entertains the readers. Make sure that dont write whole descriptive stuff so that the readers feel bored. Most of the articles written for the internet or for magazines are in classic style known as five paragraph essay, which is an ideal format for writing articles in brief. If this style is followed then you can express your ideas in a very beautiful way with the good and interesting start and end.

Five paragraph essay " Step by step guide

1) First paragraph: Introduction-to represent the actual topic and related concepts in brief.

2) In the second, third, and fourth paragraphs, expand on the topic from the introduction in simple, yet creative language.

3) In the fifth paragraph, summarize the topic that you've introduced.

By keeping the language of your articles understandable, simple, and clairvoyant, you will be able to write for magazines or Internet publication. By organizing your ideas and keeping your reader interested throughout, and by using "Spellings and Grammar" facility in Word software, you can become a successful article writer with a wide range of readers.

A personal statement is a crucial part of your graduate school application, but writing it can also be one of the most stressful things on your to-do list. Many students do not consider writing to be their strong suit, and matters are only made worse due to the intense importance of this particular essay.

It may help many students to remember what the purpose of the personal statement is. The grad school admissions board uses it to determine two things:

• Whether you will be an asset to the graduate program
• Whether you will be an asset to the school itself

Graduate schools are typically judged by the performance of their students. As a result, no school wants to admit a student who will be a black mark on its record. Your personal statement’s purpose, therefore, is to convince the admissions board that:

• You are deeply motivated to learn about (and excel in) your chosen area of study
• You are a capable student who will perform well in your studies

In order to accomplish these tasks, there are several points that almost every personal statement must cover (unless, of course, asked to do differently by the admissions board itself). You also have the challenge of trying to make your personal statement stand out from the hundreds of other applicants, who will all be saying basically the same thing.

For more information on how to write a winning personal statement, follow the guidelines below.

What Should a Personal Statement Include?

Not every personal statement should look the same. Different graduate schools have different expectations of what you should include in your personal statement. First and foremost, your responsibility is to make sure your essay answers the questions asked.

In general, though, most personal statements should include five things:

• Area of study – This should be a given, but you would be amazed by how many students focus so much on answering other questions that they forget to state which program they are interested in. Don’t leave your reader to figure it out by deduction – make sure your chosen area of study is clearly stated in your personal statement.

• Your interest in the subject – By discussing the basis for your interest in the subject, your personal statement will prove you have a genuine interest in your chosen area of study. However, don’t simply say, “I have always wanted to be a ______.” Instead, use a personal experience to show – rather than tell – what drives your interest.

• Related experience – Graduate schools also look at your experience in the field in order to determine your interest level. For example, if you are pursuing a graduate degree in psychology, the admissions committee will expect you to see some combination of related courses, research work, internships, volunteer work, membership in related organizations, and/or other extracurricular activities.

• Your interest in the school – Many people choose a graduate school because it has a program that interests them. This should go into your personal statement. However, make sure you go beyond general flattery – the committee will want to see that you have actually researched the program. For instance, if you admire the work of a professor who teaches in the program, mention this and discuss why you would like the opportunity to study under him or her.

• Post-graduation plans – In order to choose the graduate program that is right for you, you should have a general idea of what you will do with your degree. Be sure to convey your career goals in your personal statement, as this proves that you have given some serious thought to your future, and therefore are more likely to finish the program.

How Do I Make My Personal Statement Stand Out from All the Rest?

Once you have outlined how you are going to answer the question or cover the five points listed above, you need to figure out how you will make your personal statement memorable. Remember, there are most likely hundreds of other applicants, all of whom will say more or less the same thing. Here are a few ways to make sure your stand out from the crowd.

• Make it personal. A successful personal statement should not read like a description of your resume. Instead, use stories and examples from your life to illustrate why you became interested in your chosen area of study, and your experiences as you have pursued it thus far.

• Make it organized. A personal statement is not a term paper, but it should still be well organized. Make sure your sentences flow well from one paragraph to the next.

• Make it between one and three pages. Like a resume, it is hard to say how long a personal statement should be. Some admissions boards may only ask one question to be answered, allowing your personal statement to be as short as 250 words. On the other hand, more complex answers may require as many 750 words.

• Have a theme or thesis. Like any other personal essay, your personal statement should have a unifying theme. The anecdotes you use to illustrate the above five topics or answer the admission board’s question should also support your theme.

• Maintain a professional tone. As a graduate, you are no longer just a student – you are also a professional in your field. Your personal statement should reflect your professionalism and dedication to your studies.

• Gear it toward the specific school. While you may be able to reuse certain sections of your personal statement for other schools, sending out the same essay to every school is a major faux pas. For one thing, many schools differ in their requirements: They may impose a different maximum or minimum length, or ask that different questions be answered. Make sure that your personal statement is written for the specific requirements of the school you are applying to.

• Proofread your work. Nothing will turn an admissions board off faster than sloppy writing. If you are going to convince them that your graduate degree is one of your top priorities, then your personal statement should reflect your level of dedication. Take the time to perfect your work, eliminating typos and grammatical errors as well as fine-tuning the overall message.

Writing a Winning Personal Statement

While it’s true that there is a lot riding on your personal statement, this does not mean that it needs to be difficult to write. By understanding the purpose of the exercise, making sure that it concisely yet thoroughly covers the necessary information, and minding details such as organization and grammar, anyone can write a winning personal statement.

Learning a second language can be a very stressful and arduous task if you let it. Somehow, the words you learn in the books don't seem to apply very well to real life situations. Those small and seemingly un-important elements the show a person to be in command of not only the language, but the culture of the people who speak it cannot be adequately expressed by words on paper.
So, how do you learn these little secrets of mastering the ability to articulate yourself in another language?

Here are 5 proven techniques that will help you improve your English without even trying, if you are learning to speak English as a second language. Do they really work? Yes. I've tried them myself as I've had opportunity to live somewhere where English wasn't the primary language. I found it to be a fun, exciting, and painless way to learn both the language and the culture. The culture is simply learning the way the natives express their own words. The genuine accent, facial expressions, hand gestures, sighs, moans, groans, laughter, smirks, and other things that go along with everyday conversation.

Regardless of how extensive or not your vocabulary is, if you master the ability to "sound" like you know the language and can speak it, people will be more than generous to assist you.
1. Watch Movies! Watching movies is always a fun thing to do. In order to get the most out of your movie watching experience, if your vocabulary is limited, watch a movie in English that you are very familiar with in your own language so you always know what's going on. Try not to translate as you go because you lose blocks of conversation this way. Instead, watch the picture and listen. Hear all the words, but determine what's going on by the pictures you see and the words you're hearing that you already know. Believe it or not, other words will sink in too, and so will the accent and everything else that went with what you saw and heard.

As your vocabulary grows, expand your movie selections to other movies you'd like to see but are only available in English. Try to be able to see the film more than once if possible.
According to the location and type of film you intend to view, you will be able to experience different accents, and other cultural expressions of the English language. Pick and choose the things that you think will suit you best. If it doesn't work out, pick and try something else! Have fun with yourself and your efforts.
2. Watch Soap Operas The place where extreme expression and limited vocabulary meet! This is such a fascinating way to learn a foreign language. Every accessory that goes with the expression of a word is demonstrated on a soap opera. "Outrage" expressed with a word, facial expression or two, and perhaps even a subsequent face slap, all of that being understandable in any language. "Love", another universal subject, or violence, good versus evil can all be discerned quickly and easily on a soap opera. Plus, soap operas are naturally designed to allow anyone just tuning in to pick up the story quickly. The characters are easily loveable and deliciously "hate-able" so you turn to it again and again to see what's going on, and not only improve your English each time, but reinforce what you've already learned.

3. Read the Comics/Funny Papers Very non-stressful! Pictures with words, or words with pictures, however you want to look at it, it's a great way to learn! For each thought presented there are words that match a picture, and vice versa. It doesn't matter if you read comic books, or the comics in the Sunday newspaper, read whatever will make you laugh and cause you to enjoy learning at the same time.

4. Read Children's books If you know any little kids between the ages of 5-8, try reading one of their books to them. Usually little kids know their favorite books by heart, so if you stumble a little, they'll be able to help you.

If you enjoy this method of improving your English, and you find yourself to be pretty good at it, then try reading a few Dr. Seuss books. The rhyming will challenge you, but once you master it, your pronunciation of English, and your delivery will have been considerably refined and improved.

5. Take a service job like waiter or waitress; bartender, or sales person. This type of job can be done if you have a decent vocabulary of verbs, and know how to say "I, we, she, he, they", etc. The only other thing necessary is a working vocabulary of things relevant to your specific tasks and goals.

For example, as a breakfast waitress, you want to be able to ask if they want their eggs, "scrambled or fried", if they want "more coffee", if everything is "alright", do they want "anything else", and the total of their bill in their own language!
If you sell real estate, you'll want to incorporate words like "mortgage, loan, co-sign, 30 year fixed", etc.
If you sell shoes, you need words like "how does that feel", are they "too tight, too loose, to short in the toe, to big", etc.
The longer you work at your job, the more your working vocabulary will improve.

6. Learn these two sentences and you'll be set for life . . . seriously! "How do you say (blank)", in English (Spanish, French, etc.), and "What is that called?" (Point if you have to, and smile too). Smiling is a universal language. Once I learned how to ask these two questions, I was on my way to being conversant in the language of my choice!
I could use my limited vocabulary to ask the question and then when I got my answer I would repeat it a few times to make sure I was saying it correctly, and "BAM" I had a new vocabulary word. And, because I asked my question to the best of my ability in the native tongue, the natives realized my sincere desire to learn, and helped me!

7. What happens if you make a mistake? Nothing. The world won't come to an end, and you haven't embarrassed yourself to the point where you can't show your face again. Just apologize if that's what's called for, or laugh at yourself, make the correction, and count it as a learning experience.

Once I was in a restaurant and I wanted to ask the waiter for a "to go" box, however, I was speaking to my kids in English, and trying to think of what I wanted to ask for in Spanish, and I promptly and incorrectly asked him for a "house to go". He looked at me kind of funny, but he was very courteous, and didn't laugh until I laughed.
I've committed other language faux pas as well over the years, all of which have been a learning experience, and if given enough time, will become a humorous story as well.

Cause and Effect

Effects of Stress
Stress has become an increasing health problem nowadays. When it becomes severe, it may cause tragedy to those who have it. We can see from the news that many sad events have been associated with stress. At the same time, stress can have many effects on ordinary persons. They are physical effects, mental effects, and social effects.

As for the first effect, stress affects a person physically by increasing the blood pressure. This can cause the person to have serious headaches. High blood pressure can also affect blood vessels. If it becomes too high, the blood vessels may be broad. This could be very dangerous to the life of the person.

As for the second effect, stress can affect a person mentally. That is, it reduces a person's abiltiy to concentrate and accordingly it reduces his creatively. Unable to succeed what a person has done may cause persisting stress and that makes a person become emotionally unstable. This serious consequence could be very damaging for people whose job requires concentration, creativity, and a good mental health.

Lastly, the mental effects of stress will eventually cause social effects. As previously stated, stress causes a person to become emotionally unstable. This type of person is very hard to cope with and it will be very dangerous if our society if full of these groups of people since they may argue or fight with each other every day. In fact, coping with these persons might even cause stress. Therefore, this results in the persons being isolated from their peers.

The previous paragraphs should explain the effects of stress. In my opinion, stress may have physical effects, mental effects and social effects. These three effects may bring about restlessness and confusion among people in the society. It will be very risky to cope with or to live with people having serious stress. Thus, people with stress should try to reduce their stress by being away from hard work for a while. Others should be more considerate to those who are fighting with it. If we all cooperate, we can bring stress under control and finally we can live peachefully in our society.


Why Nature Like a Women?
Nature has been called Mother for many years. She produces and nurtures many things as her children, teaches them how to live and help themselves and preserves her original beauty.

Nature produces and cares for her children. A woman may feel that she is not complete until she mothers a child or two. No one has ever conceived of a mother without children, including Nature. Nature produced all the animals and plants in the world as her own children, feeding and protecting them. Nature without these many things would be unimaginable.

Nature teaches her children how to live and grow. After bearing many animals and plants into the world, like a true, good mother, she cannot simply abandon them. Nature teaches her young to grow and to find their own food, to prepare them for adulthood and the event that their parents can no longer support them. Women also teach and raise their children, if they truly desire and love them.

Nature remains beautiful and pure, in spite of Man. Nature looks after her image and her beauty like a woman caring for her skin and body. Despite years of land development and encroachment. Nature remain still very beautiful and pure. Many of her original features such as mountains still stand and present a majestic, untamed imaged to the viewer.
Nature and women seem to be the same thing for reasons such as childbearing and personal maintenance. Certain feminine characteristics such as these may be the reasons why men have called Nature "Mother."

It's the end of another class, and one student has stayed behind. No problem, you think, maybe an easy grammar question, or a comment on how they enjoyed the class (or not!)... or maybe it's a question about an ESL exam. "What's the difference between TOEFL and TOEIC?" "Should I take the FCE?" "Who recognizes IELTS?" So if you don’t know your BEC from your KET, or your CAE from your CELS, here's a brief guide to the most popular ESL exams.

ESL exams fall broadly into three main categories: General English, Business English and Academic English.

General English

Probably the most popular in this category are the Cambridge ESOL exams. One and a half million people in 135 countries take Cambridge exams every year. There are five General English exams, sometimes referred to as the "Cambridge Main Suite."

The first two levels are the KET (Key English Test) and the PET (Preliminary English Test). The KET and PET have reading and writing, listening, and speaking components, and are most often used to assess progress or to prepare for the next exam in the series. The PET is also recognized by some employers and universities. KET and PET have two pass grades, Pass with merit and Pass.

Next up from the PET is the FCE (First Certificate in English). The FCE has five sections, reading, writing, use of English, listening and speaking. It is widely recognized by employers and educational institutions and so is very popular with students who want to study or work abroad.

Many universities and employers, however, prefer the CAE (Certificate in Advanced English), which is the next level up. This exam shows that a student is capable of following a university course or can function in a range of business contexts.

After the CAE comes the CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English), the highest level in the series. Students who pass this exam have the ability to function effectively in almost every English speaking context. The CPE is also a typical requirement for non-native speakers who want to train as English teachers. Students typically need 3 years of study after passing the FCE to reach this level (depending, of course, on how often they study and other factors).

FCE, CAE and CPE have five grades, A-E, of which A-C are passes.

Cambridge also has a series of General English exams for Young Learners aged between 7 and 12 (YLE). There are three exams in the series, Starters, Movers and Flyers. They are taken mainly as a means of measuring progress, and also as preparation for the KET and PET. There is no pass or fail - students are awarded up to five "shields" for each component (reading and writing, listening, speaking).

Other General English exams

Cambridge also offers CELS (Certificates in English Language Skills). These are individual exams in each of the four skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking). Students can choose which of the exams they want to take, according to their strengths and requirements.

Pitman, part of the British City and Guilds Group, is another examining body with a series of General English exams. The International ESOL covers listening, reading and writing, and the International Spoken ESOL is a one to one structured interview. Both have six levels, from basic to advanced.

Business English

Every year four and a half million people take the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication), run by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The TOEIC is a multiple choice exam in two sections, listening and reading, each scored out of 445, giving a total of 990. Many companies and government agencies use TOEIC as a criterion for recruiting or promoting staff, or for sending staff abroad. Some universities also use TOEIC, requiring their business school students to achieve a particular score prior to graduation, for example.

Cambridge also has a series of business exams called the BEC (Business English Certificate). BEC comes in three levels, Preliminary, Vantage and Higher. The types of exam task are similar to those in the Cambridge Main Suite, but test language ability in a business context. They are recognized by many employers worldwide, and students take them to demonstrate language skills required for international business. There are two pass grades for BEC, Pass with merit and Pass.

Other Business English exams

Cambridge offers BULATS (The Business Language Testing Service). BULATS is designed specifically for companies and organizations to test the language ability of employees who need English in their work, and for students and employees on language and business courses.

Pitman has a three-level series of exams called English for Business Communications, which tests business writing ability, and English for Office Skills, a two-level series designed to test the ability to carry out office-related tasks where accuracy in writing and following instructions is important.

Academic English

A common question from students is "What's the difference between TOEIC and TOEFL?" Well, both are run by ETS, but whereas TOEIC evaluates language skills for the workplace, TOEFL evaluates language skills in an academic context. It is therefore used primarily as a prerequisite for admission to universities and colleges. More than 5000 colleges and universities in 90 countries recognize the exam. During 2005 and 2006, TOEFL is phasing in a new internet-based test (iBT), which will replace the current computer-based and paper-based exams. The iBT has 4 sections, reading, listening, speaking and writing, each with a score of 30, giving a total score of 120. This is likely to cause some confusion for a while, as most students and universities are used to working with the paper-based total of 677, or the computer-based total of 300!

Cambridge also has an academic exam, the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), which they jointly manage with the British Council and IDP:IELTS Australia. IELTS is recognized by universities and colleges, as well as employers, immigration authorities and professional bodies. The exam has listening, reading, writing and speaking components. For the reading and writing, students can choose between an academic and a general option. IELTS is scored on a scale of 1-9.

Comparing levels

One of the most common questions from students is how exams in the different categories compare to each other. Is the FCE equivalent to one of the BEC exams? If I have the CAE, what TOEFL score can I expect? Luckily, we have a reference guide to help us here, called the "Common European Framework of Reference for Languages" (CEF). The CEF divides language learners into six levels, and enables us to compare all the ESL exams according to these levels.

The six levels are A1 (Breakthrough), A2 (Waystage), B1 (Threshold), B2 (Vantage), C1 (Effective Operational Proficiency), and C2 (Mastery).

Here's a quick comparison of exams at the different levels. Bear in mind that this is a general guide only -- students' scores in different exams will of course depend on many factors, such as preparation time and motivation!

A1: YLE Movers, Pitman ESOL Basic, IELTS score 1-2.

A2: KET, YLE Flyers, Pitman ESOL Elementary, TOEIC score 246-380, TOEFL iBT score 32-42, IELTS score 3.

B1: PET, TOEIC score 381-540, BEC Preliminary, TOEFL iBT score 43-61, IELTS score 3.5-4.5.

B2: FCE, Pitman ESOL Intermediate, TOEIC score 541-700, BEC Vantage, TOEFL iBT score 62-91, IELTS score 5-6.

C1: CAE, Pitman ESOL Higher Intermediate, TOEIC score 701-910, BEC Higher, TOEFL iBT score 92-112, IELTS score 6.5-7.

C2: CPE, Pitman ESOL Advanced, TOEIC score 911-990, TOEFL iBT score 113-120, IELTS score 7.5-9.

Here's an effective way to teach the third conditional to your ESL students.

1. First, write a short story (a few paragraphs is fine) about someone who had a bad day. The first paragraph could start something like this:

Sarah had to be at the airport for her flight at 9am, but her alarm didn't go off and so she overslept...

With this example you could continue to talk about Sarah's travel problems as the day progressed. Maybe she forgot her passport and had to rush back home to get it, which made her miss her flight, and so on. The key is to create a problem in each paragraph and describe what happened as a result.

2. Once you've got your story, cut it up into paragraphs and you're ready to go. Pre-teach any vocabulary you need to and divide your students into pairs or small groups. Then hand out the story and ask the students to put the paragraphs into the correct order.

3. When everyone has ordered the story correctly, ask your students if Sarah (we'll use the example from above) had a good or a bad day. (They should of course say "bad"!) Ask one pair to tell you Sarah's first problem and write it on the board. Then go from pair to pair and elicit the other problems. When you've got them all on the board, ask pairs what the result of each problem was, and write these next to their corresponding problems.

So now, on the board, you might have something like this:

Her alarm didn't go off – she overslept

She forgot her passport – she missed her flight

and so on. Leave some space under each one for the next step.

4. Tell students they are now going to imagine that Sarah had a good day. Ask one pair to tell you the opposite of the first problem-result, and write this underneath it:

A Her alarm didn't go off – she overslept.

B Her alarm went off - she didn't oversleep.

To clarify that sentence A is the "real" past, ask students which sentence really happened in the story, and which we are just imagining.

Now draw their attention to sentence B. Reinforce once again that this is imagining a diffferent past, and ask them how they would express this idea in a sentence beginning with "If..." You may have a more advanced student who gives you the correct third conditional sentence. If not, tell them, and write it on the board under sentence B so that they can see the connection with the imaginary situation:

A Her alarm didn't go off – she overslept.

B Her alarm went off - she didn't oversleep.

If her alarm had gone off, she wouldn't have overslept.

Highlight the form: Past Perfect + Would(n't) have + Past participle.

5. Go through one or two more examples on the board, and then ask students to try the remaining problems themselves. Be sure to get feedback to check they are forming the third conditional correctly.

6. Now it's time for some practice. We often use the third conditional to express regret, and this makes a good context for a communicative activity. Model it first: Tell the class you are going to talk about a few regrets you've had in your life (you can make them up if you want!), and you would like them to note them down.

For example:

I regret not studying French. If I'd studied French, I would have worked in Paris.

Ask individual students to report back your regrets to you, reconstructing the third conditional sentences correctly.

Now give students a few minutes to think of some regrets of their own (tell them they can make them up if they are not comfortable talking about their past). Put students into pairs and have them tell each other their regrets. Make sure you monitor well here to ensure correct use of the third conditional as it comes up.

Students then report back to the class about their partners' regrets. You can develop some into a discussion if you like, but make sure you don't have a full-on discussion about any regrets which could be sensitive for the student concerned.

The IELTS Listening test comes first, and many candidates find it a hard, sometime even discouraging, way to get started. The IELTS Listening task tests a diverse range of skills, and many people find it challenging.

There are many ways to prepare for this portion of the IELTS exam. There are, for example, many practice tapes and CD sets on the commercial market. While all of them are helpful to some degree, the one thing you can be sure is that none of them will be the IELTS Listening test you take.

The good news is that the best forms of IELTS Listening practice are available free, or at least readily and at low cost. They’re also more fun. They are radio, TV, and movies!

If you have access to an English-language radio or TV station, listen to it as often as possible. The benefits are many.

- You become familiar with a wide variety of accents and individual ways of speaking

- You get the rhythms of spoken English sentences in your ear

- You become more familiar with the way native speakers pronounce English words

- You start to hear word patterns and notice the way English sentences are put together

- You begin to learn new vocabulary by hearing it in context

- You simply become accustomed to the sound of spoken English, which may be the single most important thing of all

English radio and TV talk shows give you good exposure to the way native speakers – not English teacher – actually use the language. They familiarize you with slang and other colloquialisms.

English radio and TV news programmes give you great background for the multiple-voice, nonacademic setting section of the IELTS Listening test, which often uses a mock radio broadcast. Hearing up to four different individuals talk about the same incident from different personal perspectives, in different acoustical situations, and in a variety of accents (including those of second-language speakers) is exactly the kind of training you need to perform well on this portion of the test, which some candidates find the hardest.

Watching English, Australian, American, and other movies in English – in any format – is also highly useful in giving you exposure to the way “real people” speak English. As with all languages, it’s not the same as classroom English.

If you see such movies in the theatre, try to look at the subtitles as little as possible. If you watch them on DVD, watch them once with subtitles, so you learn the situations and dialogue – and then switch the subtitles off and watch them again and again, until you can understand what is being said without “translating.” Many local cable-TV providers show movies many times over the same time period. If you have access a movie channel on such a service, get the schedule, watch the movies you want once with the subtitles – and then, on repeat viewings, tape over the bottom of your TV screen so you cannot use the subtitles.

What’s important is that you expose yourself to the sound of spoken English as much as possible between now and the time you take IELTS. Use time that you otherwise might waste. When you’re getting dressed or eating breakfast in the morning, have the radio or TV on, set to an English station. If you are doing tasks that don’t require your full attention, like cooking or cleaning your room, have the radio or TV on in the background. If you spend a lot of time stuck in traffic, turn the car radio onto an English news or talk station.

Of course, you will benefit more the more you concentrate on what you hear. But even if you don’t focus on what you hear only, trying to understand what is being said, simply letting the sounds into your ears will help. Educators are now convinced that there is such a thing as “passive listening.” That means that you’re often learning even when you’re not trying to. If you have English on – even “in the background” – your brain is trying to figure out what is being said even if you’re not concentrating on it.

Most important of all, the day you actually tale the IELTS exam, make sure that the first time you hear English that day is not when the tape for the Listening test starts. That may be too late, and you could miss a question or too while your ears “adjust” to the sound of English. Even if you’re nervous and feel like you can’t concentrate on it, have the radio or TV on while you’re getting dressed, eating breakfast, or getting to the IELTS exam. You’ll be glad you did!

It takes a long time for students of English-as-a-second-language to learn to read well. This is not because they have a reading problem: They can read perfectly well in their own language. The problem is just that they don’t know the meaning of enough English words. In other words, they don’t have a big enough vocabulary.

It’s not easy to build a vocabulary that allows you to read as well, or almost as well, as people who grew up speaking and reading English. It's quite easy to build the basic vocabulary of 1000-2000 words that you need in order to speak English to other people and understand what they’re saying. You’ll probably pick up that many words, without really trying, during the early stages of your study of English. And if that doesn’t happen, you can always sit down with a good vocabulary list and a dictionary and start memorizing.

However, to be able to read English well, you need to know a lot more than 2000 words — about ten times that many, in fact. You won’t learn all these words without trying, even if you spend a lot of time taking English courses and talking to English speakers.

Learning the most basic words in English, or any other language, is easy because these words are used so often. ‘Second-level words’ — words that are not necessary for basic communication, but which are necessary for reading — can only be learned by the hard work of studying. But what sort of studying is most effective and most enjoyable?

One method is to take the direct approach and learn words ‘out of context’ — by studying word lists, doing vocabulary ‘exercises,’ or even by reading through a learners’ dictionary. There are plenty of textbooks around to help you with this job and you may find English courses that concentrate on this sort of vocabulary building.

It’s also possible to take a more ‘natural’ approach and try to build up your vocabulary by reading English books, newspapers, and magazines — looking up words in a dictionary as you go along and taking notes.

Both the direct and the indirect approach can work, but both have serious disadvantages. Most people find studying word lists and reading dictionaries quite boring, and a boring method of studying is likely to be ineffective. In addition, even if you’re not bored, you may find it hard to remember the words you try to learn in this way. It seems that words, and other things, stay in our minds better if we see them for the first time while we’re doing something interesting — like reading an enjoyable story or article.

The disadvantage of the natural approach is that for intermediate learners — ones who are trying to build their vocabulary up to the 20,000-word level — the most readily available texts tend to be far too difficult and, therefore, they are ineffiicent learning tools. Books, even if they are quite easy to understand, tend to be much too long for someone who is reading slowly while using a dictionary and taking notes. Magazine and newspaper articles, on the other hand, almost always contain a lot of language that is unnecessarily difficult because it is idiomatic or metaphorical or because it includes unusual words that are not really needed. This slows down learners and also makes the experience of reading less interesting and therefore less effective.

The best method of vocabulary building is one that combines the advantages of both approaches while avoiding the disadvantages. One way to do this is to learn vocabulary in context, through reading, but with texts that have been specially written for vocabulary building. This makes for natural, efficient, and enjoyable studying.

Finding this kind of reading material can be difficult, unfortunately. The reading passages in ESL texts can be a good source, but they're often few in number and very short. Moreover, the readings in books for beginners' are often quite uninteresting and the ones in books for more advanced students are often about quite difficult 'academic' ideas. To succeed with this method of vocabulary enlargement, you need long and interesting texts. The best sources are probably 'simplified' versions of famous works of English literature written specially for learners. Books of this kind are not used as often in ESL courses now as they were in the past, but, if you're taking an English course, your teacher may able to lend you some, and you should certainly be able to find some in your library. If you go to a library or bookstore to look for useful reading material, you should also look at children's and teenagers' books. They are written for readers who, unlike you, have English as their first language; but like you, they still have to learn more words before they can read 'grown-up' material easily.

IX. A sample TOEFL essay (based on the outline above)

It is a good idea for teenagers to have jobs while they are students because they can learn about responsibility; they can learn the value of money and they can learn how to work as a member of a team.

When teenagers have jobs while they are students, they can learn how to be responsible. As an employee, you must follow a weekly schedule. This means, you have to come to work on time. If you are scheduled to begin work at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning, you have to be there at 8 a.m. It doesn’t matter if you went to a party the night before and do not want to get up. You have to get up. Your boss is relying on you to do your job. As an employee, you also learn that you must serve the customer in a friendly manner. If you are not friendly, the store may lose business and you may lose your job. Finally, an employee is responsible for maintaining the store shelves with inventory. If you work in a department store, you have to keep the shelves filled with merchandise. The products have to be priced and placed on the shelves. If the shelves look empty, customers may get a bad impression of the store and may not continue to shop there. It is good for students to learn responsibility when they are young because it will benefit them as they get older.

Another benefit to teenagers working is that they will learn the value of money. Often students get money from their parents, but they do not realize how hard their parents work for that money. When students work, they begin to appreciate how difficult it can be to make money. They also realize that “money doesn’t grow on trees” as some students seem to believe when asking their parents for money. Another reason it is good for students to work is that they will make wiser choices when they use their own money to buy things. For example, if students work 20 hours per week at $7.00 per hour, they will make $140 per week. In one month, that is about $540. Perhaps a student will think twice about spending $120 for a pair of tennis shoes or $350 for a stereo system when s/he has had to work very hard for that money. On the other hand, when students do spend money for personal objects, they will appreciate them more than if they had gotten the money from their parents.

Finally, working teenagers learn from being members of a team. As employees, students learn to work with others and help one another. For example, if someone is sick, you may be asked to help out. In addition, other employees will depend on you to do your share of the work. If one person does not do his/her job, other employees may have to do extra work to compensate. Students will learn very quickly that it is not good teamwork to expect others to do your work. Finally, students will develop friendships with other employees because they have learned to count on each other. Working as a member of a team will build strong character in students.

To conclude, it is a valuable experience for teenagers to have jobs while they are students because they will learn to be responsible adults. They will have an appreciation for money and they will learn about working with others. These experiences will help them grow into adulthood and benefit them throughout their lives.

VIII. A sample TOEFL outline:

TOEFL Question: In some countries, teenagers have jobs while they are still students. Do you think this is a good idea? Support your opinion by using specific reasons and details.

I. It is a good idea for teenagers to have jobs while they are students because they can learn about responsibility; they can learn the value of money and they can learn how to work as a member of a team.

II. Students can learn responsibility
a. They have to come to work on time every day
b. They must serve customers in a friendly manner
c. They have to maintain the store shelves with inventory

III. Students can learn the value of money
a. Students will learn that it takes a lot of time and effort to make money
b. Students will make wiser choices when buying things with their own money

IV. Students will learn how to work as a member of a team
a. Students will learn how to compromise with other employees (helping out when someone is sick, etc.)
b. Students will learn about the friendship that comes from teamwork (feeling like you can trust others)

V. Conclusion
It is a valuable experience for teenagers to have jobs while they are students because they will learn to be responsible adults. They will have an appreciation for money and they will learn about working with others. All of these traits will benefit them throughout their lives.

V. How to write good body paragraphs:
Each paragraph in your essay introduces a new idea. It should include a thesis statement followed by support and examples. Be sure to use LOTS of examples. Within and between paragraphs be sure to use transition words like: on the other hand, however, though, for example, in contrast, likewise, in addition, first, finally. The paragraph should end with a concluding sentence which briefly summarizes the ideas in the paragraph.

VI. The elements of a good concluding paragraph:
A good concluding paragraph should include a summary of your main points. It may also include the author’s opinion. It should NOT introduce any new ideas. A good concluding paragraph often leaves an impression on the reader. It may make the reader think more deeply about the topic.

VII. Preparing to write and writing your answer:
I. Read and understand the essay question. (2 minutes).
II. Organize your ideas on paper by writing a short outline of the introduction, body and conclusion. (8 minutes).
III. Write your essay. Remember to restate the question in your introduction. Use clear details and LOTS of examples in the body of your essay. Finally, summarize the main ideas in the concluding paragraph of your essay. (15 minutes).

I. Reread your essay and make any changes in spelling, verb tense, word choice or sentence structure. (5 minutes).

TOEFL essay question #2:
Is it better for children to participate in team sports or individual sports? Why? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Restatement & Thesis:
It is better for children to participate in team sports rather than individual sports. In team sports, children learn how to cooperate. They learn good sportsmanship and how to rely on their teammates. These are important lessons that will benefit children throughout their lives.

The first sentence clearly states the author’s opinion. This is followed by three reasons for the opinion. Finally, the author mentions life lessons. In the essay, the three reasons will make up the three main idea paragraphs in the body of the essay. In addition, the author will mention how each main idea is useful throughout life.

TOEFL essay question #3:
Some people prefer to live in a small town. Others prefer to live in a big city. Which place would you prefer to live in? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

Restatement & Thesis:
There are many good reasons to live in a big city and an equal number of good reasons to live in a small town. I, myself, prefer to live in a small town because it is more personal and homey; it is easier to get around in and it is safer than a big city.

The first statement says that both a city and town have positive aspects. The next sentence tells the author’s preference and reasons for that preference. These reasons will make up the body of the essay.

III. The parts of an essay:
In every essay, there should be an introduction, a body and conclusion.

A. The introduction:
The introduction restates the question using different vocabulary and/or sentence structure. The introduction also includes your thesis statement…the most important sentence in your essay.

B. The body:
The body of your essay is also the “heart” of your essay. It will include your main ideas and details and examples to support those ideas. Each new idea should be a new paragraph. Typically, a TOEFL essay will have 3 – 4 body paragraphs.

C. The conclusion:
The conclusion will be your final paragraph. It will summarize all the main ideas in your essay and it may also include your opinion.

IV. How to write a good introduction:
Let’s look at some more essay questions to see how to restate the question and how to write your thesis statement.

TOEFL essay question #1:
Some people prefer to eat at food stands or restaurants. Other people prefer to prepare and eat food at home. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Restatement & Thesis:
People have two options when deciding where to eat. They can prepare meals and eat at home or they can go out to stands or restaurants. I prefer to go out to eat because the food is more varied and interesting, it is less work for me and it saves time.

The restatement mentions the two types of options people have for eating and tells which one the author prefers. In addition, it gives three reasons for that preference. These three reasons will make up the three main idea paragraphs in the body of the essay.

I. Before you begin:
I. Relax and feel confident.
II. Remember that you have 30 minutes to write your essay. Use your time wisely.
III. You may write your essay on the computer or on paper. Choose the one you are MOST comfortable with.
II. You can write an excellent essay if you remember all these tips!

II. Understanding the TOEFL question:
There are different types of TOEFL questions. You never know which question you will receive, so you must be prepared to write on ALL the types of questions. It is very important that you completely understand the question BEFORE you begin to write. Below are some different essay question types.

1. Choose a point of view and support that view.
Example: Some people believe that university students should be required to attend classes. Others believe that going to classes should be optional for students. Which point of view do you agree with? Use specific reasons and details to explain your answer.

This type of question asks you to look at only ONE side of the issue…the side you agree with. DON’T write about both sides. You tell which side you agree with and support your ideas with details and examples.

2. Describe something.
Example: If you could invent something NEW, what product would you develop? Use specific details to explain why this invention is needed?

In answering this type of question, you MUST be creative. It asks you to describe something NEW, something that does not exist. You must describe it in detail AND tell why it is necessary.

3. Compare two points of view and tell which one you agree with.
Example: Some people think that children should begin their formal education at a very early age and should spend most of their time on school studies. Others believe that young children should spend most of their time playing. Compare these two views. Which view do you agree with? Why?

In this type of question, you must write about BOTH sides of this issue and then tell which side you agree with. You may NOT say that you agree with both sides. You MUST make a choice. First, give support, details and examples of both sides of the issue. Then, tell which side you agree with and why.

4. Agree or disagree with something.
Example: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: ONLY people who earn a lot of money are successful. Do you agree or disagree with this definition of success? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

In this type of question, you MUST agree or disagree. You cannot be unsure or indecisive. After you have said whether you agree or disagree, you must give convincing reasons and examples for your choice.

5. Explain why something is true.
Example: People remember special gifts or presents that they have received. Why? Give specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

In this question, you should use lots of examples. (For this question, you would use examples of gifts one might receive and tell why those gifts are memorable). Do not write in the first person, “I.” Write in more general terms.

6. Support an idea or plan.
Example: It has recently been announced that a new restaurant may be built in your neighborhood. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

In this question, first tell whether you support or oppose the plan and then tell why. Since this question is somewhat personal, it is ok to use personal pronouns such as: “I, me, my” in your answer.

Sometimes, it is difficult to figure out where to go with your argument. Aristotle in the Ars
Rhetorica lists several inventio. Inventio, or "invention techniques" can help a writer generate ideas while brainstorming. Frequently, these tools can help you think about an issue and possibly develop individual paragraphs. Be warned that these techniques are not a panacea. Some work better than others in specific essays and arguments. For instance, in discussing whether or not healthcare should cover myofascial massage, it may be important to define what exactly a myofascial massage is, and how particular HMOs categorize it. But when writing an essay on automobiles, it seems unlikely one would need to define the word "car" for a reader.


Narration How did it happen?
Description How can it be described?
Process How is it made? How is it done? How do you do it?

Cause What causes it?
Effect What effect does it have on other things?
Compare How is it similar to something else?

Contrast How it different than something else?
Classification Is it a part of a larger group? What group is that?
Division Can it be broken down into smaller groups? What groups are those?

Formal definition How does an authoritative source define it, such as a Penal
Code, Black's Law Dictionary, a Biochemistry Guide, etc.?
Etymology Where does the word come from? Does that knowledge
help understand the problem? (If not, don’t bother!)
Example What are some examples of it?

Exposition Simply explain it in your own words
Negative Definition What is it not?
History Can you give me a history of it?

Diagram Can you draw a diagram showing how it works?
Anecdote Can you tell me a short story to explain it?
Possible/impossible Could it work? Did it work? Does it work? Why or why not?

These techniques are the means to an end, not a purpose in themselves. In most situations, you would never be asked to write "a paper using classification," but you might find yourself needing to write a report to someone and then discover that classification would be a good way to organize part of that paper, or it might be useful to help the reader understand part of your argument.