[sticky post]IELTS Guides - Article Release Dates [Updated as of September 18]
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Brief Guide: IELTS: A Brief Preparation Guide by Panayiotis_B.

Part 1: IELTS Extensive Guide : Part 1: Listening Test.

Part 2: IELTS Extensive Guide : Part 2: Reading Test.

Part 3: IELTS Extensive Guide : Part 3: Writing Test.

Part 4: Speaking: 2013.

My I.E.L.T.S. Experience: 2013.


IELTS Extensive Guide : Part 3: Writing Test.
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Brief Guide  Listening Guide  Reading Guide  Writing Guide  Speaking Guide

The third part of the I.E.L.T.S. examination is the writing test. In this part, you are required to write a minimum of 150 words, describing any kind of chart (bar chart, pie chart etc.), or graphs. For this, you are given twenty minutes. In order to remain in the time limitations, it is of key importance to practice with as many different charts and graphs as possible, since you are facing two challenges: Completing the task in the recommended time-limitation of 20 minutes, and learning to analyze and describe the data given to you, in the form of a chart or graph, very rapidly.

However, this is not the only essay for this part. It would be too easy, don't you think? The second essay of the writing test has the same format that you are used to all these years: You are given a topic, along with a few instructions, and you are asked to write a minimum of 250 words, in less than 40 minutes. Again, you just need to practice a lot with this one. You must have a tutor or English teacher who will supervise your progress and correct your mistakes (not to mention point out your weak spots so as to work on them), in order to succeed not just in this part, but in the IELTS examination as a whole.

Of course, one may ask: ''How do I practice correctly?''

The answer to this question is quite simple: You need to concentrate on memorizing the vocabulary that comes with the practice test books that you have purchased, since the chart/graph essay requires a certain type of vocabulary that is not taught to students during their previous years of study. After you have accomplished this task, try and practice completing the first task in time, so that, in the actual test date, you won't have to worry about the time-limitations among other things.

But, what makes a great bar/graph chart? Well, probably the most pivotal piece of advice that you will be given from this article, is the following: When describing your bar or graph chart, DO NOT write what you see in detail. You must NEVER try and provide a full description of the chart or graph. What you MUST do, is give your reader a general idea of the trends/fluctuations/numbers of your chart. In other words, since your corrector will not be given a copy of your chart/graph, you goal will be to help them shape it in their head.

Now that you have learned all you need to know about completing the first essay, let's go into detail about the second one as well.

The 250-word essay is the easier of the two, especially if you have taken the CPE test, and passed it. The only trap in this part, is the difficulty that many people face to keep their writing coherent and structured should they be required to write a long text in any form. Be it a letter, essay, proposal, article or anything else, the problem persists. The solution to this major problem is concentration. Calm your mind and forget about all your worries pertaining to the topic that you are about to be handled. Just treat this essay like any other written task you have been given in the past. Once you are stress-free, the rest will come, provided that you have studied adequately of course.

I hope this article has been of great help to you.

Take care,

             Panayiotis_B.


What's Next?
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With the conclusion of my two-part series on the debate of college education, I have decided on what to write about once I finish my I.E.L.T.S. series by October 2012. First of all, I will write about my favourite TV Shows (namely Supernatural, Arrow, 666 Park Avenue and Game of Thrones) on a weekly basis, and I am also considering the possibility of a new mini-series of articles, focusing on the positive aspects of life in Greece.

FInally, I have, at long last, found the inspiration I was lacking, to resume my newly-renamed Talinda-Chester fan-fiction. Look forward to this one as well! :D


Reasons Why You Shouldn't Put So Much Emphasis On University-Level Education (For Now) (Part 2)
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In the second article of the series, we will further indulge into the world of education, exploring what it means to get a university-level education in such times, and whether the monetary rewards are worth the try or not.

2. HERE'S THE ANSWER: THE FINANCIAL REWARDS OF A COLLEGE EDUCATION ARE NOT WORTH THE INVESTMENT.

It does not take an expert to realise that we are going through the hardest financial times of the past 40 years or so. Job reports, news bulletins and articles from experienced economists all reflect the one and only truth about the current income distribution: there has never been a wider income inequality between the poor and the rich, the middle-class and the rich, as well as the poor and the middle-class. It is now more than ever that the rich are becoming exponentially richer, while the middle and lower layers of society are quickly sinking into poverty, or the borderline version of it.

So, in a world like this, most people will consider that investing on a degree will be their ticket out of their financial dead-ends. I WISH it were that easy. See, in case you have never worked in your life before, employers only care about whether you can get the job done or not, and everything else is of little to no importance to them (provided that you are not aiming for an occupation that really DOES require going to university). Having spoken to quite a few employers, I have detected an array of traits, a pattern that is commonly occurring in every employer's answers: What they are looking in a potential employee, is wits, kindness and, of course, expertise (no matter where you got the last one from, they really don't care as long as you are good at your job).

With the above in mind, I would advise the lot of you to get off your high horse and start looking for a regular job. Once you find one and save some money, then you can decide whether you need to seek further education or not. By doing so, you will benefit in SO many levels:

First of all, working for a few years before attending university will provide you with the necessary -almost integral- work experience that you may need in the future, should you decide to educate yourself further.

Secondly, as many studies have proven, as we grow up, our brain matures, and we are able to cope with the mentally-challenging aspects of our lives more effectively, meaning that your university courses will seem much easier when you are 21 or 22, than they did back when you were only 17 or 18.

Furthermore, finding your studies easier will mean that you will have more time to yourself, which will allow you to have a life outside of university, or will at least leave you with enough spare time to work odd jobs, so that you can supplement your income, in case you are facing financial difficulties, or just won't have a student loan shoved down your throat.

Moreover, by the time you turn 21 or so, you will have shaped a more realistic and accurate view of the world, meaning that it will be highly unlikely for you to make a wrong decision when choosing your preferred course, which , in turn, will significantly increase your chances of finding employment in your desired field of work.

FInally, perhaps the greatest benefit of studying further (or choosing not to study) in a few years' time, will be the definite improvement in the job market. As I mentioned in my previous article, currently, there are no jobs to be gotten out there! So, why waste your efforts and money (not to mention get in huge debt that will burden you for the rest of your life), when you can choose to postpone your quest for a high-paying job, in an economy that's currently out of this type of jobs?

I hope this article helped you make the right decision.

Be well, Panayiotis_B.


Reasons Why You Shouldn't Put So Much Emphasis On University-Level Education (Part 1)
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Since the 2000s, there has been a boom in the college/university business that has led to a stunning increase in the number of students decided to enroll in various educational institutions, with the purpose of landing the best-paying jobs available in the job market. However, the Great Depression in 2008 has provided people with a number of valid reasons why getting a university degree will no longer do the trick. Sadly, the vast majority of people choose to ignore those signs in hopes that, by the time they graduate, the job market will have tremendously improved. So, I decided to dedicate a series of articles into explaining why a piece of paper is no longer the ticket to a cash-stashed future.

1. THERE ARE NO JOBS OUT THERE FOR YOU TO GET ONCE YOU GRADUATE.

Time and again, I have been faced with claims, from both universities and individuals, that, upon graduation, the sheer majority of degree-holders will find a position in the occupation of their dreams. That is entirely untrue. See, what all claimants have declined to mention, is that there are not enough jobs in the job market right now, and that the economy won't get any better sometime soon, thus leading all potential applicants to believe that once they get their degree, they will be able to just walk in an office and demand a job in their desired position, and that they will get paid loads of money, with which they will make all their dreams come true, and so on and so forth. NOT! Employers have made two VERY important changes in their decision-making process, since the economic crisis. First things first, they have realised that what makes a person suitable for the job is not a piece of shit-paper degree, but their general expertise on the field that they want to work on, as well as the candidates' personality, which can play a huge role in their productivity, and the business's future financial well-being. Secondly, employers are NO LONGER HIRING! Forget what you were promised by the institute you attended and its alumni, whose sole purpose was to get your money! The current state that the world economy is in does not allow the majority of businesses around the world to grow, hence making it impossible for their CEOs to hire more personnel.

In order to succeed in today's world, what you must do, is educate yourself in all walks of life, by gaining work experience from part-time employment, and education from multiple sources, not the one-sided opinions of university books. In addition to all that, it really helps if you are a hard-working, kind, and always-helpful person. Employers do appreciate that kind of stuff and, trust me, if you are cooperative, useful, quick on the up-taking and know your thing, even if you need some further training or a piece of advice or two on how this and that works, your soon-to-be employer will gladly teach you all that.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article,

                                                                      Panayiotis_B.

NOTE: If you are STILL not persuaded to either drop or postpone your university studies, leave a comment siting your reasons for choosing to invest on a college education during these financially-tight times.


Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex
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I love this show so much! :D


The MDNA Tour
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2012 has turned my life upside down in many different ways. One of them, a positive one for a change, has been Madonna's latest tour, titled the ''MDNA Tour''. With 88 shows (beginning in Tel Aviv and ending in the U.S.), the Queen of Pop has once again gathered the mainstream media's attention. And how could she have not done so, since this is her most spectacular tour to date? From a Catholic dancer, to a vengeful terrorist, back to a peaceful and victimized woman, Madonna exhibits the one talent that has been the fundamental reason why three decades since her debut, she still remains incredibly popular: her re-invention abilities.


After watching this video, which contains a short performance as a thank you to her French fans, you can see all the multiple changes that she goes through in less than an hour. In other words, you have just witnessed the one thing that has made Madonna, well, Madonna!

To be completely honest with you, when I first saw a few clips from her tour on YouTube, I felt greatly disappointed, because I believed that the show just didn't do justice to Madonna's past tours. I couldn't have been more wrong. After allowing the show to grow on me, I was absolutely hooked! I couldn't get enough of her performances around the globe, and kept searching YouTube for new clips from the tour on a daily basis. Specifically, my absolute favourite from this tour is Revolver:


Videos speak louder than both words and pictures... combined. So, I decided I wanted to go to her tour, and I started looking for a place to purchase my ticket. Unfortunately, I faced two major problems:

1. Madonna decided not to bring her tour in Greece.

2. Average ticket cost to her show was an estimated $300, a price that I could NEVER afford, not even in my wildest dreams.

Despite the two aforementioned disadvantages, I am still looking forward to a DVD release from this tour! I cannot begin to describe how much I anticipate it!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my short MDNA runt.

Write to ya soon!

Bye!

BTW: DON'T fuck with me! <3

Panayiotis_B.


IELTS Extensive Guide : Part 2: Reading Test.
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Brief Guide  Listening Guide  Reading Guide  Writing Guide  Speaking Guide

Next up is the Reading part of the test. That's where things get complicated. Since this part requires a lot of concentration, advanced reading skills, and a wide range of vocabulary, faring well can be quite a challenge! So, let's accept it!

First off, in order to improve your skills to a level where you can combat this part's difficulty, you will need to read a lot of articles and look up any new words, ask a friend to read the articles too and ask you questions related to the subject of each article, while practicing with as much practice material as you can get your hands on, is of vital importance. You see, practice makes perfect, and the only way you can hope to even pass this part, is by practising, A LOT.

NOTE: It is essential to save a couple of practice tests for the last couple of days before your examination.

Now that we made this very clear, let's move on. So, each time, after completing a practice test and correcting your mistakes, the first question that you must ask yourselves is ''WHY?'' Why was this the correct answer to the question, and not the one I chose? What did I do wrong? In other words, you must look for the error in your thought process, the sabotaged wagon in your train of thought. Once you pinpoint the mistake that you made in your critical thinking process, make sure that you never repeat it again, ever.

At the same period that you take your practice test, you should look for books that can help you enrich your vocabulary. By adding new words to your repertoire, apparently from minimizing the chances of crossing paths with unknown key-words, you will also familiarize with the language, which will make the whole process of reading articles in English, come as a much more natural and pleasant habit. If you learn to read a lot, at some point, you will start reading between the lines. At this point, asking yourselves questions on the article's subject and by providing yourselves with the answers, you will learn to analyze the content of the articles you read, which will help stimulate your critical thinking process even further.

Once you have mastered all the skills required to cope with this part of the examination, you should rest, for real. While practice on a regular basis is vital for ensuring your success in this test, you must always keep in mind that a tired brain, is a crippled brain. If you overwork yourselves, especially during the final days before the examination, it is most likely that your mind and body will be overwhelmed with fatigue on the examination date, causing you severe psychosomatic problems, which will easily lead to your failing the test. Therefore, make sure that you sleep well every night, especially the night before the test, and make sure that, in the last couple of days, you do nothing but the one or two tests that you have saved.

While easier said than done, practising is the only secure way for you to get a high mark on this part of the examination. Good luck!

Part 3 of the series will be released shortly.

Panayiotis_B.


Impact of the Global Financial Crisis.
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Will I be able to sustain my family? Will my kids/siblings be severely affected and/or traumatized by our gradually-diminishing standard of living? Will I have the money to pay my bills, my mortgage, my children's insurance? Will I be able to make ends meet?

The above are some of the commonest questions that I'm sure many of you have been asking yourselves over the past five years or so. In this article, I will examine the negative, as well as the positive, effects that the deep recession we are going through has had on my life.

1. Re-budgeting & Prioritizing

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. When my financial resources dried up, I had to sit down and reassess my spending priorities and reevaluate my spending habits. Amongst others, $40 pieces of clothing, $5 Yu Gi Oh booster packs, and $50 video games were out of the question. I came to the conclusion that, in order to survive these turbulent times, I had to resort to minimal and -not to mention safe- spending. I achieved that by focusing on what was cheap and worth its money: E.g. I didn't buy the more expensive grocery, because I discovered other, cheaper firms, that produced stuff of the same quality as the big firms, but alas at a lower price.In that way, I could also afford some milk, a few eggs, and toothpaste.

2. Thinking Like An Economist

When one is affected by budget cuts, austerity measures, rising unemployment, salary cuts, social benefits cuts, pension cuts and/or taxation hikes, they are forcefully thrown into a world where having a basic knowledge of economics might be the dictating factor of whether they will migrate successfully and find a high-paying position, or get stuck with the unemployed norm. My only desire being my survival, I quickly taught myself how our global economy works, while constantly keeping an eye on the unemployment rates across the globe. This helped me choose what country it would be best for me to migrate to, which can potentially help me get out of this life of poverty.

3. Worrying About The Future

As much as I don't want to admit it, I have turned into a walking bag of worries in the past five years. I have lost faith in secure and full-time employment, and I can't help but thinking that, even if my employer is absolutely content with me, I might get the suck the next day, without any prior notice. Also, I always worry about whether I will be able to afford paying my bills or not. Therefore, this bad, in-deep-recession economy, has transformed me into a person who will never feel confident about spending a lot of money ever again, which in turn, will decrease the chances of my country's economic recovery.

4. Picturing A Life Without A Family

The most devastating psychological change that I have underwent, is the shaping of the belief that I will never have an income that will sufficiently sustain a family, so marrying, getting engaged or even having a girlfriend, is completely out of the question. You might as well say that I have given up on family and love without having tasted either, ever. Besides, who can afford to raise a child nowadays? The cost of bringing up your kin has skyrocketed over the past decade, and it will continue to increase until the major businesses/companies around the world that charge $20 for some baby food and $50 for a teeny pair of shoes, collapse, something that is next to impossible to happen. So, goodbye future family plans!

5. Having A Negative Attitude Towards Pretty Much Everything

Have you ever felt depressed and hopeless for months in a row? Has the thought of failure ever crossed your mind? Are you afraid to  take any step towards improving your life and well-being, just because you deem that step to be too risky? If the answer to any of the above is ''Yes, I have/Am.'' then you have been affected by the economic downturn. In my case, it is my firm belief that I will never afford a car, a house or a college degree.

In conclusion, while going through rough times can help us become more realistic and less materialistic, if we experience the impact of a rotting economy in our teenage years, we tend to lose hope, and we turn into pessimistic individuals.

Bye.


Panayiotis_B.


Hello there. it's been long.
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Happy summer everyone!

I know, I'm VERY late on this one, considering that many of you are already back in school. I've been away for the last two and a half months or so, but not on vacation. I decided that, after my successful attempt at scoring high in the IELTS examination, I deserved a well-earned break from blogging, writing and, of course, studying.

I know I haven't finished my series of articles on IELTS, but I promise that I will write them... later this year. I am currently in no condition to do things I don't like, so, how about I have some fun writing articles instead? I thought about writing whatever comes to mind every day, from the 16th of August, until the 16th of September!  The reason for this delay, is that I am going on an actual vacation this time around, and I'll be back on the 16th of August, with loads of pictures, videos, and experiences to share with you all! So, until then, take care, and work hard to make your dreams come true.

With love,

              Panayiotis_B.


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