Here are some of the questions that people asked me this week.
1. For process diagrams, can we suggest ways of improving the process?
No, you should never include opinions or suggestions in your task 1 essay. Just describe what you see.
2. Can I use "illustrates", "indicates" or "mentions" instead of "shows"?
I tell my students to use "shows", "illustrates", "compares" or "gives information about". You don't need to learn any more ways. I wouldn't use "indicates" or "mentions" because they're not quite right for the context.
3. If the examiner asks me where I come from, should I say where I live now (e.g. in the UK) or should I talk about the country I was born in?
It doesn't matter. You can say either, or both!
4. In the speaking test, do examiners look at the notes we made for part 2?
No, your notes do not affect your score at all.
5. In the writing test, what is considered as 'memorised' language?
'Memorised language' usually refers to phrases or sentences that can be used for any topic e.g. "This is a controversial issue nowadays, but every coin has two sides." These phrases don't help you to get a good score; the key to a high score is what I call "real content". Click here to see what I mean by this.
6. Isn't the phrase "different countries" strange? All countries are different, so it seems absurd.
I see what you mean, but I can tell you that "different countries" is a normal and common phrase in English. Languages are not always perfectly logical.
Please remember that I can't answer every question that students send me. I'm sorry if I missed yours.