Here are some interesting links for you.

7 tips for preparing for the IELTS Test from

20 Tips for Learning your First Second Language from – I believe he means ‘first additional language’ but let’s not split hairs – via @SayHowDoYouDo

How to read and understand a scientific paper for non-scientists from

11 tips for learning through newspapers from

Find Time To Read


I’ve talked about having enough study time in a previous post. Sometimes it is easy to feel that you don’t have enough time to read. You have a family, a job, other studies, a social life, etc. All this stops you from having time to read.

In this article, from the business blog Fast Company, you can see that there are strategies that you can use to get time to read or study.

One thing I especially agree with is that you can stop reading a book after ten pages and quit it. Sometimes life is just too short for some books. There’s always another day, month or year to try reading it if you feel you must.

Travelling to work is an obvious way to get time to read but how about waiting in line at the post office? Between appointments at work? In the bath?

Links – Money Talk


These links are about money and how we talk about it.

22 Phrases That Only Wall Streeters Will Understand via Edulang

Banking language by

This one isn’t about English but it is about business. The English Empire: A growing number of firms worldwide are making English their official language. At The Economist, via Ross Harrison

Focus Your Input for TOEIC, TOEFL and IELTS


Sometimes you aren’t studying English. This is certainly true when you are studying for tests like TOEIC, TOEFL and IELTS you study specialised kinds of English. What you study depends on the test.

TOEIC tests English for business (as well as everyday English).
TOEFL and IELTS test academic English.

The best ways to study for these tests are to read materials similar to the tests’ reading materials and listen to podcasts about relevant topics. For TOEIC, listen to business and news podcasts. For TOEFL and IELTS listen to podcasts about arts, social sciences and science for TOEFL and IELTS.

Sites I recommend for TOEIC:


Take Notes of Grammar and Vocabulary

Don’t forget to take notes of new grammar structures and make word cards for new vocabulary. Remember also to learn whole word families because these tests sometimes test your knowledge of word families. If you study these as you go, it should not be a problem.

Understand Passive Verb Forms

For all these tests you should learn to understand the passive verb form because it is used frequently in formal business English and in academic English.


He improved his English test scores by reading serious news articles and listening to college lectures. Not passive.

His English test scores were improved by reading serious news articles and listening to college lectures. Passive.

The basic construction is:

THING + ‘BE’ verb + ACTION verb (done to the thing) + DETAIL/CONDITION (optional but more common).

For a long-term skill increase you should study different materials anyway. However, to get a higher score in standardised tests such as TOEIC, TOEFL or IELTS, you need to understand the style of their reading and listening materials.