Three way to start thinking in English

You have been studying English for years. So why don’t you feel comfortable speaking in real conversations? Why is it that you can pass the TOEFL exam, but you keep freezing when it comes to speaking? Why do you still translate your native language into English in your mind before you speak?

Over the past few months I have spoken with many English learners to try to understand the biggest challenges that English students have. I found that “not being able to think in English” is one of the biggest challenges. If you are facing this problem, here are three steps to overcome it!

Learn words and phrases related to situations

Many people are lead to believe that good vocabulary is hard to come by. In order to speak you don’t need to understand every word of Shakespeare. Try to imagine everyday situations and learn few words related to it. For instance, if you are going for a movie, you should be able to explain him which popcorn flavours you would like to buy? Would you like a grilled or toasted sandwich? If you are a barber shop you should explain you want hair dressed short or just trimmed in shape?

Listen to good English via news, radio or movies

One of the main problems with non-native English speaking population is they are not exposed to good English. Hardly anybody around speaks commendable English. Listen to good English. You can subscribe to good news and documentary channels on television or YouTube. You can also subscribe to some of the radio channels which air really good shows. If you get bored and Hollywood excites you, watch movies which have quality English. These listening habits will automatically make you recall few clips in your mind which will definitely help you.

Spare few minutes to think in English

Before going to bed make it a point to spend some time thinking about how you spent your day. But make sure you are thinking in English. This will not only help you improve your speaking skills but help you plan your daily activities effectively.

Confusions with weather, whether and climate

Weather

Weather finds its origin in old English weder.

Noun

  1. The short term state of the atmosphere at a specific time and place, including the temperature, humidity, cloud cover, precipitation, wind, etc.
  2. It is also used to describe a strong wind and/or storm
  3. Also used to describe changes or vicissitudes in one’s fortunes

How it is used?

  1. The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend.
  2. With so many people in their house, it was fortunate that the weather was warm and dry so they could utilize the courtyard for the children.
  3. She remained a good friend in all weather.
  4. to expose to the weather; to withstand weather
  5. to discolour,disintegrate,or affect injuriously,as by the effects of weather
  6. to bear up against and come safely through(a storm,danger,trouble,etc)

Verb

How it is used?

  1. A XYZ company weathered losses before marketing their new product.
  2. These stones have weathered for centuries.
  3. She weathered a severe illness before she could participate in school sports activities.

Confusion with Whether

Whether is a conjunction used in English, to introduce the first of two or more alternatives.

  1. Used before the second or later alternative,usually with the correlative

“It matters little whether we go or stay. Whether we go or whether we stay, the result is the same.”

  1. Used as implied or understood, or some clause or element not  involving alternatives

“I doubt whether we can do it any better.”

Should you use climate or weather?

Climate is composite or generally prevailing weather conditions of a region, throughout the year, averaged over a series of years. Hence, in order to describe short period of atmospheric conditions use weather whereas, to describe atmospheric conditions over period of time use climate.

Climate is also used to describe a particular region and hence can be used as “I moved to much warmer climate”.

Word of the day: Belligerent

Belligerent

Origin of the word can be traced back to Italy. It comes from bellum (war) + gero (I lead or wage)

When used as adjective Belligerent means warlike.

  1. Belligerent speech
  2. Recently created situation by Pakistan because of cease firing, can be termed as Belligerent

When used as noun it can be used to denote state or nation at war.

Belligerent

How it is used?

  1. His belligerent attitude toward car driving became the reason for this thought provoking drama.
  2. She ignored him and he was going to pay for his belligerent
  3. It is belligerent nationalism that is haunting South Asia for 50 years.

Grammar in TOEFL

Grammar in TOEFL

Although ETS doesn’t test you on grammar, your grammar will be obvious in your speech and writing. Using a wide range of different grammatical constructions enriches your language.

According to ETS, a student should “demonstrate effective use of grammar” and “exhibit a high degree of automaticity, with good control of basic and complex structures.”

In each of the six tasks in the speaking section, you have to express your ideas on a given topic for one minute. Though time is short, you rather be able to speak confidently, expressing your ideas clearly and without obvious grammatical errors. Writing your essay you’ll have another chance to demonstrate your grammar abilities. This section is one which “displays consistent facility in the use of the language, demonstrating comfort with various syntaxes, appropriate word choice and idioms, though it may have minor lexical or grammatical errors.”

Studying Grammar

  1. At first test your grammar through mock tests to define what you know well and what you should review or learn.
  2. Having identified a difficult area of grammar, select reliable materials (books, CDs etc.) to study. Better is from EST TOEFL Official Guide.
  3. Firstly, read and understand the rules for the grammatical structure you’ve chosen to learn. Make a brief note of the rules.
  4. Complete one of the exercises. Look into the Answer Key. Check your answers; analyze mistakes and points you couldn’t understand before.
  5. Write down any sentences that clearly demonstrate the use of the grammatical structure. Try to understand and remember them.
  6. Having understood how the grammatical structure is used, refer to a book, a magazine or a newspaper and find examples of the structure in a real piece of writing.
  7. Revise the grammatical structure frequently for 1-2 weeks. Try to use it correctly while speaking and writing.

10 Tips to Improve Your TOEFL Essays

Through experience we have found that there are many ways to improve your TOEFL writing by just applying common sense. You don’t need studying at all.

  1. Precise answer to the question

    It is found that students write irrelevant matter. For instance, other’s opinions are written when asked for student’s opinion. Your grammar may be perfect and your ideas may be great. Even so, if you don’t answer the TOEFL question, none of that matters. So, concentrate on answering the question well first.

  2. Simplify sentences

    Many people are found overly eager to use recently mugged up GRE words. Good writers express complex ideas in a very simple way. If you are able to do this, you will demonstrate strong writing skills. More importantly, short and simple sentences means fewer grammatical mistakes.

  3. Everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end

    Concentrate on formal essay structure rather than pulling of a radical writing strategy. Your essay should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. This structure helps organize your thoughts and easier to organize them in short time.

  4. Use topic sentences and narrate it

    A topic sentence is the first sentence of each paragraph in the essay’s body. Narrate it in your own words. It gives the evaluator two things: 1) a summary of what will be in the paragraph, and 2) an impression that the student has understood the topic well.

  5. Thesis statement

    The thesis statement is last sentence in the first paragraph (the introduction). It is the most important statement of your essay. It tells the reader exactly what your opinion is. I will help you bolster your structure.

  6. Do not begin with conjunction

    conjunctions are used to connect sentences-we almost never begin a sentence with one. The, but, and because are all conjunctions.

  7. Learn how to use the comma

    Using the comma correctly will give your writing its intended meaning. Learn the rules for using them in English as evaluator shall read the same sentence you wanted write.

  8. Be active

    In traditional writings passive voice is recommended. Still, we would advice to use active voice, as it is much stronger than the passive voice. Use the active voice as much as possible.

  9. Precise words and phrases

    Precise words and phrases make your writing easier to understand. They connect ideas and present them to the reader in a logical order. For instance: First of all…, In addition…, More importantly…, In closing…, In conclusion….

  10. Make good use of conditionals

    Ii was found that many students find it difficult to use conditionals. Learning the conditionals important than learning tenses. Conditionals are useful for expressing opinions and reasons. The two things you must do in the TOEFL independent writing tasks.

For best TOEFL Training click here.

Top 8 tips to rise above typical Resume Format

Do you think your resume is perfect and you don’t need help creating or updating your resume? If you think there is a scope for improvement you are at right place. Your resume is going to be reviewed by software as well as by hiring managers. These top resume tips is basic guide for  choosing a resume format, selecting a resume font, customizing your resume, using resume keywords, explaining employment gaps, and more tips for writing interview winning resumes.

Choose a Resume Font

Writing a resume in basic readable font is very important for both hiring managers and applicant management systems. Typically, you should use a readable, commonly used book print font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. You may choose alternative fonts, if you are applying to a position in graphic design or advertising (where resume layout and design might be part of your assessment).

Include All Your Contact Information

It’s important to include all your contact information on your resume so employers can easily get in touch with you. Include your full name, street address, city, state, and zip, home phone number, cell phone number, and email address. Including you LinkedIn profile URL can be a good idea in order to condense you resume.

Add a Profile or Objective

If you include an objective on your resume, it’s important to tailor it to match the job you are applying for. The more specific you are, the better chance you have of being considered for the job you are interested in, or consider using a resume profile, with or without a headline, instead.

Include Resume Keywords

Your resume should include the same keywords that appear in job descriptions. Applicant management systems are programmed to hunt down candidates with these key words.That way, you will increase your chances of your resume matching available positions – and of you being selected for an interview. Also include keywords in your cover letter.

Prioritize Your Resume Content

It’s important to prioritize the content of your resume so that your most important and relevant experience is listed first, with key accomplishments listed at the top of each position. As you compile the information for your resume, prioritize your accomplishments by importance, achievements, and relevance to the job you’re applying for.

Customize Resume for each application

Although it’s cumbersome to customize your resume, it’s worth the effort, particularly when applying for jobs that are a perfect match for your qualifications and experience. The simplest way to target your resume (without rewriting the whole resume) is to include a Summary of Qualifications, a Profile or Career Highlights section at the top of your resume.

Choose the Right Resume Style

There are several basic types of resumes used to apply for job openings. Depending on your personal circumstances, choose a chronological, a functional, combination, or a targeted resume. Take the time to customize your resume – its well worth the effort.

Send Your Resume by Email

It’s important to follow the employer’s instructions on how to submit your cover letter and resume. The employer may want your resume attached to the email message and sent in specific format, typically as a Word document or a PDF.

When applying for employment via email, copy and paste your cover letter into the email message or write your cover letter in the body of an email message.

Format for emailing your resume

Send Your Email Resume

If you are asked to send an attachment, send your resume as a PDF or a Word document depending on instructions. Sometimes employers do not accept attachments. In these cases, paste your resume into your email message as plain text. Use a simple font and remove the fancy formatting. You have no idea about employer’s email reading software

Write suitable Subject Line
Make sure to list the position you are applying for in the Subject Line of your email address, so the employer is clear as to what job you are applying for.

Check Your Email
Make sure you spell check and check your grammar and capitalization. They are just as important in email messages as in paper correspondence.

Include a signature with your contact information, so it’s easy for the hiring manager to get in touch with you.

Send a Test Email
Attach your resume, and then email yourself first to test that the formatting works. Open the attachment to ensure, you attached the right file in the right format and it opens correctly. If everything looks good, send to the employer.

Resume styles that will WIN you an interview

The real question is which style of resume will generate the most interviews? Following are the options you have…

Reverse Chronological Resume:

A reverse chronological resume is listing of your work history, with the most recent position listed first. Your jobs are listed in reverse chronological order with your current or most recent job, first. Employers typically prefer this type of resume because it’s easy to see what jobs you have held and when you have worked at them. It always pays off to understand recruiter’s requirements and stick to norm.

Functional Resume:

A functional resume lists your skills and experience, rather than your chronological work history. It is used most often by people who are changing careers or who have gaps in their employment history.

Recruiters often bin functional resumes, as they need to know exactly what the candidate has done and where, to really be sure of candidate’s suitability to the job. There are also many employers who think that, by using functional resume an applicant wants to bury some of his details.

But there are exceptions. In cases where management is looking to hire for senior positions, they would be interested in functional resume. It can also be useful for those having practical work experience or those who are looking to move out of their domain.

Combination Resume:

A combination resume is best of both mentioned above. It lists your skills and experience first and then your employment history. This type of resume is used to highlight the skills you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for, and also provide the chronological work history that employers prefer.

Mini Resume:

With start-ups coming in and ever growing job speed dating mini resumes are becoming a new genre. A mini resume contains a brief summary of your career highlights qualifications. It is used for networking purposes or shared upon request from a prospective employer who wants an overview of your accomplishments.

Non-traditional Resume:

A web-based version of your resume may include photos, graphics, images, graphs and other visuals. This style is non-conformist and can be very useful for artists, architects, designers and scientists. Now a days it is not unusual to find this style adopted by many.

Do not believe in resume format; CUSTOMIZE IT.

Most of the resumes I see seem to be of same person. I can not distinguish between two resumes. So, resume format you downloaded is not good enough, you need to customize it. Although it’s cumbersome to customize your resume, it’s worth the effort, particularly when applying for jobs that are a perfect match for your qualifications and experience.

Target Your Resume

The easiest way to target your resume (without rewriting the whole resume) is to include a Summary of Qualifications, a Profile or Career Highlights section at the top of your resume.

Compare the job description with your resume. Take the experience, credentials, and education that best match the job and responsibilities description and include them in the Summary of Qualifications section at the top of your resume. Then list your relevant assignments in reverse chronological order, just like you would on a traditional resume.

Use of keywords to Customize Resume

One more option for customizing your resume is to inject keywords in to your resume so your skills and experience is as close a match as possible to the job description or job requirements.

Cut and Trim a Resume
In case you’re struggling to cut down your “big” resume, start by creating an inventory of your accomplishments and work activities, listing your responsibilities and your achievements in great detail. Your inventory document might span as many as three or four pages. Include a diverse spectrum of skills that have led to successes in each role.

Shortlist each job that you are considering to showcase based on statements that correspond most closely to the requirements for that particular position.

Add Information Online

In this age of digital profiles hiring managers are interested in your detailed history of employment, what your colleagues and bosses have to say about you. And of course, it’s always a good idea to share information with hiring managers who want a bigger picture of your background and qualifications. You must develop a full LinkedIn profile or personal website that will provide additional details about your background including work samples and recommendations.

Prioritize Your Resume Content

The recruiter’s task is to identify the best matches between the vacancy and the candidates. They are not looking to find you the job that is best suited to you. They are looking to find a candidate that is best suited to their vacancy. So you need to prioritize your resume from recruiter’s perspective.

Prioritization of the content of your resume is very important, as your, most important and relevant, experience is listed first, with key accomplishments listed at the top of each position. As you compile the information for your resume, prioritize your accomplishments by importance, achievements, and relevance to the job you’re applying for.

Decide Relevance

How do you decide what’s relevant? You need to assess yourself will the information on your resume help convince the employer that you are a worthwhile candidate to interview for the position they are trying to fill?

Prioritize the Details

Next, prioritize the information you provide in each description. Present what is of greatest interest to your potential employer first. For instance, consider a candidate seeking a job in pre-sales specialist. The resume might reflect experience at a start-up reseller in which 80% of the candidate’s time was spent on the sales, and 20% was spent on technical applications. Priority, in this case has to be determined by relevance to the employer, and hence technical applications should be listed before sales.

While determining your achievements quantify as much information as you can – numbers, dollar signs, and percentages can all help to make your case for getting selected to interview.