IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 6|2. Striving to achieve: study, work


1. What helps to keep you motivated in your studies? Rate the following from 1 (not important) to 5 (extremely important).

pic14_T|Grammar act|Int|L8

  • A having a group of hardworking friends you can study with
  • B being able to study when and where you choose
  • C receiving a reward for your efforts
  • D getting positive feedback from your teachers or tutors
  • E taking a course that offers practical work rather than simply theoretical content

2. Listen to two people talking about studying. Which of the ideas in 1 are they talking about?

Speaker 1: I’m studying accounting at the moment and I find it really hard to keep motivated sometimes. There are so many facts and figures to learn and the exams are really gruelling so you’ve got to study hard all the time. I find the only way to do it is to set myself a goal, you know, give myself something to aim for. For me, that’s the only thing that helps with the learning process. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, it might just be rewarding myself with a night out if I’m successful in a test. I know I’ll reap the rewards one day, when I’m qualified. My aim is to be qualified by the time I’m 25.

Speaker 2: I’m working at the moment but I don’t like my job so I’ve decided to further my career by taking a computer course at night. I’m finding it a struggle completing my assignments. I’m lucky, though, because I get on really well with some of the other students and we get together once a week to help each other revise and study for our exams. Some people might find it distracting but for me it helps make the course more sociable and so more enjoyable. It’s a pretty dry subject and they’re teaching us in a pretty boring way, but I really feel like I’m broadening my knowledge of computers.

You can choose more than 1 statement.

1. All of the words in the box collocate with the word knowledge. Use a dictionary to help you complete the sentences with the correct combination. Make sure you use the correct article and preposition where necessary. There may be more than one possible answer.

Error warning!

Be careful with your use of articles, verbs and prepositions with the word knowledge. Look at the following examples:

  • You have a gap in your knowledge. NOT of your knowledge
  • His knowledge of classical music is amazing. NOT knowledge about / for
  • Visitors should acquire knowledge of the local customs. NOT get the knowledge.
broaden limited local specialist prior detailed in-depth common

2. Complete the table. Try to give all possible forms of the words.

[watupro 152]


1. Listen to a talk about employment and complete the notes using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS for each answer.

In the past, people believed that you had to have a degree in order co scan a career with good prospects. We used to think that not having a degree would condemn you to a job in the service sector, But now. the job market is extremely competitive and trainees are finding that it is the qualifications they gain through technical courses rather than degree courses that can help make them employable. The fact is that nowadays there are plenty of jobs that offer a living wage and that don’t require a degree. Some of these occupations are familiar, for example, a carpenter, creating things for the home. But there are also some new jobs on the list, largely thanks to our interest in the environment. One example would be a solar-panel installer.

In the past, we used to talk about blue-collar and white-collar jobs to differentiate between manual labour and working in an office. Now we might refer to these new jobs as ‘chrome-collar’ for those working as a technician in various fields or ‘green-collar’ jobs to do with clean energy or the environment. These new areas are where many of the job vacancies arc now, and students who are not academically inclined would do well to pursue one of these new career paths rather than stick to conventional ones.

In fact, government studies have shown chat the overwhelming majority of jobs both today and in the future will require some post-secondary education, but not a degree. Vocational or technical education was once considered to be a low-status choice for students. But these courses teach real-life skills and often lead directly to an apprenticeship and then full-time employment. Many also offer on-the-job training. Community colleges are also now attracting more and more students who already have a degree but want to learn a skill or a trade that will help them cam better wages. In general, young people today have a different approach to their career. They no longer see it as a single vocation in the way our grandparents did, but as something that is constantly evolving and that may involve several different fields.

2. Match the words and phrases (1-10) from the recording with the definitions (a-j).

3. Choose the correct alternative to complete the sentences.

Test practice

Test tip

Remember to give long answers to the questions. Include opinions, reasons and examples to extend your answer. You can also talk about different situations in your country or in other cultures.

Part 1 (4-5 minutes)

The examiner will ask you some questions about yourself, your home, work or studies, and familiar topics.

  • Do you like the building where you live? (Why? / Why not?)
  • What can you see from the windows where you live?
  • Are team sports popular in your country?
  • How important is It for children to do a loam sport?
  • What kinds of food do people eat in your culture?
  • Is it a good idea for families to sit down to eat together? (Why? IWhy not?)
  • Is there anything expensive that you would like to buy? (What is it?)
  • Does owning expensive things make people happy? (Why? / Why not?)

Part 2 (3-4 minutes)

The examiner will give you a topic like the one on the right and ask you to talk about it for one to two minutes. Before you talk, you have one minute to think about what you are going to say. The examiner will give you some paper and a pencil so you can make notes if you want to.

Describe a school you attended.

You should say:

  • what you learned there
  • how long you studied there
  • what the teachers were like and explain whether you enjoyed studying there.

Part 3 (4-5 minutes)

The examiner will ask some more general questions which follow on from the topic in Part 2.

  • Can you identify what makes a good student?
  • Would you agree that subjects like science and maths are more difficult than art and literature?
  • What social skills do children learn at school?
  • Is there too much emphasis on academic study at school?
  • Do tests and exams help students to learn information?
  • Can you evaluate the importance of compulsory state education?
  • Should governments encourage students to take certain subjects at university?
  • Can you speculate on the challenges that universities will lace in the future?

HW tasks

1. Choose and write the answer that best fits each space.

2. Choose and mark the word or phrase in italics which has a different meaning.

3. Complete each sentence by choosing the most suitable adjective from the box that collocates with the noun in italics.

common good empirical implausible heated
prevailing anecdotal unanimous convincing incorrect


fathom (out) /ˈfæðəm/ verb [ T ]

  1. to discoverthe meaning of something

s people have been trying to fathom (out) the mysteries of the whale’s song.

  1. to understand someone or why someone acts as they do I can’t fathom her at all.

go along with sth/sb phrasal verb

to support an idea, or to agree with someone’s opinion

lean toward  to be interested in something and to be likely to do an activity She’s not sure what she wants to do, but she’s leaning towards medicine

Kate’s already agreed, but it’s going to be harder persuading Mike to go along with it.

write sb/sth off phrasal verb [ M ]

to decide that a particular person or thing will not be useful, important or successful

A lot of companies seem to write people off if they’re over 50.

point to/towards sth phrasal verb

to make it seem likely that a particular fact is true or that a particular event will happen All the evidence points to suicide.

win sb over/round phrasal verb [ M ]

to persuade someone to support you or agree with you, often when they were opposed to you before He’s not sure about the idea at the moment, but I’m sure we’ll win him over in the end.

They’ve won over a lot of the electorate since she’s been leader of the party. bear sb/sth out phrasal verb [ M ] to support the truth of something

His version of events just isn’t borne out by the facts.

If you tell them what happened I will bear you out ( on it).

rule sth or sbout phrasal verb [ M ]

to decide or state that something is impossible or will not happen, or that something or someone is not suitable The police haven’t yet ruled out murder.

I won’t rule out a June election.

The police have not ruled him out as a suspect.

jerk /dʒɜːk/ /dʒɝːk/ verb [ I or T usually + adv/prep ]

  1. to make a short sudden movement, or to cause someone or something to do this The car made a strange noise and then jerked to a halt .

«What’s wrong?» she asked, jerking her head up.

account (to sb) for sth phrasal verb

to explain the reason for something or the cause of something

Can you account for your absence last Friday?

She was unable to account for over $5 000 (= she could not explain where the money was) .

He has to account to his manager for (= tell his manager about and explain) all his movements.

outline /’aut.lain/ verb [ T ] DESCRIBE

  1. to give the main facts about something

At the interview she outlined what I would be doing.

speculate /’spek.ju.leit/ verb [ I ] GUESS

  1. to guess possible answers to a question when you do not have enough information to be certain

I don’t know why she did it — I’m just speculating.

A spokesperson declined to speculate on the cause of the train crash.

Journalists are speculating about whether interest rates will be cut.

assess /a’ses/ verb [ T ]

to judge or decide the amount, value, quality or importance of something The insurers will need to assess the flood damage.

They assessed the cost of the flood damage at £1500.

Examinations are not the only means of assessing a student’s ability.

It’s too early to assess the long-term consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

gruelling, US USUALLY grueling /’gru:. d .lig/ adjective

extremely tiring and difficult, and demanding great effort and determination

Junior doctors often have to work a gruelling100-hour week.

He eventually won the match after five gruelling sets. reap the benefit/reward, etc.

to get the benefit, etc. that is the result of your own actions

She studied every evening and reaped the benefit at exam time.

We sold them most of their modern weapons and now we are reaping the bitter harvest.

a limited knowledge of common knowledge a fact that everyone knows

[ + that ] It’s common knowledge that they live together.

a specialist knowledge of

a detailed knowledge of an in-depth knowledge of broaden one’s knowledge

prior knowledge

a gap in knowledge

consistent /kənˈsɪs.t ə nt/ adjective NOT CHANGING

  1. always behavingor   been a consistent improvement in her attitude.

Her work is sometimes good, but the problem is she’s not consistent.

inconsistent /ˌɪn.kənˈsɪs.t ə nt/ adjective NOT AGREEING

  1. If a reason, idea, opinion, etc. is inconsistent, different parts of it do not agree, or it does not agree with something else

These findings are inconsistent with those of previous studies.

hypothesize /haɪˈpɒθ.ə.saɪz/ verb [ I or T ] FORMAL to give a possible but not yet proved explanation for something There’s no point hypothesizing about how the accident happened, since we’ll never really know.

hypothesis /haɪˈpɒθ.ə.sɪs/ noun [ C ] plural 

hypotheses an idea or explanation for something that is based on known facts but has not yet been proved

Several hypotheses for global warming have been suggested.

indicative /ɪnˈdɪk.ə.tɪv/ adjective

being or relating to a sign that something exists, is true, or is likely to happen Resumption of the talks is indicative of an improving relationship between the countries.

validate /ˈvæl.ɪ.deɪt/ verb [ T ]

to make something officially acceptable or approved, especially after examining it

It is a one-year course validated by London’s City University.

The data is validated automatically by the computer after it has been entered.

vocation /və ʊ  ˈkeɪ.ʃ ə n/ noun [ C or U ]

a type of work that you feel you are suited to doing and to which you should give all your time and energy, or the feeling that a type of work suits you in this way I feel I’ve found/missed my true vocation.

«We need teachers who regard their profession as a vocation, not just a job,» said the Minister.

To work in medicine, you should have a vocation for it.

presumably /prɪˈzjuː.mə.bli/ /-‘zu:-/ adverb

used to say what you think is the likely situation

They can presumably afford to buy a bigger apartment.

Presumably he just forgot to send the letter.

commonly /ˈkɒm.ə adverb USUALLY

  1. often or usually

Elbow injuries are commonly found among tennis players.

whereabouts /ˈweə.rə.baʊts/ /ˈwer.ə-/ noun [ U + sing/plverb ]

the place where a person or thing is

Trupin is thought to be in the Caribbean, although his exact whereabouts are/is a mystery.

miss out phrasal verb

to fail to use an opportunity to enjoy or get an advantage from something

Don’t miss out on the fantastic bargains in our summer sale.

We didn’t have a TV at home when I was young, and I felt as though I missed out.

intimidate /ɪnˈtɪm.ɪ.deɪt/ verb [ T ]

to frighten or threaten someone, usually in order to persu that you want them to do

They were intimidated into accepting a pay cut by the threat of losing their jobs.

indisputable /ɪn.dɪˈspju:.tə.bl./ adjective

true, and impossible to doubt

an artist of indisputable skill

One fact is indisputable — this must never be allowed to happen again.

ubiquitous /ju:ˈbɪk.wɪ.təs/ /-wə.t əs/ adjective FORMAL OR HUMOROUS

seeming to be in all places

Leather is very much in fashion this season, as of course is the ubiquitous denim.

The Swedes are not alone in finding their language under pressure from the ubiquitous spread of English.

The radio, that most ubiquitous of consumer-electronic appliances, is about to enter a new age.

reluctant /ri’lʌk.tənt/ adjective

not willing to do something and therefore slow to do it

[ + to infinitive ] I was having such a good time I was reluctant to leave. Many parents feel reluctant to talk openly with their children.

She persuaded her reluctant husband to take a trip to Florida with her.

admittedly /ədˈmɪt.ɪ /-ˈmɪt̬-/ adverb
used when you are agreeing that something is true, especially unwillingly
Admittedly, I could have tried harder but I still don’t think all this criticism is fair.
invaluable /ɪnˈvæl.jʊ.bl / ̩ adjective
extremely useful
The new job will provide you with invaluable experience.
Such data will prove invaluable to/for researchers.
compelling /kəmˈpel.ɪŋ/ adjective STRONG
1. If a reason, argument, etc. is compelling, it makes you believe it or accept it because it is so strong
compelling evidence
It’s a fairly compelling argument for going.
scant /skænt/ adjective [ before noun ]
1. very little and not enough
He pays scant attention to the needs of his children.
scant regard for the truth
dismiss /dɪˈsmɪs/ verb FORGET
1. [ T ] to decide that something or someone is not important and not worth
I think he’d dismissed me as an idiot within five minutes of meeting me.
Let’s not just dismiss the idea before we’ve even thought about it.
Just dismiss those thoughts from your mind — they’re crazy and not worth thinking about.

concur /kənˈkɜː r / /-ˈkɝː/ verb [ I ] -rr- FORMAL
1. to agree with someone or have the same opinion as someone else
The new report concurs with previous findings.
[ + that ] The board concurred that the editor should have full control over editorial
[ + speech ] «I think you’re absolutely right, » concurred Chris.
back /bæk/ verb SUPPORT
1. [ T ] to give support to someone or something with money or words
The management has refused to back our proposals.
The horse I backed (= risked money on so that I could win more money if it won a race)
came in last.
conjecture /kənˈdʒek.tʃə r / /-tʃɚ/ noun [ C or U ]
(the forming of) a guess about something based on how it seems and not on proof
There’s been a lot of conjecture in the papers recently about the royal marriage.
speculation /ˌspek.jʊˈleɪ.ʃ ə n/ noun [ C or U ] GUESS
1. when you guess possible answers to a question without having enough information
to be certain
Rumours that they are about to marry have been dismissed as pure speculation.
Speculation about his future plans is rife.
supposition /ˌsʌp.əˈzɪʃ. ə n/ noun [ C or U ]
when someone believes something is true without any proof
That article was based on pure supposition.

detractor /dɪˈtræk.tə r / /-tɚ/ noun [ C ]
someone who criticizes something or someone, often unfairly
His detractors claim that his fierce temper makes him unsuitable for party leadership.
concede /kənˈsiːd/ verb
1. [ T ] to admit, often unwillingly, that something is true
[ + ( that ) ] The Government has conceded (that) the new tax policy has been a
[ + speech ] «Well okay, perhaps I was a little hard on her, » he conceded.
refute /rɪˈfjuːt/ verb [ T ] FORMAL
to say or prove that a person, statement, opinion, etc. is wrong or false
to refute a person/theory/argument/claim
contend /kənˈtend/ verb CLAIM
2. [ T + ( that ) ] FORMAL to state that something is true or is a fact
The lawyer contended (that) her client had never been near the scene of the crime.
reject /rɪˈdʒekt/ verb [ T ]
1. to refuse to accept, use or believe something or someone
The appeal was rejected by the High Court.
Coin-operated machines in England reject Irish money.
The prime minister rejected the suggestion that it was time for him to resign.
I applied for a job as a mechanic in a local garage, but I was rejected (= I was not
offered the job) .

envisage /ɪnˈvɪz.ɪdʒ/ verb [ T ] ( US ALSO envision ) SLIGHTLY FORMAL
1. to imagine or expect something in the future, especially something good
Train fare increases of 5% are envisaged for the next year.
[ + that ] It ‘s envisaged that the building will start at the end of this year.
[ + -ing verb ] When do you envisage finish ing the project?
[ + question word ] It ‘s hard to envisage how it might happen.
implausible /ɪmˈplɔː.zɪ.bl / / ̩ -ˈplɑː.zə-/ adjective
difficult to believe, or unlikely
The whole plot of the film is ridiculously implausible.
unanimous /juːˈnæn.ɪ.məs/ adjective
If a group of people are unanimous, they all agree about one particular matter or vote
the same way, and if a decision or judgment is unanimous, it is formed or supported by everyone in a group
The jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty after a short deliberation.
After a lengthy discussion we reached a unanimous decision on the proposal.
The new format has unanimous support and could be introduced next season.
hearsay /ˈhɪə.seɪ/ /ˈhɪr-/ noun [ U ]
information you have heard, although you do not know whether it is true or not
The evidence against them is all hearsay.
empirical /ɪmˈpɪr.ɪ.k ə l/ adjective
based on what is experienced or seen rather than on theory
This theory needs to be backed up with solid empirical data/evidence .
Empirical studies show that some forms of alternative medicine are extremely effective.

point to/towards sth phrasal verb
to make it seem likely that a particular fact is true or that a particular event will happen
All the evidence points to suicide.
call into question FORMAL
to cause doubts about something
The fact that a party can be voted into power by a minority of the electorate calls into question the country’s electoral system.
fall into sth phrasal verb START
1. to start doing something, often without intending to
We’ve fallen into the habit of getting up late on Saturday mornings.
I fell into my job quite by accident.
She fell into a conversation with a man at the bar.
disrepute /ˌdɪs.rɪˈpjuːt/ noun [ U ]
the state of not being trusted or respected
Involvement with terrorist groups brought the political party into disrepute.
The legal profession has fallen into disrepute.

out /aʊt/ adverb , preposition NOT ACCURATE
INFORMAL not accurate
Our estimates were only out by a few dollars.
You were 25cm out in your measurements.
Those sales figures were way out (= completely wrong) .
US I’m out $25 on this trip (= It cost me $25 more than expected) .
conceive /kənˈsiːv/ verb IMAGINE
1. [ I or T ] to imagine something
I think my uncle still conceives of me as a four-year-old.
He couldn’t conceive of a time when he would have no job.
[ + question word ] I can’t conceive (= It is too shocking to imagine) how anyone
could behave so cruelly.
[ + that ] I find it hard to conceive (= It is too shocking to imagine) that people are
still treated so badly.
inconceivable /ˌɪn.kənˈsiː.və.bl ̩/ adjective
1. impossible to imagine or think of
The idea that they might not win was inconceivable to them.
It would be inconceivable for her to change her mind.
2. extremely unlikely
Another nuclear accident in the same place is virtually/almost inconceivable.
It is not inconceivable (= It is possible) that she could be lying.

preoccupation /priːˌɒk.jʊˈpeɪ.ʃ ə n/ /-ˌɑː.kjuː-/ noun
1. [ C ] an idea or subject that someone thinks about most of the time
My main preoccupation now is trying to keep life normal for the sake of my two boys.
2. [ C or U ] the state of being worried about or thinking about something most of the time
Lately, his preoccupation with football had caused his marks at school to slip.
acknowledge /əkˈnɒl.ɪdʒ/ /-ˈnɑː.lɪdʒ/ verb [ T ]
to accept, admit or recognize something, or the truth or existence of something
[ + -ing verb ] She acknowledged hav ing been at fault.
[ + that ] She acknowledged that she had been at fault.
You must acknowledge the truth of her argument.
Historians generally acknowledge her as a genius in her field.

1. Replace the word or phrase in italics with a form of the phrasal verb or phrase from the box.

take aback


lean towards go along with win over point to
fathom out bear out write off rule out puzzle over


  • The researchers were completely surprised by the results of the test. ___taken aback___

2. Complete each sentence with a preposition that collocates with the word or phrase in italics.

3. Complete each sentence with a form of the word in CAPITALS.

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