Band 9 Speaking: Part 3 – Business

business-1

  1. Do you think academic education is more important than experience in the field?

    “Um, I think they’re both important, but I’m not sure which one is the most essential. Obviously, academic qualifications provide basic knowledge which might be necessary to do a certain job. For example, a doctor definitely needs a medical degree. On the other hand, there is a difference between theory and practice and some things can only be learned by doing them.”

Tips: (1) Try to add some synonyms if you can. In this example, “medical degree” and “qualifications” are used as specific replacements for “academic education” in the question (2) Try to give specific examples for general statements. In this example, “a doctor” is used as an example of “a certain job” (3) Use transition words and phrases to organise your answer. In this example, “On the other hand…” is used to contrast “academic education” with “experience in the field” (4) Stress ‘strong’ words like “definitely” (5) If you don’t know which side is the “most important” just say what your opinion clearly (like in this example!)

business-3

2. What skills are required to start a small business?

Setting up a small business can be risky, and so you need a broad range of abilities. One of the most important is being well-organised. You have to be able to keep track of your company’s revenue and expenses and find ways to save and make money at the same time. Having a calm temperament/Being able to keep calm is also important. If you get too stressed, you might make some bad decisions and your business might fail because of them.”

TIPS: (1) If you need a second to think about what “skills” to talk about (or any question where you need to give reasons, list ways, or give more than one example) start with a general sentence with something like “broad range” or “variety” (2) Make sure your main ideas are clear. In this example, the main ideas are “…being well-organised” and “Having a calm temperament…” (3) Use synonyms from the question. In this example, “setting up” is used instead of “to start” (it also uses a different grammatical structure!) (4) Try to add some topic-specific words. In this example, the topic is “business”, so words like “revenue” and “expenses” have been used (5) Make sure you explain your ideas. In this example, the speaker explains why “being well-organised” is important.

business-2

3. What are the risks of running your own business?

“Of course, the biggest danger is that you’ll go bankrupt. I think much more than half of all new businesses go out of business in the first six months. If you invest too much in your business you might be personally liable, which could mean you would lose your house. Another one is the fear of failure. Many people don’t even take the chance to start a business because they’re worried about failing and being embarrassed.”

TIPS: (1) Always use synonyms if you can. In this example, “danger” and “take the chance” are used instead of “risks” (2) Try to use some appropriate phrasal verbs. In this example, “go out of [business]” is used (3) Try to use some topic-specific words. In this example, “bankrupt”, “invest”, and “personally liable” are used (4) Always link different ideas. In this example, the second point is introduced casually with the phrase “Another one is…”

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Band 9 Reports: Process – Coffee Production

GENERAL –

  1. For processes, use the present passive voice. For example, “The essays are marked by the teacher” rather than “The teacher marks the essays”. The focus is on “essays” NOT “the teacher”.
  2. Use a wide variety of linking words and phrases. For example, “In the first stage…” “After that…” “Next…” “Following this…” “Once this has been completed…” “Finally…”
  3. If you don’t know what something in the process is, then use a common passive verb and just write the noun you don’t know. For example, if I don’t know what “vacuum” is, then I will just write “the coffee is dried in a vacuum” OR I can change “dried” (which I know) to something similar like “water is removed from the coffee in a vacuum”. I still maybe don’t know what a “vacuum” is but it doesn’t matter because my description is clear to the reader!

SAMPLE ANSWER

The diagram shows the process of making instant coffee. Write a report of at least 150 words showing the main features and making comparisons where relevant.

process-coffee-production

STEP 1 – INTRODUCTION

The diagram shows the process of making instant coffee. Write a report of at least 150 words showing the main features and making comparisons where relevant.

Paraphrase the title you are given. You can include the start and end point of the process to make your introduction clearer.

EXAMPLE – “The diagram illustrates the steps involved in the manufacturing of instant coffee, beginning with picking the beans and ending with sale in stores.

STEP 2 – OVERVIEW

In most Task 1 types, your overview will report the main features. However, in a process you can just write how many steps there are and whether there is anything unusual about them OR you can provide a summary of the key steps.

EXAMPLE – “In order to produce instant coffee, the beans must undergo a variety of processes including drying, grinding, heating, and cooling.

process-coffee-production

STEP 3 – BODY

Go through the process step-by-step. Don’t miss any steps, use a variety of linking vocabulary, focus on the passive voice, and add some synonyms if you can.

EXAMPLE – “To begin with, coffee beans are harvested by hand (synonym for “picked”) and then left out in the sun to dry.

You can combine more than one step into a sentence. In fact, often you have to if you want to be able to write about the whole process in 20 minutes.

Once the beans are dry, they are roasted in a special oven and then cooled rapidly. Next, the beans are ground into a powder which is then combined with hot water. Following this, the mixture is strained  and then the filtered material is frozen. In the subsequent stage, the frozen mixture is ground once more and then the granules are dried in a vacuum, which is used in order to completely remove all moisture (water).

Try to explain the purpose for a stage if you can. For example, in this diagram the ground coffee mixture is dried in a “vacuum”. Why? Well, we can see in the diagram that water is being removed from the vacuum. We also know that instant coffee is completely dry. Therefore, you can mention this to make your report more detailed.

“Finally, the dried instant coffee powder is packaged and can now be transported to stores for sale.”

process-coffee-production

FULL ANSWER

The diagram illustrates the steps involved in the manufacturing of instant coffee, beginning with picking the beans and ending with sale in stores.

In order to produce instant coffee, the beans must undergo a variety of processes including drying, grinding, heating, and cooling.

To begin with, coffee beans are harvested by hand and then left out in the sun to dry. Once the beans are dry, they are roasted in a special oven and then cooled rapidly. Next, the beans are ground into a powder which is then combined with hot water. Following this, the mixture is strained and then the filtered material is frozen. In the subsequent stage, the frozen mixture is ground once more and then the granules are dried in a vacuum, which is used in order to completely remove all moisture. Finally, the dried instant coffee powder is packaged into containers and can now be transported to stores for sale. (154 words)

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