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Updated : 2013.02.21  17:18:05
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Q 1.
There are numerous tests that I need to take in order to get a decent job. OPIC and TOEIC speaking are two of them. These tests for evaluating speaking abilities and pronunciation are hard to prepare alone. How should I prepare for these English speaking tests?

ANSWER  There is no established rule for getting yourself prepared for English speaking tests. But there is one thing you should keep in mind: speaking is not INPUT but OUTPUT. Speaking is not about whether or not you understand something but about whether you can make yourself understood with the words coming out of your mouth. So, you should know how a word or an expression is used as well as what it means. Let’s take “record” as an example. Few people do not know its meaning. However, knowing the meaning will not suffice when it comes to speaking. You should know expressions such as “set a record,” “break the record” and “make a record.” Then, try to create some sentences using those expressions. That way, you can become familiarized with essential expressions.

Q 2. I want to improve my English writing abilities. When I first wrote my English paper, I had many grammar and sentence structure mistakes. I cannot attend English institutes due to financial reasons. Is there any place where I can get a free revision or get a free tutor who can help with my writing?

ANSWER  A nicely organized (or well written) passage is usually composed of several paragraphs. Then, each of these paragraphs consists of sentences free of grammatical errors. In other words, a good paragraph builds on good sentences, and a good passage on good paragraphs. From this fact, it naturally follows that we should start from writing a good sentence. Here, studying grammar plays a role. Grammar is not important in itself, but it can help us produce a grammatically correct sentence. Grammar should be studied in such a way that learners themselves realize how a specific grammatical expression is used in producing a good sentence. So, when we study grammar, we should make a habit of trying to write sentences using grammatical expressions we have learned. Then, we move on to the next step: how to write a paragraph. To come up with a good paragraph, we need to have an eye for a good paragraph, which means it is important we be able to tell a well structured paragraph from a bad one. Hence, reading others' compositions should precede writing a paragraph. By doing this way, we can come to know how a paragraph should be structured to draw readers' attention and make our writing more convincing. To conclude, if you want to be good at English writing, try to be a good reader first. Secondly, try to learn how to build well-structured sentences, paragraphs and passages based on a good understanding of English grammar. If you’d like to get help with your writing, you might consult with the International Language Center concerning where you can get a free tutoring on campus.

Q 3. I want to make foreign friends and improve my English skill. However, making foreign friends is tough. How should I make a foreign friend? And if I do, how can I improve my English skills with these friends?

ANSWER  In order to make friends with a foreigner, you should first realize that s/he is different from you. A foreigner is someone who has grown up in a different culture, which means s/he tends to think and behave in a different way. So, you should not expect her/him to like whatever you say. S/he will be annoyed if s/he feels that s/he is forced to follow your way of thinking. Try to admit that a foreigner is not Korean. Understand her/him as s/he is. Then, s/he will open her/his mind and you can be friends. Once you have become friends, it is best to meet her/him as often as you can if you wish to improve your English. However, be careful not to give the impression that you are using her/him for study. Be frank with your foreign friend and let her/him know that you need help with your English.

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