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IELTS SCHMIELTS

Yesterday, I took the writing part of the IELTS test. The speaking test was on the day before, and was about as expected. I talked with a man who sounded like he was British, and he asked a bunch of questions. He was quite good at making it feel more like an ordinary conversation than a test, even though the questions were not exactly the first thing I would expect to hear from a complete stranger:

«Hello Tor, please sit down. Now, I would like you to tell me if you think old people can contribute something to politics.»

The writing part of the test covers listening, reading and writing, and just as expected, it had the usual ambiguities and logical inconsistencies. For instance, I was supposed to read a text, and then to read various statements about this text, and then it said

Write YES if the statement agrees with what the writer claims in the text.
Write NO if the statement contradicts what the writer claims in the text.
Write NOT GIVEN if it is not possible to tell what the writer thinks about this.

And of course the writer is dead, and even before he died, he could have been a raving lunatic, or a pathological liar, thus making it impossible to tell what he thinks about anything. But even taking a more normal view of things, it was still impossible to determine what the writer's thoughts were, as he largely quoted statistics and other people.

I really find these things quite annoying. It is like the theory test you have to take before you get a drivers license, were it sometimes seems like they are trying to trick you, rather than finding out what you know about driving a car. I may be an arrogant ass, but I tend to think that there is nothing wrong with my English reading skills. I have after all been reading mostly English books for more than a decade now, so when I take an English reading test, and I can not tell with certainty what the answer should be, even though I have the text in front of me, and I have plenty of time left, then I assume the problem lies with the test rather than myself. I may be wrong of course, but I would still like to see the results of trying this test on native English speakers. When I become filthy rich, I think I will make it my hobby to pay British students to take the IELTS test.

Anyway, this more or less brings English week to an end, except for one article which I will write later today. Next friday, I have an exam in Quantum Field Theory, so I have played with the idea of making next week also into a theme week. Quantum week perhaps? Or Electro-weak-week?

I have, however, decided that I quite like having readers, so I will not risk alienating you more than I already do. Thus next week will be Normal™ Week, and the week after that may be Nynorsk week, if I feel like it.

-Tor Nordam

Comments

Kristian,  25.11.07 18:37

Giving in to pressure of the mobs does not sound like you, Tor. Where has the unrestricted elitism gone, I wonder?

Are,  25.11.07 23:29

I quite like this "theme week" concept! I nominate "videogame week"! You could try and recruit people as guest authors for the different weeks. I would certainly volunteer to write a post for "gaming week"!

By the way - a "quantum physics" week can be completely awesome if you manage to make the subject accessible and interesting to people who know next to nothing about physics (us). Difficult, perhaps, but not impossible.

Great English week, by the way!

Tor,  27.11.07 09:10

Dette her var forresten min artikkel nummer 800! Hurra for meg!

Also, jeg vil gjerne vite om Johannes støtte på lignende problemer da han tok testen.

Johannes,  01.12.07 13:51

Og ja: jeg kan bekrefte at jeg støtte på lignende problemer. Innimellom følte jeg at jeg bare måtte tippe da det var til dels ekstremt uklart om statementene egentlig hadde noe med saken å gjøre. Jeg ble sittende litt og tenke "ja, men altså... jooooo... på en måte..... men samtidig! argh, drittest! Hæ?" Lissom.

Herreminhatt. Denne kommentaren ble jo helt dust. Etter 20 minutter på kjøkkenet sammen med mine kanadiske og min amerikanske (kvinnelige) flatmates er jeg helt ødelagt og føler for å si "and I just like: lalalalalalablablabla, and you know! that's just hilarious, but you know! Like!" Argh. Europa er fantastisk. Jeg elsker europeere. De fleste europeere bruker i alle fall mer enn 10 ord i løpet av en 20 minutters samtale.

Gjesp.

Anders K.,  01.12.07 16:41

Folk driver og maser med hvorvidt europeere er smartere enn afrikanere og asiater og oceaniere. Sløsing med tid, når det er mye enklere å finne ut om de er smartere enn nordamerikanere.

Hvor i verden er du egentlig, Johannes?

Johannes,  02.12.07 20:45

Jeg befinner meg i det gode, gamle Imperiets sydende heksegryte London og pønsker på hvorvidt det er mulig å planlegge en bedre by på 80 dager ved hjelp av en irriterende tjener og nyere forskning på by- og regional utvikling.

Med andre ord studerer jeg by- og regional planlegging i London. Håper på salt i maten neste år. Si ifra om du er i London! Jeg lover en grim omvisning på British Museum etterfulgt av avsløring av tilnærmet total uvitenhet om hvor man gjør de artige tingene i London, samt håp om gode tips om hvor man gjør de artige tingene i London. Stor plass, altså.

Anders K.,  02.12.07 21:49

SimCity og bowlerhatt hver dag, altså? Jeg kjenner jeg får lyst å ta en tur.

Jørgen,  03.12.07 01:47

Oxford Street 100, eller var det 101... husker ikke helt, men der skjer det visstnok artige ting på kveldstid,
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