IELTS preparation - General Training Module

This blog is an attempt to help IELTS test takers. This is not a definitive guide to scoring the highest band in IELTS. However, some practical guidelines and tips will surely go a long way in helping you score a good band. This is meant for beginners or intermediate candidates. I’ve tried to describe my experience of the IELTS test. Let me start with a few facts. This was my first attempt, with minimal preparation. My overall score was band 8.5. I attempted the IELTS general training module, offered by British council. The other service provider for IELTS is IDP. There is no difference in the level of evaluation. Hence, the question, “Is IDP better or British Council better?” does not arise. It’s just a myth that one of these should be preferred because you could score well if you chose IDP over British Council or vice-versa. The test has 4 parts: 1     a) Listening (40 questions: 30 minutes) 2   b) Reading (40 questions: 1hour) 3  c) Writing (2 tasks: 1 hour) 4   d) Speaking (10-15 m…

Contemporary Indian Newsroom Debates

Lately, I've been glued to the television screen, due to different circumstances. My favorite genre? News, just like the scores of Indian men and many women wanting a slice of the 'current'. Controversies, policies, decisions, international affairs, sports and entertainment, the news is all-encompassing.  The newsroom debates on Indian Television have become sharper, more direct and testing. Surely, not everyone enjoys the format and content of newsroom debates these days. However, this kind of a format is here to stay. Why do I say so? Because the data says so. BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council India) data suggests that audience is consuming news in this new genre. 

The below-mentioned illustration (TRP ratings of prominent English news channels from 9th Dec 2017 to 15th Dec 2017) justifies the point presented earlier.  Week 50: Saturday, 9th December 2017 to Friday, 15th December 2017 Across GenresAssameseBanglaBhojpuriEng NewsEnglish Business NewsEnglish Entertai…

First Day, First Show

The first day of the first job is as good as the first day of driving classes. You don’t know much about the process, the systems, the expectations or your abilities. However, you want to learn and you know that this is a time bound exercise. The first job is a test of sorts and a pace-setter for many careers. The first job needs a different approach. This approach is subjective and depends on aspects like organizational culture, reporting structure and role requirements.
The first day of the first job is an excellent opportunity to create a great first impression. Small things like reaching office on time, being well-mannered and wearing the right dress do matter. But these cannot be major differentiators. Qualities like the ‘Right attitude’, ‘Being proactive’ and ‘Attention-to-detail’ can be major factors in giving you the ‘edge’ over others. Your first day at work can lead to many perceptions. Hence, you have to be a little observant and careful. Giving the right signals to the re…



Basic Communication Skills

Several students come to me and request me to help them improve their written communication skills and oral communication skills. There is no shortcut that can make anyone a great communicator instantly. Improving your communication requires dedicated efforts and a great deal of persistence. However, there is a list of things that can be done to improve written communication skills and oral communication skills.
Improving Written Communication Skills: 1) Read more: One of the greatest learning tools to enhance your writing skills is ‘reading’. Read more books and start by reading books with easy language. Some authors who write ‘easy reads’ could be a good starting point. Ex: Chetan Bhagat’s books may be good for people who are not used to reading much. As you progress you can select books and authors according to your area of interest. This can also help you enhance your writing skills. 2) Start writing a blog: Writing a blog can be an interesting exercise and requires minimal effo…


Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. -Winston Churchill-

The dictionary meaning of criticism is “the expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes”. It clearly means that criticism is subjective. Healthy criticism is one of the most underrated skills at workplace. Let’s accept the fact that most people don’t like to be criticized and hence criticizing other people is a tough job. In fact, successful managers are always good at healthy criticism. They convince people to change in an amicable manner. ‘What you say’ and ‘how you say it’ becomes important and critical when it relates to criticism. Colleagues who engage in healthy criticism are regarded as good mentors and guides. Giving and receiving feedback at the workplace is essential for continuous improvement and progress of the team. This is an integral part of w…