Today’s picture: Support desk for international students at Massey University, Albany
Part 1: Today's word
A pitfall is a mistake or trap that is common in a particular situation. The word comes from ‘pit’, which is a hole which you can dig in the ground. In traditional societies, one use of pits was to trap animals. What you would do is dig a pit where you think animals were likely to pass and then cover the pit with branches. When the animal stepped on the branches, it would fall and be trapped. So pitfalls in modern life have both these elements – they are very basic and simple, and so, it’s rather embarrassing if we are caught by them. But at the same time, they are hidden, so if you don’t pay any attention, you are almost certain to make the mistake. Common pitfalls of essay-writing, for instance include not answering the question, not following a clear structure, not producing a step-by-step argument, not referring to sources. Our job at the Student Learning Centre is to help you avoid these common pitfalls – you can see some of our advice in our presentations on YouTube
Click here for interactive exercises on academic vocabulary and writing.
Part 2: Test
Here are FOUR sentences with the word of the day. But only THREE are correct. Which is the Odd One Out?
I am well aware of the potential pitfalls of going into a business partnership with my best friend.
Critiquing research methodology is one of the major pitfalls of postgraduate writing.
The Flying Start programme basically covered all the major pitfalls to avoid in your first year at uni.
Unfortunately she stumbled right into the number one pitfall for beginning researchers – collecting meaningless data!
Part 3: Practice Question:
What do you think are the major pitfalls which students need to avoid?
Part 4: The Phrasal Test 1
Complete these questions with a suitable adverb or preposition.
1) Did you ever use to answer your parents ______ when you were a teenager?
2) Do you tend to get carried ______ at the gym?
3) Do you ever get chatted ______ when you’re in a bar or café?
4) What was the most ridiculous excuse you came ______ ______ for not doing your homework?
5) Do you enjoy dressing ______ for parties?
6) Have you ever dropped ______ during a lesson?
7) Do you sometimes freak ______ or do you take everything in your stride?
8) Does it really get you ______ when it’s cloudy or rainy for days on end?
9) How would you set ______ finding a job in your country?
10) Did you go ______ ______ your parents’ suggestions for your school, career and love life?
Part 5: Kiwi Quiz Question
What have just been banned in the New Zealand city of Wanganui in order to combat crime?
Part 6: Today's online listening:
This is a short introduction to English for Academic Purposes from the BBC. It includes opinions of experts as well as a range of international students.
Vocabulary for the article:
Questions for the article:
1) Which of these issues was NOT mentioned by students as a challenge in academic English?
the different accents of the lecturers
the speed of delivery of fluent speakers
strategies needed to pass the IELTS exam
the vocabulary needed to express ideas
2) Which of these is NOT likely to feature within an EAP course?
3) According to Simon Williams from London University, many international students suffer from overload, which affects their ability to focus on ..
4) Which of these strategies is NOT recommended by Simon Williams?
memorising texts from the internet
using an English-English dictionary
using a subject-specific dictionary
collecting words and structures which are typical within a discipline
5) Which of these strategies is NOT recommended by the international students themselves?
re-reading familiar books in an English version
watching television with sub-titles
translating from the internet
noticing differences between your own language and English
6) What was the main point highlighted by the two stories about ‘Rocky’?
the importance of dictionary use
the need for content knowledge
the impact of prior knowledge on interpretation
the need for familiarity with a range of accents
Today’s musical suggestion: from the USA
Wonderful World by Sam Cooke (with some clever visuals of world leaders etc from the 1950’s and 1960’s)