Tag Archives: Assessment

IELTS Reading Speed

An IELTS reading test contains between 2000 and 3000 words in addition to the questions. Tip: Improve your reading speed before you take the test. By reading  quickly, you will have more time to find the answers!

(Most students will need between 20 and 30 minutes just to read the passages.)

PowerPoint Perfection

Have you ever watched a presentation where the speaker used PowerPoint? I’;m sure you have. Think about the slides – did they keep your attention and give you useful information? If you’re like most of us, the answer is no.

Presentation software can be a real help. However, it can be very easy to bore your audience with it. Today, I’m going to give you some hints from my years of watching presentations about how to avoid this unfortunate situation.

1- Remember the 6 by 6 rule. Limit yourself to a maximum of six points on one slide, each with six words at most. By avoiding long sentences on the slide, your audience will be able to concentrate on the words you say.

2 – Avoid animation. Slides that move, flip, or fade might look fancy, but they might remind your audience of cartoons or children’s movies. In order to project a professional image, your slides should help the audience focus on your ideas.

3 – Use photos when they help. Using something visual like a photo, diagram, or graph, can be very helpful when comparing technical details. The best photos are ones that you take yourself – stay away from internet sources if you can. Everyone can find the same images on the internet!

4 – Be familiar with the technology. Practice beforehand, using all the tools you plan to use for the real presentation. Juggling a remote, your notes, and a laser pointer during your presentation can really be stressful and detract from your ideas.

Those are the most important ideas that I think make presentations better. When you are writing one, always ask yourself “Does this change make my presentation easier to remember or understand?” If the answer is yes, your change is a good one.

How long?

In teaching writing,  I often am asked about the typical lengths of written pieces. “How long should my sentences be?” “How many words can I put in a presentation?” Here are a few of the most common details for easy reference.

Generally, people speak at a speed of about 200 words per minute. Most native speakers will read at a speed of about 500 words per minute. Most ESL students will read at the same speed they speak.

One page of text, single-spaced, in a 12-point font, is about 500 words. One page, written by hand, will be between 200 or 300 words.

Most paragraphs have between 50 and 200 words in them. Most paragraphs have less than nine lines.

A paragraph contains only one idea, but several pieces of supporting detail.

Most sentences will be short or medium-length. Long sentences are less common.