iPass IELTS Blog

cover_eBook Download our eBook

Looking back at 2009

Well 2010 is here, so it’s an opportunity for iPass to look back at 2009 and consider what kind of year it was.
Was it the best of years or the worst of years? Will it be remembered or forgotten?
Judge for yourself.
Lets have a look at some of the people, news and ingredients that made up the year.
Barack Obama
– undoubtedly his election was one of the highlights of the year; a young politician, who many thought was a complete outsider, beat the system and made it to the White House. He brought with him a global feeling of change and hope – ‘yes we can’ - but the world soon crowded in on him and in spite of a long list of election promises and pressing world problems, events led him to spend more time on dealing with the domestic economy and health care.
His real challenges are still to come – Al Queda, Iran, Iraq, Afghan, Climate Change, to name a few – so lets hope he has the energy and perseverance to carry his ambitions forward and survive the inevitable disappointments with a steady hand.
The global economic recession
– we all knew what to expect with the situation beginning to unravel in the last months of George Bush’s Presidency, but we didn’t really know the impact it would have on our lives. Banks failing and even countries declaring bankruptcy were some of the most dramatic effects with the lives, and bonuses, of over paid bankers being exposed. Bernard Madoff was probably the most notorious example of this conspicuous personal and corporate greed in America and as a result of ‘the largest investment fraud in Wall Street history’ he was swiftly sent to prison for 150 years for a $65 billion fraud scheme wiping out the life savings of his many clients.
Of course the real losers were the millions of home owners, pension holders and people who have lost their jobs and the effect of the recession on their families and communities. Nobody will probably ever know the actual impact on their lives, but even with the best efforts of governments around the world the question still remains, have we really learned anything from this crisis and are the financial institutions that created it still just as big and perhaps more powerful than before?
Michael Jackson
– ‘He’s dead!’ It was a hard to believe moment when the news first started to hit the headlines. Although he had had a turbulent career with massive groundbreaking chart success and public acclaim followed by the shame of ‘the trial’ and dwindling record sales, he was about to make a comeback.
We were waiting for him, but then he was gone in a bizarre ‘medical’ accident. There were tears and shock but for his fans the public memorial service and emotional farewell concert were a way for many to say goodbye to their friend and idol.
Who will replace him?
Climate Change
– Were we expecting too much from the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change? Did we seriously think that just by putting over 100 world leaders together in the same room realistically they would put aside their national interests and come up with a solution to save the World?
We live in hope but sadly it never happened. Meanwhile global warming continues, nations are sinking below the ever-rising sea and we just don’t have enough food or resources to sustain our World beyond the foreseeable future at the current rates of population growth.
Are we doing enough? Could we do more?
Nuclear threats
– once again the world kept holding its breath at the thought of some countries developing nuclear power possibly for purposes other than domestic use. On this issue governments worked more closely together to control this nuclear proliferation as more evidence was discovered, but so far it hasn’t stopped.
What’s the future when countries choose to ignore international conventions and threaten their neighbours with such a lethal weapon? It’s a volatile situation which requires tolerance and patience; disturbingly some countries might not be prepared to wait and prefer to deal with the problem without the support of the international community. Dangerous times.
Social networking
– definitely the year of Facebook and Twitter It looks like you aren’t anybody unless you’re telling the rest of the world when you’re going for your next cup of coffee or what you did last night. Strange how people want to know the minutiae of other people’s lives.
Still, it clearly has revolutionised the internet and with growth of over 200% for Facebook and nearly 1400% for Twitter it seems their appeal is unstoppable. In fact some governments are actively trying to stop them being accessible in their country as they understand their power and influence.
Now that’s what you call a real revolution!
Susan Boyle
– a late entrant to a musically ordinary year lacking in any real innovation, she became an overnight sensation after she appeared on the UK TV talent contest ‘Britain’s got talent’.
Her CD released before Xmas has become the number one best-selling CD on charts around the world. She also is the biggest hit on YouTube
as the most-watched video of the year. All quite an achievement for somebody who was virtually unknown 9 months ago but then, that’s show business.
Swine Flu
– although a number of people have very sadly died from the H1N1, was the pandemic really as bad as the reports we had been led to believe? Would it be on a scale larger than the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed more people than the 1st World War?
Again governments acted together to take precautions and be ready for its outbreak with stocks of drugs, but fortunately it didn’t develop into the global scale that was at first predicted. Still we are possibly not out of the woods yet as it thrives more in colder weather and some parts of the world are in the grip of a harsh winter.
Charles Darwin
– it was 200 years ago that he was born and we celebrated this with a whole series of events, documentaries, exhibitions and festivals to mark the occasion.
Believe in it or not the influence of his ‘Origin of the Species’ became one of the landmark scientific theories that has revolutionised our thinking about evolution.
His bi-centenary once again raised the whole discussion about the validity of his theory and in some more conservative communities, especially in America, the ‘creationists’ (or anti-evolutionists) were up in arms.
Is the jury still out on Darwin? Well, almost 50% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, and that’s a lot of people.
Tiger Woods
– in what seemed an almost unbelievable turn of events, one of the richest and most successful sporting heroes fell from grace in a spectacular way in the full glare of the media.
A ‘family’ man, who the public adored and thought they knew, had been leading a double life and sleeping with a series of other women – and now its all in the papers!
It’ll be interesting to see what happens to his career as well as his marriage.
Sarah Palin
– remember Sarah Palin the politician who was John McCain’s controversial running mate in the US election? Well, clearly not one to be out of the news, now she is also a best selling author. Writing ‘Going Rogue’, her side of the election campaign, she immediately went to number one in the US despite mixed reviews. She sold nearly half a million copies in the first week in the US - although not as many as Dan Brown sold in the UK with his book ‘The Lost Symbol’ with over half a million – maybe she’s not in it just for the money?

So this is iPass’s choice of memorable events and people for 2009. What do you think? What’s your choice?
Let us know your opinion.

Lastly, if you are taking IELTS in 2010 we at iPass hope that 2010 is your lucky year too.

Good luck and don’t forget that iPass is always here to help you get it right first time

Comment On This Post


Personally I think that Climate change was most important failure of the year - a sad example of how impotent our politicians are.
One news item that I think should be mentioned was the expenses scandal at the UK Parliament. It seems as though British M.Ps have been ‘working the system’ and claiming for anything they could get away with, especially their second homes!
This caused outrage and cynicism among the UK public, and its reckoned that there will be at least 200 new M.Ps after the General Election next year.
Not a good example from the ‘Mother of Democracy’ but it did prove the power of the press which was responsible for exposing the situation in the first place!

By prodem on 2010 01 02

Tiger Woods? Susan Boyle? Sarah Palin?
Lets hope 2010 produces some more substantial ‘personalities’ than these cardboard cutouts!

By xx140a on 2010 01 02

2009 didn’t seem to produce any real heroes. Lets hope Barack is the one to show the world what a real leader should be - democratically elected and genuinely interested in world peace.
C’mon Obama - yes you can!

By gummed on 2010 01 03

Sarah Palin?
Lets hope she’s had her 5 minutes of fame, takes the money and now disappears - enough!
Its very disturbing to think that someone who has been called ‘the liar of the year’ for inventing death committees to decide if terminal patients would live or die as a result of Obama’s health reforms could still be even considered a possible runner for the White House.
Still George Bush was (re)elected so obviously anything can happen in the land of the free!

By smexo on 2010 01 04

Not much on Sports except poor(?) old Tiger - a little too much in the Woods wink
What about Roger Federer? Didn’t he have an incredible year and play some beautiful tennis?
I think he should be included

By krisn22 on 2010 01 05

Oh, I don’t know I rather like Susan Boyle. Why do you have to be good looking to grab the headlines? Susan did it just using TALENT - and what’s wrong with that!
What about that picture of Tiger Woods on the front of Vanity Fair? Is this the new image of this fallen golf star? Brad Pitt eat your heart out…

By lass00 on 2010 01 05

Jenson Button
Usain Bolt
What about them?

By hect0r on 2010 01 06

and there’s always Oprah

By mod on 2010 01 06

the soldiers in Afghan - they are the heroes in the fight against terrorism

By equs on 2010 01 06

The Lisbon Treaty - like it, love it, hate it - even if you didn’t vote for it, its here to stay. Will it really change your life? Lets see…
By the way, what will the EU do about Greece? It’ll be interesting to see.

By belim on 2010 01 07

My vote’s still for Barack.  A bit of a cool customer but hopefully he’ll provide a steady hand during all the madness that goes on in Washington.

By t333koo on 2010 01 09

Has Obama’s lost his glory?
‘Republican Scott Brown has won a shock victory in the race for the US Senate seat in Massachusetts left vacant by Democrat Edward Kennedy’s death.
The result is a huge blow to President Barack Obama, whose healthcare reform programme is now in doubt.’

By gummed on 2010 01 20

Your Details


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?


Sara - Indonesia

Sara - Indonesia

I got band 7 for academic module on my 1st attempt! I'd recommend iPassIELTS, it gives very clear feedback on writing and speaking modules and good exercises on listening and reading modules.

Previous blogposts

What's new?

IELTS essay corrections - €12

Get your IELTS writing tasks assessed by an expert!

Know what you’re doing wrong and how to correct it.

Find out more

Get our weekly newsletter for top IELTS tips and exclusive course discounts!!

* required
Free Course Demo