So I received the result of my IELTS test. I was also surprised that I achieved quite high. I got Band 8 overall with 8 in Speaking, 8.5 in Reading, 7.0 in Writing, and 7.5 in Speaking. Actually I wasn’t confident enough I would get this high as I thought I screwed up during Listening session. So, let me share stories of my IELTS test and other few tips to complement my previous post about IELTS prep course.
The first part is listening test. There was 4 different sections in the listening part, each section has 10 questions. The first section was the easiest. It was only listening to two person talking to each other about appointment. The following parts were a radio program, a discussion between 3 people, and a lecture. I screwed up when doing the discussion part. The people talking very fast and I could not follow. They were talking about business frameworks, and we have to recognize the key facts they mentioned on their conversation. I guessed more than 5 questions, and I think I made a lucky guess, so the final score did not hurt that bad.
So during listening test, make sure you focus on the conversations. Try to relax and don’t panic when answering the questions. Read the questions thoroughly. You will be given about one minute before of the dialog starts. Write your answer in question booklet. Do not write on answer sheet directly. Because you have to read the question and answer it rightaway. Moving between question booklet and answer sheet repeatedly will give a lot of distraction. At the end of listening session, you will have about 10 minutes to copy your answer to answer sheet.
I found that reading test was the easiest part of the test. All you have to do is read fast, identify the idea of the article, and pinpoint key things on paragraph. I am not a person who write highlight/underline in key sentences because I found it is not much helping. All you need to do is remember highlight for each paragraph and remember it on your mind. After reading the article, move on to the questions, and read carefully the questions. Then, you have to locate the answer on the article using your memory as a hint.
When you find the answer, write your answer in your question booklet first. Write the answer to answer sheet after you complete one reading section before moving to the next article. This will avoid distraction of moving focus between question booklet and answer sheet, similar with listening section. But note that there is no additional time to copy answer from question booklet to answer sheet.
Reading test in IELTS is very easy compared to GRE one. Passages from GRE test is harder. I take longer time to understand the meaning of GRE passage instead of IELTS one. But in all reading test, the important key is fast active reading. So you can understand the whole content of the articles and answer the question fast and correct.
This is the hardest part of all. You will be tested the accuracy of your English. Try to manage your time effectively for writing. Take 20 minutes for the first task and 40 minutes for the second task. Outline your idea before you start writing, so that you will develop a good coherent writing. Elaborate the idea early while outlining and structure the sentence on the fly. Take attention to your grammar and structures. Don’t be afraid of using complex sentence, but be wary as it might reduce your score if you use it incorrectly. I am not a perfect English writer as there are many grammatical mistakes in my writing. But at least, be confident of yourself.
The reason I prefer IELTS than TOEFL iBT is that you do your speaking test in interview style. In contrast, in TOEFL, you speak to computer. Speaking test in IELTS is fairly easy as long as you relax and be confident when doing your test. I met an interesting interviewer, and I spoke better during the small talk before the actual test. But after all, I score quite good.
Do practice by using your active English skills anytime you have a chance. The IELTS prep session gave me more time to use my English skill. It will be better if you ask your friends to support your practice by using English during your conversation.
Don’t push yourself too much. Studying language requires patience and diligence. Take your test early so in case something happen, you can retake your test. 🙂