Bạn Gatatri, Band 8:
Every time I meet someone who got a high score in IELTS I ask how they did it. Here is the answer of Gayatri, who received the overall score of 7.5 with Band 8 for reading and speaking.
“Frankly speaking I didn’t study much for the exam, but the one thing I did religiously every day was check the IELTS-blog . It was my mantra for the day, the book and study material from British Council was very helpful, especially the CDs which helped me get a good score in the listening section.
I would advise everyone to read, read and read some more for the reading section. One can use newspapers, magazines, books for this purpose. Don’t forget we are not getting evaluated on our knowledge, but on how fast we can focus and answer the question within the time limit.
Since the writing section is quite unpredictable, it’s always better to be ready with some common topics, and practice writing your viewson paper. One must always time oneself since this is the most exhaustive section of them all.
For the speaking section which is my favorite the golden rule is “Don’t look at the recording device” during the exam, just speak your heart out and the rest will fall in place.”
Bạn Debashis, Band 9 môn Đọc.
I carried a red pen with me, which was invaluable.
Key points – Scan the ‘reading sections’ and ‘questions’, and decide the sections you will answer first. After picking a section, read the questions relating to it in detail, then read the section in detail. While reading, underline and annotate them with key words in bold red for easy reference. Quick referencing is vital.
1. We received 4 reading sections. I rapidly scanned through all 4 sections and questions to identify the easier sections, and then tackled them in that order.
2. After selecting a section, I read it’s questions in detail, underlying key words in a red pen, and summarising it in 2-3 words in bold red next to it. For e.g. if the question was “how many times did the explorer Captain Scott return to England after his first trip”, I would write next to it in red “RETURN UK > 1st ?”. This helps in quick referral to the question when studying the main body.
3. I then went back to the reading section, studying it in detail, and annotating it with my red pen. For e.g., if there were ten paragraphs, I would write in bold red what the paragraph related to right next to it. This assists in quickly determining the likely paragraph a question relates to. I further underlined the possible answers, a task made easy as I could rapidly and readily read questions from their red summary…
OVERALL – I found this module easy, as though I did not get time to practice, I am accustomed to reading large reports. I finished half-way through, and then proceeded to check my answers, twice. I noted with satisfaction that I did not need to change a single answer on revision. I got grade 9.
Bạn Uli Rantch, Band 8
Not only he scored a whooping overall Band 8, but also wanted to help other test takers by sharing his way of preparation. His tips will be posted in 2 portions, one today and the other tomorrow – there are many tips and I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed. Here is what Uli says:
“I really did not expect to be among the winners of the competition and actually participated ‘just for fun’. I’m pretty excited, thank you! Of course I’d be happy to give some advice to the other blog-readers.
In order to be well prepared for my IELTS test I started practicing well ahead of the actual test-date – five weeks to be precise. I imposed myself the obligation of learning at least 30-60 minutes a day and although this was not always easy it was one of the key-factors to success.
Internet forums and user ratings in online reviews helped me to determine which books had been useful to other learners before. I bought a bunch of five and worked through them one after the other and recognized that especially my scores in reading and listening improved day after day. While I could hardly understand anything at the beginning of my training I got much better by and by and finally scored 8 points in the listening section and even 9 in reading.
You simply have to get used to it by practicing it over and over again. Get yourself some good training-material to find out what to expect in these sections. It made me feel very comfortable to know the question-types and to know how to approach the reading-section. The training-material taught me how to skim and scan information in a text in order to quickly find the passage you need.
The writing section again was one of the “practicing, practicing, practicing” sections. Firstly, it is very important to be familiar with the layout of a letter and an essay. This might bring you some important extra points in case your rhetoric skills are not the best (like mine).
Secondly, you have to practice the timing. This was the hardest part to me. Sixty minutes can be very few to brainstorm, draw a mind map and write two documents by hand. I haven’t been writing by hand for ages, so I first had to get used to write clear and fast again. Write using variety of structures – some short sentences, some more complex ones, varying vocabulary and tenses. Generally, you have to work in a very concentrated way without a lot of hesitation, and don’t forget to check your spelling and grammar at the end. Every slip of the pen is a lost point.
The speaking section had been the trickiest part for me since I don’t have any native speakers to practice with. I worked through my training CDs and searched the internet for some example videos of test takings. That way I knew how this section was structured and how/what I was supposed to answer.
Prepare some vocabulary or word-chains for the most common topics like hobbies, family, hometown, famous persons, events and so on but don’t try to memorize complete answers. The examiners are trained to notice this. Having some word-chains in mind makes you flexible in your answers since the question for one topic tend to vary. Practice your answers and speak them out loud and clearly. Don’t feel ashamed, this is the only way to practice it if you’re alone.