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IELTS advice from Band 9 achiever – Part 1, General tips.

It is my pleasure to introduce Debashis – a very nice and kind guy, one of IELTS-Blog readers, who was born and raised in India, spoke Bengali, and for the last 10 years has been living in the UK and speaking English. Actually, Bengali is still his preferred language when he’s not working 🙂

One month ago, in September 2009, Debashis had something extraordinary happen to him – he scored Band 9.0 in IELTS, in all the modules, a truly amazing result. Being a humble and caring person, Debashis sent me an email and offered his best tips for all the readers of IELTS-Blog, to help you guys score higher. What more, he really put a lot of work into it – there are enough tips to occupy you for a week!

So during the next 7 days I will be posting Debashis’ tips – every day you will be getting an email with tips for one of the IELTS sections – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

General IELTS preparation tips

Key points – Prepare thoroughly by joining a good school or website. Never grow complacent. Develop an arsenal of good words and revise right up to the exam. Minimise spelling mistakes, which cost marks. If you have not sat for exams for a while, be aware of issues like concentration and writing with pens. In particular, be fresh on the day.


1. It is vitally important to prepare thoroughly, and websites like IELTS-Blog provide invaluable assistance in this regard. I applied for the exam very late, and I had 6 days to prepare amidst a busy work schedule. However, I studied this website in detail, picking up priceless knowledge and tips, which I am convinced has significantly contributed to my Band 9 results.

2. Beware of growing complacent if you reside in an English speaking country. I graduated from India, but have worked in UK for over a decade, using English regularly at my office. However, I use a different language with my friends and family, and office English is of a different nature to test English, often being too basic (general office conversation) or highly technical (presentations).

Further, studies show that veteran drivers score very poorly in fresh driving tests, as their expertise is rife with irregularities that are unacceptable in a test setting. A regular user of English is runs a similar risk, and test preparation remains vital.

3. It is crucial to possess a good stock of words. If you have 20 days to prepare, you can study a pocket dictionary. If, like me, you can only devote 20 hours to prepare, google “100 best words” in English, and from 4-5 search results that you find appealing, select around 200 words.

I focused on words that were simple yet effective and nice-sounding, jotting down a few of their antonyms and synonyms as well. For example, I would be able to substitute “hidden” by the words “obscure, concealed and abstruse”, yet I would not recommend memorising “recondite”.

4. A final study of these words on the day of the exam is very useful, so carry printouts to study on the way to the exam hall. This seems self-evident, as students like revising topics right up to the exam. However, normal topics comprise a mass of related facts which are easier to master. Remembering a string of unconnected terms is more difficult, so late revision assumes more significance here.

 

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