I asked the winner of our IELTS results competition, Saiyeda Patel, what would be her best advice to the other students aiming to improve their score and she has kindly shared the secrets of her success. Here they are:
“I seriously believe that you need to have at least some command of the language to do well in your IELTS test. One can’t achieve a band score of 7 (which is the least a good University will expect you to have) overnight with just a brief period of practice. Developing a habit of reading books in English, conversing with friends and family in English, watching English media and using proper grammar and vocabulary while writing just about anything is very important.
Practicing for IELTS is then the next step to achieve a good band score. I was given some preparatory material (a book with various exercises) by IELTS test center. I practiced in solving the exercises from that book for about 30 minutes a day for 25 days.
I especially concentrated on the Listening tasks while solving those with my headphones on. I am not an attentive person, so losing track of what was being said was fairly common while practicing. I tried to tackle this weakness of mine by concentrating really hard.
As for the Speaking test, it is not the same as chatting with your friend. In IELTS, you are supposed to sound intelligible while framing answers to questions while using your vocabulary properly and being grammatically correct at the same time. Tough task! Therefore, asking a friend or family member to interview you regularly before the Test using the sample questions in your practice book will definitely help.
For the Reading Test I didn’t do much except for solving the exercises in my book and making mental notes about where and why I have made mistakes so that I won’t repeat those again, especially not in my IELTS Test.
Lastly, the Writing Test: I read the solved essays at the end of the book to understand the criteria of what constitutes a good essay – length, clarity, flow, etc. and tried to model my essays on those lines.”