Nisha M is one of the October winners of our IELTS results competition. She says IELTS-Blog.com was the only website she used to prepare for the test, and she made it big time! Here’s what she wrote to us:
“I just wanted to thank you for creating a wonderful blog, which was my sole source of study prior to the exam. I must say that I really wouldn’t have been able to do it without this site and all the people who contributed to it. I sat the academic module of IELTS. This is the score:
Listening 8.5, Reading 8.5, Writing 7.5, Speaking 8.5
Thanks again. I’ll never forget it.”
We’re very happy for Nisha, and here are her suggestions for everyone who wants to achieve similar results:
1. CONFIDENCE – There’s no doubt that IELTS is a difficult exam, but it is not impossible! Keep that in mind, and boldly venture forth to getting the grades you want!
2. PREPARATION – I’m honestly not advertising for the site, but I am extremely grateful to all of those who have contributed to the blog, as it was my sole source of study material prior to the exam.
This is what I did:
– Read through all the tips given on the site (and I mean ALL of them!). There’s something to gain from every candidate’s experience.
– Aim higher than your required band – that way, you can expect to achieve the band needed at least.
– Study, study, study! – It doesn’t matter if you’re a native speaker of the language, but like every exam, the IELTS need preparation (and really intense preparation!) And how better to prepare than by utilizing all the resources around you?
Listening – It’s very important to concentrate during this part, because losing focus for even one second can potentially cause you to to miss what is being looked for.
Reading – Newspapers (especially broadsheets), online scientific articles, novels and pretty much anything you can get a hold of – will improve your reading speed and your vocabulary (make sure you keep a dictionary at hand). Your rate of reading is ESSENTIAL for doing well in this part of the exam. You must be able to skim through masses of information and pick out out what is required. In the exam, turn to the questions first, then to the article.
Writing – Start with the long task first, then do the short task. Time management is very important. I followed some advice about how it should be set out in four paragraphs:
1) Brief introduction stating what you believe and at least two reasons supporting your opinion.
2 and 3) Describe the reasons you gave, with examples from your own life.
4) Conclude the essay.
Some additional points:
The essay is formal. Refrain from using “I,” “my,” “you” etc.
Avoid all contractions – “It’s,” “don’t,” “can’t” etc.
Plan the essay out before writing anything down.
I cannot emphasize enough time management. I dedicated far too much time to task 2, and ended up writing around 30 words for task 1. As a result, I ended up virtually slipping entire band grades for the writing part of the exam, but I noticed that the lion’s share of marks were allocated for task 2.
Speaking - Calm your nerves before going into the exam. Remember that the examiner is there to help you, not to condemn you. So, relax.
Stick to whatever it is that the examiner is asking you and if you realize that you’ve made a grammatical error, quickly correct it.
Avoid saying “yeah,” “nah” etc.
Answer with affirmative/ negative plus a brief elaboration, but don’t reiterate the examiner’s words.
Examiner: Do you like dancing? Is it a good form of exercise?
1) You: Yes, I do. I believe that it’s a wonderful way to keep fit.
2) You: I’m not particularly keen on it. In my opinion, there are far better ways for one to be in good shape.
For those of you who dread the two-minute monologue, hello and welcome! My topic was on a famous person from my country. Unfortunately, I totally blanked out for those two minutes. I said one sentence and THAT’S IT. But the rest of the exam went well, so it appears to me that that part doesn’t carry many marks (?) Please try your best regardless of this.
3. SLEEP WELL THE NIGHT BEFORE THE EXAM
Good luck to all of you! Do well!”