IELTS exam in Hamburg, Germany – November 2008 (Academic Module), part 2

This is the rest of it – IELTS in Hamburg, Germany (Academic module).

Reading test

Tip: Write the answer immediately on the answer sheet, NOT in the booklet. You will lose time doing otherwise. You are NOT allowed to bring your pen, pencils are provided as well as erasers.

It is better to write at least something than nothing, even if you are unsure. Rather mark the section where you are unsure than leave it out, and go back to it later when you have time. However, I found it difficult to go back to a section I wasn’t sure about, as the articles were completely different.

Even though I had “drawn” a map and underlined words and stuff, I wasn’t into the content anymore and therefore I think it cost me time to get into again instead of taking a deep breath and think 10 second longer about it instead of moving on. I am sure other people have a different opinion on this, so this I only my very personal opinion.

Summing up, my major problem was concentration. You need to be able to work under time pressure. The instructor will let you know EXACTLY how much time you have still, as she is saying: “Now, you have left 40 minutes, Now you have left 20 minutes, 10 and 5.” Don’t bother to focus on your watch, as I have been told before. This DID cost me time.

And, I found that in my case, the first text was the most difficult one. I sure did practice to read a lot but I must admit that vocabulary and style was quite difficult and explicit- in case I will have to repeat the test I will definitely read more scientific texts and articles, and something off newspapers and magazines like Times, or Newsweek. Again: this is my personal view. But, in fact, all three articles were scientific.

Writing test

For this you get a pen from the instructor.

Task 1 (report)
A bar graph comparing expenses on entertainment, food and restaurants&hotels by UK citizens in 2004, being compared in 5 age groups.

I guess it was OK but I spent too much time on it and I am already sure I made some mistakes in tenses, such as present tense and past tense.

Task 2 (Essay)
Today a lot of different cultures and ethnic groups live together in one country. Why is this so and do you think this is a positive or negative development?

I guess I did well enough on that one. I had a lot of practice on both the report and essay, and find it fairly easy by now. There is a pattern you have to follow using all these wanted linking words, such as furthermore, moreover, however, although, while, whereas, whilst, despite, finally and so on, so you can pretty much practice this. The only thing is that I still don’t know if you get penalty for writing too much. Due to the limited time I had I didn’t pay attention to how many words I wrote approximately.

Here I do think that enough practice in advance is the key. But again: I only practiced the “real-time” situation only once, doing both tasks within 60 minutes, and I am sure I should have done that more often.

Speaking test

This was fairly easy. And very quick. It is over in no time. You come in, exchange friendly phrases such as: “How are you” and so on and the examiner tells you about the procedure. He then starts the recording – I am not sure if this was a test but in the beginning he said: today is November 18th, 2008…, so I said, “Excuse me, but today is November 15th, not 18th”… Anyway, he then asked me to give my full name and where I was from.

He asked me about my city, what kind it was, special features, what I like about it. It is funny, I always answered immediately and after about 2 sentences he interrupts you and asks something else.

He then told me I should talk for 1-2 minutes on this topic, he gave me a card where the topic was: seasons: favorite season, what weather conditions are like, what I like to do in that season and why it is my favorite. I could take notes but I chose not to and started immediately.

He then asked me, what different jobs there might be in different climatic regions, and what jobs I think refer to seasons and whether I think concern about climate change around the world in appropriate and what I would recommend to do against it. I told him and then he said: thank you and good bye.”

IELTS exam in Hamburg, Germany – November 2008 (Academic Module), part 1

This report was kindly provided by I. who sat for the Academic IELTS Module in Hamburg, Germany.

“Unfortunately I was lacking sleep so my concentration was very bad. Generally I must say that I find the IELTS procedures slightly ridiculous.

You may bring a drink, but NO food, no pen or whatever. Just your ID. And remember: you will be sitting in this exam for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes, not counting the time you spend waiting for everything to start.

Go to the toilet BEFORE, as you are not allowed to do so during the test, I mean you are, but you may not go alone, and you WILL lose that time. Anyway, you are not allowed to go in the first and last 5-10 minutes at all. Make sure you have eaten before… I wanted to bring a banana- no chance. But, then again, I would not have had the time to eat it anyway, as there is NO TIME.

Listening test

The sound of the CD was very good. I was sitting quite far away from it, like about 8 meters. The instructor made a sound check so we didn’t have to worry.

The first listening section was about a man making an inquiry to a company asking about prices for shipping, what could be bought online and what couldn’t, how long shipping would take, address directions and so on.

In this section you had to fill in the gaps in a text.

The second section was about a tourist information given about a certain island.There you had a box with A, B, C looking at the South, North and Eastern part f the island.
Below that you had to put in the right letter for where hotels were standing, where golf courses were and so on.

Next, you had again to fill in gaps, about what to take with you on the island, such as, medication and that you reception of your mobile devices wouldn’t work and stuff. If I remember it right, there was a small section on a dialogue between two college students, but I am not sure anymore.

The last section was about Australian art, some lady talking about three different types of art, A dynamic, B yam and C modern.This bit was slightly more difficult, as the lady jumped back and forth between those areas.

We had to group A, B and C to certain painting, such as, for instance, paintings with more round figures or ones, where arms and legs were cut off and features like that.I almost missed the last 6 questions since I only realized in the last minute that there were ones at the end of the booklet.

So, make sure that you pay attention to HOW many questions there are, as you do get time to look at the questions BEFORE the actual dialogue or monologue starts.

Reading test

This is where I almost blew it, well, I am very sure that I lost a lot of marks and made quite a few mistakes.This is to the fact that I couldn’t concentrate, and therefore had to read some sentences 3-4 times before actually understanding it.

We had three articles.
First article was on research being made on laughter, looking at and comparing humans, monkeys, and even rats.

We had to group certain statements to the persons who gave them in the article, you had to complete sentences using multiple choice.

Most important and something that cost me valuable time: there was a gap text to fill in given words – not a problem usually, but in this case the given word had LETTERS to them, and you were supposed to fill in the LETTERS onto your answer sheet, NOT the actual words.

I did that wrong and only realized it at the end, so I had to quickly erase my words and put in the letters. Major time loss was the result, as there was a gap text twice, and I made the mistake twice, only realizing at the end!!!

Second article was on status symbols, why we humans think we need them and how archeologists have found proof in some caves in Africa, that even million years ago (or something like that) beads were already used as upgraded or ones beauty or status and so on.

Here we had to do true, false and not given, and also do writers opinion statements. And we had to group headlines to the right paragraph.

Last article was another science one about rarity of plants and animals, and how rarity could be defined generally. As an example they talked about a certain woodpecker, living of pine trees which were torn down by timber companies and how people tried to provide new homes for them.

Again, we had to answer true and false, multiple choice and gap text.

You can read the rest of this story in my next post. Subscribe and get it to your email, or come back tomorrow.



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