Happy New Year 2012!

Happy New Year 2012 to all the past and future IELTS test takers, as well as their teachers, trainers, examiners, family and friends!

Whether you are going to a party, or spending the New Year’s Eve with family or friends at home, either way you surely will have a moment to yourself, to reflect on 2011. Happy New Year 2012!

Was it a good year for you?

Just think: 365 days went by. If you had to name the biggest challenge of the whole year, what would it be? What was the most rewarding thing that happened to you in 2011? Did you make any new friends? Did you help anyone who needed you? And what was the most important thing you learned this year?

Since I started this reflection game, let me go first.

2011 wasn’t a good year for me. It was an amazing year. So many great things happened, at work and at home, that I felt blessed almost every day.

The number of visitors to IELTS-Blog.com broke all last year’s records. In 2011 we had almost 3 million visits, and over 11 million pages were downloaded. Our team grew in line with our audience – we simply had to get more people on board to keep up with you all!

The biggest challenge of 2011 was to find a way to continue providing the best and the quickest customer support, after my books’ popularity kept on growing fast. I’ve been receiving emails non-stop from people who use my books to prepare for IELTS every day, and since there were too many for one person to handle, IELTS-Blog Helpdesk team came to my rescue. Together, we are happy to report that every single email we receive is answered within 12 hours at the latest – but normally much, much faster.

I can say with confidence that our teachers at the writing correction team have had the same challenge – keeping up with the demand. And they came out on top of it, every time. Thousands of essays, letters and reports were checked and returned to their happy owners in 2011 – quickly, accurately, and always with useful feedback. Thousands of test takers found a helping hand and raised their IELTS scores in 2011. Thank you, to everyone at Benchmark!

The most rewarding thing of 2011 was seeing the results of all the people who prepared with IELTS-Blog.com, and got their target scores in the real exam. It’s really hard to describe the feeling I get when an email comes in and it says: “Simone, I’ve got great news – look at my score, its Band 8, and I only needed a 7.5!”

Yet another rewarding thing was working on a new IELTS book that will incorporate 6 years of research conducted through IELTS-Blog.com. If you are taking the IELTS test in 2012, keep an eye on your email – we will be announcing the new book in the New Year.

I’ve made a lot of new friends online, and had a chance to help test takers who needed some advice, preparation materials, or just a compassionate friend who can listen. There were also so many people willing to help me – by sending their exam updates, tips and advice for other IELTS candidates, by providing testimonials and their own stories for us to share with the whole community. I feel truly grateful for the chance to meet these kind folks, and appreciate their contribution to IELTS-Blog.com

And the most important thing I learned in 2011 is that dreams do come true, if you have a goal, a plan and the determination to follow through. I hope your dreams will come true in 2012.
Happy New Year 2011 from Simone Braverman and the whole IELTS-Blog team!

IELTS test in India – December 2011 (General Training)

This recent IELTS exam was shared by V from India – thanks to the contributor.

Listening test IELTS test in India

Section 1. There was a conversation between a police constable and a lady. The constable asked her name, date of birth, nature of crime, details of missing items with serial number of the computer that was missing.

Section 2. A tourist guide was talking about a tiger reserve. The facilities available in various zones inside the reserve included a boarding point, eateries, an area where people can pet the animals, and a final drop-off point.

Section 3. Students discussed their presentation for alternative fuels. They were discussing what topics will be included in the presentation.

Section 4. Children’s psychology researcher was speaking about a comparative study between earlier and modern schools of thought. She was quoting various examples for various aspects of children’s behaviors: shy nature, anger, learning curves and so on.

Reading test

Passage 1. A message from South Eastern Railways about the cleanliness of their trains. The section talked about the various steps and cleaning procedures, that the railway company was taking, based on complaints from their customers.

Passage 2. About overtime rules for UK employees including eligibility, minimum full time work hours, additional work hours, weekend work hours; part-time workers, managers, supervisors were covered.

Passage 3. About African birds called Hornbills – their group tactics in hunting and playing, and their breeding patterns. Also was mentioned a decline in their population and the reasons behind it.

Passage 4. About man made and natural threats to birds’ survival. The questions asked were pretty straight forward.

Writing test

Writing task 1 (a letter)

You have recently taken a sight seeing tour, and had a bad experience. Write a letter to the tour operator and explain:

– What was the reason you took this tour?
– What went wrong in the tour?
– Suggest a solution for the problem.

Writing Task 2 (an essay)

Nowadays people spend too much money on clothes, hairstyles and beauty products. Some see it as a necessity, while others think that this is a waste of money. Discuss both views and give your opinion.



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