IELTS preparation tips from winners

IELTS high achievers share their secrets

Listening tips from high achiever, Band Score 8.5

I got to know Zulquar when he sent me his IELTS result to enroll in our December’s competition. When he told me that he didn’t have any help with exam preparation (he did it on his own and got Band score of 8.5 in the Listening test), I was surprised. Zulquar kindly agreed to share his best tips with all of us, here they are:

The Plan ( The Right Aspiration)

One must identify the key areas that could help one get a better overall band and one should be practical about it. Like one shouldn’t expect an 8 band score in writing module. Likewise one shouldn’t expect 6.0 in listening and reading if he is aspiring for a 7 band overall.

I am emphasizing upon listening and reading because these are the two areas where one could and one should easily expect 8 which I did and succeeded pretty well, and as far as speaking module is concerned one could easily tell by the way he leaves the interview table, the score he is getting. In my case I was damn sure about 8.0, but I eventually got 7.5, this is all due to the over aspiration considering the fact that I left the table very happy and fine.

Anyway, here is the plan that I devised to decode the IELTS, and believe me, it’s easy and enjoyable.

Listening test

This is the key module, that is, high scoring is quite easy in this module. So it is the key to all other modules and is the area which should be the beginning area for preparation.

To prepare for it, I had to identify the pattern of the examination which I did quite easily through a bit of Googling. There are two areas that I had to develop into myself,

1. Cognition of different accents.

I improved on this by watching three Hollywood movies a day, listening to western music ( hats off to Elton John and way with Avril!!!), watching you tube user videos and then doing a bit sort of internet research about the way words are pronounced differently in different countries

2. Improving short term retention

To improve this I had adopted a way, like if I am watching a movie, I paused after watching every five minutes and then tried to jot down the dialogue and all the happenings that went on the screen for this time duration. This was a two way method to improve both cognition and retention, and yes I had to put an effort at it but as more movies and songs went by, I was enjoying it.

IELTS Writing tips from Band 7.5 achiever

In this post our November’s winner, IELTS Band 7.5 achiever William shares his secrets to success in Writing. You can read his tips for Listening and Speaking test here.

Writing test

For the writing section, one way to brush up your writing skills is to write more essays. You should write as many DIFFERENT types of essays as you can, so that you would be armed with more ideas for a variety of topics in your head before you turn up to the IELTS test.

For example, you might want to write essays that are related to Economics, Law, Physics, Education, Sociology, Politics, Management, and so forth. The following list, which is by no means exhaustive, shows possible essay titles that you might wish to use:

Economics: Discuss the potential economic consequences of an economic recession.

Law: Many people around the world are not in favor of abortion. Discuss, with reasons, whether or not the government should introduce a law prohibiting abortion.

Physics: Isaac Newton discovered gravity. Discuss the ways that the work of Isaac Newton on the discovery of gravity has contributed to our society.

Education: It is argued that parents should send their children to boarding schools so that young children can learn to live independently. Do you agree? Support your arguments with reasons.

Sociology: The society has different expectations on men and women. For example, men should be strong and brave and women should be caring and conscientious. What personal characteristics and social values do you think the “perfect male model” and the “perfect female model” should have?

Politics: “A right-winged government that supports free market philosophies is better than a left-winged government that favors socialist policies.” Do you agree?

Management: How should a company’s managing director manage its employees? Discuss various methods that a managing director can employ to manage the company’s staff.

It is also important that you try to write your essays NOT by typing them out on a computer, but by writing them on pieces of paper with a pencil or a pen. You should know that in the IELTS test you must write your essays manually by hand so it is important that you get used to the format of the real IELTS test. Furthermore, after you have done your essays, make sure you give them to a native English speaker to mark them so that he or she can give you advice on how to improve your English.

General tips

In order to increase your range of vocabulary, you can try taking a piece of paper and making a list of the words that you are not familiar with or that are unusual, and then writing the corresponding definitions next to each word. Make sure you learn the spelling of those words and their meanings regularly.

You should also try to communicate (be it speaking, listening or writing) as much as possible in English in your everyday life. Try thinking in the English language as well. In that way, you would be able to build up your confidence before the IELTS test.