Rohan Arora was very proud to receive his IELTS result – and I think you would feel the same way, if you were to open the envelope and see an Overall IELTS Score of Band 8.0. Here’s a little bit about him: Rohan is in his twenties, lives in India and speaks Punjabi from birth. He had 2 months to prepare for the exam, and here is what he suggests that other test takers do, based on his own experience:
Now, coming to the individual sections:
1. Listening (I got 8.5): This was one of my favourite sections. I did a lot of practice for this part by downloading IELTS books and Practice test papers from the Internet. I took a printout of each and every test and took the test under exam condition. If you look at the book by Simone ‘Ace the IELTS’, it clearly describes the pits where you are likely to fall. Each time you take a test, you need to identify what’s affecting you. Is it the numbers, or names or any other information that might strike your ear too quickly and you miss that answer. You need to practice a lot before you actually become used to the correct way of listening. Also being proactive while listening by reading and guessing the probable answers helps a lot. How I managed to listen well doesn’t end up here. I used to watch 3 Hollywood movies or British movies a day and also watched debates and discussions on English news channels. Trust me, they prove to be better than anything else to keep your brain cool and in the English atmosphere!
2. Reading (I got 8 ) : For most of you who do a lot of reading this shouldn’t be a problem, I believe. But always practice a number of tests and do them strictly under exam conditions for this test, because in the reading and writing section you may fall short of time. An important tip is to first mark the keywords in questions and then look for them while you read. Also, recheck your answers at the end. In my case, I did section 1 in 10 minutes, section 2 took around 15 minutes and 5 minutes for rechecking part 1 and 2. Section 3 is long , so I had to allocate the maximum time. Remember, write in your answer sheet as you answer the questions which you are sure about. To improve your reading section you should be reading English newspapers every day and also news over the Internet. That would improve your reading as well as increase the knowledge you will need for answering the writing section. Other tips you can find out from the same source ‘Ace the IELTS’ and also www.ielts-blog.com. For improving your confidence and knowledge I would also suggest to watch ‘Road to IELTS’ videos for all sections.
Untimely, you should be practicing all the test papers so that you can learn and correct yourself every time and improve your accuracy. Don’t worry, this section won’t be hard for you if you once learn to be accurate and follow the tips properly.
3. Writing (I got 7.5) This is the toughest part for all those who are not literature graduates – but you can overcome the difficulties. Needless to say, the essay is more important than the letter, but this shouldn’t make you ignore letter-writing. Both task 1 and task 2 carry marks. I did both parts. I took 40 minutes to write an essay and dedicated 2-3 minutes to proofreading and changing anything that was required. I did the letter in 15 minutes as it is not a difficult part. But couldn’t check it at the end. My suggestion would be when you practice at home , do it on a photocopy of the IELTS answer sheet that is available for download. With practice you will know how many lines you need to write to complete the required number of words. Write in pencil so that you can rub out and rewrite a particular sentence. I took 30 sharpened pencils in a box to avoid wasting time on sharpening them in the exam. For the preparation, I would suggest that you read as many essays and articles as possible. www.ielts-blog.com has a big library of all that material, also with the advantage that essays are marked. This would help you to compare your standard of writing with the marked one. Do follow the rules in the book for developing a particular pathway for your essay-writing. One more thing is to speak English to yourself and with your friends – speaking helps improve your speaking fluency as well as writing proficiency. Write as many essays as you can. Remember, all those literature students develop such standards only after a lot of writing.
4. Speaking (I got 8): This section just needs your dedication and efforts in speaking English every day, even if it is limited to talking to yourself.
Talk to your friends. What I used to do was disturb the call center people and discuss with them my problems like trouble with the mobile network. I would call a helpline number and ask them for some information in English. There are a number of toll free numbers you can use. Another thing I used to do was mimic the actors in the movies that I watched for practising listening. For me, this was the only way to tone up my speaking skills. Also, do note down the vocabulary which you come across while reading. You could probably use it in writing or speaking and that would improve your score a lot. Remember, never choose hard words for speaking. Be simple but expressive in your approach. For example when you are travelling in a bus and you see a shop or a car or an annoying citizen, try to describe it to yourself in English. Of course, you should never be ashamed of you broken English when you are talking to yourself because it gives you a better chance of improving your broken English every time you express your feelings.