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IELTS Preparation tips from Orfi, who got Band 8

Today I am delighted to present some very good IELTS preparation tips from Orfi, the winner of our IELTS results competition in November. Orfi achieved the Band score of 8 in General Training module and found the time in her busy schedule to write an explanation of how she prepared for her exam. Here is how she did it:

“When I was required to take the IELTS test as a requirement in my immigrant visa application, I was hesitant and at the same time worried. I only had more than a month to prepare for it because of time constraint (I needed to submit all the documents in the Canadian embassy until 2nd week of December). So I had no choice but to take it the soonest possible time and review by myself since I can’t afford to go to review centres in Manila because of my work load.

In September of last year, I started surfing the net with the hope of looking for materials I can use for the review. It was during my search when I came across your site, and it’s from this site that I started practicing all the four sections of the IELTS test, in addition to the some other materials online I gathered for my practice exams at home.

So I started, reviewing the areas which I thought were my weaknesses – the Listening and Reading tests. I also believe that it is in these areas where objective scores are achieved as opposed to the Writing and Speaking tests where there can be a slight subjectivity in the manner the examiner will determine the test taker’s score.

I got hold of a notebook, which I can use to record my developments as my review went by, starting day 1 of my study up to the last day (3 days before October 24-the exam date).

Every day from day 1 of my review, I visited, listened and read its news to make me aware of what was happening around the world. This was also with the expectation that the examiner in the speaker test might ask me questions relevant to the current events.

During my review, I made sure that I had a stop watch with me to monitor the amount of time I had to spend on my Readings. I practiced using Academic Reading materials, though I was required to take the General IELTS. I believed that trying on harder reading passages will make it a lot easier for you to accomplish General reading test.

During the reading, I practiced skimming and scanning the passages while answering the given questions. What is important in reading is all required questions should be answered and this can be accomplished without reading the entire passage word for word. The technique here is to look at the questions first then scan the text material for answers.

Remember that the exam has a time constraint so we need to have at least few minutes time remaining to get back to the answers and review them.

I found out that I had difficulty in determining whether an idea is GIVEN, NOT GIVEN, TRUE or FALSE, and this had been making my score in Reading lower. So I focused on this weakness. What others have been telling in ielts-blog are true…that if the idea is not directly stated in the text, then it is NOT GIVEN, if the idea is directly stated in the text, then it is GIVEN; if the idea conforms to the idea of the author then the idea is TRUE, FALSE otherwise.

With regards to the Listening test, I practiced the exam materials from the ielts-blog and some materials I downloaded from the net. Again everything is recorded from my first Listening test up to the last to keep track of my performance. I also listened consistently at least every morning before starting my work to news to practice my ear with British accent since all listening materials I listened to were of British accent speaking people.

During the Listening practice, I’ve learned that I should focus on how many words are required for giving the correct answers; lesser or more words than the expected answer is a penalty, so every exam taker should be careful with that.

It is also very important not to lose your focus during the listening part of the exam. Every word you listen to is important…losing track of even a single word might change your interpretation of the discussion in the tape, so be very sure to keep your focus by looking at the exam paper than looking elsewhere.

Every single day as I progress in my review, I did not forget to pray…to pray for the divine Almighty for guidance, for I believe that success comes from Him.”.

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