Yesterday I posted the first part of IELTS preparation tips from Uli Rantch, who achieved Band 8 in General Training IELTS. Here is the rest of his helpful suggestions:
“The writing section again was one of the “practicing, practicing, practicing” sections. Firstly, it is very important to be familiar with the layout of a letter and an essay. This might bring you some important extra points in case your rhetoric skills are not the best (like mine).
Secondly, you have to practice the timing. This was the hardest part to me. Sixty minutes can be very few to brainstorm, draw a mind map and write two documents by hand. I haven’t been writing by hand for ages, so I first had to get used to write clear and fast again. Write using variety of structures – some short sentences, some more complex ones, varying vocabulary and tenses. Generally, you have to work in a very concentrated way without a lot of hesitation, and don’t forget to check your spelling and grammar at the end. Every slip of the pen is a lost point.
The speaking section had been the trickiest part for me since I don’t have any native speakers to practice with. I worked through my training CDs and searched the internet for some example videos of other test-takers being interviewed. That way I knew how this section was structured and how/what I was supposed to answer.
Prepare some vocabulary or word-chains for the most common topics like hobbies, family, hometown, famous persons, events and so on but don’t try to memorize complete answers. The examiners are trained to notice this. Having some word-chains in mind makes you flexible in your answers since the question for one topic tend to vary. Practice your answers and speak them out loud and clearly. Don’t feel ashamed, this is the only way to practice it if you’re alone.
The day before the test I completely concentrated on the Recent IELTS exams section here in IELTS-Blog.com . I created some mind maps for the writing tasks and answered the speaking questions the other test takers remembered. Generally, this page is great to prepare for the test.
Get yourself some training material and work through it. Don’t ignore the parts that hurt. Practice them over and over again until you feel confident. Stick to the many tips posted on here and you’ll get the score you need.”