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IELTS tips from two successful test takers from Sri Lanka

Today we are delighted to share the IELTS success stories of two remarkable ladies who have a lot in common: they come from the same country, they’re almost the same age and they both got Band 7.5 in IELTS.

Mihirani is a 29 year-old nurse who lives in Sri Lanka and speaks Singhalese. Here is what she told us about her exam preparation:

Band 7.5 in IELTS“First and foremost let me tell you how grateful I am for your priceless assistance with this IELTS examination. I followed your test tips and emails which were really helpful for me to achieve band 7.5. I bought your book ‘Target Band 7’ online and followed all instructions. In addition, I read and listened to BBC radio in order to improve my vocabulary. However, I had to overcome a lot of difficulties too. I am a nurse by profession and I work around the clock. It was a great difficulty for me since I was exhausted after a 24-hour continuous work shift. By the way, I practiced your previous exam and speaking tests and luckily I got the opportunity to talk about a topic which I practiced with you on my REAL EXAM DAY! Therefore, without any doubt I guarantee success with even though my first language is Sinhalese. Thank you again.”

Shehani is a 28 year-old, native Singhalese speaker from Sri Lanka. Here is her advice to future test takers:

“What matters most in an exam like the IELTS examination, is being confident about what you know and facing it without fear. Fear will only discourage you and will not give you the chance to perform the best that you can.

Time management is essential, as you have to answer within minutes. In the case of the listening test, it is always good to note down things as fast as possible, because the recording will be only played once, and you will not get the chance to write the answers if you do not manage your time properly.

For the Speaking test, you will have to be relaxed and answer the questions the examiner asks you without panicking. Remember that no one will laugh at your mistakes, and that the examiners are used to handling candidates. In the second part, you will be given a topic on which you must talk as much as possible without long pauses. You can make notes as you will be given one minute before the talk, and a piece of paper and pencil. You will not be interrupted within the talk, so be mindful not to miss what you want to say. It is your personal opinion about something, and you don’t have to feel uncomfortable at all, because you can express your ideas in any way you want. In the third part you will be asked questions based on your talk for which you have to give justifications about your opinions.

Written test will be different for the Academic and the General Training modules. Therefore I will only be able to talk about my area of experience, which is General training. The paper consists of two tasks, the first is a letter and the second an essay. My advice here is, write as much as possible and give your opinion clearly and effectively. Manage the time properly, but also remember that you must give a very clear cut conclusion for the essay. The invigilators will provide you any number of sheets, so keep writing. The minimum limit is given but there is no maximum number of words. Take the advantage of it.

To face the Reading test efficiently, you must develop your reading ability to a great extent. In the first reading you must get a general idea about the passage and then you have to read the questions which will make you more confident because you can easily spot where the answers are hidden. Be very cautious about the time as you have a very limited time for the exam. Quickly spot the answers and then immediately take note of them. At the end of the paper go through all answers to see if you have made any mistakes. Reading quickly is essential for IELTS and it must be worked on. Since IELTS does not have a pass or fail grade, I wish and hope that all of you will get the grade that you want for your purpose. Good Luck.”

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