Everyone, meet Josphine. She lives in Sri Lanka and speaks two languages – Tamil and English. Like many of you, Josephine had to take the IELTS test, and she wasn’t feeling very confident. Does that sound familiar? Well… sometimes feeling insecure is not a bad thing. It certainly helped Josphine approach her IELTS preparation seriously and, as a result, she scored Band 8 Overall in her Academic IELTS exam, with a straight 9 in Reading. When you leave nothing to chance, THIS is what happens!
When Josphine took first place in our monthly IELTS Results competition, in her winner’s interview she shared her story and some great IELTS tips:
“Living in a country where English is not a native language, I was quite pessimistic about the IELTS exam, as I heard many weren’t able to get through it and in certain categories some points were lost, resulting in a lower overall score.
So I began my plan by analyzing myself and I started to practice in listening and speaking first, knowing that those were my stronger areas. Thereafter I began working on my writing skills and reading.
As I had to do both Academic and General IELTS, I did the General exam first …. and by some divine grace I got an overall 7.5, but still my writing was 6.5 and reading 7, while my speaking and listening were both above 8.
So I knew that in order to get a good score in the Academic test, I must focus more on reading and writing. These 2 skills are assessed differently in the Academic test compared to General.
The top tip I used to get a high score in speaking was watching documentaries and BBC news stories, from which I learnt different synonyms. Usually in speaking if we repeat the same words we might lose marks, so we need to use different words that have the same meaning.
For writing, it was always best to practice with a timer so that we know how well we are improving. The tip here is to do Writing Task 2 first – the one with the essay – as it holds more marks and is more influential on our final grade when compared to Writing Task 1 of both academic and general. So if we are relaxed and have spent more time on Task 2, we surely can get higher marks for Writing overall.
In Writing Task 1 in General Training, you will need to write a letter that starts with ‘Dear Sir/ Madam…’. The main tip here is to address all the bullet points in the task prompt – they need to be elaborately explained in the letter.
For Writing Task 1 in the Academic test, practice questions with tables, diagrams, bar charts, pie charts. Give an introduction with just one or two sentences paraphrasing the question itself. Then, in the body, try to explain the significant trends seen, and in conclusion try to summarize all points given in the body, always refrain from giving your own opinion.
For reading, once again practice with a timer, use highlighter or underlining methods when doing mock tests as it will train you to face the final exam with more confidence, this is how I got 9 in that area.
Finally, for listening, make some quiet time and do the mock tests within a certain time limit, don’t stop and rewind the recording, even if you missed one answer. Just go ahead with it and at the end see what you have missed, when you correct the answers yourself using the answer key. Take a minimum of 1 week to practice this way and you will surely gain more marks with time and notice your improvement.
Lastly, I would encourage everyone to try and find the most comfortable way for them to take the exam, be it on paper or on the computer. This is because when you feel comfortable, your confidence too rises, which will definitely help you to secure top scores. I hope that my tips helped you all, good luck on your upcoming exams and I hope you all score your destined results.
Thank you IELTS-Blog.com for the opportunity and for choosing me as a top scorer in the month of February in both categories. What this blog is doing here for IELTS applicants is truly revolutionary.”
We would like to thank Josphine for her tips and wish her a lot of success in everything she does!