I am delighted to share with you the tips we received from Lalit, one of our IELTS results competition winners in July 2011.
“Hi Simone and friends,
It’s a great pleasure to have been selected as a winner of the competition of IELTS scores.
Your blog is doing a great job in helping all those who are preparing for the terrifying (many times) IELTS. I wrote it twice – the first time was two years back. Now I took it again, since the validity of my previous result expired. Got 6.5 in speaking this time, but increased to 7.0 by remarking, the overall score was 7.5: Listening 7.5, Reading 7.5, Writing 7.5, Speaking 7.0 after remarking.
– There are no shortcuts except a bit of luck, which is not in our hands anyway.
Treat it like a game – you know how much you normally get in the Listening and Reading, so try to score 0.5 Band higher than your target. If your target is 7.0, you should get 7.5 when you prepare at home.
– I don’t believe in a large number of attempts. You should rather spend that money on good coaching. If you are a first timer or your English is below average, allow for 3 months of preparation. I have many friends taking the test 5 times and still getting a 5.5, which shows that lack of preparation can not be compensated for by multiple attempts.
– Think that you will take it only ONCE, and won’t have any more attempts. I said to myself that I will shave my head if I get less than 7.0! Between you and me, I didn’t, despite my 6.5 in speaking 🙂 But the point is such promise will make you study with vigor.
– I found “Ace the IELTS” a very good and simple book to follow.
– For writing and speaking you need an expert’s advice who can tell your range of score by a sample writing or speaking. Work based on his/her suggestions. In my experience no self help works for Writing and Speaking. Don’t attempt an exam unless you obtain a mark from your coach in speaking and writing, that is consistent with your target score.
– Don’t take anything lightly: I thought I could do well easily in speaking, but I could not.
– To be good at writing you need to master in every aspect of it: spelling, punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, even word count.
– Practice tests should be done under time limits, preferably daily. You should work on your faults, and learn where you usually make mistakes. You can find out how much you will get in a real exam, if you do practice tests properly, including speaking – record a sample, and show it to an expert.
– Don’t practice the same tests again and again, because that way you really don’t challenge yourself. Collect and do more tests.
– Find and practice your problematic question types – do one type of questions for half a day or a day, to master the areas where you are weak.
– Finally – there is no point in thinking, thinking and thinking, JUST DO IT, and enjoy.”