If you are wondering whether self-preparation can get you IELTS Band 7 or higher, the answer is YES, and here comes the proof. Today we would like you to meet a person who prepared for IELTS completely on his own. He didn’t take any courses, didn’t attend any classes and didn’t have any tutors. Manzoor Ahmed is 23 years old, lives in Pakistan and his first language is Urdu. He got IELTS Band 7.5 with two 8’s for Listening and Reading, and consequently joined the list of winners of our IELTS Results competition. Here is what he said in his winner’s interview:
“My name is Manzoor Ahmed and I got an Overall Band Score of 7.5 in my first attempt. I didn’t join any center or institute for preparation. I did not ask for anyone’s help. I didn’t even practice my writing nor did I work much on my speaking. But I worked really, really hard on the sections which are very important and which can actually help you get a high band score, namely listening and reading.
Practice, practice and practice your reading and listening skills! In order to do so, first of all you need to familiarize yourself with the skills that are tested in listening and reading sections. Once you have the idea about the skills then you would know how to approach the given tasks in the IELTS exam. I can’t emphasize this enough – do as many practice tests as possible. Practice your listening through loudspeakers and avoid using headphones. Listen to different accents to familiarize yourself with many accents that you might hear during the test.
For reading, I would advise you to read articles or random paragraphs in order to improve timing. When it comes to reading, time is your worst enemy. Improve your timing/reading skills by taking as many mock tests as possible. Reading and listening sections of the IELTS exams can either make you or break you. Practice them as much as you can.
Now, as far as writing is concerned, you need to concentrate on the task given, and complete it accurately. I didn’t practice writing much, but it doesn’t mean you should not. Try to include a wide range of vocabulary and use the words correctly. Use punctuation. Use tenses. And never stray off topic. Read articles to understand coherence.
In the Speaking test give an extended answer. Don’t limit it to just the information they have asked, but try to add a little more. Answer accurately, always. In part 2 of this section, when you are asked to speak on a topic at length, and given time to make notes then use this opportunity and make notes, in form of bullets, and use them. Also try to keep eye contact when you speak and it is very important that you keep on speaking until the examiner asks you to stop. In the 3rd part of this section, answer the questions accurately and to the point, while extending your answers.
Personally, I would advise you not to panic, stay calm. When I was taking the test, it was my first, I had no idea how it is going to go down and I was feeling quite nervous, but even then I tried to stay calm and concentrated on the test. There are going to be a lot of distractions, so try to pay no attention to them. Don’t go hungry or sleepy in the test, and if you need to use the bathroom then go and relieve yourself before the test. Stay focused and sharp and remember what you have practiced.
Remember these little things and you will get a good band score. Best of luck!”