Shortly after we contacted the winners of IELTS results competition in December 2011, many of them replied and sent their advice, to help people taking the IELTS exam in 2012. The tips below came from Karishma Singh, an Indian IELTS test taker who prepared at home and scored Band 8.
“Even though I did not practice too many listening tests, I do know for one, that the questions of a section sometimes carry over to the next page – hence turn over the page and CHECK while the tape is being played to avoid any missed questions. By the time I turned over, there were two more questions in that section but as the tape had stopped I had no choice but to guess.
The reading tests may be a little challenging for people like me who have concentration lapses. Hence, I practiced reading tests under exam conditions for about 2 weeks, only to improve my focus skills. Instead of the official 20 minutes, I kept my target at 15 minutes for each section.
Do not spend too much time on writing task one. The writing task 2 gets you more marks and also requires more analysis and presentation. Hence make sure you stick to the 20 minutes – 40 minutes rule for writing task 1 and 2 respectively. As I learnt the bitter way, it will sure affect your writing score.
For the speaking, all I can suggest is every single day, ask your friend to give you a topic and speak on it for about 5 minutes in front of him/her without drawling, keeping a moderate tone. Its the only way to improve. Read 4 new words every day and try using them in everyday talk. Under exam conditions, one can get really nervous but the key to the entire exam is to be calm and not let any of it get to your head.
I had enrolled to sit the exam 22 days before the test date so I was really nervous. I also went through IELTS-blog.com writing practice material and they sure provided me a good idea of the patterns and format I was expected to use. Do them regularly, they are fantastic.”