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IELTS exam in Hamburg, Germany – November 2008 (Academic Module), part 2

This is the rest of it – IELTS in Hamburg, Germany (Academic module).

Reading test

Tip: Write the answer immediately on the answer sheet, NOT in the booklet. You will lose time doing otherwise. You are NOT allowed to bring your pen, pencils are provided as well as erasers.

It is better to write at least something than nothing, even if you are unsure. Rather mark the section where you are unsure than leave it out, and go back to it later when you have time. However, I found it difficult to go back to a section I wasn’t sure about, as the articles were completely different.

Even though I had “drawn” a map and underlined words and stuff, I wasn’t into the content anymore and therefore I think it cost me time to get into again instead of taking a deep breath and think 10 second longer about it instead of moving on. I am sure other people have a different opinion on this, so this I only my very personal opinion.

Summing up, my major problem was concentration. You need to be able to work under time pressure. The instructor will let you know EXACTLY how much time you have still, as she is saying: “Now, you have left 40 minutes, Now you have left 20 minutes, 10 and 5.” Don’t bother to focus on your watch, as I have been told before. This DID cost me time.

And, I found that in my case, the first text was the most difficult one. I sure did practice to read a lot but I must admit that vocabulary and style was quite difficult and explicit- in case I will have to repeat the test I will definitely read more scientific texts and articles, and something off newspapers and magazines like Times, or Newsweek. Again: this is my personal view. But, in fact, all three articles were scientific.

Writing test

For this you get a pen from the instructor.

Task 1 (report)
A bar graph comparing expenses on entertainment, food and restaurants&hotels by UK citizens in 2004, being compared in 5 age groups.

I guess it was OK but I spent too much time on it and I am already sure I made some mistakes in tenses, such as present tense and past tense.

Task 2 (Essay)
Today a lot of different cultures and ethnic groups live together in one country. Why is this so and do you think this is a positive or negative development?

I guess I did well enough on that one. I had a lot of practice on both the report and essay, and find it fairly easy by now. There is a pattern you have to follow using all these wanted linking words, such as furthermore, moreover, however, although, while, whereas, whilst, despite, finally and so on, so you can pretty much practice this. The only thing is that I still dont know if you get penalty for writing too much. Due to the limited time I had I didnt pay attention to how many words I wrote approximately.

Here I do think that enough practice in advance is the key. But again: I only practiced the “real-time” situation only once, doing both tasks within 60 minutes, and I am sure I should have done that more often.

Speaking test

This was fairly easy. And very quick. It is over in no time. You come in, exchange friendly phrases such as: “How are you” and so on and the examiner tells you about the procedure. He then starts the recording I am not sure if this was a test but in the beginning he said: today is November 18th, 2008, so I said, “Excuse me, but today is November 15th, not 18th” Anyway, he then asked me to give my full name and where I was from.

He asked me about my city, what kind it was, special features, what I like about it. It is funny, I always answered immediately and after about 2 sentences he interrupts you and asks something else.

He then told me I should talk for 1-2 minutes on this topic, he gave me a card where the topic was: seasons: favorite season, what weather conditions are like, what I like to do in that season and why it is my favorite. I could take notes but I chose not to and started immediately.

He then asked me, what different jobs there might be in different climatic regions, and what jobs I think refer to seasons and whether I think concern about climate change around the world in appropriate and what I would recommend to do against it. I told him and then he said: thank you and good bye.”

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