By Alon Calinao Dy: The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) tests all four language skills- listening, reading, writing and speaking. Candidates can choose either Academic or General Training. Registering for IELTS exam, you need the following requirements: 2 passport-sized photographs, original/photocopy of passport, payment, and fill up the application form.
You’ve probably heard different testimonies from people about their secrets of success in IELTS, but my story unfolds the blueprints: how I did well in my exam in just twelve days of preparation.
IELTS for me is like a nightmare. If you haven’t read my previous article “Conquering Fear,” then I recommend it for you to take a look. It says there about my struggle with IELTS in 2007.
I know IELTS is tough at the beginning, but you’ll get over it. I understand the feeling you’ve done everything, but it’s not enough to succeed. Yes, the pride that says I don’t deserve this because I study seriously. You’re not alone in that sentiment. I said many times before the phrase “I got it,” but then I was heartbroken when I’ve found out I didn’t meet my expectations.
My friend, it’s not the end of the world, I assure you that. You can be successful too like me, or much better than me. All you’ve got to do is pray to God for enlightenment and believe in yourself that you can actually make it. For instance, if you hear criticism from someone else, don’t take it personally. Try to ameliorate yourself as much as possible and be positive all the time.
Twelve days prior to my examination day, I phoned an examiner if she could be my personal tutor for speaking; I’d just pay for her service. But she refused and informed me she couldn’t help me with my poor English accent.
She further added, “You should have corrected it the time you began learning the language.”
Then I asked her, “Is it possible to achieve a band score of 7 in speaking?”
She answered, “Yes, but you have less chance of success.” Instead of being annoyed after our conversation, I didn’t get upset. I even thanked her for her honest opinion.
On the following day, I told myself I would consider her remark as a challenge. I knew it was less than two weeks before my exam. But still, I could accomplish many things within this time frame. So every day, I tuned in to BBC radio and ESL podcast by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse. I often talked to myself alone in front of the mirror, pondering all possible topics from the interviewer.
On Oct. 12, 2013, I took the test. I was so excited that day because I’ve waited for this opportunity. I knew I could pull it off. During the interview, the examiner was so nice to me. I started talking as much as I could and felt good about myself. The entire interview lasted for eleven minutes and went well. He then told me to wait after 13 days for the final result.
After the allotted time, I verified my IELTS score on the Internet. To my big surprise, I received 7 in speaking and 7 overall. Now, I’m so happy because I can renew my Visa Screen Certificate as a professional nurse in the US; It’s really worth a try because I’ve conquered my fear once again. I trust myself when no one is believing in me except my family and our Lord Jesus Christ.
My friend – I made it, and I believe you can do it as well!
1. In listening, always read the instructions first. Some say this is the easiest part in IELTS, but I think it’s complicated because you’ll find matching exercises, a variety of accents, filling in spaces, completing information, etc. However, doing daily exercises will sharpen your ears in the long run.
2. In reading, always read the instructions first. Don’t spend too much time in one question when it’s difficult to grasp an idea. Skip it and answer other questions. Apply your scanning and skimming techniques. Look for the keywords and understand what you’re reading. Don’t cheat when doing exercises. In real IELTS, you’ll not be given any extra time.
3. In writing, write eligibly. Read the questions carefully and follow the instructions. Make sure you avoid repetitive words. For instance, if you use the word “important,” don’t use it again in the following sentence. You can use its synonyms “essential” to show your reader that you have a wide range of vocabulary.
In task 1, you need to write at least 150 words; in task 2, you have to reach 250 words in order not to lose marks. Focus on task 2 because it has more score than task 1. You have to finish the test in one hour.
4. In speaking, I think this is the most difficult part in IELTS. Every now and then, you hear from your mentor that you must be confident at all times. The truth is, it’s easy to say, yet difficult to do, right?
Before going to an interview, you must be prepared. Constant practice is helpful in developing self-confidence. It also increases your chance of getting a good mark in the exam. Because no matter how you condition yourself, in an actual interview, you’ll still feel nervous. That’s just a natural occurrence. But you could build faith in oneself through daily practice. You just have to show your examiner you’re ready to get it done. Remember, the more you talk, the less likely the questions from your interviewer.
Sometimes, you speak very fast and make a lot of errors. Better if you can talk slowly and clearly, so that you have time to think and check your grammar. For example, if you’ve made a mistake, try to correct it immediately to give your interviewer a good impression that you’re aware what you’re saying. Also, check for the tense of all the questions before answering. Respond accordingly and don’t fall into the IELTS trap. Be smarter than your interviewer.
My IELTS story was posted to several websites -- Rizalhenyo, Good Interview Answers, buzzle.com, Filipino Nurses, Ezine Articles, and others. Make sure you ask permission first or give me credit as a sole author of this article.