IELTS is International English Language Testing System. IELTS is one of the mandatory requirements for a nurse if he/she is planning to migrate to an European Country/Canada/Australia. IELTS Academic is considered as a tough one and many people even hesitate to take IELTS and go for OET – Occupational English Test. I am sharing in this blog post about how to tackle IELTS Academic Test and get a good result.
Note – This is from my own experience and the opinions stated is strictly personal. You are free to take the advice or just discard it.
My name is Mr. Lalson Gregory and am a staff nurse at NIMHANS Bangalore. I had taken IELTS Academic exam on July 20th 2017. It would be my pleasure to share with you something that i have learnt after taking IELTS Academic and getting a good result of L – 7.5, R – 8.5, W – 7 and S – 7. I studied in an ordinary school till my higher secondary education (Not CBSE/ICSE) and pursued BSc Nursing from Govt College of Nursing, Thrissur, Kerala.
Whenever you take IELTS academic/general, Listening will be a frightening experience unless or untill you are frequently conversing with English speaking people that too ‘Good’ English speaking people. For Indians its very difficult to find somebody who speaks very good English. I will tell you what i did to improve my Listening skills,
1. If you are registering for IELTS exam, they will send you a practice booklet which will be having a cd containing audio clips and 8 listening tests. First and foremost you should definitely do all the exercises atleast 2 times if possible. Its because, those practice test will be little harder one than the real audio clip they are going to play for your IELTS exam. You can also learn different patterns of listening questionnaire.
2. Watch some good english movies (NB – Not action movies) and listen to soft english music with lyrics (You can obtain it in Youtube).
3. It is told that one can retain their concentration only for first 20 minutes. I think because of the same reason, British Council/IDP have made Listening as first test of IELTS during your exam. So its important you should enter exam hall in with calmness and peace of mind. You should reach your center atleast 20 minutes before exam.
4. Don’t forget to check your head phones properly before attempting listening, as i have seen many people changing their head phones before taking test.
5. Overall, i should say that whatever vocabulary you have, LISTENING is fully dependent on CONCENTRATION. Try to practice meditation, if possible (I have not tried). Luck is also a small factor in Listening section.
IELTS Reading consist of 3 big essays, which you have to read and answer twisted questions within one hour. So in total, you should divide 20 x 3 minutes for 3 essays. You should definitely keep time to complete reading successfully. Here are the things which i did to improve my Reading skills,
1. Try to read Hindu News paper Editorial every day. You will improve your vocabulary as well as your reading skills. If you have a smartphone you can download a news app and read about whatever you have particular interest. For eg. if you have interest in politics, sports, health, lifestyle etc try to read long interesting articles related to it. This you can do even if you are working, travelling or before sleeping too. (I have tried this).
2. One method that some candidates are using is looking at the questions related to passage first and then reading it fully. I personally don’t like this method, but i would advise if you are confident about it.
3. Before going for exam, you should practice atleast the 8 reading tests in practice booklet provided to you. You should do it in time. Otherwise you cannot complete the real test in 60 minutes. In my experience, Reading was quite difficult when compared to those given in practice booklet provided to me. But, somehow i managed to do it.
IELTS Writing contains two tasks ie Task 1 and Task 2
Task one might be a graph, pie chart, flow chart, procedure etc to write in 150 words.. Task two will be to write an essay in 250 words.
In my experience, Task one you should take seriously with same importance of Task 2. Few points i have noted regarding IELTS Writing Task One,
1. Don’t write more than 150 words. It is very strict. You will lose mark if you do so.
2. It should have 3 sections ie An introduction, An overall Statement, Then an ending paragaraph.
3. There is no need of a conclusion paragraph in Task One(Please don’t do it)
About the 3 sections of Task 1
Lets take an eg. of a line graph, In introduction just restate the question with some good words, In overall statement, you can highlight a major point that you have found out after depicting the graph and in the ending paragraph just highlight the differences or similarities you have seen through. This is enough for an IELTS task one writing.
You can learn through free apps available in play store – Just search IELTS Writing. Also learn via Youtube. There is a channel call ‘IELTS UP Online Lessons’. I personally found it very useful.
For task 2 you can read how different essays are answered in ‘IELTS Buddy’ app in Play store. This will give a general idea. Its important you should show off some of your vocabulary skills in task 2. It doesnt matter if you don’t have many ideas, but you should state your point in nice words. Actually, I had learnt some link words, show off words etc and used it abundantly in my writing. Finally it worked.
In my experience, i felt speaking as a 20 minutes confidence test. If you are confident, your have passed 70 % of your speaking test. But it is advised that you should be prepared about some of these before appearing for speaking,
1. A brief good introduction about yourself (Stating your origin, family, place of birth etc)
2. Some common questions like your favourite movie, music, song, car, place etc
3. If you get a chance to speak about why you are taking IELTS exam, don’t ever miss it. It makes your examiner aware of where you are planning to go? What is your profession? and How much score you need?) – “I have tried this”.
4. In the 2 minutes non stop session, please not down atleast 10 points you will speak about the topic given to you. Just mix the topic with your experience, that will make you more confident to speak about it.
5. Be frank to examiner. If you don’t know anything about the question they are asking, just surrender? Don’t boast off.
6. You can use “Honestly speaking, To be frank, In my opinion etc” to start your reply. This will give you time to think before answering.
7. Calmness and peace of mind should be there before taking your speaking test. Arrive atleast half an hour before at the venue and drink a sip of water before entering the examiner room.
8. Respect the examiner.
All the things that i have stated above is purely my personal opinion after attempting an IELTS test.
One more thing i will say in this regard, i personally never felt any need for IELTS Training. I just took one IELTS test a month before, which had given me W – 6, R – 8, L – 7, S – 7. I also gained insight about my weaknesses while giving IELTS exam. After i got the result i immediately sat for next test within 2 weeks time. So if you are confident, you can attempt a practice IELTS test and then go for your real test next time.
Now a days everything ie all materials for learning/preparing for IELTS is available online both in Playstore and Internet. Try to use all available resources before attempting one.
I personally don’t feel that there is any difference in selecting IELTS venue. I have given both of my IELTS Academic Test in Bangalore and am pretty much satisfied with my results.
I took IDP IELTS Exam and not British Council one. Some people say that British council IELTS is more easy of which i don’t know.
To conclude, if you are attempting IELTS more than anything your Concentration and Confidence matters very much when compared to all other factors.
Thank you for reading my opinions/viewpoints and please do give a share with your friends who are preparing for IELTS. May somebody benefit from this article.
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