And I got a Band 9. Woot?!
It’s like, the highest band one could get for IELTS. (o_O)
A totally unexpected result. My friends, who had to endure my whining for the past two weeks, were itching to bop me on the head. My best friend certainly wanted to kill me because I didn’t believe her reassurances – thank God she’s in Scotland.
But seriously, I only had a week to prepare, and even then I had to struggle to squeeze in time as I had an incredibly tight deadline at work that week. So, really, it was a very unexpected for me! I literally yelped in surprise when I saw the marks!
My results breakdown:
Listening – 8.5, Reading – 9, Speaking – 9, Writing – 8.5
For those planning to take the general training IELTS for migration (you can’t take the Academic version), here are some things I learned from sitting for the IELTS:
1. Because you need to be alert and attentive for your Listening exam, it’s best not to eat a high GI, carbo-rich breakfast as it tends to make you sluggish and dull your brain (it does for me anyway). I ate an omelette with mushrooms.
2. Read the instructions carefully! When I took the practice tests for Listening, I lost points because I didn’t read the instructions carefully. When they say “use only one to three words”, they mean it!
3. Take the free practice tests available online. Here’s one for listening, which was tougher than the one I got during my exam. I spent about six hours doing these tests until I got all of them right.
4. For Writing, make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Also, break up your essay in a few paragraphs, and make sure each paragraph has one idea/point.
5. Reading – because time is of the essence, to enable you the check your answers later, underline the necessary parts in the essay that answers the question. For example, I will underline a line in the essay that answers question 8 with the no.8. Then, I would return to that portion later to recheck.
6. For the Listening bit, it’s vital to come up with a strategy to help you answer the questions. You have about a minute or two to peruse the questions before the audio is played. What I did was underline and try to memorise necessary key words such as time, colour of bag etc. That way, your mind would look out for the answers when the audio is played.
7. For Speaking – just be yourself, and try not to be nervous. (Yeah, easier said than done.) Try using a wide range of vocabulary, but make sure you use it right!
8. Read. A lot. This will help you improve your vocabulary.
9. Sometimes they ask you really weird questions during the Speaking exam; I think it’s not whether you have the right answer that counts, but the way you answer it that matters most. Just be natural and relax… oh yeah, don’t mumble. Make sure your words are clear so that the examiner can understand you.
It’s fortunate that my job enables me to utilise all four skills needed to pass the IELTS.
Listening is a very essential skill in my line of work – I have to both listen and record what the person said accurately, often at the same time. Writing and reading? Well, since they’re both my hobbies … they’re not exactly work. And speaking? I guess I’m luckier than most from non-English speaking countries as I was raised in a home where we spoke English. Okay, English mixed with Chinese.
But one thing that I helped me lots is watching TV. I watch so much US shows that I’ve inadvertently developed a slight American accent. (-_-“)
One of the things you need to do before sitting for the IELTS Listening exam is to get used to the accents used. Apparently, the Iranian guy sitting next to me said that IDP Australia’s IELTS exam was tougher because he couldn’t figure out the Aussie accents. I had no problems with the crisp, English accents in the British Council audio clips. So, some actually say that the British Council one is easier to do. But don’t take my word for it!
I was really glad the exam was over.
Unfortunately, the British Council f**ked up my birth date (which is why I couldn’t access my results online, grr!) and I had to get them to reissue me another cert. And that’s after messing up my ID no. Twice.
I glared at the British Council dude and told him that if they mess up my results and give me a cert that says “Band 6”, I would positively murder someone.