My self-preparation for IELTS has improved my skills in searching useful materials, enhanced my English grammar into certain level, gained a connection with peers and IELTS community online.
International English Testing System, popularly known as IELTS, is one of the reputable tests for examining English proficiency to pursue study abroad (Acedemic test) or migration (General test). Read through the website, the frequency of testing is surprisingly high (4 times in a month).
I sat for the Academic tests on 19 September 2015 (Saturday) at Riverfront Hotel Ipoh, Malaysia. A month before the test, I was lucky enough to register all four sections (listening, reading, writing, and speaking) to be taken on the same day. Anyway, the cost of sitting this test was quite expensive as RM750 due to the fall in the Malaysia’s Ringgit.
Basic format and exercises for the test provided by the British Council could be downloaded on the official website http://www.ielts.org/. Prior to the test, I found there are abundance of learning materials for the test. Some successful candidates also shared their experiences and questions they got during the test which really helped me to get familiar with the test format. If you’re interested about how I prepare for the test, you can read it here IELTS 5 Steps.
Listening: Just play once
It took me about three weeks to focus on studying these online materials. The part that worried me a lot was listening as the conversation would only be played once during the test (Gosh~ objective questions were killing me especially when all choices ended with long sentences. So, I read the questions and highlighted keywords as fast as I could, listened to the script and jotted down keywords as many as I wish…)
Thank god, there is also a bunch of listening exercises free for me to explore and practice on YouTube. I was exposed to different kinds of questions such as fill in the blanks and questions with closed answer. Multitasking would be hard for me during listening tests. I noticed that scanning all questions, focusing on listening and jotting down key words greatly improved my scores during practices. Detailed post: IELTS listening test
Speaking: Just speak once
When it came to speaking part, since I left not much time for it, so I watched some speaking mock tests on YouTube. It was great for me to minimize some basic errors, particularly on pronunciations and grammars. For non native speaker, tendency to translate sentences from mother tongue into English is obviously an obstacle leads to miscommunication. But this could be overcome by listening questions carefully and answer them steadily (keep it precise, short, and sweet as every question has a time limit). Practice makes perfect~ Detailed post: IELTS speaking test, thanks to a friend who recommended IELTS Cue Card for speaking practice.
Writing: Follow the rules
The writing part was tricky as we must follow exactly the format and what to write in the first, second and third paragraphs, particularly for Part I. I just practiced writing using questions given on the internet. As Part II covers a wide range of aspects, so I did a lot of practice on vocabulary and drafting to express my ideas more precise and understandable. Detailed post: IELTS writing test
Reading: Study question first
The passages are 1 to 2 pages long and comprises a variety of topics ranged from social sciences to sciences. Reading these daunting passages could make one frustrated, especially when there are too many scientific jargon in the paragraphs. Thumb of rules is read the question and highlight keywords before start reading the whole passage. Detailed post: IELTS reading test