Archive for the ‘Academic IELTS’ Category

IELTS: Overall Band 7.5

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

So, two months of preparation to academic IELTS, endless paper copies of practice tests, countless writing samples and finally, his majesty IELTS exam. It was almost as expected, no surprises, except for not being able to go to toilet (oh, you can, but during the tasks and at your own time expense). How silly is that?

The results came two weeks later as promised.  I was shooting for Overall Band 7.0, but was highly impressed by getting Overall 7.5. So, I have:

Listening 7.5

Reading 7.5

Writing 8.0

Speaking 6.5

It is highly respectable result, except for speaking, which, unfortunately, does not reflect the actual speaking ability.

IELTS: how to get a better result. Part two

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Writing

It was for me the easiest part of the exam. I was practicing by writing some samples and made sure that the timing is right, so I have got exactly enough time to finish both tasks.

It should be noticed that for the first task you need to decide on a “time stamp”, either something happened in the past (Past Indefinite), continued in the past (Past Continues) or is going on nowadays (Present Indefinite).  It is also important to use different variations of numbers: 25 can be a quarter, 24 can be “almost a quarter” and 35 is a third and so on. It is important to write how something has changed: steadily, climbed, diminished, fluctuated, escalated and so on.

The second writing task is worth twice as much points as the first one and it is crucial to practice it beforehand.  There should be introduction paragraph, conclusion paragraph and about three paragraphs in the middle. It is highly important to use sophisticated language and extensive vocabulary in order to achieve a high mark as well as using idioms.

Speaking

I guess speaking part of IELTS exam is the trickiest and the least predictable among all of units. You may need to be lucky to get questions which will be suitable for using extensive vocabulary. Despite the fact that among all the units the speaking was the easiest for me due to the fact that I use it in my day-to-day life the mark I received for it for the lowest. You need to be concentrated and make sure you use long grammatical constructions, passive, idioms and impressive vocabulary.

IELTS: how to get a better result. Part one

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Ok, I finally passed Academic IELTS and now is a good time to remember what has been done.

Firstly, Listening.

Somehow I felt it is the hardest part of the exam for me.  You need not only to listen carefully and understand what is going on but to make sure that your spelling is correct. That way if you heard a word “viewpoint” it should be written as one word only. “View point” or “view-point” is not going to positively count.

The names of streets or towns are confusing sometimes too.  In my practice tests, for instance, I heard “Self Park Road” instead of “South Park Road” and so on. Maximum concentration is necessary during all listening part for sure.

It is helpful just to practice numbers, proper names, as well as be aware that if there is a sign % or $ you should not put it on your answer sheet, again the answer will not be count.

Make sure you read the questions. If it is written “no more than two words” than writing three is a mistake. How simple is that?

I found it very useful not only for listening but also for a speaking part to listen to podcasts. My favorite was a BBC Podcast Women’s Hour. It is not only one of the most interesting ones to listen to but very helpful for improving the academic speaking and vocabulary .

Reading

Reading is probably the hardest unit of the exam. IELTS texts are often organized that way that in order to answer the questions you should look for synonyms in the text as the whole sentence could be structured with synonyms in order to confuse you. Practice makes perfect here as well.

Special attention should be dedicated to the questions True, False, Not Given. They are often tricky to answer and there is a fine line sometimes, is the text only implies something or actually say.

English Idioms

Monday, November 1st, 2010

In order to get a score of 6.5 and higher is IELTS it would be very helpful to know at least a few idiomatic expressions, something like “A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush” or ” the world is my oyster”. It takes a lot of effort to implement these idioms in daily conversation or simply in everyday life but it is worth it and it is also fun.

So, here is the list of my favorite expressions:

A Piece of Cake

Blue Moon

Couching Potato

A Whale of a Time

Go Back To Square One

Throw Caution to the Wind

Play with Fire

Tip of one’s Tongue

Hmmm…

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Ok, the rule number ONE in order to successfully pass IELTS exam is to find a really GOOD teacher who would know the test from inside out and could give some small tips and generally be of a great help. The rule number TWO is even more important – do NOT choose a teacher who will not turn up for the second lesson.

Anyway it is what has happened to me already twice in a month, the teachers who were supposed to teach me could only take one lesson  leaving me completely confused by not turning up for the second one and never called me back either…

Why do tutors of English leave me?

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

It is a little bit over a month left until my IELTS exam and today my tutor of English has suddenly left me or I should say ignored the lesson by not turning up for it and not even answering my call. I guess it is my fate; it was a second teacher in less than a month who simply left me with all my fears and doubts about the ability to pass the IELTS. It is good that at least I have a backup; I also go to a special course of English for those who decided to take the IELTS.

the goal is 7.0!

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Ok It has been a while since I visited my own web-site, I am ashamed and embarrassed but in my defense I should mention that there were so many events happened that it was not easy to find an opportunity to write.  I know it does not mean that I am forgiven so I will try to keep my “mini-life” updated.

My new goal is 7.0! What is it you will ask?

It is an acceptable result of academic IELTS I am eager to get. I even got a timer (check it out in the left corner) and the countdown has started. I only have 40 days left to prepare for my first exam in last 3 years.  I have already forgotten what studying is so it is a good time for me to remember.