I appeared for my IELTS exam on 8th June, 2013 through British Council. After preparing for about 45 days, I finally decided to take the test. I used IELTS 5,6,7 & 8 books to prepare for the exam, These official books are the best source of information.Listening
- Practice as much as you can. Whenever you get any questions wrong, go back and listen that part again. This helps you to avoid mistakes in future. Mark questions only on the basis of what you listen. I find section 4 the easiest as I rarely lose out in this section.
On the exam, I made a few mistakes in the first section and lost concentration in the middle of second section. This might have got me a few questions wrong.Reading
- Again practice is the key to success. Don't analyse too much while practising. Just focus on what is given in the passage. Infer very little. Try to complete all the three passages in 1 hour straight. Focus on accuracy first, then improve on the timings.
On the exam, I was very much concerned about my accuracy, which costed me at the end. I had to mark the last 3 questions in less than a minute as the time was over. So, accuracy and timing both play an important role.Writing
- This was my weak part. I did a lot of writing practice, which helped me get a decent band, but not a 7 as I was expecting. To improve on this section, practice is a must. Apart from that, the most important thing is to understand the marking scheme of the IELTS examiners by looking at sample answers and examiner's comment for that essay. You can also try to rate your essay based on the sample essays given in the passage.
On the exam, I received the essay which I had done in some other form while practising back home. Though I was able to complete the essay on time, I couldn't revise it.Speaking
- Please do not ignore this section as I have seen many people doing this. The best way to practice this section is to switch on the recording button on your phone and record your answer responses to the questions from the IELTS book. I did all the speaking tests from IELTS 7 & 8. After recording your responses, listen to the recording. Check for the timing as it is very crucial. Moreover, avoid grammatical mistakes while speaking and avoid stammering if possible.
On the exam, in the first part I was asked about my home and family. In the second part, I was asked to speak on a toy which I enjoyed playing in my childhood. Though I framed an artificial response, I could speak only for about 2 minutes. I thing the examiner was expecting more from me. In the third part, I was asked questions about more in depth questions from the same topic. It went fairly well.
The IELTS exam bands are allotted out of 9. My target score was at least a 7 band in each section, with a overall band of 7. I needed an overall 7 band to be eligible to apply to the college of my choice.
Below are my actual scores:
Listening - 8.5
Reading - 7.5
Writing - 6.5
Speaking - 7
Overall - 7.5
When I saw my result, 7.5 overall, I was very excited. Although listening and reading bands were a bit beyond my expectation, writing band disappointed me as I was expecting a 7 or 7.5 after practising so much in this section. But, I decided not to retake the test as this score would be sufficient for me to get admission in the college of my choice.Best of luck for your exam!!!
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My IELTS 7.5 Experience
From 540 to 640...Done with GMAT!!!