Tips for IELTS

7:35 AM

After two weeks of preparation, I can finally heave a sigh of relief. However, I have yet to know of my result. Hopefully I will not have to resit as RM 630 is a hefty sum!
Here goes a not so professional MOfrust's guide to IELTS.

Why IELTS

I took the academic module as I plan to get a Sir title from the Queen of England in the future (not really!). You may also sign up for the academic module if you intend to do advanced studies in the UK, Australia or Canada. At the time of writing, the test module cost RM 630. In April 2015, the price is expected to increase in tandem with the introduction of GST. You may register for the test via The British Council or IDP. I registered with IDP as the waiting list is not as long as The British Council. I had to be book at least a month in advance if I were to take the test at The British Council.

Preparation

The MOST IMPORTANT piece of advice is this; treat it as an exam. IT IS DIFFICULT...if you aim to get a decent mark. At first I thought, fried peanuts (kacang goreng) only this one. But after going through this book;


....my confidence level just shattered into pieces. I must thank (future) Dr. SIR Overrated for lending me this book. Without it I would have just walked into the exam hall with 100% confidence that I can speak the Queen's English when in fact I would be doomed. To be frank, I don't think native English speakers can pass this test with flying colours. It is really exam oriented and you just have to stick to the questions. Videos on Youtube definitely helped. So as the test drive questions from Road to IELTS. Please go through the tutorials given.





Exam Day

The test has FOUR components; Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. My speaking test was held a day earlier.

1. Speaking

If you think you can speak English 'just fine'....it doesn't guarantee good marks. The first question asked about your background. Do remember to NOT sembang kosong. Stick to the question.

A good answer to "Where are you from?" would be; "I am from Ipoh, Perak around two hours away from here"

A not so good and sembang kosong answer is:

"I am from Ipoh, Perak. You know, the place where they have a lot of leng loi-s and leng chai-s. Michelle Yeoh is from there you know!"

The examiners are very strict with the time allocation. So jawab cukup cukup makan only.

My kantoi part was for the question;

"Tell me about a FRIEND with good LEADERSHIP capabilities. You have TWO minutes to prepare and TWO minutes to present."

I silap by mentioning a friend who happened to be a BOSS with good leadership skills. BOSS and FRIEND don't really mix! What was worse, I spoke really fast and completed everything in less than two minutes and had to oooohhh, ahhhh like a monkey.

The last part was just a discussion on some issues pertaining to leadership. I just goreng everything until hangit!

2. Listening

I would definitely recommend

THOU SHALL NOT DRINK CAFFEINE BEFORE TAKING THIS TEST

I did exactly that! I drank a big cup of Cappucino half an hour before the test. And boy, I suffered. In this test you just have to pay really close attention to the recording. It is filled with trick questions and you need to be familiar with synonyms. There was one question about directions.

"To get to Room A, you have to turn right after Room X, cross a pond . The Loch Ness monster will be on your right before you get to Room A which is right in front of Room B"

I have NEVER drawn so many lines in a piece of paper in my life!

The questions were initially easy and gets more difficult as the questions progress.

3. Reading

The first question was straight forward. Just basic questions from the text provided. The subsequent questions were more complex. You can't really find the answers in the text provided. What I did was to identify synonyms and paraphrase the words. The True, False, Not Given questions were the most horrible as they played around with the words. It can get really confusing.

4. Writing

This test consist of Task 1 and Task 2. Task 1 was to summarize a given diagram in at least 120 words. The diagram I got was constructing a simple water filtration system. Time is very limited. You should not spend more than 20 minutes completing this task. You need to make quick notes and form the basic Introduction - Body - Conclusion summary. Make sure you COUNT that you have more than 120 words...marks will be deducted if you don't follow the instruction.

Task 2 is on essay writing. The essay should be NO LESS than 250 words...nampak senang, but I had a hard time getting that much words. You can't really goreng this time as each sentence need to have its points. You have to goreng secara berhemah. Again, you have to form the basic structure of Introduction - Body - Conclusion.

That's it for my tips on IELTS. My result will only be out in 13 days. I'm hoping to get at least 7.0. Remember the salient points:
1. Study dulu! Don't lenggang kaki thinking that you can speak and write, confirm power!
2. Go through the Road To IELTS test drive.
3. Don't drink coffee or too much water on the Listening test day.
4. Count your words.
5. Intro - Body - Conclusion

Good luck!

MOfrust

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7 comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Thanks for the heads up! IELTS is very challenging and it should not be taken for granted. It needs time as well as constant review and practice.

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  4. it is difficult to predict about success without knowing more about language performance in the individual sections and English level generally. A lot also depends on how much time student have to study and improve your English and which methods are using to do this.


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  5. Great article. This tips are very useful. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I work with many 'highly skilled' migrants. Doctors in fact. And I can assure you that the requirement for an English language test is entirely necessary. I think you'll find you have to sit the IELTS test if applying to work in the UK or US as well.

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  7. I work with many 'highly skilled' migrants. Doctors in fact. And I can assure you that the requirement for an English language test is entirely necessary. I think you'll find you have to sit the IELTS test if applying to work in the UK or US as well.

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