Wednesday, March 03, 2010

My Experience with IELTS

Before preparing for IELTS and passing by the score I sought, I had some misconceptions; that it's hard to study and requires perfect level of English close to native speakers, but here is what I've learnt.

--> IELTS is designed to test English proficiency of non-native speakers: By nature, English is a second language for you exam taker, so don't be shy of your accent.., you don't have to be talking like natives to show your skills .., just be yourself without acting artificially which affects your fluency.

--> IELTS is a language test: all skills related to language aptitude are tested.., so guess what ? it's possible that if a native speaker joins the test, he may achieve a score less than you if he is not prepared or doesn't take care of formal language rules, just like the same way where some natives score badly in language tests of their mother tongue.

--> Preparing is not that hard: forget the school way of studying and memorizing grammatical rules and the like .., it's all about practice.., solving around 8 tests from previous years (material available in British Council library) is more than enough.

--> Know your gaps and work on them: my weak point were that I don't practice verbal communication frequently.., to improve that, I got to listen to around 30 episodes from .., around 3 or 4 daily in transportation time.., with repeating every episode several times. This helped a lot in improving my listening as well as providing me with some diverse vocabulary to use in speaking practices..
For these speaking practices it was enough for me to rehearse some of the required topics in the sample exams .., but it will help if you record them and listen to yourself.., and it'll help more if you find a learning partner on skype to practice with him.

--> Finally remember that you have to take every opportunity in the exam to show up the tested skills of your language, so use diverse vocabulary in your talking, use different sentence structures and different tenses - if suitable - in your writing provided that you're versed of what you use so that it doesn't affect your fluency or coherence or any other measured factors.