I've been asked a lot of times about my IELTS (General) preparation and how did I manage to get a very good band in the 1st attempt.
So I thought that I'll share my journey and learning with all of you.
First thing first, please take the fear of failure and stress, out of your way.
It's just a matter of willful preparation & commitment and nothing else.
IELTS has 4 modules:
The first 3 are scheduled together in the same sequence, while speaking can be scheduled on the same day or any other day of your convenience.
I personally preferred the same day after other tests and get at once.
Before starting the preparation, judge yourself for all the 4 parts and figure out your weakest to strongest areas.
Mine was listening, so I started preparing for listening. Also, listening is the first module to be tested on the exam day.
When I started my presentation, I found the best resource, in my opinion:
Ms. Liz (Elizabeth) is a professional IELTS trainer and she has shared a ton of learning material on her website for all 4 modules.
Bookmark this website and you'll do yourself a favor.
It is more about focusing on and paying keen attention to the details.
I did extensive research online for free resources to help myself prepare for the listening exam and found 2 really valuable resources, that are totally free.
- Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab: It has a very good amount of sample listening tests with easy, medium, and hard levels along with a lot of other information. This was my main winning tool in the listening exam.
- BBC Learning English app ( Android ) ( iOS ): This is a free app available on Google Play and Apple App Store. It has small audio clips that help build vocabulary and improve listening. This is super convenient because it is all audio, so you can listen to it any time you want to.
This module is generally easy if you have good reading speed, practice reading whatever you like.
I found an amazing trick somewhere for the question where you have to match headings with paragraphs, and the trick really worked for me.
- Read the first paragraph completely and carefully. It is the introduction of everything in the subsequent paragraphs.
- Read ONLY the first sentence of all subsequent paragraphs. It is the introduction of that particular paragraph and has all information you need.
- Read the last sentence of the last paragraph. It is the summary of the whole text above.
- Jump to the questions as soon as possible.
For the question where you have to fill the blanks or missing words, DO NOT write a word from your own, copy words from the text.
This is generally the hardest module of all, and the only way to succeed is to practice writing as much as possible.
The most important thing is to practice complex sentences, with proper punctuation. It will win you good points!
This is easy but interesting. The big misconception is that you have to have a good accent. Which is totally wrong, DO NOT waste time in learning the accent.
All you need is good vocabulary, grammar, confidence, and a positive body language to support your speech.
When the examiner is speaking, listen to them very carefully without interrupting them and look straight in their eyes so they know that you are actually listening.
In each module, listen/read instructions very very carefully and DON'T try to guess anything. That's the most common mistake and causes a lot of trouble.
I've uploaded some learning material on my Google Drive and made it public. If you have anything that can go there, please share it with me and I'll upload it too. The link to the data is here.
I hope you'll find this information helpful and useful. Please share it within your circles so it can benefit more people. Happy learning!!!