(This post was originally published on 31st March 2015. It was added to my blog by taking permission from the writer. Thank you, Dr. Erujj Rizvee, for allowing me to add your post to this blog)
Salam and Hello to everyone who is reading this guide. It’s a little endeavor to help future aspirants to go through PLAB.
A little background about me.. I graduated in 2013 finished my internship in 2014 took ielts right after finishing my internship and by the grace of Almighty, got the required band in one go. Then, took PLab1 in March 2015 and declared successful in first attempt. I didnot take any tutions or courses and I am willing to Help others.
The most Frequent question I receive is how long does it take to preapre for ielts. The answer is, it depends on the person.. If you have a background in English I am pretty sure you will get the required band in 1-1.5 month’s preparation. If you have difficulty understanding English you might need 6 months. I trained a couple of friends for ielts so it’s only my opinion, which might be wrong, but it will give you a general idea. I took ielts with 1 month of very casual preparation and got the required band.
To assess yourself try a couple of practice tests (from Cambridge books) and see where you stand.
Tips for Listening:
For beginners try to watch cartoons and actively listen to what is being said.. Watch English movies with subtitles and try to understand what dialogues are being delivered. Pause and rewind if you want to. Watch BBC and other News channels often. If you skip some words, don’t feel bad about yourself its part of the learning process. Overtime you will feel that your listening has improved and you will be able to understand 90% of what is being said. For people who have good listening skills Just solve the Cambridge ielts series and Barron’s ielts Do all the tests and when you are done with them try to take some free listening tests which are available on the internet..(google them). Practice different accents too, as in my test, one section was in Aussie accent which I found a bit difficult. NOTE: When writing answers, always use correct spellings. Incorrect spellings deduct marks.
Tips for Reading:
For beginners Start with Novels as fiction is easy to digest and is interesting to read. Underline new words and phrases. Try to learn the sentence structure. Use a dictionary and thesaurus often to learn some antonyms and synonyms. Once you are comfortable, start reading articles and Newspapers and follow the same guidelines (underline new words etc.) For People who are good at reading Just solve the Cambridge series 1-9 and you will get the target band. NOTE use correct spellings. Some teachers say to read the questions first and look at the passages and recommend skim reading. I found it very unhelpful and a waste of time. I used to read the passage first quickly, underline the dates and names (that saves time when u start solivnig questions) then Look at the questions and skim through the passage. Remember Time management is very important. For passage 1 allocate 16 minutes, 18minutes for passage 2 and 20 minutes passage 3. Practice using a stop watch.
Tips For Writing:
It is the most difficult part as most people say. I have seen some good writers score 6.5 or 6.0 If that happens don’t be disappointed take it again Inshallah you will reach there. Practice is the key for writing at least write 1 essay a day. For beginners have a look at sample essays (given in the Cambridge books and/or internet) try writing them with some paraphrasing. Never cram the essay word to word. Trust me they will know that and mark you accordingly. Once you are habitual of writing try to use some advanced words in your sentences which you have learnt through your reading practice. Don’t try to impress the reader with some ‘heavy’ words which you don’t know how to use. Instead keep it simple and elegant. Avoid punctuation mistakes. Focus on Paragraphing.
For Task 1: Do not give your conclusion in the end. Only reproduce the information that is provided. Try to use a rich vocabulary instead of borrowing words from the Question. Always paraphrase the atatement provided to you. Keep it short and simple and don’t write too much.. Ideally, it should be 150-170 words.
For Task 2: Focus on your opening and conclusion as these are the two things that create an impression on the reader. Practice some common writing topics (use Google) and make your own essay and finalize it. Show your essays to a friend/teacher who has scored high in ielts. Use some idioms in the essay (but use them correctly). Ideally your essay should be of 4 to 5 paragraphs with 1 opening and 1 closing paragraphs. Always write a minimum of 250 words. You will lose marks if you are short of words no matter how beautifully you have written. Ideally, 250-275 Words would suffice. Avoid long paragraphs. Stay on topic and Try to cover what is being asked in the question. For instance Cover both views, Pros and cons, etc. Do not agree or disagree in the same essay. Give reasons if you agree with something in 2 3 paragraphs. NOTE: always proofread your essay and report. Even native English speakers make mistakes. Proof reading will easily avoid you save you some marks.
Tips For Speaking:
For Beginners and good speakers: Speaking Can only be improved if you speak! Find a partner online. Practice speaking with him/her. Speak infront of a mirror. Dont overthink while you speak. Remember! its Okay to make mistakes. Just speak whatever comes in your mind. If you make a mistake in the real exam and realise it, Relax, Say ” I am sorry” and speak the correct sentence. Avoid repetitive words. For instance, instead of using I think over and over, substitute with in my opinion, I believe etc. DONOT answer with only a YES or NO. Try to elaborate your answer. Maintain a good eye contact. Speak clearly. Pronunciation does not matter a lot so speak naturally. For task 2 cover everything that is being asked. You will lose marks if you don’t. As mostly there are doctors in this group so speaking won’t be a problem for most of them.. I found speaking challenging because of my stammering but I am glad I got over it.
Cambridge IELTS series 1-11.
www.engvid.com (its a great website)