(This post was originally written for my blog on 22nd March 2017. It was added to my blog by taking permission from the writer. Thank you, Dr. Ankit Mishra, for allowing me to add your post to this blog)
The IELTS Experience
The IELTS Experience
I applied for the IELTS on 13th Jan 2017; I appeared for it on 21st Jan 2017.
I got the required result for PLAB 1 purposes. Here is what I learnt from the process.
1. Think in English. (=SPEAK with clarity)
Most mistakes in grammar and syntax are made when attempting to convert a thought in your native tongue into a spoken English sentence. (“Aapki ghadi mein kitna time hai” translates to “What is the time IN your watch”; correct expression is “What is the time BY your watch?”)
Non native speakers of English have a tendency to subconsciously translate thought into English when pushed in a professional environment or overloaded with a feeling of insecurity. It is common in medical professionals because we are trained to recognise patterns and concepts, not the method in which they are expressed.
This is the reason why Samson notes provide smaller, grammatically godawful, stems. This is the reason why brilliant doctors with House level intelligence fail at the first hurdle.
Start thinking in English. Human brain accommodates.
2. Forget subtitles. LISTEN with intent)
It is common practice to make use of subtitles when watching an English or an American documentary/movie. The flow of text distracts you from sound. You need to be able to hear the sound of the language. For IELTS you have to be able to demonstrate that you can understand accents unfamiliar to you(also, L in PLAB means Linguistics)
3. Read with a Pencil, not your eyes.
Reading is a portion of the exam where we all score best. Frankly, reading is the stat you want to buff up if you know you might have weaknesses in other sections. You have done MBBS, you are more than capable of reading, comprehending and answering their stupid questions.
This has proven to be the Achilles’ Heel for a lot of good doctors. I shall discuss it further in a detailed post along the way, if you are pressed for time, here are some general tips: Task 2 is checked more thoroughly than Task 1, because it carries twice as many marks. Write in pen, shows confidence. Cross out mistakes and correct them, shows insight. (Will be expounded in a dedicated later post, I am aware how badly the writing portion stings our fraternity.)
Speaking portion of your exam will be conducted BEFORE your scheduled date of IELTS exam. Do not be surprised. Typically, they will ask you to report to a convenient center 1-3 days before your scheduled IELTS examination.
It moves like an interview, but there is a lot at stake, since you are aiming for at least 7.0
The first few questions you are asked will be friendly. The aim is to put you into a sense of complacence, so as to blunt your edge. DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THIS. The English people are known for their formality, and they expect you to demonstrate that. (You will not e told that it is formal conversation, you are required to know)
They will tell you that you have 10 minutes when you start, and they will stop scoring after the end of those 10 minutes. There is no clock.
General idea is to be natural, I went in with the mindset of nonchalance bordering on arrogance (“How dare you test my language”) and steered the conversation according to my whims. There was a point in the exam where my answer was “Duh”. It is ill advised not recommended. Be confident, you are a professional, do not be overbearing like me. Maintain a staid verbal posture of feigned humility (Genuine humility if you have reasons to be humble)
Depending on your path (IDP vs British Council) you will listen to a variety of accents. Familiarise yourself before showing up. Listen to the CD they send you.
In my case, listening to Geoff Boycott all these years paid off.
3 sections. Easy. Get them done. Reading and understanding complex concepts should never be a problem for MBBS graduates.
If there is one take away message, it eould be: “Start forming your thoughts in English”.
I can be contacted for follow up questions on firstname.lastname@example.org