Shilpa Cheriyan’s IELTS Experience

(This post was originally published on Dr. Shilpa Cheriyan’s own blog on 1st May 2017. It was added to my blog on her request. Thank you, Dr. Shilpa Cheriyan, for sharing your experience)

 

Hello, good fellows! This note shall explain how I prepared for my IELTS exam in a month. 

MY IELTS SCORE-

LISTENING 7.5

READING 8

WRITING 8

SPEAKING 8

{{ First of all, IELTS is ain’t easy! Never underestimate the power of this exam because even if you are a pro, things can go unfavourable !!}}

BEFORE THE PREPARATION-

I scanned through the official IELTS website to get an idea about the format and the requirements for each band. Its best to download the band requirements PDF file for writing and speaking. As a result, you have an idea what you must score and what you must work on!

Secondly, I compiled all the materials that will be helpful for my IELTS preparation and saved it in a folder. I have mentioned the materials used for each section later on in this post.

And last but not the least, I made sure that I kept all distractions away. You need not join any IELTS group because this is something you should work on your own as everyone has different calibre. If you think you need professional help, then go for it!

PLEASE NOTE THAT FOR PLAB, YOU NEED AN OVERALL SCORE OF 7.5 AND SCORE OF 7 IN EACH SECTION.

 

HOW DID I PREPARE?

LISTENING-

MATERIALS USED-

  1. CAMBRIDGE BOOK SERIES 1-1 (YOU CAN ACCESS THEM FOR FREE FROM IELTSONLINETESTS.COM)
  2. IELTSONLINETESTS.COM
  3. ROAD TO IELTS (30 HOUR FREE SESSION YOU ACQUIRE AFTER BOOKING FOR IELTS FROM THE BRITISH COUNCIL)
  4. COLLINS BOOK FOR IELTS

 

When I used to practice for Listening, I always used to used to score 6.5 or 7.  I had no idea how to improve. That’s when a little bird told me that I had to work on the accents. There are basically 4 accents used for the exam- American, British, Australian and Canadian. The latter two were the most difficult for me so I just kept on practising from the materials listed above. Many people would recommend listening to the BBC British podcasts, but I had no time and I had to concentrate on the other three sections as well. But I would suggest you listen to it if you have the time or any other medium that could give you maximum exposure to the international accents. You can watch English sitcoms during your leisure time such as Sherlock Holmes, Game of Thrones, House M.D etc. I used to watch a hell lot of sitcoms, hence the American accent was the easiest for me.

I used to practice Listening with my headphones on because I believe the IELTS conducted by the British Council gives headphones to the candidates. However, I cannot say the same for IDP, as I have heard that some centres don’t use headphones. Nevertheless, for the exam, they do a sound test to make sure that you are able to hear properly. So you have nothing to worry about.  

{{I USED TO DO 2 TO 3 LISTENING TESTS PER DAY AND I PREFERRED IT IN THE EARLY MORNING BECAUSE YOU NEED UTMOST CONCENTRATION FOR THIS SECTION. ALSO, I WAS TRYING TO SIMULATE THE SAME SCENARIO AS THE EXAM}}

 

READING-

MATERIAL USED-

  1. CAMBRIDGE SERIES 1-11
  2. IELTSONLINETESTS.COM
  3. ROAD TO IELTS
  4. COLLINS BOOK FOR IELTS (SOME PASSAGES ARE REALLY DIFFICULT SO DO NOT BE DISHEARTENED)
  5. IELTSMATERIAL.COM (YOU FIND QUITE A GOOD NUMBER OF PASSAGES)
  6. IELTS LIZ VIDEOS FOR READING TIPS ( ALSO DOWNLOAD THE 100 ESSAYS FILE)

Ielts Reading Recent Actual Tests Vol 4Ielts Reading Recent Actual Tests Vol 3Ielts Reading Recent Actual Tests Vol 1

I never had any difficulty in finishing the reading tasks on time as I was quite a fast reader. I used to spend almost 3 hours and mind you, its really tiring staring at the laptop and looking for the answer.

You should work on True/False/Not Given. This is where you could loose marks if you do not have a fairly average vocabulary. And remember to learn the art of skimming and scanning the passage. Now, I have to mention a very important point here. Usually, for matching the headings to each passage, you only have to read the first and the last sentence of the passage to get your answer. But for my exam, I had to read the entire passage since the Reading section was difficult. I barely had time to finish it and this was new to me. But to Gods grace, I managed completing every question.

 

 

WRITING-

MATERIALS USED-

  1. IELTS LIZ VIDEOS FOR TIPS
  2. IELTSMATERIAL.COM (YOU MUST LOOK AT EVERY ESSAY FROM THIS SITE)
  3. IELTS-MENTOR.COM (THE ESSAYS HERE ARE POSTED BY VARIOUS WRITERS, SO I WOULD RECOMMEND YOU TO READ IT ONLY FOR IDEAS. YOU CAN USE THEM FOR YOUR ESSAY)

Writing is everyone’s nightmare. Be it Task 1 or Task 2! I gave more attention to Task 2 as it carries more marks and the word limit is 250 words compared to that of Task 1 which has a limit of 150 words.

For Task 2, I used the 4 para structure, that is, the first paragraph for introduction, second and third paragraph for the body and the final one for conclusion. You must have a fairly good introduction to catch the eye of the examiner. And the conclusion is just to summarize the content of your essay. Linkers and good construction sentences are a must for the body. Please duly note that expressing a lot of ideas for your body is not recommended as this will only give you a score of 6 or 6.5. Elaborate on one or two ideas. Examples are a good way to convey your message.

Some people require professional help in correcting essays. I would highly recommend that if you need it. You can get one or two essays checked and work on your weakness.

I also went through the 1300 essay compilation file and I can assure you, your essay is bound to come from this group. I managed to finish just about 500 to 600 essays from the lot by creating flowcharts to generate ideas!

I always had the habit of creating flowcharts for my essay (to get a rough idea) and then write my actual essay. I only use 5 minutes of the 40 minutes allotted and by this time, I would have made the introduction, rough points for the body and a good conclusion. I know its quite difficult to get this done under 5 minutes but this is achievable through practice.

P.S I never used Simon or Rayan BAND 9 essays because you might memorize them and end up loosing your score for copywriting. Also, make sure you satisfy the word limit or else, you end up getting a score of 5.5 or 6!

LEARN THESE ESSAYSIELTS-essay-Questions-for-EnvironmentIELTS-Essay-Questions-for-EducationIELTS-Essay-Questions-Crime-PunishmentIELTS-Essay-Questions-Communication-PersonalityIELTS-Essay-Questions-Business-MoneyIELTS-Essay-Questions-ArtIELTS_Essay_Writing_Topics_Vol_1LEARN THESE ESSAYSIELTS Interactive self-study_ 200 Advanced Vocabulary QuestionsAchieve IELTS Academic Writing Success15 Days Practice for IELTS Writing (1)WritingtopicsreviseWRITINGTOPICSREVISE2

 

SPEAKING-

MATERIALS USED-

  1. IELTS LIZ VIDEOS FOR SPEAKING TIPS
  2. IELTSMATERIAL.BLOGSPOT.COM ( I LOVE THIS SITE)
  3. COLLINS BOOK FOR IELTS
  4. MAKKARS BOOK FOR IELTS

 

This is a section where many people score the maximum. You just have to be natural with the right amount of expressions! I never used a mirror or had an online partner. I timed myself for 2 minutes and spoke on the topic. Make sure you have the habit of reading 4 to 5 topics every day and then practice on your own. You can use idioms to make it more colourful and will surely give you an edge over the others! I would highly suggest you to go through the recent IELTS EXAM TOPICS from the IELTS LIZ WEBSITE.

IELTSMaterial.com – IELTS Speaking Part 2 by Simon42 TOPICS FOR IELTS SPEAKING PART 1 & SUGGESTED ANSWERS 20162014 Collection – IELTS Speaking Topics And Sample Answersielts_speaking_question_1

 

MY EXAM EXPERIENCE-

The exam was conducted on two consecutive days. I had speaking first, which was good and I was glad I was done with it. I did panic in between because I went out of ideas and I started stammering. I couldn’t say anything for about 10 seconds but I managed to speak after that. Some topics are easy and probably relate to your personal experience but some can be nerve wracking and you probably would start stuttering for the last 30 seconds or so! That’s why, its important to read topics! Its okay if you make up stuff, they love creativity!

Make sure you sleep enough before your main exam. I used pencil for all the four sections of the exam and I urge you to do the same. You can carry your own stationary even though British Council provides you with the necessities. You are not allowed to wear a watch or carry any kind of electronic items to the exam hall. Please remember to carry your ID that you used to register for the exam. They will take your photograph and asked you to sign (proof of attendance) before the exam.

They conduct a sound check before your Listening exam. I must admit that I panicked when the exam began, hence resulting in a blank answer. So please do not panick and maintain your composure. Reading was difficult but managed to finish it. My TASK 2 was fairly good but had no time for Task 1. I was doing my best to perfect Task 2 that I totally forgot about the time. However, I managed the 150 word limit for Task 1 and made last minute changes to it.

 

AFTERNOTE-

I hope you find this article useful. If you do and got your desired score, please do let me know! I wish all of you good luck and MAY GOD BE WITH ALL!

I HAVE ATTACHED A FEW FILES SO PLEASE DO CHECK THEM OUT!

 

Thankyou.

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