Zeeshan Iqbal’s IELTS Experience

(This post was originally written on 11 May 2017. It was added to my blog by taking permission from the writer. Thank you, Dr. Zeeshan Iqbal, for sharing your experience)


I got the required band in IELTS after 2nd attempt! I am not good at giving advice but I think these tips might help people who are struggling to get the required band.


My Previous Score:

L: 8.5
R: 7.5
W: 6.5
S: 7.0
Overall: 7.5


My Recent Score:

L and R same.
W: 7.0
S: 7.5
Overall: 7:5So I managed to improve my score by 0.5 in 2 sections(writing and speaking).

So I managed to improve my score by 0.5 in 2 sections (writing and speaking).


1. Writing:

I didn’t attend any academy. Just bought 4-5 volumes of Cambridge books. Practiced few essays and stopped for self-evaluation later. Then I read the writing section of “ieltsadvantage.com”.

Followed the tips written there like paraphrasing, avoid using same words, again and again, proper paragraphing and increased my vocabulary according to the common topics that usually come in the test.

For task 1, I remembered few lines that can be used in most of the task1 questions. For eg. “Overall, it is noticeable that the graph shows a downward trend” OR “There is a significant increase in prices/population or whatever shown in the graph. Then practiced writing tables, graphs, pie charts and maps. All of these have different writing styles. Go to the above-mentioned website to understand the styles.

For task 2 I didn’t really remember any lines just wrote few essays then increased my vocabulary by writing words and their synonyms on a page every day and recalled them in free time. After reading all the tips on that site and watching random videos on youtube I again read the essays I wrote initially, to find the mistakes I was making before and tried to correct it. I practiced almost 16 task2 and task1 questions for about 7-10 days. I tried to finish the test in 30 minutes instead of 40 minutes. There are many patterns to right essay, try to follow only 1 and master it.

For eg, I used to write 4 paragraphs in task 2. First Paragraph included a paraphrasing of the question, my opinion and a small overview of the ideas that I am going to discuss in the essay. I always used 2 ideas in an entire essay and tried to explain it with examples. 1 idea per paragraph. So after first introductory paragraph, the next 2 paragraphs contained the explanation of my ideas/opinions in 2 separate paragraphs to make the essay clear and easy to understand for the examiner. The last and fourth paragragh was based on the conclusions in which I again showed my skill of paraphrasing with no new idea. I used to check my essays myself with the help of internet but it will be great if you have someone exceptionally good in English to check your essays. It helped me increase my band to 7.0 from 6.5


2. Speaking:

I just did 3 things. First of all watched videos on youtube regarding what the examiner is looking for. I found out that they look for fluency, confidence, cohesion, vocabulary and how natural you are when you speak. Secondly, I practiced the lines that I will speak in part1 of speaking section like greeting the examiner and few lines regarding what I do and my interests. Finally, I just practiced speaking English continuously for 2 days. No matter where I was I just made my tongue and brain used this language so that it comes naturally out of my mouth in front of the examiner.

For example, when I watched an English movie I tried to imitate the dialogues and looked for the meanings of difficult words on google. When I was driving alone, I used to talk to myself regarding what I did all day. I used to assign myself any random topic and tried to speak on it with fluency. Whenever I got stuck I used to search different phrases related to that topic on google and paracticed them loudly.

In short, I am not competent in English but neither do I have a very poor understanding of it. It took me almost 10 days and 2 attempts to get the required band. ieltsadvantage helped me. Those people who have better grammar and a better understanding of English already, they just need to spend 1 week or so to understand the format and time management to achieve the required band.

Those of you with very bad grammar, vocabulary and poor communication skills might need 3 to 4 weeks of proper organised and ambitious preparation to clear IELTS.

IT IS ACHIEVABLE. Don’t think of this test as a waste of time and a hurdle. Although it does consume a lot of our valuable time and money. Think of it as a chance to improve your English as it will help you in future when you’ll be working in the UK as a doctor.


3. Reading:

I don’t know why but reading seems easy. So I didn’t spend a lot of time on it. Don’t panic after reading extremely difficult words. It doesn’t really matter if you don’t know their meaning. Just look at the word in context to the line written. I used to get 10-12 answers wrong initially too, then I just changed the way I read the passages.
Read questions first, even if you have to spend 5 minutes on it. It helped me to focus on the relevant stuff and ignore the irrelevant stuff. For example, if there is no question about dates or places or names/writers/scientists then I don’t try to remember them in the passage. My mind automatically looks for the answers to those questions. For matching headings, instead of focusing on lines I analysed entire paragraph. We need to find the message hidden behind a paragraph. It somehow helped me in matching as well in the questions with A B C options.

For true-false, don’t use your prior knowledge or your common sense, just see what the writer is saying. If you get an article related to medicine you might think I can easily answer true and false questions but the writer might not agree with you. 😛

You can have a look at this webiste Ieltsadvantage for more help. Or any website i guess.

Hope it helps.

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