My struggle with IELTS
L = 7.5
R = 9
W = 6
S = 7
L = 8
R = 8.5
W = 6.5
S = 7
L = 9
R = 8.5
W = 7
S = 7.5
This is the easiest part. I did IELTS Cambridge books 1-11. Always start with the latest book and go back. This is more than enough. Just keep practising this and score yourself. You should aim for at least 35/40 (band 8). In book 11 they had maps too which I thought were a bit difficult; make sure you practise for them too.
I found this easy too. I did IELTS Cambridge books 4-11. Every question type needs to be solved accordingly. Most people have issues with True, False and Not Given. Figure out your weak points and then focus on them. My main problem was managing the time. Practise as much as you can. Again, aim for 35/40 (band 8).
It turned out to be easier than I had thought. Again, I practised IELTS Cambridge books 3-11. The best advice I saw regarding this on PLAB’s page was to find an online speaking partner as you are less hesitant about speaking with a stranger. I practised with her for half hour daily for 15 days, both of us doing one test each. Make sure you practise for Part 2 where you’ve to speak for 2 minutes straight on a topic as you finish much earlier than that. Time yourself at home. Do read the band descriptions for speaking (Google it), it will tell you how they judge you.
This was the only thing that I was stuck at. I followed Simon for task 1 and was doing fine. I would recommend Simon’s book for task 1.
For task 2, in my first attempt, I followed Ryan very strictly and I got 6. I had also read in reviews here that you MUST write both sides of the argument in agree/disagree essay so I wrote both sides. The questions were something like ‘what do you think is needed more for success: family’s support or knowledge?’ I realized later I should’ve stuck to one side in this particular question to make more sense.
In second attempt, I followed some slides for pattern shared on this page by someone. I got 6.5. This time I wrote one side only. The question was like ‘do you agree that 6 years of primary education must be free for all?’ I think now that my argument wasn’t solid enough.
In my third attempt, I had checked out the website IELTSadvantage the for pattern and other tips but stillI decided to keep an open mind and to go with the flow instead of blindly following a particular pattern. I finally got 7. My question was ‘do you think communication skills are necessary for professional life?’ I wrote in favour and gave examples of two professions. I did not use a single fancy word and I kept it to the point.
So to sum up, there is no guarantee that a specific pattern or Ryan or Liz or Simon or IELTSadvantage can get you 7. You need to assess according to the question whether to write both the sides or just one. IELTSadvantage had some really good tips that helped me.
- It had a small video showing how a girl improved from 6 to 8 in Writing by focusing on her weaknesses in a few weeks. I figured out mine were overusing cohesions; my examples were not clear; minor grammatical mistakes (grammarly.com is a great website to help in this regard). So I wrote only a few essays (4-5 between my second and third attempt) and reread them a few times trying to find as many mistakes as I could.
- It mentioned that thesis needs to be mentioned in Introduction, a mistake I had committed earlier.
- If you can’t think of an example from real life, make it up. Check IELTSadvantage for how to make an example. But DO include it.
- Don’t use ANY word if you’re not 100% sure of how it is used. I wrote a very simple essay and got 7.
- Also, DO read the writing band descriptions (Google them). I did not read them in my first attempt.
- Get your essays checked by someone who has scored 7 or above. I asked a few people and one advice that helped me was to write less number of essays and focus more on improving those.
Needless to say that it was very frustrating to be not able to clear it even in two attempts. In my third attempt, I did NOT even prepare much; I just wrote four or five essays because I was so tired and frustrated by the time. I was also doing my internship and switched from one ward to another just two days before it. So I was sure I would not clear it; I was quite stress-free. I think that actually helped.
Feel free to ask anything IELTS related to me. Best of luck! 🙂
(This post was originally by Dr. Uroos Khan. It was shared here with her permission).