Friday, March 18, 2016

IELTS Exam: Am I Good Enough?

Exactly a year ago, I was busy preparing my documents for my visa application in Australia. The biggest challenge among these requirements was getting an overall band score of 7.0 in the IELTS examination. Let me say that I was pretty confident for the examination since I studied in a private school from grade school to university. English was the medium of instruction, so I was exposed to the language well. However, upon purchasing IELTS review manuals, I started doubting myself whether I could hit my target score or not.

My IELTS training started with me reviewing with the manuals I purchased in some bookstores and online. The reading and the listening sections were both manageable since there were answer keys that provided explanation of the answers. The problem started when I started reviewing for my speaking and writing. There was literally no one to check my responses, so my progress in my IELTS training could not be really evaluated. Then, I decided to enroll in an IELTS review center

In the review center, there was far more things that I learned than my self-review. In the class, we were taught on the different question types in the examination. The lecture made it easier for me to understand the task of each given question. What made the lectures more valuable is that there was vocabulary integrated in the class. These vocabulary words are commonly used in the IELTS examination. On top of that, the practices in speaking and writing made me realize that I was still not ready to take the real test that time.

In the speaking practices, we often had one-on-one speaking mock test sessions with the instructors. One by one, we had this interview and after, we were given comments and feedback. It was really helpful as they pointed out both strengths and weaknesses on my responses. As for me, I was able to be more careful and critical in thinking of a good response for every question. I noticed a significant progress with my writing as well. I was able to write responses with less grammar mistakes, and the fluency was developed.

In my IELTS training, there are things that I realized that you should focus on to be able to be good enough in taking the examination. 
  • Build a good vocabulary bank. Words matter a lot in expressing your ideas particularly in speaking and writing. Carefully chosen words create a smart response. 

  • Review grammar. There is a long list of grammar rules. Focus on verb tenses, sentence structure, subject-verb agreement, and punctuation. These rules matter, and there are deductions on your score when you fail to use them correctly.

  • Be with an IELTS review center. IELTS training is more productive and effective when they are delivered and managed by IELTS professionals. With their comments and feedback to make your responses and performance better, you are sure to attain your target score in the test.

Good IELTS training is a key in reaching your target score in the examination. Take the test when your mock exam scores are stable, and when you feel that you are already good enough for the real test. 

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