Alhamdulillah, by the grace of almighty Allah, I have finally achieved required IELTS. This was my second attempt. Previously, I managed good score in listening and reading but failed marginally in writing and speaking. In case of speaking, I figured lack of practice was the main culprit. But, I couldn’t find a way to improve my writing. So I started reading anything and everything for writing. I watched all IELTS LIZ & some of IELTS Ryans video for writing both task 1 & 2, read all available IELTS SIMON & IELTS LIZ samples along with IELTS Writing made easy by IELTS BUDDY as well as IELTS RYAN how to write at a level 9 (both task1&2).
For speaking, I started practicing with one of my friends and we covered all topics in Cambridge 6-12 & IELTS LIZ. There is also a helpful android app called ‘IELTS speaking’ which contains about 160 samples for part-2 speaking. It helped to boost my confidence. I also read a compilation of IELTS SIMON speaking samples with some killer tips for exam.
For Listening & Reading, I was pretty much confident about getting at least 7.5. So, I didn’t bother except practicing few tests before final exam.
*For listening, if you are a long time viewer of English movies, it will be a piece of cake to score at least 7.5. Don’t even think about it. Just practice one or two latest Cambridge books.
*For Reading, I wasn’t comfortable with skipping and skimming. So, I usually read whole passage quite fast. Before reading a passage, I look up questions and mark key words. It helps me later to pin point my answer in passage. I also don’t try to understand the meaning of every single word. Just try to get the whole meaning of a paragraph. Another thing, I don’t always solve passages accordingly. In my experience, out of 3 passages, two are comparatively easier than third one. So, I keep it always for last 25-30 minutes. Finally, never use your prior knowledge to answer a question from a passage. If it’s not in the passage, you don’t know anything about it. In that way, it is easier to avoid distraction in True/False questions.
*For Writing, the most important thing is developing a structure for both task 1& 2. Because, in exam hall, it would not be wiser to lose time for developing structure instead of brainstorming for ideas. For both tasks, try to use mixed sentence structures (Liz has a video about it) and keep an eye open for writing a coherent essay using linking words and some good vocabulary and overall presentation. I always write Task-2 first but it’s personal choice. Never spend more than 40 mins for task-2 & 20 mins for task-1. And never forget to revise at least once.
*For speaking, practice is the main key. Also, read as much samples as you can. It will help you to build ideas instantaneously during exam.
Best of Luck
Dr. Qamar Uddin Hejazi