I remember trying my best to avoid giving the IELTS test; I looked for universities where IELTS was not required, but then those were in countries where I didn’t want to go. I contacted a consultant for this and I got the cue that there is no escaping from this. Hence, it was preparation time.
I needed a proper schedule, and for that I was ready to join an academy and pay 12000 for a two and a half months course when my friends talked me out of it. I registered for IELTS, and had no choice but to prepare in ten days for the written test, and even fewer days for the speaking test. I was anxious thinking that if people need months to prepare for this test, how on earth will I be able to score well. Thankfully, I knew about Scholar Den- IELTS; I went through the website and read the introduction and how to prepare pages. I registered at edX; I went through all the guidelines and strategies explained for the speaking, listening and reading module. The practice questions were really helpful. Had I gone through the guidelines for the writing module, I would have scored much better in that (I have the lowest score in this module). The practice questions here and those provided by British Council, after registration is confirmed, were my source of preparation.
At the time of the speaking test, although I practiced a lot the pre-determined answers to the general questions, I reverted to my usual style of speaking. One thing that I kept in mind was, as my friend suggested, using “sophisticated” English, and being fluent. By sophisticated, I mean that slang language should be avoided. I was able to engage the examiner for the topic on which I was supposed to speak for a minute or two, and then we had a general discussion even after the recorder was turned off. One thing is very important here, to listen before you speak. I allowed my examiner to say what she wanted to say, meanwhile I composed an answer and I could respond in a better fashion.
IELTS is an easy test. It is easy for those who know basic grammar and are good at spellings. I didn’t have trouble understanding the accent as it was very clear, unlike people who say otherwise. However, time management is very important during the test. The strategies and practice questions helped me do that.
I am neither a reader, nor a writer. However, I have to give credit to my schooling and my mother who focused a lot on my grammar and spelling. Then my own personal interest in English movies, with subtitles :D. This helped improved my vocabulary a bit.
I know people who struggle with this language; of course, it is not what we use every day. I think the examiners also acknowledge this fact. So people, relax! If you want to improve, please stop watching Bollywood movies. Give yourself two months, subscribe to pages mentioned on the scholar den website, watch a movie twice a week, improve grammar and spelling through practice questions, read even a one page article a day ( any topic), and write an essay towards the end of the week (any topic), and get it proof read by someone, and start thinking and speaking to yourself, if you have no other to speak to, in English. You will get what you want! J All the best to all!!