How I prepared for the IELTS exam, and succeeded!

Contributed by Poly Monreal, former student at ILSC-Vancouver.

Poly

Why I took the IELTS exam

At the beginning I decided to take the IELTS so I could have more jobs opportunities when I came back to Mexico, but while I was studying the exam, I did a little more research and found out that it wouldn’t just give me more chances in my country but in other countries, including Canada. That´s when I decided to study harder to achieve a good score that could give me more points in the visa process.

I also realized that while studying for IELTS I was also improving my general skills in writing and listening.

I set my goal to getting a 7 or 7.5, so, you can imagine my surprise and joy when I nervously opened my folder and found out that somehow I managed to get an 8! Immediately I ran to tell my teachers and my former boss that had given me tips.

When I took the IELTS Preparation course at ILSC I liked that there were different levels, and even in the same level the teachers had different techniques so I could learn something from each one of them. What I definitely liked the most about the course was that I could follow my own rhythm and at the same time the teacher was strict with the homework.

My tips for preparing for the IELTS exam

I don´t know if this is a must for everyone, but  I started reading news in English, then articles in magazines, then I read a bunch of children books and it helped me to improve my speed, understanding and vocabulary. Now, I´m proud to have finished a book in English of 1,200 pages! When you have just one hour to read or scan the reading part of the exam, to then answer the questions about it, this habit saved me.

When it comes to the writing section, although tedious and challenging, writing a letter, an essay or a process per day is what helped me the most. Then I would take all my writing to a native speaker or a teacher and ask for corrections. After that, I usually rewrite with the corrections. I could even rewrite a rewrite that I didn’t like.

What I usually tell people is that they have to prepare and then choose the test date because sometimes working with the tight timeline is not a good choice, specially if they haven’t taken the test before. I was patient and never stop practising, and when I felt that I was ready, I booked the date to take the test.

There is not a miraculous book that would tell you what to answer.  Practice is the key.
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