Rafael-Test-Takers-Perspective
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A test-taker's perspective: easier said than done

Rafael, a past IELTS test taker (and now an English Teacher!), shares his experience of taking IELTS. It helped him to understand the test from his students' perspective and what's needed to prepare and pass the test to achieve band score 9. Why did you take the IELTS test? I’ve always wanted to be an English teacher. I didn’t have to take IELTS but it would help me to better prepare my students and become familiar with the exam.  How did you manage your study time? The first thing I did was to become as familiar with the exam as possible. I took a lot of IELTS practice tests and read everything I could about the exam.  Which tools and/or products helped you pass?  A book that helped me when preparing was “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time'' by Mark Haddon. Sounds strange but I’ll tell you why… It’s the story of a boy with Asperger syndrome who struggled to make sense of the world around him. Little did I know that the book would eventually win the 2003 Whitbread Book Awards for Best Novel and became a brilliant play. I believe IELTS test takers should read this book for two reasons. Firstly, because it has a riveting plot and makes for good entertainment. Secondly, the main character of the book struggles to understand the world around him. He has a hard time reading emotions and feelings. He doesn’t seem to grasp sarcasm, for instance. When we learn another language, we may find ourselves in the same situation. Usually A2/B1 students may fail to see the finer points of a listening passage or a text.  The book can help you not only to improve vocabulary and grammar but also to learn to thrive even with limitations.    What techniques did you learn along the way? While preparing for IELTS I realized that most essays follow a pattern. Although you don’t have to, it makes it easier if you follow a structure. This structure has worked for students I’ve taught and helped me to reach my target band score: First paragraph – paraphrase the rubrics (set of instructions) and write about what you’re going to write. Let the examiner know that you have fully understood the task and that you are on your way to tackle it. Second paragraph - try to support one side of the argument. Come up with reasons for everything you say. Write short well linked sentences. Third paragraph - support the other side of the argument. Contrast the ideas from the previous paragraph. Develop your thoughts.  Fourth and final paragraph (remember you only have 40 minutes) - state your opinion and come up with a conclusion.   Linking expressions will also help you to achieve a higher band score, Sophie explains this further here. I know what you’re thinking; it’s easier said than done. You’re right! That’s why in addition to this you should also use very good and reliable preparation material so that you know exactly what you are up against. I personally recommend the Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS.   What do you use your English for now?    Nowadays I use English for everything as I work in an English speaking country; I teach and study it everyday. Most importantly, I used my knowledge of the English language to write this blog for you! Hope you found this useful! Rafael

IELTS Test Taker

4 June, 2020

A test-taker's perspective: easier said than done

Rafael-Test-Takers-Perspective

Rafael, a past IELTS test taker (and now an English Teacher!), shares his experience of taking IELTS. It helped him to understand the test from his students' perspective and what's needed to prepare and pass the test to achieve band score 9.

Why did you take the IELTS test?
I’ve always wanted to be an English teacher. I didn’t have to take IELTS but it would help me to better prepare my students and become familiar with the exam. 

How did you manage your study time?
The first thing I did was to become as familiar with the exam as possible. I took a lot of IELTS practice tests and read everything I could about the exam. 

Which tools and/or products helped you pass? 
A book that helped me when preparing was “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time'' by Mark Haddon. Sounds strange but I’ll tell you why… It’s the story of a boy with Asperger syndrome who struggled to make sense of the world around him. Little did I know that the book would eventually win the 2003 Whitbread Book Awards for Best Novel and became a brilliant play.

I believe IELTS test takers should read this book for two reasons. Firstly, because it has a riveting plot and makes for good entertainment. Secondly, the main character of the book struggles to understand the world around him. He has a hard time reading emotions and feelings. He doesn’t seem to grasp sarcasm, for instance. When we learn another language, we may find ourselves in the same situation. Usually A2/B1 students may fail to see the finer points of a listening passage or a text. 

The book can help you not only to improve vocabulary and grammar but also to learn to thrive even with limitations.   

What techniques did you learn along the way?
While preparing for IELTS I realized that most essays follow a pattern. Although you don’t have to, it makes it easier if you follow a structure. This structure has worked for students I’ve taught and helped me to reach my target band score:

  • First paragraph – paraphrase the rubrics (set of instructions) and write about what you’re going to write. Let the examiner know that you have fully understood the task and that you are on your way to tackle it.
  • Second paragraph - try to support one side of the argument. Come up with reasons for everything you say. Write short well linked sentences.
  • Third paragraph - support the other side of the argument. Contrast the ideas from the previous paragraph. Develop your thoughts. 
  • Fourth and final paragraph (remember you only have 40 minutes) - state your opinion and come up with a conclusion.
Top Tip from Rafael

 

Linking expressions will also help you to achieve a higher band score, Sophie explains this further here.

I know what you’re thinking; it’s easier said than done. You’re right! That’s why in addition to this you should also use very good and reliable preparation material so that you know exactly what you are up against. I personally recommend the Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS.  

What do you use your English for now? 
 
Nowadays I use English for everything as I work in an English speaking country; I teach and study it everyday. Most importantly, I used my knowledge of the English language to write this blog for you!

Hope you found this useful!

Rafael

IELTS Test Taker

Hear from past IELTS test takers as they share their experience of taking IELTS. They will cover what’s needed to prepare, pass the test and achieve your target band score.

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Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS

This all-in-one study guide provides comprehensive preparation for IELTS Academic and General Training and is packed with activities, practice tests and tips to help you maximise your IELTS score. It covers the language and skills you need to perform with confidence. Organised by skill, you can study from start to finish or focus on areas that you need most help with.

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