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April 13, 2012
3:02 pm
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Tehran
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I took IELTS twice, and I am going to take it again in a month.

1st  22-Oct-2011  Speaking: 8          Listening :  6.5       Reading : 7          Writing : 6.5      Overall: 7

2nd 12-Feb-2012 Speaking: 7.5        Listening : 7.5       Reading : 8.5        Writing : 5.5!     Overall: 7.5

 

Forget your mother tong during exam week!, at last for speaking 🙂 and don't underestimate writing!

April 13, 2012
4:19 pm
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Thanks Ali

Very impressive results. I'm sure you will do fine in writing the next test. It seems as if you had a bad day.

Just keep things simple and keep reading some of the essays on this site. There's are some good ones by Kenny, on immigration, and another by Katiss, on change

When are you going to try again?

April 13, 2012
4:21 pm
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 You are excellent! How I wish I could get the same score like you! I even don't dare to tell my first score. It is a shame!

April 14, 2012
3:37 pm
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Thank you very much ,friends.In fact, Those results are not acceptable after a year of intensive study. are they?

I have registered for 12 May 2012(again general module). But, just a week ago,  the center has canceled a test on 14 April . They have promised that it will not happen again.I hope so.

In addition, I am an old man!, 33 years old, with busy working life. Learning English or getting ready for passing IELTS needs concentration, restful mind, and tranquil environment that I do not have! I did not say it for show off, I said it for encouraging other candidates.

Winners never quit and quitters never win!
- Vince Lombardi

Furthermore, my IELTS teachers were excellent, but they would definitely reject if I wrote like this: Concise Introduction , I think their approach were more useful for TOEFL, I guess.

Moreover, in reading and listening, just practice can help. For instance in reading one should read everything, forget skimming,
scanning or such strange ideas, I read through and I got 8.5.

Finally, when I was completely disappointed, I found Writefix.com and a generous person to guide me. God bless you sir.

Dear Enda, please tolerate my basic, annoying mistakes, you were so
helpful, I promise to learn fast.

thank you very much

April 14, 2012
3:42 pm
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ali_ahmadi said

I took IELTS twice, and I am going to take it again in a month.

1st  22-Oct-2011  Speaking: 8          Listening :  6.5       Reading : 7          Writing : 6.5      Overall: 7

2nd 12-Feb-2012 Speaking: 7.5        Listening : 7.5       Reading : 8.5        Writing : 5.5!     Overall: 7.5

 

Forget your mother tong during exam week!, at last for speaking 🙂 and don't underestimate writing!

Hey Ali,

Very good results. Do you need at least 7 in each band? Are you taking the test for migration? 

Btw, I have quite a lot friends who fail the writing part. It is quite difficult to score 7 in writing.

Good luck next time!

April 14, 2012
4:12 pm
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Dear Bui,

Yes, I do, I need 7 each band and for migration. Right now, I can get sponsorship from Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. But as far as I am concerned, Sydney and Perth are far more developed. So I should practice more. Meanwhile, I came up with the idea that nowadays, if one cannot use English properly,he will face major hurdles. Therefore learning English has become my first priority.

 

Best wishes.

April 16, 2012
5:22 pm
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HI ALI:

 

Thanks for sharing your experience on reading. It is very useful, really. Besides, your speeking band is very impressive. Do you have any good hints about this part? For example, how do you practice?

 

Finally, I wish you get a satisfied socre next time. You can make it! Gook Luck!

April 16, 2012
7:19 pm
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Dear Li,

In speaking, I tried to answer questions about strange things as much as possible, for instance I described

                   a negative/positive experience in daily life

                   my family members

                   successful people

                   problems in my town

                   ...

I recorded my voice and listened to it for times.

In addition, I read books. "Objective IELTS advanced" and "Essential Words for IELTS" are brilliant books, also Cambridge past papers and  "Vocabulary for IELTS" as well as "Grammar for IELTS" are essential. Another pack of fabulous tests can be found in Plus tests. Meanwhile I went to IELTS class. Moreover I took mock exams for 16 successive months. Briefly, I think practice makes prefect. Those mock tests developed my speaking skill very much. Bur it was quite peculiar that I got 5.5 in writing while, I was being assessed as band 7 and 8 in 6 final exams. I am utterly confused with writing.  🙁

April 17, 2012
3:24 pm
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Some really good tips everyone! Keep them coming! It's really motivating to see such good scores!

 

I like the book Cambridge Grammar for IELTS because it's a writing book really, not a grammar book!

Remember some books are aimed at Band 5-6, while others are targeted at Band 6-8. The advice in each is similar but obviously not the same. And don't forget some are for General Track not Academic, so check before you buy!

I've seen lots of books and while all have some good features, I would just not use all of any one book. The exception would be the Cambridge practice exam series, number 4-7 or whatever you can find. Get it and do some practice exams.  

Everyone needs to do at least one full practice exam over an uninterrupted period of 3 hours, alone, somewhere quiet, writing by hand, Mark it the next day. It's tough! Keep a clock with you and DO NOT go over the time. Photocopy the answer sheets at the back of the book

  • Listening: approx 35-40 minutes, plus 10 minutes to transfer
  • Reading: 1 hour, no extra time to transfer
  • Writing: 1 hour (20 minutes for Task 1 and 40 mins for Task 2 recommended) -  no extra time for thinking!

It's horrible when people aren't prepared for the exam - how to fill in the answer sheet, leaving it too late to transfer answers, writing on the wrong page of the paper, not knowing what they are supposed to do in some of the reading questions (e.g. matching, ordering, etc), not writing enough words, etc. Why waste 200 dollars? Get it right the first time!

April 17, 2012
3:55 pm
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Thank you very much sir.

 

Objective IELTS Advanced and Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced claim that they are designed for 6.5+, I read most of the first one and it was great. I am reading it for my next exam.

The second one is not available here in Iran, or at least I haven't seen it yet.I wish I had it.

April 18, 2012
5:15 pm
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Hi everyone,

I am going to take the ielts exam in the next three months but my writing has too much problem. I hope that I can learn many things on this page with your help.

April 20, 2012
7:47 am
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I liked some of the writing advice in barrons ielts.

Any online classes worth it?

April 29, 2012
10:57 am
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Hi Soukey

Hope you find some useful ideas and suggestions here, and some great essays by other writers!

Please post some of your essays in the other forum and feel free to help other writers by commenting on their essays!

April 29, 2012
11:01 am
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Hi Katiss

You asked if there were any good online classes. To be honest, I don’t know. I haven’t tried them and I don’t know anyone who has. I’m sure there must be some good ones and some rip-offs, but how find the good ones? Another problem is some of them might be good in one skill, such as reading, and less useful in another.

Regarding textbooks, there are basically three kinds of IELTS books.

  1. In the first group are exam papers and practice questions. I recommend any of the Cambridge IELTS series e.g.Cambridge IELTS 7  (or 6, or 8, or 9), as practice for the format of the exam. They don’t give you many strategies or tips  - just practice at doing the exam within the correct time. These are useful a few weeks before the exam, but they won't improve your overall English level!
  2. A second type of IELTS book or program emphasizes strategies and advice for specific parts of the exam. You can also find some short classes (one-day or a couple of evenings) which do this -  I think these are worthwhile if you are about Band 6.5 or 7 upwards and you just need practice with the format of the test. These classes or books WON'T help you with your overall English level!
  3. Finally, the third category of IELTS textbook isn’t really about IELTS – it’s about teaching the English skills which you need for IELTS, maybe with some IELTS exercises thrown in. These are for use over months and months and will with hard work and perseverance improve your English level. But you also need to do some full-length practice tests (number 1 above).

People need to be realistic -  it’s not possible to move from a Band 4 to a Band 7 in a few weeks. But knowing the format of the exam and learning some strategies can increase your score by about one band.

Also, remember that the biggest improvements are in the middle: you can move from Band 5 to 6 relatively easily, but it’s very difficult to move from Band 8 to Band 9. 

April 29, 2012
11:05 am
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Hi Ali

Thanks for your kind words. 

Hey Ali, if you are an old man at 33, what does that make me! 🙂

As regards having a tranquil environment to improve your level in English (or any language), I don't think that will ever happen! The reality is we are all busy and have many things to think about.

But you know what they say - if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it!

April 30, 2012
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Dear Sir,

Thank you very much. I will be grateful if you could possibly introduce some books to boost General English (3rd category). It is obvious that I need books for people who have already obtained level 7 in IELTS.

Most regards and best wishes.

May 10, 2012
10:19 pm
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Dear Members,

Your posts made me join the discussion. I find a lot of candidates who are getting 6.5. in writing in spite of their good command over English. In fact  those who get 8 bands or 7.5 bands in speaking also get only 6.5.bands in Writing.

 

Mr. Writefix , could  you  please explain how one can reach from 6.5. to 7 Bands in Writing.

 

Radha Muralidhar.

May 11, 2012
2:17 pm
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Hi everyone

I got my result of the April 21st General Module:

S:7, R:8.5, L:7 and as I expected W:6.5 🙁

I need 7 score in each band for my immigration documents lodgement.

I am gonna take another exam within 14 days, on May 28th.

I will be so grateful to hear your comments and ideas to manage my energy and time during these days.

Thank you 🙂

May 11, 2012
4:24 pm
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Hi Shabab!

So close!  That's a really great score in the reading.

I notice you are doing the General Training module. Make sure that for Part 1 you have practiced lots of simple letters. Here are some tips for candidates writing Task 1 in the GT module.

Task 1 Writing: General Training

Task 1 in the General Track is not the same as in the Academic Track - instead of a graph or visual data, you usually have to write a letter in response to a situation.

There aren't examples for Task 1 General Training on this site. There are some here and here, but I haven't had enough time to look at the quality of the examples.

The letter is often to a company, or a store, or a hotel, or a landlord, or a university, or an airline, but it can also be social. You have to describe a situation and explain what happened and what you want to happen -  the action you want the recipient to take.

Make sure you answer all the parts. Tick or mark the bullet points on the question as you write them.  

Don't write too much! 

Some candidates pick very complicated situations. Don't. It's not a creative essay. It's seeing if you can deal with an everyday situation by describing a problem and requesting action or an alternative. 

Tone

Be careful with tone. This is a common problem, being too informal or being too formal (it's a letter so it should NOT be TOO formal)  or even worse, changing tone. For example, don't write "I would respectfully request" in one part of the letter and then "If you don't solve this problem I'm going to move to another company" in another part. In general, avoid threats or demands!

Abbreviations

Don't use any. None. At all. Just because you work in ICU and a patient has a TIA does not mean we all understand. Spell it out for us. Don't get excited if the situation in the question is very similar to your work situation. Don't be too technical.

Don't read books about how to write letters

Avoid tired old phrases, passives, and cliches from letter-writing books like 

  • Per your letter of the 15th
  • Reference our meeting on the 15th inst
  • Your letter of the 12th is at hand
  • Refer your letter of Tuesday 22nd, 
  • Awaiting the favour of a reply
  • Yours in anticipation
  • Yours (in anything)
  • It has been observed that...
  • Kindly be informed that...
  • Recently it has been brought to my attention that...

Avoid all idioms and cliches.  Do not use the word 'kudos' (if you don't know the word, consider yourself lucky). Your letter should be matter-of-fact and businesslike, unless the situation is really social. If you work in an office and write letters, forget them all and write your own sentences. 

You can say "I look forward to hearing from you" or "I hope we can solve this problem in the next few days."

Use paragraphs

Use bullet points if necessary -  but make sure you write full sentences for each of the bullet points. In fact, I think I'm going to regret saying use bullet points, but they are useful in the real world.

Don't give an address. It won't count in your total number of words. Neither will your name. 

First Sentence

The first sentence is absolutely crucial. Say what you would like

"I would like to

  • request a/that
  • complain about
  • inquire about
  • inform you about/that
  • meet with you
  • request a meeting
  • return some damaged items
  • thank you for
  • reschedule our meeting which 
  • transfer ...... to, etc" 

Don't be overpolite. There is no need to use words like 'reputed company' or to try to butter up the company or recipient. Don't praise just to balance a complaint. Be businesslike and to the point. Don't grovel.  But don't demand too strongly either.

Specify

Don't say "You/your company/airline/office/manager/ must take some action immediately."

Don't say "appropriate authorities

Don't say or imply "bad things will happen"

Time

Overall, short is good. You only have 20 minutes. Spend 5 minutes planning, and write for 13-14 minutes or so, then take a one-minute break before Task 2. Be consistent in tone -  don't threaten, but don't whine or beg. Say what you want, be polite and keep it short. 

You don't need extra paper for Task 1. Trust me on this. Just write 150 words and leave it at that. If you can't do it in 150 words, the situation you have planned is too complicated. Keep it short and simple.

May 11, 2012
4:55 pm
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wow! that was really helpful, actually I didn't expect that too much hints for my writing! Thanks for the time you spared to answer my question. I was wondering, if you can give me some hints about Task 2? because I think I do my best each time but I do not get 7! before this test, I took another 6 months ago and the result was: S:7.5, R:7.5, L:7 and writing:6!

May 25, 2012
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Hello,Mr writefix.Can you suggest me how will i prepare for ielts exam .My band rquriement is 7 band in each module.Recently,i took ielts test and i got Listening 7 ,reading 6 and writing and speaking 6.5 band as well .I donot have much time for study because of busy family and working life.Can you advise me please about prepration and when i can take exam again means how long i need to prepare for band 7 in each module.help me please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

May 26, 2012
9:42 am
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Hello guru!

The first thing I would do is get some of the Cambridge IELTS Practice exam books -  there are a lot of them but the newer ones are better -  and I would do each of the complete exams in a single sitting, using a clock.

A big part of the test is timing, perseverance, and awareness of strategy. The exam takes up to three hours and is tiring. Most people are not used to writing by hand.

Listening

You need to build on your strengths in listening, and boost that score to 7.5 or 8. Most people can improve their listening for IELTS by predicting, looking ahead, and guessing possible answers. There is a lot of time in the exam for checking – I think it is pointless. It’s far more useful to look ahead and read the questions and guess what the answer could be.

Reading

In Reading, you have 2500 words to read in less than an hour. Not easy. Between now and the exam, read National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, and well-written newspapers and websites about environment, ethical problems, debates, science and technology, changes in society and the family. Watch TV programs and documentaries about these topics -  migration, women, crime, communication, health, changes in society, etc.

Skip politics, business and articles about individuals. You need readings that help you discuss issues, problems, changes, etc.

It’s going to take a long time to improve your comprehension, but your actual reading speed will get faster, so start today.

Always read the questions first before you read the passage. Some question types (summaries, gap-fills, sequence the paragraphs) are more useful than others. Leave main idea questions until last.

Speaking

In Speaking, watch all the videos on Youtube for Parts 1, 2 and 3 (search for IELTS Speaking Parts 1, 2 or 3). Watch this guide from an Australian television channel with Lester Chin. Talk everyday. You’ve paid over 200 dollars to do the exam: it’s time to spend money to get the result you need. You won’t magically improve if you just talk to yourself.

In Writing -  well you are in the right place. Start at http://writefix.com/?page_id=1524  and go step-by-step, following the links at the bottom of each page. There are hundreds of essays to look at. Write every day for 40 minutes for Task 2 and 20 minutes for Task 1.

I appreciate that you are busy, but why are you doing IELTS? If you emigrate or go to study elsewhere, your current family life and work commitments will change and become unrecognizable!

Dare to dream

Finally, here’s a motivational piece from Vic Magary, a writer on fitness and training. I look at it from time to time, and try to put it into practice sometimes, but unfortunately no washboard abs for me....  🙁  

Pay the price

Success is simple: determine the cost of what you want and then pay the price. And while you’re paying the price, keep it to yourself. No one wants to hear you bitch about how hard it is. No matter how bad you think you have it, someone has it worse and they’re enduring it with dignity. If you want to lose belly fat accept your hunger pangs and near-nauseous levels of circuit training intensity with a smile.

If you want to get stronger but the only way you can get to the gym is by getting up an hour earlier, set your alarm clock without fanfare. People are always wondering why they don’t look like the cover models on magazines. I’ll tell ya why… those guys are the ones who are working out at 6 AM even though they feel like absolute crap. When everyone else is pigging out on pizza, they’re eating a chicken breast with veggies. It all comes down to how much you want it. Determine the price and pay it. Simple. But simple does not mean easy.

Vic Magary, http://www.gymjunkies.com/page/17/

 

June 7, 2012
11:49 pm
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Hi Enda,

Today, I've received result of my IELTS test.

Listening: 6.0

Reading: 7.0

Writing: 7.5

Speaking: 6.0

Overall: 6.5

 

First of all, I want to send to you my great gratitude because of your help in the past.

 

Secondly, can you give me some advices to improve Listening and speaking skills?

 

Thanks for your help, again!

June 8, 2012
2:35 pm
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Hi Enda,

Hear is the results I recieved this morning.

Listening: 7.5

Reading: 7.0

Writing: 7.0

Speaking: 6.0 🙁

Overall: 7.0

 

Thanks a lot for your help. My writing has been improved by 0.5 band since the last time. However, I still need to take another test next week due to low band score in speaking.

June 8, 2012
3:19 pm
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Congratulations, Tommy - that's great news on your scores in Writing and Listening and Speaking. That's a great result. I'm sorry you didn't get the speaking score you wanted.

As regards speaking, have a look at the tips on this website http://australianetwork.com/passport/lester.htm, and in Youtube, search for "IELTS speaking Part 1"  "IELTS speaking Part 2" and  "IELTS speaking Part 3."  There are a lot of videos.

The important thing is to keep speaking-  don't worry too much about your grammar or vocabulary. Just try to keep going.

In Part 1, don't try to memorize -  just answer the questions. So if the examiner asks you about your hometown, just answer exactly what he or she asks -  they don't want everything about your town. If they ask about your house, just answer exactly what they ask - it might just be a short question about what you would like to change or if it is a good place to grow up in.

In Part 2, use the full 1 minute preparation. Don't start early! Write and write and write and make sure you deal with all the bullet points. Keep going  -  you should reach 2 minutes. It's a good idea to divide up your topic and develop each subpoint, just as you would in your writing.

In Part 3, try to use lots of modals and conditionals and possibiliity (could, can, may might, possibly, should, perhaps, I think, maybe).

Above all, practice and practice this week. See if you can find anyone who will talk with you - just try to speak as much as you can. Don't be shy or embarrassed -  go for it!

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