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Band 9 in IELTS?!! No problem!!!by Nick Chung [Writing Contest 2014 ★ Winner ★]
IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, a standard for English that has been popularly used by the colleges, universities or English-speaking countries to test whether the applicants or migrants are qualified to live in their country or not. (Editor's Note: Read here to know what is IELTS and when are the upcoming IELTS Malaysia test dates 2014.)
So basically, there are 9 band scores, acting as the scale of assessment for IELTS and if a person gets a Band 9 in his/her result, then obviously he/she is an expert user. During the test, there will be 4 parts that a test taker has to go through: speaking, listening, reading and writing. I know, many of you might ask please give us the main tips already, but still, I need to fill in some general information for those who don't really know about IELTS. Getting a Band 9 score may be hard, however, chances are only available to those who made their preparations. Prepared test takers will have a higher chance in gaining a Band 9 score. So, here you go:
IELTS Speaking TipsSpeaking is actually a very simple task for an English speakers and I believe most of our students do communicate in English, at least a little bit. Okay-lah, maybe we do use the "-lo", "-lah" and a bunch of slangs probably only us, the Malaysians will understand. It's no harm using our "Manglish" in our life; after all it is part of our culture-bah, but not in the speaking part. Try to get off the slangs in the IELTS speaking test. To get good grades in this part,
1. You will need to spend some time correcting your English.
First thing first, ignore the "-lah", "-bah" or whatever it is. Be aware of what you are talking about, and there's one way to correct them. As most of us are using smartphones now, you can actually use the recording media as your "mirror" to "reflect" your voice. Thanks to Alexander Graham Bell! By recording what you have spoken and re-playing them to yourself, you can notice your pronunciation and other errors as well easily. In that way, you might be able to get rid of the slangs.
2. By the way, sitcoms and TV shows that are based on English are quite some great ways to improvise your English.
I love watching sitcoms like "Wizard of the Waverly place", "How I met your mother", "Sonny with a Chance" and many others. I don't care if anyone said them childish or stupid but that actually helps me to improve my English. I used to be very lousy particularly in English and ever since I watched these sitcoms and imitated their way of talking, their accents and pronunciation, I could speak at least a little. So, mimicking the intonation actually helps in accumulating your experience dealing with English indirectly.
3. Speak normal, do not go too fast or too slow. Think carefully before you speak.
Well, the final part for speaking would be the way you talk. It holds the key to your lock. This is the final step of your preparations. You already got your sword forged nicely and all you got to do is to hurl them to your enemies, off with their heads! I'm sorry, haha...Back to the topic, the way you speak is quite crucial, but bear in mind, always be CONFIDENT, ALWAYS. You speak in confidence, do not be afraid of making mistakes, even if you did, don't panic as if you were suffering a heart attack. Speak normal; do not go too fast or too slow. Think carefully before you speak. Most importantly, give your best shot to impress the examiners. Give them some Try exploring books to give you some terrific ideals.
IELTS Listening TipsListening could be easy if you could heed my advice. Normally, it will be an Australian speaker or a British accent that was recorded and play for only once. It might be kinky if you missed a small part or the whole thing. Here's how to help alleviate the problem:
4. Listening to more of the samples actually helps you to recognize the difference between accents.
We say "How are you today?" but Australians say "How are you to-dieee?" Australian accents are just slightly different from the normal English, but British accents tend to go heavier on the "a" sound. This may varied to individuals and by listening to the sample tapes or recordings may help you to differentiate and identify some words that are not so familiar with. However, these recordings might need to be bought online or from the nearby IELTS taking centres, so, in order to save money, listening to the radio is a great alternative to prepare for IELTS listening test.
5. Calm down.
First thing is to calm down, find the inner peace in you. Now, there's only two choice to go: Try to re-connect your ear with your brain before you hand in your answer sheet or let it go (only for the worst case scenario). You can somehow remember the missed part, as it is still fresh in your brain, it's just that it would be a bit hard to search them out. Let it go only if you cannot remember it at all. Yeap, you heard me...Just like what Elsa sang in "Frozen": "Let it go, let it go, can't hold it back anymore..." Sometimes holding onto it is not the best option of all as you might be distracted and missed the rest of the part. That's when I called losing EVERYTHING.
IELTS Reading TipsSounds like another easy thing to do, but there's a tick here, people: Only people with high reading skills and good observation skills can do very well in this sector. If you're not, need not to be worried because I'm going to talk about tips to improve them.
6. To sharpen your observation skills, one can focus on details.
No matter when you're watching TV programmes, try not to focus on the main character, but concentrate on the background. For example, you're watching your favourite soap opera and somehow a good observant could have noticed that there's no internet connection shown in their computer and yet, they still claimed that they were browsing the internet. It's funny when you saw that moment. I'm not asking you to pinpoint somebody's weaknesses or errors, but it helps you to see things in details and in a shorter period. Hey, don't forget to give yourself some fun while training your observation skills! Remember, all work and no play makes YOU a dull boy/girl! During the practice or test, don't forget to look for keywords and underline the main points. This skim and scan technique ought to help a lot in finding answers.
7. When you are answering the questions, do keep yourself on track so that you won't use up a lot of time in a certain passage.
You won't want to spend about 30 minutes in one passage and spend the remaining half an hour to complete the rest. Oh, and don't forget to read the instructions! They are the utmost important things to do before answering questions as there might be some tricky instructions that requires you to differ between "words" and "phrases" so that you could answer your questions correctly. Answers are often given from one paragraph to another so don't worry that you will need to search your answer in the paragraph prior to your last answer in the previous paragraph. Just be confident and keep up in a normal pace, then a Band 9 score for this section won't be a problem.
8. Read more. Again, the old saying - "Knowledge is the key to everything".
In this context, the statement "Ignorance is bliss" couldn't be applied here. Through reading, one can broaden their horizon and mind...blah...blah...blah...Whatever the old folks were saying. Old, but true. Reading actually fortifies your knowledge fort; concrete knowledge poured into you will strengthen yourself and differs you between those who don't read at all. There's actually a wide selection of reading materials range from books to online reading materials. Instead of sticking your eyes towards Facebook accounts and comments, you can actually do better by reading the articles shared. They are good forms of improving your writing styles as well as the lexical as these are some of the marking criteria that adds up your marks. (Editor's note: 46 IELTS sample model essays)
9. Logical thinking.
It is not enough just by reading. You'll have to think. The essay you're going to write is actually the word-based expressed in your thinking. By thinking logically, one can almost relate anything together. For instance, the above strange topic that I have said: pen and cooking. By asking who, when, which, what, where and how is actually a great foundation in building up your logical thinking. Who use pen to talk about cooking? Critics do. How, where, when and what? They give remarks about the food, the surrounding and the atmosphere of a restaurant whenever they went to a fine restaurant or eateries. TripAdvisor is actually one of the most-trusted guides to find restaurants for travelers who want to have an unforgettable meal in a foreign place. These are just some random ideas, but it leads me to think critically. There is a lot of ways to train to think logically and chess playing is one of them.
10. Practice makes perfect.
Most of the people said that because it is a fact. Through intensive writing, your ability to express yourself in words will grow stronger. The discipline of writing more enables you to target topics in different areas effectively as it accumulates as experiences in you. You would probably use the word "upset" instead of "angry". The vocabularies in you won't be limited as your lexical database continues to expand. While doing the writing task in IELTS test, focus more on your writing task 2 as it has a greater weightage than the task 1. You will be given an hour to complete both tasks. You can buy some sample question papers from the IELTS test centres or download them online, depending on your financial ability. Frequent your practice, try to do at least three sets of writing tasks every week the month before you take your test.
I think that's all for the tips. Nothing is impossible, if you start earlier, then there would a greater chance you might get good grades in IELTS. All you need to do is to action now. Although I cannot guarantee you can have a Band 9 score after you read this article, and if anything that I have written offends you, criticises are more than welcome to be made as long as it is subjected to the above topic. Should you have any typical tips in scoring Band 9 in IELTS, please don't hesitate to share them to me! After all, we are learning together to improve our English. All the best for IELTS takers! Happy test taking!
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Nick, Nicky, or Nickie, whatever you call... 19, Tawau, Sabah. He has completed his SPM last year and is currently studying HELP Foundation in Science in ISM, Tawau. A wide range of hobbies, writing becomes one of them and had not been writing for months. Love to swim, no matter in sunny or rainy day, as long as the Cumulonimbus clouds are not on top of him then he will continue swimming! He really hopes to be an entrepreneur, who sells fast food franchises like Colonel Sanders did! He believes to be a successful entrepreneur, one must be able to endure all sorts of hardship, from poverty to risk handling... whatever it is, you name it!
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