Just today I received my IELTS test result. I have been planning to continue my postgraduate in overseas. I did my IELTS test on 28/05/2011 in the nearby IALF at Jl. Rasuna Said. The result is available after 2 weeks and could be checked in IELTS Website
IETLS test consists of four parts: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Conversation. The postgraduate degree requires overall score 6.5 and none of them below 6.0.
To be honest I feel this requirement is very intimidating after you tried an IELTS test. The test seriously… SUCKS. My initial score was 5.5. I scored low at writing and conversation because I wasn’t familiarized yet with IELTS writing structure, and I tend to be nervous when speaking.
IELTS preparation course is pricey, and actually you only need teacher to check your writing and practice conversation. You could do the listening and reading part by yourself at home. Buy an IELTS preparation book or rent at library.
Here are my tips for these who will take the sucky IELTS test:
Listening is fairly easy as long you keep concentration because most of time the speakers don’t talk too fast. Fortunately they don’t use a lot of british accent so it’s easier for non-natives to grasp. The worst part is probably the 3rd part, because there is conversation about something academic and you could be confused easily if you lost your concentration.
There are three passages in reading test. I recommend to finish the 3rd reading passage first because the content is academical and it’s the hardest. During my ielts test I was given article about ice layer in Mars. I was once given a passage about pedagogy and research for PHD, the latter seriously hard to grasp and I failed to score highly during practice. After finishing the 3rd passage, you could concentrate toward 1st and 2nd passage which are relatively easier.
The 1st part is easier because you are demanded to describe statistic/piechart/table/graphic. However if you are unfortunate, you might be demanded to write how-to manual. I suggest to write the 2nd part first because it will deplete your energy a lot. Be careful if your handwriting is illegible (because you haven’t written anything with pen for ages). You will also receive penalty if your writing is underlength.
Try to minimize grammatical error and use rich vocabulary as much as possible. If you are not confident with your writing skill, don’t use a complex sentence. If you forget the conjugation, you are screwed, so be careful.
Honestly I think this is the hardest part. I don’t speak english a lot these days, my pronunciation is also not really good because my language cognitive skill has been influenced by other languages I have previously learnt (Japanese, and German) and English is one bizarre language where a letter sequence could have at least 16 different sound (for example the word ‘ough’).
The key to win this test is… don’t take it too seriously. The test demands you to speak in 2 minutes about certain topic. Sounds hard, but if you could make up story, it won’t be too hard. During my test, I was given sport as topic, so I created fake story about my sport life during high school. Speak in good fluency. Learn from English talkshow.
In the end I managed to score Overall 6.5 band for the IELTS, with breakdown as follow:
- Listening: 7.0
- Reading: 7.5
- Writing: 6.0
- Speaking: 6.0
I wasn’t really surprised when looking at the score. I was confident on the listening and reading part. But I did horribly for the writing part. I was taking too much time writing for the writing task 1 and got panicked when the time almost up to write the writing task 2. My handwriting was probably illegible… it’s miracle I didn’t get 5.5 actually.
For the conversation part, I notice I probably made few mistakes like giving wrong answer for the question (because I didn’t get the question right), or misspelling words (I said ‘Olimpiade’ during the test, while it should be ‘Olympic game’), ouch.
IELTS sucks, I think this is new form of language imperialism you must pay USD 195, and it lasts only for 2 years! Unfortunately we need it. I wish Indonesia could create similar academic test in the future so all the Indonesian non-natives could also experience the similar ordeal…
Anyway, I wish all of you manage to score higher than me for your IELTS test.