Sunday, December 4, 2011


Two weeks ago, I took the IELTS test. I had to take the exam as a requirement in Postgrad Studies overseas.

Despite the time-pressured and mind-shaking examination, I was able to pass the test. Finally, my anxiety ended as soon as I opened the brown envelop and my scores in the test flew in thin air.

So today, I will share to you some tips and tricks to ace the IELTS test. Of course, my statements will be based on my personal experiences.

The IELTS, which stands for International English Language Testing System, is divided in four parts: Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing.

The IELTS test is a requirement especially for those who wish to study overseas. It's required especially to non-English speaking countries.

So two weeks ago, I put myself to the IELTS test. The examination date was divided into two: the first day was for the speaking test and the second day was allotted for the listening, reading and writing.

To me, an IELTS exam tests a person's capacity to use the English language. From speaking to writing, the exam identifies a person's adaptability and comprehension with the language in various situations.

I didn't take the review for the IELTS exam. Since the exam (alone) costs BND285 or almost 3,000 pesos, I just opted for a self review. I bought some IELTS reviewers and that's it.

So days prior to my exam, I reviewed. For the listening part, I listened to the CD and answered the questions. For the reading part, I read the articles with a time limit and answered the questions. For the writing, I just read some samples. And for the speaking, I just rehearsed by picking some random questions.

After two weeks of self review, I took the test.

There is no specific formula to pass the IELTS exam. However, there are ways which you can explore to get a competitive band score.

First tip, familiarize yourself with the IELTS test. How? If you don't have a budget for some a review session, take a self review. You can get some IELTS reviewer by buying or borrowing from your friends who have a copy.

Once you get a copy of the reviewer, try answering the different parts of the test.

For the speaking, you may ask someone, perhaps your friend, to read to you the questions and you can answer it. 

For the reading part, again, set a time limit and answer the questions. Remember that you are only allowed to use 20 minutes in reading and answering the reading test. On the side, try to read articles or books on your free time. It will help you to develop your reading and comprehension skills.

Second tip, on the actual day of the test, be on time. As much as possible, if you're scheduled on an early morning test, eat a hefty breakfast to keep you brain cells running during the test period.

Third tip, on the speaking test, try to relax and be articulate in answering the questions. As a talkative person, this is the part of the IELTS that I got the highest band score. And as a suggestion, as you talk to the examiner, try to think of the situation as a casual talk. Don't speak too fast and don't eat your words. On top of it, whether you want to move your hands while talking, do so. Bear in mind, be comfortable in expressing your thoughts.

On one hand, weeks or days prior to the speaking test, as I mentioned, you can ask you friends to ask you some random questions and you can answer in English. There's a portion of the test that you'll be given 2 minutes to talk on a certain topic. Try practicing!

Fourth tip, on the listening test, focus on what you hear and understand the context. In the listening test, you will hear a series of conversations and you will answer the questions. So, as you take the exam, do not panic. On the side, you can write notes on the examination booklet as you hear the conversations you're asked to listen to. At the end of the listening test, you will be given 10 minutes to transfer your answer from the examination booklet to the examination sheet.

Fifth, on the reading part, again, calm down and understand the article. As a tip, you can write on the examination booklet. In fact, in my case, I encircled and marked some of the statements which I think are essential in answering the questions. The questions are comprised of Yes/No/Not Given and some matching type. There's also some fill in the blanks. To answer these, all you need is proper comprehension with what you read. You can re-read the article if you want to especially in understanding the questions.

Take note that the reading part has a time limit. You only have 20 minutes to read and write each section. In my case, thank God, I finished on the dot.

Sixth, in the writing part, it is best to have a clear mind and articulation of the question. As a tip, once you read the question, you may start writing an outline. Once you're done with your outline, you can start drafting and write. In writing, you are given 40 minutes for one composition and another 20 minutes in explaining or reviewing a graph.

On reviewing a graph, my suggestion is, try to keep you sentences short and simple. You may use connectors if you wish. As always, get straight to the point.

Writing straight to the point is the main key to ace the writing part. But of course, be concise and never ever forget to write in correct grammar.

Now, if you don't have enough writing background, you may start practicing by writing some entries in random topics. You may blog for practice. You may keep a diary. You may even write some correspondences in the office if you're into that job. Plus, read and read a lot. It will help to enrich your vocabulary.

As a writer, I got a competitive score in the writing part.  However, the only not-so-happy part in the writing test for me was the "writing" itself. Since I'm not used to handwriting, as I'm now more comfortable with typing on a computer or laptop, I had some pain in my hand. Plus, I had to erase a whole paragraph and rewrite again if I feel that the paragraph I wrote is irrelevant. Unlike in computers, you can just delete everything in one drag and click. Thank God, I was able to finish on time.

So, if you're taking the IELTS exam, I wish you all the best. The IELTS test is tricky but there are ways to get so you can survive the hours of mind shock. All you need are familiarization through practice, read and write to enhance your vocabulary, and more importantly focus with lots and lots of prayers!

All the best!


  1. Nice post about IELTS Reading Tips it is very helpful for students

  2. Good Information about IELTS Letter writing it is very helpful for students.

  3. Thank you very much for your comments. I hope the information are helpful.

  4. Thanks for sharing this nice post. IELTS reading section includes passages taken from different magazines, books,newspapers and follow the IELTS reading success tips and get higher bands in IELTS reading section.

    IELTS reading test tips

  5. Thanks for sharing information it is very useful for study

    IELTS Reading

  6. You're welcome, Julia and Nancy. =)

  7. Thanks Earvs for the posting about the IELTS exam. For those who wanted to have an in depth view of the IELTS exam, you can visit the following useful sources: