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My IELTS - Band 8 (97 percentile)

This topic has 1 member reply
ayankm Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
19 Apr 2010
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My IELTS - Band 8 (97 percentile)

Post Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:23 pm
Before giving GMAT I already knew that I would like to go to a B school in Europe rather than in US for some personal reasons. As such I started researching few schools and found that all of them accept IELTS score apart from TOEFL, CPE etc. I personally wanted to give IELTS (after comparing it with TOEFL) as I believed it would be much easier to be speaking with a person rather than speaking into something. Also, the idea of using pens/pencils during the exam appealed to me. I felt much comfortable using a pencil, after quite a long time. As such, although I had to pay much more for IELTS, I chose it. I gave the IELTS in Brazil and in my city there are no centres administering the exam. So I had to drive to another city called Curitiba and give the exam there. So, even though the cost of the exam as well as the associated costs were higher (more than double) I opted for IELTS simply because of the human touch that it brought.

IELTS does need some preparation, specially if you come from a non English speaking background. However, be rest assured, it is no match for GMAT English. I have been studying, speaking & writing in English for the last 25 years or more even though I do not come from an English speaking country. So, my preparations were on a lighter side. However, this will vary from person to person. Few things that I have noticed while practising for the listening test is that, the speakers are mainly from UK and Australia. As such, if you have access to TV channels from these countries, listening to those for few hours a day would help a lot. Again, I didnt need this as I had stayed in UK for work for more than 2.5 years. Apart from this, I used Cambridge IELTS materials for practising.

Listening: While doing a listening test, try to write down the answer in the answer sheet as soon as you hear them. Although in actual IELTS exam you will be given extra time to transfer answers from scratch sheet to answer sheet, I would recommend doing it straight in the answer sheet itself. The reason being, while writing the answer you know whether the answer fits in or not and also, since the listening tape runs for about 24 minutes, I guess it would be quite difficult to depend on your memory for any words.

Reading: The reading test will have 3 big stories to read and answer to 40 questions. Dont let the size of the passage intimidate you, just skim through it and go straight to the answers. The questions will help you, in some cases, to pin point the passage where the answer might be. So no need to read to really assimilate what is being said in the passage. Also, during the actual exam, you will be free to do any of the 3 passages first. So, if you are comfortable with science passages, you are free to do it first. This will help you save some time for the more drier political or social ones. You will have 1 hour to answer 40 questions, which translates to around 20 mins per passage. In my opinion this is enough.

Writing: As I said earlier, if you had done well in your GMAT AWA, you dont need to worry about this section. Here you will have to write 2 passages, one of atleast 150 words and the other of atleast 250 words. The first one will ask you to describe a diagram or 2 graphs or a flow chart etc. The second one will be kind of Analysis of an Issue. I followed the same template I used during GMAT AWA. This is the template that one user put up in the AWA forum and its a sticky.
Just follow this and you will be ok. Also I used to read these from another site called www.ielts-exam.net. However, in my opinion, the passages have not been written very nicely. Lastly, you wont be penalised for exceeding word limit.

For all the above tests, you will be given an option to either write in pen or pencil. In my opinion you should use a pencil (for obvious reasons).

Since I was giving my test in a different city, I had to leave early for the exam centre. I had no difficulty in finding it and the test being on a Saturday, there were plenty of parking space to pick and choose from. The test started with the Speaking test where I was asked few questions about myself, my background, work experience etc. After this I was given a topic on which I was required to speak for 1-2 mintues after preparing for 1 minute. The topic was quite common (public health and awareness). Followed by the speech, I was asked few more questions on the same topic and the test ended. Take it more like a discussion rather than a test and you will be fine. This was the only section for which I didnt prepare anything.

Overall the test day experience was nice. The test centre stuffs were very nice and warm persons and I guess all the examinees felt quite at ease during the duration of the exam. There was a single break of 15 minutes after the listening and reading sections. Coffee and water were being served during this break. I had the added advantage of being a foreigner in the test centre, so got a bit of special attention as well Wink. Nonetheless, I think, if you need to take a test for proving your english and money is not that big a factor, you should take IELTS.

Thanked by: Ridhwana
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DanaJ Site Admin
01 Jan 2009
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Post Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:30 pm
Congrats ayankm! Thanks for sharing your story with us, it's really nice to see you've had a good experience studying for the IELTS. Unfortunately though, you can't take the GMAT on paper as well, but I'm sure you'll get a good score!

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