IELTS Test - my experience!

Old Sep 3rd 2007, 5:39 am
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Post IELTS Test - my experience!

Well, took the test on Saturday (I'm trying to get the extra points offered after Sept 01, 2007 to put in a new application - long story).

I am currently in Australia on a student visa (finished 14.04.07, now on a bridging visa) so I took my test here in Brisbane at The University of Queensland (http://www.icte.uq.edu.au/ielts/ but tests are available at a large number of testing centres throughout Queensland and the rest of Australia - you can search for your nearest centre here http://www.ielts.org/default.aspx.

I actually took the Academic Test, but the General Training Test is all that's required for immigration purposes (but your skill assessment may require you to do the Academic Test, make sure you check in advance). I took the Academic test because I would have had to wait 6 weeks for a General Training test, and I also thought I should be ok with the Academic version.

Here is some information and my advice about the test;

1. Listening - this is the first part of the test. It is the same listening passage for both the Academic and General tests. I found this extremely easy as a native English speaker and don't think I made any mistakes (maybe I'll eat my words in 2 weeks when I get the result...). You have to fill in short answers (NO more than three words) or multiple choice letters on a sheet (A-D).

It was split into 4 sections. The first was a telephone conversation between two people (one resident and one city council official) regarding what day of the week the bins get put out, what types of recycling there are etc. The second was a monologue of a lady discussing the childcare facilities she offered and what you needed to do to enrol your child. The third section was a conversation between 2 students about whale watching and the final section was a speech (monologue) about steamships.

In all instances the speaker spoke quite slowly and very clearly. I had no trouble at all. It was all pre-recorded on CD and you only get to hear it once - but I don't think many native English speakers would have any problems at all.

2. Reading - this is different for Academic and General Training, so this information is only for Academic.

Split into 3 sections. It's all short answer (one to three words only) or multiple choice (A-D).

I had a section about Chinese Citrus growers and their use of biocontrol, one about music and learning and one I can't remember! It doesn't really matter what the subject matter is though as although I had no prior knowledge of each subject the questions are based on comprehension.

I would strongly recommend that people practice the reading sections - use past papers (available to buy in book form). It wasn't that it was difficult, it's just the way you are expected to answer the questions which is different to the way I read and take in information in an everyday situation.

3. Writing - 2 sections, first one takes 20 mins and is 150 words min, second takes 40mins and is 250 words min.

Again I strongly urge people to read some sample questions and also some model/sample answers. For the Academic test you usually have to describe and compare a couple of graphs - mine were about carbon emissions and global temperature changes from 2010 to 2100. It was very straightforward but I'm glad I read the practice tests and model answers beforehand.

For the second part I had to write a short essay (minimum 250 words) on whether people should go to uni/college or work straight from school. You can have any opinion you want but you must address both sides of the argument and give your own opinion. As before, I’m glad I had a couple of practices and read about what the examiners look for!

4. Speaking – this was hilarious. I basically had to answer basic questions about myself and then talk about a few subjects (shopping, how babies learn to talk) and then talk without prompting for about a minute on who I enjoy talking to and why! (They’re all topic that are randomly chosen from a big book by the examiner). It was easy. Native English speakers should have no worries!

Overall, I would suggest that everyone has a quick look at what is expected of you. I though the IELTS website was quite informative but also liked the Free Tutorials at http://www.ieltshelpnow.com.

I also used a book – and it was definitely helpful as it gave model answers and explained what the examiners expect – ‘IELTS Preparation and Practice: Practice Tests’ by Wendy Sahanaya and Terri Hughes.

Overall, it was really straightforward and nothing to stress about. Hopefully someone will report on the General Training Test too.

Overall;
1. Book EARLY – the test spaces fill up quickly.
2. Be prepared – even if it only means you read some old papers online.
3. Have good time management during the test
4. DON’T STRESS!

Good luck to anyone taking the exam!
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Old Sep 3rd 2007, 9:05 am
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Default Re: IELTS Test - my experience!

Hi tking,

just wanted to wish you luck with your application!

I think it's hilarious that you're a native English speaker, have got a PhD but still have to do the English language test for extra points

Gina
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Old Sep 3rd 2007, 10:37 am
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Default Re: IELTS Test - my experience!

Originally Posted by tking View Post
Well, took the test on Saturday (I'm trying to get the extra points offered after Sept 01, 2007 to put in a new application - long story).

I am currently in Australia on a student visa (finished 14.04.07, now on a bridging visa) so I took my test here in Brisbane at The University of Queensland (http://www.icte.uq.edu.au/ielts/ but tests are available at a large number of testing centres throughout Queensland and the rest of Australia - you can search for your nearest centre here http://www.ielts.org/default.aspx.

I actually took the Academic Test, but the General Training Test is all that's required for immigration purposes (but your skill assessment may require you to do the Academic Test, make sure you check in advance). I took the Academic test because I would have had to wait 6 weeks for a General Training test, and I also thought I should be ok with the Academic version.

Here is some information and my advice about the test;

1. Listening - this is the first part of the test. It is the same listening passage for both the Academic and General tests. I found this extremely easy as a native English speaker and don't think I made any mistakes (maybe I'll eat my words in 2 weeks when I get the result...). You have to fill in short answers (NO more than three words) or multiple choice letters on a sheet (A-D).

It was split into 4 sections. The first was a telephone conversation between two people (one resident and one city council official) regarding what day of the week the bins get put out, what types of recycling there are etc. The second was a monologue of a lady discussing the childcare facilities she offered and what you needed to do to enrol your child. The third section was a conversation between 2 students about whale watching and the final section was a speech (monologue) about steamships.

In all instances the speaker spoke quite slowly and very clearly. I had no trouble at all. It was all pre-recorded on CD and you only get to hear it once - but I don't think many native English speakers would have any problems at all.

2. Reading - this is different for Academic and General Training, so this information is only for Academic.

Split into 3 sections. It's all short answer (one to three words only) or multiple choice (A-D).

I had a section about Chinese Citrus growers and their use of biocontrol, one about music and learning and one I can't remember! It doesn't really matter what the subject matter is though as although I had no prior knowledge of each subject the questions are based on comprehension.

I would strongly recommend that people practice the reading sections - use past papers (available to buy in book form). It wasn't that it was difficult, it's just the way you are expected to answer the questions which is different to the way I read and take in information in an everyday situation.

3. Writing - 2 sections, first one takes 20 mins and is 150 words min, second takes 40mins and is 250 words min.

Again I strongly urge people to read some sample questions and also some model/sample answers. For the Academic test you usually have to describe and compare a couple of graphs - mine were about carbon emissions and global temperature changes from 2010 to 2100. It was very straightforward but I'm glad I read the practice tests and model answers beforehand.

For the second part I had to write a short essay (minimum 250 words) on whether people should go to uni/college or work straight from school. You can have any opinion you want but you must address both sides of the argument and give your own opinion. As before, I’m glad I had a couple of practices and read about what the examiners look for!

4. Speaking – this was hilarious. I basically had to answer basic questions about myself and then talk about a few subjects (shopping, how babies learn to talk) and then talk without prompting for about a minute on who I enjoy talking to and why! (They’re all topic that are randomly chosen from a big book by the examiner). It was easy. Native English speakers should have no worries!

Overall, I would suggest that everyone has a quick look at what is expected of you. I though the IELTS website was quite informative but also liked the Free Tutorials at http://www.ieltshelpnow.com.

I also used a book – and it was definitely helpful as it gave model answers and explained what the examiners expect – ‘IELTS Preparation and Practice: Practice Tests’ by Wendy Sahanaya and Terri Hughes.

Overall, it was really straightforward and nothing to stress about. Hopefully someone will report on the General Training Test too.

Overall;
1. Book EARLY – the test spaces fill up quickly.
2. Be prepared – even if it only means you read some old papers online.
3. Have good time management during the test
4. DON’T STRESS!

Good luck to anyone taking the exam!

thanks for that tking - very helpful
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Old Sep 3rd 2007, 1:56 pm
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Default Re: IELTS Test - my experience!

Thanks for the info.

I was booked to take my General test on the 20th Oct and hadn't bothered to start preparing yet. This morning the centre called and asked if I could take the test on Saturday!!! I said yes as it is the last thing we are waiting for. So your post was really timely! I shall spend my time preparing wisely and trying not to stress!

Thanks again and good luck with your results - keep us posted!

N
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Old Sep 3rd 2007, 3:26 pm
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Default Re: IELTS Test - my experience!

Originally Posted by GinaUK View Post
Hi tking,

just wanted to wish you luck with your application!

I think it's hilarious that you're a native English speaker, have got a PhD but still have to do the English language test for extra points

Gina
Just think how funny it will be when EFL teachers have to sit the test...
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Old Sep 14th 2007, 4:42 am
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Default Re: IELTS Test - my experience!

Right, just got my results (14 Sept 2007, 1.00pm!);

Listening 8.5
Reading 9.0
Writing 9.0
Speaking 9.0

Overall 9.0

Not too happy about the 8.5 for bl**dy Listening! Some of the questions were a bit ambiguous but still! I ONLY speak English. Nevermind.

It's still enough for the 25 points so I'm happy!
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Old Sep 14th 2007, 5:44 am
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Default Re: IELTS Test - my experience!

Congrats Tking. When I did my test, I was stressing over writing part, because I heard that they deduct points for illegible handwriting among other things, not to say word count - its best to write more than less.
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Old Sep 14th 2007, 8:12 am
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Default Re: IELTS Test - my experience!

Originally Posted by tking View Post
Right, just got my results (14 Sept 2007, 1.00pm!);

Listening 8.5
Reading 9.0
Writing 9.0
Speaking 9.0

Overall 9.0

Not too happy about the 8.5 for bl**dy Listening! Some of the questions were a bit ambiguous but still! I ONLY speak English. Nevermind.

It's still enough for the 25 points so I'm happy!
Congratulations!!

Don't stress about the listening test result - you got what you needed - that's all that matters. WE KNOW that your English is excellent!

I took mine last week and the speaking test was the worst bit for me as the questions were rubbish and I was trying to think of more to say on the subject whilst speaking grammatically.

The examiner had a word with me afterwards and asked why I was doing the test and I explained the points thing and he was disgusted! He said that the exam was not designed for English speaking people and that we would be marked down for abbreviating things etc. (Words like can't, won't, don't which we all say without thinking.) So now I'm stressing about failing the speaking part!!! Should have my results a week tomorrow so I'll keep you updated!
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Old Sep 14th 2007, 8:18 am
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Default Re: IELTS Test - my experience!

Originally Posted by Gotooz1 View Post
and he was disgusted! He said that the exam was not designed for English speaking people
Exactly!

Good luck though - I bet you sailed through.
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Old Sep 14th 2007, 8:37 am
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Default Re: IELTS Test - my experience!

Originally Posted by I_Will_Freckle View Post
Exactly!

Good luck though - I bet you sailed through.
Thanks! I have another test booked for the 20th Oct if I fail this one! I have seriously never been so stressed about an exam result in my whole life. I'm just glad that they get the results processed quickly and you know exactly when they are available. Although my centre won't tell you over the phone they post them out, so it is in the lap of the PO.

Sending good thoughts to all Post Office workers. LOL.
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Old Sep 22nd 2007, 6:07 pm
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Default Re: IELTS Test - my experience!

Yay, just popping back into the thread to announce I got my IELTS results today. I passed!!!

Overall score 9!

So I was stressing about nothing!

Good luck to all of you about to take the test!
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Old Sep 24th 2007, 12:52 pm
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Default Re: IELTS Test - my experience!

Originally Posted by Gotooz1 View Post
Yay, just popping back into the thread to announce I got my IELTS results today. I passed!!!

Overall score 9!

So I was stressing about nothing!

Good luck to all of you about to take the test!
Got my results through today. Overall Band 9 - that'll do nicely. I was stressing about the wrtitng part but obviously did ok.
For info...
Writing - Had to write a letter to a friend about an upcoming holiday. Also 250+ words on the pros and cons of work experience.
Listening - Concentrate throughout the durartion of the tape. My mind started to wander as it not the most interesting thing in the world to listen to.
Reading - I found this easy enough. Read a few paragraphs and answer questions on what you've read.
Speaking - Quite funny really. Talked about football for 5 minutes so that was a doddle.
Glad that is out of the way, now onto the next step.
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Old Sep 24th 2007, 2:07 pm
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Default Re: IELTS Test - my experience!

Originally Posted by grays View Post
Got my results through today. Overall Band 9 - that'll do nicely. I was stressing about the wrtitng part but obviously did ok.
For info...
Writing - Had to write a letter to a friend about an upcoming holiday. Also 250+ words on the pros and cons of work experience.
Listening - Concentrate throughout the durartion of the tape. My mind started to wander as it not the most interesting thing in the world to listen to.
Reading - I found this easy enough. Read a few paragraphs and answer questions on what you've read.
Speaking - Quite funny really. Talked about football for 5 minutes so that was a doddle.
Glad that is out of the way, now onto the next step.
Congratulations! You did the same test as me. I found my mind wandering in the listening test too - especially the last bit - the company presentation thing! Still, I must have been paying enough attention to get a 9!

As you say - onwards on upwards!

Last edited by Up To Late; Sep 24th 2007 at 2:08 pm. Reason: spelling error - LOL!!!!
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