IELTS stories

Learning from M’s mistakes in IELTS exam

Please feel free to share your views. I will really appreciate that.

M, pseudonym of course, is one of my students from Fatehabad region of Haryana. Having completed his education in a region where speaking English is not a norm and those trying to speak English are often mocked at, M knew he needed proper guidance for taking IELTS exam and contacted me.

On seeing his first writing sample I realised that scoring 6.5 bands in IELTS was going to be an uphill battle. But M was determined and I respected that. There’s little space to discuss the sweat and toil he went through to improve his IELTS writing and speaking. His grammar was weak and he put in innumerable hours working on that.

Then came the D day. 22nd of May, 2017. 

M had already made his first mistake the previous night. He did not sleet till 2 am. To make matters worse when he tried to sleep, the sleep evaded him. His IELTS exam centre was 2.5 hours drive from home. So, by the time he boarded a local bus at 7 am, he was already tired. 

When he reached the centre he was already losing his senses. The head was heavy, the eyes were half closed. Then came another nail in the coffin. He fell asleep in writing task 1. The examiners woke him up and offered him some coffee. But the battle was already lost. He was 15 minutes behind schedule. Realising that task 2 was more important than task 1, he left task 1 with introduction only.

Reading module was even worse. He marked question number 6’s answer in 7’s place in the answer booklet. He realised this folly when he reached answer number 30. But it was too late. He panicked a bit and started rubbing all answers. He entered the options again, correctly this time, but lost precious 7 minutes in this futile exercise.

The battle was already lost. On the morning of 5th May, 2017 he received his score. It was not a reflection of his abilities but certainly of his performance. He scored merely 6.0 bands overall with L-7, R-6, S-6 and W-5.5.

This is a crucial lesson for all students. You can not allow one night’s anxiety to ruin you hard work and career. Here are a few tips for the night before IELTS exam:

1. Do not study or revise anything. Take complete rest. Sleep. Eat well. Crack jokes with friends. Just avoid study.

2. If you’re feeling anxious here’s a simple exercise. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. While inhaling and exhailing focus on your breath. This will bring you in the present and protect you fron anxiety of the future.

If you have any personal IELTS experiences to share please email me at

Categories: IELTS stories

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1 reply »

  1. Am simi, you know I gave exam in march 3 that time my mother was sick and she was lay on bed for rest and also my bhabi was not present at home from one month because of her pregnancy and all the work of my home were on my head ….and I could not get proper time for my study then in tention I could not sleep well that day and at night time I started cry and thought What should I do ? then I set my alarm from time to time because in my IELTS exam and also my father not agree with me ……….in this but I want to show them that I can do it is become a target for me then I pray to God and before start exam close my eyes for bit of time …..because it can be become insult for myself ………then I felt relax and start my exam ….with relax full way and I got 6bands in more tentions……………..


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