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Learning from K’s Success in IELTS exam

key to success

K, one of our students, recently scored 7.0 bands in IELTS exam. Scoring these bands was no small achievement for K since he belongs to a village and has never been to an English medium school.

Let me first remove all assumptions of any fairy tale magic. It took him about one year, a lot of persistence, commitment and dedication that are rarely seen among students (I’m not de-motivating anyone, but that’s an observation). He worked for more than 10 hours a day and obstinately kept writing or speaking when all other candidates had left for home. He was hell-bent on achieving seven bands despite all odds. Let us interview him:

ELTEC: How did you improve your IELTS writing score?

K: Working on IELTS writing was the most uphill task among all modules. When I started writing I didn’t even know the structure of a sentence. So, the initial thing I did was learn the basics. Yes, my first lesson was that a sentence should have a subject followed by a verb and then an object. Surprisingly, most students don’t know this even today. I went step by step. It made the foundation stronger. I had never been to an English medium school before, remember.

ELTEC: What was your strategy to learn tenses?

K: The tenses were difficult and learning them was full of ups and downs. However, unlike other students, I always kept an English grammar book (Wren and Martin) with me. It was a constant companion, and I frequently used it during writing module. I gradually learned the usage of the present, the past and the future tense and their appropriate usage in speaking and writing.

ELTEC: Can you offer some tips on the IELTS reading module?

K: Well, reading was not easy initially. However, I worked regularly on improving my vocabulary and read the newspaper (The Indian Express) daily. Students fail to understand that reading module is not a module, but a test to judge whether you can read an article or a report correctly. Don’t restrict yourself to IELTS reading tasks only. Make reading a habit and you’ll score well.

ELTEC: What about the IELTS speaking module?

K: My speaking and listening strategy were to listen to the B.B.C news daily and send an audio to Sartaj sir. I sent him an audio sample daily, and he corrected my pronunciation and style daily via WhatsApp. The best thing about entire ELTEC team is that they always stay connected with all students through various mediums. I’ll suggest all students strike a conversation with their friends in English language only and send your teacher your voice samples as frequently as possible. 

ELTEC: Thank you so much for your time K.

K: It was my pleasure.

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Why you need expert guidance in IELTS exam?

Most of us live life in an autopilot mode. We leave things to fate. How many times do we blame our condition on circumstances merely by saying “I could not have done anything better.” IELTS students often say “I worked extremely hard this time but could not increase score above 6.5. What else could I have done?”

What else could I have done? That is a million dollar question. To give an answer to that question, let me draw an analogy.

Have you ever wondered why airplanes, mostly, arrive at intended destination in time? The reason is simple and it holds an important lesson in everyone’s life. Airplanes, unlike our lives, are perpetually on course correction mode. Pilots get expert guidance on actual events and course from ground staff. What can happen if they fail to take directions from the ground staff?

Well, a lot of unfortunate things may happen. For instance, a passenger jet left New Zealand in 1979 with 257 passengers on-board for a sight seeing trip to Antarctica. However, a two degree flaw in flight coordinates placed them 28 miles east of their actual position and the plane came in path of an active volcano Mount Erebus. The plane along with its crew and 257 passengers met with an unfortunate end.

A minor error of two degrees brought an unfortunate and enormous tragedy.

It is an analogy of our lives. Imagine how off-course do we live our lives. More specifically, how off-course we are when we’re preparing for IELTS. Most of us prefer to save a few dollars and score 6 bands than paying a well trained tutor and improving to more than 7 bands. Remember:

“Small things – if not corrected – become big hurdles, ALWAYS.”

At ELTEC our trained team makes sure through consistent practice that you are never off-course and that you achieve your targeted bands to cherish your dream of studying in a western country.

To get assistance for one of our trained team members please browse our study plans.

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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 eltecielts@gmail.com

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