IELTS 7.5 Band in 30 Days. My plan.
Here’s your saviour of a blog post, something I looked for when I was preparing but couldn’t find. In this post I’m going to talk about what I did and how I cracked IELTS to bag a score of 7.5/9 in 30 days. It is not a training or tutoring post but will have links and credits mentioned to where all I sourced my study material from. Determined to not spend any more money than the registration fee (which is a whopping 12.5k), I registered on British Council with one months’ time for the exam to do my research and prepare.
I registered on August 01 2018 for the test date September 08 2019. Now I had exactly five weeks which got me pretty pumped and excited. 4 days to a week after registration, British Council or IDP will mail you a Booklet and CD which has study material to practice with.
To have an idea of what exactly the format of IELTS was, I spent an hour or two every day after work in the first week browsing through YouTube channels and finding those that were actually helpful (There are channels where People are tutoring in Hindi *Facepalm*). By Friday I had my own list of extremely helpful YouTube channels.
- E2 IELTS
In this channel, I’ve watched every single video of Jay’s and solved papers while watching some of them. He’s brilliant, his language is good, his pronunciation is great. Being corrected on the spot while solving papers and watching his videos gives you confidence. He covers all the tasks as well.
- IELTS Liz
Just watching Liz’s videos boosted my pronunciation. Other than that, she has each task elaborated with sample tests. She also has a few videos purely dedicated to paraphrasing which is very useful especially for the writing task.
- Manjita Osta
Her channel helps with improving your vocabulary and gives a lot of tips and tricks. She also has a few videos on each task.
You can also download the British council IELTS app for some solved papers. it’s not very useful, but you can solve them for the fun of it! In the first weekend I watched back to back videos on each task and assessed myself after. Found myself stammering way too much while attempting the speaking section. So that was my weakness.
For the next five days I took a break from other tasks and focused on speaking ONLY. I watched videos and wrote down as many topics and questions as I could find. At the end of it, I had about 50-70 questions written with 2-3 points under each of them summarising stories or incidences which I could mention while answering them. You can take the help of someone whom you trust to have better grammar than you or good at communication. On Saturday I went to my cousin whose career involves writing. Both of us went through each topic and she gave me stories related to these topics that I could use as my own in case I go blank. Sunday I spent doing the same with a friend who was writing IELTS too. We brainstormed over each topic. By the end of this, I had enough content to talk about in enough topics and my stammering had reduced considerably. Confident about speaking now, I moved on to other tasks.
I solved two papers in the booklet that they mailed in which I could see my listening was decent and didn’t need much attention. My reading and writing however wasn’t up to mark, so that’s what I focused on this week. I realised that I read very quickly and because of that I zone out and can’t remember what I read. So based on videos, I tried reading the questions first. SLOWLY. Then I went to the passage and looked for key words from the questions which I found almost instantly most often. So that’s a TIP. I solved 2-3 more papers till I was sure of my ability to do well here. By Friday I moved to the writing task. Even though I am extremely comfortable with writing, I found it a little difficult to keep time. I highly recommend practising by actually writing the essays and timing yourself because it takes time. Takes time to think, to form opinions and then to form sentences using the fancy vocabulary you just picked up. SO WRITE AND PRACTICE.
By this time, I was saturated with information and just could not look at anything to do with IELTS. Exhausted from all the videos I just took this week off. I spent the entire week just relaxing my mind, watching British movies, Reading books. Basically anything to do with English as a language but not related to the IELTS exam.
The break was refreshing for my mind and my hand which had solved so many papers. But all good things come to an end and it was only a week till the exam so I got back to the grind. Every day this week I solved one paper completely covering all tasks and timing myself. Initially, my timing was bad towards the end but by the fifth day I was alright. On Saturday I closed all papers and just read through words and their meanings.
There’s an app called ‘IELTS Speaking’ (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fr_solutions.ielts.speaking&hl=en_US) and ‘IELTS Writing’ (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fr_solutions.ielts.writing&hl=en_IN), one of them has a list of words that you can use under each topic. I went through that all day. My Listening-Reading-Writing exam was on Sunday (Speaking was over a few days earlier) and I didn’t take any study material to the centre except my phone. While I could see everyone still cramming stuff from books, I only went over my vocabulary there. Phones aren’t allowed an you will have to leave it out. Unless you trust them with your belongings, I suggest keeping it minimal. I had a friend along who took my stuff when I was ready to enter the hall. The exam is really long so one important tip is please pee while you can. It was torturous holding it in for two hours in an air conditioned hall.
That was it. My 5 weeks of preparation. Title says 30 days because I took one week off.
For all the smarty pants who want proof, here you go 😛