Hey, everyone, are you ready for a LONG POST? Because if you need to take your English proficiency exams such as IELTS, TOEFL or Cambridge, I would highly recommend you read this post!
Getting an opportunity to study overseas is sometimes not the hardest part of the game. Being able to hold a conversation in English used to be my biggest hurdle a few years ago when I started to do social work in Brazil. However, in February of this year, I smashed my IELTS exam and went from 5.5 (my score when I took my first IELTS Simulation) to 7.0. Yes! After three months of studies totally dedicated to it, I still cannot believe I did it.
So, here are a few tips telling you how I got my IELTS score and how you also can do it, even better than I did!
- As soon as I realized I needed to take an English Proficiency Exam I went to an IELTS Simulation event where an Education Agent together with an English School was doing promotions here in Melbourne. (Yes, nowadays I am living in Melbourne after having lived in Cairns for nine months !)
After one week I got the result of my test and I had scored only an overall of 5.0 – which would not be enough to go to any University here in Australia. On the other hand, this kind of experience was totally worth it as it gave me the knowledge about exactly what skills were my weaknesses.
- The second step was to figure out how I could improve my IELTS skills. One of the hardest parts, I would say. Before I used to run my essays past some teachers but it was not done so often. Because of that, I realized that I needed to set up a routine in order to get better and smash my exam just with one try! (To be honest, I was thinking more about the extra money that I would need to spend more than anything else. An IELTS exam costs roughly $300 AUD + time to study). Thinking in that way I started to draw out a plan, I literally drew and wrote down a picture similar to a map or graph showing me what I needed to do and how long I would have to study and take my exam, because I was pushing myself and at that time I was planning to move to study in the UK so I needed to get it done before March. I decided to study for only two and a half months, which, in the end, was perfect, as I have heard that if you give yourself more time than that you start to feel tired or even start to postpone your exam day without realizing it.
CHOOSE THE MONTH THAT YOU BELIEVE IS SUITABLE FOR YOU TO TAKE THE EXAM. AFTER THAT SET UP YOUR ROUTINE OF STUDY AND BOOK THE DAY OF YOUR EXAM EVEN IF IT SEEMS TO BE FAR AWAY. SURELY, YOU WILL START TO WORK WITH THE TIME YOU HAVE AS SOON AS YOU DO THAT.
- ONE OF MY BEST TIPS! English schools are fantastic mainly when you have an opportunity to study overseas. But, and this is a big but, if you are in a rush or really want to focus on your particular mistakes you need to set aside a good amount of time to study by yourself too.
- Of course, besides all those tips, you need to pressure yourself. It was my first time really studying for something. For instance, when I made my mind up about the need to take my IELTS I knew that at the end of the day I was the one who needed to roll up my sleeves and set up a routine to study English. Getting close to the exam I even stopped hanging out with my friends. I got so submerged into it, that even when I was working out I was listening to some class on YouTube to learn a phrasal verb or a new word, for example.
- Take notes: you need to have time for yourself. As I mentioned above, I was studying for five to six days every week. As I was also working, I did not have a lot of time, but I took at least two hours a day to study something plus I spent some time listening to or reading something. I was stressed 24 hours a day thinking about it, but even knowing I needed to study more I truly believe that leaving some spare time to go running or working out were definitely something that made a difference to my own development.
- Eat well. Try to sleep well, but not that much as each second after already have booked your exam counts. Starting to read more in English. Something that does help me even nowadays is reading plus listening to the same book as an Audiobook.
- Write down your routine in a diary. You will be happy when you realize that you are smashing your previous results and checking off most of your IELTS tasks without forgetting the other things you also need to do!
I am also thankful for all my teachers who I had at CCEB because without them I would not be here. Just a reminder, when I started to study at CCEB, one year and a half ago, I was pre-intermediate/intermediate level. So, if I could do it, you also can do it even better than me.
So, I hope have helped you, guys. Even if you are not going to take your English Exam but you know someone who will, please, share it with them. Plus, I am sure by following this advice you can score even more than 7 easily. YEAH, MAN! 😀