The IELTS exam

Got up at 6:30, I needed to be ready at 7:30. After a shower and a big breakfast, I walked out with a bottle of tea in the backpack, some documents and the passport in my hand. I arrived at Sydney university, and after a first documents checking I sit on a coach, waiting to start. Writing, reading, listening and speaking. My IELTS exam was ready.

The IELTS certification is an english certification used in Australia and other countries where english is the national language, to test English proficiency of immigrant who want to work abroad or students who want to apply for a university.
IELTS is a difficult exam but with the right advices and lot of practice it may turn to be easier than expected.
The IELTS exam is divided in four components: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. For each component there is a score from 1 to 9. The average produces the overall band score. The total test time is about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

IELTS

And there I was, first exam: Writing. I was impressed about how seriously they took this exam. There was identification by picture, verification of passport and finger print even if we had to go to the toilette!
I have been quite lucky about the Writing exam. The essay topic was not so difficult: videogames for children, are they good or not for education? I was pretty confident I have done a very good essay even if after the exam I realised that instead of write that in America a boy killed people after he played the game GTA (Grand Theft Auto), I wrote that GTA killed the boy.. The structure, grammar and content was probably ok though and I got a 6.5.

After the Writing, no one moved from his place. They took our essays, explained how the reading exam works and gave us the booklet with the texts and questions. Also the reading went well. The biggest topic was about the history of clocks. No diffucult academic topic ad no very tricky questions. As if on purpose, I finished the reading, I looked at my watch and I was 10 minutes early. I took a few more minutes to check a couple of question and then, my problems started… During the IELTS preparation course I met a lovely girl from Sardinia who took the exam two weeks before and advised me to drink something with sugar during the test: “it will help your brain!” she said. That is the reason why I had a bottle of tea with me. That turned out to be a very bad idea. It wasn’t possible to go to the toilette 10 minutes before the end of the test and I didn’t have any chance to leave my sit up to the end. As I thought, my reading test was quite good and I got a 7.

The listening started. Same procedure: collect reading booklets -> explain listening -> distribute listening booklets. I thought I had done a disaster in this test. One of the task was to associate the picture of each wale to the name and I would never forget the two student talking about wales. I used to be very good on this kind of question but not this time. I remember the two students said that one wale did not have fins but all of the drawn wales had fins! I wanted to remove the fins and draw the wale again but I didn’t have enough time and it wouldn’t have helped me with the score anyway. I ended up to guess that and many other questions and I scored 6.5.

Videogames

My speaking test was at 4:45pm and I had all the time to relax and take my time. I met my friend from Sardinia, I complained for the “sweet drink” advice, and we eat together some sushi rolls. At 4pm I went to Sydney uni and just after the usual procedure of finger print, picture and passport, the examiner came to catch me. A sturdy man with about 40 years of age. The question were all about friends, old friends and relationship between family and friends. After 2 minutes I started to relax and I scored a 7.

I have been waiting the result for the two weeks after the test, scared for the performance in the listening test. I would never have scored a 7 overall without the help from the two teacher who followed me in the 2 months before the exam. An IELTS preparation course is a must to understand how the exam works, to try real tests and to figure out what tricky question you can find. An advice? Do not drink too much during the exam! (:

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