Hello. I am Burcu Akyol. I am 39 years old. I am an educator. I took the British Council's IELTS test for my immigration application to Canada in 2016. IELTS is the only international test that is recognized by the Canadian Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration for English proficiency. It is very important that you get the highest possible score from the test to increase your chances for your immigration application being accepted. The immigration application system operates based on your total score which is calculated by factors such as your age, education status, work experience and IELTS score. Amongst these, the only factor that can help you increase your immediate total score is IELTS.
For this reason, I have taken IELTS General twice and IELTS Academic once. IELTS General was for the immigration application and IELTS Academic was for the programs that I wanted to apply to in Canada. The reason that I took IELTS General twice was to increase my score.
To prepare for British Council's IELTS test, I made use of various sources. I used various publishers' materials while I was preparing for the test. I found a lot of sources on test strategies on the internet.
For effective preparation for the IELTS, you should first know and understand the sections of the test and the maximum time that you have for these sections. If you believe that your English level is sufficient to take the test, then what you need to do is to practice a lot as there is a certain frameworkand test format, so you are completely familiar and there are no surprises.. So, it is not that hard to get a decent score after preparing well.
The reason I took IELTS General twice is that I didn’t follow a clear strategy in the Listening section of the first test. In the Listening section you listen to the text only once before you answer the questions. I listened to the text just to answer the questions. Actually, rather than listening I can say that I just "heard", because when I went back to the questions I previously skipped right after the listening finished, I remembered nothing. When I took the test the second time, I listened to "understand" the text. So, when the listening finished, during the time given to review my answers, I had the chance to answer some of the questions that I couldn't answer before because I remembered what I had listened to.
For me, the most fun part of the test was the reading section because I was interested in the topics. I didn't have any trouble in managing my time in this section.
Writing was the only section that I raced against time and had a hard time finishing. My writing pace was slower than necessary for the test and towards the end I just focused on finishing it. Because I had to be too quick, I couldn't focus on other details that were important in the evaluation. Fortunately, the score I got was enough for me. For this section, I believe that practising a lot would help quite a bit. Because, as I said earlier, "there are no surprises", and what is expected from you is predefined. The most important things are to know and meet the criteria, and to manage the time.
With the score I achieved, it met the criteria for the immigration application and duly completed our application. I am writing these lines from Canada.
I wish every success to all those who are preparing for the IELTS.