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Baris prepared and scored 7.5 in IELTS while working 40 hours a week

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It is safe to say that English is a third language for Baris Arslan: he is a Turkey national who speaks German and needed to prove his English ability to study a master’s degree abroad. Life didn’t make it easy for him to prepare for IELTS – he had to study while working full time, on weekends and in the evenings – but that didn’t affect his score much, because he got Band 7.5 overall with an 8 in Reading.
And here is what he said:
 
“I’d be glad if I helped future IELTS test takers with my experience and strategies for getting a good IELTS Score.
 
Here is how I prepared for the exam:
 
The primary reason why I decided to take the exam was that I needed it for a specific master’s degree program outside my home country. The first thing I did after registering for the exam was to look more detailed in the exam structure and how answers were being evaluated by the examiners. I think that it is really important to get comfortable with the questions and each part of the exam.
 
Then, I began to do practice questions that I found online and realized that writing and listening were my weaknesses. Just to clarify my preparation began 2 months before the exam, therefore I had plenty of time to prepare myself for the exam (since I am working 40 hours a week, I had to study in the evenings and weekends throughout the 2 months of preparation although I got to admit that I did not study everyday… resting and relaxing is also very important and essential for productive learning).
 
Because I knew that writing and listening were my weaknesses, I started doing only those two parts and kept getting better over the next 3-4 weeks. For me, the writing part was the most challenging one. What I did was reading all sorts of essays and reports and kind of memorized the structures that were being used in those tasks. Essentially, my writing skills remarkably improved. For listening, I mostly watched documentaries (mainly by BBC and National Geographic) and all kinds of TV shows in English of course which really helped me to follow conversations a lot better. I also did practice questions that were provided by the British Council.
 
For the last 3-4 weeks, I started doing exams under real conditions. By doing that, I noticed that everything went really smooth with a few inconsistencies here and there. For the exam day, I recommend to get enough sleep and don’t get too excited and nervous about it.
 
My biggest fault in the preparation was to neglect the speaking part. I thought that my speaking skills were really good so that I did not prepare for that part at all and got 6.5. I’d suggest to search a speaking partner (either your friends, family or online) and try to simulate the speaking part as much as possible.
 
To sum it all up:
  • Get to know the structure of the exam
  • Get comfortable with the questions
  • Identify your weaknesses
  • Improve your weaknesses
  • Do practice exams under real conditions
  • Get enough sleep on the exam day and don’t get too nervous
Good luck to you all!”
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