Learn IELTS Super Fast a la Kiky Edward | IELTS Study Series
Due to amount of request for IELTS subject after my first post hit 100.000 views, I feels obligated to write about how I study IELTS in a month in english. I hope it helps.
I understand IELTS is the only key to be able to go to school to master, not just to get a scholarship, but my English skills will be a provision of life and to survive study abroad. From there I learned extraordinarily diligently, self-taught. Why self-taught, because I myself always feel more confidence with this way. Most importantly here, I believe in myself.
What is IELTS? is an abbreviation of the International English Language testing System, a test designed to assess your English skills, and is a UK product, different from the TOEFL which is a USA product. click here for more detailed information. For those who will continue Master degree or further education must take IELTS Academic module. Make sure the university you will enroll is on the Tier 4 list that accepts IELTS Academic for the UK. If not included in the Tier 4 list, you may have to take IELTS UKVI Academic, which tests can only be done in big cities and costs twice as much as the regular IELTS (IELTS academic module). Generally reputable universities accept regular IELTS, no IELTS UKVI required.
A. Arranging IELTS study schedule
You can start by arranging your study schedule like this.
Study 8 hours a day minimum
Finish 8 IELTS modul in a month
2 IELTS module per week minimum
To find out how many hours in total you have to learn, first you have to know your English level. In this stage, you can start by doing personal IELTS test. Or you can go take cheap TOEFL test, just to know in which score you are. In my case, the first time I did this, I found out that my English level is at IELTS 5.5, while my target to apply to university is 6.5. Therefore I need to increase 1 score to get that. According to a research I read long time ago, you will need at least 220 hours study time to gain 1 score IELTS. Based on this Study, you can calculate how many hours you need to study, and predicted when will you get certain score, and when to take IELTS test. This will help you anticipate the University admission openings and deadlines. Most of European Universities open their admission after August or September (UK and Netherland), some in December like in Sweden and other Europe Countries; also some scholarship like Erasmus+ and Swedish Institute Study Scholarship also open at this month. Therefore, if you chase for those scholarships and universities, you have to anticipate to get your IELTS score ready before those months. In my case, I realized this quite late, and I have to condense my schedule in studying IELTS very tight, in only one month I have to study 220 hours. Now do your math, and you get the result, how hard you have to study.
The IELTS Study schedule I used, actually had been revised many time, as I learn that different study method has different efficiency. For example earlier a month before I adapted to my most effective IELTS study schedule, I did not study IELTS at all. I thought I should have had review all grammar from zero again, just to refresh my memory and not skip a thing. I used grammar exercise book Grammar Betty Schramper Azar. However, this does not work or help me improve my IELTS study. When your are studying IELTS, you will automatically study English, therefore, you might skip this grammar study part. Unless, your grammar is still very terrible, for instance, you still don’t know when to use ‘is, am, and was-were’.
Anyway, you can see on my schedule that I spent more time on doing listening test, which is every night. This because I concern most on my listening skill. Plus, this listening exercise does not consume much time, which only 30 minutes per test. In a day, I did twice to four time IELTS listening tests. Other funny reason I did this, is just to encourage myself in studying, because I keep listing my listening on reading score on the wall, which I can see everyday. The increasing score shows my achievement and positive progress. As in studying you can easily get bored or unmotivated, and keeping your own spirit is always number one.
Therefore, if you feel that your weakest skill is writing, therefore you have to do writing every night, get intense on writing. so please customised your own schedule.
Everyday, I learn atleast 8 hours in IELTS theory on day, and practice at night for 4 hours. Therefore, in a day I learn theory and practice for 12 hours. That makes my study hours accumulated to be 240 hours a month. This is a very rough calculation on how much you need to study, however, everything back to your own study quality, and its process defines the result.
B. What to do now?
For compulsory materials, you need to:
- Buy or print IELTS exercise book IELTS Cambridge 1-12, which each book consists of 4 test modules. You need to have physical books or printed version, to make sure you have exact study environment as how the test will be, and do not just study with your laptop, because back and forth papers is actually taking time, and you have to deal with it
- You also need to have physical book or printed version of Common Mistake at IELTS Intermediate and Advanced. This book is little but actually very useful, and all contents need to be transferred to your mind without any exception.
- Make a note for each section, for example, one Listening note book, one Reading note book, one Writing note book, and one Speaking note book. This all for you to write important point you get while you are studying IELTS. You might wanna review it again in the end.
- When answering Listening, Reading and writing test, always use physical paper of IELTS Listening Answer Form , Reading Answer Form , Writing Answer Form. This will help you dealing with real paper in the real test, rather than just write it on your laptop.
- If you have time, join online IELTS course here , by participating in this online class, you will get more free website source to study IELTS. However, the negative is the schedule is determined by them, which is sometime does not fit to ours. Which is also super tight schedule.
- Videos you need to watch and take notes from it are from Liz (please download all), also take a look on her study website IELTS Liz . and the second is from Emma (also download all). I recommend them because those videos are very useful, and they are very clear in explaining materials to you. (before, during my IELTS study, I had downloaded a lot of videos from so many sources, however I found out that not all good, and I think they are Liz and emma are most interesting and useful so far).
- You also need to have a supplement book. I used book ; 101 helpful hints for IELTS and for vocabulary supplement, I used Buku Pintar IELTS Vocabulary ( I printed it, but I never really use this one, you might wanna use it if you have more time)
- To calculate you IELTS score on Listening and reading section you can use this table from Liz ;
Table for Listening test
Table for Reading test
C. IELTS study tips and hacks
- Listening Hacks
My suggestions to smooth your listening skill are:
- The first thing I do in studying IELTS is do your trial test
- After you got the score from your trial test, spend your time for watching videos from Liz dan Emma. I took a lot of important notes from their videos.
- I cannot give you too specifics tips, because they are available in books I have mentioned. However, the most important thing in making your Listening skills progress hugely is by practice, practice and practice (I could not stress more). Practices make perfect, that is really happening here. I can see clearly from my IELTS test score, that my Listening score is the highest. That is no surprised, because I practices listening most, everyday four times, and literally never skip a day. I remember that before I was most scared with listening skills, plus in IELTS they could have many accents. Which accent could make things more difficult. The best IELST Listening book, in my opinion is IELTS Advantage. IELTS Advantage Listening and speaking is actually one book, although it is different IELTS section. In that book, they explain very clearly and detail on what you have to hear, for example what format you have to use in writing address in England (who knows about that, but you should).
- Attention to details, listen for specifics. You have to get used to British accent and listen to each word. Actually tis British accent could help use to memorize words and spelling, because their weird sounds. I always love to listen to statistic podcast More or Less from BBC London when I am commuting or before bed time. Their content is somewhat cool, and mentioning a lot of numbers. This podcast could be downloaded from BBC London website for their newest podcast series More or Less BBC
- Spelling counts, in answering IELTS; if you forgot one alphabet in a word, your answer will automatically counted as wrong. For example: ‘cats’ but you only wrote ‘cat’.
- Learn more about British vocabulary. Most English lessons taught whole over the world are American English, we often don’t know some English Bristish words, which actually could be very common. For example: Lorry – truck; chips-frenc fries; first floor-second floor; hoover- vacuum cleaner; jumper-sweater. You can learn more here British Vocab.
- Capital letter. Follow common writing rules, some word need to be begin with capital letter. For instance on ‘I’; on somebody’s name like ‘John’; on acronym like ‘TOEFL’; on geographical area like name of a country, city or landmark like ‘Eiffel’; on nationality like ‘Japanese’; on religion like ‘Islam and Christian’; on company names like ‘Microsoft’; and on title like ‘Prof.’.
- You will answer IELST Listening question on answer sheet. After the listening section done, you will be given 10 minutes to transfer your answer from the question book to the answer sheet. So, you don’t need to write your answer directly to the answer sheet, as this will destroy your concentration on listening test. Keep focus on the listening. Don’t worry, you can do whatever you like, like wrote on the question sheet, draw it, or whatever to help you answer the questions and mark the answers. And then transfer it on the right time to answer sheet.
- Reading Hacks
- For reading section on IELTS, you need to learn scanning and skimming techniques. You probably will feel it very difficult to do in the beginning because there are so many vocabulary you don’t know. Therefore, to get used to it, you absolutely need to have reading assignment, 1 reading per day at minimum. You can read the guardian (very recommended because their nicely written news and written in British way), or you can also read English novels. However, I really recommend theguardian because their writings are using very specific vocabularies. You will also get to be intensive in reading heavy grammatically correct writing, therefore your reading speed will accelerate gradually. And also, plus, if you find interesting vocabularies, to help you to remember it, write it down in your vocabulary book.
- Study with quality. Same as I mentioned on our general rules, always do your practices is greatly important. However, don’t overused this practices technique. You need also to pay more attention on which you make mistakes, and try to fix it, for instance, you are having trouble in False or True section. Dig dipper on tips related to this False or true section.
- For Reading theory, you can use IELTS advantage reading book. Which is quite detail. In their given exercises and giving useful tips. This book teach us step by step, and could be time consuming. Therefore, when learning with this book, you need to be patient and don’t jump a subject.
- Different wit Listening section which gives you 10 minutes to transfer your answers to answer sheet, in reading, they don’t allocate the time for that. Therefore, after you finish answering 10 questions, begin transferring your answering to answer sheet; and then go back to question sheet, answer again until 10 quesstions, and later transfer the answers to answer sheet again.
- Writing Hacks
- In this writing section, you can learn from the expert, which I think the best tricks I got is from Simon on IELTS writing 1 by simon dan IELTS writing 2 by simon . Print all of his writing materials from his website, and find its writing pattern. You can read the pattern I used here. and for basic IELTS writing rules, and also very complete guide to asnwer IELTS writing task 1, you should also use Target Band 7 book, which written by Simone Braverman.
- For this IELTS writing, there are many books suggesting tips which sometime could be correct and somethime could be greatly wrong. For this writing section, I would not recommened IELTS advantage writing book, because the principles they use are greatly different and the other way around from principles that taught by simon. Therefore, for this writing test, I will recommend to use guide that given by Simon on his website only.
- Always use physical paper IELTS writing answer form. This is important, because in IELTS writing test 1 you at minimum have to write 150 words, while in IELTS writing 2 you have to write 250 words. If you wrote less than that, you will get penalty. And if you wrote too many than 250 words, you will also get penalty. While in the real test, you have a very little amount of time, that you would not spend on just counting how many words you wrote, or count word per word. Therefore, in your practice, you always need to use your IELTS writing answer form, to make u easily predict how long you have to write your paper to get those specific number 150 words and 250 words.
- in your writing, please don’t use too many adverbs and adjectives just to make the writing looks cool, which make your writing is unnatural and has less gist. To make your writing has real gist, you need to learn many topics that often come out on IELTS writing test. Memorize those topics. Memorizing those topics does not only helpful in writing, but it will also be very helpful in speaking test, when you have to describe something that you don’t know anything about it. For this topics materials, you can use this book IELTS Tips & Trick by Ilham Reza, print them all and make a resume of those topics and remember those topics. At tha time I memorize those topics exactly a day before the test, because I realize those things are important almost in the end.
- Normally, per line you will write 13 words, remember this formula.
- Things that will be assessed on IELTS writing task 2 are:
- 25% task response (don’t waste your time on explaining unimportant stuffs, get to the case, agree or disagree, or middle position)
- Focus ideas (directly to the topic)
- Supported ideas (explain ideas)
- Developed + extended ideas
- For IELTS writing task 2, remember this formula below (with this formula you won’t experience less or too many words)
- Introduction – 2 sentences
- Body 1 – 5 sentences
- Body 2 – 5 sentences
- Conclusion – 2 sentences
- Speaking Hacks
- On speaking test you will be questions simple stuffs, and very relax. However, you would be very nervous, therefore practice is a must for you.
- You need to speak very concise and with good grammatical structures, it is like reading your writing, but this time without text. You might not get the verb or noun mentioned wrongly. You need to be careful in your pronunciation. Many thought that speaking test will be the easiest, that make they ignoring some important rules that will be assessed on IELTS speaking test
- Be spontaneous, but this does not mean you are allowed to answer irrelevantly. Just answer directly to what you remember first, do not manipulate simple things, like your hobby is actually sleeping but in speaking you said your hobby is playing golf. This will make your answer not spontaneous, and difficult in pronunciation and slow.
- Get used to speak English. In you don’t have a spare to talk to, you can always talk with your webcam alone, and the rewind it and give review for yourself. You literally will learn alone by watching your own videos.
- Get used to express your opinions in good structured manner.
- Also watch some IELST videos in all speaking band to make you see the comparison. Here are some of the videos: IELTS speaking band Band 9, ielts speaking band 8 , ielts speaking band 7, ielts speaking band 6 , ielts speaking band 5. After watching those videos you will see that not having an accent is not a problem, what is most important that you can speak in correct strctures. You don’t need to be in rush just to show you are fluent. Be calm is always the key.
- On IELTS, word choices are important, the ability to use academic vocabularies will shows your ability to speak in many English varinances. This video is related to this suggestion on word choices for IELTS speaking will add your score greatly.
- Actually, I only practice just a day before the test, due to a large amount of study load on reading, and also I think I was over confident that I can speak English well. This lead to my IELTS Speaking score is only 6. So don’t repeat my mistakes, practice speaking is essential.
- for book, you can use IELTS Advantage Listening and Speaking, as I mentioned before. they explain the materials very well.
D. when is the right time to register to IELTS test?
When you are practicing IELTS test, you need to make your own score board, to report your progress day per day, and stick it to the wall which you can always see. When your score consistently steady in 7 or 8; you can start register yourself for IELTS test. Remember, this score you got in those practices will drop 1 point in its actual test. For example on the practice, I consistently got listening score 8.5, however, in actual test I just got 7.5. Do not register IELTS test until your progress report consistently showing score above 7 if your IELTS target is 6.5.
Do you need to take IELTS prediction test before you go for real IELTS test? Yes please, go for it. But sometime if you live in a little city, you hardly find language center that provide this IELTS prediction test. Plus real IELTS test only available in big cities. Therefore, for a substitute, you can take TOEFL trial test. If your score increase and equivalently reaching the score you want. You are doing great progress.
To register to IELTS test online you can do it here, by choosing the test location.
Your IELTS test result will come out online, 13 days after the test. And the certificate will be sent to your home after that.
4. List of Books I recommend for IELTS Self-taught Intensive Study
here are list of books I truely feel helped me the most in studying IELTS. I have used many books, but those book below are the only book I recommend.
This is the official book from IELTS for you to study. This book is compilation of IELTS tests year to year. Always remember to buy only IELTS Cambridge Academic Module from first to the 12th edition. You will need all edition, in order to supplement all of you study and practices. in your study, you might want to study from the most recent edition, as I feel that that the recent editions are easier. The older the edition the harder. so rather than to make you desperate by starting with the oldest version, you better start with the recent one, also we could say the recent one is the closer one to the real test.
as I mentioned before I just recommend IELTS Advantage Listening and Speaking; and IELTS advantage Reading, but not really recommend using IELTS advantage Writing.
these two books are absolutely must have books. These books clearly pointing out my mistakes I never realized.
Althought I decided not to use it during my one month intensive IELTS. This book still very useful for those who learn IELTS but only have very basic English or in the level below intermediate. for example to learn basic grammar and tenses.
Although I did not really have much time to study this book, but I believe it can make a very good use if you have a longer Self-taught intensive IELTS Study, which is more than one month.
Although this book is not sufficient to help you answer IELTS writing task 2, however this book is very helpful in giving you complete rules of answering IELTS task 1 and 2. It could be very handy for you to familiarize yourself in studying IELTS writing.
I cannot find any other substitute for this book, as this book provide many Topics and brainstorm of those topics which is incredibly useful for answering IELTS Writing Task 2. But gracefully, it is available online to be downloaded for free in here. You can just skip all part, and jump to page 58. I even printed those pages 58-114. Those topic is useful in writing, when the essay question is about topic you are not familiar, which make it difficult for you to build arguments. Also the topics will be useful for IELTS Sepaking test too, as basically IELTS speaking test is like writing test, which you have to explain, build argument but grammatically correct ways.
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