In this post, I want to share how I prepare IELTS at home without any professional tutor. What I share on this page maybe will help somebody but maybe it’s not suitable for others.
What is IELTS? IELTS is International English Language Testing System to test our proficiency English ability where after we take this test, they will give a certificate as evidence about our skill and it will be used for immigration purposes (general test) or higher study (academic test).
I will start sharing by giving little basic information about my self.
I am from Kupang, a city located in Timor Island-it is the capital of East Nusa Tenggara province in Indonesia. So, usually every day we are speaking with our local language and just for a formal reason we using our national language.
This is the major reason why when I decided to learn English, it’s very stressful because every day I speak with a different language that not has format words for past, present, and future. Such as for eating, no matter when the time we eat the word that we use is eating, not like in English that has changed the form to adjust with the time. I am also a person who not have a strong interest in learning the language.
The second reason why I’m struggling with learning this skill is that in my place I don’t have friends that can accompany me to speak every day to practice this skill.
So, what I did when I started learning English especially for my IELTS preparation.
As we know, IELTS has four sections to test our ability in English: listening, reading, writing, and speaking with the higher band score is 9. To make it more clear to understand, I will give an example for the listening section bellow (for the listening section have 40 questions that have to finish in 40 minutes).
This is my step:
I start this process by habituating my ears with this language. So, what I did? I take 3 days to listen to everything in English. Such as listening to songs in English, watched YouTube, and also listening to the news or people conversation from TV or web.
In this part, I only listen not to try to understand the words. If I understand something it okay but not push my self to understand every word.
One of my favorite sources that I use is https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds.
After three days, I started to take the mock test for the listening section to check at what score I have, so I understand how much effort that should I give to achieve the band score that I need.
When I did it, I take 3 days (every day I took one time and write my result) to make an accurate score for myself self and I found, I’m is stated in band score 5! (you can see the table above). I need more than this in my real test.
So, I left this and jump to the reading section.
In this part, I started with direct scoring for three days and I found that I have the same result with the listening section.
I stop in this step and trying to identify the problem that I have.
This is what I found, I have big problem with grammar and also lack the vocabulary.
After this step, I understand that everyone who wants to prepare their self in IELTS, they have to make sure that they have good skill in English. What I trying to say is, IELTS is about trying to using a trick in our English ability to pass this test.
So, it’s impossible to only learn the tricks in IELTS without enhancing our English skills first.
So I pick up again my grammar book to learn this, every day I spent one hour for.
I also have another one hour for listening from the web that I share above and while I listening, I wrote down every word that I don’t know the meaning. I just wrote like what I heard.
After that, I using my smartphone to check the word meaning. In this part also I can understand what the word will write in the correct way. I check the pronunciation (how to speak the word)-for this I using app Cambridge Dictionary Fast (this dictionary helps us to know the word pronunciation in the UK and US).
All of the new words that I found I write in a book that I name it: Vocab Book. Every day I look 2 times or more, for the new vocab that I found and trying to remember them and also how to use them.
I think don’t have a short cut to improve my vocab, I have to take this way.
I want to be honest with all of you: if I have another choice to make me directly have good English skills, I choose to take another one because this way is needing perseverance and a commitment from our self to doing daily.
While I did all of the above, I also read a passage every day (from academic source). I collect every new word and put them in my vocab book.
This is what I find after I keep doing all of the activities above when I am going to scoring again, I see my band score is raised-has a progress.
I keep doing this and also learning the tricks that used for listening and reading sections where all of the sources that use is from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ieltsliz and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXg7gy4XmPZEGr4kumPNGyQ/videos.
Later I will share also about how I prepare another section from home.