Band 5 – 7.5 in IELTS Writing | Advice From an IELTS VIP Student

– Hi everyone, welcome to a
very special success story. Meet Andrea who was one of our students. And what we’re gonna do
in this video is Andrea did the test 10 times. – Yes, more or less. – She was telling us about all
the mistakes that she made. And what we’d like to do
is share those mistakes with you guys so that you can
avoid making those mistakes and you can get the score
that you need next time. So we’re kind of fast-tracking
you to getting the score that you need. And we’ll also talk
about how we helped her get a band eight overall. She managed go from a band five
to a band seven in writing. And now we’re sitting in
Cambridge where she is going to be living and working. Why don’t we just start off
by you introducing yourself to everyone? – Yes of course, Chris. – My name is Andrea, I’m from Venezuela which is in South America. I started this journey one
year ago, more or less. So it was when I finished
my training as an oncologist and I decided to started
“preparating” the exam. And in that moment I never
thought this would have been so hard mainly
because it’s true that you, well the main thing is
that you have to point out that you are making mistake
and you’re not so good that you thought you were. The other thing is that you
have to work on your mindset because it’s not easy to be constant and disciplined with your
studies and at the same time dealing with frustrations,
and failures, and rejection. So I did a lot of mistakes, many mistakes. – That’s good for our audience
because they can avoid them. – When I found Chris
Academy and I saw that video about the mistake that
you shouldn’t avoid, or you shouldn’t do and
when I saw that video I say I did all of those mistakes. So I wish, I wish I didn’t but I did and it was part of my journey. Hopefully these kind of
things will help someone. – Not so good for you because
you wasted a lot of time, a lot of money, and thousands of dollars. But we got you there after
you joined our academy and we’ll be able to help people now. What are some of the big
mistakes that you made that led to you failing the test? – The first thing is that, the
major problem with the IELTS is that you are not able
to find a reliable source of information. So part of my journey I did it alone. I didn’t know anything about
the exam, the structure, how to study, how to prepare this exam. For example I took my first
exam just to know the experience and to know about the exam
and it was a huge mistake because you felt like you know nothing. And the listening part I got lost, and the reading I was rushing myself. And the writing, I didn’t
have a lot of time to write just one task. There was one task, a task two. And the speaking, it
wasn’t myself who was there and I fail. I obtaining that exam the listening 5.5, the reading six, the writing
five, and the speaking six. – And did you feel like giving up then? Because a lot of people,
that’s what happens. They go and they do the
test because they think it’s just an English
test, I have good English. I’ll do and do it. And then they have a very
bad experience like you had and they’re just like this is not for me. I’m not doing this again. – No no no, I didn’t feel it in that way with the first exam. What I felt in that moment
was the time of the level of English that I was
required was so, so far that the one that I was obtaining. I felt like this is a lot
of work and I don’t know how to do it. So you felt a little bit overwhelmed. And it was a moment when
I start to study grammar on my own. So I bought a book and I
was doing my exercises. But it takes you time
because you are studying and you don’t know if what
you’re doing is okay or not. Then I did another
mistake that was to take a general course. It was so expensive
and the amount of hours wasn’t enough, and it wasn’t personalized. So you never knew, I never
knew what was my mistake. The only thing that I got
from that was this is so hard. But you didn’t have the guidelines, which step you should
take in order to improve. I knew that this feeling of anxiety and being stressed was going growing up and you didn’t know what to do. Just to taking another test just in case. (laughing) Just in case I was lucky and I don’t know. But no, don’t do that. – Would you recommend that
people just keep doing the test until they get score they need? – No, no no no no no, don’t do that. Because the first thing is
you have two different person in your mind. So the one is like well maybe
if you do the exam again you are going to obtain your score. But the other has to be honest. You have to be honest with
yourself and say come on, you are not going to jump
from a five in your writing to a seven, it’s not possible. Or your listening, 5.5 to a seven, the score that is needed. So you have to work on that. Then what happen if you
take the exam many times that you are going to
deal with stress of being under exam conditions. Then to deal with when you
are receiving your scores and it’s not the one that you wanted. It’s like oh and you have to start again.. So I don’t recommend to
do that, even when I did. – I think a lot of people email
us and say can you help me? And we say yes, no problem. But you need to do all
of this work and you need to maybe join our course
which costs a certain amount of money. And they say no, I don’t want to do that. So you don’t really have a choice. You can either spend the
money failing the test over and over again and spend
the time failing the test over and over again, or
you can actually learn what to do. And you probably spent about
$2,000 on failing the test? Whereas our course when
you join it, it’s like $350 or something like that. It’s not cheap, I know a lot of people, that’s a lot of money for a lot of people. But it is a lot less than
failing the test multiple times. – Yeah, and the thing is I have to say because I was in that
position to say oh no but I already booked my exam. But maybe it because well
in my case I had a deadline. So also I had on extra pressure. And I can understand
when people say oh no no, it’s because I have to book
the exam in eight weeks and wait for the results in eight weeks so I can apply or whatever. Because I was in that
position so it’s difficult. So if you are there I
recommend you to work hard on your preparation. It’s really hard, but it’s not a guarantee that you are going to get your score. – And then I think a lot of people, they do the test maybe one time or twice without any preparation. Then they do what you did which is okay, I’ll just go for a general course and see what the format is and
see what’s going on. But why does that not help? – Because it’s not personalized
and sometimes I think that because I did two
courses and the other was a little bit more VIP, but it wasn’t because they changed the
professor every time. And I think that they made you feel better about what you were
obtaining because I remember that I was in this academy,
there was another one before I moved to England. And said oh yes, you’re going great and you’re obtaining
the listening a seven. But I didn’t feel that
my English was improving for that time. It’s true that it felt great for me. But for the result on
paper is not the reality. – Well what we hear from
a lot of our students is my old teacher told
me I’m doing really well and they gave me lots of
positive encouragement and said everything was great. Then I went and did the
test and then I failed. What we do is the complete opposite. We don’t try and be your friend. We just try and get you
the results you need and we say this is wrong, fix this. You need to work on this. And people often hate us for doing that. But as I say, I want you to be my friend when you get the results,
not during the course. We’re friendly, we’re
helpful but I think I’ve been in that position too, when
I was first teaching people. You want to be friendly
with them and you want them to like you. So telling them the truth– – And one mistake that
was I to say oh come on. I remember my first feedback. – From us? – Yeah, from you guys. This sentence doesn’t make sense. It’s not related with the subject. And that’s it, very cold. I was like what? But maybe because you are not trying, you don’t understand
what I was trying to say. No no no, grammatically it’s
wrong, it’s out of context. And I said wow that’s
it, and it worked for me. Delete that part of your
essay and work on that. – And you had a good mindset about that. Sometimes when we do that with students they’re like oh, they
get really frustrated and they see it as an
attack on them personally. That’s why we say no,
we’re not attacking you as a person. We’re just trying to
make your English better, trying to make your writing better, trying to make your
speaking, your listening, your reading, whatever it is. – And it’s also true that
it was through your feedback because before that I
understood that I wasn’t improving my writing
and my writing skills. But I never received the proper feedback. It’s true that some native
person they were reading and they can correct me certain things. But maybe the instructor
or sometimes I receive like this sounds weird. But sounds weird for me, it wasn’t enough because I
didn’t know what was the mistake. So that was another great
advantage of receiving the feedback from you because it was there when I realized I was having problem with my word order and it
was because of my Spanish grammar structures. I was doing the other way
around, and the preposition. Preposition, I was working with articles. But prepositions and I have
my things I was reading every time but it’s because
I have my Spanish mind and things. So I was failing in every
sentence most of things I think. So I was working on that. I was just okay what are there? And my preposition, read again. If you’re not sure, change the sentence or use another word. And that really helped me
in improving my essays. – Yeah, it’s really
interesting to hear your story because it is a very typical story of the test is not that difficult. I’ll go and do it without
any preparation, fail. Okay I’ll go for a general
course, not get any feedback. Look at some videos,
look at YouTube, fail. Then you’re like, then what
the next point of your journey? – No no no, it was consuming. Every type of video
thing, you joke about– – It’s confusing because
one guy says this, another girl says the opposite
and you got into the test and your writing reflects
the confusion in your brain. And you have no idea what to do. – No no no exactly, and
you have to follow a plan which I didn’t know that you have to. I felt that give me a pen
and a paper and I’m going to write everything that
is going through my mind, which is not the case. No you have to, no,
and then I thought that because for example my first
attempt that I just finish one task. That if I finish in the
other because if I obtain a five with just writing
one, maybe if I finish the second one I will obtain a seven. Because just probably of
percentages or something, but no, it’s because I
didn’t know what was the way the evaluate my essay. I wasn’t aware of that. The four areas, and the
moment that you learn that is when you say okay, can I
understand when I’m writing can I, it’s any mistakes,
it’s what is your vocabulary, how many words are you repeating? Even if you’re repeating
yourself, your vocabulary, can the examiners understand
what you are writing? I was– – All over the place. – Yeah. (laughing) – And I think the next part of the journey that people normally go on is
they get help from a teacher who gives them good feedback. But then they come up
against a new difficulty which is mindset, because
it’s very difficult for someone to be constantly
telling you you’re making a mistake, this needs to
improve, you need to work harder. What mindset things
would you suggest people understand before they go on that journey? – I think for me, that was the only thing that it kept me continuing doing this. Because if you are in front
of so much frustration, so much failure you want to give up. So what I did is change
this approach to this exam. I used to think, well I think
that while you’re learning your English, try to enjoy this. So everyone say oh this is horrible. So for example for me,
writing an essay it was my fear because I didn’t
want to fail again. So I put in my schedule, Andrea
you have to write tomorrow four essays. I say four essays sound
horrible but I say okay Andrea, maybe one introduction, then the overview, and it was so much easy. And at the end of the
day I wrote four essays per day. – If you say to someone you
want to climb a mountain and you look at the top,
the peak of the mountain you’ll never do it. But if you just say I
want to go one mile today and one mile the next
day you’ll get up there, you know? – And the other thing is
because I was so focused on my writing that I didn’t
want to write in that moment. But what I did was, okay
Andrea, so try to find another way to learn
the English and how you can apply this in your studies. So I was listening and I
was reading and listening difference in news. And I was trying to explain
myself like I was talking to myself at home. – Your neighbors must have– (laughing). – If you had a camera
on my house you’d say oh come on, this lady
is a little bit crazy. Because I was explaining
in front of the mirror. I knew that I was working
on my idea generation. I was working on topics that
I wasn’t feel comfortable. So in the moment that I read
a question that I don’t know because that was the other thing. Oh, I don’t have idea, I
don’t know how to write. So I found that by
doing this in the moment that I have to write was so much easier. And at the same time I was I don’t know, learning new words. I was working on my vocabulary. I felt more confident in
front of someone to explain my point of view. Because that was the other thing, at the beginning you feel so frustrated because you are not able
to express your opinion. – Yeah, and it will help you
here at Cambridge as well. You’ll have a much richer
life because you’ll be able to meet new people and
explain what you mean and your work will be
better and everything. – Exactly, so I say Andrea,
this is helping you, come on. I know that you don’t want
to write but I change my mind and say you have to enjoy this, otherwise. – We speak to a lot of
people who say I want to move to Canada, for example and
they’re at a band five, 5.5. And we say you should
improve your vocabulary. I don’t want to do that. I say why do you want to move to Canada? You want to move to Canada
and not speak to anybody and not get the job? This is not only going to
help you with your IELTS preparation, but your life in
general in your new country. So I think that’s one of
the goals if you’re lacking in motivation is to not just think of it as a band score on an IELTS
test, but improving your life in general because your
communication skills and everything will improve. – Yeah, of course. For example I remember one
of my first moments here that I wasn’t able in a
place with many people and I couldn’t understand
or I couldn’t participate in the conversation. Or I couldn’t understand
what they were saying. Or if I wanted to say something
I didn’t have the words to express my opinion. So I said I’m gonna change this. The moment that you start to improve this, your vocabulary, your
grammar, and your writing and say okay you’re going to do this, you’re going to write
because you know that this is your difficult part. And the same time you are
learning how to be yourself in another language. So the worst thing that could
happen is that you learn another language. – Exactly, the worst thing. (laughing) – Seriously. – Let’s talk a little
bit about vocabulary. So we’ve talked a lot about
the mistakes that you made and helping people avoid those. Now let’s talk about how
you got to this level and the scores that you got. One of the things you
mentioned was vocabulary. How did vocabulary help
you improve your scores and how did you learn new vocabulary? – Well for me, vocabulary
was one of the main things that helped me to improve the four areas. So what I did, I remember
because I bought these books, Cambridge Isles, series nine, too. I did series nine to 13 books. So when I was doing the reading
part, after I did the mock I went back and I was
checking all the words that I didn’t know in that moment. Because it’s true that
you can’t in the moment you can identify what is the
meaning because of the context. But I always check if I didn’t know. So for example, I don’t know,
I knew what they wanted to say but I wanted to be sure. And then from there I
learned about the word, the different usage of the word. For example it was a noun,
what is the adjective, what is the verb and how to use it. So it’s true that each
passage, after I finish it took me one hour at least, an extra hour just reviewing that. Then I was underline, I don’t
know, what is the main idea? And maybe after each day
I had at least 20 words that I didn’t know. So what I was trying to do
is to work on that vocabulary that I didn’t know in the moment. At the end of the day I was
making sentences on my own. It could be very simple. In the beginning I was like
I don’t know how to use it. The house is green, that’s it. And then I was trying to
incorporate all this vocabulary on my daily routines. For example if I want to
express an idea or something and this helped me a lot,
for example for the listening because if you want to find the answers they’re going to tell you a synonym. So you were working on
that in the reading. If you know a lot of words you
don’t have to skim or scan, just you’re reading faster
because your comprehension is also improving. For the writing. – Meaning you’re able to be more fluent. – And the speaking obviously. So I have to say working on my vocabulary, it helped me a lot. – Yeah, it improves absolutely everything. What you did is exactly
what you should be doing. A lot of people forget that if
you’re preparing for the test you’re gonna be reading
every day, you’re going to be listening every day. You’re constantly going
to be seeing new words. So do what you did which
is guess the meaning from context and look the word up. Then use the word to
review them regularly. Look at the different forms of the word, different synonyms, collocations,
really learn them 100% instead of what most
people do is go online, try and find a list of band nine words. There’s no such thing
and it doesn’t help you. You have to learn the words
in context from real English and review them and then use them. – Exactly, otherwise you are
going to make more mistakes because if you just
learned the list of words it doesn’t make sense. – It improves reading,
listening, speaking, writing, absolutely everything. – Did you have a notebook like we suggest? – Ah yes, a huge notebook. – Words and everything. – So then because I finished
that word and that makes sense, so I start to categorize. – Categorization is
really good for reviewing. – So if I want to talk
about a location, health, I was working those kind of things. And then the idea generations. At the beginning was hard
because I say ah yes, idea generation, how? So it’s just really I had
an idea was go to BBC News and go to health, education,
health, technology. Not politics, I didn’t like it? – Too boring? – Yes, it’s boring and
you have to try to do the most enjoyable parts of this. – Yes, because if you
go to any news website you’ll see health news, education news, technology news, science news. What are the common topics
on writing tasks, too? Health, education, technology, science. So if you read one of
those articles per day you’re gonna help with
your idea generation, your vocabulary, your idea development, your examples, absolutely everything. – I know the example, yes of
course, I’m working on that. So what I did with my
idea generation as well I had my notebook is if I
read something about health I tried to create a debate in my mind, so the different points of view. Even when it wasn’t my
point of view because. – Critical thinking, seeing the other side of an argument and
appreciating what other people would say about your argument. And all of those things
are really important. – I didn’t know if in
the moment of exam I have to contrast my ideas. And obviously you felt more
comfortable talking about what you believe. But if you’re working also
what other people believe, the moment that you
have to write about that you are not going to have any problem. So it’s hard, it’s hard, sorry. I remember it took me time. Every day I was studying
hard because I was also learning about different things. So I say I remember I
felt it’s not just exam. It’s just also about
learning new vocabulary. – [Chris] Or learning about the world. – The world, yeah, yeah, I
didn’t have too much time. I had to be honest it was a great thing because for me in my case I said before I was studying medicine
and the only thing I read was medicine, and now. – Now you’re a more well-rounded person. – So you have to look
at this as a positive. – So that’s 25% of your
marks in reading and writing are going to be vocabulary. Another 25% are going to be grammar. How did you get over the grammar? – Oh the grammar for me it was a nightmare because I’ve never studied
grammar before in my life, never. I was able to talk but I knew
that I was talking present or in past and I didn’t know anything. So what I did was I
bought my grammar books and I was studying each
unit, doing the exercises. It was hard and slow because
I didn’t have a teacher. Because sometimes when someone
explain particular chapter you’re able to understand
because the teacher told you something and
it’s more easy to remember. I was working that every day. Every day I would study one
hour of grammar, one hour. So I did my one chapter of
my book, some exercises, reviewing that, it was part of mine. Otherwise I couldn’t improve. – What would you say to
someone who let’s say they don’t even know that
they’re struggling with grammar. Or they know they have
a problem with grammar but they don’t know how to fix it. Apart from studying grammar,
what would be your biggest piece of advice for them? – This thing is if they don’t
know that they are struggling with grammar I think
that the best exercise to do is to try to express
something to someone. It could be so easy as
can you describe me this? And whether you do just a way. So if you are struggling with that it’s because you need help. You need help in your grammar
and your structure of this. So find professional help. You can do it alone, but take your time but you don’t know if you are doing well. – I’m not saying this
because I want people to join our course or give me money. I’m saying this because if you
don’t get professional help with your grammar you will
have no idea the mistakes that you are making. The analogy I always use
is if my car breaks down I don’t know anything about fixing a car. I bring it to a mechanic. If my little boy was sick
I wouldn’t go onto YouTube and look up his symptoms on YouTube. I would bring him to a doctor because why do we hire experts? Because they know about more than us and they’re able to immediately
identify the problems. For most people doing the
test that are at about a six or so, it’s not that all
of their grammar is terrible. It’s because one, or two, or three areas they make small mistakes or
they have fossilized errors like you, it was prepositions. For a lot of our other
students it is articles. For other students it’s punctuation. So a professional will be able to, I can look at your writing
and within 30 seconds say you have a problem
with this, this, and this, you need to work on that. – It’s true that the
grammar, it will help you for example your speaking because
you’ve studied everything. But you’re not going to
use the whole grammar on your essay. But if you don’t know
what you’re doing wrong you’re never going to obtain
the score that you wanted. So it’s the best. The thing when I received
my first feedback and I realized I was making these mistakes and I said Andrea you have to work at it and I was producing each
sentence, I was double checking these mistakes. So I said okay it makes sense,
verb agreement, subject, okay it’s not Spanish grammar. So it was the thing that helped me a lot. – It really does help and what’d
I’d also say about grammar is don’t get too frustrated with it because it can be little rules. I know how frustrating
it can be for students. They’re like ah, but the
rest of the sentence is fine. There’s just one tiny article
or one tiny preposition or a comma, and it gets very frustrating. But the thing to remember
is let’s say articles and prepositions are
your two main weaknesses. They’re in every sentence. So if you’re making
mistakes in every sentence then you can’t get over a seven
because to get over a seven for grammar, most of your
sentences need to have no errors whatsoever. Then if every sentence has
a mistake it also affects your coherence because it’s
more difficult to read. So a lot of students get
frustrated because they say yeah, but my structure is
good and my vocabulary is good and I answered the question. And it’s just articles,
or it’s just prepositions. And it’s like yeah I know,
but you still need to fix it. – Yeah it happened to me and,
it’s just a few preposition. But then I felt relieved because I thought it’s just preposition so
it’s not like your grammar is so that no one is going to
understand what you’re saying. It’s just preposition,
so just work on that. – And you told us you’re
going for a job interview here in Cambridge in a few days. If you went into the job
interview and every sentence had a grammatical error
in it they might give you the job, but they might
give it to someone else because they say well
she may have a problem communicating with colleagues. Or she might be writing a
very important medical report and make lots of mistakes. So hopefully it does help
you with that as well. – Of course, of course, this
is another type of motivation. So I said Andrea, it’s part
of you’re going to do this in your future. So you don’t want to be misunderstood and have horrible mistakes. So learn about this the
best that you can do it. So I think you have to
find what is your purpose of why you are doing this. Then work on that. But trying to visualize yourself each day. So I’m going to do this because
if you’re not doing nothing each day you’re going to
feel frustrated at the end of the week because then
I haven’t done anything. I said come on, but you have to work. – One thing we do in our company is we do something called plan
tomorrow today where we force everyone who, we don’t
force them, we ask them before they finish work, the
last thing that they need to do is they need to plan
what they’re going to do the next day, put it in their calendar, and then they send it to me. Just small things like
that mean that you wake up the next day and you’re like
okay, I have to do this essay, read this thing, work on my vocabulary, and then you will do it. But if you wake up and you’re like oh, I can’t do this anymore
and then you watch TV and you’re like oh, I’ll go for a walk. Then you come back and you
get to the end of the day and you don’t do anything. – Well I set my goals the night before. – Yeah exactly, even if
you feel tired just do it. Takes five minutes and
makes a big difference. – And I remember I say
okay I’m going to start with the most difficult for me. It was writing, I’m gonna do it. – Yes, start with the most difficult. – The most difficult and I
did the other way around. Yes, I’m gonna do the least,
I’m going to read some news, I’m going to jump to myself. And then when it was the time
to write, ooh I’m so tired. Ooh I’ve been working
so hard, maybe tomorrow. – There’s a book called Eat
The Frog, I think it is, where eat the frog means you
do the think that you hate the first thing in the
morning when you have the most energy, the most motivation. Because your motivation
will go down throughout the rest of the day. And when you first
start, the thing that you are struggling with the
most, focus on that. Because once you turn those
weaknesses into strengths everything becomes much easier. – Yeah, I remember I finished my essays and then the first things in the morning. And I remember in between
I have okay you get to do some exercises. And that okay Andrea you
finish all those essays, and then you read and you practice this, you’re going to do exercises
and then you can do whatever you want. And then you’re going to review
and work on your feedback. That’s working your
feedback was so much easier than producing an essay. – Exactly, I think that’s
something that even our other VIP students struggle with. Where they’ll do the course,
they’ll submit the writing and we’ll send them four
or five pages of feedback. And they’ll say something like
so where am I going wrong? It’s like you have to
look, we told you exactly what you’re doing wrong. And then they say, what do I do now? It’s like fix those things,
work on those things. And that’s where you see
the biggest improvement. Just doing essay after essay after essay is a complete waste of time. It’s better to do one
essay and take action on the feedback than it is
to do 100 practice essays and don’t do anything
because you’ll just make the same mistakes over
and over and over again. That’s difficult for people to understand because they hear things
like practice makes perfect. Practice does not make perfect. – No, not in this case. When I did that I don’t
know how many pages I wrote in practicing my essays. But I remember one successful
story in the Facebook group from one guy that he, I don’t know, he obtained an amazing
score in the writing part. And one thing that I
remembered was that he said that he only submitted three essays. – Yep, there’s no correlation
between the number of essays people submit, and their success. No, normally the people
who are most successful don’t actually submit that many essays. So a lot of people don’t join our course because they say oh you
only correct five essays. You only correct 10 essays. We explain this is on
purpose because we want you to think about the
feedback and take action on the feedback. And you can always buy more
if you want to buy more. If you want to do 100, you can do 100. But we would recommend
that you don’t do 100, you only do five, or 10, or 15. However many it takes because
the story I always tell is I had a friend who he grew up on a farm so his dad had an old car and
just let him drive around. He was driving from like he was eight or nine years old. Then he went to do his
driving test and he failed over and over and over again. Even though he had been
driving for 10 years because he had picked up such bad habits. So he had practiced for thousands of hours but couldn’t drive on the roads. So just practicing is not the key. Practice, get feedback,
think about the feedback, take action on the feedback
and then that’s where the learning comes in. – It’s true, it true. And be patient because
this is another thing that we feel that after we finish the rule to look at the models and study the models and practice, everything
instantaneously that we are going to be able to produce a perfect essay. – I can’t watch Massi
or Rinaldo play football and then go our and play for Barcelona. It’s just a first step, you know. Watching a video is just a first, that’s why I get frustrated
when I see videos on YouTube that say watch this video and you’ll magically get a band number. It’s like no. – It’s not gonna happen. – It’s not gonna happen. It is the first step, but watch the video then do the thing in the video, then get feedback, then take action. So that was good. One of the things I made
in my notes about you was that you struggled
with time management. But did I give you time management tips? Or how did you solve that problem? Because tell people what you were doing when you got a band five in writing. What was happening, the time management? – Well what happened when
I was producing an essay in the band five? That I didn’t know how to write. So my level of English wasn’t so good obviously to produce 250 words. It was a nightmare. So it’s true that I also
made a mistake and said how can I improve my
timing, blah, blah, blah? No, I realized that after
I got better on my grammar and how to produce, organize myself, the only thing that I was
aware was about the clock on the timing just to be
sure that you are writing on time. But I didn’t have any
tips for time management. Is this become better when
I was better on doing that? It was the same with the reading part. In the moment that you read
faster and you can understand everything that you’re
reading, you don’t need time. And you’re not going to struggle with that in the moment that you get better. It sounds horrible, it sounds horrible but that’s because I was
looking for that tip. – Because everyone wants the easy way. I always say if I could
give you the easy way I would give it to you. There are some things on the
course that are little tips and that are little short cuts. But 99% of the things that
we teach are the opposite of tips and short cuts. And the story I always
tell about time management is if you look at Usain
Bolt running the 100 meters, is he faster than everyone
else because he went and looked for time management tips? No, he’s better at running
he’s faster at running. So the way to become, to
improve your time management for reading is become better at reading. For writing, become better at writing. For listening, become better at listening. Which sounds very simple, but
when people hear me say that they think oh that’s
obviously, that’s simple. No, what you’re really
saying is you understand that that’s going to
take work and you don’t want to do the work. You want me to give you
top 10 magic super tips because that’s what you are looking for because you want to save time. Ironically by saving time you
mess up your time management. – The only tip that I
remember about time management that I found very useful,
it was for the reading part. I found this girl that
she was saying that she was trying to do the
passage the first passage in 15 minutes, 15. And the second 20, and the third 25. – ‘Cause it gets more
difficult as you go through. A big mistake people make is they think that oh I’ll spend two
minutes on each question. No no no, or one minute. Do the first part as quickly as you can and that will give you more time to focus on the more difficult stuff. So we’ve talked a lot about
the different mistakes you can make. We’ve talked a lot about
your advice to students in different areas. Let’s finish up by talking
about if your brother or sister, or family
member, your best friend was doing the test any
other advice that you would give them apart
from the things that we talked about already? – Well the main advice
I will say to someone is to set what is your purpose
and why you are doing this. Trying to remain honest,
realistic about your current situation and your level of English. That you’re not going to
be as good as you wish. But you can work that
knowledge and improve. And please find professional expertise because otherwise you are
going to spend a lot of money and you’re going to waste time. It’s better to find a
good place and follow certain structures rather
than, I don’t know, doing that on your own
and don’t be successful in the time that you wanted. – [Chris] You talked about purpose. What did you think about
when you thought about why am I doing this task? What kept you motivated? – Well the thing is my main motivation was to work in England, but that
was too big, too wide a goal. So then I narrowed this
goal and said Andrea, my main purpose was to be able
to express ideas in English. That was my main idea. Then I knew that by
doing that I will improve and I will obtain my
score, then I will obtain my job here. But I was trying to
put that more realistic and more useful in the
future that I knew that okay I am going to use my
vocabulary in order to communicate with other people. – The students that I’ve
worked with that have done the most work and made the most progress normally they have two
purposes, two main motivations. One is internal. So they are trying to improve
themselves in some way either by like you said, improving their communication skills or often it’s because they know
that once they get the score they’ll be able to do a job
that will help them grow as a person and it will
make them much happier and they’ll be more fulfilled. Or someone like you who you’ll
be working on breast cancer and lung cancer and that
is a huge motivation. The other motivation, and I think this is the most powerful one
is they think of things bigger than themselves. So for example for me the
reason I’m very motivated is because I think of my wife and my son and that keeps me going. I work very hard. Often I will hear people
talking about they want to do it for their family or for other people. Or like you they want to go and do a job, a nurse or a doctor, or an engineer, that will help a huge number of people. Whenever you feel a little
bit down or demotivated try and think of something
bigger than yourself because it is difficult. Everything is difficult but like anything, the more difficult it is
the bigger the achievement. – Yeah, and the way that
you are going to feel and the moment that you obtain
your score is unbelievable. That moment guys is priceless. – Fridays are always the best day for us because we look in the
Facebook group and we see, I got this score, and I got this score, and I got this score and that’s
really motivating for us. You talked also about
being honest with yourself. That is so important. The people that are most, I’m
not being very fluent here or very coherent. The people who are the easiest
to lie to are ourselves. So a lot of people will say
things like I don’t have time. You have 24 hours in a day,
you chose to do something else. Or they’ll say this is just too difficult. Or they’ll say things
like it’s not my fault, it’s the teacher’s fault,
or it is the test’s fault. Or it is whoever’s fault. You need to take responsibility
for your own development and your own performance. And if you have that very humble attitude then you’re going to do very well. And we have that attitude
on our team as well. We always look for people on our team who are very humble because
we don’t want people running around blaming everybody else and never wanting to get better. We want to work with
people and we want to work with students who just are
always how can I get better? And it’s my responsibility. So I think that purpose, and
humility, and being honest with yourself are
really, really important. So that’s great, that’s great advice. If people just did those two
things they would be able to work really hard over
a long period of time and they would constantly
improve because they are always thinking how can I get better? So that’s great advice. So before we finish any last minute things that you would tell people? – The most important thing
is that you have to believe in yourself and you
have to work on whatever you need to work because
you are going to be able to achieve your score. The thing is work a little
every day, a little bit, a little bit. Then at the end of the
month, at the end of the week you will be better than in the beginning. So do that and you are
going to obtain your score. – Thank you so much,
Andrea, that was really, really helpful for the people watching. And the reason why we
do this is there’s a lot of confusing and conflicting
information out there. And people don’t know where
to turn or who to believe. So someone like you who has
gone from really struggling and doing the test over and over to getting a band eight overall, moving from a band five
to a band seven in writing is unbelievable. So thank you so much. I hope that you get your
job here in Cambridge. – Yes, I will let you know.

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