IELTS Preparation | Advice From a Band 8 Student


– Hi everyone, Chris
here from IELTS Advantage with another success story. And today, we’re going to talk to Siva, and what we’re specifically going to talk about is how to identify your weaknesses, and the importance of
identifying your weaknesses, and how to turn those
weaknesses into strengths, so that you can improve
your speaking scores and your writing scores. So, Siva was really struggling with her writing and her speaking. She was going to lots
of different schools, and looking at lots of different
things on the Internet. And, when she joined us, we
were able to quickly identify the exact reasons why she was not getting the score that she needed. And then, she was able to
get a Band eight in speaking, and a Band seven in writing. So, let’s learn a few things from Siva’s journey on IELTS test, and then we can hopefully
improve ourselves. So Siva, can you start off by just introducing yourself to everyone? – Sure, I’m Shivanchni, I’m a working professional, I work for a probany’s
company here in Shana, India. And I have attended IELTS twice, before joining you course. And, like, once, I have
made my attempt once after joining your course to
check how far I have improved, and surprisingly, I got
the marks what I needed. – Excellent. – So thanks to you, Chris. – So, let’s start off by
talking about speaking. So we’re gonna talk about
speaking and writing, those are two things that you
needed the most help with. So, when we did a one-on-one
speaking with you, what was some of the
things that we identified, the reasons why you were not getting the score that you needed. – Actually, I gave my mock
speaking test with Jason, and I set my mind like, I should not be getting less than 6.5, because, in my previous
two attempts I got 6.5. So, I should learn all those things, whatever I have done in the past, and should give it my best. So, surprisingly, my mock
speaking test, I got eight. And he said like, the only thing I need to improve was, I’m speaking really fast. So that the examiner can
barely able to understand me, what I’m doing good. So, because I’m speaking really fast, there are many chances for me to go, I mean low in either in grammar and also in the lexical resource. So he wants me to slow down, and so that was the
only advice he gave me. – Yeah is– – So from that day on, I literally tried to slow down. – (laughs) Yeah, ’cause speaking quickly it is caused for, maybe, one
or two different reasons. Number one, people can be very nervous, when they’re speaking
in front of an examiner. – And often when people
– Exactly. feel nervous, they want to like, not waste the other person’s time. So they subconsciously
speak very very quickly. Or maybe ’cause you just are filled with nerves and stress.
– Exactly. – And you speak too quickly. The other thing is: A lot of people think
that speaking quickly means high fluency and a lot of people are taught that at school or
maybe it’s a misconception of what a good fluency is. Good fluency is not
about speaking quickly. It’s about speaking naturally. The problem with speaking to quickly is– – Exactly. – You being tested on
fluency, pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. So fluency, if you speaking too quickly you’re not speaking as
naturally as you could. So you might have a lower fluency score but it can also affect the other three, because if you speaking very quickly, it’s difficult for the examiner to understand what you’re saying. So your pronunciation could suffer. But also remember our brain
is kind of like a computer. If you trying to do to many
things at the same time and to quickly on a computer,
it starts to slow down, and it can make mistakes. Same when you speaking too quickly, you can make more grammar mistakes, more vocabulary mistakes. So that is why if– – Yeah. – For you, Siva, that was the one thing and it improved everything for you. So and anybody watching. – Exactly. – You might have a problem
with speaking quickly but you might have a one
of other 50 other problems. it’s really important that you try and work with someone who
knows what they are doing to help you identify that, in the same way as if my car was broken,
I would take the car to the mechanic and get
the mechanic to fix it, because he or she knows
what they are doing. So what was the improvement in your score? – In my first two attempts
I constantly got a 6.5 in speaking and in my
third attempt I got eight. – Yeah, that would make total sense because if you are getting, if the examiner can’t understand you, you can’t get above a
six for pronunciation, and then you might have got six in one of the other things because you were making more mistakes so. It’s totally normal to get
6.5 because of just one thing, ya know, and that’s
frustrating for a student but it’s very satisfying
when you understand what that one thing is you can fix that. So, well-done and congratulations for getting your Band eight in speaking. – Thank you and even
the worst part was even I was not speaking really
fast would affect my score. So I was not in that consciousness. So later when I attended
zoom session I learned that you have to speak naturally. And you have to let the
examiner understand each and every word whatever
you are trying to say, so that is the key thing. – I’ve also find that with– – I’m also not trying to– – Sorry sorry, there is a
delay between the two of us. I’ve also found that with
– Exactly. many of our Indian students because I think when you are
speaking in your naive language you naturally speak very, very quickly and then you start to speak
English in the same way, and that can cause a problem for the examiner to understand. Not every Indian student but many of that. Would you agree with that
in your native language, do you speak more quickly
than you speak English? – Even in the zoom session I could see many Indians speaking at the same pace and whatever I express it. The common problem in India, actually. – And then often you will have, you don’t have a problem
with your pronunciation but often Indian students will have a little bit of accent interference. – Exactly. – Not a problem but when
you combine speaking very quickly with a little bit of accent interference that causes an issue because the examiner can’t understand 100% of what you are saying and that will lower your score to a six for pronunciation. So it was great be able
to help you with that. Hello Tommy, come here. (child mumbling) Look, I can’t, look. – Hi Tom, hi. – It’s Siva in India, say hello. – How are you? – (laughing) I’ll be up
in five minutes, okay? I know it’s ready, five minutes all right? (laughing) He’s telling me
that my breakfast is ready. (laughing) Sorry for the interruption. – It’s okay. – So now we’ve talked about speaking, do you want to talk about writing now? – Sure, I will. – What scores were you getting in writing before you joined us? – In my first attempt I got six and the second attempt I got 6.5. Between my first and second attempt I just follow your dollar one course, like you used to do previously. So I just go through your readers and try to learn on my own
like what is the structure I need to follow and I could see an improvement of going five there, and after joining the school in my area I couldn’t find any
improvement in my writing. They were just telling
me what you need to write but they’re not adding
to find my mistakes. So I decided to join your VIP group and I submitted my first essay
for the correction service. And I was so shocked and I felt really bad because I got six in my writing. And you people are literally
able to add in each and every mistake even the
same things like articles, the subject, verb
agreement, the tenses, like, I could see these many
mistakes I was doing, so that where I realized like, I was not giving the school what I want because of all of these mistakes. Then what I did was I did so
much of things in between. I made like a mini plan,
like I started reading books, I started reading articles, and I did so many things
to improve my grammar, because grammar was my
biggest part, especially, that because so I did so many things and the second time I
took almost three months between my first and the second essay. And when I submitted my
second essay I got 7.5. – Excellent. – So, I was so happy because
I put so much of effort and hard work into it
and I got the scores. And then I submitted my third
essay, then I got seven. But still, articles was
an issue at that point. So I was trying to work on it. Then at one point I decided maybe I’ll just look for an exam
and I will give it try’s to take what is the
improvement I have made. Then surprisingly, all of my
scores where, I was so happy, and I thought that maybe I got
the school whatever I needed. – Excellent, and you got
a Band seven in writing overall at the end. – Yes a Band seven, yeah, yeah. – Excellent, excellent. So two things, number one,
it’s really satisfying to hear you say after my first correction I took a lot of time
to work on those things because when somebody sees our corrections they just see
all of their mistakes. And it’s quite like, oh my
God what am I going to do because it’s just red, everything is red. – Yes when I opened the pdf everything was in red, exactly. (laughing) I was like what is
this, what has happened? Even in IELTS I got 6.1
but here I was getting six and it was so heartbreaking. But I knew that because of
my mistakes you are giving the corrections so that
I could figure that out. – It’s difficult for me
as a teacher sometimes because if you tell people you’ve made this mistake,
this mistake, this mistake, this mistake, this mistake,
it can be a little bit demotivating, but also it’s my job to tell people exactly
what their situation is so that they can fix it, but
the most satisfying thing is when people see that for the first time, they react in one of three ways. Number one, they either
pretend that put their head in the sand and pretend
that everything is okay when it’s not, and they
don’t take any action. Number two, they just immediately
go and do another essay instead of actually
focusing on the mistakes. Or number three, some of them
which is the correct way, which is they look at each mistake, and they work on fixing those mistakes and then they’re going to see improvement. So it’s very satisfying
to hear that you did that and that is why you were successful. As we talk about in the mindset course you need to see each
mistake as a opportunity– – Improvement points, yeah. – Some people look at
mistakes and think that oh no, I’m going to fail, and other
people look at mistakes and think good, now I know
exactly what to do to improve. – It will help you to avoid the mistakes whatever we are going
to do on a real test. So it is actually, you should take it as an improvement point for us to do it. – Exactly exactly, exactly. And I know that’s
difficult, I know it’s not, nobody likes to be told
you’re not good enough yet, or you need to work on this, and nobody likes to hear that. But if you have the right mindset, you are going to really really improve, and I’m so happy that you
watched the mindset course that we include and you got it from that and the daily motivation stuff that we do. – Exactly, even I felt
frustrated at many points, and I almost gave up at so many points, and I thought like even
if I’m not feeling good I would write email to your team. And I would like to
thank Mike, Jason and Sam like they always motivate
me and they reply back in a short span of time saying
that maybe you should take a break like, just take a break when you are studying, don’t
study for continuous hours. Maybe like once a week
you should not think about AELTS at all because
that is also really needed, because if you constantly think about AELTS nothing is going to work out. – Exactly. – You should give your brain some time to relax and to focus on other things like you should have a healthy routine. For the people help you
to boost your confidence and your mental path. That is more important, yeah. – Yes sometimes you need, you feel like your hitting your head against a wall and nothing is getting better, and sometimes you just need to step back and allow your brain to
actually learn something and relax a little bit
and then you can come back and say, oh I have improved. And I need to keep going, and so it’s knowing when to work hard and when to take a step
– And when not to. back and that’s difficult
for everybody, including me. I find that difficult, so well-done Siva. So any other last advice
before we finish the video, any other if you were
giving yourself advice one year ago what would
you maybe tell yourself? – Maybe like give yourself
enough time to prepare because I feel like many
people are they want the mark in a short span of time,
like they may be frustrated. They may be like they
have their visa interview or some kind of commitment
but they are just rushing to (mumbles) the exams. Like they are not actually improving. So give yourself enough
time, get yourself assist by a proper mentor who knows
what real IELTS is all about, and try to improve,
try to make a mini-plan like based on your work
schedule and try to work on it. Surround yourself with English. What I actually did was
in a day I would read at least five pages in a book. Maybe any genre and I
started reading BBC articles like education the topics
related to education, travel ads, because those ones helped me in my speaking as well as in writing. And I started watching
CDs continuously like, maybe, two episodes per day, and I started watching fake docs because those would be really
helpful with the (mumbles). Every time I would hear them talk I would get a least a minimum of
two or three new words. I would straight not go
and jump to the dictionary to find out the meaning. I just try to understand the meaning of it from the sentence, whatever
they are trying to convey. And I would compare with
the dictionary meaning. So it will be, so that I will not forget easily. So it will stay with me
for quite span of time. So these are things I did almost maybe like six months continuously. And for speaking what I did was I, daily I took a mock test with my roommate, and I attended zoom
session like every week and tried to incorporate
one of the comings they are giving in my weekly mock test. So daily I used to practice that. And also for writing I tried
to write a least a letter and essay daily and
post it in the FB group. So that people would give me feedback. Like I was constantly
doing all of these things, and I was not worried about my results that is most important thing. You should stay positive and
you should not be worried about the end result. You should see only the progress – See the process. – Exactly the process
and also the progress of how far you are going to make it. – Yes, if you just look at
the end result all the time, if you are trying to, you
know, if you’re focused on a Band seven and
you’re trying to just get to a Band seven every day,
you’ll never get there. Because you’ll be frustrated every day but instead of focusing on the result, focus on the process which
is improving your vocabulary, improving your grammar,
improving your writing, improving all of these different
things and just focusing on the daily work and then you will look up one day and be like, oh I’m at a Band seven,
ya know, it’s like– – Yes, it works like that. – Yeah, just like if you
are swimming from one point to the next and you look up
every after every stroke, you will be very frustrated. But if you keep your head down, then you just get there
before you know it, you know? So that’s excellent advice. – And also on your test
day you should not worry about what you have done
in the past or the marks. You should give your 100% even
in particular in listening if you missed out one question, like if you didn’t hear
what is the answer, you should leave that and move on. – Don’t panic. – ‘Cause, yeah you should not panic and you should focus properly
so that is the key point. – Excellent point. – And when you are speaking,
you should be very natural like you’re talking to a person. And you should try to put the standardized phrases and the fancy words because that is not
going to work out at all, because the examiner will immediately find out like these are the things that people have already memorized. It is very easy for them, because they have seen so many people. – Yeah, so see. Someone who got a Band eight
didn’t use fancy phrases or fancy words, oh, I
don’t know how many times I have to say this but I’m
very very proud of you. Because it’s very satisfying
for me to give people the advice and then someone takes it and then actually gets
the scores that they need. Because we give a lot
of advice in the group and free advice but not
many people take that advice and actually do the things. And the people who do everything that we say they always get the scores that they need, and I know we have very high standards and we expect people to work very hard, and but it’s the only way. Ya know there are no tips or tricks or hacks you know and it– – Thanks for that. – And if you do the work, you’ll get the scores that you need. And thank you so much for sharing that. And congratulations again,
and I wish you all the best– – Thank you Chris, thank you. of luck in the future. Is it Canada you are going to? – Yeah, I have a plane to Canada. – Excellent, well good luck in the future, and if you need anything in the future always feel free to get in touch with us. – Sure, I miss all of those Zoom sessions because I can write now. (laughing) – Excellent Siva. Well thank you so much–
– Thank you, Chris. and thank you for helping
everybody who is watching. – Thank you so much Chris. Thanks for all of the work
that you are doing, thank you. – You are welcome, bye bye. (upbeat music)

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