Preparing for IELTS

I have been longing to write this post on how I prepared for International English Language Test System, which most Common Wealth countries insist for the non-native English speakers. IELTS has 4 sections:
  1. Listening
  2. Reading
  3. Writing
  4. Speaking
I appeared for General Training module and my aim was to score 7 in each section. Academic and General Training patterns vary only in the Reading and Writing module. Refer to this link:
http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/what_is_ielts/academic_or_general_training.aspx

How to book the test at your location?
  1. Go to http://www.ielts.org/ website and select your country. 
  2. Based on your location from the drop down, hit a search button. In the below screenshot, I selected the location "Bangalore" and the result display the test centre: British Council and IDP, along with the next Test Date.   
  3. Click on More Information and you will see the list of exam dates when you can enrol. You can either book the slot online or go to IDP or British Council and pay the fee. Remember to take you passport along with the photocopies (first and last pages) while filling up the form. 
  4. Without passport you will NOT be allowed to sit the test and PHOTOCOPIES of the passport are NOT considered to sit the exam. The exams are conducted on Saturdays.
  5. Take pencils, pen and an eraser. Listening and Reading Modules must be answered using Pencil only whilst Writing can be done using a pen or pencil, but I reckon using a pencil.
  6. Always reach on time to the exam. The registration ends at 12.15 noon and the exam begins at 1 PM starting with Listening, Reading and Writing. You may be called for Speaking before the exam date or after this. 
Listening
No. of questions: 40
Duration: 30 minutes. Extra 10 minutes are provided to fill the answers to the answer sheet.
No of sections: 4. 
NOTE: You must write down the answers on the question booklet as you listen. 
Conversation will not be repeated. If you miss something, you will not be able to go back.
ONLY pencil to be used. 
Question types: Fill up the blanks, Marking the diagrams
Paper pattern:
Section 1 is a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context (e.g. a conversation in an accommodation agency)
Section 2 is a monologue set in an everyday social context (e.g. a speech about local facilities or a talk about the arrangements for meals during a conference)
Section 3 is a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context (e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment, or a group of students planning a research project)
Section 4 is a monologue on an academic subject (e.g. a university lecture) 

Reading(General Training)
No. of questions: 40
Duration: 60 minutes.
No. of sections: 3.
Match the headings
True/False/Not Given
Fill up the blanks
Tips:
Read the passage thoroughly. 
I tried skimming and scanning through the paragraphs but it did not help.
Try to look up the answers in the passage as you read the questions. All the questions are in sequence. 
Paper pattern:
Section 1 contains two or three short factual texts, one of which may be composite (consisting of 6-8 short texts related by topic, e.g. hotel advertisements). Topics are relevant to everyday life in an English-speaking
country
Section 2 contains two short factual texts focusing on work-related issues (e.g. applying for jobs, company policies, pay and conditions, workplace facilities, staff development and training)
Section 3 contains one longer, more complex text on a topic of general interest Texts are authentic and are taken from notices, advertisements, company handbooks, official documents, books, magazines and newspapers
Refer
http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/test_sample/general_training_-_reading.aspx

Writing(General Training)
Duration: 60 minutes.
This section has: 
Task 1: 20 minutes. Formal or Informal Letter Writing. At least 150 words
Task 2:  40 minutes. Essay. At least 250 words
Frame what has to be covered and structure it in paragraphs.
Make sure you cover all the points
Nothing should be missing.
No grammatical errors.
Essay introduction paragraph: Do not write as it is in the question. If you cannot frame new sentence, then try paraphrasing it.
Paper pattern:
General Training Writing
In Task 1, candidates are presented with a situation and are asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style
In Task 2, candidates are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be slightly more personal in style
Speaking
Duration: 10-15 minutes.
The conversation is recording hence, make sure that you are loud enough or you might be called again to take the test.
The examiner asks you to introduce yourself and then follows a couple of questions.
Try using discriminators than not speaking at all.
Part 1 Introduction and interview (4-5 minutes)
The examiner introduces him/herself and asks the candidate to introduce him/herself and confirm his/her identity. The examiner asks the candidate general questions on familiar topics, e.g. home, family, work, studies and interests
Part 2 Individual long turn (3-4 minutes)
The examiner gives the candidate a task card which asks the candidate to talk about a particular topic and which includes points which the candidate can cover in their talk. The candidate is given 1 minute to prepare their talk, and is given a pencil and paper to make notes. The candidate talks for 1-2 minutes on the topic. The examiner then asks the candidate one or two questions on the same topic
Part 3 Two-way discussion (4-5 minutes)
The examiner asks further questions which are connected to the topic of Part 2. These questions give the candidate an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas
http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/test_sample/speaking_sample.aspx

What books to refer?
Refer the to the IELTS Cambridge 9, 8, 7, 6. Practice the tests as much as you can having a timer.
These books can be purchased online from flipkart or infibeam.

Useful links: 
http://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/prepare-test/how-prepare-ielts-test

How the score evaluation is done?
http://www.ielts.org/researchers/score_processing_and_reporting.aspx

When are the results announced?
The results are announced on 13th day of the exam and the test result is posted to your address on the same day. The results can be viewed online at https://results.ielts.org/. Say, I sat the exam on a Saturday, 7th Sep 2013, then the results are announced on a Friday, 21st Sep 2013.

I sat the exam on 8th June 2013 at IDP and my overall score: 7.5
Listening: 8
Reading: 7.5
Writing: 7.5
Speaking: 7

All the best. :)

A memorable 2013

In a blink of an eye, 2013 is gone. I feel it was a couple of days ago I bought a new calender and now its time for a another one.

A memorable year it has been with lots of up and down. The first half was filled with the nostalgic memories of Australia and I was living the life of past, memoirs of Melbourne, now and then. I got a chance to visit Melbourne as a personal trip and I fell in love with it again!

Travel:
Mysore
Kolhapur
Belgaum
Hubli
Hampi
Madras
Mahabalipuram
Melbourne
Mantralaya

I am yet to blog on these travelogues.

Books:
My lawfully wedded husband and other stories
First You Plz
Behind the Silicon Mask
Aesop's Fables
My Life, My Rules
Madame Butterfly
The Secret
My stroke of luck
From Womb to World
Corr Syl, The Warrior
Soul in Present Condition
Room of Tears
The House
Revealing Us
Never Mind Yaar
Romancing His English Rose
Fire in the Rain
Lilith
A Maverick Heart: Between Love and Life
The Guardian Angels
The Homing Pigeons
Gently Falls the Bakula

Music:
Blah.

Photography:
Clicked loads of pictures but yet to process. Regular photo shoot has been on my mind this year.

Started playing Tennis & a new hobby of collecting postcards via Postcrossing.

Started a Makeup & Fashion blog. Also bought a domain www.manasa.me . Web design and development have fascinated me.

A NO gadgets year.

Last but not the least, an important milestone in my life that I achieved.

I am hoping this year will be filled with happiness, success, good heath and wealth. ;)
XOXO
www.manasa.me