IELTS test day experience

What You Can Learn From My IELTS Experience?

This is the IELTS experience submitted by an IELTS taker. You can read other IELTS takers’ experience here.

I cleared the IELTS test on March 12th with an overall band of 7.5 (8.5/8.0/7.0/7.0). I had planned to take admission to the University of Birmingham last year, but due to certain circumstances I could not go there to study.

To prepare for the test, I used Cambridge IELTS 3 (2002) with audio CDs and I watched CNN, BBC, and AUS TV.  I registered only two weeks before I took the test.


One should practice using the workbook and the CDs because they simulate test conditions. You need to focus because the recording is played only once. I was advised to read the questions beforehand to get a sense of what was asked i.e. places, people, time, directions etc. Although you can answer the questions while you’re listening to the recording, you need to understand what is being said by all the people involved. A second or third person may agree or disagree with what was previously said. This helps answer some questions.

In short, listening is not the same as hearing.


Academic reading is said to be the toughest of the four segments. You need the ability to scan and skim through a passage quickly.

First, I scanned each article and noted the type of questions that followed: multiple choice, matching, or asking for specific ideas or names. Then, I read the article and simultaneously answered the questions. This helps because you are not given extra time to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.

You must pace yourself as this will leave you with enough time to review your answers. I changed my answers to the tricky questions after going through them again.


The first task was to interpret a graph, which was a depiction of the percentage of people employed in agriculture/marketing vs. manufacturing between 1920 and 2000.

I didn’t practice enough for the second task, but I made an outline before writing my answer in detail. My question was “Some people believe that universities nowadays were not able to make undergraduates equipped with the needed skills when they eventually join the workforce. Others believe that education must be provided to students for the true purpose of education per se-art of education. In your opinion, what is the true function of University education?”

I exceeded the word counts of 150 (first task) and 250 (second task) a little. With my handwriting, I could fit 9-12 words in a line.


In the first part, I introduced myself and I was asked questions like “Please describe your hometown”, “Do you still have dreams? What can you say about it?”, “What do you think is the most common and effective way of communications nowadays in your country?”

In the second part, I was asked to speak for 2 minutes on the topic: have you got any news recently, who informed you, when you received, what makes the news interesting. I was given 1 minute to prepare an outline.

I had trouble with the last part wherein the examiner asked me questions on the topic given for the second part. I mumbled a few words and there were some gaps between my sentences. I also stuttered but avoiding saying “ahh.” Questions asked: “How do you spend time with my family” and “What form of mass media resources does most Filipino get nowadays?”

I answered the second question incorrectly, saying that people did not mind having options and tended to just receive what is being provided in the media. The examiner repeated the question, and then I answered that the radio was more common than television since a majority of Indonesian still live in coastal areas or the countryside.

I have not had an opportunity to speak English for the last 5 years because I live with people who speak the local language.

However, I am glad to have cleared the test in one attempt and am grateful to

Satabdi is a content writer and editor with degrees in Biology and English. Her interests include education, health and wellness, and books. When not writing, she can usually be found reading in a corner.

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