My IELTS Test Day Experience
This is the IELTS experience submitted by an IELTS taker. You can read other IELTS takers’ experience here.
In October last year, I participated in a two-week IELTS review program. I finally took the test on March 20, 2017 because I got a job offer in the U.K. I chose British Council (BC) over IDP Australia because their examiners were British nationals who were reported to be friendly. The examiners at IDP were said to be more discriminating towards their own countrymen. Personally, however, I felt that this was absurd because the speaking segment would be recorded and the examiners would not be involved in the scoring process.
My sister accompanied me to the test venue for moral support and we arrived two hours in advance because I wanted to acquaint myself with the place to reduce my anxiety. I talked to some candidates, who were as nervous as I was, even though it was not their first attempt. They were taking the test again because their scores had expired or weren’t good enough to get them admission to their chosen universities.
Interviews were being conducted in three rooms. Some candidates were too formally dressed in a dress and heels, others wore black leather shoes, ties, and slacks. I was wearing a fitted shirt over a fitted pair of faded jeans and doll shoes on my feet. I felt my outfit was not formal, yet pleasant.
I was called by a white guy in his early forties to a large bedroom. I was expecting it to be an office room, but I remembered that it was a hotel. I was asked to sit at a desk and the examiner sat down, too, at the opposite end. He was not intimidating, but friendly and professional. He asked me to relax and said that the conversation was going to be recorded.
He began by speaking to the recorder, “This is the IELTS Speaking test conducted at XYZ by examiner XYZ on candidate ABC.” Then he asked for my ID and I gave him my ID.
“So, can you tell me something about the place you live in?”
I told him the name of my place, the kind of people, and their way of life. He asked more questions about the place.
Task two (Task Card):
“Talk about a famous person you want to meet.
You should say: Who he is.
What he does.
Why you want to meet him.”
I thought of talking about a local leader, but I remembered the language coach telling us to think of international names so I decided upon Barack Obama. His name may be overused, but he was the second person I thought of and I wanted to use the 60-second preparatory time to think about what I would say.
I remember running out of things to say and ending with “That’s it.” It was a strict no-no according to our language coach.
Task three (Abstract thoughts/Personal opinion)
This was a long conversation and one among many topics discussed was fame and its ups and downs. I spoke at length and made the examiner nod, smile, and even laugh a bit. This gave me greater confidence.
LISTENING, READING, and WRITING:
We reached the venue an hour in advance and I noticed other test takers were carrying pencils and realized that I had forgotten to get one. With 40 minutes left before the test began, I borrowed a pencils and sharpener from a friendly test taker.
After my ID was checked by the proctors, I found my seat in the front row. There would be no distractions by the other candidates but the examiners would be moving in and out of the room, possibly disturbing me. A few minutes before the test began, we were asked to sharpen our pencils using the vintage sharpener (with a hand crank and six holes) placed on the desk in front. The proctors even offered to sharpen our pencils for us. They were dressed in red and black jackets and looked pleasant. At 8:50 a.m., general instructions were given.
I did not like this section at all. I got so busy with the first set of questions that I didn’t realize that the recording for the next set of questions had already been played.
I do not remember much about this segment. I did not like reading academic material as it was a tough read and questions were hard.
I love to write so I’m writing this blog. But I do not remember the diagram given for the first task. For the second task, the topic was related to computers and technology.
I received the results after 13 days:
- Listening: 7.0
- Writing: 7.5
- Reading: 8.0
- Speaking: 8.5
- Overall Band Score: 8.0