- For Teachers
One of the requirements for my future employment is to get IELTS 8 in all bands. I failed to achieve is for writing and speaking. I re-did the test few months after the first one and the results did not change at all. I've been studying in Australia for 4 years and over the period, my 2 skills improved by only 0.5 (I achived 6 and 7 for writing and speaking prior to my study). I wonder what can I do to improve these skills. I write and speak English for my entire university life and the result is quiet disappointing.
Please help me.
Thanks in advance.
What's wrong with writing "over THE period"? I noticed that you corrected it to "over THAT period". By the way, please feel free to correct my posts if you find anything wrong. Thank you.
What is the job you're after? 8 is a very high score.
I am also asked to achieve a score of 7.5 in each domain of IELTS. In my case, I graduated as a Medical Doctor in my country and I am applying for the UK Foundation Programme to obtain a license to practice in UK.
Writing is also my weakest skill. I achieved once 7.5 in the writing test but my speaking was not so good at that time. I have been studying academic english in London for a year now and practicing my writing skills daily with IELTS samples.
I think it is the best way.
7.5 is a score asked for in jobs and courses that require a very high level- when I taught in the UK, postgrad law students were required to get 7.5. If 7.5 is enough to handle law and something where lives are genuinely at stake like medicine, then I am curious to know what the job is that requires 8.
The requirement for internship at large companies, for example the Big Four, which also are the only ones who accept undergraduate international students is acquiring band 8 over all 4 sections. It is so tough and somehow unfair too... I think many local students cannot get such result, especially for writing.
Nevertheless, I found some IELTS blogs quite useful. You can google ielts-simon to find his blog. He was an ex-examiner and his tips are very friendly and helpful. Yet I still believe he sets too easy a standard. I guess the only way to improve would be to practice IELTS questions over and over, as they might come up again, or at least that would prepare your mentality to deal with the exam. The exam is very different from the normal day to day language and learning, that's why this requirement becomes extremely difficult for us international students.
Having said that, I would appreciate more tips from other people.
First of all your post and the sentiment shared, although a bit sad, is not uncommon at all. Having worked for more than 15 years as an English teacher and official Cambridge examiner, I can assure you that you are not alone.
Before anything else, you should understand that the IELTS 8 requirement is a tough nut to crack. If compared with other well-known certificates, IELTS grade 8 is equivalent or close to the C score on the CPE and above 105 on the TOEFL iBT. What this means is that the requirements for you are situated at the highest band in the world.
The experience you have regarding your own English is the result of the principle of proximity to excellence. The better English you have, the more difficult it can be to detect your progress. Language learning then is somewhat of a curve, which can be said to increase rapidly for basic students, less so for intermediate and pre-advanced, then flattening out from advanced to fluent/proficient.
The trouble you have in progressing can be the result of one of more of the following aspects:
- You spend too much time on mock exams and too little on studying English
- You spend too much time on English and too little on exam strategy
- You have reached your own threshold or horizon and will only improve marginally regardless of how much you study.
(for a brief discussion on IELTS exam strategy versus language study, visit the site IELTS Pass.)
Don't give up at feel free to contact me for further ideas and suggestions.
The very best,