Originally, reading was not his strong point but eventually he scored 8.5!
In this Interview with Ryan from IELTSCast.com, he shares exactly how he did it!
Firstly he read a lot, newspapers, books, and websites like the BBC, then once he was comfortable he started with the practise exams.
These are the books he used.
IELTS Practise test plus Longman (Considered more difficult than normal!)
IELTS Cambridge Reading test
…50 Practise tests later…
In total he did 50 reading tests, Ryan also recommends this amount, because this way you are completely familiar with the exam, so there shouldn’t be any surprises.
Use Different Strategies
Vinh was really smart because he practised the reading exam using different methods / strategies and found which worked best for him.
When he skimmed and scanned the maximum he scored was 7 but when he focussed on reading the whole text first, then answering the questions, his score improved.
So we have two strategies read the text then the questions, or first read the questions then then the text.
The important thing is to experiment with strategies and find what works for you.
Vinh explained that he started by writing down a list of at least 10 new words on a piece of paper then on the reverse wrote their definitions in English. The list would then accompany him everywhere until it was learnt, after this he would progress to writing contextual sentences with the words.
Now, to learn new words he tries to form new sentences with any new vocabulary he sees.
Listening is a long term process.
Vinh advised to take a long term approach, start watching the news and even films, then force yourself to remove the subtitles, and concentrate.
Doing the Speaking exam with a cold British woman?
Vinh said the examiner was British, quite cold but very professional.
On the cue card he had to describe the street where he lived, to do this effectively he used examples, and followed this structure: WHAT? WHY? WHEN? Possibly followed by a personal example.
This enabled him to give solid, full and interesting answers, having a structure to follow would have installed a little confidence.
Vinh recommended two websites, IELTS-Simon.com, and IELTS.com
Vinh found that overly complicated sentences are not necessary, so keep it simple and aim for clear communication and expressing an argument.
It took him two months, writing every day and eventually he reached his high score.
The Key thing students should do!
Organise your time, not just in the exam, set long term goals, start your listening practise today and acknowledge it is not going to happen overnight.
For more interviews like this one go over to IELTS Cast.com and download them all.