This is the second part of the interview with Weiyan who managed to jump from 6.5 to 7.5 using this exact course. Listen to this to find out:
- How the IELTS EXAMINER affected Weiyan…
- How to start your answers
- How to stay on topic
- A technique to expand your answers
- A motivating pep talk to a very smart student!
Check out what Weiyan sent us:
Happy New Year and here’s the good news!
I pass the exam with an overall 8, and 7 for writing, 7.5 for speaking!!! Thank you so much and the whole IELTS Podcast team. I would have not achieved this without your help. With this email, I’d like to share with you my story with IELTS and how I came to know you.
First I thought it would be interesting to let you know that it took me more than one and a half year, five exams and two cities to finally get the score I need. It has been a really painstaking process and after each test I thought I’d passed but found out I failed. You could imagine the disappointment but I had to put myself together again and again because I am pretty determined to pass it.
Here’s a little bit of my background. I am from Beijing, China and I’ve been working in the media industry for 8 years. I did IELTS and needed at least 7 with each section because I am planning to apply for immigration to Canada or Australia. I want to immigrate for a lot of reasons, however on top of my list are better educational opportunities for my child and cleaner environment.
I first started to take IELTS in early 2017, then about a year later in 2018 and I started to take the exam quite intensively at the end of 2018, because I wanted to pass it as soon as possible, as you might know I lose marks with immigration as I get older year by year. However, my writing was stopping me from passing the IELTS. I got 6.5 for three times. That was when I began to really think I might have missed something or I might have made some mistake. Before I came to the IELTS Podcast, I did mock tests using the official test preparation books and self-mark my results.
After my third failure, I started to Google the word “IELTS”, just to see what advice I could get from others. Then I saw a link to the IELTS podcast on the first or second search page. Because I’ve been a podcast user for many years and I drive to work, so I think to myself that it would not waste any time to just listen to your podcast while driving and it might help. Well, you turned out to be a game changer!
After listening to just a few episodes, I found that the things you teach are very practical. I like the fact that all of you are native speakers and you shed light on the subtlety of English language that I would ignore as an English learner. I remembered you discussed about the use of word “obviously” and how it might sound arrogant to readers. I also like the skills you use to structure an answer for a speaking question. To be honest, I’ve not thought much about skills and structure with my speaking. It also struck me like sort of an enlightenment to understand what are advanced grammars and to really consider using them in writing. Looking back now, these seem like simple and silly things to think of when preparing for any English exams, however even though I’ve alway been the top of my class and I learnt grammar and vocabulary very well, I still make simple and silly mistakes.
In a way, listening to your tutorials made me to rethink my English learning experience and how I prepared for IELTS, so I decided to follow your other online tutorials, then I purchased essay correction and sentence guide course. I would say that essay correction is the most helpful in my case. Not only did it point out my fatal mistakes of not making my point clear right from introduction and problems with structure, but it also made me realise that I did make a lot of errors with spelling and grammar. I wasn’t aware of my mistakes before your help. Then the Sentence Guide gave very important guidance of how to write an essay in an academic way. Only after learning with your tutorials did I realise that writing academically is very important.
I’d say after about two or three months of intensive self-training using your materials and methods, I finally scored 7 with my writing. Actually I scored 7.5 in writing in the first time and 7 in the second time, so it proves that what you are teaching is definitely working!!
I have another long story with my speaking tests, but I’ve already written a lot so I’ll tell it in brief. I told you in our interview before my last exam that the examiners’ attitude really had an effect on my performance. This is also the reason why I choose to go to another city to take the IELTS last December. We had a reputation here in mainland China, especially in big cities like Beijing, that due to the huge number of people taking IELTS, the quality of the examiners is not always consistent. Though I have doubts about this and I kept refusing to believe it, my experience told me that it might be true. Three out of the four examiners I met were somewhat not so focused during our conversation. They did not even communicate with me. I only realised about this fact after my fifth IELTS attempt in Hongkong. Many friends had suggested that I try it in Hongkong and I would have better results. It is so very true. There were fewer students attending IELTS and the examiner I met was very friendly. He would even ask patiently about how to pronounce my name which was something I was never asked before. He was really communicating with me throughout the test, asking me to explain, to give example or to be more specific. Maybe I was lucky, but I doubt luck was the only reason behind me getting 7.5 in speaking this time.
I apologise if this email is too long. I feel like I have a lot to say after this long and sometimes painful IELTS journey. I am deeply grateful that you accompanied me on my journey and helped me to conquer it. What you and your team are doing at the IELTS Podcast can really help others and I thank you for your great work!!
PS: please find the photo in the attachment.
Download part 2 here: