More on Preparing for IELTS

****Part of a very long series: TO CANADA, I WILL GO****

In the official website of the International Language Testing System, it is said that one does not need a review center to get an acceptable score in the examination. I agree, and I say owners of these centers get rich by making use of other people’s low self-confidence. Honestly, I become more apprehensive when I started attending lessons in my review center than when I was studying on my own. Reviewers in general, has this power of making reviewees feel that what they are about to face is war; bombarding them with things they are totally unprepared for.

Keeping this in mind, I attend review classes feeling that there is nothing more that my center can teach me. But again, I was wrong: as I learn more of the structure and rules of the IELTS examination, a doubtful feeling builds in me, specially in the writing subtest, which all my life I was confident for; because

  1. My penmanship is not the most perfect view there is so I write using my laptop all the time
  2. My best articles are those written for very very long periods of time because I stop to think several times
  3. I can fill an entire rim of paper with words on a topic of my interest, but if given the absurd topics of fossil fuels, biotechnology, flowers, arts, astrology, and God-knows-what-else, which IELTS is known for, I am clearly plunging towards death.

My dear habits are big dont’s in the test. Certainly, there is no time for breaks during the Writing subtest because only one hour is provided to write two articles in no less than 400 words. Unbelievable. Impossible.

I became even more anxious and confused when I saw this:

The nerve of that lecturer to give me a failing grade in Writing! I have to literally stop myself from fainting that particular moment. She has no idea who she’s giving that mark. It is confusing, stressful, and hilarious all at the same time. I can’t believe what I’ve put myself into, haha.

I blame it for my structure ignorance, the dreaded word count, and my good-natured indentation. Oh well, as they say, there is always a first time for everyone.

After this mock examination though, I did fairly well on the next writing exercises. I learned my lesson but my ego was bruised.

As for the speaking part, I know for sure that I would not have any problems with my grammar nor vocabulary, but I’m afraid my indifference will put me into trouble. For people who know we well, I am reserved and will only talk to those I am comfortable with and with topics I am interested in. Ironically, I never had problems with interviews. In fact, I tend to be talkative and oftentimes lure the interviewers into actually remembering my answer amidst the others.

Oh yes, I consider myself lucky of this gift, but sometimes my indifference goes on a whole new level that is scary and almost not IELTS-y. Here is an example from yesterday’s speaking practice:

Lecturer: What is your favorite coffee shop?

While 90% of my classmates answered Starbucks and the remaining 10% was a combination of Figaro, Seattle’s Best and Gloria Jean’s,

I answered: I really don’t like coffee. (I bet the examiner will remember that answer! Or maybe not?)

Here’s another one…

Lecturer: Give me the title of a movie you are anticipating and why.

My classmates gave her sci-fi movies and sequels and told her that they like the actors, etc.

My answer: Mam, I am not waiting for any movie.

I might not convince you at this, but I am genuinely enjoying my IELTS experience so far. I want to take the test already to put an end in all of these but I also want to stay this way: as a student relearning my favorite subject. Yes, it is silly.