Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Today we talk to Sofia, a student from Russia.

She scored an impressive Overall 8 on the IELTS exam!

She now lives in Canada with her family.

Find out how she managed to be a mother, a new immigrant and a successful IELTS student, all at the same time!

Listen in for her tips on how to get the scores you need on IELTS!

Jessica Beck interviews Sofia

Sofia’s IELTS journey

She first took the exam in 2018 to immigrate from Russia.

Now that she lives in Canada, she has to take Academic IELTS.

She is a mother and has very little free time!

It was vital that all of her free time be spent in a valuable way to study.

How did she fit IELTS study into her busy life?

She had 6 months to prepare and did what she could while her daughter was young.

The 3 Keys study plan helped her organize her time.

She needed her papers within a month, so she chose the 30-day study plan.

As a busy mom, she couldn’t always complete tasks on the day they were assigned.

She would often have to complete 3 days’ work at a time.

What Listening and Reading scores did she receive?

  • Listening: 9
  • Reading: 9

When she took the exam in 2018, her scores were lower.

She credits the strategies in 3 Keys IELTS to boosting her scores.

There were several tips in the modules that she had never heard before.

How did she improve her Reading score?

She learned specific strategies with the 3 Keys IELTS study system.

For example, she realized how to find answers for Yes/No/Not Given questions.

She discovered how to determine between No and Not Given, which she had previously struggled with.

It became clear to her which questions were in order.

She was able to find all the correct answers using 3 Keys strategies.

Listen to the introduction!

Many students do not realize how important it is to pay attention to the introduction.

You need to warm up your brain so you understand when the speakers begin.

You will hear what the passage will be about. Something like:

  • “You will hear two students discuss a final exam.”

You need to pay attention, as this tells you who is going to talk and what they’ll talk about.

It’s extremely helpful to have this context and know what you will be hearing.

Many students skip this step, and then they are lost right away, miss answers, and begin to panic.

Don’t fall into this pitfall!

Sofia’s speaking struggle

Like many moms, Sofia was sleep-deprived due to her child’s poor sleeping habits.

She feels this was detrimental to her score.

Nevertheless, she still scored 7.5.

  • Speaking: 7.5

She had learned many idioms and high level vocabulary on IELTS Energy TV.

She was able to use these to score highly.

How Sofia got a 7 on IELTS Writing

She had to hire babysitters to be with her child so she could devote time to practicing writing.

As she was preparing for Academic IELTS, she knew she needed strategies for Task 1.

She would be describing charts and graphs, which is very different writing.

The strategies in 3 Keys IELTS made it simple and clear how to organize these Academic Task 1 essays.

Strategies Created By a Former Examiner

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Mixed Static and Change Over Time Task 1 essays

On test day, Sofia’s Task 1 topic contained a Change Over Time graph and a separate Static graph.

  • Change Over Time: a graph or chart showing how information changed over a period of time
  • Static: a graph or chart showing a snapshot of one point in time

She used the strategies she had learned to describe each chart in its own paragraph.

When this happens, you describe one chart as a Change Over Time, and the other as Static.

Keep it simple and use the strategies!

Sofia’s advice for IELTS students

Sofia offered some sage wisdom.

“As a psychologist, I think putting less pressure on yourself helps. That helped me for sure.”

She was worried before the exam and wondered if she should wait and reschedule.

She decided to be confident and she is glad she did, as she got the scores she needed!


Be kind to yourselves!

Don’t stress yourself out by piling on pressure.

Invest in yourself, so you can get past IELTS like Sofia did and move on with your goals!

Follow a structured study plan.

We have made test prep as fun and motivating as possible.

It can get boring, but you must stay engaged.

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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