Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Today we analyze one student’s IELTS experience for your own exam success.

One of our amazing 3 Keys students, Amanda, had a fantastic IELTS experience and emailed us about what happened.

The first part of the test was the writing (the one that I need to increase my score from 6.5 to 7).  Task one was a bar graph displaying attendance in three different kinds of music concerts, in Australia, in 2006. I was absolutely happy to see it! Just so similar to the examples of cinema attendance that we practice in the course but static. I remember feeling quite confident after checking it, fingers crossed!

The fact that her exam question was similar to those in the course shows that 3 Keys is completely IELTS valid.

Plus, it is excellent that she had time to proofread, which is necessary, as that could be a whole band point difference in Vocabulary and Grammar.

Turning to task 2, the topic wasn’t any of my interest; therefore I didn’t count on fluency of ideas during the brainstorming. It was an opinion essay on whether or not people should try to prevent species extinction from happening. 

Amanda, though, continues to share her ideas about the topic with us in the email, and they are fantastic!

It proves that even if you are thrown a difficult topic, as long as you have practiced a lot and prepared well, you can face any Task 2 question.

Looking back I realize that I missed the opportunity to use awesome sentences like “the examples of species dying off are too numerous to mention…”, anyway, since I cannot go back and change anything, let’s stick with connection and not perfection, right?

As to Reading, check this out:

Reading was easy for me. I … even finished within 50 minutes. During the last 10 minutes I meditated for about 5 min and reviewed my answers for the other 5 min. 

What an experience! She even had time to meditate.


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This reflects the experience of so many 3 Keys students, who had achieved 9’s!

As Amanda took the exam in Australia, Listening was the third section.

Last one in the morning was listening. I am positive about an increase on this score too. This was the first time I’ve done the listening test with headphones and I found it way clearer.

Although not many test centers offer headphones, the number that do is increasing!

Call around and check test centers if you have the option, and find one with headphones, as this will certainly make Listening easier.

Last but not least, the speaking test. I was ridiculously lucky to get exactly the same questions for part 1 as I did on my previous attempt (mid May 2018).

It’s not guaranteed you’ll get the same questions two tests in a row, as the booklets change every few months and the examiners have a lot of questions to choose from.

One more thing I’d like to point out is how mediation helped me this time. While studying for the exam I came across a Ted Talk about research on meditation, how powerful and underestimated it is. At some point it was briefly mentioned that meditating for four consecutive days already presented deep and positive results in the well-being, as per research the person was explaining. So I look at my calendar and I have 10 days before the exam. Boom, at that exact moment I took the challenge.

Meditation helped her through her preparation and on test day. She focused on her breath, and there was no room for anxiety.

What do you think of Amanda’s experience?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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