IELTS Experience

What’s IELTS?

IELTS means International English Language Testing System. It is a test of English language proficiency.

As an English teacher, I believe that taking IELTS will help me in my professional growth. This will give me more opportunities in my country and abroad. IELTS is one of the requirements for studying or working abroad. It is also required in applying for a visa from government agencies in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, or Canada. 

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1st and 2nd week of August 2017

The company I’m currently working with, required me to experience the IELTS and TOEFL. I thought that this will be a great opportunity for me to improve my skills in English. They company is very supportive, they even paid for my registration fee worth 9,780 pesos.

How to Register?

  1. GO TO www.ieltsregistration.com
  2. Upload a valid National ID (any of the following: Passport, PRC Professional ID, SSS ID card, GSIS e-card or Unified Multi-purpose ID)
  3. Pay the Test fee of Php 9,780.00 (You may pay online or offline.)

To have enough preparations, they gave me two weeks to review. I enrolled at IRIS Review Center located in Cubao. Fortunately, my employer paid for my review fee. Yay! It’s worth 4,500 pesos and it includes 9 sessions, mock tests, and coaching sessions.

I must say that I’ve learned a lot of useful techniques in the review center. They have specific classes per part of the exam. It includes speaking, writing, listening, and reading. At the end of the sessions, I took their mock test to assess my skills.

3rd and 4th week of August 2017

On the third week of August, I started studying for the TOEFL. I studied at MedPro University. MedProU offers courses for IELTS preparation, TOEFL preparation, and NCLEX preparation.

In my one week training there, I was able to identify the difference between the IELTS and TOEFL.

  • IELTS speaking test is face to face interview with the examiner while TOEFL speaking test is done by recording your voice.
  • IELTS writing test is a paper and pencil test while TOEFL writing test is done by typing your answers in computer.
  • IELTS and TOEFL reading test is quite the same but IELTS have wider range of question types.
  • In the IELTS listening test, the examinee have to answer the questions while listening to a recording. In contrast, TOEFL listening test requires the examinee to take down notes while listening and answer the questions after the lecture or conversation is finished.

Besides attending the lectures, I tried answering one part of IELTS mock test a day. I also downloaded some IELTS apps that could help me in my review.

August 20, 2017 – IELTS Confirmation Letter

I received an e-mail from IDP Manila. The email includes my test schedule, exam venue, and some important reminders.

Speaking Test Reminders:

  • The applications must arrive 20-30 minutes before the scheduled interview for the photo and finger-scan registration. (I arrived at Marco Polo building an hour earlier because I’m afraid of being late.)
  • Bring only the required ID for your Speaking Test. (You have to bring the same ID you uploaded in the registration.)

Listening, Reading, and Writing Test Reminders:

  • Please arrive no later than 8:00 AM for the registration of listening, reading and writing tests.
  • Bring the SAME official ID indicated on the application form. STRICTLY NO SAME ID, NO TEST.
  • BRING three (3) No.2 Pencils (any brand).  Eraser will be provided during the test.
  • PASSPORT with holes is considered INVALID and will NOT be accepted.
  • Personal belongings (bags, cell phones, purse, folders, envelopes, own ball pens, erasers, etc.) shall NOT be allowed inside the testing room, so it is advisable NOT to bring them at all. IDP shall NOT be held liable for any loss/damage of candidates’ personal belongings.
  • Any type of watch is not allowed inside the test room.

August 25, 2017 – Speaking Test

My Speaking Test is scheduled at 1:45 pm so I left Cavite at around 8 in the morning. In my estimate, It takes three hours bus ride from Dasmarinas to Ortigas. The good thing is I found a bus that has an Ortigas sign board. No need to transfer!

I got off at Robinsons Galleria, and walked towards the Marco Polo Building. IDP Ortigas Office is located on the 16th floor. The receptionist at the lobby ask for an ID and gave me a visitor’s pass. I’m surprised that the elevators in Manila have now improved. The elevators won’t work without tapping the visitor’s pass. Isn’t it cool? I think it’s good that their security is developed.

IELTS Experience (2)

Upon arriving at the 16th floor, another receptionist asked for the visitor’s pass in exchange of IDP’s visitor’s card. I was asked to wait for my name to be called.

It was 1pm when the staff started calling the applicants to get inside a room. All our things were deposited in one corner of the room. One by one, we are called to have our passport/ID’s verified, and to register our photo and fingerprints.

After the registration, all the applicants just stayed in a room and waited to be called by the respective examiners. I was called at 1:45 pm. Some were interviewed by foreigners, others were interviewed by Filipinos. I was interviewed by a Filipino.

The interview only lasted for about 15 minutes. In the first part, we talked about my hometown, and the things I always bring whenever I go out. In the second part, the interviewer gave me a minute to prepare for a speech about a well-paid job I think I will be good at. Here are the questions:

Talk about a well-paid job that you think you would be good at: What the job is; What qualifications are required for this job; How this job is different than other jobs; and say why you would be good at this job.

If I can remember it correctly, the part 3 (follow up question) talked about the well paid jobs in my country.

I hope I pleased the interviewer. The whole interview was recorded, and it will be evaluated based on Fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy, and Pronunciation.

August 26, 2017 – Listening, Reading, and Writing Test

My test schedule in City Garden Grand Hotel is 9 am to 12 noon. Makati is quite far from Cavite so I’ve decided to search for a nearby accommodation.

IELTS Experience (1)

Right after my speaking test, I went to Makati to search for an accommodation near the City Garden Grand Hotel. The hotel was cozy so I had a good rest. It was late night when I realized that I haven’t bought any pencils yet! The stationary stores are already closed at that time and I have to be in the testing center before 8 am! Thank God for the 24 hours – 7 eleven convenience stores! I was able to buy three no. 2 pencils (and a sharpener). I can’t believe I missed that part of the preparation.

I arrived at the 8th floor of City Garden Hotel at exactly 8 am. It was filled with applicants depositing their stuff at one corner. The others are already lining up for verification. Unlike the speaking test, all the applicants have to do is to present their passport/ID and verify their fingerprints. Once the fingerprint is collected, the monitor shows the picture of the applicant taken before the speaking test.

Inside the testing area, the applicants must go to their designated seat. There’s an infrared headset, and an eraser in each table. Passport/ID must be placed beside their name card.

The first exam is listening, then reading, and last is writing. It was really a nerve-wracking experience. Unlike the UPCAT where your knowledge is tested, IELTS exam tests your skills.

September 8, 2017

After two weeks, they posted the results in their website.

IELTS Experience

I’m happy with my overall band score. I did not expect to have super high score in listening and reading. The speaking score really made me happy. In contrast, I’m not pleased with my writing score. My target grade is 7.0 and I was pretty confident that I reached the minimum number of words needed in the writing tasks. I guess this has something to do with my Writing Task 1 which is all about a bar graph, a line graph, and a pie chart. It’s my fault because I did not spend a lot of time studying for it.

Anyway, here’s the description of the IELTS Band Scores.

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Did I miss something? If you have more questions about my experience, feel free to write them in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

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