Phỏng vấn: Think a 9.0 is impossible? Read this!

Bài phỏng vấn của mình với 1 trang blog học thi IELTS của Anh 😛

Nguyên tác: here

Aiming high for your IELTS band score? This week we have an interview with Truong Hai Ha from Vietnam. Ha recently scored 9.0 overall on her IELTS exam! In this interview, she shares the story of her success and tips for other IELTS test-takers.

  1. When did you take the IELTS? What was your score?

I took the IELTS in December 2015. My overall band score is 9.0 (8.5 for Speaking and Writing, and 9.0 for Listening and Reading.) That was my second attempt. The first one was in 2011 where I scored an 8.0 overall.

  1. How long have you studied English? Where have you studied it?

I started developing an interest in studying English when I was around 10 years old. I was really determined to learn the lyrics of the song ‘It’s a beautiful life’, which was a huge hit at that time. I am turning 28 next month, so that makes it … 18 years?

I studied English entirely in Vietnam, mostly in school, at work, and also through leisure activities such as watching HBO or reading young adult books. I have never been to an English-speaking country before (though I hope I will one day).

  1. What did you do to prepare for the IELTS exam?

In 2011 I attended an IELTS preparation class at a center in Hanoi. In 2015 I only took a few practice tests on my own.

  1. How did you feel when you got your result?

Honestly, I thought it was a mistake. I always thought only those who grew up in an English-speaking country would be able to achieve such an impossible score, or some hardcore nerd who spends years preparing for the test. And I am neither.

  1. What was the hardest part of the exam for you? How did you prepare for it specifically?

To me, writing is by far the most challenging skill to hone. Luckily, this is something I do on a daily basis as a communications officer in a social consulting firm. Because of the requirements of my job, I have gradually learnt to be cautious about writing. I often rearrange my initial outline into a linear flow and find ways to create a strong logical link between the sentences. I always double-check to make sure I choose the most appropriate words, expressions, collocations, prepositions and punctuations. This is why I often take a lot of time to compose even a short paragraph. Before the exam last year, I only did four practice tests in Cambridge 9.

  1. What has your result allowed you to do since?

I have applied for and been admitted to a few masters’ programs of my interests but unfortunately have not been able to secure any scholarship yet. Professionally, I was recently promoted, but I guess that cannot be attributed to my IELTS score. If there is something that the IELTS result has allowed me to do, it is being able to share my experience and inspire other Vietnamese learners of English to aim high and not give up.

  1. What are your top study tips for someone who wants to achieve a high score on the IELTS exam?

I’m not sure if these can be called “tips”, but I’m sharing them with you anyway. For reading, you should try to increase your reading speed so you have time to double-check the answers. I consistently score 9 in the reading test, and I think this is because I often finish all the questions within 45 minutes and then spend the last 15 minutes revisiting each answer. Also, I always note down the number of the question at the beginning of the line that contains the clue for that question and circle the clue itself. This “tracking system” helps me save a lot of time when I come back to check the answers later. To practice writing, first I would write the essay or report under strict time pressure. Then I would take as much time as necessary, often hours, to review the pieces of writing with a critical eye. While doing this, I constantly ask myself “Would native speakers write it this way?”, and if there is even the slightest hint of hesitation in my mind, I would check on Google to see if these expressions are commonly used.

  1. What do you recommend people do on the day of the exam?

Remember to bring all the necessary items. Dress comfortably. Keep yourself fed. Show up on time. And most importantly, relax!

  1. What other advice would you give?

If you target a certain band score, start studying as early as you can. Do not expect your command of the English language to improve tremendously in just a few months. There is no miracle or shortcut when it comes to learning a language (no matter what those English centers say!) It’s going to take time, and you should be mentally prepared for this.

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