Check out this email story between Aousien (Band 5 in writing), and myself.
Hello Ben ,
My name is Aous , I have the IELTS on 5 April , so 4 more days to go , I have done before and got 7.5 in all sections except writing I got only 5 and I am really worried about it this time as well
very sad just discovered your website now , I am not sure if it is later since only few days remaining for the exam ,
I am watching the video for task 2 writing and seems really useful
Just 4 days!!!! OMG!!!!!
just joking, there is still time!
If you want you can type your IELTS essay to this question, send me an email, and I will have a quick look.
Improvements in health, education and trade are essential for the development of poorer nations. However, the governments of richer nations should take more responsibility for helping the poorer nations in such areas. To what extent do you agree?
Aousien -after 4 days of study with me and the Sentence Guide, he finally gets his IELTS exam results (17 days after the exam).
Hi Ben ,
Just got the results for the exam , so disappointed , but I work with you 4 days and you improve my writing from 5 to 6.5 but was not enough , I need 7 . I will schedule the exam on 10 May , I need your help to get 7 .
I am ready to pay but I need it , so please let me know .
Then, a month later, after working through the Sentence Guide completely, and buying another pack of essay corrections…
Ben Ben Ben Ben ,
Listen to the whole interview here and find out how he improved so fast to pass the IELTS.
Hello there podcast listeners. In this episode we’re going to speak to Aousien. He’s a very successful IELTS student and he’s going to tell us a little bit about his success story.
Ben: So welcome to the podcast AOUSIEN. How are you?
Aousien: I’m good. Thank you, Ben.
Ben: Awesome. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Where you’re from? Where you are? I guess, where you want to go?
Aousien: I am originally from Syria but I am working and living in Qatar for the last seven years (from 2007), and now I’m applying for Australia immigration. And my whole process was on hold until I pass this English exam.
Ben: Okay. And what challenge… Well, you took the exam before and you got… Was it a… What did you get for the writing?
Aousien: For the writing, I got 5. And I was very disappointed because the rest of the exam were fine (7.5). Only the writing was my problem. And then I started to search on the internet for the best websites to teach writing for IELTS and I was very very lucky to find your website.
And then I started work with you, like five days before my next attempt. And in this five days you’ve managed to improve my writing from 5 to 6.5. So I was very happy. I was happy and disappointed. Disappointed because it was not 7, but I was very happy like in five days you make me jump from 5 to 6.5. So for sure, a little bit more work it will really make it.
And this is what happened. I started to work with you again and then in the attempt after, I got 7.5 in writing. So in total in one month, you improved my writing from 5 to 7.5.
Ben: Thank you. Thank you, AOUSIEN. Well, I must admit. I must have the other student listening that AOUSIEN was a perfect student. Every task I gave him, he would respond within twenty-four hours. He would be responding fast. He would implement all the changes. He would follow the instructions. And it really was a pleasure working with him because he was such a hard worker. And he did everything right. It was perfect. A very good student.
So AOUSIEN, can you tell us, for the other sections how did you… No, sorry. What was the biggest challenge regarding the writing before we started working together?
Aousien: I think because English is the second language for us, it’s like in listening you can learn if you can practice reading at the same. But for writing, to know how to write…For five days you improved my writing only by teaching me the correct structure. How to do introduction, paragraph one, paragraph two, conclusion, how’s introduction should look like, how to start with topic sentences, to give examples, to make conclusions for the paragraph, which linking words to use… Just everything was new to us. Like normally, we do some writing, normal writing (emails or something). But it seems the strategy for the exam is complicated for the Academic Writing.
So it was the best way… After you teach me the structure, and then we started to concentrate on other vocabularies, grammar maybe, things to do, things not to do… Like what I never knew. You told me “Don’t use negatives.” Like don’t say “People don’t have time.” Say, “People like the time.” So there’s things I’ll never know alone without working with you.
Or a lot of things that… every… the feedback which I get after every essay. Every essay was a new learning experience for me. So I was very happy in general. It will help me also in my life, not only for the exam. It was a very nice experience to work with you.
Ben: Thank you. Thank you. It’s very true though, what you said. Even before I started becoming a… before I was a teacher, I didn’t have any idea about negative constructions, and how to write in a succinct, concise way. And I myself have been on a journey just trying to learn these things, so I could pass them on. And so my students have more success when it comes to passing the IELTS.
But this is what I mean when I was saying you’re a very good student. You implemented everything and I think this is the value that we can offer. It’s that you send in the word and you’re getting the valuable feedback, and it allows you to improve with every single essay that you send.
Because maybe on the first essay, I will look at the articles and I will say “Okay, do this exercise.” Then on the second one I’ll… Once the writing starts getting under control I start giving more like advanced techniques.
But the problem is if you try to learn all these at the same time then it becomes very very very stressful.
So AOUSIEN can you tell us… Before, you mentioned you did some practice tests. That was very interesting, what you did. Could you just share with us what you did about it?
Aousien: For the listening and reading, right?
Aousien: So for the listening and reading, there’s one website (free website) which giving previous IELTS tests. Real IELTS test. So two weeks before the exam, everyday I started to one listening, one reading, which will take about one and a half hour. Normally the listening takes thirty minutes, the reading is one hour.
And I started to train myself to finish the reading in one hour and to be quick train my ear and my brain for the listening. So this is the best way to improve the listening and the reading to do this practice. Everyday at least one week or two weeks before the exam date.
Ben: And you said for the reading that you do section one and two in about thirty minutes. Yeah?
Aousien: Yeah. Normally section one, it’s easy. Section two, it’s not difficult. So the hardest section was section three. So it is… I managed to finish every time section one and two in thirty minutes. So I leave myself enough time for section three. Because normally the whole vocabularies will be difficult. And the article will be very long. So I use to rest after the first two sections and give myself enough time for the section three. And it’s doable. As I practice it everyday and train myself, it’s doable.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah, because you’re saying before that this is like one of those exam skills that you specifically need for the exam. It’s like you’re saying with the style of writing is a special style for the exam. But with training and with some concentration, it’s not difficult. It’s just a question of putting in the hours and working, and doing the exercises.
Aousien: Yeah. It’s the way how you approach the exam. So maybe there’s somebody else who’s English is better than me, but they didn’t practice, they didn’t work. Maybe I will get better more exam results.
So you have to practice. It’s the way how you approach the exam.
Ben: Yeah. Exactly. And this is why somebody from Syria like yourself, or from Russia, or from Germany, from wherever, in theory they can… well, not in theory, in reality… they can get a higher grade than a native speaker just because they know the exam skills and they know to spend thirty minutes on part one, part two, in the reading. And spend thirty minutes on the third section to pick up… Well, to allow for time for the more difficult questions.
Which by the way, what did you get again for the reading? What was it?
Aousien: Normally it was between 7, 7.5. And it was 7, 7.5, and 8. Last time it was 8. For the listening I got 7.5, 7.5, 8.5. And for the writing you know it, 5, 6.5, 7.5.
Ben: And with the writing. What was the value you got when we were working together?
Aousien: The first thing that… the way you used to give me the feedback by sending back the link with the YouTube recording, it’s very… It will make the remarks stick in my brain. Also when I was doing the exam I was remembering some of your comments. Then I… Like “Do this…” “Don’t do this…” So it was very helpful the way you give the feedback.
The Sentence Guide, it was very very helpful. The Sentence Guide and the bonus downloads for the essays. So I think if we read one or two essays everyday before the exam, we can get a lot of vocabularies, we can get some sentences which can be deployed in any topic by changing some vocabularies.
So everything from the bonus download, to the Sentence Guide, to the feedback, to the time limits which you use to give me, everything was really motivating and encouraging me that I will do it. I knew that I will do it. It was your help and advice… done. It is done.
Ben: Thank you. Thank you. We were just saying it before like part of motivating or part of being a good teacher (I think) is just believing. I enjoy this. I enjoy it when my students send me an email and they’ll say “Ben, I got the 7,” or “I’m going to Australia,” “I’ve got the immigration,” or whatever.
And we were saying before (because we did this recording before and I didn’t record it–by accident. So this is the second one.) What you were saying before was like Even though I’m not an IELTS examiner, we use the example of a football referee who knows the rules but a football referee couldn’t motivate. It’s not like they couldn’t motivate the team to go out there and to win a champion’s league or a world cup. Whereas Mourinho, or Ferguson, or Ancelotti… these guys know the rules but they also add that little bit extra which is what differentiates them from a referee who knows the rules. Because they add in that thing. There’s like the eleventh player. It’s like the twelfth player. The person who like motivates, pushes, and you know.
I think it’s a real key factor. And it’s one thing that I’ve learned over the years. That fair enough, you may know every single grammar rule, every single spelling… But at the end of the day there’s much more to it than the technical side. It’s about really pushing and believing that your students can do it. Which in my case, most of my students can do it. The right attitude and a bit of a push. And like you said, twenty-four hours. Otherwise things just don’t get done.
Aousien: And I was very very lucky to get the best coach ever. So there was one picture on your website for one guy on the day of the test. Like have your copy, relaxed, does his best, passed the test. So I was always dreaming to carry the same… I don’t know if you know the picture which I’m talking about. It was my dream. So finally I made it true.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I remember that picture. It was like a tick-box, wasn’t it? There’s a list.
Aousien: Exactly. I saved it on my laptop. Everyday I was looking on it. I said, “Only I will change the date. And I will do the same.”
Ben: Yeah. I think it was something like “Wake up, have a coffee, smile, and pass the IELTS exam.” wasn’t it?
Aousien: Exactly, yes.
Ben: Yeah. I think I did release that on Facebook actually. It was quite a popular one.
Well then AOUSIEN, I’m not going to take any more of your time. And thanks again for doing the interview… twice… sorry about that. But yeah. I much appreciate it. And I wish you all the best in your application for Australia.
Aousien: Thank you. I don’t know how to thank you, Ben, for all your help and support. Without you, really, it was never going to happen.