by MARCO THAM
You just got your results and found out you have failed to get the target score. Go ahead and allow yourself to be angry and disappointed for a few days. After that, take a look at the score of each test. Did you at least achieve your goal in some tests? If you did, keep up with your excellent work. If not, it is very important to know what went wrong and how to improve.
One thing you need to know is that writing and speaking tests are quite subjective. The score highly depends on the examiner. In particular, writing seems to be the most challenging paper and it is very hard to predict your score. It is not uncommon to get 1 band lower in writing than the other three papers. If your writing band score is more than 1.5 bands lower than the other papers, I strongly recommend you apply for a remark because it is highly possible that different examiners give a different score on the same paper. Even though it is not free to have your writing remarked, it is cheaper than re-sitting the test. If the result is changed to a higher band score, the Enquiry of Results fee will be refunded in full. You can know more about the procedures here.
Speaking is another paper that candidates do not perform well at. Interaction with an examiner in an unfamiliar setting can be very daunting. During the speaking test, most candidates may find themselves not as fluent and organized as they usually are. If this sounds familiar to you, you might be suffering from test anxiety. Now that you have already taken the test, you know exactly how the speaking test is carried out. Even though you will probably have a different examiner if you re-sit the test, the structure of the interview should be the same as your previous experience as it is strictly controlled by IELTS. You will hear the examiner reading the same script. Since you are now better informed, I am pretty sure you can do a much better job.
If you find talking to the examiner nerve-wracking, it is a good idea to practise speaking English with native speakers, preferably someone you are not close with. They can be some staff at your school, librarians, sales associates and so on. The purpose of this practice is to enhance your confidence when you speak English with people you do not know. Being able to speak fluently and naturally is one of the most important criteria in any speaking test. It eases your anxiety and I strongly believe that it can eventually improve your overall performance.
On the other hand, if your listening and reading scores are lower than the other two, I do not suggest having your tests remarked because these two tests are very objective. There is not much of a chance to get higher scores after a remark. If your overall band score is 1 band lower than what you need, I recommend that you take more classes and improve your English proficiency. It might be the case that you are not ready for the test.
Learning a new language takes time and requires patience. Even though you have not gotten the score you need, it doesn’t mean that you are not good enough. Remember- Don’t give up! Make good use of the experience and knowledge you have gained from the previous test and learn from your mistakes. With hard work and determination, I believe that you can definitely achieve the band score you want.