Hi Native Speaker
I have just taken and passed my IELTS and received a band 8 overall - 8.5 in both Listening and Reading, 8 in speaking and 7 in Writing.
I am not a native of an English Speaking country yet I speak, read and write English like a 'native'. The first language I learnt was English and I think in English.
A few observations:
1. I honestly do not think being 'native' in the language helps in the writing and reading part of the test. I am truly fascinated that you managed to score 100 percent in the Reading practice tests whilst watching Eastenders - hats off to you. During my practice test (I did close to 20), I required close to 20 minutes per section and managed to get close to a hundred percent in most. I did it through strategy as opposed to being fluent in the language. There are books available to teach strategy in all of the sections.
2. Personally I have no clue why I got a 8 in my Speaking section. Again it is to do with what is 'expected'. I'll illustrate with an answer. Generally if I ask you the question, "Where are you from?" (Say you are from London, UK), you would say 'I am from London.' That is what a normal conversation would sound like. Maybe an additional 'You do know where London is, right?' Would you ever say, 'I am from London. London is the capital of England. It has a river running through. The river is called The Thames. London has got a lot of traffic!....etc. etc.
Yet in the IELTS that's exactly what you will be expected to answer. It's the same thing for most of the initial conversation.
The second part of the speaking requires organization. Here the difficulty is you are supposed to speak for 1 to 2 minutes. If your answer gets over in a minute and the examiner wants you to carry on, you will get less marks because you are 'making things up'.
3. I personally feel it is slightly unfair for most candidates to understand some accents - Glaswegian, maybe Yorkshire, Irish..... (I lived in the UK for 15 years so I can tell someone where he/she is from by listening) yet those accents are not 'universal'.
4. You definitely have an advantage in speaking and listening if you are a 'native'!
5. For fun sake, I have asked some of my American and English friends to sit the IELTS from some of the practice books. They were sporting and 6 of them sat the test (absolute test conditions)
The results were:
3 of them received less than 7 in reading
The other 4 received 7 or more. One received an 8!
Listening - all received 8 or more.
Speaking............. I could not score them but I am sure they would get 8 and above.
Writing: This was interesting. I send their essays to a Professor in English. The highest score was 78%!!!!
YOU DO NEED TO PREPARE.
THERE ARE TRULY SOME AMAZING PRACTICE BOOKS OUT THERE.......
Wonderful article James!
- A Native Speaker Takes The IELTS Test -- James I England
- Re A Native Speaker Takes The IELTS Test -- Dr. Abhijit Das