HOW AND WHERE TO MAKE NOTES DURING THE IELTS TEST?
Notes during the Ielts Test: Who doesn’t want to get a more than good band score in IELTS? Who doesn’t want the power to be inundated with ideas which are not just related to the topic, but also easily justifiable?
Who doesn’t want to write something unique (without bearing the stigma of plagiarism) on his own? Who doesn’t want all this to happen realistically and sooner too?
Writing Notes during the Ielts Test in today’s time is such a skill which can do wonders. Be it a simple English Language Test or some important presentation at the workplace, the ability to give words to one’s imagination always comes handy.
But as a Persian saying states ‘No two fingers are the same’, we humans also differ from each other, sometimes so much that we start feeling one to be inferior than the other.
We start experiencing this feeling from our childhood days, when one student who can write well becomes the teacher’s favourite and we wonder what must be done to be even a bit like him. This feeling grabs us tight and while some fight against the odds becoming good takers, others still keep sailing in the same boat.
To be honest, I too once experienced all this and started making Notes during the Ielts Test and it is only after years and years of feeling upset, being unable to find right things to write at the right time and getting fired for this inability, that today I am not only able to earn by writing but also guide others like me to write things in a better manner.
So, for the people who have come here to know how to make Notes during the Ielts Test, it’s first important to know in which sections and questions do we need to make notes. Before that you should aware why to Opt for CD-Ielts and are also well-acquaint of its four sections i. e. Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking, hence we do know which parts need more writing skills and which don’t. Always keep Pen and Notepad near you while preparing for the test and this will help you to write down the Notes during the Ielts Test.
Now! After talking to over a thousand people who have either appeared for the test or are planning to do so in the near future, I have realised that making notes while the writing section is the toughest, as sometimes there aren’t sufficient ideas, while the other times there isn’t much contentment from what is written.
So before we actually start with the methods to generate ideas and make Notes during the Ielts Test writing section, let us have a look at other sections which require the skill of note making.
Reading and Listening: As far as I’ve seen, reading is considered to be the trickiest section, if not the most complicated of IELTS. From boring lengthy passages to confusing lexis, everything in IELTS reading is willing to drain energy out of you.
However, the good thing is that the answers are quite short and hence there isn’t much requirement of taking notes in this section, but if you actually want to save your time while doing each passage, you can simply skim (Strategies for IELTS reading) through the text and write a word for each paragraph in the passage.
This will provide you with a central idea for the same and is going to be extremely beneficial in the Matching Headings (sample reading questions) during the reading section. Whereas if we talk about Listening, there isn’t any time to spare for note making and earnestly, there is no requirement too.
Rather, at this time your attention should be towards the audio and concentration on the questions in front of you. Note making in this case is only going to puzzle you, so instead of worrying about note making, you should focus on other strategies for IELTS listening!
Speaking: It’s so strange that while an average human spends approximately 4 hours 37 minutes speaking, some of us actually lack words or ideas for talking when it’s really important! What is more frustrating is that the same person keeps on thinking about what could have been said during the talk for the whole of that week (if not life, though some do that too!).
Okay! Okay! Let’s come back to IELTS speaking! From the three parts that are there in speaking, the one where the skill of note making is required is certainly Part II which is known by the names of ‘Monologue’, ‘Test taker’s long turn’, or simply ‘Cue Card’. In this part we are given a topic along with some prompts to cover while speaking for around 2 minutes.
For our convenience, we’re also given a minute and a pencil along with a paper to take notes. Therefore, proper note making technique in this time can be life changing! (or Result changing, as I say). Given below are some common generalised topics on which the Part II is based:
Person – While talking about a person these are the things that you have to be careful about:
How do you know that person?
What is your relation to him/her?
For how long have you known that person?
What does the person look like?
What are the personality traits of that person which distinguish him from others?
What is the occupation of that person?
Which trait of his/her do you dislike and want to change?
Why did you choose this person to be the topic of your talk?
Place – Be careful about these things while speaking of a place:
What is the place you’re talking about (like an amusement park, a country or a restaurant)?
Where is it?
How far is it from the place where you live?
What is the place like (modern/ traditional/ well-built/ poorly constructed)?
When did you visit it?
How many times did you visit it?
With whom did you go there?
What were some of the landmarks of the place?
What did you like about it?
What did you dislike about it?
Do you still hear, read or see the place?
Has any change taken place there?
What changes do you want to take place in that place?
Would you like to visit it again?
Thing – There is a lot to speak when it comes to non-living things, like:
What is it?
How did you get it?
Does it work (on electricity or fuel)?
Where or who did you get or buy it from?
What is its color/size?
How long did you have it?
What do you use it for?
How often do you use it?
When do you use it the most?
Did it ever break or stop working?
Do you know how to repair it?
Do you share it with others as well? If yes, who? If no, why?
Would you like to change or replace it?
Time (Moment): The points you need to keep in mind while talking about a moment are:
When was that time (you can mention the date)?
Where were you at that moment?
How old were you?
Who was with you?
What happened at that moment?
How did you feel about it?
Was it the right thing to happen? What should have happened instead?
What made you remember the incident?
Do you want it to happen again?
Skill: It’s common to witness cue cards asking you to speak about skills you have or one that you want to have, for that, say:
What is the skill? (Be precise, think you’re explaining it to a curious child)
When did you first hear about it?
Who taught or will teach it to you?
How did or will you acquire it and how long did or will it take to do that?
Where does or will it help you in life?
What were or are the challenges you faced while learning it?
Why did or do you think it’s important?
Undoubtedly there are other speaking topics as well and all of them cannot be mentioned at once. But from those mentioned above, you would have noticed that the main purpose is to generate and answer as many W-H words (what, where, when, why, which, who, whose, whom, how) questions as one can.
Also, remember to cover the prompts (especially the last one) and keep in mind all the parameters for assessing speaking while answering.
Writing: Last but definitely not the least comes writing! It’s important to note that from the two tasks of writing though the second one is the same, the first one is quite different as it is a letter and a report writing for the General Training and Academic module respectively.
Furthermore, there are several subtypes like the three types of letters in IELTS GT and kinds of academic writing task 1.
Once you know what type of question it is, answering it will automatically become easy because owing to lesser required word count and less weightage in the marking, there isn’t too much to worry about and only the basic knowledge would be enough.
However, it is the task 2 which needs to be written in an apt manner because of more contribution in marks.
So, proper idea generation, which is also known as brainstorming, and its sequenced note making is of utmost importance. Without further ado, we’ll look at methods of doing both these things below:
Brainstorming: While some of you might be coming across this word every now and then, to some this would sound bizarre. For those belonging to the latter category, we’ll have to split the word in two i. e. Brain and Storm (Wow! and you even don’t need a psychiatrist for that!).
Brainstorming is a strategy used exclusively for generating ideas, and though there is no hard and fast rule for doing that, one sure shot method used by most of the academics around the world is noting down everything that comes in your mind as soon as you hear the word.
In this case you don’t have to worry about the points or grammar being correct or incorrect, the sole purpose is to write whatever is possibly running in your mind.
It is also my responsibility to inform you that in case you try to skip an idea, just because you don’t find it suitable, you are going to make things worse for yourself. This is because that thought is going to run in your mind over and over, and trying to ignore won’t help.
However, if you pen it down, there would be room for other ideas as well. Additionally, you can always mould the ideas and present it in a way to suit the context (of course! aren’t we all somewhat manipulative?)
Apart from this, you can also take into account some aspects of life we experience for the generation of related ideas. For instance, if there is a question, ‘The use of computers has risen significantly in recent times. Some say it has more negative than positive effects on young children.’ Do you agree?, (get more writing questions here) then before taking your stand on any of the sides, you can simply evaluate its effects or aftermath on various aspects of our lives: physical (health-related) aspect, social (corresponding to the norms and relation to society) aspect, psychological (corresponding to mental health) aspect, legal or governmental aspect (like piracy in this case), economic aspect (may include finance and employment involve an individual or the society as a whole), environmental aspect (assessing whether it has a positive or a negative effect on the environment). Considering these would surely give you around two to three things to write about.
Also, while writing any point in the IELTS Writing Task II we must also be sure that the idea which we have mentioned is completely justified and not just a half-baked cake! This is so because every individual has a different opinion on every topic, and it’s necessary to convince a test checker that our point of view is plausible.
In this case, where on one hand providing examples may prove beneficial, too many of them would also make the essay informal (it has to be formal!). So in simple words, proper justification means answering WHAT, WHEN/ WHERE, WHY, and HOW.
Keeping all these points in mind, along with having a basic knowledge of English Grammar would definitely lead to some improvement in your performance.
Finally, it’s true that ‘Practice makes a man perfect’, so pull up your socks and start practicing these note-making techniques for a better performance in the test. Once you understand how vital this little practice of note-taking is for you, do start with the CD-IELTS Practice Tests exclusively for you.