So, my first serious English language exam went fairly well, particularly considering that, apart from looking up the structure of the test, I didn't really prepare for it at all.
Of course, like most candidates, my beef is with the writing section
(statistically, that's where most people get the lowest score) and I feel the need to get this off my chest:
The IELTS team prides itself on the accuracy of the test results it provides, however the writing task seems to reward being able to work well under stress rather than actual English proficiency. Ok, the section isn't impossible, far from it, but time
shouldn't be such a huge factor in an exam aimed at determining whether you are capable of producing a coherent and grammatically correct text in a foreign language.
Because many people simply don't work well under pressure, I think the resulting essays more often than not don't reflect the candidates' full writing potential and, moreover, compels them to robotically memorize sample essays and 'answer patterns' specific to the IELTS test beforehand, rather than actually learning how to write an academic paper in general (hell, the net is full of sites and tutors offering to cram essays written by 'specialists' into your skull).
Still, I think I did ok even though I absolutely hated not being able to make a draft or any kind of plan, especially on the second task.
I swear, though, if I get anything below 6.5 under 'writing' I WILL prosecute, and by prosecute I mean pelt the British Council building with kitty poop.
Ah well, fingers and toes crossed.