While he did ok, he didn't get the 7 he needed in all four sections. So, before his second test we talked a lot more about writing & speaking. He got 7.5s and a 7.0
So, what changed, you asked? Well, I asked him, too. What did he think really made the difference to improve his score?
Here is what he told me:
"The improved score was because I had the chance to understand how speaking works. For the first exam even if I spoke a lot it was probably too much and bad! This time I followed some simple rules:
1. For part one speaking, do not give long or short answers, answer exactly what you are asked, nothing more, nothing less
2. Try not to be too friendly with the examiner (he is not your friend nor your enemy) - the examiners seem to be very friendly to put you at ease so I was too the first time and I forgot that I was taking an exam. The second time I focused more on why I was there for and I ignored the examiner's friendliness.
3. For part 2 speaking, focus on what the bullets are asking you and elaborate for each one. Also, try to answer when, where, how and why if they are not already mentioned in the bullets.4. For writing, I also focused on what was being asked of me. I tried to answer based on the language of the task and not get off topic. Remembering to have a central idea in each paragraph helped, as did supporting and developing each of my main ideas with examples.
5. For listening, I understood everything. I probably should have had a higher score but I must have made a lot of spelling mistakes, so spelling correctly is really important, too."
So, there you have it. One man's story of two IELTS attempts. I hope his advice can help you, too.