Was that a good interview?

In “Why does the examiner keep asking me questions?” we looked at how giving full answers to interview questions is very important. Most IELTS candidates try very hard to perform well in their interview and really want to know what the interviewer thinks about the interview, once it is over.

The question is :
is it okay to ask the examiner for immediate performance feedback?

An IELTS teacher told me a very sad story the other day. Her student needed a IELTS band score of 6.5. The candidate was weak but had worked very hard. The IELTS teacher felt that the student needed more time to prepare for the exam but the student had personal deadlines and needed to take the exam as soon as she could. At the end of the IELTS interview, the student asked the IELTS examiner if her interview performance had been acceptable. The examiner told her not to worry and that she had performed well. The student was very happy.

Time passed and the results came through. This student had achieved a overall band score of 5 in the IELTS exam but had a 5.5 in the IELTS speaking exam. The teacher thought that this IELTS band score was a true reflection of the student’s level of English but also thought that the student must have put in a superb performance to achieve a 5.5 in the IELTS speaking exam.

The student was devastated. She felt that the IELTS examiner had given her false information and should not have “lied” to her about her speaking exam performance. The teacher had to spend a great deal of time pointing out the following:

1 The IELTS examiner does not know what band score you need so asking whether your speaking exam performance was good (or bad) is relative only to the performance itself. If you ask for your grade directly, the examiner will not give it. The examiner needs time to reflect at the end of the speaking exam before giving you a speaking band score.

2 The IELTS examiner is not going to comment negatively if you have performed badly. The examiner may think that your level of English is low but you have performed exceptionally well in the speaking test (considering your level.)

3 The best judge of performance is often you. You will know how well you have done but you won’t know what IELTS band score the IELTS examiner will give your performance.

The student was upset but eventually realised that she needed to study more to improve her level of English so that she would have a better chance of getting her target IELTS band score of 6.5.

She followed this advice IELTS : running a marathon

She worked hard for another 4 months and she eventually achieved her IELTS goal.

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