I am, however, starting to get excited about the prospect of three months in Berlin next year but at the same time feeling a bit nervous about how rusty my German has become.
So I've dusted down the German translation of one of the Swedish Wallander novels by Henning Mankell, and with the help of a German dictionary app on my iPhone and a teeny-tiny home-made vocabulary notebook (in which I note down interesting words and phrases in German only) I've been really enjoying a good murder mystery at the same time as brushing up my German.
Yes, I could read (and in the past have read and really enjoyed) a great classic by Thomas Mann, Goethe or Schiller, but I'm busy with work and tired because it's nearly the end of term and I'm still not fully over the flu. Why make life more difficult than it needs to be? Wallander is not great literature, but it's a real page-turner and it's surprising how many interesting words I've remembered.
So, if you're struggling to get ready for IELTS, or any other foreign language exam, do yourself a favour and read something you really, really enjoy. Even if it's not 'academic', you'll still be doing wonders for your reading skills.