Sujish is a 31 year-old native Malayalam speaker from India. He got an overall Band 8 in IELTS (with an amazing 9 in Listening) and became one of the winners in our IELTS results competition in March. Here are a few things that Sujish did and recommends that you do to gain a higher score in IELTS:
Listening was never a problem, except for handling the tension in the first few minutes of the test. I am a regular viewer of English movies and English TV series. However, I practiced for the test before the exam to gain experience with the kind of questions that may be given.
While watching the movies, sometimes I used to switch on the subtitles in order to clearly understand the conversation. I never felt any difficulties with understanding the monologues on TV (for example the Discovery channel and National Geographic).
I am a regular reader of English newspapers. This helped me to complete the reading test before the allowed time. During the exam, I read the questions first and then went to read the paragraphs; this helped me identify the area where the answers to the questions reside.
The only difficult part in this sub-test was handling the tension during the interview. I was able to achieve this by having a friendly talk with my IELTS examiner for a few minutes before starting the exam.
I used the tips from the textbook “Ace the IELTS” and deliberately used some phrases that I learned after registering for the exam. Moreover, I got a friend to interview me at least once every two days through Skype. He used Speaking questions from www.IELTS-blog.com website.
Writing is the difficult part of the test for me since I am a software engineer and I have not written anything on the paper after my graduation. My handwriting is the worst I have ever seen. I was expecting a higher mark for Writing and I confirmed it by sending the same answer to the IELTS-Blog writing correction service, where I got Band 7.5. Hence I have given this section for revaluation.
IELTS-blog helped me a lot in writing. I have subscribed to this site and used to practice almost all the questions for writing and speaking which they sent to my personal email. I also read all the band 8 essays from this site and used their paid essay correction service a few times. In addition to that I referred to the textbook “Ace the IELTS”.