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A 42 year-old businessman scores Band 7.5 in IELTS after just two weeks of study

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Today’s post is dedicated to the success story of Manoj De Zoysa, a 42-year-old businessman from Sri Lanka. Like most of us, Manoj was busy with his family life and work, perhaps even busier (because he has a company to run). He thought he would never have to take another exam in his life, when suddenly he found out he had to take the IELTS test.

Manoj is a native Sinhalese speaker. He needed to get Band 6.5 in Academic IELTS, and even though he had only 17 days to prepare, he overshot his target and got a Band 7.5!

Below is his story – in his own words:

Band 8 in IELTS“My name is Manoj De Zoysa, I am from Sri Lanka, a businessman 42 years of age, married with two sons. It’s been almost 22 years since I last sat for an exam and never thought that the necessity would arrive for me to sit another exam for the rest of my life, but ended up sitting for the Academic IELTS exam and achieving the following results:

Listening -7.5
Reading – 8.5
Writing – 6.5
Speaking – 7.0

Overall band – 7.5

There were only 17 days to go for the next exam date when I was told to take up IELTS and I thought of taking up the challenge to get the required overall Academic band of 6.5. I used www.IELTS-BLOG.COM to get to know the structure of the test and what needed to be done to get the required score.

I was confident about getting 6.5+ for speaking and listening as I associate with an English speaking business community and friends, but in the meantime needed to get familiar with the British accent. So I did a couple of listening tests on my own and whenever I missed out on an answer, I left it out and concentrated on the conversation which continued in order not miss any more answers. At the speaking test I was interviewed by a British gentleman, to whom I always responded in a friendly but a well mannered way.

My handwriting is awful and though I had the knowledge and capability of taking up any essay topic and understanding drafts and charts, the fact of someone not being able to understand my writing always worried me. I got hold of some past topics and drafts from the IELTS-BLOG and started writing, I also got an English tutor to correct my handwriting mistakes and overcame it partly.

I normally read a lot of English newspapers but once I went through a past Academic reading test I found it to be very tough and I knew the only way out is to get some tips on how to handle it and then keep on practicing. The skimming and scanning method helped me a lot and always found out that the whole passage need not be read.

I am thankful to the IELTS-BLOG, from where I gained very useful tips to achieve this score.”

IELTS test in Hong Kong – February 2015 (Academic Module)

An IELTS test taker from Hong Kong (thanks C!) remembered the following writing and speaking questions:

Writing testIELTS test in Hong Kong

Writing task 1 (a report)

We were given a diagram showing the process of making clean drinking water using a simple filter with sand, charcoal and small stones. We had to describe the process.

Writing task 2 (an essay)

Some people believe that the use of mobile phones in public is as annoying as smoking and should be banned, similarly to smoking. Give your opinion and examples from your own experience.

Speaking test


- What is your full name?
- Can I see your ID?
- Where are you from?
- Do you work or study?
- Describe the climate in your country.
- What are the seasons in your country?
- Do you enjoy distinctive seasons?
- Would you like the weather to stay the same all year round?

Cue Card

Describe an experience that was a complete waste of your time. Please say

- What happened?
- Why do you think it was a waste of time?
- How did you feel after that?


- What tasks are a waste of time in your eyes?
- What do you know about time management?
- Do you think time management is important for children? Why?



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