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What did they do differently to achieve Band 8+?

Today’s post is about two IELTS test takers who aren’t any different from many of our readers. The reason they are in the spotlight today is their IELTS scores – Vasileios got an Overall Band 8.5 and Nadya Band 8 (remarkably, they both had straight 9’s in Reading and Listening). When they won in our monthly IELTS results competition in January, we asked them the big question – why they did so well in IELTS, and here is what we learned.

Band 8 in IELTSVasileios lives in Greece and his first language is Greek. He attributed his success to the following:

“I believe that what helped me the most was the fact that I always timed my practice tests and my essays, and I completed them on the official answer sheets that were used during the exam, which I downloaded here. Other than that it is a matter of knowledge and the ability to write and comprehend.”

Nadya lives in Russia and her mother tongue is Russian. She believes that immersing yourself in English, practicing as hard as you can and getting enough sleep does the trick:

“This was my second IELTS exam. First time I got Overall Band 7.0, now – 8.0. A huge part of this success goes to my English school, but I’ve also spent many hours preparing on my own. So my number one advice for all test takers is – don’t be afraid, you can do it even without paying to a teacher!

All you have to do is to surround yourself with English. You need to google something related to your job? Google it in English and read the corresponding Wikipedia article in English instead of your native language. Want to read a book? English, please. Listening to the music? You know what to do. You’re extremely tired and want to watch the new season of ‘Game of Thrones’ to relax? Guess what – watch it in English! Subtitles will help, if you have trouble with accents.

Another tip is to start with the hardest part for you and practice like crazy. For me it was writing. I wrote one essay every day, I got familiar with all the possible question types. Practice is really the key. Write, show it to somebody who can point out your mistakes, correct the essay, and write again next week. Same topic, different essay, most probably you will achieve a better quality of writing.

Finally, let me say it again. The examiner is not your enemy, never was and never will be. Their goal is to assess your knowledge rather than give you a lower mark. So try to see them as your friend, especially in the Speaking section.

And yes, give yourself full 8 hours of sleep the night before the test. Good luck!”

Urvashi got IELTS Band 8.5 without attending any classes, here is how

Urvashi, a young woman from India who speaks Kashmiri as a first language, has had remarkable success with IELTS – her Overall Band score was 8.5 (with a straight 9 in Listening). We first heard of her achievement when she enrolled in our monthly IELTS results competition, and when she became one of the winners, a proper interview was in order!

Band 8.5 in IELTS

If you, like Urvashi, aren’t planning to attend IELTS preparation classes, here are some tips from her that might be useful to you:

“My tips for IELTS aspirants would be:

1. For Listening: Learn to adapt your ears and brain to hearing and understanding different accents. You can achieve this by doing practice tests at home, watching movies, documentaries, interviews from numerous English speaking nations, so as to learn the subtle nuances of each dialect that you hear. During the test, do not divert your attention from the audio even for a nano second, and also coordinate your listening with your answer writing.

2. For Reading: Learn to “scan through” the passages of text, rather than waste time on reading each word. Look for synonymous words/phrases in the passages, while searching for answers. ‘True/False/Not Given’ questions can be especially tricky, so keep an open and objective viewpoint.

3. For Writing: Concentrate on collocations, grammar, spelling, and even the proper usage of commas, semi-colons etc. Practise, as much and as often as possible.

4. For Speaking: People often confuse fluency with fast speech. Adhering to this myth can land you in hot water, especially because speed in speaking is almost always accompanied by incoherence. Pay attention to this, as you need to be not only audible, but also understandable to your interviewer.

The goal is to be adept in a language and the only way to go is by using it as often and as much as possible, in writing, speech etc.

Do not stress yourself. Relax and manage your time well.

I’m delighted and grateful to your website, considering that I attended ZERO classes/preparation sessions for my IELTS, and your website was the only platform which proved to be extraordinarily useful to me in my study for the same.”



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