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Self-preparation lead Ruchir to IELTS Band 8.5, clearing path to medical school

Band 8.5 in IELTSRuchir owns one of the best IELTS results of January 2016 (Overall Band 8.5!). When we approached him and asked for his best tips that would help others achieve the same level of success, he was busy taking medical school exams. However as soon as he got that out of the way, Ruchir wrote back and shared his methods of self-preparation. Here is what he said:

“As I begin recounting my experiences at this point in time, I perceive a great degree of nostalgia, because not too long ago I was in a very similar situation to you all. While I was in the midst of searching for preparation materials, past papers and what not, wandering around and hopping from one place to another with a sense of confusion and uncertainty, I came across the IELTS-Blog website. At the outset I had an instinct that it may not be an ultimate solution to my problems but as I started to reveal its invaluable contents, it ironically turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me.

You all must be wondering why I am telling you all this instead of firing advices regarding tips, strategies and techniques from the word go. The simple reason is to stir a sense of motivation in you and fuel your energy levels so that you can persevere and study smart and not necessarily hard. You might have varying levels of English ability, though English like other languages is learnt and not taught. will aid you in studying English at all stages in your preparation. Now that you have found, consider yourself at the door step of achieving the best scores.

Let us begin by looking at each component of the test separately. You must know the nitty-gritty details of these sections and so it’s much more important to focus on the crux of the matter.


– If you are new to IELTS then this is the section you should focus most on. Improving your ability to listen and articulate the English language is a key to performing better in other sections.

– Simply for the first few times just listen to the recording without writing anything down on your answer sheet. Try to understand what is being said and the types of conversations individuals or a group of people are having and just make a mental note of the instances when a particular fact or information is said. It goes without saying that these will be your answers.

– Now try attempting the questions block by block (i.e. each block has around 5-10 questions after which the recording pauses to allow you to ‘check your answers’). Focus on that block ONLY. Try predicting answers such as numbers, dates, names of persons, places etc.

– If necessary, keep the transcripts in front of you in the beginning as they really help you to gauge and acclimatise to the recording’s speed.

– Lastly, practice as much as you can and listen to English regularly through various media sources.


– It is considered to be a very difficult section but turns out to be the opposite of that, if right strategies are applied.

– The 15-20-25 minute strategy, skim-scan technique and identifying the topic sentences are just a few to name which are carefully explained in the Target Band 7 book.

– In a nut-shell, this section does NOT require you to read the whole passage. Your three step strategy which must be applied should be this:

1. Read the questions to understand the type of question asked
2. Read the first and last line of each paragraph and write a word or two next to each paragraph to explain what it is about
3. Simply ‘cut and paste’ your answers from the analysed passage to answer the question.

– This strategy is easier said than done. I strongly recommend practising this technique as much as possible for achieving a very high score.

Writing and Speaking

– I have purposely clubbed these two sections, because they are generally the toughest sections to do well in, as a non-native English writer and speaker. I give complete credit to the IELTS-Blog Target Band 7 book and their writing correction services which helped me in achieving a whopping band of 8.5 in each.

Nevertheless, skills you acquire from these resources and invaluable feedback provided by IELTS-Blog teachers must be implemented by yourself through dedicated everyday practice in conjunction with improving and learning from your mistakes. This golden tip will help you to achieve excellent marks regardless of your starting level of English.

Finally, I would like to convey my best wishes to all aspiring candidates out there. I hope you have a fruitful and successful learning experience with IELTS.

Robson’s approach to IELTS preparation resulted in Band 7.5!

You may remember Robson Lima as one of our IELTS results competition winners, announced in February. Robson is 28 years old, he lives in Brazil and speaks Portuguese. In his winner’s interview he shared the approach that is responsible for his result – Band 7.5 in General Training IELTS. Here is what Robson wanted you to know:

Band 7.5 in IELTS“My approach towards the test was focused on practice. Before booking my test date I have begun studying English using Duolingo (for grammar reinforcement), watching movies and series without subtitles (for improving listening skills and vocabulary) and I have also enrolled in online courses on Future Learn, they offer British Council courses on IELTS and the learning of English in general.

After signing up for the test, I’ve changed to a more serious mindset and begun practicing daily using mock tests to get comfortable with the test’s format. I began doing this three months prior to the test, so every day I’ve practiced one section of the test. And here’s a tip – always try to keep record of your time during the training, in the beginning you might find it difficult to finish the tasks in the required time but, with enough practice, you’ll get the hang of it. By the way, you can download the official answer sheets on the website, this is very useful especially for the writing tasks where you can get the idea of how 150/250 words look in your own handwriting.

After some time I realized that I was pretty confident in the listening and reading, but I knew I’d need some help with my speaking and writing because those were my weaknesses. I used the correction service from to improve my writing and I really enjoyed the feedback from each correction, it helped me to see my mistakes and improve my text structure. For my speaking skills, I did some classes with a couple of teachers on and I think it was crucial to achieve the mark that I received. I’d recommend both services for any student who wants to achieve a better score.

To conclude, I think that the best advice I can give is find the study technique that works best for you. I’ve told you about my own experience and what worked best for me. There’s a number of blogs, YouTube channels and other sources with tips and study techniques, you should try them and find the one that suits you best. Practice as much as you can, be serious about it and focus on your goal, I’m sure you can achieve it.”



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