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IELTS tips from Band 8.5 candidate: “Practice, analyse your mistakes and don’t get nervous”

Sai Bhargavi Satti is a lovely young lady from India, whose mother tongue is Telugu. She took IELTS for the very first time after some self-preparation at home and achieved an overall Band score of 8.5 (with straight 9’s in Listening and Reading). As a winner of our IELTS results competition Sai had a chance to share her best tips with everyone, and she said:

Band 8.5 in IELTS“I feel honoured considering that I’ve scored high though for me this was the first time taking the IELTS exam. I’ve practised on my own using the practice materials available on and they helped a lot.

Below are some strategies I’ve used and hope would be helpful to others as well:

1. The first and foremost tip I would suggest is that one must love learning English if they want to do well in the exam. It’s also important to know the test pattern beforehand. “Practice” is the key to success. Make sure you know the instructions and follow them precisely, long before the exam.

2. For the Listening section: One must get used to listening to the English language and actually understanding it. This is only possible with lots of practice as the audios are of various dialects/accents. Personally, I didn’t find much difference between varied accents. Practice with as many tests as you can. On the test day, relax and tune in. Do not worry about understanding every word. Just listen to the audio and be quick to write down the answers on the question paper first.

3. For the Reading section: Practice. Analyse your mistakes and try not to repeat them in the next practice test. There are many strategies for good performance in the reading part. Try each one and know which one works for you.

4. For the Writing section: Lots of practice is quite essential. Know the word limit for the two tasks and practice likewise. Take care not to write below the mentioned word limits in the respective tasks. You lose marks otherwise. Your handwriting must the legible and neat. Grammar, spelling and the content – all are evaluated. Look for a pattern of writing that looks good and works for you. There are many useful youtube channels that telecast videos on writing section like ielts-blog and others.

5. For the Speaking section: Don’t let nervousness get to you. You must not appear reluctant during the test or answer in very few words. You need to give long and relevant answers. This can only be achieved by practising speaking in English so that you can answer the questions spontaneously.

6. Last but not the least – time management is important in all the four sections.”

Preparing for IELTS on your own? These tips can help.

If you are preparing for IELTS by yourself and you don’t have access to a tutor, we’re sure you could use some extra help and support. Knowing that other people prepared in the same way and achieved good results is comforting, but learning HOW they did it can make a real difference to your own prep sessions. Today we have some advice from two such test takers, Hiren and Lasitha (they both won in our IELTS results competition).

Band 8 in IELTSHiren comes from India, he is a native Gujarati speaker who got IELTS Band Score of 8.0. He said:

“As I have prepared for IELTS on my own I think following are some things that were really helpful to me to get this result:

1. Reading is the most important part to focus on. It increases your vocabulary which in turn helps your speaking and writing capabilities.

2. You should keep track of the time that you are taking to complete every section. Notice how much time do you need to complete Section 1 in reading and how much time you have for other two sections and then plan accordingly.

3. Try completing some mock exams (at least 2-3) to get the idea of how much time you are spending to complete the whole exam.

4. For listening I have mostly focused on watching some TV series, movies and listening to radio channels (BBC Radio etc.)”

Lasitha is from Sri Lanka, his mother tongue is Sinhalese and he got the Overall Band Score of 7.5 in IELTS. Here’s what he told us about his exam preparation:

“I found this blog to be a useful source of information relevant to IELTS. I had done it thrice and was looking for 7 in each module. I found it very difficult to achieve 7 in writing and speaking.

However, I was always okay with Listening and Reading. The key in the Listening Module was spending less time on questions like phone conversation / information seeking discussion and saving it for the questions such as Map labeling and lectures etc. In the reading module, I made sure to finish the first 27 questions in 30-35 minutes and saved the rest to spend on questions 28-40, as you would get a long comprehension passage in most cases. Further, while answering questions 28-35, you may find answers for questions 36-40 as well and it will reduce your double work.

The modules of writing and speaking were really difficult for me. I believe the key to success in these two modules is vocabulary. Reading many band 8,9 essays published on this blog helped me to improve my way of writing and vocabulary. And also, doing many vocabulary exercises to get used to new words is also important.

I am grateful to the team at because without this information, I couldn’t have achieved Band 7. I will never hesitate to recommend this site to anyone in future.”



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