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Alex shares the story behind his Band 7.5

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Alex Umeanozie is a 26 year-old man from Nigeria who took the IELTS test and got a 7.5 Overall Band Score. He didn’t have much time to prepare, only two weeks, because taking the exam was required for his scholarship application. As one of the winners of our monthly IELTS results competition, we asked Alex to share some tips with future test takers. Here is what he said:

Band 7.5 in IELTSSpeaking Test

I thought the Speaking Test would be the most challenging for me, as I am quite a shy guy. But before the test I got to know all about the speaking part and what was expected from the candidate. It is important to keep in mind that the examiner only cares about how you communicate in English and not whether your answers are right or wrong. This gave me a lot of confidence. So I spoke to the examiner as I would speak to a colleague in an everyday scenario. I scored 7.5 in the speaking test.

Listening Test

The listening test was by far the most comfortable for me. It requires a lot of practice, in a way of doing some listening exercises. Answer the questions as you listen, as the recording won’t be repeated a second time. If you miss a part of the recording, don’t panic, move on with the conversation and answer the next questions accordingly. My score in the listening test was 8.0.

Reading Test

The reading test consists of some passages. You don’t have to read the whole passage. My technique is to go to the question first, then look for the answer in the passage. The first sentence in each paragraph is the topic sentence and tells what the whole paragraph is about. My score in the reading test was 7.0.

Writing Test

I think writing was the most challenging for me. There are two tasks, the first has to do with how well you are able to analyse a given chart, diagram, table, etc and it carries less marks than the second task. You should study the chart carefully and build your paragraphs clearly. Ensure you know what is required for each question to avoid deviating from the topic.”

A few practical tips from Wai who scored 7.5 in IELTS

Wai Hong Tan is 26 years old; he lives in Malaysia and speaks Chinese. Wai isn’t a native English speaker – in fact, he doesn’t even speak English regularly. This, however, didn’t stop him from getting an Overall Band Score of 7.5 in IELTS and winning in our monthly IELTS results competition. Here are a few tips he shared that may help other test takers score higher:

Band 7.5 in IELTS“I am not a native English speaker and I hardly speak in English at all in my state. However, I have my pride in my writing skills as I would frequently win the competitions in which I participated. Getting a 7.5 surprised me, not because it is good, but because I expected more, especially in the writing section. I am quite sure I made no grammatical errors at all in writing, and I met the word limits. Here is my advice to do better in IELTS:

1. Writing: Avoid grammatical errors, do not exceed the word limit by more than 10%, and try NOT to use too many bombastic words (which is one of my tendencies, as I like to include words like VENTRIPOTENT CONCUPISCENCE and MELLIFLUOUS MAGNILOQUENCE), and most importantly, try to make it content-rich and cohesive (this could be one of my weaknesses). Additionally, I think I wrote something like ‘Apropos of this statement, I am in consummate discord/accord with it’ and I am not quite sure if this is accepted as a correct sentence in the eyes of the examiners, so it is best to avoid.

2. Speaking: The MOST important part is DO NOT GET STRESSED. I know it is impossible not to have butterflies in the stomach at all, but the best thing to do in this part is to think of it as a casual conversation with the examiner, and try not to show too much tension. Speak as much as you can, avoid errors if possible, and correct yourself whenever you realize you made a mistake.

3. Reading: This part is quite hard for us. I noticed many test takers could not complete the paper in time (they were trying to write even though the time was already out), probably due to the lengthy and complex texts in the paper. I myself did not do particularly well in this section but I think I would be able to do better by first reading the questions (rather than the text first) and focusing on what the questions ask. This component is indeed the most challenging race against time.

4. Listening: For most candidates I think this may either be the easiest or hardest part. Firstly, read the instructions (the number of words required) and the questions, and try waiting for the recording to reach the point of possible answers. In case you miss the part and the recording moved on to another question, leave the first question and try to fill it in with possible words later (better than to leave it blank).

I wish this would be of some help to the other IELTS candidates. Good luck with scoring Band 8+ :)



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