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How Ratnesh went from IELTS Band 7 to 8 in Writing

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Ratnesh is a young man from India whose success in IELTS made him a winner in our results competition. His IELTS score in the first exam was considerably lower, in particular in the Writing and Speaking sections. Here’s what he wrote to us after receiving his second IELTS score:

“Today I received my IELTS score for 2nd attempt on Oct 12 in Bangalore, India – Listening 8.5, Reading 7.5, Writing 8, Speaking 7.

Band 8 in IELTSFirstly, I would like to send a load of thanks to for helping me in preparation. My first score was L/R/W/S – 9/7/7/6.5. After realising that my writing was not that good, I started reading ACE the IELTS book. The book is excellent with lot of tips. This helped to achieve a score of 8 in Writing. I closely read all phrases and examples used in book and wrote them in the exam too. I took assistance of your Writing checking services also and it helped to improve my writing a lot. All suggestions mentioned in the reply were great. In addition, I learned lot vocabulary from sample letters and essays which I extensively used in exam. Your material gave me power to increase my writing score to Band 8. You are great indeed. For listening and reading, practice material on the website is too good. Speaking tips helped me a lot to prepare for exam.

Thanks a lot IELTS-blog to help me in achieving my dream score. You are doing great work.”

Thanks, Ratnesh – this is music to our ears. But we know people come here to get practical exam tips for themselves, and not just read about success others achieved. Which is why the very next thing we have for YOU is Ratnesh’s tips on exam preparation – have a read, perhaps change a thing or two in your own prep sessions and get the same great results as Ratnesh did:

Listening – I was quite comfortable with the listening section. Downloaded sample tests from IELTS-blog and Cambridge website. Listening tests need lot of concentration as few answers are not words spoken in the recording. I am a big fan of Hollywood movies and TV series and watch them on daily basis. This helped me a lot in understanding different accents and English in which characters are talking. I learned lots of different sentence structures as well. The most important thing I experienced in listening was that, if you lose concentration even for 2 seconds, you can lose 1 question. To overcome this, I never looked UP in a real exam. I was always staring at the question paper and concentrating on the recording. In my first IELTS attempt I scored 9 and in the second 8.5. To all IELTS aspirants, the Listening section is the easiest and you have a chance to score 40/40 if you practice a lot.

Reading - Reading again is easy and you can score 7 easily. IELTS designs Reading section such that, you can finish 2-3 subsections within minutes and other ones need effort. My approach was to scan the whole question paper and finish up easy parts. I always had difficulty with “TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN” and to be honest it did not go well in both attempts. Last section of reading is very tricky. In exam, you will think that you have found the answer in paragraphs but its not true.The text in both the paragraphs and choices given are tricky. Read all the options thoroughly. Remember, the most obvious answer is not always right. Take your time and then decide. In addition, underline important notes in reading sections like dates, years, names, designations etc. This will help you in searching for the answer efficiently.

NOTE – You have to transfer answers to the answer sheet in both Listening and Reading Section. Write your answers against the correct questions. If you have kept a question for last minutes and you wrote one single answer against the wrong question, all consequent answers will become wrong. Keep 1 minute to cross-check answers in question papers and the answer sheet. Also, for the Reading section, keep an eye on the clock.

Writing - People feel this section is the toughest one because its subjective. Also, you cannot cross-check your performance with anyone else. You have to solely depend on the results. Writing also takes practice and do no think whatever you write is perfect. Believe me, its not :)

Firstly, for letter, memorise useful phrases for each type of letter. I read all the sample letters on IELTS Blog and made a list of phrases which can be used in any particular type of letter. Also, I read ACE the IELTS which had all minute details to be used while writing a IELTS letter. It helped me a lot to write a nice letter.

For essays, you have to do lot of work. First of all, check your grammar. It is one of major contributors to a Band score. Expand your vocabulary and knowledge of sentence structure and use them while writing an essay. Do not use a word twice in an essay, instead use its synonyms. This will create variations in your essay. Get ideas for general topics. You can get ideas by simply reading English newspapers.

For writing the world limit is very important. Keep your letter and essay’s word count above the word limit + 15 to 30 words. Write clearly in the exam. It is better to write in pencil. Also, keep 5 minutes for proofreading because in the exam environment we can easily miss articles like a, an and the.

I scored 6.5 in my first attempt in writing. Before my second attempt I read all tips and suggestions on IELTS blog. Also I purchased IELTS writing correction service which precisely evaluated my essay and pointed out corrections.This really helped me a lot and I scored Band 8 in a second attempt.

- Speaking is again on the tough side of IELTS. A good score can only be achieved with practice. IELTS examiners can ask you questions from any field and you should be ready to answer that. The first tip is to be calm and confident in the Speaking test. Examiners are very friendly and they interact with you quite well. In the first section of speaking, questions are general and you should be able to answer them. The key is to listen to questions and answer precisely. You should not answer in one word like ‘yes’, ‘no’, etc. Elaborate your answer a bit to 4-5 lines. In a cue card, try as much as you can to collect ideas. You have one minutes to make your notes. Use it wisely, do not waste it by reading questions again and again. For the last section, you have to speak for around 40 seconds to each question. This can be achieved by noting down your time with stop watch when you are practicing. You can make mistakes in IELTS or can make up things to say in an exam but do not take long pauses. This will affect your score. Also, while answering keep eye contact with examiner. Speak clearly and at such volume that you can be easily heard.

Competition winner Ali shares tips for IELTS Band 7.5

Ali is a young man in his 20’s who took the IELTS test for the first time, after 3 months of preparation. His efforts were rewarded with a band score of 7.5, and as a winner of our monthly results competition we asked him to share some tips with other test takers. Here is what Ali said was important to succeed in the IELTS exam:

Band 8 in IELTSPractice. We all know that we should practice a lot to gain a satisfying result. However the key point here is to practice in the right way. Timing and how to manage time/having enough time for each section during the exam is also just about practicing. Obviously repeating mistakes will not help you to improve at all. We all should have been told by an expert what to do and what not to do. I studied lots of IELTS tests before my exam however what did help me during studying was the times that I was checking my mistakes and searched/read/asked about them online or asked an expert how to improve them. IELTS-blog samples are really useful. I have tried their speaking and writing samples.

Being focused during the test. That was a tricky one for me. I’m that kind of person who easily is distracted. In my test in the middle of listening someone got sick and they paused the test for about half an hour and all I tried was not to lose focus, being disturbed or frightened by such a thing. Every one in our center was nagging about not being able to take the test anymore and there was really disturbing background noise.

Confidence. It was so important to me to gain enough confidence to believe in myself and my skills.

I appreciate this opportunity to mention that “Target Band 7″ helped me a lot. This book was with me about 3 months. It helped me to make my thoughts and concerns about the exam organized and clarified the required skills and techniques for every section of the exam. Actually although it wasn’t the first book I bought in this regard, it is the best. I did read it 2 times from the beginning to end excluding the referring times about looking for the tips on a specific sections. It helped me to see the exam as an expert in every section. Noting and mentioning the important parts and making it summarized in useful hints and tips really made it the best book which really boosts everyone’s band who really reads this book in detail. I gave my “Target Band 7″ to a couple of my friends and hope in some near future I will see their high scores.”



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