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Jasmeen’s 3 basic steps to IELTS Band 8.5

Jasmeen is a delightful young lady from India, whose mother tongue is Hindi. She took IELTS a few weeks ago and scored Band 8.5, with two straight 9’s in Reading and Listening. This certainly isn’t an IELTS score we get to see every day, and so we simply had to ask Jasmeen for her best IELTS tips.

Here’s what she said YOU can do to follow her footsteps to success:

Band 8.5 in IELTS“Preparation for any exam requires 3 basic steps:

1. Understand the requirements and grading criteria of the exam.

2. Gauge your level on a practice test to come up with a strategic study plan based on your score, the desired improvement and study material available.

3. Dedication and patience is the key, stick to your schedule and practice daily.

The basics for preparing for IELTS reading and listening is making the least number of mistakes. Therefore, aim for reducing the incorrect answers rather than looking for a specific band score. When you reduce your wrong answers daily, the band score rises automatically.

In addition, examine your weak spots i.e. question types you frequently lose marks on. Once you are able to correct your own mistakes, you will be able to find faster methods and tricks to solve those types of questions thereby ensuring a perfect score on these sections.

Moving on to the other modules. I believe Writing and Speaking can be prepared together. If one is good at organizing and expressing their thoughts in English in writing, then they can surely do the same in Speaking and vice versa. The key here is to be able to logically explain your viewpoints.

In addition, writing is graded on 4 criteria as mentioned in the IELTS exam guide. So make sure to fulfill all of criteria to score high. That would be completing the task by answering the entire question in full, using proper linkers and connectors to make sure your essay is developed and bound properly, keep the grammatical and spelling mistakes to the minimum and ensure using diverse range of words to express the same thing (synonyms, idioms and vocabulary).

For speaking, practice daily and record you self to review your fluency and pronunciation also don’t forget to time your responses especially for the cue card.

Last bit of advice, do not forget to practice with pencil and do a full IELTS test before exam day, as erasing and writing again might consume more time then one would imagine.

I was able to score high using the above mentioned approach and I hope others reading this would benefit from my experience.

Good luck to all the test takers!”

Eileen got obsessed with scoring Band 8 in IELTS… and she did it!

Eileen is a charming young lady from the Philippines (a native Tagalog speaker). About 10 weeks ago she decided to go after a very ambitious goal – she wanted Band 8 in IELTS, and spared no effort to get there. Fast forward to March, and Eileen is a proud owner of an Overall Band 8 with an amazing Band 9 in Listening!

And here is how she did it, in her own words:

Band 8 in IELTS“About two months before my actual IELTS exam I placed myself in the “aim for IELTS Band 8” mindset to motivate me. I wanted a high score. I needed a high score. I took advantage of the available resources online such as videos and blogs that provided helpful tips on how to achieve the highest band score possible. My favourite were blogs (mainly that described real life experiences of ordinary individuals who reached their target scores. I got obsessed with searching online as many tips and techniques as possible.

And then about a month before my actual exam, I decided to enrol myself in an IELTS review class near my office to help me assess myself in a more realistic setting. I wanted to experience the whole IELTS exam feel as close to the actual IELTS exam scenario as possible. And most importantly, I wanted to have an honest assessment of how I would possibly fare in the actual examination, to know my strengths and weaknesses and to pinpoint what I most needed to improve on. That whole review month helped me brush up on my English skills and provided me with techniques to improve my speed in approaching each type of test.

During the review mock exams, I noticed that I regularly attain a much lower score in the listening test compared to all the other areas. It frustrated me because based on the many blogs and tips I had previously read, the listening test is supposed to be the easiest. I then realized that what kept me from achieving a high score was that during the actual test, I allow myself to get distracted by unnecessary thoughts and nervousness inside my head. That’s why on my actual exam, I focused only on my pen and paper, looked down the whole time and never allowed my mind to wander. I wrote everything I believed I heard on the questionnaire with an aim to do a speed edit afterwards which thankfully I was able to do. I got band 9 in listening which was surprisingly my highest score among the four areas.

Writing was probably the second item that I was most worried about. Normally when I write, I tend to overthink and would focus more on the technicalities and what I thought was the best answer for the examiners instead of focusing on the writing style and the tone best to use in the given situation. I was able to improve on this by reading sample IELTS writing questions and sample letter and essay answers online and in this blog for many hours daily. This helped me get rid of my bad writing habits and boosted my confidence in writing. Through this, I was able to use my time wisely.

As for the speaking exam, I prepared for task 1 in my head beforehand as this section was the most predictable part of the speaking exam. I had ready answers for the most common questions about myself, my job, my hometown and my hobbies and interests. Same as what I did in all the other tests, I never allowed my mind to wander. I focused on the questions, listened intently and gave answers that were mostly based on my personal experiences as this helped me speak more fluently and more naturally. “



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