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IELTS tips from two successful test takers from Sri Lanka

Today we are delighted to share the IELTS success stories of two remarkable ladies who have a lot in common: they come from the same country, they’re almost the same age and they both got Band 7.5 in IELTS.

Mihirani is a 29 year-old nurse who lives in Sri Lanka and speaks Singhalese. Here is what she told us about her exam preparation:

Band 7.5 in IELTS“First and foremost let me tell you how grateful I am for your priceless assistance with this IELTS examination. I followed your test tips and emails which were really helpful for me to achieve band 7.5. I bought your book ‘Target Band 7’ online and followed all instructions. In addition, I read and listened to BBC radio in order to improve my vocabulary. However, I had to overcome a lot of difficulties too. I am a nurse by profession and I work around the clock. It was a great difficulty for me since I was exhausted after a 24-hour continuous work shift. By the way, I practiced your previous exam and speaking tests and luckily I got the opportunity to talk about a topic which I practiced with you on my REAL EXAM DAY! Therefore, without any doubt I guarantee success with even though my first language is Sinhalese. Thank you again.”

Shehani is a 28 year-old, native Singhalese speaker from Sri Lanka. Here is her advice to future test takers:

“What matters most in an exam like the IELTS examination, is being confident about what you know and facing it without fear. Fear will only discourage you and will not give you the chance to perform the best that you can.

Time management is essential, as you have to answer within minutes. In the case of the listening test, it is always good to note down things as fast as possible, because the recording will be only played once, and you will not get the chance to write the answers if you do not manage your time properly.

For the Speaking test, you will have to be relaxed and answer the questions the examiner asks you without panicking. Remember that no one will laugh at your mistakes, and that the examiners are used to handling candidates. In the second part, you will be given a topic on which you must talk as much as possible without long pauses. You can make notes as you will be given one minute before the talk, and a piece of paper and pencil. You will not be interrupted within the talk, so be mindful not to miss what you want to say. It is your personal opinion about something, and you don’t have to feel uncomfortable at all, because you can express your ideas in any way you want. In the third part you will be asked questions based on your talk for which you have to give justifications about your opinions.

Written test will be different for the Academic and the General Training modules. Therefore I will only be able to talk about my area of experience, which is General training. The paper consists of two tasks, the first is a letter and the second an essay. My advice here is, write as much as possible and give your opinion clearly and effectively. Manage the time properly, but also remember that you must give a very clear cut conclusion for the essay. The invigilators will provide you any number of sheets, so keep writing. The minimum limit is given but there is no maximum number of words. Take the advantage of it.

To face the Reading test efficiently, you must develop your reading ability to a great extent. In the first reading you must get a general idea about the passage and then you have to read the questions which will make you more confident because you can easily spot where the answers are hidden. Be very cautious about the time as you have a very limited time for the exam. Quickly spot the answers and then immediately take note of them. At the end of the paper go through all answers to see if you have made any mistakes. Reading quickly is essential for IELTS and it must be worked on. Since IELTS does not have a pass or fail grade, I wish and hope that all of you will get the grade that you want for your purpose. Good Luck.”

IELTS test tips from people who got Band 7.5 to 8.5

Band 9 in IELTSWe were hoping our IELTS results competition winners would come back with some great tips for everyone, and they didn’t disappoint! Today we will be sharing the advice we got from Shashank, Akinwale and Chidinma.

Shashank (IELTS Band 7.5) is 26 years old, he lives in India and speaks Telugu. Here is what Shashank thinks might help you do well in IELTS:

“My advice for this exam is to use extensive resources available online. Don’t try to depend on too many websites though, limit yourself to one or two good sites like and DCielts. Do as many mock tests as possible under timed conditions. Overall I would say that practice is key to success in IELTS exam.”

Akinwale (IELTS Band 8.0) is 25 years old, he comes from Nigeria and speaks Yoruba. He shared quite a few actionable tips in his whnner’s interview:

“Wow! Am I dreaming? April is just the best month I’ve ever had. Thank you to the whole IELTS-Blog team. Basically, I see myself as a native English speaker. I like to learn at least five words every day.

I actually started my preparation in October 2015, although it wasn’t intensive then. I also watched as many YouTube videos as I could, visited so many sites and noted down various methods to approach the exam.

During my preparation, a friend who has sat the test before me advised that I focus on my strength, to leverage it and that way compensate for my weakness. So, I found the listening module to be the easiest, followed by the reading. I tested myself with almost all IELTS practice tests from 1-9 and then became quite comfortable with types of conversation, reading topics, contemporary issues to write on, as well as the likely interview questions I may be asked.

In the exam hall, I relaxed my nerves. I assumed the position of an observer during the listening module, that made it easy for me to pick out answers to the questions – even though I did preempt them. There are basically two ways to approach the reading module: skimming and scanning, but I made an hybrid of those two, I would skim where the questions require finding words in the passage and scan when I’m asked for synonyms of words or similar meaning of sentences. It is worth noting that test takers should have a wide eye span as this will enable you to look at as many words as possible at a time.

People with fear of public speaking might have difficulty in the speaking module, this I don’t know the solution to, but otherwise all you need to do is be audible, coherent and respectful. Avoidance of vulgar language will surely be an added advantage.

For the writing module, Academic Task 1 requires no knowledge of the subject-topic even though you need to infer knowledge from the graph/chart. This inferred knowledge will help in making comparisons, identifying similarities and differences. Task 2 seems simpler to me, all you need is to find an appropriate response from your pool of knowledge and past experience. Finally, here you must be articulate and legible in your writing, and make your essay interesting to read.

In conclusion, I wish everyone who aspires to take IELTS all the best in your pursuit of a better life. This e-mail [from] came in when I was on my way to notarize a copy of my IELTS result, for admission to study in Germany. Thank you so much for the afforded opportunity.”

Chidinma (IELTS Band 8.5) is 34 years old, she lives in Nigeria and speaks Igbo. Here is what you can learn from her experience:

“My best advice to other candidates is not to take any aspect of the test for granted. Preparation is key to the kind of success one wants to achieve. Visiting helped me greatly, because I found a lot of useful material to prepare for the test.

For the Writing test, I read model answers of the IELTS score I wanted to achieve and noted the structure and construction of sentences to suit that purpose. In the Reading test, I made sure I understood the question especially in the True/False/Not given questions. The answer is always there in the passage. It is essential to be relaxed for the speaking test, this helps because once one is agitated, the tendency to falter is very high.

Best of luck to all prospective candidates!”



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