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7 Great IELTS tips from Lena, who got Band 8.5 in her exam

As you may remember we had 4 winners in our results competition last month. One of these high achievers, Lena Bucatariu, shared with us her best exam tips, what she thinks is important and can help you get a better result. Here is what she says:

“Dear Simone,

Every month, high achievers from around the world post on your blog excellent tips on how to tame the English language and improve the four skills. To avoid re-inventing the wheel, I have decided to focus on common sense advice on less ‘technical’, but still potentially dangerous details.

1. Sleep very well the night preceding the test; before going to bed, avoid watching TV, playing video games or doing other activities that may put undue strain on your eyes. And no alcohol!

2. On the day of the test, get up early enough – you want to make sure you are thoroughly awake by the time the test starts. Have a good breakfast, drink sufficient water, and don’t forget to use the restroom 🙂

3. When deciding what time to leave the house, take weather conditions and traffic into account; I suggest you have a friend or family member give you a ride, to avoid being pulled over for reckless IELTS-fever driving.

4. If possible, try to take the test at the same time with a friend or classmate; you can help each other out a lot by studying together, sharing materials and comparing teacher’s corrections on your homework.

5. During the last 20 minutes of waiting in the test room, anxiety may take over and fill your head with terrifying scenarios. You may feel scared, paralyzed, drawing a blank. This is the time to look around the room, make eye contact with your friend and smile. He or she probably needs this even more than you do.

6. While the recording is playing, look in your paper, and occasionally rest your eyes on the floor or anything inanimate. DON’T look at other people. Their reactions to the listening will distract you and, even worse, the proctors may suspect you are trying to cheat.

7. For the interview, dress professionally, but don’t overdo it; try to avoid new, very tight, or uncomfortable clothes or shoes. When giving your 2-minute answer, make sure you have an interesting story to tell, but don’t worry if the examiner seems a bit cold or unfriendly; they have instructions to stay neutral and keep facial expressions to a minimum.

Good luck! :)”

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