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How Vanja achieved Band 8 in IELTS in less than a week

You are going to enjoy these short and practical tips from Vanja Popovic, a 24 year-old student from Serbia. Vanja is one of our IELTS results competition winners in April, who was able to prepare for IELTS in less than a week, on her own, using online resources. We asked Vanja what would she suggest to other test takers, and here is what she said:

“Thank you very much for choosing me as one of the winners!

I must say that I didn’t have the time to really prepare for this exam. As soon as I’ve typed in “IELTS” in my browser, one of the first sites I came up with was the IELTS-Blog, and I generally stuck to it.

I would recommend to students, especially if they do not have much time to prepare (I had less than a week), to find and do as many sample tests as they can. That particularly extends to the reading part, because most texts you’ll come across will ask you to think in a similar way: what was the writer’s intention, whether the statements are factual or subjective, and you will have to develop the ability to find and understand the key points faster than you usually would.

As for the listening, I recommend listening to on-line radio stations (BBC, US stations, Australian ones), so you can adjust to different accents and pronunciations. That kind of listening I found very useful when done a couple of hours before the listening part, that way you can adjust more quickly to the test itself. For those two parts (Reading and Listening) I scored 8.5, and for the writing part 8. I must say that I didn’t have the time to practice writing at all, so I don’t have any useful tips, except maybe not to forget to answer all parts of the presented topic.

Honestly, I thought speaking would be my greatest asset, but I scored rather poorly, getting only a 7. I would suggest to all students to carefully check those cue cards (for the second speaking part) and practice their answers. I haven’t done that, and I expected my theme to be some deep, argumentative subject (in other words, I expected questions about the world trade market and nuclear disaster in Japan), and I got the task to describe my best friend. I spoke less than a minute, and probably got penalized for that.

Therefore, if you know the contents of all four parts and know what to expect, and remain calm and focused, then success is guaranteed.

Good luck!”

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