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James shares IELTS tips responsible for his Band 8

Today I am happy to share with you the tips from Chia-Hang (James) Chen, an IELTS test taker from Taiwan, who successfully passed his exam with Band 8 and won our results competition last month.

Here is what Chia-Hang (James) says: Band 8 in IELTS

“These are the techniques that I used:

Listening

I listen to the radio whenever I can. On the radio, the pace of talking is much faster than in an IELTS listening recording. So when you can understand what people are saying on the air, I am sure IELTS listening wouldn’t be too hard for you. I also pay my full attention when listening to native English speaking friends. When getting involved in a daily conversation with native speaker, you get a better idea of the local way of saying different things.

Reading

What I did was to have loads of practice with mock exams. Every now and then I would read some articles if they interest me, but I am not that into reading. My advice of regular reading habit is to start with something that you indeed have interest in. If you force yourself to read articles that you actually think are boring, you might find it hard to persist. For those who worry about the amount of vocabulary, I personally think that the technique of skim reading can get you a higher score.

Writing

I spent most of my time getting this component right. I wrote an essay every two days and got it revised by my girlfriend. After revision, I made sure that I understand what can be improved. It would be the best if you take down notes every time, but sometimes I get lazy and skip this part.

Speaking

Try to talk to English speakers more often every day. You really have to be brave and express your thoughts, otherwise there won’t be any improvement. Another thing I tried was to say the same thing in different ways. The differences between 6 and 7 is the level of explanation. Every time you talk about one thing, think about a better way to describe it. That’s the main differences between talking and communicating.

In general, not everyone needs a perfect score. If you’re serious about achieving your ideal result, it’s worth knowing how far away you are from it. Focus on your weakness first. For me this means to get my speaking right instead of reading lots of articles, which might be unnecessary when it comes to improvement.

I think that’s it. It’s also advisable to be confident in yourself and have a firm belief that English will only be a piece of cake for you!”

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