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Student success: Jennifer and Rafael reveal how they got IELTS Band 8.5+

Jennifer and Raphael are two of our students, who won in the IELTS results competition that is held monthly on IELTS-Blog.com. Jennifer is in her 20s, she comes from Germany, and Raphael is in his 30s and comes from Brazil. The one thing they have in common is a great IELTS score 🙂 Here is how they got it:

Jennifer said:

Band 8 in IELTS “I want to thank you for producing such a helpful, well structured book for IELTS candidates.

I signed up for the test two weeks in advance and only realized after, how much effort it would cost, to prepare for the test. Although I am speaking English every day at home (my husband is a native English speaker), I found it very difficult to manage the listening and writing tasks.

So I searched for books and “Target Band 7” seemed to be the right choice, only from the title and description. Once I received the book, I had 10 days for preparation, with about 2-3 hours every day.

I went through the book, did all the exercises given and also many of the recommended ones online. I did not feel ready to take the test at all and went in, just sticking to your advise regarding every part of the test. Last week I found out about my test results and – I scored 8.5! And I am convinced, that without your book, the result would be very different.

So thank you very much, I hope many other candidates can make the same successful experience! (I already recommended your book to some of my friends and colleagues, who will have to sit the IELTS academic as well.)

In addition to your information I found some free Apps for Android smartphones, that are quite helpful for practising when you are on a tram/on your lunch break, etc:

1. IELTS Word from British Council
2. IELTS Writing Android
3. IELTS Flash Cards

They contain several short exercises relating to all parts of the test and you can improve your “academic” vocabulary, they might be worth checking out.”

Raphael said:

Band 9 in IELTS I have to start by saying that I probably had an easier time than most because I have been living in Canada for a few years now. Being immersed in English really helps. For a candidate not in the same situation as mine the internet is a wonderful resource for articles and podcasts. Nonetheless, I believe just having a good command of English is not enough for a good score as one needs to know how to prepare for IELTS. I bet there are people out there who have very good English but did not do as well as they could because they were surprised by the exam’s peculiarities.

Realizing the above, I decided to dedicate one or two hours a day, for about 7 days in total getting familiar with the exam: how the questions are asked, what are their expectations for the written and spoken answers. For that, your blog was an extremely helpful resource. The IELTS preparation tips are right on the money!

Of course, during this time I also practiced with the Cambridge sample exams. On my first simulation I was able to draw very useful conclusions for my preparation such as:

1. Some questions in listening can be tricky so it really pays off to read them carefully before the record plays and note exactly what is being asked. Also, total concentration! Any distraction and you may miss the key word for the answer.

2. For reading, I noticed I was quite quick in completing the exam but did silly mistakes so I slowed my pace and took note of the types of questions that were causing the most trouble. Every studying session I would at least do a reading or a listening simulation. I got better and better results each day.

3. For the writing and speaking parts I reviewed the expected structure and read the examples from your website though I have to admit I was surprised by the topic given to me during the speaking section: teenagers! Another thing I noticed is that the word limit felt shorter than I expected before trying it out so I had to concentrate on being a bit more concise as not to waste time writing unnecessarily and focus on reviewing and catching any spelling and grammar mistakes.

To summarize, my view is that one thing is to improve your English skills, a completely different one is maximizing the score you can get based on your current English level and for that you need to study IELTS. www.IELTS-blog.com was a great resource in my preparation so I thank you and wish good luck to all taking their exams!”

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