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What you could learn from Thanh-Tam and Vindya (Band 8+ in IELTS)

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Today we would like you to meet two lovely people who got truly enviable scores in IELTS – Band 8 or above. You may remember Thanh-Tam and Vindya as the winners of our IELTS results competition in April. Luckily they chose to share their secrets of success with everyone, and here is what you can learn from their experience.

Band 8 in IELTSThanh-Tam is 36 years old, lives in Vietnam and speaks Vietnamese, he got Band 8 in IELTS. Thanh-Tam’s advice on getting a higher score is:


It is a good idea to have daily training, using materials with a British or Australian accent. The programmes with transcripts such as ABC News and BBC Learning English are precious.


Exam skills such as scanning and skimming may help you reach a certain level, but higher scores require a large enough vocabulary, so please spend time reading academic texts on a regular basis. National Geographic can also be an example.


Two principles are key: having a personal coach and knowing how to win the race against time. Forty minutes for Task 2 and 20 minutes for Task 1 are so short that unrehearsed candidates may embarrass themselves easily.


Most of the questions are predictable, so preparation does make your answers more productive. And pronunciation training can be found on YouTube.

Vindya is a 35 year old lady from Sri Lanka, a native Singhalese speaker. She attributes her success (Band 8.5) to guided practicing:

“I’d like to mention I was greatly benefited by I purchased ‘Ace the IELTS’ book first and understood the technique. Then I used the writing correction services twice and after that it was all about practicing. I couldn’t do it on a daily basis as I am a full-time working mum, so I had to manage my time. I practiced all exam parts at least twice to thrice a week and that’s how I achieved this score. I would recommend anyone to purchase the writing correction services as that came very handy. Then its all about practice.”

‘Don’t think in your native language’ and more tips from Leo, IELTS Band 7.5

We had the pleasure of meeting Leo Vu Ngo when he sent us some great news about his IELTS score. Leo is 26 years old, lives in Vietnam and has spoken Vietnamese from birth. Here is what he wrote to us:

“I got the result from my test which I took in February this year. The result was unbelievable and with all honesty, I could have never imagined having scores like that without much struggle. They were Reading 7.5 / Listening 7.5 / Writing 7.5 / Speaking 7. Without the help from you guys, I could never dream of this achievement. I would like to express my utmost gratefulness for all the help from the blog and a special thanks to Simone and the book “Ace the IELTS”. Had I not purchased it beforehand, I could have failed miserably. It is undeniable that luck was in my favour as well, but without all the information from the book, it would be much much more challenging for me to get this result. It was the most well-spent $40 in my life. Once again, thank you very much!!!”

And then he wrote something very sweet – but also very important. It is a great reminder of how valuable the support of your family can be to your IELTS preparation:

“P.S.: On top of everything else, I want yo send a big thanks to my parents and all my relatives who have supported me, encouraged me, and always had a strong belief in my success. Had they not been there, it surely would have been a much more challenging journey and I would have given up long ago. Thank you for all your care, Mom and Dad, Uncle and Auntie”

So what did Leo Vu discover while preparing for IELTS? What can you learn from his experience?

8 things that helped Leo score Band 7.5 in IELTS

1. Believe in yourself. If you do not believe in yourself, you have already lost before the battle even began.

2. Know your strengths and weaknesses and make it a priority to work on those weaknesses by practicing until you become confident.

3. Always aim at a higher score than you require. For instance, you should aim for a Band 7 when you need Band 6.

4. Purchase the book “Target Band 7″ (Academic) or “Ace the IELTS” (General), depending on your needs, and stick to all the tips, strategy, practices, plans, etc, written in these books from A to Z, points to points. They helped me tremendously. I purchased the book “Ace the IELTS” and I got Band 7.5 for my writing which I never dared dreaming of before. Band 6 was the best I could do before knowing of this book and right after I read it, the next test, I saw a huge improvement. Stick to it, don’t go astray or question the book, just do it. This will be my best advice.

5. Spend at least 1 hour per day reading/listening/writing and speaking in English. It does not matter what/which/how, as long as all of that is in English.

6. Read at least 1 essay per day from and copy them by writing down on paper word by word. You will benefit a lot from doing so, especially in the area of phrases. Using smart phrases with correct structure and smart words will win you a high score in writing easily.

7. Do not be afraid to speak, ever. A lot of my friends are afraid of embarrassing themselves if they say something wrong. Don’t be, nobody will laugh at you for speaking incorrectly. In fact, they will gladly help to correct you. I always ask my foreign friend to correct me whenever I use the wrong words, wrong tenses, wrong sentence structure, etc. and he helps me improve them to become more proficient. The more you practice speaking out loud, the more it will seem natural to you. Speak slowly and clearly, give yourself some time to think, but not too long.

8. Do not think in your native language about something to say or write. Avoid translating phrases from your native language, this is a bad habit and needs to be eliminated. The only things you should think about are words, verb tenses and structure, nothing else, and it all has to be done in English.

Keeping a long story short, these are key things to do before taking any English test, be confident and follow the book. As long as you have these, you will score high in the test in a breeze. Good luck to all future candidates!



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