Dr. Afroza Shameen: you CAN get Band 8, here is how (part 2)

Today we continue and post the rest of Dr. Afroza’s tips for Band 8 in IELTS (read part 1 here).


1. This was my weakest part, I scored 6 – 6.5 constantly and couldn’t understand my mistakes. Many people suggested that I seek a teacher’s help, but that was expensive here in the UK. I started to look online and found a few services – all of them charged huge fees, even a few IELTS teachers asked for a lot of money to correct my tasks.

At that time I found IELTS-Blog’s writing correction service. Very affordable and very effective. Oh my God, after correcting my tasks I realised my weak points, what silly mistakes I made and I could not notice those unless my tasks have been corrected. Here I’d like to thank the IELTS blog writing service and Simone as a manager.

2. Many people focus on task 2 more than task 1. Everyone should give equal priority to both tasks. I practised both tasks and I achieved 7 in writing. I enriched my vocabulary and learned new sentence structures.

3. I found very authentic information and ideas for task 1 and task 2 in the book Target Band 7. Always I practiced recent IELTS questions and model answers from the IELTS-blog website. Those are really helpful.


I scored 9!!! Oh my God, I could not believe, it was like a dream. Was it my luck? No was not my luck. My determination and proper practice helped me achieve that score.

1. I got a study partner. We started to practice just 1 month before my exam via skype. We practiced every question that we found on recent exam site of IELTS–blog, learned some vocabulary – not the difficult words, but the natural words. If you have no partner, don’t worry. You can do something else instead – record your answers, then try to find the problems.

2. I watched BBC news and tried to follow how the native speakers talk and what words they use frequently and made notes of that.

3. Another secret is using phrasal verbs, such as sit back, take off, look out, get on well with, come up with, figure out and so on.

4. I always give importance to tenses. One should not mix past with future tense, should be careful about gender, singular/plural form and the right pronunciation. Online there are many dictionaries available that can pronounce the words for you.

5. Cue Card is a very important part of the Speaking test. Maximum score depends on it. 1 to 2 min talk is enough. If you don’t have any idea what to say, don’t worry – just look at the question. Start to give answers one after another addressing each bullet point, and your answer will be more organized. Try to avoid talking off topic. Tenses in the cue card question must be analyzed correctly and you should answer questions using the right tense.

Finally, dear test takers, don’t sit back, wake up – don’t rely on your luck. Start practicing, and do it in an appropriate way. Try to find out your weak points and work on them. I’m giving you a guarantee your desired score will be at your door step.

Thanks and best of luck,

Dr. Afroza Shameen: you CAN get Band 8, here is how (part 1)

Some people get their target score in IELTS in the very first attempt. Dr. Afroza Shameen is not one of them. You may remember her name from our monthly results competition, that she won in July. Dr. Afroza didn’t have a lucky break, she didn’t get her Band 8 by accident – she worked hard on it. But during her preparation and several IELTS attempts she learned many important lessons, that she is willing to share with everyone – hoping that it will help you, too.

Dr. Afroza and I met through email when she wrote to me after her 3rd IELTS attempt, and she struggled to get Band 7 back then.

But listen to what she has to say now:

“Wow, Simone, I’m really excited to share my experience with you and other IELTS candidates. First I would like to thank you for choosing me as one of IELTS winners.

My target was band 7 in each section but, oh my God, I achieved 8. It’s true that I took IELTS a few times and couldn’t get the desired score. Started to blame my luck – but the real problem was in my study pattern. Getting a good score in IELTS is not a matter of luck. One has to practice and there is no alternative to practice. Ultimately I’ve reached my goal after that realization.

I recommend all series of Cambridge books 1-8, I found tips in Target Band 7 book helpful, and an invaluable information from the website www.ielts-blog.com.


1. Students should have a good idea about the questions’ pattern and their problem. In 4 sections of listening there are same types of questions. For listening practice Cambridge books are enough. I practiced those until I got 40 out of 40, and I made sure I understood the answers.

I had a spelling problem (especially in the listening section), sometimes I found that task type confusing. So I practiced a few spelling questions, and I noticed that the spelling questions pattern is quite similar – there is either a name of month, a day of week, academic subject, or parts of human bodies. I practiced in spelling the listening answers from IELTS books. It may sound strange, but really helped me. For better listening score you just need practice and deep concentration.

2. Listening to BBC news, podcasts, watching English movies also helped me to achieve my goal. Every day I listened to 3 podcast from BBC and British council learn English website which has also helped me to learn new vocabulary.


1. In my first few attempts I got Band 6 to 6.5 in reading and was bitterly disappointed. I started to look for my weak points. I could understand the whole passage but when I went through the questions it usually took too much time to find the answer.

My reading speed was poor and I started to enhance it. My technique was to read 3 reading tests, meaning 9 passages, thoroughly without looking at their questions; I underlined the new words and learned the meaning continuously for 2 weeks.

After 2 weeks I noticed that I could finish a passage with proper understanding within 5 minutes. By practicing my technique I scored 8.5! It’s true that for answering a question you don’t need to read the full passage, but you need to find the right answer within limited time and for that one must know how to read quickly.

2. I found good tips on reading in the book Target Band 7.”

We will continue and post the rest of Dr. Afroza’s tips tomorrow. Stay tuned.



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