IELTS preparation tips that helped Bahar get Band 8.5 (Reading)

These IELTS Reading tips were shared by Bahar, who received the Overall Band score of 8.5 (with Band 9 in Reading!). You can read her advice for the Speaking test here.

Band 8 in IELTSHow to begin
Before turning to the questions, take a brief look at the text to gain a general idea of what it is about. Then, read the questions clear and more than once to be able to answer more efficiently. After having an idea of what the text and especially each paragraph is mainly about, it is wise to determine which questions belong to which paragraphs. This method did a great deal of help, in my experience. You can also write a short title for each paragraph to make the classification of the questions you need to answer easier. It takes less time to search for a particular point when you know what each paragraph contains.

Dealing with difficult questions
When facing a difficult or confusing question, the best thing to do is to leave it and turn to other sections and fill out the other blanks in your answer sheet. When you are done with the easy questions, you can go back to the difficult ones and this time, you have more time to concentrate on them and are, therefore, more relaxed and able to think clearly, without worrying about other questions as you have already done them.

Do not in any way confuse a NO with a NOT GIVEN or a FALSE with a NOT GIVEN upon reaching YES, NO, NOT GIVEN or TRUE, FALSE, NOT GIVEN questions. When a phrase is FALSE, make sure to find its exact opposite in the text. If you cannot, or if such a phrase is not mentioned, then it is NG. As for YES or TRUE phrases, you must be able to locate them as they are often clearly stated in the text, paraphrased and with words of similar meaning.

Write answers in the right places
It is quite essential to check whether you have written the answers in their right places. For instance, if you write the answer of question 12 beside question 13, then both are marked as false and just like that, you lose two points, even if both answers are correct. So check the questions and the answers every now and then. One way to be certain of this is to say “question 12…C”, for example, clearly in your head for every question you answer to avoid the answers getting mixed up.

Guessing can help
As you receive no negative points when you a question wrongly, make sure to fill all the blanks even if you think your answers are incorrect. There is still a slight probability of them being right.

Don’t re-think your answers
Do not dwell too much on your already-answered questions. Chances are that you would not only correct your answers but choose wrong ones.”

IELTS preparation tips that helped Bahar get Band 8.5 (Speaking)

Bahar Ranjbaran is a 17-year old Iranian lady who took the IELTS exam for the first time in her life, and … surprise, surprise – received Band 8.5 for her great performance. She won our IELTS results competition, and generously shared these useful tips that can help you, too, replicate her success. Here’s what Bahar suggests:

Make a good first impression.Band 8 in IELTS
First and foremost, make a good first impression. If you prove to the examiner in the early parts of the interview that you possess an incredible English speaking ability, your score will definitely increase as the examiner will develop a good mental image of your skills in the very beginning and will continue to believe you to be a skillful candidate even if you make mistakes or are not as good in the next sections of the test.

Shape up your accent.
That and also your pronunciation count a lot. They have a huge impact on the way you communicate with the examiner as he/she will automatically assume your grammar to be perfect as well.

Maintain eye contact.
Even in a simple everyday conversation, making eye contact plays a great role in enhancing the quality of the conversation as well as boosting your confidence and encouraging you to speak better. Therefore, keep your eyes away from the recorder and the stopwatch as they not only distract you and make you lose your train of thought, but also make you more nervous and agitated, thus bringing down your band score.

Study different topics that are likely to come up in the interview.
There is definitely no need to study any field in great detail; the purpose is to just acquire a brief amount of knowledge about each topic to be ready in case the examiner asks questions relating to any of them.

Preparation is the key.
Your time is quite precious, but so is the need to prepare. Spend at least 20 minutes a day, if not more, reciting mock interviews with preferably real past exam questions containing a variety of topics. However, it is quite important for you to talk out loud and not just in your head. Your tone of speech, vocal cohesion and the way you express your ideas all fail to be developed or even detected if you only think about your answers and not speak loudly and normally as you need in the actual interview. It is wise to practice with a speaking partner as you both can take turns and interview each other. However, for some—including myself—it is more efficient to talk to oneself rather than being interviewed by friends or family members, since you have more confidence and are able to speak better and more easily. So it basically depends on your personal preference.

Talk to the mirror.
As ridiculous as this may sound, my experience has never failed to prove that this method of preparation produces significant results. Indeed, no matter what type of interviews I have had, practicing this way always gave and still gives me confidence and is very reassuring for me. I’m certain it will be so for you as well.

Be at ease.
Smile and act friendly. Your confidence does not possess a criterion of its own in your band score; it has no direct influence on the way you’re marked, but it strongly influences the examiner’s impression of you. It is natural to assume from a candidate’s self-assurance and esteem that they have good skills as well.

Eat something sweet before the interview.
Eat a bar of chocolate, before you begin your interview. By doing so, your brain activity enhances and you have a higher chance of receiving a higher mark.



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