IELTS preparation tips from winners

IELTS high achievers share their secrets

Exam preparation tips from Band 8.5 achiever

Today I have more exam tips for you. They are from a remarkable IELTS candidate, who got Band Score of 8.5 in his Academic IELTS exam. Amazingly in the Listening test he got 9.0, in the Reading and Speaking tests 8.5 and in the Writing test 8.0. With a score like this, no wonder he won our result competition in December 2008!

As always, I am interested in all kinds of success stories and Nikeesh kindly agreed to tell us about his way of studying. A little background first: Nikeesh is going to study in a university in Australia, he likes reading and watching TV, especially the documentaries on National Geographic.

Enough said, here is how Nikeesh prepared and aced his exam:

“Well my preparation for the exam was rather short. From your website I can pick up that students spend months in preparation, I didn’t. Sitting for this test was actually a requirement by Australian universities so I did it.

IELTS Speaking

Generally, doing well in speaking English is associated with a lot of factors. One should read a lot, also watching TV and talking with friends helps. I am not that big a fan of reading story books. I guess I watch a lot of documentaries, especially the ones on National Geographic. Also, I have spoken on a few occasions in public, so putting forward my ideas to the assessor with confidence was not a problem.

Oh! And I was reading through your website and found out one of the past winners saying that it is best you go for your speaking test in a formal wear – it has a profound effect on the assessor even before you speak. So I did dress formally (semi-formal is more like it).

IELTS Writing

As for doing well in writing – I guess we should realise that reading story books only enriches our vocabulary (to some extent) and shows the different ways of using words.

Academic writing is however, a totally different story. We need to read more of the literary criticisms or journals to enhance our understanding of formulating good sentence structures and how they should be varied in writing. Reading the works of lecturers and scientists as well as analysts gives us a wider perspective of the formal way of writing.

IELTS Reading

Reading, I have noticed after answering the sample questions in the IELTS book, is dissimilar from other forms of comprehension tests that I have done. The comprehension aspect is not taken to a greater depth. You almost never would need to read between the lines. So majority of the answers are directly in the passage. As I said earlier if you do a lot of formal reading, understanding the passages wouldn’t be hard.

IELTS Listening

I can’t say much for the Listening. Just follow the instructions and read the questions beforehand in the time given so that as you hear the speaker, you will be able to answer the questions at the same time. The last one is always difficult and you may notice that if the questions are in the form of matching then it would be best to hear the person out first before answering.

Good luck to all those who would be sitting for their IELTS test. Just trust yourself.

Reading, Writing and Speaking tips from Band 8 achiever

This is the rest of Zulquar’s IELTS tips; implementing these techniques helped him achieve overall band score of 8.0 – and he didn’t have any help. Great job, Zulquar!

Reading test

This is a bit too technical area that requires time management and lots of practice. This is all about reading comprehension so if you are an avid reader unlike me, it will pay off well.

For me is was a different case, so I had to get unconventional and so I was reading a lot of newspaper columns and translating it to my native language Hindi, word by word. This helped me to build the basics of comprehension and then I practiced the official IELTS materials given to me while registering to the exam. That helped me to get an idea of the time management that needed to done and helped me identify the one great loophole in the question set, that is the questions themselves.

After getting the question sheet a bit of skimming of what’s about in the question asked for would do magic. So if one goes to the paragraph after skimming the questions, one will identify the paragraphs in which their answers are located and will save a lot of time and effort.

Writing test

This is a portion where you are going to need an evaluator. So I would recommend looking for good study materials and teachers who understand the IELTS pattern. I prepared just by writing short essays and practicing graphs and tables and I still think that I could have done better at it.

Speaking test

Speaking will come easy if one can listen well. I tried the philosophy of staying confident at my word stock. I did a lot of work on accent as in India English is spoken too coarse to be understood.

I was literally speaking to myself every time I was alone. It became a habit of mine and it still is. I must say I graduated from Indian accent to others quite easy as I was able to modulate my mouth and tongue.

I then had to move from laymen speaker to a well spoken person so I started recording myself on my computer and listening to what I sounded like and what I was speaking I was able to see myself from the evaluators point of view. I targeted being more clear, topical and calm while speaking and doing all this I also tried to sound as natural as I could.