IELTS preparation tips from winners

IELTS high achievers share their secrets

Rohit and Lucrezia did really well in IELTS because…

It makes all the sense in the world to learn from other test takers’ experiences, so why don’t more people do it? Today we are going to change that!

Everyone, meet Rohit and Lucrezia. Lucrezia got Band 7.5 in IELTS and Rohit – Band 8.5, and they were very kind to tell us about their exam preparation and share some helpful advice.

Lucrezia said,

“To the other candidates I would recommend practicing a lot using the online resources that IELTS offers and textbooks. I asked my sister, who is also learning English, to help me with the speaking and writing parts. She would ask me sample questions and read my essays. I recommend studying with other people who have the same purpose as yours.”

Best IELTS test result October 2021

Rohit said,

“What I believe is that every candidate at the given time has a potential maximum band score depending upon his grasp on English language. But, no candidate will score that band on their own. One needs professional advice, coaching and hard work of at least 3-4 weeks to get that score.

To elaborate further, a candidate with maximum potential of Band 8 will never score 8 without proper guidance and will end up somewhere between 6-7. In simple words, this is the bare minimum one needs, just in order to achieve what one is already capable of.

Increasing the maximum potential band is a long journey and process of at least a year or two. It will involve reading all kind of books, watching news, documentaries and movies. It may sound strange but about 20 years ago, when I was really keen on improving my English, I used to watch English movies with English subtitles and that certainly helped me a lot.

During my prep I focused on my weaknesses, which were using too many hand gestures, too many ideas and excessive use of “you know”. I recorded videos of my mock tests and worked on these issues. On the Speaking test day, I was very relaxed and had a free-flowing conversation. You don’t need to lie or use imaginary events or experiences. I believe everyone’s real life is interesting enough to have a conversation, which is basically what Speaking test is all about.”

Best IELTS test result November 2021

Behind the scenes: how these two IELTS high scorers prepared (and why it worked)

As with anything in life, in IELTS preparation there is theoretical knowledge, and then there is practical knowledge. Theoretical knowledge includes all the methods that should work, whereas practical knowledge is something that you’ve done and it actually produced the results you were hoping for.

The two people you are about to meet won in our IELTS results competition and got Band 7.5 and Band 8.5. Today they are sharing their priceless practical knowledge – so give them 5 minutes of your undivided attention. It’s worth your time.

First we have M.V. from India – he got Band 8.5 in IELTS. M.V. asked us to keep his full name confidential, but his IELTS certificate proves his identity and score, so yes – you can trust what he says.

“This is really awesome to receive a winner’s certificate from your side.

I have all the thanks to be given to you and the team. Below are my tips to share with other aspirants:

1. Don’t look around for confusing content online – just get ‘Ace the IELTS’ book and the computer based tests – you are all set with enough material.

2. Follow the time table given in the book – it helped add some structure to my study and told me what I need to do. This helps one avoid choosing only things that they like or are good at. If you follow the schedule in the book, you cannot skip writing – which many of us leave for last or avoid.

3. Read the book first and then keep doing the practice tests – it helps a lot.

4. Toward the last 2 weeks before the exam – keep attempting the whole exam in one sitting, so you can learn time management – that’s the most important skill.

5. The first quote in the book is your rally cry – learn to take the IELTS test and don’t focus on learning English. Your English level will not improve in 4-8 weeks time and definitely won’t reach the level of a native speaker.

6. If you can fix a time when you will prepare – I woke up at 5 am for 4 weeks to ensure I prepare at the dedicated time and this builds a rhythm. Hidden agenda: if I can practice when I sleepy, exam my mind will be share and operate at peak 😉

7. I followed the advice from the IELTS Doctor (part of ‘IELTS Success Formula’ book) – this helped me immensely in writing and ensuring that even with tough/unknown topics, I use good sentence structure and paragraph alignment. That makes a great impression on the examiner.

8. Listen to some youtube channels for listening practice and that should help a lot to construct your speech.”

Band 8.5 in IELTS

Next we have the lovely Katayon Saeb from Iran who got Band 7.5 in IELTS. Katayon gives you an honest recount of her IELTS preparation – including things that did not work for her:

Listening – I listened to different podcasts on a daily basis and used transcripts for the audio. This helped me a lot in understanding different accents. The podcasts I used were ‘6 minutes English’, ‘The English we speak’, ‘News in Levels’, ‘99% invisible’, and ‘Radio Lab’.

Reading – I solved all Cambridge test books, both General Training and Academic, checked my answers, and focused on the type of questions that I had most wrong answers. Then, I tried to find out the correct answer with valid reasons, so I could prevent further mistakes in the future.

Writing – This part of the IELTS exam has been the most challenging one for me for years, and my score never changed from 6.5, though I received 7.5 the last time since I STUDIED the band descriptors really carefully, and tried my best to follow the instructions. I truly recommend everyone who wants to take part in exam to read and understand the band descriptors which are the base of evaluation for examiners.

Speaking – Unfortunately, this time I didn’t receive the score I wanted in Speaking, it was 6.5! However, I understood what my mistakes were and now I work on them. What’s more, I am going to use the new words, collocations, and also grammar of the audio recordings I listen to in my speaking.”

Band 7.5 in IELTS