IELTS preparation tips from people who scored Band 8 or higher

Today we would like you to meet two test takers who scored Band 8+ in IELTS and shared some tips and recommendations.

Introducing Lucie Olivova – the winner of our IELTS Results Competition from Czech Republic. Lucie got an Overall Band Score of 8.5 with three amazing 9’s in Listening, Reading and Speaking – and no, she isn’t a native English speaker, but some things she did in her preparation helped her get very, very close to that level.

Lucie Band 8.5 in IELTS

When we asked Lucie what helped her achieve this wonderful score, she said:

“Thank you very much for the information and for creating this competition in the first place – I believe it is a nice way to add a layer of appreciation for people successfully passing the test.

As for my tips and recommendations –

1. I would say immersion is really important when learning any language.

2. Listening to podcasts or music, watching television or videos, reading books or newspaper in that language really helps you get familiar with many daily used expressions.

3. Reading specifically I think is a great help for spelling – seeing words in writing repeatedly gives you the “feel” for correct spelling.

4. A truly important thing is getting familiar with the test format so that no new question type surprises you on the test day.

5. Last but not least, practice writing as much as possible and make sure you know what structure is expected for each writing task. You need to know what an essay should look like and it is really helpful to have experience writing it in a limited time – do not only read about how to write an essay, give it a try a few times! To enhance your essay, try to use some special grammar, but only if you are sure you are able to use it correctly with confidence.

Good luck to everyone!”

Our second test taker with a high IELTS result is Chethan from India, who got an Overall Band Score of 8.0, with 8.5 in Listening and 9 in Reading.

Chethan Band 8.5 in IELTS

Chethan is a native Kannada speaker, and here is what he told us about his IELTS preparation:

“I gave a couple of mock tests for reading and listening to check my standing. I found that I scored around 34 to 36 in both tests. So I was pretty confident on these two modules.

For speaking and writing I needed some help and feedback without which I could not improve. So I went for a training session which was highly recommended by many. I mainly focused on speaking and writing. The trainers were both British Council certified trainers and they helped me a lot. In fact, they did an initial mock test and found my speaking to be average but writing was bad. In fact I could not complete my writing tasks on time due to me not writing in a long time.

They planned a few sessions where they would walk me through each section of speaking and writing one at a time. We worked on setting up a flow as below

1. Mindmap the ideas and points for the topic at hand (2 – 5 minutes)
2. Formulate the structure of the essay / letter based on the type of essay / letter (2 – 3 minutes)
3. Assign the mindmap points as Introduction, Paragraph 1, Paragraph 2, so on. (2 -3 minutes)
4. Expand the points above by thinking of additional support points (2 – 4 minutes)
5. Start writing the essay / letter (12-20 minutes)
6. Review the content for basic errors like spelling, grammar (2 – 5 minutes)

Then, gradually, we worked on getting them together so that the last week we practiced with few mock tests taking up full sections in one go.

One thing that worked in my favour was the scheduling of the Speaking Test. It was scheduled 5 days after my paper exam. So I focused only on the 3 sections at first and worked through many practice papers. The practice helped as I was getting a consistent score of 36 and more in Reading and Listening and this is reflected in my actual score. Once my exam was over, I practiced speaking with my wife sometimes and sometimes sitting in front of a mirror. I could not get a hold of my trainers during this time and I had to rely on my wife’s feedback mostly.”

Many thanks to Lucie and Chethan for providing these tips, and congratulations on their wonderful IELTS scores!

If YOU got a high score in IELTS, no matter when – this month, last month, a few months ago – we want to hear from you! We would like to extend our warm invitation to everyone who is happy with their IELTS score. Take part in our IELTS results competition today, and share your IELTS tips when you win!

Learn how to enroll here.

Muhammad’s journey to IELTS Band 7.5

Hi everyone, and welcome to 2020! Starting the year off right is incredibly important, and inspiration can help with that – so today we would like you to meet Muhammad, who has an inspiring story to tell.

But it’s not just Muhammad’s IELTS tips that you can grab here. He said something deep that can be considered a principle to live by: “I was not afraid of making mistakes at all because the English language is not my mother language; therefore, it is inevitable that I would make mistakes.”

Don’t let the fear of making mistakes stop you. Make ALL the mistakes you can, but learn from them, and use every single one as an opportunity to improve!

Muhammad Band 7.5 in IELTSMuhammad was born in Pakistan and his first language is Urdu. Now he lives in Abu Dhabi, in the UAE. His main problem was writing and it took him 2 years of trying many things (one-on-one lessons with English teachers, online IELTS courses, etc) until he finally found a solution that worked. Read his story below – it may save you a lot of time, if you, too, are struggling with the same issues.

Muhammad said:

“I was struggling to obtain 7.5 band in writing for the past two years. After consulting three native English teachers (face-to-face), and one online web portal, still, I was unable to get there.

In June I took an essay correction package on, which was the right step towards my goal, as IELTS-Blog teachers identified my weak areas and helped me to improve. Although in August I acquired Band 7 in writing, unfortunately, I missed in gaining the required score in listening – Band 8. Therefore, I practised again, and in October I got my desired results: Listening 8, Reading 7, Writing 7.5, Speaking 7.5. I believe the key to success is to practice and expert and reliable source, like

I would like to share my study schedule with other students to reach this milestone.

1. I made it my habit to listen to an English podcast every day for at least 1 hour (anyone can do this during a travelling to office etc., all you need is headphones).

2. I was reading at least two pages of the English articles (news, opinion, general topics, The Guardian newspaper is the best one), and I was highlighting articles (a, an, the) as well as new words to enhance my vocabulary. In fact, I have a vocabulary book. I was trying to understanding why the articles (a, an, the) are there or not there. Reading also enabled me to understand the writing structure in general. I was doing it only for half an hour.

3. I was completing a listening test almost every day. It helped me to understand the pace of listening, which is crucial for the actual exam.

4. I was writing an essay every day five days a week, and two days I was taking time off for my family and relaxation. After receiving my corrections from, I was spending time to understand what mistakes I had made, which is essential to avoid those mistakes. This action is compulsory to boost your writing skill. This is the most important task to reach another level.

5. “1200-commonly-repeated-words-in-ielts-listening-test” is a document available online which has lots of vocabulary words. I have attempted many IELTS mock tests, and it is my personal experience that most of the words in the listening test are there in this document.

The most important thing, I implemented English learning in my daily routine, whether it is email writing or a test message. I always try to write in formal English with all the necessary punctuation, articles and so on. I was not afraid of making mistakes at all because the English language is not my mother language; therefore, it is inevitable that I would make mistakes. The compelling aspect is that we should enjoy learning it, instead of feeling the pressure. Don’t learn English only for the sake of obtaining a good score in IELTS, but learn it as a language, which is essential for your career and future.

All the best for all the students out there!”

Band 7.5 in IELTS



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