Josphine’s best tips for getting Band 8 in IELTS

Everyone, meet Josphine. She lives in Sri Lanka and speaks two languages – Tamil and English. Like many of you, Josephine had to take the IELTS test, and she wasn’t feeling very confident. Does that sound familiar? Well… sometimes feeling insecure is not a bad thing. It certainly helped Josphine approach her IELTS preparation seriously and, as a result, she scored Band 8 Overall in her Academic IELTS exam, with a straight 9 in Reading. When you leave nothing to chance, THIS is what happens!

When Josphine took first place in our monthly IELTS Results competition, in her winner’s interview she shared her story and some great IELTS tips:

“Living in a country where English is not a native language, I was quite pessimistic about the IELTS exam, as I heard many weren’t able to get through it and in certain categories some points were lost, resulting in a lower overall score.

So I began my plan by analyzing myself and I started to practice in listening and speaking first, knowing that those were my stronger areas. Thereafter I began working on my writing skills and reading.

As I had to do both Academic and General IELTS, I did the General exam first …. and by some divine grace I got an overall 7.5, but still my writing was 6.5 and reading 7, while my speaking and listening were both above 8.

So I knew that in order to get a good score in the Academic test, I must focus more on reading and writing. These 2 skills are assessed differently in the Academic test compared to General.

The top tip I used to get a high score in speaking was watching documentaries and BBC news stories, from which I learnt different synonyms. Usually in speaking if we repeat the same words we might lose marks, so we need to use different words that have the same meaning.

For writing, it was always best to practice with a timer so that we know how well we are improving. The tip here is to do Writing Task 2 first – the one with the essay – as it holds more marks and is more influential on our final grade when compared to Writing Task 1 of both academic and general. So if we are relaxed and have spent more time on Task 2, we surely can get higher marks for Writing overall.

In Writing Task 1 in General Training, you will need to write a letter that starts with ‘Dear Sir/ Madam…’. The main tip here is to address all the bullet points in the task prompt – they need to be elaborately explained in the letter.

For Writing Task 1 in the Academic test, practice questions with tables, diagrams, bar charts, pie charts. Give an introduction with just one or two sentences paraphrasing the question itself. Then, in the body, try to explain the significant trends seen, and in conclusion try to summarize all points given in the body, always refrain from giving your own opinion.

For reading, once again practice with a timer, use highlighter or underlining methods when doing mock tests as it will train you to face the final exam with more confidence, this is how I got 9 in that area.

Finally, for listening, make some quiet time and do the mock tests within a certain time limit, don’t stop and rewind the recording, even if you missed one answer. Just go ahead with it and at the end see what you have missed, when you correct the answers yourself using the answer key. Take a minimum of 1 week to practice this way and you will surely gain more marks with time and notice your improvement.

Lastly, I would encourage everyone to try and find the most comfortable way for them to take the exam, be it on paper or on the computer. This is because when you feel comfortable, your confidence too rises, which will definitely help you to secure top scores. I hope that my tips helped you all, good luck on your upcoming exams and I hope you all score your destined results.

Thank you for the opportunity and for choosing me as a top scorer in the month of February in both categories. What this blog is doing here for IELTS applicants is truly revolutionary.”

We would like to thank Josphine for her tips and wish her a lot of success in everything she does!

3 IELTS success stories to learn from

Friday is the day to get some motivation for the upcoming weekend! This is why we would like you to meet three winners of our monthly IELTS results competition. They achieved great results, ranging from IELTS Band 7.5 to 8, and today they are sharing their stories to help you get your target score. As you will see, our winners have different approaches to IELTS preparation, but the one thing they agree on is, if you put in the work, you will get the result!

Khamdam is a young man from Uzbekistan. He took the Academic IELTS test and got Band 8. Khamdam said,

“So delighted to hear the news from you, since it was unexpected… Anyway, thank you much for giving me this opportunity.

I’ve got a lot to recommend, because indeed, as you know, IELTS is a journey, a long one. However, if I have to walk IELTS candidates through with the most important suggestions, they’d be these:

Know your destination.

Knowing whether your aim is Band 6, 7 or 8 is paramount to understand in which direction you should head and how much effort you should invest. Setting clear and realistic goals is important so that you will work your best towards them. I know some students who are not sure which score they need and why. Most do not normally set exact goals, while others tend to base their aims on senseless purposes.

Invest the right amount of time and effort.

Once you get to know what your target is, spend a decent amount of time working on your skills. I met lots of students who failed to achieve their desired score in IELTS, because they have been busy at work, contending with a heavy workload, or at their colleges, working to a tight deadline. Whatever category you fall into, give yourself enough time to work on your English as well as prepare for your exam.

Spend more time analysing your test than doing the test.

If you really fancy improving your score by practice, a solution to always bear in mind is to allocate some time to the analysis of the tests at the end of your practice. This will allow you to thoroughly understand the format of the test, the ways IELTS distracted you, and find out where your weaknesses are. At the end of the day, quality is always better than quantity.

I wish all candidates best luck and their dream scores! May God bless you all in your exams!”

Samer is from Yemen, he lives in Saudi Arabia and speaks Arabic. He took the Academic IELTS test and got Band 7.5. Listening and Reading were his stronger skills, but his writing needed attention and Samer concentrated his efforts on it. Samer said,

“Practice… practice… practice!

Do as many mock tests as you can and get the best evaluation for your essays with experienced experts.

I hope you can achieve your dream score with consistent effort, just believe that you can do it.”

Malavika comes from India, her first language is Malayalam. She took an Academic IELTS exam and got Band 7.5. Here is her advice to you:

“I’m sooo happyyy!!!

I would say set a goal and work for it. Make some time to do a mock test on your own and see which part you are weak in and work on that.

Make sure that you are talking very freely to the speaking examiner. Feel free to be yourself, but make sure to avoid short forms and slang.

In the writing section make sure to allocate time for both writing tasks and then start writing. Managing time is really important.

I’ve heard a lot of people advising others to learn new words each day to improve vocabulary. I would say it doesn’t work like that. Try to read books and watch movies to improve your vocabulary. And the most important tip is to believe in yourself and do your best. All the best everyone!”

We would like to thank Khamdam, Samer and Malavika for sharing their stories, and congratulate them on their great IELTS scores!



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