Rojelle got Band 8.5 in IELTS despite short prep time and no books – here’s how

As promised earlier this week, we are sharing the tips from Rojelle, our IELTS Results Competition winner. Rojelle lives in the Philippines and works with nursing students. Her IELTS story is remarkable because she didn’t have much time to prepare and also didn’t have the right books, but looking at her score no one would have guessed that.

Rojelle got the Overall Band Score of 8.5 with straight 9’s in Listening and Reading, a 7.5 in Writing and 8.5 in Speaking. This is what she wrote in her email to us:

Band 8 in IELTS“Thank you for this amazing website! It really helped me a lot for my IELTS preparation. I didn’t have enough time to read books or watch videos because of work schedule, but because I have my phone with me all the time (while in the subway or bus on my way to work, for example), I would always read the tips that are posted on your site! The writing correction service was very helpful too. The overall band score I got was more than what I asked for. Now, I always recommend your site to all my nursing students every time they ask me for tips on how to prepare for their IELTS exam. 🙂

One strategy that really helped me get a 9.0 score on the Listening exam is watching British talent shows like “Britain’s Got Talent” or “X-factor UK”. I know it’s a weird advice, but it really does help! People who join these competitions have different English accents – and I find that the more I watch these shows, the better I become in terms of understanding everything (without even replaying it anymore). And it helps that these shows are entertaining too – so it could be a form recreation plus review! During my IELTS exam, the majority of the people inside the room were mumbling complaints because they couldn’t understand anything that the recording was playing. Plus they get distracted easily. Improve your listening skills. On the day of the exam, just focus – do not pay attention to the other people and listen well to the recording. 🙂

As for the Speaking exam, just be yourself. Be as natural as you can and don’t memorize answers. Don’t be afraid to show a little bit of emotion (it is supposed to be like a “normal conversation” after all). What I mean is, smile when it’s a happy topic, frown when you’re trying to decide about something, etc. Behave as you would when talking to a teacher, or an older person – but not too friendly as you might go off topic.

That’s all for now, because everyone mentioned on this site already all the advice I could think of. Thanks again and more power to the team! :)”

Two different strategies, same great result – how Saurab and Srinithya got Band 8 in IELTS

There’s a famous proverb “All roads lead to Rome” and in case you didn’t know, it means that the same goal can be reached in a number of ways. Today we are bringing you a classic example of how true this is: two of our IELTS results competition winners with the same great result – Band 8 – shared their preparation methods and techniques. It turns out they prepared for the exam in different ways, but achieved the same level of success!

Band 9 in IELTSSaurab Mehra lives in India and speaks Hindi. He got IELTS Band 8 Overall with a perfect 9 in Reading, and here is how – in his own words:

“Thank you for declaring me the winner. I would like to share the tips and ways I used to prepare for IELTS. I prepared for 2 weeks and got a good band score.

1. For Listening part,“ACE the IELTS” book helped me a lot. I used to practice early morning in a quiet environment which helped me build my concentration. Also, watching BBC news and other TV shows helped me understand the accent.

2. For Reading part, I practiced a lot. I’m an avid comic book reader so I developed a fast reading habit. I used to read the entire paragraph in one quick succession, and then read the questions and find the answers. This helped me find the right answers to all questions.

3. For Writing part, I practiced writing about many topics and read about current topics in newspapers and journals. This helped me enhance my knowledge and use complex sentences.

4. For Speaking part, practice with someone and prepare for common questions such as about favorite person, best friend, city or any current issue. I prepared well for a few topics and got one of them to speak on.

My advice:

1. Practice Listening in a quiet environment and use a watch to check the speed.

2. Develop a good reading pace. Remember, 1st passage is easiest, 2nd is medium difficulty and 3rd is the hardest. Always check your answers after completing the passage. I used to spend 15 min on the 1st Reading section, 20 minutes on 2nd and 25 minutes on the 3rd. After completing each section, check for answers once.”

Srinithya Sundar also lives in India and speaks Tamil. She got Band 8 overall and here are her suggestions to help you do well in the test:

“My best advice to IELTS test takers would be – ‘take your time and do not rush’ to the exam. I allowed myself 3 months of preparation time which covered rigorous practice of all 4 sections of the test (considering I’m a working professional). For all the 4 sections, I would recommend to practise questions from all the 12 Cambridge IELTS practice books. The magic is only to concentrate and practise everyday without fail!

Listening and Reading

I did one reading test and one listening test each day under exam conditions. Initially I found it difficult to complete within the stipulated time, however, after a couple of weeks of practise, I was able to complete the reading test in less than 50 minutes. For listening tests, it’s alright to rewind and listen to the audio if you missed a bit in between while practising. Just make sure to concentrate and complete 1 reading test within 50 min and 1 listening test without playing the audio again, and score yourself at the end of the tests. Try to consistently score 36-38 in each of your practice tests and this is your green light to book your exam.

Writing and Speaking

Writing definitely requires a tutor who could correct your mistakes and give feedback. I hired a tutor online and she helped me improve gradually. The secret here is to write down a list of good vocabulary for each topic such as education, career, governments, festivals, celebrities, food, environment, family, travel etc. These are the basic topics from which any essay/letter/speaking question would be asked. Just memorise the new words under each topic and make sure to form 1 sentence using each of the new words in your essay and also while speaking based on whichever topic is asked in the exam.

For example, if the essay topic is about environment/pollution, you could write 1 sentence with each of these words: climatic conditions, depletion of ozone, chlorofluorocarbons, deforestation, endangered species, ecosystem, food chain, etc. Another example is if the topic is related to trade/markets, then the list of vocabulary could be consumerism, merchandise, alluring advertisement, marketing strategy, globalisation, rival firms, vogue, etc. Also, don’t forget to use linkers such as nevertheless, however, not only … but also, moreover, furthermore, consequently, etc appropriately, and check your grammar, punctuation, spelling and divide your essay in 4 paragraphs – 1 for introduction, 2 body paragraphs and 1 for conclusion. This will definitely fetch you a 7 in writing even if the content and ideas are simple.

Always remember that the examiner in the speaking test is a person who wants to give you the maximum possible score. Just make sure you let him/her do it by showcasing how long and how well you can speak. Use the vocabulary you memorised and make sure to say at least 3 sentences in answers for part 1 and 3. For part 2, ensure that you speak until you are stopped.

Hope my strategies and techniques are useful and I wish all the IELTS test takers good luck.”



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