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Here’s what helped Ruying get IELTS Band 8.5

Band 8 in IELTSRuying is a lovely young lady from Singapore, who got Overall Band 8.5 in IELTS (with a straight 9 in Reading!) and won the first place in our monthly IELTS results competition. In her winner’s interview Ruying shared the following, very practical and quite easy to implement, tips that helped her get this amazing score:

Reading test

Out of the entire IELTS exam, I feel like the reading test was the easiest to score well in. How I went about it was speed-reading all the passages, and then quickly answering the questions I was 100% sure of. I would advise not to spend too much time on questions you’re unsure about, as this not only wastes time, but also slows you down a lot. Go back to questions you were unsure about later and always always check your work to make sure you didn’t misread any questions or miss anything out! And also, I spent more time on the final passages as they’re usually trickier than the ones at the start.

Listening test

I’m lucky to be surrounded by English speakers, so listening was never much of an issue for me. I would advise to just tune in to BBC Radio, and watch the daily news casts. Listening and getting used to the British/American/Australian accent may take a bit of time, but if you do this daily for over a month, you’ll start realising that it’s not that hard to catch on to, if you try! Oh, and because they only play the recordings once, I would recommend to pay FULL ATTENTION to it, and not try to read/check previous answers or do anything else. During my exam I made the mistake of rewriting one of my previous answers while the recording was going on, and missed out one answer. If this happens, just make an educated guess and hope for the best!

Writing test

I would say this is the hardest part of the exam, but if you go in prepared, it shouldn’t be a problem. To prepare for the Writing test, I would recommend familiarising yourself with the answer structure for all the different question types. Know what is required and make sure you understand how and what you must write in order to achieve your desired band. The band indicators are online for anyone to see, so I practised essays based on those indicators. Also, reading model essays helps a lot. There are quite a few good model essays you can read online, and YouTube videos highlighting good vocabulary to use in your essays!

Speaking test

This could be the hardest or the easiest component in the entire exam, depending on your strengths and weaknesses. I went into this segment of the exam very confidently, however scored the lowest out of all the segments. This is because I think I may have gone slightly off topic, and because I paused during the cue card talk part. I recommend sticking closely to the question and to make sure you keep talking during the entire 2 minutes allocated to the cue card talk, to avoid losing points. The easiest way to improve speaking is to watch a lot of television (I’m not joking) and reading books. This widens your vocabulary, increases things to talk about and familiarises you with how the language is used. If you don’t feel like watching the news, you could watch shows that interest you, such as documentaries or even English dramas! As long as they’re in English, it’ll really help you a lot with your pronunciation. You can also google topics to talk about, record yourself and play them back to hear how you sound!

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