How Ayesha got IELTS Band 8.5 without any coaching (preparation tips)

Would YOU like to get Band 8.5 in IELTS in your first attempt ever and without any coaching? I bet the answer is YES, and the good news is – it’s possible!

Ayesha, one of readers and a winner of our IELTS results competition, has sent a few tips to help you reach this goal. Here they are:

Band 8 in IELTS“I am happy to inform you that I got 8.5 overall in my first attempt, without any coaching. I had one month for my preparation and my native language is not English. I completed my education in India.

Here are some of the strategies and tips I followed for the IELTS test and I was successful with 8.5 band.

I had a preparation time of one month. I utilised it for as much practice as possible. I used to spend a minimum of 2.5 hours per day (exclude the weekends please). I started off with the books Target Band 7 and Insight into IELTS. These books gave me an orientation towards the exam as I knew nothing about the exam initially. I tried to remember the tips and applied them during the practice tests. My practice tests were from Cambridge books and online sources.

The first few days, I did which ever section of the test I was comfortable with. Later, say the last 5 days, I did the entire test at a stretch, so that I can comfortably sit for 3 hours.

Coming to the individual sections:


Honestly speaking, I never faced any issues with listening. My entire schooling was in English. That was a great plus. In addition, I always enjoyed watching English movies. For the test takers who fear this section, I would just say – guys, don’t worry. This part is the easiest. Just listen to BBC news everyday for 30 min at least and do the Cambridge practice tests. Just keep watching English movies without subtitles and try to follow most of the sentences. That will boost up your confidence.


Many of the test takers fail to manage the time during this section of the test. My sincere advice is to make yourself comfortable going through lengthy newspaper articles everyday. This also improves your vocabulary and grammar. The method I followed in the test was skim and scan. Initially, I just rushed through the passage to grab the content and highlight the prominent dates, people, etc. in the passage. Then I read the questions and came back to find the answers in the relevant section. This saved time for me. In case you are unable to find an answer for the question, leave it and go to the next. You can always come back. The toughest type are TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN. Try to master this type.


This is in fact the toughest part for many. Try to go through the videos on YouTube for this section of the test. They show you the pattern to be followed for different types of questions in Task 1 and 2. Go through as many sample essays as you can. IELTS blog has many of these. Make sure you don’t write off-topic. Be straight forward and clear, especially in Task 2. Hit the word count of 150 (Task 1) and 250 (Task 2) as a must. Use a variety of sentences, synonyms and linkers. Answer all parts of the question. Again, practice a lot!


Be confident when you speak. Don’t get nervous. Take time to understand the question and give relevant answers. For the monologue, answer all parts of the question as Task achievement is also assessed. Try to maintain normal fluency. Do not be too fast or too slow. It is OK to take short pauses but use fillers to maintain the fluency. If you do not understand, you are allowed to ask the examiner to explain it to you. Make it a point to speak in English at least 30 min per day. It is OK to make mistakes, so do not panic if it happens to you.

Hope this turns out to be helpful to many of the IELTS test takers. Good luck!”

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