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IELTS preparation tips from Sridhar, Band 8.0 achiever

Sridhar is an IELTS test taker from Bangalore, India, who took the exam in June and got a great overall score of 8.0. He wrote to us and wanted to share his tips for successful exam preparation with the readers of

Band 8 in IELTSSridhar says:

“I began preparing from the standard Cambridge book as well as a few other test prep. books such as Barrons. Once I understood the format, I was interested in polishing my technique, speed, efficiency, etc.

This is exactly where IELTS blog helped me a lot. Thanks to the blog and all the tips, contributions, samples, etc. I owe some credit to IELTS Blog and Simone Braverman for my success.

My score was 8.0 overall: Listening 8.5, Reading 8.0, Writing 7.5, and Speaking 7.0.

I would advise all readers to read the IELTS General Training / Academic Module – How to Maximize Your Score. It’s really worth it.

One needs a good level of English, which is a good foundation to start. You can polish this by reading, listening as well as
speaking in daily situations.

But beyond your English skills you also need to be familiar with the format, flow, how to tackle each section, etc. The required
techniques/tips are found all over this blog.

Listening: The tip on focusing on the specific questions and drawing a line after the last question in the current group is very important. This might sound trivial, but you will realize the importance of this during the test. Your eyes or mind might drift to the next section by mistake when the conversation is on and you may miss something.

Writing: The format recommended on this site is quite simple. However, one has to be creative and add more examples, flavor, points, etc. Since most of us are used to using a computer our writing and editing may not be as good when we write manually. You don’t have a spellchecker, grammar correction, etc tools and you cannot easily go back and forth changing words or sentences (as in MS word or Word Pro software). Just try to make up your mind on what you want to write and minimize your editing.

In my case bad handwriting was also an issue and I had to go slow and write neatly, which required some practice. You might be good at typing on a PC, but writing manually can be challenging for people who left school/college long ago.

Reading: You will find more tips in this blog, so I’ll be brief. But one tip is to learn how to read and skim fast – its not wise to read each and every word and sentence. However, when you look for something specific – read in detail. Before reading fully, go and see what types of questions exist and look for that as well. Some sure-shot questions can be cracked while your reading is in progress. Remember the aim here is to find answers, not to study the material in detail.”

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