IELTS Band 8.5 is considered quite rare, and when we come across someone who managed to score that high, we make sure to ask them questions! This is how we met Stanislav Boyko from Uzbekistan – he enrolled in the IELTS Results competition, won the first place in Academic module, and in his winner’s interview gave us a few interesting tips. Stanislav is a native Russian speaker whose overall Band score is 8.5 with two perfect 9’s in Reading and Listening. He said:
The question types such as “Match the heading” or “What is the main idea of the paragraph” require skim-reading. So I decided to simplify it to the maximum and started working exclusively with Subjects of every sentence. No other words (neither predicates nor objects, let alone prepositions and conjunctions) help as much as the Subjects. This is how I managed to find correct answers within seconds and this technique had saved much of my time.
I finished my reading test in 45 minutes and then was just sitting and checking my own answers. But for the other question types I used Scan reading to find the necessary sentence, and Intensive Reading to identify the answer in this sentence.
I had plenty of multiple choice questions during my test, but I was ready for them. I had taught myself how not to get confused in this question type. The speakers tend to give the answers in the multiple choice questions – almost always in paraphrased versions. If some information is not paraphrased but given almost with the same words as in the options – it is more likely to be a distractor.
I have spent lots of time on my self study and the result is rewarding!”
We got some more great advice from Teerth, our second place winner in Academic module. Teerth lives in India and speaks Gujarati. He got the Overall Band Score of 8 (with a perfect 9 in Reading) and here are his tips:
“The most important things to be considered while preparing for the IELTS exams are time management, concentration, strategies, and PRACTICE.
In Reading try to concentrate on all the questions of the passage as much as possible, so that you don’t have to read the same passage again and again. Writing answers on the answer sheet will save some time because you don’t have to copy answers from the booklet. Try different strategies and apply whichever is best for you. Don’t panic during the exam and try to practice as many tests as you can.
In Listening underline important keywords which can help you to find the answers. Practice by listening to BBC news as their audio content is similar to IELTS recordings.
In Writing read as many model essays as you can, you will get a good idea about writing and before that try to study the formats of different essays.
In Speaking try to speak and record different sections of the Speaking test. Listen to them and identify your mistakes.
Make sure to write in neat handwriting, pronounce words properly, and add new words to your vocabulary.
Best luck to all the future test takers!”