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IELTS test tips from people who got Band 7.5 to 8.5

Band 9 in IELTSWe were hoping our IELTS results competition winners would come back with some great tips for everyone, and they didn’t disappoint! Today we will be sharing the advice we got from Shashank, Akinwale and Chidinma.

Shashank (IELTS Band 7.5) is 26 years old, he lives in India and speaks Telugu. Here is what Shashank thinks might help you do well in IELTS:

“My advice for this exam is to use extensive resources available online. Don’t try to depend on too many websites though, limit yourself to one or two good sites like and DCielts. Do as many mock tests as possible under timed conditions. Overall I would say that practice is key to success in IELTS exam.”

Akinwale (IELTS Band 8.0) is 25 years old, he comes from Nigeria and speaks Yoruba. He shared quite a few actionable tips in his whnner’s interview:

“Wow! Am I dreaming? April is just the best month I’ve ever had. Thank you to the whole IELTS-Blog team. Basically, I see myself as a native English speaker. I like to learn at least five words every day.

I actually started my preparation in October 2015, although it wasn’t intensive then. I also watched as many YouTube videos as I could, visited so many sites and noted down various methods to approach the exam.

During my preparation, a friend who has sat the test before me advised that I focus on my strength, to leverage it and that way compensate for my weakness. So, I found the listening module to be the easiest, followed by the reading. I tested myself with almost all IELTS practice tests from 1-9 and then became quite comfortable with types of conversation, reading topics, contemporary issues to write on, as well as the likely interview questions I may be asked.

In the exam hall, I relaxed my nerves. I assumed the position of an observer during the listening module, that made it easy for me to pick out answers to the questions – even though I did preempt them. There are basically two ways to approach the reading module: skimming and scanning, but I made an hybrid of those two, I would skim where the questions require finding words in the passage and scan when I’m asked for synonyms of words or similar meaning of sentences. It is worth noting that test takers should have a wide eye span as this will enable you to look at as many words as possible at a time.

People with fear of public speaking might have difficulty in the speaking module, this I don’t know the solution to, but otherwise all you need to do is be audible, coherent and respectful. Avoidance of vulgar language will surely be an added advantage.

For the writing module, Academic Task 1 requires no knowledge of the subject-topic even though you need to infer knowledge from the graph/chart. This inferred knowledge will help in making comparisons, identifying similarities and differences. Task 2 seems simpler to me, all you need is to find an appropriate response from your pool of knowledge and past experience. Finally, here you must be articulate and legible in your writing, and make your essay interesting to read.

In conclusion, I wish everyone who aspires to take IELTS all the best in your pursuit of a better life. This e-mail [from] came in when I was on my way to notarize a copy of my IELTS result, for admission to study in Germany. Thank you so much for the afforded opportunity.”

Chidinma (IELTS Band 8.5) is 34 years old, she lives in Nigeria and speaks Igbo. Here is what you can learn from her experience:

“My best advice to other candidates is not to take any aspect of the test for granted. Preparation is key to the kind of success one wants to achieve. Visiting helped me greatly, because I found a lot of useful material to prepare for the test.

For the Writing test, I read model answers of the IELTS score I wanted to achieve and noted the structure and construction of sentences to suit that purpose. In the Reading test, I made sure I understood the question especially in the True/False/Not given questions. The answer is always there in the passage. It is essential to be relaxed for the speaking test, this helps because once one is agitated, the tendency to falter is very high.

Best of luck to all prospective candidates!”

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