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IELTS tips from a Band 8.5 scorer, and one more IELTS Success story

Today we would like you to meet two IELTS test takers, Vivek Kumar from India and Dzung Nguyen (who prefers to be called Matthew) from Vietnam.

Vivek Kumar is a 24 year old man who lives in India and speaks Malayam. He got a truly remarkable score in IELTS – Overall Band 8.5 with a perfect 9 in Reading – and consequently won in our IELTS results competition in June. In his winner’s interview Vivek shared the following words of advice with all the prospective test takers:

Listening: Keep your focus on the audio clip. If you lose your focus even for a bit, it will result in a lot of confusion. The most important part of listening is understanding the clip. Watching a lot of movies without subtitles would help a lot in this regard. Keep doing the practice tests so that you will get the hang of what listening is all about.

Reading: Read the whole passage first before attempting the question. The common mistake which most people commit is going through the questions first. If you read the whole passage first, while going through the questions you will be able to figure out what the answer is, easily. In order to excel in reading, one needs to improve their speed of reading. This can be done only by constant practice.

Note from Simone: this strategy will work better for people who already read fast. Others, who don’t have high reading speed and don’t have time to improve it before the exam should try another strategy, which is reading the questions first.

Writing: A proper introduction, a body and conclusion. This structure needs to be followed properly.

  • Introduction should be interesting and your opinion should be highlighted properly.
  • The Body should elaborate on what the introduction is about.
  • The Conclusion should contain a summary of whatever has been explained in the body.

Go through the sample answers available on the internet before practicing on your own, so that you can get an idea regarding how the answer should be written.

Speaking: There isn’t a right or wrong answer in the Speaking test. What the examiner is looking for is, how well you can understand a question and how well you can speak. Your accent should be easily understandable and you should not speak too quickly. Take your time with the answers as this is not an interview, which judges your knowledge on the subject.”

IELTS Success Story

And now it’s time to introduce Matthew – also a young man, but a native Vietnamese speaker. He is one of our regular subscribers who heard about through our book “IELTS Success Formula”. Matthew says he found more than just a book – he found a dependable guide that led him to improving all of his IELTS skills. But you better hear this from him, in his own words:

Band 8 in IELTS“One day I just came across this book, IELTS Success Formula Academic, in my city’s bookshop and I immediately decided to purchase it because it is a bit rare in the city, and buying the book online in Vietnam, to me, is not really reliable.

After having been with this book over 1 month, my overall comment on it is, beyond doubt, the most helpful one I have ever studied with by far. Just by using this book, or should I say, this productive handbook, I can feel that all four skills of mine have greatly improved (since I am taking the IELTS test in three months’ time).

Needless to say, “IELTS Success Formula – Academic” covers every aspect of the actual IELTS test, from the building and developing basic skills to a variety of beneficial tips and tricks. All the contents are divided into a very logical order, which is basically the same as the order of sections in the IELTS test. Furthermore, the authors give their book users the most efficient plans to study with the book, which are tremendously helpful for both of those who are short of time and those who have more time. Personally I choose the plan for students who have enough time for a thorough preparation. By following the advices in “IELTS Success Formula – Academic” strictly, I have been improving a lot in everything.

The book obviously helped me a lot in fixing my errors, from the craziest ones such as misspelling or transferring the answers to the answer sheet to the hardest ones, in particular, understanding the reading passage in the most effective way to answer the IELTS questions.

As far as I’m concerned, the skill I have improved the most is listening. Not only does “IELTS Success Formula – Academic” list out the entire task types but it provides such specific strategies to answer them successfully. From the book, I understand that the important thing is not that I need to work on as many tests as possible but that I have to analyse my mistakes in each test in order to stay out of them later.

What is more, I have increased so much in my vocabulary in all four skills thanks to those conductive Fitness Activities. Another great thing about the book is the IETLS Writing Doctor part, which does a magnificent job of giving users valuable structures, vocabulary and grammar. “IELTS Success Formula – Academic” also comes with a full IELTS test with necessary, updated information. Hence, it deserves to be the best IELTS self-study book ever. It really is the right formula to the success!

I have nothing to say but compliments about Simone Braverman and Stephen Slater for making this invaluable book. Thank you so much!

I am looking forward to seeing you in real life, as soon as I have the opportunity to visit Australia. Or if you just have time to go on holiday, consider Vietnam as a good destination to choose. Maybe I can meet you or help you find beautiful places for interesting excursions here. And once again I deeply appreciate your dedication to your books, your blog and to me!”

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Simone Braverman is the founder of and the author of several renowned IELTS preparation books, including Ace the IELTS, Target Band 7, the High Scorer's Choice practice test series, and IELTS Success Formula. Since 2005, Simone has been committed to making IELTS preparation accessible and effective through her books and online resources. Her work has helped 100,000's of students worldwide achieve their target scores and live their dream lives. When Simone isn't working on her next IELTS book, video lesson, or coaching, she enjoys playing the guitar or rollerblading.