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Strategies that helped Vandana get Band 8 in IELTS

Vandana is a lovely lady and one of the winners in our monthly IELTS results competition. When we asked what strategies were responsible for her beautiful score (Listening 9, Reading 8.5, Writing and Speaking 7, Overall Band 8), here is what she said:

Band 9 in IELTS“I am delighted to know that I have been chosen as a winner in the IELTS competition. I would like to extend my gratitude to for keeping me updated and motivated for the test. The experiences that students shared on your site were very helpful. I also found useful the writing task samples with estimated scores. They were very informative and I learnt the key tips about how to convert a normal 6 band writing task to a 7 or higher band one.

A piece of advice for the test takers:

1. Reading test

I would like to recommend the strategy that I followed – one should read the topic of the passage, then get a gist of it by reading the first line of each paragraph and thereafter switch to questions to understand what exactly he/she has to find while reading the complete passage thoroughly. Secondly, one must carry out exhaustive practice of reading IELTS test targeted passages to acquire the required speed of surfing through paragraphs and understanding the overall picture as well. The more you practice, the more you recognize what type of mistakes you are prone to, and thereafter you can try to overcome them. FOCUS or CONCENTRATION are the keys to success in the reading section while speed and analyzing ability are additional essentials. I scored 8.5 in Reading by following this strategy.

2. Listening test

Listening tasks are easy but tricky at the same time. Watch English movies which involve different accents and listen to as many practice audio tests as possible. If you neglect this section thinking that you are too cool to practice in listening to English then you may have doomed yourself to a poor score. This is because this section tests your concentration, attention and accent comprehension, simultaneously, as a listener. Practice all different types of questions and identify your weak spots. For example I faced problems with picture or diagram questions as I used to lose track of the recording and get confused. One should try to behave as a person who doesn’t have his own brain and just follows what is being said because sometimes your own extra thoughts make you miss answers and harm your chances to score higher. I scored a perfect 9 in the Listening and I believe the main reason was a calm mind where no other sound but the audio recording voice echoed. One must be very attentive and sorted enough before starting the Listening test. The questions are fairly simple but mostly lack of self-concentration causes errors. So, prepare smartly!

3. Speaking test

Again, watch some good English movies. Rectify your pronunciation and develop enunciation! Try not to fumble too often or repeat sentences. Stay calm and confident. Answer and speak naturally. Sometimes people try to be pretentious and then mess up with questions giving senseless answers. Of course, they do not test your intelligence but definitely your sense of understanding, analysis and ability to convert thoughts into words. While good VOCABULARY, versatile description of ideas and fluency are three most important things to remember, confidence and convincing naturalness are the plus points. Moreover, if you make a mistake in understanding a question or replying to it, don’t hesitate to correct yourself as soon as you realize and move on without any tension. It happened to me, but I was happy to know that I still received a Band 7.

4. Writing test

For this section, I would say writing samples are beneficial! They have organised the answered sample tasks well, grouped by Band score, which helps you to compare your own writing abilities and predict your current score. Thereafter, one can see the answers of higher band scores to find what is missing in his/her style of writing and improve accordingly. I had practiced very little for this section but helped me to fetch a decent score of 7. Vocabulary, diverse ideas and extensive expressiveness are vital to be incorporated in your writing skills. Fluency and grip of the topic are also equally important. In this section, one should try to understand the topic first, then frame points to be written in the answer and then build up systematically the full body of passage in a step-wise manner. Read as much sample answers as you can and pick useful ideas. Again, concentrate on main ideas of the questions and try to mention all key points while explaining your context. Support your answers with suitable examples and comparisons wherever necessary and be very descriptive as well as convincing with profound thoughtful reasoning.

Rest, PRACTICE hard, Stay COOL and DO it!”

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