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Tips for IELTS Band 8 from Akshay Deep (competition winner)

Band 8 in IELTS

Akshay Deep is one of the best scorers in September, who received Band 8 in a General Training IELTS exam. He found helpful in his exam preparation, and wanted to help other test takers in our international family – so here are his tips:

Magic Mantra – Practice, Practice and Practice!

The secret behind my good scoring in Listening (8.5) and Reading (8.0) was that I had taken more than 35 Practice Papers over the course of my 2 month IELTS Exam Preparation. These practice tests gave me the confidence to do well in the main exam.

My Tips / Strategies for Listening and Reading:

1. If your handwriting is bad (like mine), it will be better to answer all the questions in CAPITAL LETTERS. This strategy will also come in handy in situations where you are not sure whether they should be starting with CAPS or not. Please note you need to practice this strategy many times before you are comfortable about using it in a real exam.

2. Make it a habit to write your answers to all practice papers on the actual IELTS Exam Answer Sheet. Click here for the Listening answer sheet, and here for the Reading answer sheet.

3. In your real exam use the same pencil and eraser that you use in the practice exams. It made me comfortable in the real exam.

4. Read instructions very carefully before you answer the questions (especially for questions where they state that answers should not be more than 2 words, 3 words, etc.)

5. Always make sure you have some time left in the end (say 6-8 min) for revision. Use this time to check your spelling mistakes.

6. For the Listening Section, be careful while transferring answers from the question paper to the answer sheet. Needless to say, only the answers on the answer sheet count.

My Tips / Strategies for Writing:

1. Make it a habit to read English newspapers, English magazines. This habit will go a long way in improving your writing.

2. Practice writing Task 1 and Task 2 in 55 minutes flat! Last 5 minutes should be left for proofreading (checking your spelling and punctuation). I did not do this enough. That’s why I got only 6.5 in Writing!

3. Practice your writing tasks also on the actual IELTS Exam Answer Sheets. This will help you check your word-count also in practice. Needless to say, you have to write 150 words for Task 1 and 250 words for Task 2.

My Tips / Strategies for Speaking:

1. At least till the time you take the IELTS Exam, make it a point to speak in English as much as possible in your daily routine. This will improve your fluency.

2. As most of you use smart phones, use the voice recorder app to practice the 2-min monologue. Listening to what you said can help you identify common errors. For instance, I never realised how many times I use the word “like” in my speaking!

3. More than grammar, intonation, etc, I feel CONFIDENCE is the KEY!!! Practice speaking confidently. This rubs off positively on the examiner.

4. Speaking Test is like a Personal Interview. Dress well. Present yourself well and be courteous & polite to the examiner. Learn using common salutations in the beginning and the end – things like asking permission to enter the room, to sit down, thanking the examiner for their time, etc.

Finally, take this journey of IELTS Exam Preparation actually as an opportunity to ‘really’ improve your English. Aren’t we taking this exam to settle in an English-speaking country?

Hope my input has helped! All the very best for IELTS Exam Preparation.

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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.