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Two different strategies, same great result – how Saurab and Srinithya got Band 8 in IELTS

There’s a famous proverb “All roads lead to Rome” and in case you didn’t know, it means that the same goal can be reached in a number of ways. Today we are bringing you a classic example of how true this is: two of our IELTS results competition winners with the same great result – Band 8 – shared their preparation methods and techniques. It turns out they prepared for the exam in different ways, but achieved the same level of success!

Band 9 in IELTSSaurab Mehra lives in India and speaks Hindi. He got IELTS Band 8 Overall with a perfect 9 in Reading, and here is how – in his own words:

“Thank you for declaring me the winner. I would like to share the tips and ways I used to prepare for IELTS. I prepared for 2 weeks and got a good band score.

1. For Listening part,“ACE the IELTS” book helped me a lot. I used to practice early morning in a quiet environment which helped me build my concentration. Also, watching BBC news and other TV shows helped me understand the accent.

2. For Reading part, I practiced a lot. I’m an avid comic book reader so I developed a fast reading habit. I used to read the entire paragraph in one quick succession, and then read the questions and find the answers. This helped me find the right answers to all questions.

3. For Writing part, I practiced writing about many topics and read about current topics in newspapers and journals. This helped me enhance my knowledge and use complex sentences.

4. For Speaking part, practice with someone and prepare for common questions such as about favorite person, best friend, city or any current issue. I prepared well for a few topics and got one of them to speak on.

My advice:

1. Practice Listening in a quiet environment and use a watch to check the speed.

2. Develop a good reading pace. Remember, 1st passage is easiest, 2nd is medium difficulty and 3rd is the hardest. Always check your answers after completing the passage. I used to spend 15 min on the 1st Reading section, 20 minutes on 2nd and 25 minutes on the 3rd. After completing each section, check for answers once.”

Srinithya Sundar also lives in India and speaks Tamil. She got Band 8 overall and here are her suggestions to help you do well in the test:

“My best advice to IELTS test takers would be – ‘take your time and do not rush’ to the exam. I allowed myself 3 months of preparation time which covered rigorous practice of all 4 sections of the test (considering I’m a working professional). For all the 4 sections, I would recommend to practise questions from all the 12 Cambridge IELTS practice books. The magic is only to concentrate and practise everyday without fail!

Listening and Reading

I did one reading test and one listening test each day under exam conditions. Initially I found it difficult to complete within the stipulated time, however, after a couple of weeks of practise, I was able to complete the reading test in less than 50 minutes. For listening tests, it’s alright to rewind and listen to the audio if you missed a bit in between while practising. Just make sure to concentrate and complete 1 reading test within 50 min and 1 listening test without playing the audio again, and score yourself at the end of the tests. Try to consistently score 36-38 in each of your practice tests and this is your green light to book your exam.

Writing and Speaking

Writing definitely requires a tutor who could correct your mistakes and give feedback. I hired a tutor online and she helped me improve gradually. The secret here is to write down a list of good vocabulary for each topic such as education, career, governments, festivals, celebrities, food, environment, family, travel etc. These are the basic topics from which any essay/letter/speaking question would be asked. Just memorise the new words under each topic and make sure to form 1 sentence using each of the new words in your essay and also while speaking based on whichever topic is asked in the exam.

For example, if the essay topic is about environment/pollution, you could write 1 sentence with each of these words: climatic conditions, depletion of ozone, chlorofluorocarbons, deforestation, endangered species, ecosystem, food chain, etc. Another example is if the topic is related to trade/markets, then the list of vocabulary could be consumerism, merchandise, alluring advertisement, marketing strategy, globalisation, rival firms, vogue, etc. Also, don’t forget to use linkers such as nevertheless, however, not only … but also, moreover, furthermore, consequently, etc appropriately, and check your grammar, punctuation, spelling and divide your essay in 4 paragraphs – 1 for introduction, 2 body paragraphs and 1 for conclusion. This will definitely fetch you a 7 in writing even if the content and ideas are simple.

Always remember that the examiner in the speaking test is a person who wants to give you the maximum possible score. Just make sure you let him/her do it by showcasing how long and how well you can speak. Use the vocabulary you memorised and make sure to say at least 3 sentences in answers for part 1 and 3. For part 2, ensure that you speak until you are stopped.

Hope my strategies and techniques are useful and I wish all the IELTS test takers good luck.”

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