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Student Tips for Getting IELTS Band 8.5 Overall

My Tips for IELTS Overall 8.5

This page gives you my tips for how I got IELTS band score 8.5 overall in 3 steps. And also my tips for getting band 8 in IELTS writing and band score 9 in IELTS speaking.

by Deeksha

My IELTS Test Results

24th June; United States; First Attempt. I just received my IELTS score:

  • Listening – 7.5
  • Reading – 8.5
  • Writing – 8.0
  • Speaking – 9.0
  • Overall – 8.5

I barely had 5 days to prepare. 70% of my preparation included watching the videos on your blog, answering your sample questions, and going through your tips! For the rest 30%, I printed some of the full-fledged tests and
sample answer sheets from the Cambridge IELTS books and just practised using those.

For anyone of you who has a very little time to prepare, I hope that the process I followed can help you lay out a basic schedule.

My 3 Step Tips for IELTS Band Score 8.5

See my 3 steps:

Step -1 (Know the test)

– Go through the test format.
– Spend some time and understand the question patterns in each segment.
– Keep in mind the time limit for every segment.
– Do an initial sample test (download from IELTS official website) just to see where you stand.

Links:

Step-2 (Prepare using Liz’s blog)

– Go through every one of the 4 segments (L, R, W, S) in this blog, one after the other. Links: Listening Tips, /Reading / Writing T1 /  Writing T2 / Speaking
– In each segment, read every tip and watch every video.
– Make notes of the points that you would like to keep in mind.
– Try and answer every sample question that Liz has laid out there. She has specified at least one sample question for every possible pattern that could appear on the test.
– Look at the answers and compare with yours. Figure out what you got wrong and more importantly, “analyze why you got them wrong.” This helps you understand how you approached the question, and how you should have.

Step-3 (Practice)

– Download all the versions of Cambridge IELTS books (you can just google them out).
– From these books, print out the full-fledged tests and sample answer sheets.
– Take these tests using a clock and write your answers in the sample answer sheets.
– Grade your tests and find out your weak areas.
– Make notes of your analysis and try to keep it in mind during the following tests.

In addition, go through the comments in this blog and find out what the recent test takers said about their tests. Know about the tips that helped them, learn from their experiences and be prepared.

Writing Tips for Band Score 8

On my test:

  1. Write a letter to your friend who is going to stay in your apartment during the next month while you are away on vacation
  2. Tell your friend where to get the keys
  3. Tell your friend about the equipment in your apartment
  4. Tell your friend about some places to visit in the area
  5. Advancement of technology has obliterated libraries and hard copies of books. Do you agree or disagree?

–          Apart from your writing skills and the topic at hand, it may help to do this section in a way that encompasses all the elements that the examiner is looking for. Liz’s writing section mentions specific guidelines for content organization, format, tone, logical reasoning, titles, signatures and many other tips. Go through them and try to follow all those tips as you write. In other words, you will have a shell prepared in your mind even before you know what the questions are. Click here: IELTS GT Letter Tips 

–          I didn’t have time to practice this section at all so I had a bit of an issue managing time on the test. If you have very little time to prepare for IELTS, make sure you squeeze in at least a few writing tests and see where you stand with the time limit.

Speaking Tips for Band Score 9

Go through Liz’s list of sample topics, sample answers (Liz’s Speaking Page), comments from recent test takers (Recent Topics) on this blog and questions from IELTS Cambridge speaking tests. Try to answer them. These should be more than enough to help you familiarize with the test pattern and to understand what to expect on the test. From the comments, I also found out that most of these questions are being repeated so make sure you go through them. Almost all the questions that my examiner (whose name was coincidentally Liz) asked me were also from the above lot.

As Liz mentioned, they expect you to be casual and test you only for your language and not for your knowledge on the topic at hand. Think about this segment like you just bumped into a fan who would like to know some of your opinions and experiences. Well, you don’t simply meet a fan every day, so this is your chance – talk her ear off! J Be casual, funny, and confident and you’ll do just fine.

Try to book your test in a test center that does not use hallway speakers to play the audio in the listening section. There is a definite distinction in terms of quality compared to headphones. There is always a possibility of noise and distraction. I didn’t know about this while booking my test and I certainly experienced the difference.

Thanks,

Deeksha.

Good Luck!

Liz – Thanks again for the effort you are putting in, to assist so many test-takers all over the world, each with their own questions and training needs. It must feel incredible to know that most of these people credit their success to you. Keep up the good work!

Deeksha.

Message from Liz

Deeksha, you’ve done exceedingly well. Congratulations!! I love your tips! They are logical and very helpful for all IELTS students. Tackling IELTS methodically is essential and Deeksha has really hit the nail on the head !!! 🙂

July 20th IELTS Writing Task 2 Question

Today (July 20th) the IELTS writing task 2 question was reported. Below you can see the essay question.

 

IELTS Essay Question: July 20th 2017

Billions of dollars are spent on space research. This is a waste of money. More money must be spent on improving the problems of people on earth .To what extent do you agree or disagree.

The topic of Space Exploration and Space Travel is for Academic students only. It is not an easy topic to write about so make sure you prepare ideas for this topic.

 

Prepare properly for IELTS

Hi guys,

This video is a free video lesson about how to prepare for IELTS. It is posted on my home page but I feel many students are not finding it. So, here is your chance to watch it and think about the points given.

In the video, it mentions about knowing your level of English. Let me explain:

  • Band 5 = frequent errors
  • Band 6 = some errors
  • Band 7 = few errors
  • Band 8 = most sentences are error free

I am sure you all know how many errors you make on average. You don’t need a teacher to tell you. You can use spell check and grammar check in ms word doc. You should also review your vocab frequently and your understanding of grammar tenses. You can also review your range of grammar tenses by recording your speaking answers and playing it back to check. Or writing a task 2 essay and underlining each grammar tense you use.

IELTS Video Lesson: How to Prepare

 

Answers to Dinosaur Reading Questions

Hi guys,

Yesterday I posted a reading exercise on pterosaur dinosaurs and now you can find the answers. If you didn’t finish the reading exercise, please do it now: TFNG questions pterosaur dinosaurs

Answers

Click below to reveal the answers:

Answers, Explanations & Tips

Answers

  1. Question = Pterosaurs were the first creatures to be able to fly by creating lift

Answer: F

Passage Information: “They were also the first animals after insects to evolve powered flight—not just leaping or gliding, but flapping their wings to generate lift and travel through the air.”

Explanation: the word creatures refers to both animals and insects. The passage shows that animals (pterosaurs) could fly after insects. This means insects were first. Creating lift relates to “generating lift”.

The reading passage for this lesson was taken from the American Museum of Natural History. You can read the full information about pterosaurs on their website: AMNH pterosaurs.Some students have comments on “flapping wings”.  You can read about insect flight on this page: WIKI Insect Flight  or check directly with AMNH about their article.

2. Question = Pterosaurs were able to fly as high as modern aeroplanes.

Answer: NG

Passage Information: ” Some were as large as an F-16 fighter jet, and others as small as a paper aeroplane.”

Explanation: You can see that the passage does not give information about how high the dinosaurs could fly. No mention of height is given. The passage only mentions “F-16 fighter jet” – not a range of modern planes. This means the answer is Not Given.

3. Question = The shape and the size of pterosaurs varied over time.

Answer: T

Passage Information: “Over time, the earliest pterosaurs—relatively small flying reptiles with sturdy bodies and long tails—evolved into a broad variety of species. Some had long, slender jaws, elaborate head crests, or specialized teeth, and some were extraordinarily large.

Explanation: You can see from the passage that at the beginning all pterosaurs were quite small. But then they changed and some of them grew to be very big. The word “evolved” indicated natural evolution which happens over a period of time and also the confirmation “over time”. The passage also mentioned the shape of the pterosaurs = “Some had long, slender jaws, elaborate head crests”. The word “some” means that some had this shape and others had a different shape.

Tips

The answer might not be in one sentence. Once you locate the information, read the sentences before and after to locate more information. You will often have to read 4 or 5 sentences in the passage in order to decide your answer.

You can see that I posted the passage information and explanation. You should do this when you practice full reading tests at home. After you finish the test, review each question and answer -write down the explanation for the answer so you can see your mistakes more clearly in order to learn and develop.

Message from Liz

Most of you got the answers spot on – well done 🙂 If you got one or two wrong, I hope you can understand why from my explanations above.

I will try and post more lessons soon.

Liz

 

 

Answers to Listening: Office Etiquette

Hi guys,

I have posted the answers to yesterday’s listening lesson with the transcript as well.

I’ve posted them back on the lesson page. Click this link to see the answers: Office Etiquette Listening Lesson

Thanks

Liz

Answers to Yesterday’s TFNG Reading

The answers to yesterday’s TFNG reading lesson are now available.

I’ve posted them on the lesson page.

Please visit the lesson page to see the answers: Yesterday’s TFNG reading lesson

Message from Liz:

I hope you did well 🙂 If you didn’t get them correct, I hope you will understand why when you read the answers and explanation. IELTS is all about learning and improving your technique 🙂

Liz

 

Answer to yesterday’s lesson

Yesterday I posted a lesson about how to write your answers for listening and reading. Make sure you complete the lesson before checking the answers: How to write Answer for Listening & Reading

Answers

  1. a (the $ sign is already given so you don’t need to repeat it.)
  2. a ( you can’t paraphrase the answer in listening or reading. You must write the exact word from the passage. The word “access” isn’t in the passage and would be marked wrong.
  3. d (you can write the time in any way as long as it is clear to read. You can also write it in words if the word count allows)
    1. For question 3, I want you to pay attention to the instructions. The instructions do not say “no more than three words and/or  a number”. The word number is plural = numbers. It is essential that you notice if you can have one number or more than one number. However, for the answer to this question the times given are actually counted as one number anyway – so no problem.

I hope you found that lesson useful 🙂

 

IELTS can be Emotional

IELTS can be emotional for many people for various reasons. In this post, I want to discuss why emotions can bubble over before and during the IELTS test.

The reason I am writing this test to to reassure students that it is normal for emotions to run high in the test. Below are three common problems with emotions and crying in the IELTS test.

1) IELTS is Important for your Future

For many students, the IELTS test is the key to their future. Without a good score, many students are unable to take the next step towards creating a better life for themselves. For this reason, emotions can run high when it comes to IELTS.

However, you should not tackle IELTS with emotions. This is a specific language test with specific rules and specific requirements. You need to tackle IELTS logically and calmly. You must ensure you are fully prepared before you walk into the exam room.

Here are some steps to prepare for IELTS:

  1. Have a realistic goal. Don’t aim for band 7 if your English contains so many mistakes.
  2. Learn as much as you can about the test. What can take into the test room? How does the examiner mark writing task 1? Learn as much as you can:
    1. IELTS Test Information
    2. IELTS Band Scores Explained
  3. Practice each type of question for L, R, W & Sp.
  4. Review model answers for IELTS speaking and writing .
  5. Prepare common topics for speaking and writing.
    1. IELTS Listening Practise & Tips
    2. IELTS Reading Practise & tips
    3. IELTS Writing Task 1 Practise, Tips & Model Answers
    4. IELTS Writing Task 2 Practise, Tips & Model Answers
    5. IELTS Speaking Practise, Tips & Model Answers
    6.  Recent IELTS Exam Questions
  6. Watch my free video: How to Prepare for IELTS (click to open)
  7. Don’t keep taking the test again and again. Review your techniques, review your English and work on your weaknesses before taking the test again.  Make sure the next time you take the test, you have improved.
    Quote Einstein: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

2) Crying in the Speaking Test

I have known students cry in their IELTS speaking test. The most common reason is that they start talking about painful memories which upset them.

This is a language test and a chance to showcase your English. You must think in this way when you enter the test room. All students will be nervous in the test and also emotional to some extent. Students feel pressure to perform and feel the pressure to get good results. This can make you emotional.

In part 2, if the question is about a person you admire, don’t choose to talk about someone who recently died and who you loved. It will distract you from thinking about your English and bring up painful emotions. If you cry in the IELTS test, the examiner CANNOT give you more time. So, be wise in your choices and choose to talk about someone else. Avoid talking about sad memories or difficult personal issues.

If you get emotional in the test, take a deep breathe and hear my words “This is your test! Take control of your test! Take control of your future! Say to the examiner “I’m ready to continue” and then focus on the question – you can do it !!!” I want you to hear my voice, relax and ace your test! My best wishes will always be with you.

3) Problems in L, R, & W

The most common problem in the IELTS listening test is losing your place. This is because students try to understand everything rather than listen for answers and follow key words.

In IELTS reading, I have heard of students crying because they didn’t write their answers directly on the answer sheet. You DO NOT get an extra 10 mins to transfer your answers.

In IELTS writing, the most common reason students get upset is because they didn’t mange their time and failed to complete both tasks. There is a clock in the room and you should keep checking the time. The examiner DOES NOT tell you when to move from task 1 to task 2. You must manage your time for both tasks in the hour provided.

Share your Experiences

Feel free to write a comment and share your experiences of the IELTS test with other students.

  Thanks, Liz

Summing Up Emotions

  1. Be realistic about your expectations in IELTS. If your English is only intermediate level, don’t expect to get band score 7 or 8. This is a language test, tips will only take you to your own personal maximum – not above.
  2. Don’t get over tired. Pace yourself, schedule your practise.
  3. Before the speaking test, get plenty of rest.
  4. In the speaking test, don’t talk about emotional issues or sad memories. This is a language test, make the right decisions so that you can showcase your English.
  5. The examiner can’t give you extra time if you cry in the speaking test. Try to calm down and focus on the next question. Say to the examiner “I’m fine to continue” or “Sorry, I can continue now.”
  6. In LR&W, go to the toilet before the test – you will miss answers and lose time if you go to the toilet during the test.
  7. In the listening test, pay attention to key words and be ready to move to the next question so you don’t lose your place. Always check if there are questions on the next page.
  8. In reading, don’t forget you DON’T get extra time to transfer your answers!! Don’t forget this!
  9. In writing, keep your eye on the clock! Don’t spend more than 20 mins in task 1 and don’t spend more than 40 mins on task 2.  Always write an overview for task 1 and a conclusion for task 2.

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