How Nilay Scored IELTS 8.5 Overall

Nilay scored 8.5 Overall in the IELTS Academic test this month. Below are his tips for his great score in IELTS.

Nilay’s Scores: Overall 8.5

  • Listening: 9
  • Reading: 9
  • Writing: 8
  • Speaking: 8

Nilay’s Tips for IELTS 8.5

Nilay here. I am an orthopedic surgeon from India and currently trying to specialize in spine surgery. I appeared for the IELTS to register with the Canadian medical boards for which I needed minimum 7 in each of the four categories. This was the academic version.

To summarize the prep, I gave it around 12-14 days part time. I had been aware of your videos and thought to just concentrate on that during last 3 to 4 days and I attribute a large part of my writing score to your tips. I didn’t opt for paid tutorials but I feel that the content you generously provide is more than enough in most cases. Having said that, I was planning to get your paid tutorials if I couldn’t cross the required threshold of 7/9 in writing; I was reasonably certain I would cross 7 in RW and S. My tips are summarized here.
Reading Tips- As a compulsive reader, I was a bit overconfident when I started out the prep and expected to score a perfect 9 each time. My behind was handed back to me promptly by the No/Not Given dilemma. Your tips on that cleared out the webs and I highly recommend that video to polish the reading score. One thing I realized in the exam is that the reading paragraphs can be difficult and must not be underestimated even if you are good at reading to begin with. I consider myself a very fast reader and still had only 8-10 mins left at the end. I would advise underlining key words and phrases as it makes it easier to fish out the answers.  I wrote in all caps as advised.
Listening Tips – Tricky proposition. I feel that IELTS listening section doesn’t evaluate your listening capability but rather evaluates your presence of mind and multi-tasking ability to listen, note and paraphrase at the same time. I am very well versed with major accents and still made mistakes in answers due to missing plurals, not catching the exact words and sometimes missing paraphrases at the end of tests. I would really advise going through Cambridge practice tests to refine this. They are the real counterparts to the exam. I can’t stress enough on scanning the questions in advance, predicting answers and using the 30 seconds given to go over your last batch of answers to scan the questions ahead instead.  Presence of mind is really important or you would make a mess of it. Also, all caps again.
Speaking Tips –  Didn’t prepare much for it except for going through your tips and speaking to a local instructor I knew. I am fluent but I speak too fast and maybe that reflected on what I consider a lower score on my speaking test. Also, this is a live interaction test and your score will depend upon your rapport with and impression upon the examiner even if they are trained to disregard those factors. I more or less had  a friendly conversation and was asked questions about skilled and unskilled jobs in last part. I think the trick here is to fill up the time allotted and keep on speaking. I attribute the shavings in my score to speed and my roundabout answer to a bizarre question about soft and hard skills. I could have done better here.
Writing Tips – Last but not the least. I have BAD handwriting which live up to all the cliches about illegibility of doctors. This was a big issue for me with IELTS being a written exam. I realized that all my writing skills would be for naught if it looked like someone dipped ants in ink pot and let them loose on the paper. So I ditched the cursive, zoomed in the fonts and increased the space between words and made several people go through it till their satisfaction. I was confident about my vocabulary and grammar, so that helped but this exam is all about sticking to the format.  I can not stress enough how helpful your writing section videos are. I stuck to the outline stressed upon by you for both the tasks and I was rewarded. I made sure to follow the cite-support-example format for body paragraphs on task two; it really eased the though organization process. Task one is straightforward but it’s important not to get mired into details and just focus on major trends and data points. I didn’t have problem with time and word count. But even if you do, I really suggest taking 2 minutes to read the task and then a minute or so to jot down writing points on paper; paragraph wise. Also keep a minute or two at the end to go over your writing. Do not try to correct or improve large sections of a sentence but concentrate on spell check, grammatical gaffes and punctuation marks.
  To conclude [the format ,the format!], I am satisfied with my result and would thank you for your generous online help. I really stress upon test takers to go through your videos which I consider the best resource available online for this test. I hope my experience helps future test takers. Best of luck to you all!
Message to Nilay: Thanks so much for sharing your tips! I know students will be inspired by your results and also grateful for the experiences you have shared. Well done again with your excellent score 🙂


  1. Hello liz
    I just discovered that we should preferably write the answer in capital letters in both listening as well as reading section.can we do that?

  2. Asalamoalaikum,
    How to write a “name: “maughan” “as an answer in listening module?
    1- m-a-u-g-h-a-n
    2- maughan

  3. Dear liz, Can you explain what exactly the terms “prepare questions” mean in the listening section? Its close to impossible to read and scan questions in a minute time. Or am I missing something?

    • Of course it is possible to read and scan the questions before the audio plays. IELTS have designed the test to enable you to do that. It requires speed reading and it is a skill you need to practise. You also need to be good at spotting key words and underlining them. It all takes practice.

  4. Hi Liz,
    I saw your video on how to write an introduction in Task 2 of the Writing section and you focused on the tips and parts of the introduction for an ACADEMIC essay such as how to write a background and thesis statement so I am assuming that that is for the Academic version of IELTS. I plan to appear for the General IELTS so can I apply the guidelines in that video.

    • The techniques are the same for both GT and Academic writing task 2. All my writing task 2 lessons are for both tests.

  5. The format about the writing is the most essential part of writting section…
    Thnx nilay to guide…

  6. FatemehFatemeh says

    Dear Nilay,
    congratulation , you did best.
    I do not know how to improve my reading.
    Thanks alot Liz for your nice website.

    Best Regards

  7. Thanks Nilay for sharing your tips. I’ve heard a lot of testimonies concerning Liz’s tips, I hope to benefit from it as well

  8. Hosai Hamidi says


  9. Thank you so much Nilay! Helpful, amusing well written essay!!! I also took my IELTS test in february and scored quite bad (only 7 overall). Liz’s Videos helped me too with the writing test: I wrote what I’m sure would have been a very good essay but … I run out of time so I could write only about the half on the official sheet 🙁
    I also realized how focusing extremly imoportant for the listening test is: I wasn’t as much concenrtrated as it would have been necessary so I couldn# answer properly about 1/4 of the questions. For the speaking test I got quite disappointed: only 7 even if I spoke fluently and without esitations. Beeing italian is not very helpful when it comes to speaking foreign languages! I need an overall score of at least 7.5 so up and again. Good luck to you all.

    • Hi Astrid, would you mind telling me what’s your score in Writing? If you just said that you just wrote only a half of the official sheet…
      Thanks much 🙂

      • It’s astounding! I scored 6 ! How I don’t know. I wrote nearly all my Task 1 then I realized I have to little time left for writing Task 1 from the rough. I wrote maybe about 160 words. So I really don’t understand how I could score 6. I thought maybe I will got 5 or 4.5 but 6 … incredible.

  10. Great results

  11. ELizabeth, Good morning to u. Am Mechanical engineer planning to apply to ILETs test as of my plan to immigrate. Please advise me in terms of your pages and web site

    • All main pages are accessed through the red bar at the top of the website – click on the relevant section of the test you want to learn. There are over 300 pages of tips, lessons and answers available through the main pages.

  12. Thanks to your page Liz. I have scored 7.5 on my exam. I followed your page for reading & listening and got 8 & 8.5 respectively. I didn’t concentrate much on your writing tips, because of my short time schedule and I repent for that now( I got 6.5 in my writing). Anyways, thanks for your wonderful page. Hope everyone would leverage this page! 🙂

  13. great result

  14. great

  15. yes Liz is best,as i ever felt. you are the IELTS god gift to us. Thanks for helping others. i have seen very few people who help others and your dedication is really appreciable

  16. Congratulations Niley! Am still struggling to achieve overall 7! Liz thank you for the tips. I pray I make it this time!

  17. Ashkar ahmed says

    Congrats!! Nilay

  18. Dear Liz & Niloy,
    Both of you, thanks a lot…………

  19. Perfect result. Thanks for sharing. Thank you Liz.

  20. This is wonderful. Thanks alot for reminding future takers to have enough doses of Liz’ videos.
    I have been preparing but I must see more of these recommended videos. I am not clear about the reason for using all capitals; for me am slowest when I write all in upper case.
    Thanks for sharing.

  21. hi nilay, i want to ask you one question that did you write text firstly on rough paper and then you wrote on neat paper or you just wrote straight a way?

    • It is not recommended to write your essay twice. If you plan your essay properly, you should only write it once. Planning is the key.

    • Honestly , you won’y have that much time to write it in rough and then fair it , instead as suggested by all experts , plan and write.

      • I know that time is paramount, but I’m really not that good that I can afford to write it directly on the official sheet. I need a rough script 🙁
        Maybe I have to practice how to write very fast! *lol* To be earnst I am so busy with my practice and my family needs me to so I have as good as very little time to practice. But I look positive in the future.

  22. Monica Girmencea says

    Hello!Congratulations Nilay,i hope have good results as well. I need score 7 for nurse.

  23. As a teacher, I used almost every tip of you, Liz to prepare my lessons, and when my students took the exam, the lowest mark was 7!
    Besides, anyone who asks for a source to prepare for IELTS, I just give them your website link .. simple and straight forward .. so a big thank you for all your efforts .. keep lifting our hopes.

    Congrats, Nilay.

  24. Outstanding performance!

  25. I scored an 8 overall (R and S:8 each, L:8.5, Writing:7) following your blog and doing the British Council mocks only. Hardly 5 days of preparation was possible. Thanks a lot for your valuable, efficient and to-the-point tips.

  26. Thanks Nilay..I wrote exam 2 times,but I did not achieved my target score( individual 7 in each module;academic) you described well each module and I am struggling with my handwriting.So glad to hear you did well in the exam.. My hearty congrats ..

  27. Tony Mendoza says

    Hi Liz! Thank you so much for this information. It is really motivating for me cause I will take the IELTS very soon. Nilay congratulations, well done!

  28. Congrats for this brilliant score. Let me share my experience in the last general IELTS taken a year ago. I think I had a rigorous preparation especially in the writing task that usually has multiple facets and different ways of response. The task two topic at that time was interesting as contradictory points of views must be addressed as well as my final stand about it. I wrote 5 paragraphs including the intro and the conclusion and asked for additional paper to complete my streaming context. At the end, I was internally satisfied despite the time limits that preserve you in just to finish approach. In the result report, I was actually surprised exclusively in the writing section that was below my expectations. My predictions for it was at least 7 or more based on what I had done though the actual score was 6. 5. I didn’t know why it came like this coz it’s hard to print such a sophisticated piece of writing in these conditions

  29. Thank you Nilay.
    Thanks a ton Liz…I scored 7.5 overall in ielts General Training in Jan18.. Listening 8.5, Reading 7.5, Writing 6.5 and Speaking 7.5.
    I do agree to Nilay..Yours tips are really invaluable and helped me in organising myself better for ielts

  30. Thanx for sharing

  31. Jacob Edifre Ime says

    Congratulations and thanks for sharing

  32. Congratulation ! Nilay ! Thank you so much for your sharing tips !

  33. This is really helpful ,Thank you .

  34. Hello madam Liz
    Iam wondering if you have materials or online courses for Occupational English language Test(OET).
    Thanks in advance

  35. Thanks for sharing found it useful

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