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.


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.



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!


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 !!! 🙂


  1. Hlo Liz
    I am a Police Officer and want to apply for on PR bases and i need almost 7778 requirement in IELTS . I am going to start my preparation for IELTS test but i am not able to find the way how to strat and from where. i mean i am very busy still i want to try. So give me suggestions please and guide me with your great experience. I really will be thankfull .


    • Why don’t you get a full free practice test and do it at home. Then mark it yourself and write a list of all the problems you had with it and start learning. There is no particular way to learn. You just need to cover as much as you can:
      1. test rules and band score requirements – see the Information Page
      2. question types for each section
      3. tips and techniques for each section
      Use the RED BAR at the top of the website to access all main pages with lessons, tips, model answers etc.
      For one free practice test, go to the BC IELTS website.

  2. Hi Dear Liz
    Today I had my IELTS exam . I have one question from you.
    in listening part one, if there is a space which should be filled with ‘shop’ in sentence like (repair at local …….) , is writing ‘Store’ correct as well or not?

  3. Hello,
    I have a question, if in the listening section the answer key says: August, and my answer was: of August. Would my answer be correct? Because it still makes sense in the question.
    It is form completion question that says: Last entry date: 1st …….. then the question number comes.
    Appreciate your help

  4. Hi lizy, thanks alot, your tutorial session is really encouraging, I have an answer to a question from writing task 2.please I want you to mark it and score me
    This is the question -in many countries children are engaged in some kind of paid work.some people regard this as completely wrong,while others consider it as a valuable work experience, important for learning and taking responsibility.
    Discuss both these views and give your opinion

    Traditionally, older teenagers (16-19) have some kind of paid work but introducing it much earlier has been adopted by many countries and has sparked lots of controversy.
    The obvious arguemement in its favour, is that early and middle teenagers enagaged in some kind of paid work take up responsibility much more easily and become useful to them self, family and society at large.
    Teenage employment are linked to social origin and motivations of youth upon entry into secondary school and suggest that teenagers should exercise power as they build human capital during school through education and work experience .this instills a whole array of positive traits, including independence, responsibility, interpersonal skills and more importantly good time management.
    However there are some disadvantages, as some educators complain that working teenager put in too much hours on their jobs and they may have little time to see their teachers after school for counsel and special needs,some developmental psychologist have also echo concerns and warn that employment may cut short or deny youth an “essential adolescent moratorium “,a stage of life free from adult worries,stressor and responsibility which is important to every individual.
    Personally I feel it’s a welcomed idea, as early exposure to paid work does not only encourage the child’s learning enthusiasm, assist child’s financial needs, curb criminal activities associated with teenagers and boredom but also contribute to human capital development but this is subject on the economic stability of any nation,which is the problem of most African developing nations

  5. Want to know can I write all letters in capital in listening test in a word?

  6. Hello Liz,

    I am struggling with Reading section. I tried my best to score 7(this is required for me to qualify for further process) and above but failed couple of times. I am not sure where i am going wrong. Its not that i am not following the pattern but the results are demotivating. The last section of reading is giving me lots of trouble. Your tips and help will definitely change my life if i succeed in getting the required band.
    Please help with all the experience you have to get me through this.

    -Regards, NB

    • Sorry Liz if i have written too much. Has lost in emotions as I am not able to clear this section. I had taken lessons from one of the IELTS tutor here but in vein as it was really not useful and hence reaching out to you.
      I have been going through your tips and suggestions for reading as well as other sections and they are wonderful, no doubts. Just dont know the technique to be followed or is it i am getting more stressed or panic when i am unable to find wright answers or pointers for the given questions.

      Please help on how i can improve the score. I will need to score 34 to 36 to get 7 band,

      Regards, NB

      • A teacher can give you tips and techniques. But only you know your areas of weakness. If your strategy for training is to do lots of practice, then you are not doing the right thing. Practice must also involve analysing. Every single question you get wrong, must be analysed for technique and language. You should be writing lists of why you got a question wrong and why you got it right. You should be writing lists of paraphrases and tricky questions. Start focusing and taking control of your own training. Good luck!

        • Thanks Liz for the reply and very rightly said.
          I did tried to analyze where i am going wrong. Somehow i am not able to find the right keywords for the given question under the section 3 of reading. And with time ticking, its a panic situation.

          I tried focusing and taking control as you mentioned but somehow something is missing which is not helping me. Sometime i do good in the practice but sometime I fail. What would be your advice to get out of this situation. Your help would be really appreciated.

          Regards, NB

          • How long is your list of key words? Are you analysing every question and answer? If you have done 5 practice tests at home, you will have done 200 questions. This means you have a list of 200 techniques with key words that you have written down after finishing the practice test. Do you have this list? I am talking about analysing questions after you finish.

            • Normally on a average, its around 50 to 60 keywords. Yes i have started analysing questions and answers.
              That’s a good pointer but unfortunately i have not noted all the techniques after finishing the practice test. Just a question Liz: how will it help if i am having the list?
              Just a small observation to share – i feel sometime because of the fear of completing the test in given time and some techniques listed by people who have received 8 and above band, i am getting into bit of pressure situation and may be missing some of the keywords.

              • Exam pressure is something that you need to deal with. Only you can take control of that. About getting your list together, this is about analysing your weaknesses and working on them instead of doing practice after practice.

        • It’s very helpful thanks mam for your unbeatable idea’s.

  7. Uday mamidi says

    Hi liz,
    First of all I would like to appretire your effort to help people.
    This is a great work keep up the good work.
    2 days back I had no clue what an ielts test is all about but now after watching your videos and reading your blog I am so excited to give my ielts test.
    Thanks a lot for your help
    You are an excellent teacher.
    I really like the expression on your face when you explain things.
    Now I have a question for you,
    In my listening test section 3 practice test I am unable to score full I am ending up losing at leat 3 questions every time how to improve this any suggestions plz.

    Thanks in advance

    • I’m really pleased to hear my website is useful 🙂 There is only one main technique for keeping your place and not missing answers – using key words and spotting paraphrases. These two go hand in hand. The key words will be in the questions and you need to be good at spotting them. The questions come in order. Some key words will not be changed, for example the word “penguin” will always be that word. So, you know to listen for it. Other key words might be paraphrased so you need to be ready for that. Other problems are with getting distracted by extra information which is typical when there are a few speakers. Go on youtube and start listening to discussions with more than one person – watch how they interact, listen out for signposting (language that indicates a change in direction of conversation or someone cutting in).

  8. Akash bajwa says

    Thanku u its realy helpful for me

  9. You have posted wonderful and helpful tips. But one thing makes me angry about this whole testing policy. We are being foreced into learning “tricks” to pass it. We are being forced into reading and writing styles that go against our natural grains. I am a native English speaker and failed the test once. This was not due to my not understanding the language or not being able to write or speak, but it was due to my lack of knowledge regarding all the tricks needed to pass it. The time pressure is deplorable and the results of this test for many have nothing to do with their true competance of the English language.
    But alas, I must do it or not get the job I need to work as a nurse with my full pay. I find it very unfortunate, but that is the way it is at this point in time. The system is terribly flawed, but my complaining will not change it. So, I am reading all of these great tips and will do my best to pass the bloody thing! If you can’t beat em, join em I say.

    • I understand your feelings. However, these are not tricks. It is simply about understanding the test. Every test in the world has been devised by people and is therefore unnatural. Everyone should learn exactly what is to be expected of them before they enter the test room. So, it is not about cheating the test or learning tricks. It is simply about understanding the test fully and practising the right way. I know you probably didn’t want to hear that. But try to change the way you approach the test. Decide to yourself that you will empower yourself by understanding exactly what is expected of you and how you will be marked. Knowledge is power. In fact, Deeksha, on the page above, has explained this really well. Her main step was understanding IELTS. I promise you that if you fully understand what is expected and how to showcase your language skills through this testing system – you will get the score that reflects your excellent level of English. Keep positive and feel free to ask me questions if you get stuck 🙂

  10. kushandeep says

    can i use sir/mam in speaking to give answers will it okki

    • Using Sir or Madam in normal conversation is actually bad English. Don’t use bad English in your test.

  11. Jasvinder Kaur says

    Hi Liz I have given ielts 5 times. But in reading once I got 6.5 other wise consistently getting 5.5. Only once overall score was 6.5 otherwise normally it was 6

  12. Am preparing to write AC IELTS and I follow every tips you give. Hope I will do my best since is my first time.

  13. Dr. Attaullah khan says

    Hey Liz!
    …. hatts off!

    The “new invention” speaking cue card that you shared was on todayz speaking test in peshawar.

    Your website is very helpfull, has accurate info and proper guidence regarding the IELTS…
    Thank you for being YOU and GOD bless u.

  14. Rose kumi says

    Please am in Egypt and about to write,please I follow every tips you give

  15. Deeksha cngrtz
    Could u pls post ur writing essays

  16. Hello mam ,
    I persistently score 6.5 in writing .Please tell me some remedies for my low score so that I could improve it to 7

  17. Baint singh says

    Great work Dukha.

  18. Paul Ekhorutomwen says

    Liz has been awesome to everyone who has used her blog. I used it and I passed the academic UKVI in my first attempt. R 8 L 8.5 W 7.5 S 7.5 O 8.0. You were particularly helpful to me in the writing task 1 area. I didn’t practice until a day to my exams, but watching your tips did the trick for me. Thanks Liz. You deserve an award

    • I’m so pleased !!! Thanks for your support 🙂 And well done 🙂

      • I did my speaking today in that they asked about historic event happen in my country but i spoke about cultural event i want to score 7 do they give a score i don’t realize that .what can i do !!!am so affraid

  19. A big congrats deeksha . I really appreciate your efforts. And bundle of thanks for your helpful tips. I am also doing ielts. And have only two months duration. Please do remember me in your prayers. I really impressed. And Liz is excellent teacher.

  20. Your way to explain is very clear
    I took the exam 4 times and got 6 overall but in reading still I have a problem
    I need get 6 in each section
    The maximum reading score ai got is 5.5

  21. Rohan singla says

    Hey mam…i am good in reading and listening …please give me some times about this ….i want 6.5 bands in ielets ….could you please help me from this problem

  22. Mam I got 7 in listening and 6.5 I other three in first attempt just because of your help and study material thanks by heart 💗 mam can you please tell is this a good score or not for undergraduate course I am just 18.and wanna go Australia.or I need to give test again

  23. Devi maneesh says

    Congratulations Deeksha…When I saw your result I thought you are a native speaker..but when I opened the link and realised that you are an Indian, I am so surprised and so excited to do the text again has inspired me your tip’s and comments..
    Mam Liz blog is really fantastic and we should recommend to needy people…. Thank you so much…

  24. Bissy baby says name is score is 6 in every schedule.But I need 7 band score.what should I do for the score.please help me

  25. Tomorrow is my reading writing and listning test i learnt alot from here but still am nervous

  26. My speaking test was on 26th july …… and i remained fluent but i think i did not give her good ideas ….how it effect my score and also some questions i did not understand but still i tried to talk about them????

  27. Priscilla says

    This is so encouraging as I have been holding my heart out in my hands while preparing for my IELTS exam which is coming up on the 3rd of August. My major challenge is the writing section in which I did not get my desired score in the lasts IELTS exam I wrote.
    I just so hope to do much better this time around.

    Thanks Liz for your tremendous help. I hope to share an excellent result with you later.

    • I also have the exam on the same day and I also could not achieve 7 in the writing section although I took the exam three times.but thanks to Liz I m confident now.Good luck priscilla!Thank you Liz! 🙂

  28. Congratulation Deeksha.. you got amazing score!
    I get to know about Liz’s blog 5-6 days back. I tried my best to look at all her tips.
    My previous score was R 9, L 7.5, S 7, W 6 when i only prepared from Ielts Cambridge books.
    tomorrow i have exam and i’m too nervous… 🙁 { mainly in writing part}.

  29. Hi Liz
    My name is Rose
    I came to know about your website just couple of weeks before which is very helpfull .my english is very poor but I need 6 in each i really need before December .I got cambradge books please help me out this test .
    Thank you

  30. Its a General Training scores lol, dont try preparing for Academic test in a peak of 5days lol. Lastly, know your strenght

    • The speaking test and listening test is the same for all students. But certainly – try more than 5 days prep hehe 🙂

  31. Jomon thomas says

    Thanks for your great tips☺☺☺

  32. Amit Joshi says

    Great Deeksha. Congratulations on achieving such a great score. I appeared IELTS 4 times, but never could get 7 in writing. My best score was – Listening 7.5, Reading 9, Speaking 7.5, writing 6.5

    Then, I came across Liz’s block and started following tips sincerely. Also, I purchased advance writing lessons videos. I am writing again IELTS in mid August and preparing hard for same.

    Hopefully I should be able to get 7 in writing. This is the only area which I am struggling with. Thanks for your post, it was really helpful.

    Is it possible to talk/email? My email id is

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