Getting an 8.5 in IELTS distinguishes you from the others as someone between a very good user of the language and an expert. In addition to this, an 8.5 band score opens the golden gate to several highly esteemed universities in countries like the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
To score an overall band of 8 in an IELTS exam, you need to concentrate on the four major modules.
Listening Band 9 + Reading Band 9 + Writing Band 8 + Speaking Band 8 = IELTS 8.5
Preparation is key to any examination that you’re trying to ace and especially if you’re looking to score the highest, you have to invest a lot of time in preparing and practicing. The Internet has already made this easier for you by providing a ton of sample questions and tests online. You can take up a test every day and analyze the areas where you feel you need to improve. Now, let us look at these four modules in detail and conjure up a way to hit that 8.5 marks.
This is a crucial module that most people who take up the test find it difficult. If you’re already well-versed in the language, this part of the test wouldn’t be that hard to comprehend. But in other cases, it’s always good to practice a lot by listening to various sources and getting familiarized with different accents. This will help you to understand the nuances of the language which will definitely come in handy when you’re taking up this module.
Here’s a little tip you might wanna keep in mind. Listen to the entire passage consistently. Do not stop listening once you’ve found the answer to a question, you may lose track of the rest of the recording. Instead, make short notes of the answers as you continue listening and then you can review them after you’ve finished listening and write appropriate answers.
This is probably the easiest section compared to the others where you can look forward to scoring more points. One advantage here over the Listening module is that you can revisit your questions and double check your answers to make sure you’ve answered correctly. There are two different ways to approach this module. You can apply them to your practice tests and find the one that suits you best. You can either skim the entire passage, try to obtain the context and then read the questions. This will help you locate the answers a little quicker as you’ve gone through the passage already. Or, you can directly skip to the questions, read them one at a time and try to find the context in the passage for that particular question and answer it. Practice for this section by reading a lot of books and newspapers and improve your reading speed.
Whether you are required to write a passage or a long essay or a letter, make sure you practice the structure of your writing beforehand. For essays, it’s better to divide your content and place them under suitable headings. Organize your ideas to ensure the flow of continuity while writing your essays.
Always be conscious of the words you use. If you’re not sure of the usage of certain words, it’s better to steer clear from them. Keep an eye on grammar and lexical resources as they are two major aspects to be considered while attending this section. If you have time left at the end, do not hesitate to go through your work again. You are likely to find accidental errors which you can correct them.
When it comes to the Speaking module, try to be as calm and composed as possible. Carry yourself in a confident and polite manner. This gives the examiner a good first impression about you. Make sure you stick to the topic given to you and try to add additional appropriate information related to it if possible. While speaking, it’s highly recommended that you avoid pauses in between or using non-lexical fillers like ‘Uh’ and ‘Uhm.’ Practice at home by speaking in front of the mirror every day for more than a minute so you’ll know where and how to improve. Or, get a little help from someone you can trust such as your friend or mentor to give you the right feedback.
Remember, with just the adequate amount of perseverance and your efforts, getting an 8.5 band score is just right around the corner.