How to score 8 bands in IELTS - Facts, Tips and Resources

Let me start by answering your obvious question "Why should I listen to your advice?" Well, I've attempted my IELTS Academic exam a month ago and scored an overall of 8 bands with 8.5 in Listening and Reading, and 7.0 in Speaking and Writing. So I think I'm qualified enough to write this post that aims to help you achieve your desired score in IELTS. Of course, this post is not limited to only Academic IELTS, all the tips and resources are useful for General IELTS, too. Without further a due let's start.

I will start by stating some facts and truth bombs that some of you might not like. First and foremost, you can't go from 6.5 bands to 8 bands in a month. That's not how it works for most cases. IELTS is a language test and you can't just read some books and watch some videos and then expect that you have been proficient in English. Many people treat it like every other exam that they attempt in their school and college and think that they can mug up some material and score higher bands. Don't fall prey to those articles and videos that say "100 words for your 8 bands in writing/speaking", there is no such list.

On the other hand, many people think that they cannot achieve a good score because they are not that great in English. Truth be told, you must have a solid foundation but you don't need to know every nuance of the English language. Get your basic English grammar together and you are good to go. You must be patient, you can't learn it all in a day but keep learning.

Now coming to some tips, let me make it clear that there is not a single exhaustive list that works for everyone, so whatever I'm writing here is from my own experience and it is very much possible that some of these things may not make sense to you. I would suggest you experiment with different things and find what works for you.


Tip 1 - Know your current and target bands score

It may sound very obvious but many people ignore this. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to know where you stand on the IELTS band level before starting and what band score you want to get. It is important because the preparation for different band score is different. For example, to get 6.5 bands you should study all 4 modules - Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking - equally as most of the time you require 6 bands in each module. But, if you want to score 7.5 or 8 bands overall, make sure that you prepare for the minimum required bands in all the modules but then focus on your strengths in which you can score more. Conventionally, Listening, and Reading are easy than Speaking, and Writing, so make sure you spend enough time on those to increase your overall band score.

Tip 2 - Know the IELTS Examination thoroughly

The exam pattern of IELTS is very complex and it is very important to understand it thoroughly. Make sure you know all the question types of all the modules. Get familiar with both paper-based and computer-based exam format. You can read more about the pros and cons of Computer Delivered IELTS at ieltsliz.com. Also, read how writing and speaking band scores are marked and understand how an examiner will assess your Writing and Speaking task responses on the official IELTS website.

Tip 3 - Stop searching for the perfect material

Many test-takers spend a lot of money and time finding the perfect study material, In my opinion, it is not worth it. There are countless text as well as video material available online. Also, many test papers and mock tests are available but it is not feasible to cover every material. As we don't have a fixed syllabus from which the questions will be asked thus it is better to be realistic about the preparation. Just pick a book or find a video and start learning. Even if it improves your English by a small margin, it is worth it. At the same time, don't fall prey to the unrealistic materials that claim to cover "Alpha to Omega" of IELTS.

Some real tips

Okay, I know you must be thinking that all these tips are superficial and do not make sense. So let me give you some real tips that you can implement.

  • Learn vocabulary - You don't need to remember fancy words but make sure you have enough words in your bag so that you can express your thoughts.
  • Practice listening to different accents - I made this mistake that you shouldn't. Make sure you are comfortable with various accents because you will hear many different accents in the Listening test.
  • Measure your typing/writing speed by writing Essays - If you are not fluent in writing or typing, make sure you practice it rigorously, otherwise you will not be able to complete the essay on the D-Day.
  • Don't waste time in generating best ideas - Your ideas/stories in Speaking or Writing Part 2 don't matter. So make sure you don't waste much time on it. Just think about an ordinary idea and develop it.
  • Don't mix up your language in Speaking and Writing - In Speaking you must use colloquial language whereas in Writing you must use formal language, so make sure you don't mix one with another.

Resources

Here is a list of some websites, books, and videos that I used and found extremely helpful.

  • Cambridge IELTS Test Books - No other tests come even closer to these tests. Make sure you practice all the tests from these books. Although there are a total of 15 books, the first 8 books are of the old format. There are many websites where you can download these books for free.
  • IELTS Liz - If you are starting with the IELTS preparation, make sure you watch each video from Liz's youtube channel. Trust me, you will not regret it.
  • English Speaking Success Youtube Channel - The best resource for Speaking. From vocabulary to sentences, from question answers to cue cards, Keith has got you covered. Bonus points - He is damn funny.
  • Makkar IELTS - The only reliable list of topics for Speaking Part 2. If you haven't heard of it, what are you even doing?
  • IELTS Up - You can practice listening and reading on this website and also check out their model answers for different writing questions. Between you and me, they also have vocabulary lists for various topics😉.

That's it for this post. Thank you for reading and I hope it will help you get your coveted score in IELTS. If you have any further doubts or questions, you can e-mail me at jamesshah@bytetales.co.