The IELTS exam is an English language competency examination that evaluates students’ language abilities in four areas: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. The test results are subsequently given in the form of band scores for each of the aforementioned modules. In the IELTS exam (IELTS Academic and IELTS General), the maximum total band score is 9. If a person receives an IELTS Band 9 in any of the four modules, that person is called an expert in that sector.
Similar to this, a high total IELTS band 9 score indicates complete English language proficiency and the ability to move to a nation where English is the primary medium of instruction without any issues.
However, as appealing as the idea of obtaining a band score of 9 is, the IELTS preparation necessary to get this level is as difficult. The student will need to invest some time in honing their English vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation during the proper period of preparation for the final IELTS exam. How therefore should you begin your IELTS preparation if your goal is to receive a perfect band 9 on every portion of the test?
How to Get Band 7 in IELTS Reading
An overall band score of 7 denotes a good language user who can manage complicated language and follow comprehensive logic, according to official sources. In other words, a person who is not quite proficient but is more than capable of studying, working, or residing in an environment where English is the primary language of communication. Many colleges will need a least overall 7.0 band score, especially for students intending to pursue more linguistically difficult courses.
You should aim for a band 7 at the absolute least, to put it another way.
How many exam takers get at least a 7.0 overall? Well, for applicants planning to enrol in undergraduate or graduate programmes, 21% of them score 7.0 or higher, and 11% of the total, or more than half of them, score 7.0 or higher altogether.
Where Do I Begin?
Begin by taking a few practise tests to see how you would fare on the real thing and to acquire a feel for the test itself. Perform it throughout an exam. One hour to respond to 40 questions. Examine your score and go over the exam again to determine your strengths and shortcomings. You may use this to focus on the areas where you need to make improvements.
However, increasing your band score to 7.0 or above is more than just taking practise exams. There is definitely much too much IELTS preparation material available, and you risk overloading yourself with exams and recommendations. The time spent taking practise exams is not wasted, but you must combine them with a full comprehension of the questions asked and how they connect to the abilities you’ll need to respond to them effectively.
Which sorts of questions are simpler for you to answer, and which are more challenging?
While it is undeniably true that the IELTS reading exam necessitates familiarity with and experience with the kinds of texts and question sets requested, it is also a test of your command of the English language, including your mastery of grammar and vocabulary. Additionally, the IELTS exam benefits greatly from candidates who have read more broadly in English, especially on subjects that are frequently covered in it.
So, let comprehensive English reading be our first step toward that 7.0 band score. By following these procedures, you may maximise the exam-relevant impact of your reading.
Make a list of the most common topics that appear in IELTS tests. Look through some online IELTS exam practice tests as well as those in books. Note down general text topics. The first practice test in the Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS has a passage on archaeology, one business-oriented passage about airports and a third which poses the question “Is Photography Art?” Look at topics and make a note of the sources they come from. The Official Cambridge Guide, for example, has several source acknowledgements to the New Scientist magazine.
It’s a good idea to start reading these sources. We would all have our preferences, often because of our own backgrounds and interests. Mine would include articles from newspapers such as The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/uk) and the Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk/), as well those from selected academic journals and publications such as The Economist (www.economist.com). Try looking for academic journals available on open-access sites. A good start is through https://www.elsevier.com/open-access/open-access-journals. It depends on your interests and background but areas like psychology, urbanism and technological advances (robotics, artificial intelligence) are my favourites.
Check out a selection of key sites where you can find reading material similar in topic and subject depth to those in the exams. Remember that for obvious reasons, reading passages do not go into great technical detail but rather, appeal to a well-read audience with an interest in a range of subjects from the humanities to the sciences by way of the social sciences.
Texts can also be generally classified according to whether they are merely descriptive or more argumentative, for example. Texts which put forward and consider points of view on any given topic, tend to be more sophisticated linguistically speaking with longer, more complex sentences probably with a fair amount of modality (should, may, could, etc.) and conditionals (if, if …not, unless, whether). These texts we often find as the third and final one in Academic IELTS and the last passage in General Training.
At the same time, try to read in areas less familiar to you. In my case, that might be in the applied sciences, medicine, architecture and urban planning. Read outside your knowledge comfort zone, read extensively and regularly.
How to Work For a 7.0
With these two points, text topic and text purpose, in mind, ask yourself if just reading is enough or is it just enough to end up with 6.0, a reasonably good score but not good enough to help you stand out from the crowd.
In other words, it’s what you do before, during and after reading that matters. As we shall discuss a little later in more detail, the key to success in IELTS is vocabulary, the ability to paraphrase and recognise synonyms, to see connections between groups of words. To do that in a second language requires effort and organisation. One tip we often see mentioned in second language learning is the idea of keeping a vocabulary notebook where significant items can be stored, ordered, placed in groups with relevant examples of synonyms and contexts as well as comments on the register and grammatical features.
The next step is to prepare for the test itself. IELTS preparation has to include doing some of the IELTS tests but not just for the sake of seeing how many correct answers you get or even how your score improves over time. The benefit of reading test practice lies in how you can clearly relate different types of text with certain types of questions. In General Training for example, the shorter, informative part 1 reading passages are almost always tested through a relatively straightforward matching exercise asking you to identify statements with parts of the text. The use of paraphrase and synonyms evidently provides you with a way to obtain a high score in this set of questions.
Similarly, in both versions, questions that test your ability to interpret the passage at a deeper level, such as judging whether a series of statements concerning content are either true, false or are simply impossible to judge as either for lack of evidence or asking you whether a statement backs or refutes the writer´s opinion or would be impossible to judge given the information at hand, also demand the test taker’s lexical range as well as grammatical knowledge, although at a more sophisticated level.
Enriching your lexical resource is one vital way to prepare for the test as well as finding the most appropriate strategies to tackle the different types of reading passages and the questions set on them.
The Test Itself
The third area is the test itself. It’s not mentioned as often as it should but an IELTS reading test is not really just about reading. It is a test of your lexical resource, the more you know the better your overall score will be. It’s a test of your knowledge of how texts are put together, how coherence and cohesion give us the final product.
It is also a race against time. Sixty minutes, forty questions, three texts in Academic IELTS and more than that, though they might be of shorter length, in General Training. There is no way you can sit and read through each text from beginning to end trying to understand everything. That’s not the point at all. It’s how you apply certain reading strategies, such as skimming a text for gist, scanning it for specific information to be able to answer questions.
Time is equally important when we try as far as possible, to devote equal portions of time to each set of questions, say, twenty minutes per reading passage in the Academic version. Timing in all parts of IELTS, in the writing and speaking tests, for example, is vital. In the listening test, timing is decided for us and we have to keep up with it but in reading, we have to be in control. Twenty minutes maximum for answer 13 or 14 questions on a reading passage of up to 900 words in length.
How to Get Band 8 in IELTS
It’s quite evident that most of the study abroad aiming students worry much about achieving IELTS 8.0 or 8.5 bands. This fact bends because of the tiny number of universities that do require students who are backed up with the 8 bands in IELTS. According to these universities, it’s open evidence of a student’s ability to handle complex and meticulous arguments in most of the high intellect demanding programs.
Now the question arises, how to get 8 band in IELTS? For obtaining 8 bands in the IELTS reading and listening section an individual is required to get 89% of the marks. The reading and listening section of IELTS is formed with 40 questions each. However, if we talk about the IELTS writing and speaking section then the overall performance is not calculated by just getting a glimpse about the scores but there are some descriptors in both the sections and it is highly advisable that the test taker should meet all the requirements mentioned in these descriptors.
How to score band 8 in IELTS Reading
If you want to score band 8 in IELTS reading, then it depends whether you are taking IELTS academic or general. These have slightly different requirements.
You must get 35 or 36 out of 40 questions correct. For IELTS general, you must get 37 or 38 out of 40 questions correct.
This does not leave much room for error. As such, you need to practise often and work on a variety of skills:
- time management
- the ability to figure out difficult language
- fine grammar points
- logical deduction
Remember that you cannot have points removed for incorrect answers, so you should always take a guess. Do not waste time and make sure that you write your answers carefully with no spelling mistakes. Even a tiny error could cause you to get a band 7.5 instead of band 8.
I would strongly recommend that you read articles of different types every day, even when you are not practising specifically for IELTS. The more you read, the better you will become.
How to score band 8 in IELTS Listening
The IELTS listening exam is the same regardless of whether you take academic or general IELTS, so there is no difference in the score required:
For the listening test, then, you must score either 35 or 36 out of 40 in order to achieve a band 8. Again, it is a difficult task because there you cannot make many mistakes.
Try to practise your listening skills every day in different ways. Listen to different types of audio: podcasts, radio shows, TV shows, movies, TED talks, lectures, and anything else in English. Listen to a wide variety of accents and subject matter. Question the things you hear – What does that word mean? What about that change in intonation? Can you guess the meaning of this unfamiliar word?
How to score band 8 in IELTS Speaking
When we get to the productive skills (speaking and writing), people generally find that it is more difficult to achieve a high score. There are also a wide variety of myths to explain the lower scores. Because your English being marked subjectively, people tend to infer prejudice, but there should be none. Instead, you will be assigned the score that you deserve.
The IELTS examiners will mark candidates’ scores according to four criteria:
- Fluency and Coherence (how freely and easily you speak)
- Lexical Resource (your vocabulary)
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy (your grammar)
- Pronunciation (how clearly you speak)
Each of these is weighted the same and is worth 25% of your total. You cannot be marked with a half band score for any of the individual parts, but your total will be rounded up accordingly.
If you scored band 7.75, it would be rounded up to a band 8. If you got band 8.25, it would become 8.5.
Again, there are no tricks or shortcuts to score band 8. You just need to speak English very well. If you don’t, you cannot fool the examiner into giving you a great score. There are no magic words that you can say to turn a band 6 into a band 7 or 8. Examiners are trained to judge you objectively on the above criteria.
How to score band 8 in IELTS Writing
Now we come to the hardest part. Most IELTS candidates struggle with writing. I have explained the reasons here in great detail, but I shall summarise:
- IELTS writing contains many aspects you don’t need to consider for other parts of the test: punctuation, paragraph structure, and essay structure, as well as things that are less important in other parts: spelling, grammar, question analysis, etc.
However, let’s not focus too much on why it is difficult because if you have great English skills you should be able to score band 8. There is no secret. You do not need to employ any magical words or use a set formula for your structure. (However, structure is important and it should be logical.)
For this part of the test, the examiners will judge your work in four areas:
- Task Response/Achievement (how well or fully you answer the question)
- Coherence and Cohesion (how well you link your ideas)
- Lexical Resource (this means vocabulary)
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy (again, this is grammar)
Thus, to score a band 8, you need to make sure that your performance averages out with at least 7.75
Students Who Achieved 8 Bands in IELTS
As a prominent IELTS training platform, IBT successfully encountered many optimum results in the past few years. We are backed up with the encouraging history of students who attained 8 bands with our true support and their caliber. There is no denying the fact that our adept teaching force elaborately explained every topic in such a manner that students will be able to retain them at the time of the exam.
Strategies For Scoring Band 8
I have written many times about succeeding in IELTS writing, but one thing to consider is the balance of your scores. Above, I showed a way of getting 7.75 because typically excelling in Grammatical Range and Accuracy is extremely hard. Even native speakers make so many errors in grammar that we would struggle to score more than a 7 here. As such, one strategy for success is attempting to ace the easier parts (Task Achievement and Coherence and Cohesion), then just try your best for the harder ones (Lexical Resource and Grammatical Range and Accuracy).
I suggest this approach because it is possible to master Task Achievement and Coherence and Cohesion in a short period of time. I can typically teach my students this in just a few days, whereas Lexical Resource and Grammatical Range and Accuracy can take months or years. In fact, as I have alluded to, success in grammar can take many years.
Parameters to Get IELTS 9 in Speaking
Before getting to tips that can help you get a band 9 in IELTS speaking, it is important to understand what is being assessed in the speaking module by the IELTS examiner.
There are four basic parameters that are judged for this section:
- Lexical resource (the variety of vocabulary used)
- Fluency and coherence (how well you can answer the question asked)
- Grammatical range
Keeping these parameters in mind, here are some tips to help you achieve a high score:
- Maintain eye contact with the examiner and be confident while answering.
- Practice in front of a mirror or with an IELTS coaching mentor before appearing for the final exam.
- If you are asked to wear a mask on the exam day, practice with a mask on first during your IELTS preparation.
- Wherever required, take a pause and think of the answer before speaking.
- Try paraphrasing the question whenever you answer.
- Be polite and humble; occasionally, use voice modulation not to keep the answers monotonous.
- Try to use a wide range of vocabulary and don’t shy away from using some complex words occasionally.
- Lastly, think of this section as more of a conversation and maintain your cool. It will help you better understand the questions and frame better answers.
How to Get 9 Band in IELTS Sections
Tips to Get IELTS 9 Band in Reading
The reading section of the IELTS exam tests the following skills: reading for main ideas, reading for gist, skimming, attention to details while reading, and recognising the writer’s attitude, purpose, and opinion.
Here are some tips to ace the reading section:
- Read the questions first and then move on to reading the paragraph.
- Attempt to read multiple questions at once and not just take the approach of reading one question and finding its answer.
- As an unsaid rule, take about 18-20 mins on the easier paragraph and more time on the tougher ones. Time management and organisation are key to scoring a high band score in reading tasks.
- Prepare from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers for academic reading. Whereas, prepare from notices, handbooks, advertisements, and newspapers for general IELTS.
Ways to Score Band 9 in Listening Section
The listening section is probably the relatively easiest section to score marks in. The only tip for getting a very high score in the IELTS listening exam is to keep on practising with as many IELTS audio tests as possible. These tests will help you become familiar with the kind of questions you can expect in the exam.
Before the exam date, make sure that you have practised every type of question possible in the listening section. Also, ensure that you are filling in your answers in the answer sheet side by side and are not waiting for the audio to end to then start putting in the answers.
How to Get Band 9 in IELTS Writing Task
The IELTS writing task is often considered the toughest nut to crack in the IELTS exam, and if not attempted well, it can drop your overall band score. Therefore, students must ensure that they put in more effort for this particular section.
Some tips that can help you catapult your IELTS writing task score are:
- Dedicate 20 minutes of your time to task 1 and about 30 minutes to the IELTS essay, which is task 2. You should use your remaining time to proofread and ensure that you haven’t made any inaccuracies, spelling errors, letter casing errors, or any other punctuation or grammatical errors.
- Mention any familiar situations in the examples for writing task 2 to build coherence and refine the quality of your essay.
- Read through sample answers of IELTS band 9 on common themes like fossil fuels, global warming, nuclear energy, etc., that have been taken up in writing task 2 again and again.
Conclusively, you are now in a good space to score more than an IELTS band 7 in each section after knowing about all the tips and tricks you need to use in the IELTS exam. However, simply knowing these tips doesn’t guarantee a high band score. To get a good score, you have to put in the effort and prepare well for the exam through sample tests, preparation modules, and consistent practice.