IELTS Band 8, If this is the band that you want then read on there are some important things to discover.
I haven’t put IELTS Band 9 because it’s very rarely given and would take a very long time to be sure of that result. Even if you don’t need or want to get Band 8, it is good to set your sights a little higher than the band you want so you can be sure to get what you want in the exam – in other words you have a ‘cushion’.
To illustrate what you will need to do to be certain of achieving Band 8, I’m going to introduce a few of the students I have worked with who achieved this and have now moved on and are enjoying their postgraduate courses or their new careers.
There are 5 things that you need to do if you want to get Band 8.
Sharifa was a student I worked closely with a few years ago. She is from Malaysia and a child psychologist who was looking to do a master’s degree in Australia. When I met her, she had just taken the exam and got 6.5 in everything except the writing. She wanted to work on her writing to get it to 6.5.
I suggested to her that she might want to try and move everything to higher than 6.5 so that she could be absolutely certain of at least 6.5 in the exam.
We worked on all parts of the IELTS and very quickly her reading and listening got to 8.5, and her speaking was also around 8. Although her writing took a bit longer, eventually it got to 7, which was the minimum that she needed for the master’s course. In the exam she came out with 8.5, which was much higher than she needed.
After starting the course in Australia, she wrote to me and told me that had she just scraped her 6.5, she would probably have struggled on the course. She was absolutely delighted that she’d managed to get a much higher score and a much better level of English. This is why it is important to try and reach above the band that you want and not just try and scrape through. It’s not just about your exam but also the life beyond which is important and can be made much easier.
5 Things to ensure Band 8.
1. Organise your study
You need a proper Study Plan. This means that you arrange your time so that every day, you do something. That does not mean 5, 6 hours – this is counter-productive. I have met students who study IELTS for 5 hours a day and they are tired and frustrated and don’t make progress.
You don’t need that much. Study little and often, but don’t make it random. Don’t just wake up and say, “What am I going to do today?” Make sure you have a plan that really helps you progress.
Do some reading, then a little writing – just analyse a question, something small like that.
The next day – a bit of listening and write the introduction for your writing.
Create your plan for the week and write it down – make sure you have a system. Language learning needs a progression from elementary to intermediate to upper-intermediate to advanced. It has to develop step by step.
Just like Sharifa. We had a plan together and she went from 6.5 to 8.5 over nine months by working systematically.
2. Monitor your progress
I know many IELTS students who study today, and then forget about it. They put it away and start afresh tomorrow so each day is like a new start. You need a progression. Look at what was good, what you achieved and also what things still need work. Use the mistakes you make to improve the next time.
Don’t simply complete your work and then put it away.
Here is another student, Kamal who also got 8.5, and that was quite recently, about six months ago. When I sent back the results of any of the work he did, he would analyse it ‘with a fine-tooth comb’. Every time there was a mistake, he would go over it and learn from it and eventually eliminate it from his work – so step by step everything progressed.
He would figure out why he got it wrong. If he didn’t know we would discuss it together. By going over everything, he again was able to improve everything up to a very high band. He even achieved 9 in reading!
3. Try to work with other people
Doing it alone will take a long time. You need to bounce things off others. Language is about communication. We need to speak to people, we need to listen to people, we need to write for people to read and we need to read what people have written. One of the very quickest and best ways to boost all your skills is to work with others. These can be friends, they can be other students, they can be teachers like myself.
Sophia was a student with whom I worked quite a long time ago. She was a German doctor and she had a dream to work in New Zealand and take her family there. She actually came to stay and study with me here in the UK. After this initial period, we continued to work online up to her exam.
During the time we were working together, I introduced her to some of the other students I was working with and they formed a group. These students met two, three times a week and practised everything. She took her exam and she got 7.5s and 8s. And so did the other students!
When I spoke to them after they got their results, one of the things they said to me was that as well as working with me, which gave them the technical expertise, they found working together as a group helped them tremendously.
4. Don’t just do IELTS exam practice
I’m sure you use the Cambridge Books or online practice sites. However, it is also important to address other aspects of English, such as vocabulary and grammar. It is also a good idea to do listening and reading outside of the IELTS books because in that way you will be exposed to a wider range of vocabulary and a wider range of grammar structures.
Don’t restrict yourself to IELTS preparation and practice alone. It’s quite narrow. The better your English, in fact, the easier it will be to get a high IELTS score.
Another student of mine is a good illustration. Safe was from Iraq and taking IELTS for an MSC.
We worked initially for three months covering all aspects of IELTS. I also included, in that course, a certain amount of grammar. Anytime there was a problem in the writing with a grammar aspect, Safe would ask me for some grammar exercises.
I provided these and we went through them. I also provided extra vocabulary exercises. Through doing those exercises, all aspects of his IELTS preparation improved tremendously.
If you are really serious about achieving Band 8 then you need to expand your range. Listen to podcasts, listen to news programmes, Widen your exposure to English. Read articles, stories and reports. Speak to people as much as you can about anything and everything and try to write – keep a diary.
Keep practising and developing. Keep pushing. Remember Sharifa, at first, she was quite happy just to scrape a 6.5. That’s what she wanted. But as we started to work, she saw the potential of getting a much higher score. So don’t settle for a low score. Try and boost your English as much as you can. And this means you may get a much higher score, which will give you more choice. With a higher band, more opportunities will be open to you.
Finally, the last student I want to tell you about is a student called Eman. We worked together over quite a long period, in fact, because she wanted to make sure that her English level was really, really good. She wanted to work as a doctor in the UK. She needed at least 7.5 but she was getting 6.5. After we had worked together for a while, she stopped and told me she felt lacking in English.
She actually stopped her IELTS for a few months and joined an advanced English language course at a local school where she could interact with other students just focusing on English language. Once she had done well with that and she felt that she could speak better, listen better, read better, write better, we went back and focused on IELTS. Eventually we switched to OET and she got a very high score. Now she is a doctor in a hospital here in the UK.
All these students achieved more than their target band, and they did it by,
1. Having a proper study plan.
2. Monitoring their progress and learning from all of their mistakes.
3. They worked with me and other people
4. They focused on their English language as much as they focused on their IELTS preparation
5. They kept going and developing.
If you want to reach Band 8 and you don’t know how to get there then I can help you.
Let’s speak and work out a plan for you to achieve IELTS Band 8 Success
Believe me it will become inevitable if you have the right approach.
Just follow the link below to book a suitable time