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In every examination, there are keys to achieving great success. IELTS is not an exception. Thus, candidates must familiarize themselves with the expectations of the assessing bodies before seating IELTS exam.


In this piece, we explain what is required to get Band 8 in all the four modules of the IELTS Academic. IELTS test is divided into four modules and each of these modules carries bandwidth 9.0. The overall IELTS score will be a score out of 9.0 based on the average of scores obtained from each of the four modules.  For example,

Listening Band 9 + Reading Band 9 + Writing Band 8 + Speaking Band 7 = IELTS 8.25=IELTS 8.0

Listening Band 8+Reading Band 9+Writing Band 7.5+Speaking Band 7.5=IELTS 8.0


Let’s look quickly at the modules

IELTS Reading (Academic Module)

There are three passages in this module which deals with a wide range of academic subjects such as history, astronomy, sociology, advertising etc. The IELTS Reading module lasts 60 minutes and students are expected to make good use of this time to answer the 11 to 15 questions that would follow each passage. To get an overall 8 Band, candidates must spell answers correctly, write not more than the maximum number of words for each question and ensure they get 35 out of the 40 answers correctly

IELTS Writing (Academic Module)

This module consists of two writing tasks. One is a 150-word task while the other is a 250-word tasks. While task 1 requires you to describe a diagram or some data, task 2 wants you to write a short essay that must be discursive, presenting your opinion on a particular subject matter. The duration for both tasks is 60 minutes.  It should be noted that in task 1, candidates must provide an overview and explain key points. Then in Task 2, candidate must indicate a clear position and develop it coherently. Other things one should note in order to do well in this module are as follows:

1 Both questions must be answered fully

2 Use paragraphs to convey several key ideas

3 Use less common vocabulary

4 Sentences must be error free and not complex

IELTS Speaking

This module is a face to face interview divided into three parts. Under the first part which is usually between 4 to 5 minutes, the examiner will ask you a number of questions about everyday topics such as family, lifestyle, work, study, etc and to answer the questions, you only need to provide the information asked for. There is no need to go extra mile to get the answers. Be relaxed and speak fluently as you would to a friend and with hesitation, if natural.

The Speaking Part 2 focuses on individual task. Candidates will be shown some written instructions for an individual speaking task.  They will have one minute to think about the answer, and make notes if they prefer to do so. After this, the candidate will then be asked to speak for one to two minutes. Questions in this part usually concerns a past or regular event in the life of the candidate or a future goal or plan. One key thing to note is that careful attention to paid to the verb tenses used in the question and use matching tenses in your answer.

At the end of IELTS Speaking Part 2, the examiner will ask you one or two brief questions before continuing on to Part 3. It’s not necessary to give a long or detailed answer to these questions.

In part three, the examiner will ask the candidate for his or her opinion on a wide range of subject related to the topic in part 2. The difference is that, in this part, there is no preparation time so the candidate is expected to speak immediately.

In this part, the examiner will ask for your opinion on a range of issues related to the topic in part 2. This time, however, there is no preparation time so you must begin speaking immediately. You should aim to say as much as possible. Give more than one reason, or compare and contrast different views. The longer your answers, the fewer questions you will need to answer.

It doesn’t matter if your opinion is not original or flawed, as long as you attempt to justify it! Other key points to note are:

1 Use pronunciation and intonation patterns similar to those of the native speaker

2 Use a range of linking words to develop ideas accurately

3 Vary your intonation patterns according to the nature of the questions

IELTS listening

The module consists of four sections and in each section, the candidate will hear a recording of either a monologue or a conversation. Each recording is five minutes long and the candidate is expected to answer ten questions which can be multiple choice, short answer or filling the gaps in a sentence. Let’s now look at the various parts

IELTS Listening Section 1: General conversation

The duration for this part is 5 mins with Questions. For example, the conversation can be about of the following: An interview about student welfare, telephone conversation about buying movie tickets or student asking about accommodation.

IELTS Listening Section 2: General talk

The duration for this part is also 5 mins with Questions. It can be a radio program about a local community history or a short talk about balance diet

IELTS Listening Section 3: Academic conversation

The duration for this part is 5 mins with Questions. In this part, a discussion between two or more people will be presented. For example: A seminar discussion about a research project or two students discussing homework.

IELTS Listening Section 4: Academic lecture

The duration for this part is 5 mins with Questions. This part presents the candidate with a lecture about a subject matter. It should be noted that the candidate doesn’t necessarily need a background knowledge to answer these questions

In all, attention is key to getting a good grade in this module and candidates must score 35 in each of the four modules in order to get 8.0 band.

Want To Try Out Free IELTS Practice Test?

Here is an official source of IELTS practice test (British Council, IDP and Cambridge English Assessment) you can play around with.

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