Tips to Score 8.5 in IELTS General Training

 Tips to Score High in IELTS General Training

  • Use pencil to answer questions
  • Pay attention to spelling while writing answers on answer sheet. A wrong spelling would be marked as wrong answer even if your answer is right. When you are listening to the audio you don’t have much time to pay attention to your spelling. Don’t get nervous. Write whatever spelling comes in your mind on the booklet. You have 10 minutes at the end of listening section to transfer your answer to answer sheet. That is the time to pay special attention to spelling, capital letters, grammar etc.
  • Use whether capital letter or lower case to write answer. You can’t use both for example if an answer to a question is “garden” then write whether GARDEN or garden
  • Keep this format for whole answer sheet: if you are using capital letters for answer number 1 then keep this format during whole answer sheet. But be careful If you are using lower case than you have to use capital letters for proper nouns. For example Mr Green. Better to use capital letters
  • Formalize yourself with the pronunciation and spelling of British names. In section one, ILETS usually asks for a person name or city name. IELTS won’t always spell it for you if it is a common English name. For difficult and unusual names IELTS with spell it for you. Always start name with capital letter. If there is a title in a name (Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, Dr, Sir, Lady) always write it in your answer along with the name otherwise your answer will be marked wrong. Sometimes a name can start with initials. Keep attention to them for example J.K. Rowling. Initials are usually very hard to understand especially if you are not familiarize with their pronunciation in British accent.
  • Pay special attention to numbers of words for each answer. Whenever you start a section, there are instructions written above that section. Read them carefully. There must be an instruction on how to write answers for that specific section. Underline it so you won’t forget it while transferring the answers to answer sheet. For example:

“No more than two words and/or a number”

There can be four possible answers to this option

  1. Bookstore (single word)
  2. Local bookstore (two words)
  3. 40 local book stores (two words and a number)
  4. 40 ( a number)

What you can’t write is

  1. The local bookstores (more than two words)
  2. 40 and 10 (more than one number)

 Sometime in instructions they  write “No more than two words and/or numbers”.  Now there you can choose from the above four options plus you can choose two numbers for example:

  1. 40 and 10
  2. 40,10
  3. 40 or 10
  • Use of prepositions (at, to, in, up, down etc): If answer is a single word then there is no need of preposition. But if answer has to be written in a sentence then you have to add preposition in order to make that sentence grammatically correct. For example: “At the hospital”.  Place: Hospital  (only single word required as an answer). The best place to meet is at the hospital (you have to complete the sentence so preposition is must)
  • All words even if they are small are counted. For example. A girl (two words), Bookstore (one word), 1929 (one number).
  • In multiple choice questions, pay attention to whether instruction tells you to choose correct letter or correct word. For example: John is travelling to Europe in _____.
  1. Spring
  2. Summer
  3. Winter

If instruction tells you to choose the right word then write “Summer”.  If instruction tells you to choose the right letter then write “b”. Pay very close attention to this because if instruction asks you to choose right word and you write “b” instead of “summer” then it would be marked as wrong even if technically your answer is right

  • Don’t try to understand everything. There is lots of extra information given in the recording. You will be given few mins before starting of audio of each section. Try to use this time to read the questions related to that audio and try to think of what type of answer of the particular question is. Whether they are asking name, date, number etc. When your audio starts, listen for that answer. 99% of the times, question would be in order as to the audio. If you can find the answer of the first question which is usually the easiest to spot, rest of the answers will come in order after that. Use this technique if you are lost.
  • You will be given few seconds or a minutes before starting of each section, use this time wisely. Read and understand questions related to only that section during that time. Underline important words, dates and phrases from each question so when recording starts you would have an idea which type of answer you are looking for. For example A town square was built in ______. Now underline “town square” and also underline “built”. Technique of paraphrasing comes in handy while answering these types of questions. Usually in recording another verb with same meaning can be used. For example they can use “constructed” instead of “built”. So don’t get confused while listening to it. Keep in mind that paraphrasing is very common in listening and reading sections. Normally you have to answer only five to six questions after each recording.
  • Answers could come quickly. Be prepared. They will not come with regular intervals. Sometimes three answers can come quickly in a single sentence and sometimes answers will come after long intervals.
  • As answers can come quickly you don’t always have time to write complete answer on your booklet. So try to keep notes instead of writing complete answer. You can write complete answer at the end of each section as you have time then or you can write complete answers on answer sheet when you have 10 minutes to transfer your answers. For example if an answer is “university bookshop”, you can write just “ uni bksh” on the question paper and when I will transferring the answer on answer sheet, I will write the complete answer. You can write any possible answer on the question paper if you miss that answer in audio. You can write all over the question paper whatever you want. Just pay attention while transferring your answers to answer sheet.

Also read  >> Good Practice Tests for IELTS

Common traps:

  • Answers that are changed: while listening to the audio, if you think that speaker has just answer a question, make a note but keep listening after that too because sometime answer can be changed in next sentence. For example two speakers are talking to each other about the expected meeting in next week. One speaker asks about the day of the meeting. Other speaker answer that meeting will be held on Monday next week. Now if your question is about the day of the meeting is, you should immediately write Monday on your question paper but keep listening because the other speaker might add after that sentence that due to another engagement let’s move this meeting to Tuesday. Then the right answer would be Tuesday not Monday. So pay attention to these types of traps. They are very common.
  • Usually IELTS will use paraphrasing so always be suspicious if you hear same words in recording and then same words are in questions.
  • Listen for plurals: very important. In sentence completion you can have an idea by reading the sentence if the answer is going to be plural or singular. Keep your ear open of that type of answer. For example. She is going to have a big party (answer is singular). Horses are running in the field. (plural answer)
  • If you don’t know the answer then guess. Write anything on your answer sheet which you think could be an answer. There is no negative marking so don’t leave any answer empty.
  • Before starting of section one you will have a chance to listen to an example. Listen it carefully because you would have an idea about the accent and number of the speakers. Usually British or Australian accent is used.
  • If you miss an answer move quickly to the next question
  • Technical/academic complicated phrases or words are not usually paraphrased.
  • In case of maps, diagrams, maps underline Title so can have an idea about the coming questions.
  • Always see where and how much the questions are. For example if the instructions say that answer seven questions. Sometimes six of them will be given on one page and question number seven will be on next page. Students who won’t pay attention to the instruction would think that there are only six questions to be answered and they will miss question number 7.
  • Be focused.


  • 40 questions
  • 4 sections
  • Total time: 40 minutes ( 30 mins for answering and 10 mins for filling the answer sheet)
  • Section 1 (two speakers) Social situation example: phone conversation required specific information like names, addresses, time, date etc
  • Section 2 (one speaker) Social situation, example: a tour guide explaining a sight. Also need specific information.
  • Section 3: (three to four speakers) Academic situation, normally a discussion between two to three people
  • Section 4: (One speaker) Academic lecture on a topic

Types of Questions

  • Multiple choice (most difficult. You might have up to eight choices to choose from)
  • Sentence completion
  • Map completion (map of town or street or building plan)
  • Diagram completion ( labeling different parts of picture)
  • Form completion (very common in section one)
  • Note completion (common in section 4)
  • Flow chart completion
  • Summery completion (fill in the blanks in a short paragraph)
  • Short answer question (one word, two words or/and number/numbers answers)
  • Table completion
  • You need to practice each type of question. In your listening test you may have enough time to go through the question before starting of each section but you won’t have enough time to understand them if you have never practiced that type of questions before. So pick a test for each type of question and practice that single test until you reach perfect score in that test.

Band Distribution

  • Band 5.5 20-22 correct answers
  • Band 6 23-26 correct answers
  • Band 6.5 27-29 correct answers
  • Band 7 30-32 correct answers
  • Band 7.5 33-34 correct answers
  • Band 8 35-37 correct answers
  • Band 8.5 38-39 correct answers
  • Band 9 40 correct answers

Also read  >> Good Practice Tests for IELTS


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