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how to get high scores in ielts


  1. Read instructions carefully, don't just glance at them. They are not always the same as in practice or previous tests.
  2. Try and anticipate what the speaker will say. This requires concentration, easy in your own language, but more difficult in English.
  3. Remember if you want a high score you should aim to get all questions in parts one and two correct. Don't make any careless mistakes in the easier sections.
  4. Small errors can lead to low scores so be careful with your spelling at all times.
  5. Don't panic if you think the topic is too difficult or the speaker is too fast. Relax and tune in.
  6. Read, write and listen at the same time. Tricky, but practice well.
  7. Don't leave blanks.


  1. Leave a question if you can't answer. To spend a long time on one answer is disastrous. Go back later if you have time and guess if you have to.
  2. Don't panic if you don't know anything about the subject matter covered in the passage. All the answers are in the passage and you don't need any specialist knowledge.
  3. Remember you have no extra time to transfer your answers, many candidates think because they have extra time in listening they are able to do this in reading too. You can't.
  4. Before the exam, read as widely as possible (e.g. newspapers, magazines, journals). Don't limit yourself to one type of text and read articles with an academic style where possible.
  5. Look at the ways paragraphs are organised.
  6. Try and predict content of paragraphs from the opening sentence.
  7. Give every paragraph you read an imaginary heading.
  8. Don't concentrate on words you don't know. It wastes valuable time.
  9. Careless mistakes cost many marks. Copy the answer correctly if it is in the passage.
  10. Check spelling.
  11. Only give one answer if that is all that's needed.
  12. Be careful with singular/plural. 


  1. Highlight/circle key words.
  2. Clearly divide paragraphs.
  3. Don't repeat ideas in a different way.
  4. Stick to the topic.
  5. Careful with timing - don't rush Task Two, it's longer and is worth more points.
  6. Paragraph simply, with one idea in each paragraph.
  7. Avoid informal language.
  8. Learn to recognise how long 150 words looks in your handwriting. You don't really have time to count.
  9. Get used to always spending several minutes re-reading and correcting your essays.
  10. Don't memorize model answers, they won't fit the question and you will make more careless mistakes. 


  1. It tests your ability to communicate effectively, not just your grammatical accuracy.
  2. Don't learn scripts of prepared answers. The examiner is trained to spot this and will change the question.
  3. Develop your answers as much as possible.
  4. Speak more than the examiner.
  5. Ask for clarification if necessary.
  6. Remember it is not a test of knowledge and there is no single answer, but ensure that you give your opinion. Don't worry if you feel it is not sophisticated enough.
  7. The areas covered are fairly predictable and not infinite so practise at home recording ideas onto a tape recorder.