How to get 8 bands in IELTS?

how to get band 8 in ielts

IELTS is the most popular English language proficiency test accepted by most of the universities in the US, Canda, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. There are two types of IELTS tests, depending on the nature of travel, IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The Listening and Speaking sections will be the same for both tests, but the subject of the Reading and Writing sections will differ.

The exam is specifically designed to assess the English language ability of the candidates planning to migrate. But the exam in itself isn’t any more difficult than any other regular language exam. If you just do your preparations well, you may actually find the exam questions to be quite straightforward.

The IELTS exam will be graded on a 9-banded scale (1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest). So depending on the university/organization you plan to apply to, there would be a minimum IELTS score they would require, so make sure to find out about that.

How to get Band 8 (8.0 or 8.5) in IELTS?

Now, as an international student, if you manage to score an 8 or higher, there may be some courses, like law or literature degrees that may require a band 8, but other than that, the score is good enough to help with your admission at any university course, including the Ivy League Institutions. 

Before getting to the tips of achieving a Band 8, let’s try to understand how the overall band score is calculated?

How is the Overall IELTS Band score calculated?

The Overall Band Score is calculated by taking the average of the four component scores and rounded to the nearest whole or half band. The four component scores are of the Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking tests, and all the four scores are weighted equally.

If the average of the four sections ends in .25, then the Overall Band Score will be rounded up to the next half band, and if it ends in .75, the Overall Band Score will be rounded up to the next whole band. And if the average score ends with a fraction below .25 or .75, then the overall score will be rounded down.

Band 8 in Listening

In the IELTS Listening test, an audio recording will be played to you and you will have to answer questions based on what you understood from the conversation. This test will have a total of 40 questions and comprises of 4 sections, with 10 questions in each section

So if you’re aiming for a Band 8 in Listening, you’ll have to

  • Get at least 35 out of 40 (Band 8.0)
  • Get at least 37 out of 40 (Band 8.5)
  • No spelling mistakes
  • Follow the word count

Band 8 in Reading

In the Reading test, you’ll have to read different materials and then complete a set of exercises for each text. This test will also have a total of 40 questions and comprises of 3 sections with a variety of question types. 

If you’re aiming for a Band 8 in Reading

  • No spelling mistakes
  • Follow the word count

And you’ll have to score*, for IELTS Academic,

  • At least 35-36 out of 40 (Band 8.0)
  • At least 37-38 out of 40 (Band 8.5)

And you’ll have to score*, for IELTS General Training

  • At least 37-38 out of 40 (Band 8.0)
  • At least 39 out of 40 (Band 8.5)

(*minimum marks required may vary slightly from test to test)

Band 8 in Writing

The Writing test will have 2 tasks, but it’s important to remember that Writing task 2 weighs two times more than Writing task 1. So make sure to not spend more than 20 minutes for Task 1.

So if you’re aiming for a Band 8 in Writing, you’ll have to

  • Answer both the questions fulfilling the minimum word count.
  • The answer should be structured.
  • Make no spelling mistakes
  • Good range of vocabulary, without repeating the same words over and over
  • Use less common vocabulary
  • Error-free complex sentences

Writing Marking Criteria

For the Writing Test, your answer will be assessed based on 4 marking criteria, with each criterion worth 25% of the total writing marks.

  • Task Achievement
  • Lexical Resource (Vocabulary)
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Let’s look at the 4 Marking Criteria in more detail

Task Achievement 

Your content should:

  • Have a clear overview
  • Key features should be clear
  • Have only accurate information
  • All requirements mentioned in the question are covered

Lexical Resource

Your content should:

  • Have a wide range in vocabulary
  • Use less of the commonly used words
  • No informal language
  • Rare errors in spelling or word formation

Coherence and Cohesion

Your content should:

  • Have information and ideas in an organized manner
  • Proper structuring
  • Use a range of linking devices
  • No problems with referencing

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Your content should:

  • Use a variety of sentence structures
  • Error-free sentences
  • Control of usage of grammar
  • Right punctuations used

Band 8 in Speaking

For the Speaking Test, you’ll have a conversation with the examiner, where you’ll be assessed on your ability to communicate on any random topic. The test has 3 sections.

So if you’re aiming for a Band 8 in Speaking, you’ll have to

  • Speak fluently, with confidence and with almost no hesitation
  • Use less common vocabulary
  • Use a range of linking words
  • Show good control of pronunciation
  • Use error-free sentences
Written By

Nafia Zuhana is an experienced content writer and IELTS Trainer. Currently, she is guiding students who are appearing for IELTS General and Academic exams through With an 8.5 score herself, she trains and provides test takers with strategies, tips, and nuances on how to crack the IELTS Exam. She holds a degree in Master of Arts – Creative Writing, Oxford Brookes University, UK. She has worked with The Hindu for over a year as an English language trainer.

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