Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Do you think you could prepare and land that magic 9?

Here’s the scoop: even for native speakers, a 9 is only a given in some parts of the exam. We see it every IELTS exam- native speakers rock up, without any preparation for the exam, and even they don’t secure those 9’s in every category.

So, what’s the problem?

And, how can we use native speaker characteristics to aim for 9’s?

IELTS 9 for Speaking

Part 1 and 2

As far as vocabulary, pronunciation, fluency/coherence and grammar go, native speakers will almost always score 9’s for IELTS Speaking Parts 1 and 2.

That is because they use natural language appropriate for the topics, namely, slang and idioms, and also use natural linking devices to organize their answers. Listen to this episode to find out how!

Part 3

IELTS Part 3 is where even native speakers can falter. This may be because they approach it in too relaxed a manner, just as they answered in Parts 1 and 2.

To give the examiner what he/she wants in Part 3, you need a strategy to satisfy the IELTS descriptors for scoring.

Watch this video to learn the strategy!



IELTS 9 for Writing

Task 1

There is no other time in life, even university and work life, where you will ever write an essay like this!

That’s why native speakers usually score poorly for Task Achievement and Cohesion/coherence, because they don’t know what the examiner is looking for.

For instance, you must write an overall trend, or your score drops. You must also provide key numbers, or your score drops. These are facts you cannot know unless you prepare for the exam!

Task 2

As most native speakers have written essays throughout their academic life, they usually do quite well in this essay.

They use appropriate, high-level vocabulary and provide very specific and detailed examples. Both of those things are necessary to score highly for IELTS Writing Task 2.

However, sometimes they may veer off-topic, and this affects the Task Response and Cohesion/coherence scores. You must cover the question, and only the question, to nail an overall 9 for writing.

IELTS 9 for Listening

Native speakers usually score a 9 on the Listening exam, simply because they understand everything that is said. Of course!

As a non-native speaker, you should prepare like a native speaker. You must listen to a variety of English media, such as podcasts made for native speakers (not just ESL podcasts made for students), and watch movies and TV shows.

Also, if English is not your first language, you probably will not understand every word you hear. This is where, again, strategies are necessary for coping and getting the right answers, such as identifying and hearing key words.

IELTS 9 for Reading

As we’ve discussed on the podcast, the IELTS Reading exam is where you must have strategies to find all the answers in the time provided.

Even many native speakers will not have time to read every word of the three passages and find all the 40 answers in just one hour.

The strategies involve the 3 skills of skimming, scanning, and reading for details. Some questions, however, involve unique strategies such as Matching Headings to Paragraphs and T/F/NG, Y/N/NG. In our course, we prepare you for every question IELTS might throw at you on the Reading exam!

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