IELTS Computer Delivered Tests + Band Score

How easy is it for a native speaker to get an IELTS band 8?

by Kel

Hey, everyone!

I'm applying for the Subclass 189 visa soon and since I'm pretty short on work experience (fresh-ish graduate), I'm going to need a score of 8 across the bands for IELTS.

I wasn't worried about this at all, but now I'm a little concerned. How difficult IS it to get Band 8...for a native speaker of English?

It's actually my first language; I speak nothing else. Would you describe Band 8 as 'fluent' or 'impeccable'? How much of a factor is the way you answer a question, as opposed to your actual command of the language?

Mostly I'm concerned because money and time is extremely tight for me (working two jobs plus study), and I can't really afford to spend more time and money on preparation than absolutely necessary.

If it helps - as I've said, English is my native tongue, but I'm also a newspaper copy-editor, English tutor, Law grad and Philosophy grad, and I previously attained top grades for English plus English Linguistics at O- and A-Levels.

I've glanced at the sample questions and they look long, but easy. I'm very confident in my actual ability, but...kind of afraid there might be something that blindsides me and robs me of Band 8.

Comments for How easy is it for a native speaker to get an IELTS band 8?

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Nov 26, 2016
Native Speaker and getting IELTS Band 8
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Kel,

There is no guarantee that a native speaker will get a band 8, but I'd say you should do if you do a bit of prior study.

Plenty of native speakers get 8 or over, though some may get less if they make mistakes.

You asked if a band 8 person is 'fluent' or 'impeccable'. Well they are more or less fluent, but there may be the odd error here and there. This is what it actually officially says for someone who gets a band 8:

"Very good user

Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies. Misunderstandings occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation as well".

You asked whether it is just language ability or also the way you answer the questions - it is both.

You are already fluent obviously so you are in a very good position. It's possible you could go in there with no practice and get an 8 or 9 but it's better to prepare as you could make mistakes if you don't know the format of the test.

For example, in the writing you only have 60 minutes for both the tasks and there are a variety of types of essay or graph/letter you could get. Even a native speaker could end up misreading the essay question or running out of time, potentially bringing your score down to lower than an 8.

Also, the reading test is very difficult, even for some native speakers, and you have only 60 minutes to answers questions for 3 quite difficult texts.

Sometimes in the speaking test native speakers don't say much as they assume they will get a good score just because they are native speakers. But you are graded on your speaking so if you are not saying enough you could end up with a lower score.

It's obviously not possible to give all the tips and strategies on here, so go through the website and do some practice tests. And look through the lessons on this site and the speaking and writing to make sure you don't make any slip ups.

If you are a competent native speaker you don't need to worry about getting paid lessons - going through things online and printing off some practice tests to do should be enough.

I don't think you have anything to worry about, but better to be safe than sorry and make sure you are prepared.

Good luck

Dec 16, 2016
Reading is my main challenge
by: Anonymous

I am not a native English speaker, but I have done pretty well in the two previous IELTS sittings. I have had no problems with Listening, writing and Speaking components; I've scored 8 or higher. But my challenge is always with the Reading test. I just can't get above 6.5. Based on my experience, I am sure even native English speakers would find the reading component quite challenging.

Dec 29, 2016
improvement on ielts score
by: Anonymous

I am from English speaking country. I have written ielts before. How do I get band 9 thanks I have never attended any lessons on ielts.

Apr 07, 2017
Very easy
by: Native speaker

I got an 8 average with no preparation whatsoever. I found the reading most difficult as I don't enjoy reading generally. However, most native speakers will get a 9 for speaking which will pull your average up.

Aug 21, 2019
Easy enough... but would you be satisfied with yourself?
by: Anonymous

I'm a native speaker and I got an average of 8 without any preparation... though my speaking got pulled down to 7.5 for stopping midway (I only spoke for 20 seconds and the examiner had to prompt me to speak more; I had no idea).

My writing got pulled down to 7.0 partially due to my zealousness... wrote over the word count. Pays to be prepared.

Aug 23, 2019
Native Speaker in IELTS
by: IELTS buddy

There is no penalty for writing over the word count - it is a minimum not a maximum. So there must have been another reason why you got 7.5, and it will be connected to the marking criteria - you will have fallen down somewhere.

It's also impossible to know if stopping as you did in the speaking (part 2 I assume) would get you a 7.5. There is no such automatic penalty.

If you carried on speaking after prompting by the examiner it in fact may not have affected your score at all, but if you only spoke for a small part of the 2 minutes in part 2 it may well have affected it in some way.

Dec 01, 2019
IELTS for a Native Speaker
by: Anonymous

Okay, so I am a native speaker. But normally, I use slang when I communicate (texting and speaking). And I did minimal preparation for the IELTs. Here's some tips that I feel would have helped me achieve a better score.

Reading: I used the online prep course ( provided when I signed up) to help me practice. Really helpful. I say you put most of your preparation into this part.

Writing: I kind of just watched a video on writing tips, what the examiners are looking for.

Listening: Easy for native speakers. You just make sure you listen to the audio carefully. You don't need to practice a lot for this, but still would be useful to know what you'll have to do so use the online course to practice/prepare.

Speaking: I watched a youtube video giving tips on how to speak.


The IELTs is for how well you know ENGLISH. Not your general knowledge on things. Good thing to remember this because I spent a whole day prepping for the speaking test thinking I needed to speak a lot. When really, they are just looking for structure, fluency, flow and vocab.

I got an overall 8, speaking :8.5, reading: 7, writing: 7, listening: 9....Barely practiced.

You'll be gucci.

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