Tune in to Episode 25 of IELTSCast. Noor shares the strategies that led him to band 8. I feel his description of the importance of transcribing is worth highlighting. Transcribing things you hear in the news is a great way to train all parts of your language. You’ll be surprised how much vocabulary and colloquial language comes out such an exercise!
(YouTube not accessible from your country? No problem. Download the MP3 here: http://ieltsielts.com/ieltscast/IELTS%20Cast%20Episode%2025%20-%20Noor%20-%20Overall%208%20(General).mp3)