How to get Band 7 in the IELTS Test
Unlike many other language tests, the IELTS test simply tells you what level you are now.
If you want to get a piece of paper that confirms your level is Band 7, then you simply have to give evidence that you are Band 7.
So your question is not
How can I get a Band 7 ?
Your question is
How can I improve my English skills in order to become a Band 7?
That is a totally different question, because it is about the process that you have to go through to improve your level.
I guess you already know what that process involves!
Is a Band 7 possible for me?
Anyone can get Band 7, but it’s not easy. It takes time, consistent practice and patience.
And I totally understand how frustrating that can be, because I’m in a similar situation (skip this if you want!).
I want to run a marathon in under 4 hours.
Women of my age and level of fitness do this on a daily basis.
But I can’t.
Why not? Because of my current level of fitness.
I run 3 times a week, but in order to run faster I need to:
- run more often and further (time-consuming and lonely)
- train harder (exhausting)
- go to the gym more often (expensive)
- get a personal trainer (more expensive)
- run in all weathers (no excuses)
- start eating meat? (ugh – I’m vegetarian)
- reduce my work hours or go out at 5am every morning (no way – not safe)
- sacrifice spending time with my family and doing other things I enjoy.
Am I prepared to do that in order to achieve my goal? No, I’m not.
There is always a simple answer, but it’s often not the one we want to hear.
How can I run faster? Run more.
How can I lose weight? Eat less. Exercise more.
How can I be a millionaire? Design something that everyone wants. Win the lottery.
How can I stop smoking? Stop smoking.
Advice is what you ask for when you already know the answer but wish you didn’t!
Could you be a bit more helpful?
Yes! I have lots of materials that will help you get to Band 7. Here is my simple advice in response to a simple question.
How to get Writing Band 7
- Learn how to describe and analyse graphs, charts and processes and cycles (Academic Test) in 20 minutes and 150 words
- Use a variety of linking words naturally
- Use a range of vocabulary to describe change and make comparisons
- Use prepositions, tenses, articles and quantifiers accurately
- Be able to summarise and paraphrase
- Learn how to use an appropriate tone in letters (General Training Test)
- Understand the Band Descriptors for Band 7 Task 1
- Have sophisticated and relevant ideas
- Have plenty of appropriate examples
- Be able to organise ideas into a 5-minute plan in the exam
- Learn how to plan a clear structure
- Answer all parts of the question directly
- Give your opinion throughout, but show both sides where necessary
- Develop an academic, authoritative, formal ‘voice’ – avoid slang and informal features such as contractions
- Write every day
- Read good quality news articles and make notes
- Watch good quality news programmes and documentaries and make notes
- Act on feedback
- Fix your grammar and punctuation mistakes
- Increase your active vocabulary
- Use complex sentences
- Have strong arguments
- Read high-quality models and try to mimic (not copy) them
- Follow my Writing Advice for Academic Task 1 and Task 2, and General Training Task 1
- Understand the Band Descriptors for Writing Task 2
How to get Speaking Band 7
- Speak more often
- Record yourself and listen to the recording
- Get feedback
- Fix your grammar mistakes
- Have plenty to say
- Increase your active vocabulary (the words you use)
- Improve your pronunciation
- Identify which sounds are difficult for you
- Learn the phonemic alphabet and weak sounds
- Write down new words with their phonemic transcription
- Use an online dictionary to listen to the correct pronunciation
- Use contractions to sound more natural (I’d, I’ll, I’m etc)
- Listen and sing along to songs to help make grammar more memorable
- Listen to models
- Follow my Speaking Advice
How to get Reading Band 7
- Read more often (the kind of texts that I put on my Flipboard – get the app on your phone and read whenever you have time)
- Do lots of practice tests with explanations
- Practice time-management – learn how to find the answers quickly.
- Get used to different types of questions and how they work (e.g. True False Not Given)
- Analyse why the answer is right/wrong
- Improve your understanding of typical IELTS-related vocabulary.
- Spell the words correctly on the Answer Sheet.
- Follow my Reading Advice and find lots of examples I’ve made specially for you to practice on my Instagram/Facebook feeds and on my Podcast.
How to get Listening Band 7
- Listen more often
- Listen to high-quality, relevant podcasts/news channels (BBC 4 Radio)
- Do lots of practice tests
- Read tape-scripts to understand the answers
- Increase your passive vocabulary (the words your understand)
- Spell the words correctly on the Answer Sheet – don’t leave gaps, make educated guesses
- Practise map-reading and following directions
- Study irregular word formation to improve your spelling
- Follow my Listening advice here and find lots of examples I’ve made specially for you to practice on my Instagram/Facebook feeds and on my Podcast.
If you’re struggling to do the preparation that you need to get a Band 7, The Members Academy could be exactly what you need – a daily dose of practice, motivation, feedback and problem-solving.
In fact, the notes above make up the syllabus of my 3-month online Study Programme.
It’s not the kind of online programme where you will be left alone to follow courses by yourself.
I will be there to push you forward.
Help is on the way!