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!
How long will it take me to get to Band 7?
I created a quiz to help you get a rough estimate of how long it will take to increase your overall Band Score.
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!