Why it’s so hard to get band 7.0 or higher in IELTS Writing
Another Strategy towards IELTS Writing Success!
Most students come to me stressed and disappointed, complaining that they’ve done the IELTS test and stuck on band 6.0 or 6.5 in Writing. They generally have a great level of English so they are shocked as to why it’s so hard to get a band 7.0. Some of them try to convince me that the exam is rigged. That it’s just a big money-making con. IELTS may be a lot of things, but it certainly isn’t that. But I don’t waste my time trying to change their mind. Instead I just teach them the system and then when they get that elusive band 7.0 or even higher, they realize that the IELTS exam isn’t so bad after all.
The problem with IELTS Writing:
Do you want to know what’s really holding you back from getting a high score in IELTS Writing? Well, the first problem is that the Writing Section comes directly after the Listening and Reading Sections, so your brain is exhausted before you even start. Then, at the back of your mind you know you’re in the middle of a high stakes exam and how this moment can change your life for better or worse. On that basis, if, say you’re doing the Academic Paper, you need to quickly get your head around some visual information. Then, as fast as you can, you have to write about it all the while knowing you still need to do an Essay. With such mental exhaustion, how on earth are you supposed to write the best you’re capable of?
As a result, the exam experience can be quite terrible, leading to disappointing results, especially if you need a Band 7.0 or higher. The disappointment is compounded if you’ve done loads of IELTS lessons and test practice.
The solution to doing well in any section of the IELTS exam is one you’ve probably heard a million times before: Practice, Practice, Practice! While I’m a big believer of ‘practice makes perfect’, all the practice in the world will not ensure a band 7.0 or higher if you don’t know what to give the IELTS Examiner. My solution to any kind of Academic study, not just for IELTS Writing, is this:
FIND OUT WHAT THE EXAMINER WANTS AND GIVE IT TO THEM
Then and only then should you start doing some writing practicing….
Even a Google search tells you this. It actually comes before improving your English.
How to find out what IELTS examiners want:
The answer to this is easier than you think. I’ve broken it down into 2-steps.
Step-1: Get yourself a teacher who’s connected to the IELTS examining process. By this I mean make sure your teacher is either a current or ex IELTS Examiner or someone who has been trained by one. These are the people who really know what examiners want, and one way or another they will impart this knowledge to you via lessons. Unfortunately, it might be a challenge to find a teacher with such training because many IELTS teachers out there claim to have been an IELTS examiner. But do a bit of research and you will be able to find yourself someone who is the real deal.
Step-2: Use the IELTS Writing Task 1 and Task 2 Band Descriptors to tailor your writing. Start by making it less overwhelming. My strategy for this part is to print out the IELTS Criteria and cut out just the IELTS bands you want to get plus the one under it (which is the band you absolutely do not want to get). For the Task 1 Band Descriptors, you should then cross off the items that say ‘General Training’ if you are training for the Academic paper, and vice-versa. After this, you need to translate what the items actually mean and apply it to your writing. Basically, you are using the IELTS Band Descriptors to help you develop your writing so you end up ‘ticking’ more of the features on your ideal band and less on the features of the band beneath.
The right IELTS teacher can help you translate the Band Descriptions so you can actually apply them in your writing practice. In the meantime, if you are a student who needs a Band 7.0 in IELTS Writing Academic, then this is your lucky day. Download my freebie ‘IELTS Marking Scheme for achieving Band 7.0 in Task 1 Academic’ and be on the way to giving the examiner what they want.