In 2012 I worked with a student from Malaysia called Sharifa. Sharifa wanted to go to Australia to do a Master’s Degree. She was a fully qualified child-psychologist and had already been offered a place on a Master’s programme and required an IELTS score at least 6.5 but had to have a minimum of band 7 in writing. When I met her in the early part of that year she was almost there. She had managed band 6.5 in IELTS Listening and Speaking, her reading was a little up and down but around 6/6.5 however, the writing was not moving away from 6/6.5 and it absolutely had to be band 7.
At first she only wanted to improve her writing but as we worked together she began to see how all her scores might be improved and that with her band 7 in writing her ultimate result would become much more certain. She soon began to improve her listening, speaking and even reading and the results were approaching band 8 – the writing, however, stayed doggedly at band 6.5 but through patience and hard work she began to see breakthroughs.
All in all we worked together for around 9 months and finally the writing came good and her eventual score was much higher than she had ever imagined (8.0 overall with amazing results in all parts) and a band 7 in writing. Sharifa was able to take up her place on the Master’s degree course and also move her family to Australia.
Once she was settled and had begun her course she sent me a message. She told me that if she had managed to get her band 7 writing when we first met and not gone on to improve the rest of her ielts skills to achieve bands of 7.5 and 8.0 then she would have really struggled with the course. She was so grateful that the writing took a while to improve because it gave her the opportunity to improve her reading, listening and speaking skills as well and this had meant that she was able to go straight into her very challenging course without any language issues whatsoever.
This is a good thing to realise, because the better your skills in English the easier it is to get band 7 and 8 in IELTS and in addition, the better your integration into your new course, new job and new country will be.
Another take-away from Sharifa’s experience is also that it often takes longer than you think to actually achieve band 7 and 8 and especially those bands in each part of the test – which is increasingly being asked for.
So, the truth about getting band 7 and 8 in IELTS is that you have to allow time and you also have to put in quite a lot of practice to make it happen.
This may be disappointing news but it is true and I want to be honest with you. I know people who are native speakers who haven’t got their band 7 in reading and writing so you can see what you are up against.
Ok this is the reality check now what to do to make sure you can get these bands. It’s not impossible if it were I would be out of work J
Accept that it cannot happen overnight and then start to move firmly and methodically towards the goal.
- Set yourself a timetable – how much can you do realistically each day? Then do this
- Don’t set a punishing timetable it will be counter-productive 2 hours or even 1 hour if that is all the time you have each day is good – make sure you are not rushing or panicking
- Give yourself some time off – relaxation is helpful and so is the time for everything to ‘bed-down’ if you ‘overfill’ your brain it will spill over and things will get confused
- Make sure you address each part of the test regularly maybe you can do reading and writing one day and speaking and listening the next. It’s important to do this for two reasons, firstly because you need all parts to be at a similar level (or exactly the same if you need 7/8 in each part) and secondly these skills work together – listening and speaking are related as are reading and writing
- Review, revise, re-write and above all take your time – this preparation period is NOT the test so if you don’t catch the listening answers straight away – listen again or if you can’t find the reading answers then take as much time as you need to make sure you have them – the score depends on correct answers not completing the tests in time. Anybody can rush through the reading in 60 minutes and get a low score – if you are able to find the answers then there is plenty of time in 60 minutes to complete everything
- Don’t book your test until you feel ready to get your score. Using the IELTS test as a method of study is expensive and it can make you depressed and anxious if you keep failing to get your band. Only take the test when you really feel you can get the score that you want. If you set a firm deadline then start as soon as you can to prepare don’t leave it until the last minute. Getting band 7 or above is NOT EASY
- Working with an IELTS teacher is the way to ‘fast-track’ your work to get the score that you want. Any good IELTS teacher will be honest with you and tell you exactly where you are and also help you to understand when you are ready for the band score that you want
- I am setting aside some time over the next few weeks to speak to IELTS students about their exam. I’m especially looking to help people who have already taken the exam maybe a couple of times but haven’t got the score they want – if that is you then check below to see how you can book a call with me
The real Truth about IELTS Band 7 and 8 is that it will take time so be prepared for this but during that time you can acquire English language skills that will not only take you through the IELTS with flying colours but also give you everything you need to go into your next job, course and life with ease and confidence.