This IELTS Writing exam drives me crazy. It’s impossible. I tried 4 times now and I still get a 6.5. Why do I keep getting a 6.5?! I think I will go to a different test centre in Turkey as I hear it is easier there.”
This is from an actual student (a doctor) who spoke with me recently and decided to continue self-studying despite the fact that he had taken the exam 4 times and hadn’t achieved the 7 he needed. He decided to continue this struggle by himself.
So sad.
Is this you too?
The big question to ask and the big question to ask yourself right now is ‘why are you not getting a 7 in writing? That elusive 7 you need as a medical professional to fulfill your dreams of taking up that UK job offer that will change your life forever!
The frustrating thing for our team of ex-IELTS examiners when they mark our students’ answers is that it only requires a small improvement to go from a 6.5 to a 7 – but they see the same mistakes over and over again. If these students could address this, they would finally hit that 7 that they so desperately want and need!
Here are just two of the big mistakes that our team of ex-IELTS examiners sees all the time.
Mistake 1: Too simplistic vocabulary and grammar
This is an academic exam and therefore you are expected to use academic level vocabulary that is relevant to the question and the topic asked. Too many students play it safe and use basic vocabulary throughout but this just isn’t enough to get a 7. A 7 is a high score and therefore you need to impress the examiner with your English. However, you must make sure that you don’t just read the dictionary beforehand and use a long word that isn’t relevant to the question asked. Why? Well, it will seem strange, forced and unnatural. Turning our attention to grammar, too many students don’t display a variety of complex structures to impress the examiner with their grammatical knowledge and understanding. This is vital and is covered in the public band descriptors that the official IELTS organisation published. I would highly recommend that you find a copy of these online.
Mistake 2: Not expressing ideas in enough detail by expanding and supporting.
Many students list too many ideas and don’t develop them as well as not giving clear examples.
Take a look below at this task 2 and how to do it the right way in your planning:
Idea – celebrities are role models
Expand – role models of bad behaviour
Support – example: misuse of drugs – result – children see this as normal behaviour
Many students have an idea and give an example but they don’t expand upon the idea. Giving specific examples illustrates that you are able to link your ideas to relevant real-world examples. This is crucial and is often not done properly by a 6.5 student and hence why they don’t achieve a 7+.
There are many other mistakes that we will address soon so watch this space.
Have you made these mistakes?