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    How to score 7 in your IELTS exam

    When it comes to doing well in your IELTS exam, a band 7 is a score that many students aspire to. Not only will it help with getting your visa and securing a place at a prestigious university, but it is a great indication of the hard work you’ve put into developing your fluency in the English language.

    Achieving a great score in your IELTS exam can take you all over the world and will certainly open a great many doors for you in the future.

    Here’s how you can make the most of your IELTS exam preparation to help you score that elusive band 7.

     

    IELTS Preparation

    There’s no doubt about it, practice and preparation is key to helping you achieve the grade you want in your IELTS exam.

    One of the best ways to prepare is to take an IELTS practice exam. Free practice exams can be accessed on the British Council website as well as the IELTS website.

    If you can, you should do as many practice exams as you can until you’re scoring the grades you want. Not only will this give you valuable experience in the kind of questions you’ll get, but it will really boost your confidence.

    The IELTS Academic exam consists of tests in writing, reading, speaking and listening, and is designed to assess your understanding of academic language as well as your readiness to begin your studies.

    Read on to discover our top tips for scoring well in each of the four sections.

    Top tips for scoring well in your IELTS exam

    Listening

    This test takes around 30 minutes to complete. During the test you’ll have to listen to recordings of 4 native English speakers and then answer a series of questions in writing. You’ll be tested on your ability to understand both general and detailed information, understand opinions and attitudes, as well as to follow the ideas in an academic speech. Your listening test will take place on the same day as your writing test, with no breaks between them.

    There are a total of 40 questions of varying difficulty levels and, to score a 7 or above, you’ll need to answer at least 30 correctly.

    Our top tips:

    •  Immerse yourself in the language. Listen to British news, podcasts and documentaries to get the hang of listening to and understanding complex information.
    •  Listen to English every day. Make it a habit to listen to English podcasts on your daily commute, listen to English radio whilst you’re cooking or watch an English TV show in the evening. Even just 20 minutes a day will make a difference.
    •  Listen to different accents. Actively listening to a variety of conversation topics and accents will really help you. Get a notebook and make a note of any words you don’t understand and look them up later. This will also help improve your spelling, grammar and writing – win, win!

    Writing

     

    The academic writing test will last 60 minutes and covers two tasks. You’ll need to be able to summarise data, explain or describe information in your own words, explain how something works, as well as writing an essay in response to an argument or point of view. You must write in a formal, academic style for this test.

    To score a 7 or higher, you’ll need to ensure that you answer the questions fully and that your spelling, grammar and punctuation is excellent. You’ll also score top marks for properly planning and structuring your essays, so planning out your answers quickly before you start writing is key to staying on-topic and achieving top grades.

    Our top tips

    •  Test your grammar. You’ll be marked down for grammatical errors so this is great area to practice in. You can use online resources for this such as Grammarly.
    •  Plan your time. Task 2 is worth twice the marks as Task 1 so spend around 20 minutes answering the first task and 40 minutes on the second.
    •  Practice your spelling. 25% of the score is determined by spelling and grammar so mastering your basic spelling gives you a guaranteed way to boost your scores. Take a look at common spelling mistakes and test yourself every day.

    Speaking

    Lasting around 11-14 minutes, the speaking test is in three parts and will be recorded. The first section will focus around subjects personal to you, such as your family, interests, work or studies. You will then have to speak about a topic and answer a few questions and, finally, you’ll be asked more in-depth questions about the same topic to show your ability to discuss more abstract ideas.

     

    To score highly make sure you speak more than the examiner, be as expressive and fluent as possible, and communicate your ideas and opinions well. You don’t have to use complicated words, but you should demonstrate your ability to communicate and answer quickly without having to think too long about what you want to say.

    •  Expand your vocabulary. The British Council have some great online tests which are free to use. Students who have a wide vocabulary generally do very well in all areas of the IELTS exam.
    •  Pronunciation counts. Making a huge impression with the examiner, the better your pronunciation and accent is, the better your communication will be.
    •  Practice, practice, practice. There’s no substitute for practising speaking English. Try and have conversations in English every day and make it enjoyable. Although it might sound strange, speaking to yourself in the mirror is a great way to practice and will help you find ways to be expressive, make eye contact and smile whilst you’re speaking.

    Reading

    Lasting 60 minutes, there are 40 questions separated into three parts in this test, which is designed to test a wide variety of reading skills. You should expect to be examined on skimming, reading for general understanding, and understanding a logical argument, as well as your ability to interpret the attitudes and opinions of the writer.

     

    You’ll need to get a minimum of 30 correct answers in order to score a band 7 or above.

    •  Don’t panic. Don’t spend too long on each question and, if you don’t understand something, make an attempt and then move onto the next question as quickly as you can. You should attempt to answer all of the questions.
    •  Practice skim reading. During the test you’ll need to understand and find information quickly – this is definitely a skill you need to learn and practice.
    •  Guessing can help. If you really don’t know the answer, trust your intuition and make a guess. You won’t lose marks for getting it wrong, so it’s always best to make an attempt.

    Now all that’s left to do is to wish you the best of luck!

    If you’d like more information on our Pre-IELTS course or our IELTS Preparation course, you can get in touch with one of our consultants today.