Today I am going to show you how you can get 7 on your IELTS writing exam. If you remember last time, I shared my IELTS experience telling you how I got 8 on IELTS speaking exam.
Now you may be wondering how come I got 7. The problem is that I have not prepared for IELTS even one day.
If I had prepared, perhaps I would have gotten an even higher score. But I am not chasing behind IELTS 8 or 9 these days, to be honest. I just took it because I wanted to see what it is all like and what I will get even without any preparation.
By this, I am not saying you mustn’t prepare for IELTS or I am not teaching you how to score 7 or 8 without any preparation. Remember that I am a teacher of English and I am a blogger which means I live in the world of English learning and teaching.
I speak English with my students, colleagues, friends and business partners almost every day. I have a blog where I read and write English articles every day. And I have been doing it for the past 10-15 years. So you see!
I hope you got my point here.
1. Pay attention to your task achievement
What does it mean? It basically means whether you have answered the questions given to you in the IELTS writing task or not. What is IELTS writing task?
Please, see the picture below. This is an IELTS writing task 2.
Please, pay attention to the arrows number 2 and 3 where it says “What are the problems and how could they be reduced?” Also pay attention to the text below where it says “You should use your own ideas, knowledge, and experience and support your arguments with examples and relevant evidence”.
This all means that in your essay you should provide an answer to them. How? For example, they say “What are these problems…” right? So make sure you have one body paragraph after your introduction paragraph where you mostly talk about the problems and the cause of the problems.
Next, it says “…how could they be reduced?” Here make sure you have another body paragraph where you only talk about the solutions to the problems you have mentioned in your previous paragraph.
Please, see the picture below which can help you understand how you should structure your essay. Please, don’t forget that there are several other essay formats in IELTS writing and in my post I am only looking at Problem & Solution type of essay, alright?
In the writing task above I have also underlined some keywords if you remember. If you forgot, please see them below. It says “…use your own ideas, knowledge and experience…” and
“…examples and relevant evidence…”
What does it all mean? Now, listen… don’t be scared or stressed. Don’t say “Ouuuuu…. Myyyyyyy Godddddd”. They are all for you there to help and guide you only. They are like a cheat sheet but officially permitted cheat sheet.
Use your own ideas means to think and write what you think about the problem.
Use your knowledge means to write about ideas you have gained by reading books, journals, magazines, watching TV, listening to Radio programs and browsing through various Internet resources.
Use your own experience means if you have been in some kind of situations that are connected to the IELTS essay topic, write about it. For example, if you are writing about smoking at schools, write about your situation at your school. This is your personal experience.
Support your arguments with examples and relevant evidence means when you, for example, say that you agree that smoking in public areas must be banned you should explain why you think it should be done so. You should give examples and evidence that are only connected to the topic.
For example, let see these examples.
I agree that smoking in public place should be banned because believe me smoking is bad. My father does not smoke and he says that young people mustn’t smoke.
This is a badly developed argument because it does not prove anything. It does not explain a student’s personal point of view at all. He/she only writes “…believe me it is bad. My father says…” My reaction is “So what if your father says so? Why should I believe you?”
Let’s improve it!
I agree that smoking in public places should be banned because firstly it seriously affects health conditions of people who don’t smoke. Secondly, if smokers are adult aged individuals, then they are more likely to set a bad example to members of a young generation and encourage unhealthy lifestyle among them. Finally, smoking in public areas also causes littering which makes the city look less attractive to international tourists. This will damage overall reputation of the city in the global arena.
2. Pay attention to your vocabulary
When it comes to vocabulary you should make sure you use only those words and phrases that you know how to use. Don’t use them for sake of using them. Don’t use them in order to get higher IELTS score because if you don’t know them very well you will end up using them in a wrong place and in a wrong way.
Now a lot of students ask me if they should use simple words or smart words. Well, again you will have to use the words that you really know. When it comes to smart or simple words, I would like to say that you should not bother yourself too much about them. Why …because if you have prepared for IELTS properly then you will anyway use a very good selection of words.
By preparing for IELTS properly I mean that you had finished Upper-Intermediate level of general English course and improved your overall level of English: speaking, writing, reading, listening, and of course vocabulary.
And plus you have prepared for IELTS with an IELTS tutor, not with a student who recently got IELTS 8 or higher. You have also learned how to write essays and speak properly without learning ready-made essay samples and speaking templates downloaded from the Internet. Yeah, some students prepare for IELTS like this.
So now back to vocabulary. If your English level was Upper-Intermediate and then you have prepared for IELTS, don’t worry. You will be very comfortable to use those ‘smart’ words in your essays without worrying too much about using them.
For example, if your English level is the Upper-Intermediate level you will not write “My country should spend more money on the health of my people” in your essay. This will get you IELTS 5 or 5.5
Instead, you will write “Our government should allocate more financial resources in the healthcare sector” which will get you IELTS much higher than 5 or 5.5.
3. Pay attention to your grammar
When it comes to grammar in IELTS you should make sure that your sentences are healthy and show that your general English is at least Upper-Intermediate or higher if you wish to get IELTS 7 or higher.
How can you do this? Firstly, make sure your sentences are complex, not too short and not too long. I am not saying you must not use short sentences. Yes, you can but not too much. Next, they should also incorporate passive voice structures within. Finally, in your sentences, you should not also repeat one word or phrase many times including ideas.
For example, let’s analyze the following sentence:
“I agree people should not smoke in restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theaters, and parks. It is bad for their health and my health”.
What’s wrong with this sentence? First of all, active voice is used where passive voice is more recommended to be used.
Don’t say: “I agree people should not smoke”
Say: “I agree smoking should be banned”
Next, the words such as cafes, cinemas, theatres, and parks can be grouped as “public places” or “public areas”. This will make your points more concrete and to the point. Plus, it will save your time too. Oh… did you say you will have more words? I don’t think writing in such a way in order to create more words in your essay will help you get IELTS 7 in writing.
Furthermore, there are two sentences which can be combined and made a more complex sentence. How? Let’s analyze.
First sentence: “I agree people should not smoke in restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theaters, and parks”.
Second sentence: “It is bad for their health and my health”
Let’s combine it and change its overall structure.
“I agree that smoking in public places should be banned because it negatively affects people’s health conditions”.
You see now it became one big and more complex sentence. I have also removed the word bad and rewritten it as “…it negatively affects people’s health conditions”.
4. Pay attention to your cohesive devices
What are they? Cohesive devices are those linking words such as Firstly, Secondly, Finally, Moreover, Furthermore, In conclusion, and etc. Please, see the infographic below from IELTS Advantage.
Why do we need them? Well, we need them because when you are driving a car you will need road signs, right? Or when you cook something for the first time, you will need guidelines, right?
So when a person is reading your essay for the first time he/she will also need these signposts in order to know where one new idea starts and where it finishes.
He/she will need to know where your essay starts and where it ends. An essay without cohesive devices is like a road from New York to Los Angeles without any signposts on the highways. Can you ever imagine driving comfortably on that highway if you have never driven from New York to Los Angeles in your life? Of course, your answer is no.
Now let’s analyze the paragraph below.
There are many good reasons for studying a foreign language in the country of the language. You are surrounded by the language and can learn a lot without making any effort. There are many opportunities to learn about the culture, and this can be extremely interesting. The progress that you make will probably be much faster.
Now let’s read the same paragraph using cohesive devices.
There are many good reasons for studying a foreign language in the country of the language. Firstly, you are surrounded by the language and can learn a lot without making any effort. Moreover, there are many opportunities to learn about the culture, and this can extremely interesting. Finally, the progress that you make will probably be much faster.
So which paragraph above is much better written and clearer?
Yes, the second one. It is not only easy to read but it also has more words than the previous paragraph.