A requirement of scoring Band 7 or above overalll, and no less than 7 in each section (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) is not an easy task.
If you are looking for band 7 and still keep getting band 6 or 6.5 then this post will show you how to move beyond your current level and get on track for the band 7.
If you keep taking the exam and getting the same results then unless YOU change the way you are approaching the exam you will keep getting the same result. It’s a vicious circle. Some students think that the more they take the test, the more their score will improve. To an extent this may happen especially at the lower bands BUT how long will this process take?
The exam shouldn’t be a method of preparation, it should be the final step in your study. Once you reach band 6 then the leap into band 7 and 8 is much greater. You now need a level of English language that is approaching native speaker (and it takes around 7 years for a native speaker to get to that level!). Not only that, but you also need to know EXACTLY what to do in every part of the test for that Band 7 score to be given.
Let’s look at some of these things
- You need to be able to pick out small detail in what is said
- Listen and make notes so you don’t miss things
- Be aware when grammatical changes have to be made to your answers
- Listen for markers so you don’t lose your place and miss questions
- Listen, understand, read and write all at once!
- You need a wide range of vocabulary so that you can spot synonyms
- Organise your answers grammatically once you have found the relevant information
- Understand how certain linguistic devices (e.g. negatives) function in English so that you can match the question and text information accurately
- Be able to work fast and pace yourself so you can finish everything with ease
- Use key words not only to find the place in the text but also to know when it is not the right place
- Be able to plan quickly and effectively
- Know exactly what band 7 writing ‘feels’ like to write
- Have excellent grammar, vocabulary and knowledge of formal ‘academic’ writing
- Have a wide range of vocabulary and also be flexible in your use of grammar for formal writing.
- To improve your writing band score, focus on improving Task 2 writing (which is worth double the marks of Task 1 writing).
- Be able to speak comfortably about a range of topics
- Demonstrate a good knowledge and flexibility of language
- Be able to structure a short ‘talk’ quickly and deliver this fluently and in an interesting manner
- Be able to use a range of tenses, modal verbs and other grammatical features in delivering opinions and comments in answer to the examiner’s questions
- Be able to listen well and at the same time begin to formulate an answer.
All of these things are second nature in your own language but we need to apply those skills now as well as we can in English. The better you apply them, the higher the band, it’s simple!!
If you are completely comfortable with all of these concepts and not getting your band 7 then you are not applying them well. If you don’t change then nothing will change!
In conclusion, you don't need a special technique or piece of advice. You only need to make small improvements. For example, in the speaking and writing tests, try to express your ideas in a bit more detail, and try to reduce the number of small mistakes that you make.
Hope you will get the score you want in the next exam.