IELTS Success Formula Challenge Day 7

Welcome to IELTS Success Formula Challenge Day 7. If you’ve just joined IELTS-Blog today, read about the Challenge here.

Today we’re going to deal with a problem that troubles a whole group of our readers.

IELTS Success Formula Challenge SrinivasSrinivas L. from India needs Band 7 in Writing to be able to immigrate to Australia (he already got 7’s for his other skills).

Srinivas says: “I have a problem with writing and I wonder whether it’s caused by my poor lexical and vocabulary skills. Perhaps I need to improve these to cross Band 7. I have taken IELTS twice before and ended up scoring 6.5 in Writing both times.”

IELTS Success Formula Challenge HazarHazar T. from Syria needs at least Band 7 in Writing and an Overall Band 7.5 by August. She keeps scoring 6.5 in Writing and has no idea why, or how to improve.

Hazar says: “I took Academic IELTS 3 times, in 2005, 2013 and 2014, I got scores ranging from Band 7.5 to 8 for Speaking, from 7 to 7.5 for Listening, but only 6.5 for Writing”.

IELTS Success Formula Challenge MohamadMohamad T. from Indonesia is in the military service and needs Band 7 for his Command and Staff course, and also for his Master’s degree.

He says: “I have just received my IELTS Result and I got 5.5 in writing. I am really curious is this because my writing method is unacceptable in IELTS or due to some other reason? I really need you advice.”

IELTS Success Formula Challenge EricaErika A. from the Philippines is an International Educated Nurse, currently living in Canada and trying to complete her professional registration in the new country.

She says: “I’ve been struggling to achieve the required IELTS score. I tried IELTS twice already but still I can’t reach the target score. I feel so frustrated about it, and I need your help. My scores are acceptable in Listening and Reading but I always had a hard time in Writing and Speaking where I should get Band 7 for each, but I only got 6/6.5. I need to know more tips and strategies and more practice.”

IELTS Success Formula Challenge AlyonaAlyona T. from Uzbekistan needs Band 7 in IELTS to do a Master’s degree in the university she has chosen.

Alyona says: “I have been studying for more than half a year, and finally I got Band 6 in Academic IELTS which is OK, but not enough for my aim and my satisfaction. …It’s quite hard for me to differentiate between essays of Band 6, Band 7 and Band 8”

The one thing these test takers have in common is – they don’t know how to respond to IELTS writing tasks in order to get their target score. They need to understand what exactly they should change in their writing to get a higher score.

How IELTS Success Formula can solve their problems with Writing

IELTS Success Formula AcademicAnyone who wants to improve their writing needs to understand first what is wrong with the way they are writing at present, so that they can do better in the future.

This is why in IELTS Success Formula we take a Writing Task 1 that would score about 5.5 or 6 in a real exam, and explain why it would get such a score. But instead of looking only at the Overall Writing score we go over the four criteria (Task Achievement, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, and Grammatical Range and Accuracy) and explain what score this task would get for each criteria, and why. Look at this sample and you will see how that’s done.

And we don’t stop there – we take this Writing Task 1 response (that would score no more than 6 in its current form), and we re-write it for Band 7. Is that it? No 🙂 we take it to the next level and rewrite it to get Band 8 (see a sample here).

But what about an essay, the more important Writing task? We go through the same stages, completely analyzing a sample essay and explaining why it would score Band 6.5 in its current form. Then we rewrite it to score Band 7, and once again for Band 8.

After you’ve gone through this explanation in the book and understood how your Writing is being marked in IELTS – you will know what kind of writing to aim for, if you need Band 7 or 8.

To learn more visit the IELTS Success Formula webpage and download a free trial copy (scroll down and look for the download link).

IELTS Success Formula Challenge Day 6

Welcome to IELTS Success Formula Challenge Day 6. If you’ve just joined IELTS-Blog today, read about the Challenge here.

Today we’re going to deal with two related issues in IELTS Speaking.

IELTS Success Formula Challenge Dr SherifThe first one presents a problem for Dr. Sherif Magdi from Egypt. To be able to work in the UK he needs to get an overall IELTS Band score of 7.5 with at least 7 for each skill. Here is what Dr. Sherif finds especially difficult in his IELTS preparation:

“I have a real problem with the IELTS test especially the expressive modules (speaking and writing). Although I graduated from medical school where all the study materials were in English but it was particularly medical English with very simple English sentences. I was expressing myself using a simple vocabulary and had not performed well in the mock exams. What made it much harder that the GMC had raised the minimal accepted IELTS score for registration to 7.5 overall score with a minimum of 7 in each module. I don’t know what to do to improve my ability to hit this score.”

IELTS Success Formula Challenge Dr SherifThe second one makes Sajjad Anwar Khan’s life difficult. He wants to immigrate from Pakistan to Canada, and must have a good IELTS score to get a visa. His exam is just around the corner, in July, and here is his main problem:

“I have a problem in Speaking. When I have to speak on a given topic for a specific time, I always face difficulty with putting together ideas and vocabulary in a short time. I need an advice/tip how to quickly gather ideas in a shortest time and deliver a response in a better, more organised way”.

How IELTS Success Formula can solve these two Speaking problems

IELTS Success Formula AcademicWhen your speaking is judged in IELTS, there are 4 criteria used to assess it:

1. Fluency and Coherence
2. Lexical Resource
3. Grammatical Range and Accuracy
4. Pronunciation.

But what exactly does that mean? It means your assessor is looking at

1. How much do you hesitate, how appropriate and full are your answers, how do you link your ideas?
2. What range of vocabulary are you using, and how flexible are you in your choice of words?
3. How accurate is your grammar, and are you able to use different sentence types?
4. How easy is your pronunciation to understand, and how well are you using intonation and pauses when you speak?

As you can see, vocabulary makes only 25%, a quarter of your Speaking score, so focusing ALL your attention on it is a mistake. You also need to speak fluently, link ideas well, keep grammatical errors to the minimum, and pronounce words correctly to raise your score. In IELTS Success Formula we give you advice and take you through Fitness Activities to cover all of these aspects of your speech. One important thing you will learn is the difference between a low-score response and a high-score response. We show you lots of examples and give particular reasons why response A (for example) is the best and what is wrong with responses B or C – see a sample here.

However, vocabulary is one of the common problems, which is why we created a “Top score vocabulary” list, especially for IELTS Speaking – here is a sample. It will help you to raise your score because using occasional phrasal expressions or idioms enriches your vocabulary.

Quickly putting together ideas for your speech can be a problem if you’re seeing the topic for the first time in your life, and also if you haven’t trained in doing that in a short time. How should you deal with that?

The list of Speaking topics used in IELTS is not endless, and it always pays off to go over the typical ones and think of things to say. In IELTS Success Formula we have a full recording and transcript of a real speaking test (see a sample here) where the test taker is answering examiner’s questions. You can go over it to see how to respond well to the frequently asked questions, and you can also follow our suggestions there how those responses can be improved to get a higher score.

A list of IELTS Speaking questions is available on our website, where we post daily questions shared by real test takers shortly after their exams, and of course in IELTS Success Formula we have included a collection of most popular topics with full interview question sets and cue cards for practice.

To learn more visit the IELTS Success Formula webpage and download a free trial copy (scroll down and look for the download link).



  • Top 25 IELTS Blogs Winner Award
  • Best Australian Blogs 2014 Competition - People's Choice Winner


Online course

Practice tests

Site Search

New Services

Latest Posts: