Top Tips for IELTS

How to get from 6.5 to 7.0 in writing – tips from a candidate

Are you stuck at band 6.5 writing and desperate to make the breakthrough to 7.0? Here is some advice from Evie, who made that leap, about what worked for her. There are two pieces of advice:

work on coherence and cohesion

a technique to make you write/plan more quickly

Some quick notes

Evie is very smart. She learnt to work on her skills by identifying what wasn’t working for her. She saw that as she is a Chinese language speaker she was having difficulty with coherence and cohesion due to the influence of her native language. This may not be exactly the same for you if you aren’t a Mandarin/Cantonese speaker but it is still possible your language affects you in a similar way.

Focus on learning the typical patterns of English. Be careful of “translating from your own language

The second time she offers is a way of brainstorming in essays. It helped her write more quickly. It could work for you too. Try it. Experiment.

Try different ways of planning. See what works for you. The best learners are people who are prepared to try new things

How Evie went from 6.5 to 7.0


About coherence and an implicit approach

I guess this is the major breakthrough from 6.5 to 7 for me (and maybe some other Chinese students as well).
Eg. Yesterday rained and my grandmother broke her ankle.

For some people from other countries it doesn’t make sense at all to say two sentences without any connection.

For lots of Chinese it makes perfect sense to have no connection and sometimes we would say: “because yesterday rained, my grandmother broke her ankle” in Chinese. Here is our thinking process:

Yesterday rained —-> streets are wet and slippery ,especially for elders—–> grandma went outside ——> she fell and broke her ankle

I asked lots of Chinese around me (in Australia and China), they share the same thinking process with me on this example.

After I figured out this major cultural differences, my Coherence and Cohesion improved a lot.(from 6 to 7+, marked by professional IELTS examiner in Melbourne)

I guess, for the example above, IELTS need us express things like this:

My grandmother went outside yesterday, and the streets were extremely wet and slippery. therefore she broke her ankle.

It might not be the best example, but I think it basically explained why my Coherence and Cohesion was stuck at 6.5 (even 6) for such a long time.

About the speed method:

This method is adapted from the way how Mckinsey train their management.

Tools: pen, use a piece of A4 paper, rotate it.

Time limit: 1 min

Method: write any idea you want to say, but within 1 min. when time’s up you have to stop.

I practiced this method for a week and a half, and I can finish task 2 within 25 mins or even under 20 mins.

After I practice this method, I did my test with not much preparation and got 7 (25mins task 2, 3 mins check)
PS. I think my task 2 was more than 7, since I am really bad at task 1

Get more IELTS tips

Do you want more advice about finding ideas for essays?

One of Evie’s ideas here is brainstorming. It can work really well. It is a skill though and may need practice and it helps to see how it can work for you. Try these lessons

Planning essays and finding ideas How to organise your ideas An essay lesson showing how the process can work

Do you have any tips to share?

If you have found something that worked for you and you’d like to share it. Just write and tell me.


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6 Responses to How to get from 6.5 to 7.0 in writing – tips from a candidate

  1. Nikolina September 12, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

    Hello Domenic. My problem is grammar mistakes( articles, verb agreement and plurals). How do you think I can overtake this problem and make a jump from 6.5 to 7. Thank you.

  2. doris September 15, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

    Hello DC, my problem is speaking and spellings and I need 7 in all, please can you help me?

  3. nikolina September 16, 2016 at 9:12 pm #

    Hello Dominic

    After I read the lesson that you suggested me about grammar and some other materials on the internet I wrote this essay. I know that you do not have time to comment on writing but please give me an opinion. I need a 7 on writing.

    Research studies show that overeating is equally harmful to people’s health as smoking. Therefore, the advertisements of certain food products should be banned similar to cigarettes. To what extend do you agree.

    According to the latest studies eating in large quantities and smoking have the same detrimental effects on our health. In my opinion, I believe that unhealthy food advertisements ought to be prohibited in the same way as cigarettes are, as it will greatly benefit individuals and society.

    A good reason to ban fast food advertisements is that they are considered to be the main contributing factor to overweight people. Due to the fact that these type of foods are rich in calorie and less nourishing, make people gain unnecessary weight and also become unhealthy. Another point to consider is that an increasing number of people are suffering from diseases which are directly linked to a poor diet,for example, the diabetes and the heart diseases. As a consequence, if the authorities decide to stop the promotions of less healthy options, they would improve people’s health and therefore not waste their funds to provide health care services to this group of individuals.

    Another fact to be take into account when arguing about the prohibition of fast food images is that they are mainly targeting children. At present, almost 40% of school age children in the developed countries are overweight as a result of the high amount of fast food consumption.Another related issue is that the banning policy of smoking has settled a good example and proven to be successful. Likewise, the prohibition of certain food advertisements would avoid the contact with these foods and make them less popular.

    In conclusion, the prohibition of particular food images, in the same way as banning smoking, is very likely to provide great results in the fight against unhealthy habits. By doing this, not only children and adults would benefit from this approach, but also governments can have more funds available on their budgets.

  4. Dominic Cole September 17, 2016 at 5:17 am #

    Okay – I’ve just read this very quickly indeed. One comment is that you haven’t fully answered the question “To what extent” i.e. you don’t say how much you agree. Much of the content of your essay can stay the same but you really want to say in the intro and conclusion just how much you agree.

  5. Nikolina September 17, 2016 at 10:16 am #

    Thank you for you comment I appreciate ???

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