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.
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.
How Evie went from 6.5 to 7.0
Get more IELTS tips
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
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 lessonsPlanning 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.