One of the most common questions that I am asked is this:
“How can I improve my IELTS writing from a 6 to a 7 band score?”
Sometimes, my answer is not very well-received but my answer is always very honest and to the point. I don’t tell my students that they can improve by learning lots of tricks. I tell my students that they will only improve their IELTS writing if they actually write. There is no substitute for hard work!! There are things that an IELTS candidate can do to improve their writing but these things will only help if they are practised regularly. Why not keep a diary – write down what you do every day just to practise writing.
Do some writing
Find a list of IELTS type writing questions and answer them. You don’t have to stick to the time limit every time that you produce a piece of IELTS writing. Sometimes it’s nice to take a little bit more time over a piece of writing. Of course, it is very useful if you can find a teacher to mark your writing and show you how to improve what you have written. This costs money but it is money well spent. Contact me here if you want to know my fees for correcting your IELTS writing.
It’s amazing how many students think that they can produce good piece of writing without planning. This is nonsense. You really really need to plan before you start writing. Remember that the IELTS exam is testing your English and planning gives you an opportunity to work out how you can show off your best English. Read more about planning here.
Edit your writing when you finish it and check for basic grammar mistakes. Have you used the correct form of the verb? Have you selected the correct tense? Have you used a variety of tenses and used them appropriately? Are you aware of the kinds of mistakes that you usually make grammatically and have you checked for these errors? A student of mine had a bad habit of not using the auxiliary in continuous tenses but once he was aware that this was something he did regularly, he learned to check for this mistake. It improved his writing no end!! Read more about editing your IELTS writing here.
Spelling & punctuation
It seems obvious to me that once I finish a piece of writing, I check my spelling and punctuation. Make sure that you know which words you regularly make mistakes with and watch out for them when editing your writing. There are some words that I know that I make mistakes with and I always check them when I finish a piece of writing. One word that I know I have difficulty with is accommodation (phew!! I just spelt it correctly. Yippee! Lots of people don’t – read this.) Make sure that every sentence has a full stop at the end of it (or a question mark if it’s a question.) Does every sentence begin with a capital letter? Make sure that every sentence does. Use Google to find some good punctuation guides on the Internet – try here and here.
Read the IELTS question carefully and ensure that you know what you are being asked to write. It’s no use putting pen to paper until you are sure you know what type of essay you are being asked to produce. Dominic Cole expalins things very well on this page.
It’s worth finishing by repeating what was said at the beginning. The only way to improve your writing is by actually doing some writing. You wouldn’t become a better car driver if you never drove a car, would you? It’s really important to get someone to check your writing. Contact me if you want to know how much I charge to correct IELTS essays.