• / Speaking / Getting a band 7 in Speaking

IELTS Speaking | How to get a band 7

Band 7
  • The most important thing to focus on is grammar because it is the hardest thing to improve for most students. You should be able to make several grammatically high-level sentences rather effortlessly and you should make only a small number of 'minor grammar errors'.
  • Of course you need to be quite fluent, too, but many Band 6.0 and especially Band 6.5 people are already quite fluent - in other words - moving from that level up to 7.0. Remember, 'fluent' just means that your language flows continuously; you might be quite fluent but still be just average (or poor) at grammar, vocabulary or coherence (and even pronunciation) and end up just getting a 5.0 or 5.5.
  • If you are one of those unlucky people who has problems producing accurate, clear pronunciation, you absolutely must improve your pronunciation, and improve it greatly, because if you get a 4 for that, it is virtually impossible to get an overall 7.0 in speaking. But probably about 70% of all candidates get a 6 for pronunciation, including most of those candidates who get an overall 5.0 or 5.5 for speaking.
  • An 8 for pronunciation is not very common because 8 is the highest score possible for pronunciation – probably less than 5% of all candidates get an 8 for that sub-score. Although many people (especially girls) do speak very clearly, to get an 8 you need to 'sound like' a native English speaker, to some extent, and you also need to show native-speaker usage of intonation. (If there was a score of 7 possible for pronunciation, quite a few people, maybe 20%, would get that score.)

What sub-scores are needed to get 7 for speaking?

  • In order to get 7 for speaking you would probably need to get:
  • For example:
  • Pronunciation – 6
  • Grammar – 7
  • Vocabulary – 8
  • Fluency & Coherence – 7
  • This would probably be the easiest way to get 7 for most students. Don't forget that, to get a 7 or above for Vocabulary, you need to show good knowledge of phrasal verbs because the usage of phrasal verbs is a key sign of a 7 or above for vocabulary, although it is not the only sign.
  • Another key sign is showing the skill of communicating meaning when you don't know the word for what you mean. (This is called "paraphrasing".) This would be shown more in Part 3 (or perhaps Part 2), when you might be trying to express a very complex or abstract idea. A person who is a Band 8 in vocabulary should not need to use that skill for most ideas because, after all, a Band 8 for vocabulary means that you have impressed the examiner with your vocabulary knowledge! Overall, you would need to impress the examiner with not just your vocabulary knowledge but with the suitability and accuracy of those words in the context of what you are saying. Showing a lot of impressive vocabulary but also showing that you do not fully understand the meaning and usage of those words will not result in an 8 for vocabulary! Several errors like that would actually result in a 6 for vocabulary, or even a 5 if you repeatedly show this weakness.
  • To get an 8 for pronunciation, it would be best, although not essential, to speak with one, quite recognizable, national accent – an accent from England, North America or even Australia (as long as it is easily understood). However, although speaking with a single national accent is preferable because it is more convincing to an examiner and more natural-sounding, a mixed accent is also possible, in theory. For example, speaking with an accent from England at times and one from the U.S.A. at other times, can still convince the examiner that you are an 8 for pronunciation. ('Accent' and 'pronunciation' are not exactly the same but they do go together.)
  • To get an 8 in Fluency and Coherence, you need to be both very fluent and show a very strong ability to connect your ideas, (i.e., coherence). To get this 8, you definitely need to spend many hours communicating in English with others (, who don't have to be native English speakers).

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