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April 19, 2018


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Thanks for valuable advice

Hi, Simon, I am in Australia. I need to achieve 4 band 7 in order to apply for my skill assessment. In the last two months, I had attended IELTS exam(the academic module) for three times and each time I got a 6.5 in writing. Could you give me some advice for my further preparation? How large is the gap between 6.5 and 7? Is there any materials you think might be helpful?

Many thanks,


You need to find out why you are getting 6.5, so you need to have your writing analysed by an IELTS expert.

Then you can improve the areas where you are not achieving at leat 7.


Thank you for your answer. Is there any suggestion about how to find an IELTS expert?
I used to have some tutorials with one ex-IELTS examiner for two months (12 hours), and he told me my writing technique is very good and I should achieve my desired score. But I failed three times, and really confused about how to judge my writing skills


"In the last two months,..": see use of "over" to mean "during":

" I had attended ": only use Past Perfect if you are already talking about the past, and want to refer back to an even earlier event.

"attended (an exam)": in English we do not attend an exam (unless we are the supervisor): the candidate sits an exam. (or takes)

"IELTS exam": 'exam' is a singular countable noun, and as such will normally need an article (apart from certain fixed phrases like 'at sea').

'for three times' -> three times: 'for' is needed for duration, but not repetition.

Thus: Over the last two months, I have sat/taken the IELTS exam (the academic module) three times ... "

"I used to have some tutorials ...for two months": this sounds as if each tutorial session lasted two months -> I had some tutorials ... for two months. (Simple past indicates it is over: if you were still having them, you would say: I have been having.. )

"he told me my writing technique is very good ": although this sequence of tenses is not wrong (since your writing technique is still the same), it would be more common to flip the reported speech into the past tense: -> he told me my writing technique was very good ..

"But I failed three times, and am really confused": missing main verb here.

'Don't forget to separate your paragraphs clearly.'

In the answer sheets of the writing test, I think that when starting a new paragraph, test takers would better make a gap of a row or rows between the new paragraph and the last one, so that examiner can easily distinguish different paragraphs.

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