Last year there was a story about a woman who needed an IELTS score of minimum 7.0 in each band for residence in Australia. While her speaking, reading and listening were all fine, she didn’t get the 7.0 she needed in writing. She didn’t get it the first time, the fifth time, the fifteenth time or the twentieth time.
While it’s not a great idea to take IELTS so often, you might find you don’t quite get the score you want the first time and need to take it again. This can lead to a vicious circle. Let’s say you need 7.0 in writing and you get a 6.5. The next time you take the exam, you will be more nervous about the writing paper than the others. Maybe because you are worried, you can’t really concentrate on it. Your result? 6.0. Nerves can be a big problem and there’s some good advice for dealing with nerves from one of our earlier blog posts. You can read it here.
Nerves might not be the only problem. We’ve talked before about what it takes to get a 7.0, which is when accuracy becomes really important. The report the candidate got from IELTS identified punctuation as a problem in her writing. It may seem silly that your score can be affected if you make a mistake with commas, but to get a 7.0 it’s really a case of whether you are making the odd mistake or regular errors.
A mistake is something that happens by accident, you know how to do it right and do it right at other times in your essay. Maybe you are writing quickly and it was just a slip of the pen. It’s OK to make the occasional mistake.
An error is different. An error is the same kind of ‘mistake’ you make again and again. This means it’s not really an accident, but evidence that you haven’t really learnt that particular aspect of language properly. Finding your errors, and doing something about them, is where getting good feedback comes in. To make sure you don’t find yourself in a vicious circle taking IELTS over and over, practice with us and get comprehensive writing feedback.