Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

Which sentence structures are required for the IELTS grammar score?

How complicated does your grammar need to be?

It’s vital to understand the grammar score for both Speaking and Writing.

Today we answer a listener’s question about this.

We’ll break down what is required by the IELTS grammar score.

Today’s question

Hi there, after checking your website out, I got a question about the IELTS band 6 and 7 descriptors for GRA concerning the difference. As I understand it, according to the band descriptors, for a band 6 the structures my essay should contain are complex sentences (that is, subordinate clauses and relative clauses) and some other complex forms. If I want to get a band 7 in GRA, I need to add other complex structures (complex verb patterns, modals, passives, complex noun phrases) besides the complex sentences. Am I right? In other words, complex sentences are the key to get a higher score than 5 (so a band 6 at least), but I also need to show other complex forms for higher band scores.

Aldo Simonetti

IELTS grammar score

To get the scores you need, you must understand the scoring system.

It’s all about the score!

You don’t want to waste time on grammar you don’t need to perfect.

In this episode, we break down what is required to score band 6, band 7 and band 8.

#1: Band 6

For band 6, you need a mix of compound, simple and complex sentences.

You cannot merely use simple sentences.

In order to properly form complex sentences, you do need the clauses mentioned by this student, among others.

  • subordinate clauses
  • relative clauses

For a clear detailed breakdown of these different types of sentences, check out this episode.

We share examples and the correct grammar for each.

For a band 6, you can have a lot of mistakes, but you need some perfect sentences.

The grammar mistakes you make cannot impede understanding or prevent your meaning from coming through.

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#2: Band 7

For a band 7, you need a mix of sentence structures and must include more complex sentences.

Your essay must have a lot of perfect sentences.

You can still make a few mistakes!

As with band 6, any mistakes cannot impede comprehension.

It is difficult to score a 7 on the grammar score.

It can take up to a year to raise your score from a 6 to a 7.

This is why we suggest you focus on your other scores when you have limited time.

#3: Band 8

For band 8, you need many different structures.

This score requires native-level grammar usage.

For this score, you can still have a few mistakes.

However, you can only have 1-2 sentences with mistakes.

Alternatively, you can make one kind of mistake a few times.

  • example: omitting an article

Should you focus on grammar?

The time you should spend on improving your grammar depends on how much time you have to prepare for IELTS.

If you only have 30 days, focus for the most part on the other 3 scores.

If you have more time to devote, focus on aspects of grammar that can help your score quickly.

Our grammar series highlights these aspects.

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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