Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today you’ll learn why students get a 5.5 on the Writing section of the IELTS exam.

I’ll also show you how to avoid this happening to you!

Congratulations to 3 Keys IELTS student Bruno, who got an Overall 8 on the exam!

You can hear his story and excellent advice here.

One of our IELTS energy YouTube channel listeners asked why students get a 5.5 on IELTS Writing instead of a 6.

Today we will answer that question!

Watch the video now!

What makes an IELTS essay score a 5?

Most likely, it’s because that student is focusing too much on grammar and vocabulary.

A language teacher who is not familiar with the IELTS exam is going to focus on grammar and vocabulary.

If you focus on these 2 scoring sections, you are at risk of getting a 5 on Writing.

This is because it can take over a year to improve your grammar enough to raise your grammar score on the Writing exam one band point.

If you don’t fully address the Task, you can get a 5 on your Task score.

You can also get a 5 for Cohesion/Coherence if your transition phrases have grammar, punctuation or spelling errors.

With those two 5’s and 6’s in Vocabulary and Grammar, you get that 5.5.

Almost everyone gets a 6 for grammar

Even if you make a lot of mistakes, as long as the Examiner can understand what you mean, you can still get that 6.

But for a 7, you have to make very few errors.

That is extremely difficult!

Most of you don’t have that year to spend!

What scoring sections should you focus on?

There are 2 scoring sections that you do have time to improve.

These are the scoring sections that a non-IELTS professional can’t really help you with.

  • Task Achievement score
  • Cohesion/Coherence score.

Strategies Created by a Former IELTS Examiner

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How to focus on the Task score

For the Task score, you must completely address everything in the task.

You must fully answer any questions asked in the Task topic.

If you don’t completely address everything in the Task, you can get a 5 on that scoring section.

How to focus on Cohesion/Coherence

For Cohesion/Coherence, if you don’t use transitions, you can get a 5 for that scoring section.

You can also get a 5 if your transition phrases have grammar, punctuation or spelling errors.

The good news is that these 2 scoring sections – Task and Cohesion/Coherence can be improved very quickly if you know what to do!

You need template sentences and high level transitions to practice.


Here at All Ears English, we are IELTS experts!

In our 3 Keys system we teach you exactly what you need to do to get high scores on the Task and Cohesion/Coherence sections.

We provide templates and high level linking phrases that get you the scores you need.

If you want to get past the IELTS exam like Bruno did, join our study system today!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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