A similar approach can be taken to gauge your current

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A similar approach can be taken to gauge your current speaking band. For those without access to the advice of IELTS instructors or successful candidates, post an MP3 to The IELTS Network (). However, please keep in mind that doing so may not elicit feedback that is 100% accurate, as your recorded monologue represents only Part 2 of the speaking exam.
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Step 3 Declare a realistic goal for each IELTS skill (L, R, W, S) and a study timeline. For most candidates, the target band has already been established (i.e. a band 7 to apply towards Australian immigration or a band 8 to attend the University of Warwick). If you are unsure of what band you require, find out by contacting the body that would know. Having a clear goal is a critical part of your planning process. Establishing a realistic timeline for study requires some thought. Keep in mind that your progress will depend on several factors, mainly how much time you put towards actively preparing for the IELTS. Although the British Council discourages instructors from estimating the amount of time it takes to grow a candidate’s IELTS performance, I’d nevertheless like to share a few general observations from my experience that candidates might find helpful. Please keep in mind that these broad remarks are only based on my personal experiences and may not apply to your individual case: Observation 1 Growth speeds for individual skills tend to vary. Listening and reading abilities typically improve faster than speaking and writing. One theory for this is that speaking and writing skills are modeled after listening and reading in language development (i.e. we learn to speak by mimicking what we hear; we learn to write by mimicking what we read). (←If anyone has a link to research that could respond to this theory, please share.) In addition to this, candidates do not need the input of another individual to receive feedback on their listening and reading skills. This is seen in action when a candidate carries out a mock exam and checks their performance using an answer key. Instantly, they are illuminated to any shortcomings in listening and reading ability. This sort of self-assessment is not possible when preparing independently for speaking and writing and may also be behind the lag in improvement for these skills. Observation 2 Speaking and writing band growth tends to decelerate. In other words, a candidate often spends less time getting from band 4 to 5 than they do getting from band 7 to 8. This may in part be because of a conflict between (1) the near flawless language requirements of bands 8, 8.5 and 9 and (2) the failure of the student to correct long-term language habits that are forgivable at the band 7 level but not higher (i.e. pronunciation issues that cause mild difficulties for the listener, inaccurate grammatical patterns, misused colloquialisms, lexical awkwardness, etc). Students that reach the 7 level have typically been studying the English language for years, and thus the
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development of deeply engrained language weaknesses is regularly seen. As these weaknesses
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  • Winter '16
  • NAda
  • Writing, The Band, British Council, IELTS Writing

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