Low IELTS Writing Band Score?

by Ammar
(Malaysia)

Why did I get an IELTS band 6 for my writing?



I received my IELTS results today, I got a 7.5 overall band score as follows:

Reading 7.5
Listening 7.5
Speaking 8.5
Writing 6

I'm so puzzled because I did so well in writing, in fact I totally expected it to be the highest mark.

I write a lot and I work in an IT company as a support manager, hence, my line of work always requires me to communicate with strangers on daily basis using formal and clean English!

Is there a specific reason for this? Or do you think I should submit a remark request? Something surely seems off here!

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Feb 12, 2016
Band 6
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Ammar,

You say you did well in your writing but how do you know? Only an IELTS Examiner or Instructor could really judge that.

I do agree from reading your writing in your post that your English seems quite good.

But is it possible you misinterpreted the question? If you don't fully answer the question it can bring your score down. This would be nothing to do with your writing style or grammar.

Anyway, it is all speculation as we just don't know.

Only you can really decide if you should go for a remark. It's just a gamble really.

Feb 12, 2016
Thank you
by: Ammar

Thank you very much for your prompt reply and for your much appreciated insight. I was also thinking about the possibility that I was penalized for task response. Maybe I have written less than 250 words or that I have not sufficiently addressed the task topic. I cannot be so sure about that because this is my first IELTS exam ever and I only had 2 weeks to prepare for it.

I think the best that could happen if I go for a remark is a raise of 0.5 for my writing score, which will make my overall score exactly 7.5 therefore I think it's pointless :/

Thank you once again!

Jul 30, 2016
How to improve ielts
by: Anonymous

I gave ielts twice, I did my best but in my latest result I got higher marks in which I had previously low and vise versa. What should I do next?

Mar 13, 2017
International medical graduates
by: Anonymous

It's 7.0 band in all aspects of the 4 Parts and 7.5 band in total for International medical graduates.

Jun 08, 2017
Writing stuck at 6.5!
by: Anonymous

I took IELTS GEN TWICE AND ACADEMIC ONCE , MY SCORES ARE BELOW:

8.5/7.5/6.5/7- GEN 1ST TIME
8/9/6.5/7 - GEN 2ND TIME

8.5/8.5/7.5/7 - ACADEMIC

WHAT WOULD BE THE REASON FOR A LOW BAND IN WRITING

Jun 09, 2017
Writing stuck at 6.5!
by: IELTS buddy

It's really not possible to answer that. You are marked on four criteria so without seeing your writing it's impossible to know on which of those you are having problems.

You'd need to get an experienced Ielts instructor to look at some of your writing and telll you where you are gong wrong.

Aug 31, 2017
Extremely low score in Writing
by: Anonymous

Got my IELTS result today with the following scores; L 7, R 7, S 8.5 and W 5.5....I have no clue what could have gone wrong in writing and what is the reason with such a low band score...any advice for what could have gone wrong so I can improve? Thanks

Sep 01, 2017
Extremely low score in Writing
by: IELTS buddy

It's impossible to tell you what is wrong with your writing without seeing the essay you did or seeing some samples of your writing.

You are marked on several criteria over the two tasks so there are many reasons why you could have got a particularly low score.

For example you may have misunderstood the essay question and not fully answered the question. In this case you would have been given a low score for Task Response. So if you take it again you may answer it properly and get a much better score.

So really it's impossible to know.

Sep 09, 2017
hi
by: Anonymous

I have given ielts twice (BC), but I didn't score more than 5 bands at present. I booked my ielts exam on 16th (idp). Could you please tell me how to get 7 bands over all. I am practicing well but I can't cross more than 6 bands, can you please help me.

May 08, 2018
writing scoŕe
by: Anonymous

hi
i got my result of ielts and i got L9 R9 S 7 and W 6.5...i dont know why i got 6.5 in writing. My task went well...can anybody advise me what should i do? Should i go for next attempt or go for revaluation?

May 10, 2018
writing scoŕe
by: IELTS buddy

Only you can make that decision. The fact you got 7 in speaking suggests your writing could be correct as they tend to fall around the same area for most candidates.

Only go for a remark if you are very sure a mistake as been made and it should be higher.

Jul 28, 2018
Writing Section Mistakes
by: Anonymous

Hello,

I took my exam today and I feel quite confused.

In task 1 (map), I wrote west instead of east. This is my first fault.

In task 2, the instruction told me to discuss the both view and give your opinion. I wrote an effective introduction including both views with their reasons and gave my opinion.

However,in body Paragraphs I forgot putting what I exactly think, I just wrote ideas with their arguments and examples. I gave my opinion in "conclusion" section.

Can These mistakes considerably affect my score?

Thank you for your attention in advance.

Jul 29, 2018
Writing Section Mistakes
by: IELTS buddy

It's impossible to say how or if those things would affect your score.

In your task 1 you are implying that you made only one mistake but you could have made others you are not aware of. And you do not lose a band for one mistake like that - the marking criteria is more complex than that and you are graded and assessed on many factors for each criteria.

And for your task 2, you are supposed to present ideas, arguments and examples so I am unclear as to what you think you have done wrong.

Really it is too difficult to give any kind of score predictions or penalties without seeing your actual writing.

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Why did I get band 7 in writing but 9 in the other modules?

by Bobby Chapman

Hi guys, I am a native English speaker, born and raised in the UK. English is my only language. I studied medicine abroad so I was required to take the IELTS with a minimum of 7.5 in each category. I took the test at the beginning of the month and I got:

9-Speaking
9-Reading
9-Listening
7-Writing

I am extremely confused and was wondering if anybody could help me in where I went wrong. I have an A* in both GCSE and A Level English Language so I thought this test would be a breeze but clearly I was wrong. I found the test less about English proficiency but more about IELTS proficiency.

The exam is relatively expensive and so I can't afford to do it a third time. My grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and lexical resource is as good if not better than the average native English speaker yet my band 7 descriptor says 'Good user' and 'inaccuracies and misunderstandings' which has puzzled me.

Any ideas of where a native user may be going so far wrong as to be judged as being non native?

Thanks in advance.

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Apr 20, 2016
Score discrepancies
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Bobby,

Before taking the exam, did you check exactly what is required for the writing and what you should and should not do?

Some test takers who are a high skill level just go into the test because they think they will be ok and then are surprised when they don't get the score they expected.

Of course if you are very good at English you will likely get a high score, but there are certain things you could do / not do if you did not know about them that would bring your score down.

That is why it is a good idea, whatever level you are, to look through a website such as IELTS buddy and others to check for tips and strategies.

For example, it is important to have an overview in the Task 1 Academic Writing. Did you do that? If not that could have brought your score down.

There are other things like that and you should have a look through the writing lessons and other pages on this site to check before taking the test again.

Also, it is possible that you misunderstood the question for the writing. Again, if you only half answered it for example, that could have brought your score down. That is a common mistake.

If you think none of those things above apply to you and you should have got a higher score you can apply for an Enquiry on Results (remark).

If you do that they will look at your scores again. The problem is that you have to pay a fee that is around the same price as the test and it only gets refunded if your score increases.

Apr 21, 2016
7 in writing
by: Anonymous

Oh God, how you could get 7 in IELTS writing , I wish I could too :(

May 13, 2016
IELTS frustrations
by: Anonymous

I just received my test result for my 7th attempt in ielts. L R 8 and S W 6.5. I always got 6.5 in writing whereas in Speaking it is sometimes 7.

I don't know what to do now since it takes me 2 years now and cost me a lot of hard earned money. I tried all online materials but nothing seems to work to improve my writing. Please help...

May 13, 2016
IELTS frustrations
by: IELTS buddy

Sorry to hear about your problems.

As I've said before, it's quite common to get stuck at 6.5 because to get a band 7 for 'grammatical range and accuracy' you need the majority of sentences to be completely error free.

It's really difficult for most people to be this accurate.

I don't know if you have had a teacher or not but it may be an idea so that you can get your writing checked and establish exactly where you are going wrong.

The only way to iron out grammatical errors is to be told where they are and to keep practicing.

Jun 17, 2018
Frustrated
by: Anonymous

I have to say I completely understand your frustration. I am British, native speaker, English has been my main spoken language all my life and I was given a 7.5 in writing. Really annoyed me because I get the feeling that it is more about doing what IELTS expects of you rather than if you know English well enough to write a clear, cohesive and accurate piece of writing.

Jun 19, 2018
Frustrated
by: IELTS buddy

Obviously I don't know what you wrote in your essay or the question, or your task 1, and maybe an error was made in the marking. But native speakers sometimes do worse than what would be expected.

A common error from students is to misunderstand the question for the essay or not answer all the parts of it. If this occurs it can bring the score down quite a bit. This can occur for anyone, regardless of being native or not (though of course it's more likely for those weaker in English).

And in the task 1 there are certain things that need to be done, such as having an overview, and not doing essential things could again reduce the score a lot. A native speaker could easily make such errors, regardless of their writing ability, if they have not done some IELTS preparation first.

As I say, maybe this was not the case with you, but it does happen.

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Why am I getting lower scores in my IELTS writing?

by divya

I got my IELTS results recently.

Reading - 9
Speaking - 7
Listening - 7.5

but Writing - 6.

I am so frustrated. Can you give me some advice, please!

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Apr 10, 2016
Low IELTS Writing Score
by: IELTS buddy

Hi divya,

Is that the first time you have taken the test?

Have you followed the advice on this website?

Your other scores suggest that you should get higher in writing (unless you have a particular weakness with your writing) so you need to work out why that is.

Have you looked at exactly what is required in a Task 1 and how best to answer essays questions?

For example, not analysing the essay question properly and therefore not answering the question properly could bring your score down quite a bit. Did you practice this before the test?

You need to make sure you know exactly what kinds of things the examiners are looking for in order to award you a good score.

So I suggest you go through this site carefully (for example looking at the writing lessons and model answers for Task 1 and Task 2).

If you have taken the test a few times though and you know what to do but are still getting a 6 then it suggests you maybe have weaknesses with your grammar.

Thanks

Jul 30, 2016
Ielts is all fraud
by: Anonymous

I am a medical specialist I did ielts twice , my score fell down rather to improve. My score decreased, I have reached a conclusion that this is a drama to collect money from poor countries like us.

Feb 01, 2018
preparing for the second time
by: Anonymous

Hi guys,

i'm going to take test for the second time. I didn't do well during my first attempt because of a bit nervous and i was overwhelmed with to many tips and in finally on the day of exam i was in confusion that what strategy i should use in exam.

so, i doing practice to overcome the mistakes i have done in the past. I also booked the slot for my second time.

Now, the most common thing i have been hearing for a while is that the score does not improve for many those who do exam for second time is that TRUE?

I previously got overall score of 5.5 and now i'm trying for 7.5-8.can i get the score that i was wishing is that possible to get. Did anyone face same situation? please, give me your suggestion.

Feb 04, 2018
preparing for the second time
by: IELTS buddy

I'm sure some people increase their scores the next time they take the test but I doubt anybody knows how many.

But jumping from 5.5 to 7.5 / 8 is unlikely in such a short space of time, assuming you last took the test recently. There is big difference in the English skills of someone who is 5.5 and someone who is 7.5 so to improve that much would take a lot of study.

If your English level is very good, but the band score was a result of nerves and not being properly prepared for the test then maybe you could make that jump.

However, if you got 5.5 because your English ability is quite weak, you are not going to be able to suddenly improve in a short space of time to become very good at English.

Yes there are tips and strategies to increase your score but remember ultimately it is a test of your English, and if you are not at a band 7.5 / 8 level then you are not likely to get that score.

Feb 05, 2018
can i expect the jump
by: Anonymous

First of all, THANKS for your reply
It's been a long time since I have took the exam
more than 6 months. These six months i tried to improve my English language skills and keep on practicing for the exam. So, i'm asking can i see the change in my score?

Feb 09, 2018
can i expect the jump
by: IELTS buddy

I can only talk hypothetically because I have no idea about your skills or whether you have improved.

So yes, in theory, somebody of course should improve after studying more IELTS / English for 6 months further, assuming they were studying quite hard and doing the right kind of study as that is quite a lot of time.

But it's impossible to say by how much because everybody is going to be different.

And as I say I don't know about you personally so I can't say if you will improve or not. But if you haven't improved say half a band at least you need to look carefully at how you are studying and think about what you need to do differently.

Aug 05, 2018
from 6.5 to 7
by: Anonymous

I got my second IELTS score and it stable at 6.5. I got 8.0 for reading 7.5 for speaking but only 5.0 for writing.

Some of my friends suggested me to read a lot of english written academic text however i think this technique are not really works for me. It only help to improve my reading score, not for writing.

My target score is 7.0 with at least 6.0 for each band.

Do you have any suggestion for improving my score?

Aug 07, 2018
from 6.5 to 7
by: IELTS buddy

Have you got 5 both times?

You should look through the writing lessons on this site for task 1 and 2 and make sure you are not doing something that is bringing your score down.

Aug 07, 2018
from 6.5 to 7
by: Anonymous

i got 5.5 at first attempt, and 5 for the second one.

I checked writing lesson at this web and i don't think i did something wrong for both test. Actually, i studied a lot for writing skill before took second test. I expected some improvement at least .5 point. However, instead i got .5 lower than the first one.

Is it possible to expect 6 by only studying by myself, without help from native speaker or other professionals?

Aug 11, 2018
from 6.5 to 7
by: IELTS buddy

It's not possible to tell you whether you personally can get up to a band 6 by studying by yourself. I guess some people have but some struggle.

Improving your organisation, ability to answer the question etc can be done online but improving your grammar is difficult to do by yourself as you really need someone to advise you of where you are going wrong.

If you have got 5.5 before then it's possible you can get up to 6 by yourself but I haven't seen your writing so I don't know where you are going wrong. It can take a long time to go up by even half a band.

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Why did my IELTS writing score go down the second time?

by sora

why did I score writing less than before?

Hi, I got my ielts result recently on Jan 2016 and I got only 5.5 in writing. It was lower than the last time I took the ielts in december 2015 and I got 6 in writing? Why did I score writing less than before? Should I ask for a remark?

Anyway, I got 6 in overall. Is it an acceptable score for applying to Australian and USA universities? (for Bachelor degree). Well, actually I'm a bit disappointed because I did not score high in ielts. There people told me that if I need to apply to study abroad at least I should score 6.5 to be qualified. So, isn't 6 not good enough?

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Feb 15, 2016
Score going down
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Sora,

It's quite possible to get a lower score in any part of the IELTS. You will have got a lower score because your essay the second time was not as good as your essay the first time. There could be many reasons for this but nobody can know why without seeing your essays.

Nobody can really say whether a remark will get you a higher score. It is possible, but as I said it may be that your essay was not as good the second time.

Regarding the score needed to go to Australia, you should check the requirements of the universities you wish to apply to. I'm not aware if there is a minimum of 6.5 for all Australian universities.

Feb 22, 2016
i had exactly the same
by: adam

it is depends on how did you write the second time, sometimes the subject to write or the graph was more complicated or in other words more difficult, so it's like any other exam, so don't expect to get higher score every time you have the test, it is not like when you go to the gym you lose weight or you gain muscle every time.

Oct 21, 2016
Writing 6 bands
by: Anonymous

I followed this site during both the IELTS attempts. Firstly I got 6.5 and in the hope of getting 7 I took test again and got 6 this time. Although the tasks were easy and i rechecked my work. I am so sad. What to do???

Mar 17, 2017
Very mad
by: Anonymous

I also had the same problem. Took the General Test and got the following results:

Listening 7.5
Reading 8.5
Writing 6.5
Speaking 8.0

Then I took the Academic test (which is the one I needed to take in the first place) and got this score:

Listening: 7.0
Reading: 7.5
Writing: 5.5
Speaking: 7.5

I think this is insane, how could I score lower in every band??? I even felt I did a lot better on the second test....

Mar 17, 2017
Very mad
by: IELTS buddy

The speaking and listening for Academic and General Training are exactly the same.

That appears to be reflected in your scores as they are quite similar for each test.

But the reading is different and easier for general training, so that could easily account for a band difference.

Also, I would say the writing for General Training is easier too. For most people it's easier to write a letter (Task 1 GT) than than some type of graph or diagram (Task 1 Ac).

The essay questions are also not the same on the day of the test for GT and Ac. The essays could be the same difficulty but sometimes the GT ones do seem to be questions that are easier to understand than the academic ones.

Obviously I don't know what happened in your test and it could be different reasons for your change in scores, but the general training I would say overall is a bit easier so that could account for it.

May 25, 2017
Frustrating
by: KC

Took ACADEMIC IELTS twice and got these scores L-9, R-8.5, S-8, W-6. I need 7 in all bands.

It is frustrating as I paid for a feedback for writing (was an assessor in ielts for 10 years) who said that I wouldn't have a problem getting 7 in writing after reading most of my tasks. :-(

May 28, 2017
Frustrating
by: IELTS buddy

It's possible the assessor misjudged you but it's also quite possible that the ones you sent your assessor were a band 7 but then maybe for some reason you did less well in the test.

Were all the ones you sent the assessor done under exam conditions? i.e. 40 minutes.

If you gave yourself more time when you practiced then you may well have done better.

Jun 08, 2017
Ielts have become a business
by: Depressed

This is what ielts have made me...second attempt with all efforts, workhard, practice decreased my marks to lowest which I hadn't expected while without any much hard work preparation I had secured a good score.

These days ielts have become a money spinner each year with upgrading amount this is what I believe

Jun 21, 2017
Not happy with my writing score
by: Bahar

Hi
I just received my IELTS result today and it is as follows:
Listening: 8.5
Reading: 8.5
Speaking: 7
Writing: 6.5

I'm not sure if I should ask for a re-mark because it was my first time taking IELTS test, but I really tried hard to improve my writing during the recent months.

I have also published a paper in English with no certain errors. I'm almost sure about my grammar and I checked the minimum words required for both tasks (I actually counted them on exam day! :D).

What is the possibility that an examiner misjudged someone? or it is more possible that I have simply had errors in paragraphing, punctuation, addressing the question, etc.

Thank you :)

Jun 28, 2017
Not happy with my writing score
by: IELTS buddy

Unfortunately it would just be guesswork in deciding why you got that score.

It could be error, but as you say it's possible you made errors with your essay in terms of grammar, answering the question properly, or paragraphing for example.

It's impossible to know without seeing your essay.

The reason to get a remark would be if you are very confident that you did write the essay well and so you think an error has been made.

If you are then go for it. Otherwise it's just a complete gamble.

Sep 24, 2017
Improving Writing
by: Anonymous

Folks,

I, probably, will be a cuckoo in the nest here because my area of anxiety is reading. I, lately, attempted IELTS for the first time and scored 7.5 overall with:

7.5 - Writing
8 - Speaking
8 - Listening
6.5 - Reading

With my little yet useful experience, I can tell you that to accentuate your writing skills you mustn't only be resourceful with the range of words, idioms and phrases but also be very informative.

I, personally, believe that reading newspaper helped me a lot and trust me our excessive dependency on writing at MS word with a luxury of auto spelling check aggravates our natural intent and tendency to consider the fundamentals of writing.

To make your writing fascinating, you must have the concrete content ready in your head and then, you must be able to -

1. Beat around the bush without deviating from the topic.(intro)

2. Cut the chase and vehemently advocate your view points.(argument)

3. Logically conclude using an idiom or two, try fixing an extra brick in the wall if needed. (Conclusion)

Writing, to many of us, is an uphill herculean task but if you know how to revolve the content at your strength and have the proper strategy then, faring well isn't impossible.

Remember, the great wall of China wasn't built overnight so have patience before expecting miracles.

Jul 23, 2018
Help me
by: Anonymous

I got A* in my IGCSE English exam, as for my IELTS exam i got 8.5 in listening 8.5 in reading 7.5 in speaking and 6 in writing.

It is very weird because I have good command over the language and many teachers (who checked my essays) said that I should get a 7, worst case would be 6.5.

However I got 5.5 in my first attempt then 6 in writing. Teachers are very very shocked and can't explain why I got such a low score despite i have a wide range of vocab and I answered the question fully on exam day (I told the teacher the Q and my answers and they said that the ideas were straight to the point and accurate).

I'm starting to believe I've been penalized for something but i don't know what it might be as I wrote much higher than the word limit. My teachers as well as I are really confused and don't know why this is happening.

Jul 26, 2018
Help me
by: IELTS buddy

I'm a bit unsure from your post whether you took the exam once and got 6 in writing or twice and got 5.5 then 6.

But anyway, have you studied online or with teachers on what you need to do in IELTS writing? There are certain things you could do that you may not realise that could bring down your score.

I can't explain everything here but check out the writing lessons on this website - there are links to lessons for Task 1 and Task 2. They will give you tips and things you should or should not do.

Also there may be no advantage to writing a lot of words over the 250 as you are marked on quality not quantity. It could affect your score if you are writing as much as you can but neglecting your planning stage.

Also it's very difficult for anyone like your teachers to say if you did well by you just telling them what you wrote about - they would have to see your essay.

So check out some writing lessons before you take the test again.

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