What's the difference between a level 5 and a level 7 in the IELTS speaking exam? How can you move from a 5 to a 7?
Well, the examiners focus on fluency, vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation, so let's look at those four points:
1) FLUENCY: At level 5, candidates still struggle to use complex speech, and repeat themselves a lot. But at level 7, candidates link ideas together more comfortably, with more variety and for longer.
2) VOCABULARY: At level 5, candidates have enough vocabulary to discuss topics, but this is still limited. At level 7, meanwhile, vocabulary is more varied and candidates can paraphrase comfortably. They can also introduce some less common words or phrases.
3) GRAMMAR: At level 5, candidates can generally get the grammar right with simple structures, but with more complex ones they find that difficult. However, level 7 candidates can generally use complex structures well (even if there are occasional errors).
4) PRONUNCIATION: Level 5 candidates can get many sounds correct, but may still be difficult to understand sometimes. Those at level 7, on the other hand, can produce more natural sounds and are usually easy to understand.
So to go from a 5 to a 7, you need:
- To learn more linking phrases and practise using them so they come more naturally. (For this, it's important to speak to someone else in English on a regular basis.)
- To increase their range of vocabulary, including some that is less common. (Reading is probably the best way to do this.)
- To study all aspects of grammar at an intermediate level, and practise producing these features. (Writing is a great way to do this, but speaking practice is also a good idea.)
- To get pronunciation feedback from a teacher or native speaker to identify where to improve. When you have this feedback, you can practise independently by reading texts slowly as clearly as you can. You can do that with a teacher too, or practise speaking in general and get feedback on your progress.