IELTS in one week? Get Help preparing

My IELTS test is next week. What should I do to get an IELTS band 7 score?

Students say sentences like this to teachers quite often.

Sometimes the student is just beginning to get nervous for the exam, but actually they have been studying IELTS for 3 months or more, and they will do well in the test, as long as they keep calm and don’t let exam nerves get the better of them.

However, most times that people ask an IELTS teacher this question, it is because they have 1 week (or less) before their IELTS test that they booked months ago, but they are only going to start studying for it now – a few days before they sit the exam = NOT GOOD!

1 week before IELTS test and you just started studying

OK, if you only have one week left before your test and you have not started studying yet, basically you have 3 options:

1. Try to postpone your IELTS test

If you are hoping to get an IELTS Band 7 score and 1 week before the test you are a 4, 5 or 6 only, it is highly unlikely that you will raise your level of English up one whole band score (or more) with 1 week of study.

2. Take the IELTS test anyway

With all Cambridge English exams, practising is the best thing you can do to raise your exam performance. You probably won’t get a higher band score than your current level, but you will get used to exam pressure and the whole system of sitting the IELTS test. You can use this exam experience to get a better result when you next do the IELTS test.

3. Stop your life for one week and go crazy studying English

If you can not postpone your test and you MUST get a higher band score than your current level, then you must stop everything else in your life and study like crazy. When I say, “stop your life”, I mean, cancel all plans, turn off your phone, don’t message people and commit to one week of crazy levels of English study.

Buy yourself an IELTS practice test book which has every aspect of the exam, including the listening test CDs: The Cambridge English IELTS Trainer with 6 practice tests is probably the best book for this.

As you can see in the video below, there are four different sections to the IELTS test and within those parts there are several different question types. You should have a strategy for each type of question. These strategies and question-types can be learned easily, properly and thoroughly in a 3-month IELTS course, but I suppose that if you truly study for 12 hours a day for 7 days (84 hours of serious English study) and complete the IELTS trainer book that I recommended, then you might be able to give yourself a chance at passing.

However, you will need to have excellent access to an English teacher who is willing and able to mark your IELTS writing answers very quickly and give constructive feedback on how you can improve your writing.

You will also need to practise your IELTS speaking questions with that teacher… a lot! So you will need to find a teacher that can spend time with you EVERY DAY for writing and speaking for a whole week – it’s not that easy to find a good teacher that has spare time like that at short notice… all the good teachers are busy teaching!

It’s an almost impossible task, but with 1 week of crazy study, you might be able to make some progress. Can you really study for 12 hours a day (or more) without interruptions? It’s surely better to study IELTS in London with a proper teacher, isn’t it?

1 week before IELTS test and you have been studying for 1 month

As I said above, the best scenario is to study for IELTS for about 3 months before the exam, but if you have done 1 month of serious study, that should result in a good IELTS band score for you.

In the last week, you should make exam technique a priority.


So, you need to practise mainly your writing tasks. Why? Well, 90% of students speak better English than they write, so it’s probably the case that your writing is not as good as your speaking.

So, practise answering writing task 1 and 2 questions against the clock. So many students spend too much time answering question 1, that they do not have enough time to answer question 2, which has more points.

Stick to 20 minutes for task 1 and 40 mins for task 2. Practise it! It’s not easy to write that quickly, but you will have to do it in the exam,

Also, practise speaking against the clock.


When you answer your question it is amazing how much time gets wasted with umms, errs, ahhhs while you think of what to say.

Practise so that you reduce this time.

You must say your answers out loud, even if it is just you in your bedroom.

Just thinking about the answer you would say is not good enough. It might seem stupid to say it out loud, when you can just think it.

But trust me, you will be thankful that you practised when you are speaking in the test and you have heard yourself giving answers to similar IELTS practice questions lots of times before.


1. IELTS True False & Not Given – How to answer these tricky questions correctly

2. IELTS Writing Task 2 – Common mistakes

3. IELTS Writing Task 2 – How to write the perfect essay

4. IELTS full test details on video

5. VIDEO – How to write better sentences for IELTS

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A leading ‘English as a foreign language’​ school in London helping you meet your learning objectives in the shortest time.

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