This is very common. According to the examiners I know the rate of 7s or higher is always less than 20% of all candidates, some say as low as 15%. So it certainly isn’t easy. The first step is to rewrite the band descriptors in clearer language. You can see that here.
The second is to realise three very fundamental things:
- If you have small errors to do with a/the and ‘s’, then you can’t get 7 for Grammar
- If you can’t tell the different between different kinds of Task 2 question then you cannot get 7 for Task Achievement (find out more here)
- If you haven’t had a lot of exposure to natural English then you won’t know the collocations.
I look at many essays where the student is very concerned about continuing to improve their task completion, by using essay formulas with increasing fluency – which is a good thing. But the majority of the sentences have at least one error, some have more than one error, and others have misused the tenses so badly that the meaning is no longer clear. Sometimes there are even mistakes in the form – like this sentence.
The Government has working on the problem of public health for many years.
IELTS classes are generally best for students who just need improve their logical analysis, planning and linking skills, as well as the task completion knowledge which is specific to IELTS. Many students focus on IELTS classes’ test taking advice relating to task completion because that is what the classes focus most heavily on. But that is mainly because the students all have different levels, so the teacher can’t really afford to spend too long on grammar and vocabulary because some students will find it boring and others will find it too hard. What many students who are studying IELTS for more than two months need to realise is that your grammar and vocabulary are just as important, and they need to continue to develop those with General English classes or textbooks.
To develop the knowledge and fluency of vocabulary use that you need to get 7 in vocabulary you need to spend a long time listening and reading, getting that vital input which will give you an intuition of how words are ordered.