The short answer is: it depends!

The score you get from doing the IELTS exam is a reflection of your current level. The scores are roughly equivalent to the CEFR scales, and can more or less be matched to the well-known labels: “Elementary”, “Intermediate”, etc. See the diagram below.


As you can see, a 7 on the IELTS exam is about the C1 level, which is what many “Advanced” courses use as their materials. If you already study at this level, it shouldn’t take you very long to get a 7! If you’re studying pre-intermediate/A2-level materials, then it will take you much longer!

Also, please remember that progress varies greatly from person to person. Some people improve their English very quickly, some have more difficulties. 

At the Leeds School of English, we have asked the students who have improved the quickest over the years to tell us about what they do and how they do it. Here is the list of characteristics that all these students have in common:

  • They put their phone in English
  • They speak mainly with English-speaking friends (limit the amount of time they socialise in their first language)
  • They love learning!
  • They are motivated by an exam (e.g. IELTS)
  • They stay with an English-speaking family (Homestay)
  • They do their homework
  • They arrive on time
  • They do a hobby or other activity in English (e.g. sport or computer games)