This candidate can maintain the flow of conversation without noticeable effort, although he has a rather slow delivery, with some hesitation. He uses a range of reference markers fluently and naturally to give cohesion (It’s likely that they will; so that helps). Overall, however, his topic development is limited and he does not extend his responses sufficiently to reach Band 8. His vocabulary is appropriate but he does not use an extensive range. Examples of good collocation and idiomatic usage (the job ladder) are not as frequent as they would be at higher bands, and are sometimes not well-integrated or result in awkward expressions (everything in excess is not good; to provide themselves; want to go higher, higher on the job ladder). A range of structures is used, but there is not enough complexity to raise the performance above Band 7. The level of accuracy is high, with only a few minor errors, but the candidate stays within a safety zone and this has an impact on his range of structures. The candidate has only a slight accent that has very little impact on his English pronunciation. He is able to use a wide range of phonological features to convey meaning effectively (it’s not that difficult to play) and to make precise distinctions (more popular vs. most popular).
This is a high-level candidate who seems to play safe. In doing so, he fails to produce sufficient language to be awarded a higher band.