For the General Training exam, Writing Task 1 is a letter. For the Academic exam, the first writing task is describing a table, graph, chart or diagram.
Task 2, there are four categories with detailed band descriptors:
- Task achievement/response
- Coherence and cohesion
- Lexical resource
- Grammatical range and accuracy
Task achievement/response – this descriptor looks at how thoroughly the task has been achieved. For Task 1 of the General Training exam (the letter), the examiner will look at whether the purpose of the letter is clear. The examiner will also look at whether the key features/bullet points from the task question are included in the response. Another important element of task achievement for the letter is whether the tone is appropriate and consistent. For example, the tone of a letter to a manager is quite different than the tone used in a letter to a friend.
Coherence and cohesion – this descriptor looks at how well the answer is organized and how well the answer progresses. For the General Training Task 1 and the Task 2 essay questions, there should be a clear introduction, body (with reasons and support) and a conclusion.
The examiner will also look at the effective use of cohesive devices, such as pronouns, conjunctions, articles, etc., as well as the use of referencing and substitution. Referencing is the ability to correctly replace a noun or noun phrase with a pronoun. Substitution is using substitute forms for words and phrases, instead of repeating the same thing over and over again. Using referencing and substitution properly will help make the writing sound more natural.
Under this descriptor, the examiner will also look at how effectively paragraphs are used and whether they are well-organized.
Lexical resource – this descriptor looks at the use and variety of vocabulary used in the writing. Here the examiner will look at the range of vocabulary, and, at higher band levels, style and collocation. Another important consideration in this descriptor is the frequency of spelling errors, word choice and word formation.
Grammatical range and accuracy – this descriptor looks at the range of structures used in sentences, i.e. simple vs. complex sentence forms. The examiner will also look at the frequency of grammatical errors and punctuation.
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