You may be aware, there are an IELTS Academic and an IELTS General Training version of the exam. Candidates must choose which version to take depending on their individual requirements. There are two writing tasks on the IELTS. 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. Writing Task 2 is an essay for both versions of the exam.
For the Task 2, there are four categories with detailed band descriptors:
- Task 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 2 (an essay), the examiner will look at the development of the writer’s position, and whether that position is clear. The examiner will also look at how well the main ideas are developed and the relevance of those ideas.
Coherence and cohesion – this descriptor looks at how well the answer is organized and how well the answer progresses. For 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.
There are a number of things the examiner evaluates when looking at the writing tasks on the IELTS. For a more detailed description of the band descriptors, we suggest you become familiar with the online public version, available. Before taking your IELTS exam, We suggest you spend some time familiarizing yourself with these descriptors so that you have a good sense of what your IELTS examiner will be looking for when evaluating your writing.
Click here for Writing Task 1
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