IELTS Writing Task 2 – Assessing elements

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“In IELTS Writing Task 2, students are asked to write a formal essay of at least 250 words for the given essay topics. IELTS Writing task 2 is the same for IELTS Academic and IELTS general.“

You are assessed based on the following four criteria:

  • Task response
  • Lexical resource
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Grammatical range and accuracy

1. Task Response

This criterion checks the relevance of your answer.

For example, if the essay topic is:

Question: Everyone should adopt a vegetarian diet because eating meat can cause serious health problems. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

For task response, your answer should revolve around the health problems caused because of eating meat ( if you are agreeing) .

If the answer is about health problems caused because of leading a sedentary lifestyle, then task response goes for a toss.

2. Lexical Resource

This criterion checks your vocabulary

For example, if the essay topic is:

Question: Everyone should adopt a vegetarian diet because eating meat can cause serious health problems. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Your answer should use complex words in the right context.

For example,

There are a number of reasons why we should turn vegan and stop eating meat.Rated as Normal
There are several reasons why we should turn vegan and stop eating meatAverage
There are a plethora of reasons why we should turn vegan and stop eating meatGood in terms of Lexical Resource

3. Coherence and Cohesion

This criterion checks how well the essay is organised using a range of linking words.

For example,

Question:In some countries young people are encouraged to work or travel for a year between finishing high school and starting university studies. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages for young people who decided to do this.

For Coherence,

The advantages must be explained in one paragraph and the disadvantages in the other. If mixed up, there is no coherence.

First para …advantages and disadvantagesSecond para …. advantages and disadvantagesNo coherence
First para …advantagesSecond para …. disadvantagesCoherence achieved

For Cohesion,

The ideas must be linked logically,….

If you are elaborating on the advantages but using on the other hand, as in,A is an advantage. On the other hand, B is also an advantageCohesion is very poor
A is an advantage. On the other hand, B is a disadvantageCohesion is good

4. Grammatical range and accuracy

This criterion checks your grammar.

For example, simple subject verb agreement Education is good – CorrectEducation are good – Incorrect
Simple prepositionsIn 10:AM – IncorrectAt 10:00 AM – Correct
Simple tenses:If the government had resolved this problem, we are not in trouble now – IncorrectIf the government had resolved this problem, we would not have been in trouble now – Correct

* Difference between IELTS General Writing Task 2 and Academic Writing Task 2

  • Essays in IELTS Academic will be slightly tougher than in IELTS General.
  • The choice of topics will vary between the two. IELTS Academic will have complex topics whereas IELTS General will have comparatively simpler ones.

* What should you know about Writing Task 2? 

  • You will be allotted 40 minutes to complete this task.
  • The essay should comprise of 4-5 paragraphs including the introduction and conclusion.
  • DO NOT compose too many body paragraphs. Around 2-3 body paragraphs would be sufficient.
  • Use proper grammar/vocab to convey your ideas or points. (e.g.) Words used to give reasons – because, due to. (or) words used to contradict points – however, but, although.

Plan your essay

1. Identify what is asked in the question.

  • Do you have to write for both sides or do you have to choose a side?
  • Do you have to provide answers to all the questions?
  • Do you have to convey only the advantages and disadvantages or do you have to give an opinion?

2. Brainstorm the main points.

3. Construct your paragraphs.

  • Gather your supporting points for your central idea of each paragraph with examples.

4. Check your Task Response

  • Check on the number of questions asked. Did you answer it all?
  • Were you told to choose a side? Did you choose a side?
  • Do all your paragraphs focus on one central topic/idea?
  • Do these ideas have supporting points and answers?
  • Remember that you aren’t being assessed for your knowledge but your ability to put your thoughts through in an essay using the English Language. Although relevancy is one of the factors you’re assessed upon, it isn’t the only factor. Do not spend too much time on making the content perfect!
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