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IELTS Writing: Grammatical Range and Accuracy


The Grammatical Range and Accuracy criterion is exactly the same for General Training and Academic Writing Tasks 1 and 2.


The sub categories (bullet points) in Grammatical Range and Accuracy are… 

Grammatical range

Band 7: A variety of complex structures is used with some flexibility and accuracy

Some sources recommend keeping it simple and using short, basic sentences. However, to achieve a higher band score you need to demonstrate a range of complex sentences. 


A: I studied a lot. I still didn’t get my target score.

B: Even though I studied a lot, I still didn’t get my target score.

C: I still didn’t get my target score even though I studied a lot.


Example A has short basic sentences and would get a lower band score.

Examples B and C are more complex sentences which uses a subordinate clauses and would get a higher band score.


For more information on clauses try the following IELTS test partner sites.

Grammatical errors and punctuation

These refer to the number of mistakes or errors you make and the effect these have on communication. 

Band 7: Grammar and punctuation are generally well controlled, and error free sentences are frequent. A few errors in grammar may persist, but these do not impede communication.

Candidates often value grammar, particularly accuracy, more than the other IELTS performance criteria and judge their performance in the writing test by how many mistakes they made.


Grammatical range and accuracy accounts for only 25% of the overall band score and should not be valued more than the other criteria. You do not need perfect grammar to score well; mistakes are acceptable and naturally occur. Keep in mind that the IELTS is a test of overall proficiency in English, not grammatical accuracy. 


Research the common grammar mistakes in English for your nationality and work on these. Be aware of your L1 interference (language transfer). L1 is the speaker’s first language or mother tongue. L1 interference happens when the speaker uses language structures and forms from their first language when writing in a second language such as English. For example, a French speaker might write…

English: He's talking on the phone now.

L1 Interference: He talks on the phone now.

Reason: French does not have the Present Continuous tense.

L1 interference is particularly noticeable when it comes to grammar.

A simple internet search will reveal sites that describe your language’s L1 interference (language transfer) when using English. Try to become aware of the L1 interference that your language is having on your English and work to eradicate these.

The range and accuracy of your grammar doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something that’s developed over time. So don’t go to bed with a grammar book the night before the test!


Choose a reputable source for self-study. I’d recommend…

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