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IELTS Writing Task 2
Information & Grading

IELTS Academic Writing

Information

In task 2 for General Training and Academic modules you are asked to write an academic essay, giving your opinion or discussing a topic, in response to a task. 

The topics of task 2 are social and academic and no specialized knowledge is needed.

Try to aim for 250 – 270 words in task 2 and keep in mind that even though there is no IELTS restriction on the number of words you can write, writing 300 + words is really not necessary and is not effective time management. 

However, answers under the word count are penalized in the Task Achievement criterion. When the examiner sees that your answer is short, they will count the number of words and must follow the IELTS rules for word count.

240+ words = No penalty

210 - 239 words = minus 1 band in Task Achievement

Under 210 words = minus 2 band in Tack Achievement

 Click on the following link for how words are counted.

IELTS Word Count

Understanding the Question

Before you start writing anything it is vital that you fully understand exactly what the task requires. Candidates who fail to understand the question usually discuss the topic generally rather than answering the task or the fail to follow the instructions.

 

Highlight the key words in the statement first of all and then analyze the instructions.  

Grading

Task 2 is worth 67% of your overall writing band score.

IELTS Writing Scoring

You are graded in 4 criteria – Task Achievement, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource and Grammatical range & accuracy. Click on the PDF link to view the official IELTS band descriptors (public version).

IELTS Writing Band Descriptors

The criteria are equally weighted with 25% awarded for each category and the overall writing band score is the average of the four. For example…

Task Achievement 7, Coherence & Cohesion 7, Lexical Resource 6, Grammatical range & accuracy 6, Overall 6.5

If you want to calculate your overall band score…

IELTS Writing Score Calculator

Task Achievement

Even though each criterion is equally weighted at 25% each, Task Achievement is the most important category as it is possible to get a lower band score than the other criteria if you do not answer the question.

The sub categories (bullet points) in Task Achievement are… 

  • Addressing the prompt. 

  • Appropriate format

  • Stating a clear position.

  • Extending and supporting your main ideas. 

Addressing the prompt

This means answering the question 

Band 7: The main parts of the prompts are appropriately addressed.

Example: For both view & own opinion question, you have included a discussion of both view and stated your own opinion.

Band 5: The main parts of the prompt are incompletely addressed.

Example: For both view & own opinion question, you have included a discussion of both view BUT have not stated your own opinion.

 

Appropriate format

Band 5: The format may be inappropriate in places.

Example: The essay includes headings, sub-headings, numbered lists and/or bullet points. Task 2 is an academic essay and should be written only in paragraphs.
 

Stating a clear position

It’s important that your opinion or “position” is clearly stated and your reasons to support it are consistently given throughout your answer. You also need to draw conclusions based on your position.

Band 7: A clear and developed position is presented

Example: For agree or disagree questions, the writer express a clear position ("totally agree") and the main ideas match this position

Band 5: Expresses a position but the development is not always clear.

Example: For agree or disagree questions, the writer states clear position ("totally agree") but supporting details/content do not match

 

Tips & Strategies:

When stating your position, go for either 100% agree/disagree. positive/negative development and advantage outweigh disadvantages or go for a 50/50 - equally agree/disagree. Stating "partially/somewhat" agree is more difficult to write and can result in an unbalanced answer. The position you take will determine the structure of your answer so, they clearer your position is, the easier it will be to structure...

Example:

Children spend too much of their free time in front screens. To what extent do you agree?

"This essay will detail the reasons why I equally agree and disagree."

Structure

Paragraph 1: Introduction

Paragraph 2: Main Ideas why you agree + supporting details

Paragraph 3: Main Ideas why you disagree + supporting details

Paragraph 4: Conclusion

"This essay will detail the reasons why I totally agree with this statement."

Structure

Paragraph 1: Introduction

Paragraph 2: Main Ideas why you agree + supporting details

Paragraph 3: Main Ideas why you agree + supporting details

Paragraph 4: Conclusion

For more tips and strategies on stating a clear position, follow the link...

Writing Task 2: Introduction

Presenting, extending and supporting your main ideas

Your main ideas will be stated in your body paragraphs. These ideas should be supported by “any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience” as stated in the instructions.

Band 7: Main ideas are extended and supported

Band 5: Presents some main ideas but these are limited and not sufficiently developed.... supported...some irrelevant detail

For more tips and strategies on how to write task 2 body paragraphs, follow the link...

Writing Task 2: Body Paragraphs

Coherence and Cohesion

The Coherence and cohesion criterion is exactly the same for General Training and Academic tasks 1 and task 2. 

Click on the following link for detailed a discussion of Coherence and cohesion. 

IELTS Coherence & Cohesion

Click on the following link for a list of cohesive devices. 

IELTS Cohesive Devices
 

The only exception in the band descriptors for task 2 is the sub category of  “paragraphing”.

Task 2 is an academic essay and you are expected to have distinct paragraphs that include an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion.

Coherence and cohesion:

Band 7: the sequencing of ideas within a paragraph is generally logical. 

Band 5: Paragraphing may be inadequate or missing

Lexical Resource

Lexical resource is the range of your vocabulary, your awareness of style and collocation and spelling ability.

 For a more detailed discussion and tips for Lexical resource, follow the link

IELTS Vocabulary

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

The Grammatical range and accuracy criterion is exactly the same for General Training and Academic tasks 1 and task 2.

Click on the following link for a detailed discussion of Grammatical Range and Accuracy.

IELTS Grammatical Range & Accuracy

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