How to Improve Your IELTS Writing to get from 7 to 9 (Examples Included)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

improve IELTS writing to get from 7 to 9

No messing around. LET`S drive straight to the point.

TO improve your IELTS writing to get anything between band 7 and band 9, you need to follow these steps:


1. The first step is to stop goggling things like,"ielts writing band 7" or "ielts writing band 9" or "ielts writing band 8" to find sample answers.

Not because you shouldn`t want to get score band 7 or higher, but because most of the stuff you`re going to find by doing that can misguide you.

Samples available online say they are band 8 or band 9, when in fact they are not!

Then, how do you find out what actually a band 9 answer looks like?

Stay with me. I`ll show you where to find them.


2. Don`t pay anything for simple and proven instruction on how to achieve this goals quick. Like: Achieve band 7+ in 3 hours!

Here`s why?

"There is no royal road to Geometry"- Euclid said in 323 BC (Greek Mathematician)

Translation: “Stop chasing before shortcut track to improve your IELTS writing. Give Time To Improve.”


3. Focus on grammar and punctuation.

Because, “One of the main problem for people stuck at band 6 or 6.5 in writing is fail to write error free sentence”.

Click on the link below where I`ve l shed more lights on this issue:


You can never write error-free sentence with poor knowledge of grammar and punctuation.

So true..

That`s why - you may never score anything above 6.5.

On this regard, may I suggest you to obsessively specialize in grammar and punctuation.

Easier said than done, worth more than you might think.


4. Build a regular habit of practice IELTS writing that increases your skill day by day.


5. This is not a “Do nothing and earn million” game of casino. The more you read..the more you practice..the more you learn..the more your writing gets closer to band 7 or up.

Is that all ?

I bet you wonder!

Because every hence and thence, you grow up listening to the same conventional wisdom.

Then, why should you bother to follow these tips?

I`ll explain why.

Keep reading....

“The Power Of The Internet” Myth Debunked

The greatest contribution of internet is that it powers the spread of ideas.

Is this True?

Here are I search in Google with the term: "How to Improve IELTS Writing to get band 7".


Voila! It seems that Google can find 0.18 million webpage hiding somewhere- to give us an immediate shoot to achieve band 7 with ease.

It sounds so enticing, Right?

The Truth....I am not getting any down to the earth clue about how to write at  band 7 to  9 level with a practical and elaborated tutorial. 

Truly, I stumble upon few guidelines but it all sounds familiar- singing the same song again and again.

And you know how it feels to read?

“It feels like to chew a gum that was chewed before many times.”

In fact these are nothing but a retold version of what Cambridge told us a decade ago. (link)

  • “Address all issues in the question in your answer”- Task Achievement
  • Organize and link ideas and information in different paragraphs”- Coherence and Cohesion
  • “Use a wide range of vocabulary”- Lexical resource
  • “Use a wide variety of sentence structures”-  (Grammatical range)
A list of crap..

Why?

Because, who does not know any writing is an expert level writing if it is filled with :
  • Varieties of topic related words.
  • Sentences that follow perfect grammar and 
  • Well- explained arguments.
But, the question is : How to do all these things?

And it seems nobody is showing us how to use- good vocabulary, grammar and argument ... practically in IELTS writing.

Nobody is willing to Walk You the WALK (hand by hand) on the road to write better in order to achieve a high band score.

Although it can transform you more faster and with more impact.

What crippled us to get the right information in the right time when we need them so desperately ?

I wonder.

It`s not that we`ve all explored all the edges of a very good IELTS writing, of education, of personal transformation.

It`s not that we`ll not be able to perform a small leap of IELTS band score with the magical power of internet- we all have in our pocket.

Have you ever wonder how many of us are knocking on the door of Google to get some useful information.

BILLIONS!

Well, that`s a big issue- and it is going to shake the very existence of our civilization with the upcoming advent of Artificial Intelligence.

I mean: Machine will take the place of every aspects of human life.. because we`ll prefer Machine to help us without cheating and present us the shortcut and easy solutions by analyzing gazillions of information in a blink of an eye.

Perhaps, this will not happen soon, at least in our lifetime ...

Look, I think I am going a bit off-topic.

Let`s back to the IELTS writing.

Well, it is also true that you can find sites showing you writing samples of band 8 or even  band 9.

But, these sites provide no explanation of whether anyone write those in their REAL IELTS test for REAL.

It seems- “Only God knows who and when write them!”

Let me tell you the truth..

Listen: The only reliable sample of IELTS writing you can find in the Cambridge IELTS Student Book Series 1-12.

These books are filled with authentic examination paper with writing samples (band score included) of original candidate from their original IELTS test.

And you`ll find the examiner`s comment about the answer. Something like below:

This candidate scores band 7 because he/she:

  • Addresses all the task points very naturally and expand each of them
  • The massage is easy to follow and ideas are logically sequenced
  • All aspects of cohesion are managed
  • A wide range of vocabulary is fluently used to convey precise meanings. Or “A wide range of grammatical structures accurately used with full flexibility and control
  • Punctuation and grammar with no errors.
And something like this:

This candidate scores 6.0 because:

  • He has a lack of precision in word  choice”.
  • Just state the reason why agree or disagree. Further support and development would be necessary to achieve a higher score. 
  • Error level is so High in Complex sentences (relative clauses, if clauses)
  • Frequent error in punctuation
You see. These are real comments from a real IELTS examiner on a written answer of a real candidate (with flesh and bone) in a real IELTS test. 

These are not fake.. no guess work...no imagination.

You can read them with trust.

Have you ever wonder, how reading these samples can improve your IELTS writing to get band 7 to 9?

Well, it can help you. Just find out some clues as follows:

  • Simple factors that separate a Band 7 answer- from a Band 8 or 9 response.
  • The common areas where a small improvement can make a huge difference to hike your writing band score. Click here to know more.
  • And finally make a small leap to fill those skill gaps in your writing.
These are only three things you need to do while you study these samples.

Can you do that?

I know: It`s not easy to start this journey. 

To be honest, it`s like finding needle in the haystack.

Did I just drop you from the peak of your enthusiasm?

Don`t worry.. IELTS HELP is here to lend a hand.

Well, as you are reading this, you`re going to explore those glitches of band 7 to 9 response.

In this article, you`re going to uncover many secrets by analyzing original answer samples quoted from the Cambridge IELTS book series.

Moreover, by reading this, you will probably be able to finally figure it out why your writing band score always get stuck between band 6 or 6.5.

And finally when you know where to improve..my “Insider" Guide Book will help you to fill those skill gaps.  

So, your amazing new journey begins right now...

How to Improve IELTS Writing Score from 6 to 7

Again I am going straight to the point. To improve your writing from band 6 to band 7 level you have do following things:

  1. Study and analyze an original band 6 answer and find all week points that prevent it form getting a higher band score
  2. Study and analyze a similar band 7 answer and find it`s strong points (those were not present in a band 6 answer)
  3. Develop your writing skills by focusing on all strong points and by avoiding all weak points.
If you master this skill you should never again have to worry about your writing. You can virtually write your own ticket to enter in the band 7 arena.

And as I promise before, I am going to show you how to do it- hand by hand with practical examples.
Let us press on. 

I am now giving you a live example of a band 6 answer originally written by a candidate. 

I am about to reprint here one of the band 6 sample answer from Cambridge IELTS book. 

And  more...I am reprinting the original examiner comments.

An again , I am going to analyze this commentary to give a clear picture about the strong points that makes it a band 6 answer  and weak points that stops it to be graded as band 7.

So, here is the sample but real answer from Cambridge IELTS student book:

Some people believe that it is good to share as much information as possible in scientific research, business and the academic world. Others believe that some information is too important or too valuable to be shared freely.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Sharing information is actual issue in our world where it has strong influence on people. There are various spheres of our life where information is more or less important for people working there on out of this. For this reason some people consider that it is good to share information while others think in opposite way.

For example, practically all scientists are glade to share information within ordinary people or other scientist. There is no competition in this sphere. Sometimes it is bad for government which scientist share the secret information with international spy but it will not hurt information.

There are simple rules in academic world which limite informational sources between people. If person is interested in theme discussion with you and you are ready to keep talking then the person gives you all information what he knows for free. On the other hand, if the person knows much and he knows that you can not give him actual or new information then he will share information with you just for money. For example, student pay for his learning while two students can cooperate and share information with each other. It is obviously that sharing information in business world can follows by releases. There is large competition and it may takes much costs for companies. Companies loose their profit every day because someone cannot keep silence especially IT companies.

To sum up all above it is necessary to say that there are some spheres in which sharing information is a crime. In my opinion, in many cases information can be too important or sharing at all.

I tell you, this is 267 words long answer. I guess, the candidate could think he/she wrote it very well.

But, the examiner marked it with Band 6 and commented as follows:

The candidate addresses all parts of the prompt, although there is some misunderstanding of the term shared freely. Ideas relating to each sector mentioned in the prompt are presented, yet there is not much development of these, especially of sharing ideas in the business world. There is a clear overall progression, with the candidate's own opinion presented at the end, but there are some errors in the use of cohesive devices. Lexis is mainly appropriate for the task, though there are some errors in word choice [actual | releases] and spelling [government | limite|  theme | loose]. There is a mix of simple and complex sentence forms, with a fair degree of accuracy: errors in grammatical control seldom prevent meaning from coming through.

Do you read it all?  It`s important that you read this.

You may ask why?

Because:

By reading this sample and comment, you can discover:

IELTS Band 6 Essay Writing Criteria

Don't believe me?

Let me do this for you and see if we can learn something by doing this.

Here I explain you the strong points of this sample answer from the examiner`s point of view:

(1) Address all parts of the prompt

Remember, the first characteristics of a good IELTS writing is task achievement

It means you need to address every points of the question.

Read below the question again:

Some people believe that it is good to share as much information as possible in scientific research, business and the academic world. Others believe that some information is too important or too valuable to be shared freely.
Now, here`s what I want you do.

I want you to have a quick glance over the “underlined “words of the statement.

Here are the underlined words (in case if you miss them to read):
  • Information is good to share 
  • Too valuable to be shared freely
  • In scientific research, business and the academic world.
From the above points you can understand that the task focuses on either to have a liberal or conservative approach in sharing information mainly in scientific, business and academic filed.

Onward.

The sample answer discusses the liberal view of sharing scientific information by saying:

  • “All scientists are glade to share information”.
Moreover, the answer covers the conservative approach of information sharing in academic or business sector by saying:

  • “Academic world limit informational sources... share information with you just for money.
  • “Sharing information in business world.. companies lose their profit.
In a nutshell, it gives clue about open-minded and restrictive information sharing mindset in academic, business and scientific fields.  

And all these ideas relate with the prompt. 

This is how the answer covers all parts of the task appropriately.

(2) Clear overall progression

You can see that the organizing structure of the essay is clearly visible.

Well, the essay is well organized with clear introduction, body and concluding paragraph. Like this:

  • The introduction starts by saying“ Sharing information is actual issue in our..".
  • The essay has two body paragraph start with “For example, practically all scientists are glade” and “There are simple rules in academic world.
  • Finally, the candidate concludes the essay by presenting own opinion.
Moreover, the progression of ideas is fairly controlled by connective devices to support the flow of the essay with some extend. For example , you can see the use of following connectors:

  • On the other hand
  • For example
  • It is obviously that 
  • To sum up
  •  In my opinion

(3) Mix of simple and complex sentence forms

You can guess that efficient writers use a variety of sentences to keep the reader interested in what they are reading.

The same is true in your IELTS test. 

Moreover, you'll want to include compound, complex sentences in your IELTS essay to show your efficiency and control over language.

The candidate tried to do the same. He uses mix of simple and complex sentences all over the essay. 

Let`s see how:

  • You can see simple sentences like this: “There is no competition in this sphere.”
  • And many complex sentences like this:“There are various spheres of our life where information is more or less important for people working there on out of this. “ and this : “There are simple rules in academic world which limite informational sources.
I agree that most of those complex sentences are not grammatically correct.

But these faulty sentence structures do not prevent them to covey meaning.

Now: Let`s see the mistakes of this writing from the examiner point of view:

Facts that Prevent a Band 6 Answers to be a Band 7 One

There are 3 such facts. Let me explain them one by one...


(1) There is Not Much Development of Ideas

IELTS Essays often receive poor grades because the ideas are not well developed.

This is one of the major mistakes of this answer.

No wonder when the examiner commented:

“Ideas..mentioned …yet there is not much development…especially of ..ideas in the business world.”

To understand this comment, let`s see the list of ideas present in the essay:

  • Scientist usually glade to share information.
  • Academic world put some limits in sharing information.
  • Business world release information..sometimes unwillingly.
Now, let`s see how the essay develop these 3 ideas:

  • Scientist usually glade to share information :
The candidate wrote:

“For example, practically all scientists are glade to share information within ordinary people or other scientist. There is no competition in this sphere. Sometimes it is bad for government which scientist share the secret information with international spy but it will not hurt information.”

From the above paragraph you can roughly guess what the candidate is trying to say. 

Well, he is saying something like this:

Scientist are not in competition with other scientist or general people.  So they can share information with anyone anytime. But, some scientific data can be dangerous to share.
Now, listen carefully these idea lacks of development:

  • Idea: Practically all scientists are glade to share information within ordinary people or other scientist.
  • Reasoning: (Because) There is no competition in this sphere  (“Why?”-Further development missing).
(Here's what could be added )There is no competition in this sphere as scientific advancement depends on ever growing pool of sharing knowledge.

  • Opposite Idea and Refutation: Sometimes it is bad for government which scientist share the secret information with international spy but it will not hurt information (requires further development with example).
(Here's what could be added as an exmple) For instance, few years ago, it was reported that that China stole nuclear data from a US electric provider to build world-class nuclear power plant without doing the research themselves.

Now here is a thing you should agree with me:

It`s not always easy to explain a idea with proper reasoning and examples.

But, if you use good common sense, you can come with lot of supporting facts to make your idea stand.

Anyway, in this sample essay, the examiner criticizes about not extending about sharing ideas in the business word. 

What is that mistake?

Well, here`s what the candidate wrote and here`s what he is missing (in brackets): 

It is obviously that sharing information in business world can follows by releases. There is  large competition and it may takes much costs for companies. (Provide no example of how sharing information can incur financial lose for companies.) Companies loose their profit every day because someone cannot keep silence especially IT companies. (“Why someone can`t keep silent in an IT company?”- Further explanation needed)

So here is my advice:

Try to make the main idea of a paragraph as believable as possible with the help of examples and reasoning.

(2) Some Errors in the Use of Cohesive Devices

Look:

A good paragraph is composed of several sentences which link together well. Similarly, a well written IELTS essay is composed of several paragraphs which connect clearly to each other.

The use of cohesive devices (e.g., therefore, however and in conclusion) is considered one of the best ways to ensure these characteristics. In fact:

Cohesive devices act like mortar
to stick together all bricks (sentences) 
of a piece of writing.


For instant, the candidate uses a lot of such devices or linkers like:  On the other hand....for example...it is obviously that....to sum up.

But, many of those linkers were not used in the right way to give the composition a pretty awful look.
When I say “not in the right way”; I think you need further explanation.

I give you few examples to explain it.

You see, the first sentence of the body paragraph (second paragraph) was:

“For example, practically all scientists are glade to share information within ordinary people or other scientist.”

What it is, then, using a linker like “for example” looks award in this case.

How about starting with the phrase-“to begin with”:

“To begin with, practically all scientists are glade to share information within ordinary people or other scientist.”

It`s better..right?

A transition phrase at the start of the paragraph (e.g., this said, having looked at) and/or a transition sentence at the end can help integrate the overall text.

(3) Errors in Word Choice, Spelling and Grammar

The answer had errors in word choice, spelling, cohesive device and gammar but it did not prevent reader to understand the text/complex sentence with fair accuracy. Menawhile, main points are relevant and clear but supporting examples are underdeveloped.

That`s enough discussion about band 6 IELTS task-2 answers.

In a nutshell,

IELTS band 6 essay writing criterias are:

  • Present ideas (may be underdeveloped) to cover all parts of the question
  • Clear overall progression by paragraphing 
  • Faulty but effective use of cohesive devices.
  • Adequate wording with some inaccuracy and spelling errors
Just four points...

If you can write a 250 words essay that addresses all parts of the question, then you can expect a band 6.

In the meanwhile, you need fair accuracy in grammar, spelling, punctuation so that the examiner can understand what you try to say in your essay.

Now that you know the week points of a band 6 response, you know:

How to Improve IELTS Writing Score from 6 to 7?

The answer is by simply developing ideas more elaborately, appropriate using of cohesive devices and avoiding spelling and grammar mistakes will do so.

Next, let`s drive in to scrutinize a band 7 answer written by a candidate in his original IELTS test.

Band 7 IELTS Writing Task-2 Demassified

Here is a reprint version from Cambridge IELTS 11 –Test 3 : 

Some people say that the only reason for learning a foreign language is in order to travel to or work in a foreign country. Others say that these are not the only reasons why someone should learn a foreign language.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Many may say, and I agree that today`s society has almost erased all its borders an soon will become limitless in what concerns for both work and pleasure. Therefore, if this is to happen, then learning a new language is necessary.

Now a days , learning a new language for the purpose of working in other countries seems to become more and more popular. Adults in need of money, or, why not, recognition are trying to pursue their happiness away form home. Also, the hey days of employers looking only for capable people have gone. It seems that today`s employers are looking not only for multi-skilled employees, but want people who know more than their mother tongue. Sooner or later, those who omitted learning more are prone to become jobless.

However, to my mind, a new language shouldn’t be learned just for travelling or working in a foreign country. A foreign language should and will allow us to understand more about the world itself, and maybe our ancestors` ways of thinking and acting. Needless to say, knowing another language will help us when it comes to understanding the human race, because language is the first poem of a country.

All of this being said, I believe that learning a different language should be not only for satisfying our physical needs, like money, but also our moral needs, because never before has such a big thirst for knowledge been displayed.

The examiner graded this answer with Band 7 and commented as follows:

All parts of the prompt are addressed and a clear position is presented throughout the response. Main ideas are extended and supported. Ideas are logically organised and there is a clear progression throughout the response. A range of cohesive devices is used flexibly, while each paragraph has a clear central topic which is developed. The lexical resource is sufficient to allow some flexibility and precision and although there are a few spelling errors, these do not detract from the overall clarity of the response. A variety of complex structures is used with some flexibility and accuracy. Grammar and punctuation are well controlled and error-free sentences are frequent.

IELTS Band 7 Essay Writing Criteria

Here`s the list  :

(1) All parts of the prompt need to be addressed

That`s why everyone say look before you leap…aka look carefully what the question ask to write about –before start writing.

The question says:

Some people say that the only reason for learning a foreign language is in order to travel to or work in a foreign country. Others say that these are not the only reasons why someone should learn a foreign language.  Discuss both these views and give your own opinion

In short, the task to cover following points:
  • Only reason to learn a foreign language is to benefit one`s travel and overseas job (First View).
  • But, there may be other reasons beside travel or job (Second View).
And, asked to cover following points in the answer:

01. Discuss both views
02. Give own opinion.

And., this is how the candidate cover above two points:

The candidate discussed first view in the second paragraph.

Let`s see how..


Above, you can see the excerpt of the second paragraph of the essay. You can clearly see, the highlighted phrases like below:
  • Learning a new language for working in other countries.
  • Pursue their happiness away from home (although this point is not extended with further discussion)
Now, let`s how these phrases match with the first view of the task :


On the other hand.:

The second issue of the task is discussed in the third paragraph. Let`s see how:

The second view of the task was that travel and job is not sole reasons for learning a new language and as you can see- this point of view clearly stated in the beginning of the 3rd paragraph:


The last point of the question asked to discuss own (candidates) point of view about the issues of the task. The candidate addresses it in the concluding paragraph by saying “I believe that.”..:


(2) Main ideas are extended and supported

The candidate start each paragraph with a clear central topic :

You see, the second body paragraph begins with a central topic -“Popularity of foreign language learning is becoming popular for travel and working purposes.

This is the main theme of this paragraph. This theme is extended and supported with reasoning such as:

  • People want to earn more money from overseas jobs
  • Employers need someone who is multilingual
  • Thus, those two factors combined, skyrocketed the popularity of language learning.
Moreover, The main topic of the third paragraph was- “new language shouldn`t  be learned just for travelling  or working”. This topic is extended with the reasoning that new language should be learned for the sake of humanity, for better understanding of the world culture and to discover the anthropological lineage.

And again the last paragraph start with the central topic : learning a foreign language should not be narrowed down to worldly needs. This personal point of views is then extended by giving the facts that new language learning should be enhanced for moral and scholarly needs.  

(3) Ideas are logically organized with a clear progression

This particular comment is made to indicate the coherence of the essay. The Latin verb cohere means "hold together." 

“Ideas are logically organized” point toward, the sentences hold together; that is, the movement from one paragraph to the next-is logical and smooth.

This is how the candidate achieved logical progression of ideas in the essay:

  • Each paragraph discusses one and only one main idea from beginning to end. For example, the second paragraph discuss about the popular reasons behind learning a foreign language, it did not discuss why people should not learn a language for only personal benefit. Furthermore, it did not point out any personal opinion.
  • The transition from one paragraph to the next is successfully achieved by effective use of cohesive phrases like  `however`, `all of these being said` etc.
On the other hand, “clear progression “means there is no sudden jumps. of ideas.. each sentence flow smoothly into the next one.

The candidate tactically used cohesive devices to give a clear progression to his writing.  Take the third paragraph, for example, to see these tactics in action:


Here you can notice:

  • The second sentence starts with “A foreign langue”; which is a repetition of the subject (a new language) of the first sentence. This style is called lexical cohesion in academic writing.
  • The last sentence starts with linking word as “needless to say “to maintain an overall progression of the paragraph.

Facts that Prevent a Band 7 Answers to be a Band 8 One

Here`s the facts…..

  • The lexical resource allow some (Not Full) flexibility and precision
Although there is no frequent fault in choice of words, but there are some mistakes. However these inappropriate choice of lexical choices did to hinder the meaning of sentences. For example, look at this paragraph:


In second sentence you can see the word “recognition “which means appreciation. And he wrote, “Recognition are trying to pursue their happiness away form home". 

How come `recognition`, which is not a person, would like to go away from home?

But, you can guess here he indicate “adults “in place of recognition when you read the full sentence- “Adults in need of money, or, why not, recognition are trying to pursue their happiness away form home.”

And there is a grammatical mistakes-not putting an “are” after the word `adult`. It is written “Adults in need of money”- where the correct form should be “Adults are in need of money”.

  • Complex structures is used with some flexibility and accuracy
Writing long complex sentence is necessary to achieve a big score..the candidate knew this and tried to present some complex structures with accuracy. But, there was few grammatical mistakes like this:


This is an example of writing complex sentence with “not only...but also “structure. All thing was perfect beside putting a `for ` after but, so the correct one would be read like: “But also for our moral needs”. This particular mistake is called `lack of parallelism` in English grammar.

Now you know:

How to Improve IELTS Writing Score from 7 to 8

The answer is simple- by improving lexis and grammar. Beside, a band 7 and 8 answer should have no spelling mistakes.

We`ve discuss so far up-to band 7 IELTS writing answers..let`s dig deep and go for more prestigious band score. 

The Mastery Behind A  Band 8 IELTS Task-2 Answer

Read this question and answer from Cambridge IELTS student book 9- test 2:

Some people believe that unpaid community service should be a compulsory part of high school programmers (for example working for a charity, improving the neighborhood or teaching sports to younger children).

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

It has been suggested that high school students should be involved in unpaid community services as a compulsory part of high school programs. Most of the colleges are already providing opportunities to gain work experience, however these are not compulsory. In my opinion, sending students to work in community services is a good idea as it can provide them with many lots of valuable skills.

Life skills are very important and by doing voluntary work, students can learn how to communicate with other and work in a team but also how to manage their time and improve their organizational skills. Nowadays, unfortunately, teenagers do not have many after-school activities. After-school clubs are no longer that popular and students mostly go home and sit in front of the TV, browse internet or play video games.

By giving them compulsory work activities with charitable or community organizations, they will be encouraged to do something more creative. Skills gained through compulsory work will not only be an asset on their CV but also increase their employability. Students will also gain more respect towards work and money as they will realize that it is not that easy to earn them and hopefully will learn to spend them in a more practical way.

Healthy life balance and exercises are strongly promoted by the NHS, and therefore any kind of spare time charity work will prevent from sitting and doing nothing. It could also possibly reduce the crime level in the high school age group. If students have activities to do, they will not be bored and come up with silly ideas which can be dangerous for them or their surroundings.

In conclusion, I think this is a very good idea, and I hope this program will be put into action for high school colleges shortly.

Here`s what examiner said after scored it with a band 8:

The answer addresses all parts of the prompt sufficiently, focusing on the benefits for students rather than society. A number of relevant, extended and supported ideas are used to produce a well-developed response to the question. However, some ideas, for example the reference to the crime level, are not fully extended. The ideas are logically ordered and cohesion is consistently well managed. Paragraphing is used appropriately, and progression between paragraphs is managed with some sophistication. A wide range of vocabulary is used to articulate meanings precisely, with skilful use of uncommon lexis, and very few inappropriacies. The range of grammatical structures used is also wide, with only occasional minor errors.

Here`s the breakdown of good points of the essay:

(1) Addresses all parts of the prompt sufficiently

Notice the word “sufficiently”- this is the first time you see this word.

Whereas, you see something like: All parts of the prompt are addressed- without the word `sufficiently`.

Remember in our band 7 example, the candidate merely explain a particular part of the task which was “People learn language for travelling. Although the answer merely touch this point in the second paragraph-the whole discussion was focused on only `new language learning for job` purposes.

In a band 8 answer, you`ll not see this-the answer would not miss to explain various point of the task.

Let`s see how our example band 8 answer touch and explain every point of the task.

The task had two points:

01. High school students should involve in volunteer community services
02. The volunteer engagement of students should made compulsory by the school authority

And this is how the candidate touch these points in body paragraphs of  the essay:

Also, the answer developed these points with relevant, extended and supported ideas. Notice, how the answer explain the necessity of compulsory charitable works by saying:

  • It will be an asset on the CV that in turn increase the employability.
  • Student`s will be more practical about earning and spending money.

(2) Ideas are logically ordered and cohesion is well managed

This candidate showed a very skillful use of cohesive devices throughout the text. Various use of these devices ordered the logical progression of ideas from sentence to sentence, 

For instance:
  • Use of linking word like "therefore" as cohesive device to join two ideas in a sentence:
  • Use of “repetition” as lexical cohesion: The use of common noun `activities ` in the last sentence of the paragraph- in place of the phrase `charity work`- to make it cohesive with the first sentence of the  paragraph: 
  • Use of “conjunction” as cohesive device (not only...but also) to logically order ideas:


(3) Appropriate Paragraphing with sophisticated progression

An important element of a good paragraph is unity. Unity means that a paragraph discusses one and only one main idea from beginning to end. For example,
  • The first body paragraph discusses about developing Interpersonal communication capacity through voluntary work.
  • The second body paragraph discusses about developing skills for future career.
  • The third body paragraph focus on improving physical and mental health by living an active life.
And there was not overlapping of these topics- each paragraph solely dedicated to a single idea.

Meanwhile, the answer showed some sophistication in using cohesive device to manage progression between paragraphs.

Here the candidate used referencing to maintain grammatical cohesion between 2st and 3nd paragraph of the essay. Here relative pronoun “they”is used to reference “students” mentioned in the last sentence of the second paragraph.


(4) Wide range of vocabulary with uncommon lexis to convey precise meaning

The examiner praises the use of different lexical resources all over the essay. For example, in one place, voluntary work is written as “work activities with charitable or community organizations”, while in other place it is written as only “charity works”. 

This skillful using of wording negates the monotony with diversity.
The examiner also commented in using uncommon lexis, although I can`t find any throughout the text. Here, you can see some flexible use of lexical device all over the answer:


But, as it is one step behind from band 9, there are some pitfalls:

(1) Some ideas are not fully extended

This is where the band 8 cowboys run behind the band 9 ones. Remember what I say in `pros`-all parts of the question are sufficiently addressed-(not fully addressed).

Well, again, the task had two points:

01. High school students should involve in volunteer community services
02. The volunteer engagement of students should made compulsory by the school authority

The essay fully cover the first point by giving a lot of ideas, examples and analogies. But, it did have a narrow focus on the second point-Volunteer works should made compulsory. 

I agree that the answer states a lot of positive effect of charitable work engagement for students  to support the reason-why should volunteer community services made compulsory. 

But, remember, “compulsory “  is a strong debatable word-many people may disagree to impose restriction on school children to take part in such activities. In that essence, the candidate could state this opposite view and then refute it with some judgment to make the argument more effective. 

(2) Minor errors in lexis & grammar

Here the candidate made some error:

  • Lexical inappropriacies:
Somewhere along the essay the candidate wrote:

“After-school clubs are no longer that popular and students mostly go home and sit in front of the TV, browse internet or play video games.”

This would be better if it was written as:

“After-school clubs are no longer that popular, compel most students to go home and sit in front of the TV, browse internet or play video games.”

  • Error with Parallelism 
The candidate wrote:

“Skills gained through compulsory work will not only be an asset on their CV but also increase their employability.”

The correct one would be:

“Skills gained through compulsory work will not only be an asset on their CV but also will increase their employability.”

After this analysis of the pros and cons of a live band 8 answer, we`ve come to the gist:

How to Improve IELTS Writing Score from 8 to 9

In the essence of previous discussion we come to know that:

  • You need to cover all facts of the prompt and explain them in detail. The appropriate development of each idea depends on the strength of your arguments.
  • There should be no error in word choices, uncommon words must be used with precision and flexibility.
  • There should be zero grammatical error
  • Cohesive devices must be used to achieve sentence level and paragraph level cohesion with sophistication and flexibility.
Lastly, let`s jump to the grand finale-A BAND 9 ANSWER. 

In Cambridge IELTS books, these band 9 answers are written by expert examiners (not by candidate), so there could be no string untouched.

Let`s mush on with one such example answer.

What Makes a Perfect Band 9 IELTS Task-2 Answer?


Here is an example of Band 9 IELTS Task -2 essay:

“Countries are becoming more and more similar because people are able to buy the same products anywhere in the world.

Do you think this is a positive or negative development?”

It is said that countries are becoming similar to each other because of the global spread of the same products, which are now available for purchase almost anywhere. I strongly believe that this modern development is largely detrimental to culture and tradition worldwide.

A country`s history, language and ethos are all inextricably bound up in its manufactures artifacts. If the relentless advance of international brands into every corner of the world countries,  these bland packages might one day completely oust the traditional objects of a nation, which would be a loss of richness and diversity in the world, as well as the sad disappearance of the manifestations of a place`s character. What would a Japanese tea ceremony be without its specially crafted teapot or a Fijian kava ritual without its bowl made from a certain type of tree bark?

Let us not forget either that traditional products whether these be medicines, cosmetics, toys, cloths, utensils or food, provide employment for local people. The spread of multinational products can often bring in its wake a loss of jobs, as people turn to buying the new brand, perhaps thinking it more glamorous than the one they are used to. This eventually puts old school craftspeople out of work.

Finally, tourism numbers may also be affected, as travelers become disillusioned with finding every place just the same as the one they visited previously. To see the same products in shops all over the world is boring, and does not impel visitors to open their wallets in the same way that trinkets or souvenirs unique to the particular area do.

Some may argue that all people are entitled to have access to the same products, but I say the local objects suit local conditions best, and that faceless uniformity worldwide is an unwelcome and dreary prospect.


Here are the Factors that make it a band 9 IELTS essay:

(1) The candidate take a very clear thesis statement in introduction by taking the stand against the product globalization. The thesis was as below:

"I strongly believe that this modern development is largely detrimental to culture and tradition worldwide."

(2) Well supported the thesis in next 3 body paragraphs. The thesis-global spread of same product is detrimental- was expanded with following topics in three supporting paragraphs  :

  • Culture get lost
  • Local Job loss
  • Tourism marooned
(3) Provided real world examples to support the main topics of paragraphs. Like in the first body paragraph the topic was:

“A country`s history, language and ethos are all inextricably bound up in its manufactures artifacts.”

This topic was well supported with some real world examples by saying:

“What would a Japanese tea ceremony be without its specially crafted teapot or a Fijian kava ritual without its bowl made from a certain type of tree bark?”

(4) The main topic of body paragraphs are well supported with proper reasoning. For instance, in the third body paragraph,  it was said that tourism can be stranded due to same product availability all over the world, and this topic was well supported with reasoning like visitors would fed up by not finding local souvenirs.

(5) It is a must to state the opposite view and then refute it immediately in order to achieve a high score in a opinion based essay. The candidate did not forget this and it eventually brings the essay a band 9 score. You can see it in the last paragraph of the essay :

Opposite view: “Some may argue that all people are entitled to have access to the same products,”
Refute: “but I say the local objects suit local conditions best, and that faceless uniformity worldwide is an unwelcome and dreary prospect.”

(6) Although you can see that the candidate use only one (“finally”- in 4th paragraph) linking word in the whole essay; the cohesion and coherence was achieved in such a way that it attracts no attention. To do this the candidate used a range of cohesive devices and organizational patters.

(7) Sentences varied in length and complexity.

(8) A very high command over language by contextual use of sophisticated phrases like:

  • inextricably bound up
  •  relentless advance of 
  • the sad disappearance of
  • manifestations of
(9) Finally the use of some less common words (terms) very effectively like:

  • bland (instead of ordinary)
  • oust (instead of expel)
  • dreary (instead of dull)
That`s all.

Sorry, I could not tell you the weak points of this essay because there are none or very rare to spot.

And because the examiner marked it with a band 9- the last and highest band anyone can achieve.

So, what we just learn about IELTS writing task-2 band 9 answers?

If you want to achieve band 9 in your IELTS writing test:

  • Present a clear thesis in your introduction
  • Use some less common vocabulary
  • Use some long complex sentence with good grammar and punctuation
  • Use some simple sentence as well.
  • Support paragraph topics with proper examples and reasoning.
  • Do not make any spelling mistakes.
  • Use some good phrases that fit with your rhetoric.

Conclusion

I hope this guide helped you realize that scoring a high band score in IELTS task-2 isn’t guesswork anymore.

All you need to play the right cord for the right band.

You`ve got plenty of ideas about how to touch these particular cords such as task response, paragraphing, flow of ideas, wording precision, sophistication and grammar- to achieve a particular band score ranging from band 7 to 9.

Just commit to getting started today. Does your research before you write your next task-2 essay and optimize the basics, like ordering, placing and developing ideas, attach them with cohesive stings to achieve coherence and so on.

And who knows – maybe the next time you sit for the IELTS test, you’ll stand out.

After reading this guide, how will you change your attitude towards IELTS writing?



1 comments

  1. a very good and informative piece . Thank you for putting this up ! cheers !

    ReplyDelete