The IELTS writing task 2 is an essay writing question which requires careful planning and proper structure when being written. So how is an essay assessed by the examiners?
The IELTS essay has 5 major question types. No matter what the question type is, the IELTS essay needs to follow a particular structure. You may wonder why we should have a fixed structure. Well the answer is that IELTS essays are evaluated based on 4 assessment factors. So what are these factors?
Assessment Criteria- IELTS WRITING TASK 2
1) TASK RESPONSE
This criterion checks whether you have responded to the question asked. That is, have you given your opinion. For instance, look at this question.
Example: These days, many students go abroad for higher studies. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?
Here, there is a statement given which basically introduces the main theme of the essay: which is "students opting to go outside their country to continue their studies". Along with that, the task asks you a particular question- are the advantages of students studying in foreign destinations higher than the disadvantages of students taking such a decision.
As per the first criterion- TASK RESPONSE- we have to write a clear opinion and this opinion of ours should be visible throughout the essay. So right from the introduction itself, we need to state what our take on the subject is. And it is based on this opinion of ours that we include the body paragraphs and the conclusion.
Here is an example: A large number of students, these days, opt to study in a foreign country. In my opinion, there are many advantages in students deciding to study abroad when compared to the few disadvantages.
The sentence in yellow is paraphrasing the statement given in the question and the one in green is my CLEAR RESPONSE to the question.
So here, I am trying to meet the first assessment factor, which is TASK RESPONSE.
2) COHESION AND COHERENCE
Cohesion and coherence checks how logical the flow of ideas is. To support your opinion mentioned in the introduction, you will have to include relevant points. Each of these points should be clearly stated, with examples or explanation. How each of the ideas are introduced, how have the examples been included, is it easy to follow and understand and is there a connection between the different sentences written: these are the aspects evaluated under COHESION and COHERENCE.
Her is an example where I try to clearly display this criterion.
Example: There are various benefits in taking up studies abroad. First, you get the opportunity to access world-class education system and also have the best infrastructural facilities made available. A student studying Law in Harvard University, for instance, is considered to be superior in terms of the education received, compared to another student who is pursuing Law in any other country. This is because Harvard comes under the top ten universities from around the world. Second, when studying in an international destination, we are exposed to multi-cultural environment that helps us grow as a person. This simply means that we can make friends with students from other countries and learn about their culture and lifestyle. This in turn will help us appreciate our own roots as well as imbibe qualities from the other nationals.
The words marked in bold help in connecting the ideas together and is one of the ways in which I can score under this assessment criterion- COHESION and COHERENCE.
3) LEXICAL RESOURCES
Lexical resources is nothing else but vocabulary, the kind of words we use in our writing. when considering words, there are the most commonly used everyday vocabulary like 'beautiful', 'good', 'difficult' and so on. The use of these words will fetch a student a particular score. Instead, if words like 'ravishing', 'exceptional' or 'challenging' are used in place of the previous string of words, we will be portraying superior vocabulary skills. Such usages will give us a higher band score under this criterion. Also, the more number of relevant, topic-related words we can use, the higher our score will be.
4) GRAMMATICAL RANGE and ACCURACY
Grammatical range and accuracy (GRA) tests our control over various grammatical aspects like tenses, punctuations, connectors, sentence construction and spellings. So through the sentences we write, we need to showcase good control over grammar with appropriate usages. Do remember, that grammar is only one of the assessment factors.
Each of these assessment criteria carry equal proportion of marks and as a student we need to try and work across these factors. Only if we are equally strong in all these assessment areas, can we gain an excellent band score in IELTS writing.