The IELTS writing test is one which most students find tough and need help in. Writing and speaking are productive skills where one is required to produce language, unlike reading and listening which are receptive skills. However, given the appropriate IELTS preparation materials, especially IELTS material for writing, it is not much of an arduous task for beginners to improve their writing scores. It might be challenging but it’s definitely not impossible.
To get a hang of how exactly this can be done, let us take a quick look at the assessment criteria for writing and the key aspects considered under each parameter.
- Whether the response covers all the task requirements?
- Is the content relevant and accurate and is the format appropriate?
- Academic Task 1- whether the key features have been selected, and well highlighted, whether a clear overview is given and whether the main trends /differences have been identified?
- General Task 1 – whether all bullet points have been covered and the tone is appropriate?
- Whether there is a clear trend and logical organisation of the information and ideas?
- Whether a range of cohesive devices have been effectively used?
- Whether vocabulary is used appropriately and flexibly?
- Whether less common words, collocations and idiomatic expressions have been used?
- Spelling mistakes
- Use of complex structures with accuracy and flexibility
- Are grammar and punctuation well-controlled and are sentences error-free
As a beginner, who does not have a very good command of the English language, improving the IELTS writing score overnight seems like a daunting task, but we have many students who have been able to showcase a significant improvement over their diagnostic test writing scores by preparing smartly with the help of reliable IELTS material for writing from reputed sources. The right approach is key. So let’s understand what exactly this entails.
Lexical Resource and Grammar are parameters which focus more on language. Improving language overnight is not feasible. It takes consistent effort and practice in the use of the language over a period of time. Picking up new vocabulary and being able to use it effectively in the writing test necessitates the use of the words in one’s everyday language on a regular basis. Studying grammar rules and incorporating them into one’s writing would again require time and effort.
However, ‘Task Achievement/Response’ and ‘Coherence and Cohesion’ are parameters which are not overly dependent on one’s language proficiency. Hence, focusing on these criteria and trying to maximise the band score on these will surely ensure that the test taker is able to improve the IELTS writing score quickly.
The tips that a student should follow to score well on these parameters are –
Familiarise yourself with the format of the test, different question types, the word count and the assessment criteria. A thorough understanding of the test will definitely help you prepare better for your test. Additionally, an understanding of the band descriptors and parameters of assessment will help the test takers to focus on the key aspects that examiners look for. One should concentrate more particularly on ‘task response/achievement’ and ‘coherence and cohesion’ and getting every aspect of these 2 criteria right.
Whether it is task 1 or task 2, be sure to read and understand the question well which includes studying the diagram well for the academic task 1 question. Ideally, the question should be read at least twice. This will help you to cover most aspects of task achievement/response in your answers. You will not go off-track from the prompt in task 2. You will be able to focus on key features in academic task 1 and it will help ensure that you cover all the bullet points in the letter.
This is a crucial aspect that you need to get right for a band score of six or more in academic task one under the task achievement criteria. Master the art of writing an effective band score. Read model answers which will go a long way in helping you get a hang of this vital ingredient of a good task 1 report.
Using a formal tone in formal letters and an informal tone for informal letters written to family and friends is what is expected and it is not a difficult skill to master. For eg. saying thank you could be ‘ I wish to express my gratitude for…..’ in a formal context but while writing to a friend a more appropriate phrase would be ‘A big thank you to you for….’. The right tone garners a higher band score for ‘task response’.
When you are hard-pressed for time, it is always a good idea to go through the tonnes of free practice material available on various websites. IELTS Preparation Materials include model answers which you could go through to understand the structure of various types of essays and task 1 reports and letters. It would give you an idea as to how information should be organised well into paragraphs and how cohesive devices can be used effectively without overuse or underuse of such linking words.
Practice using IELTS learning material and simulate the actual test conditions to the extent possible. Time yourself to ensure that you are able to complete both tasks within an hour. Also, allocate some time for planning and organising as well as for checking and editing the tasks. Practice organising your ideas logically and using the right transition words to connect your thoughts.
Writing practice with the help of IELTS preparation materials will yield better results if the writing tasks are assessed by expert IELTS trainers from reliable coaching institutes. The students benefit from the constructive feedback given. The assessment also includes a band score for writing, in most cases, which gives the students a reality check as to where they stand currently. They are made aware of the gap that needs to be covered to reach their desired band scores. The tutors help the test takers identify their weaknesses and give suggestions regarding areas of improvement. However, to avail of these services, you might need to enrol for a course with an IELTS training institute. The good thing is that the institutes offer crash courses as well as module-specific courses which one can enrol for, particularly if time is a constraint.
To recapitulate, these are all tips that can help improve your band score on 2 parameters namely, task response/achievement and coherence and cohesion. With focus and consistent efforts, these can be mastered quickly, unlike improvements in grammar and lexical resources which take time. Access IELTS Learning Materials without shelling out a dime
and get that elusive band score that you aspire for!